Brain-Healthy Foods to Fight Aging

Brain-Healthy Foods to Fight Aging
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What is the best source of lutein, the primary carotenoid antioxidant in the brain?

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

There’s an “extensive scientific literature [describing] the positive impact of dietary [plant compounds] on overall health and longevity.” “However, it is [only] now becoming clear that the consumption of diets rich in [plant foods] can influence neuro-inflammation [brain inflammation] leading to the expression of cytoprotective [cell protective] and restorative proteins.” Just “[o]ver the last decade, remarkable progress has been made to realize that oxidative…stress…and chronic, low-grade inflammation are major risk factors underlying brain aging.” So, no wonder antioxidant and anti-inflammatory foods may help.

“The brain is especially vulnerable to free radical attack [oxidative stress] due to its high fat content and [its cauldron of] high metabolic activity.” You don’t want your brains to go rancid. So, you’d think one of the major fat-soluble dietary antioxidants like beta-carotene would step in, but the major carotenoid concentrated in the brain is actually lutein; the brain just preferentially sucks it up.

For example, if you look at the “oldest old,” like in the Georgia centenarian study. Recognizing that oxidation” is involved in age-related cognitive decline,” they figured dietary antioxidants “may play a role” in its prevention or delay, so they looked at eight different ones: vitamin A, vitamin E, on down the list, and “only…lutein was significantly related to better cognition.” Now in this study, they looked at brain tissue on autopsy, but by then, it’s a little too late. So, how could you study the effects of diet on the brain while you’re still alive? If only there was a way we could physically look into the living brain with our own two eyes. There is! With our own two eyes.

The retina, the back of our eyeball, is actually “an extension of” our central nervous system—an outpouching of the brain during development, and right in the middle there’s a spot. This is what the doctor sees when they look into your eye with that bright light. That spot, called the macula, is our HD camera, where you get the highest resolution vision, and it’s packed with lutein.

And indeed, levels in the retina correspond to levels in the rest of your brain, so your eyes can be a window into your brain. So, now, we can finally do studies on live people, to see if diet can affect lutein levels in the eyes, which reflects lutein levels in the brain, and see if that correlates with improvements in cognitive function. And indeed, significant correlations exist between the amount of macular pigment—these plant pigments like lutein in your eye—and cognitive test scores. You can demonstrate this on functional MRI scans, suggesting lutein and a related plant pigment called zeaxanthin, “promote cognitive functioning in old age by enhancing neural efficiency”—the efficiency by which our nerves communicate. Like, check out this cool study on white matter integrity using something called diffusion tensor imaging, which “provide[s] unique insights into brain network connectivity,” allowing you to follow the nerve tracts throughout the brain. And researchers were able to show enhanced circuit integrity based on how much lutein and zeaxanthin they could see in people’s eyes—”further evidence of a meaningful relationship between diet and neural integrity” of our brains, particularly in regions vulnerable to age-related decline.

So, do Alzheimer’s patients have less of this macular pigment? Significantly less lutein in their eyes, significantly less lutein in their blood, and a higher occurrence of macular degeneration, where this pigment layer gets destroyed. The thickness of this plant pigment layer in your eyes can be measured, and may be a potential marker for the beginnings of Alzheimer’s. Let’s not wait that long, though. We know macular pigment density is related to cognitive function in older people; what about during middle age?

“One apparent consequence of aging appears to be loss of some aspects of cognitive control,” which starts out early, in ‘mid-adulthood,’ but not in everybody—suggesting maybe something like diet could be driving some of these differences. Here’s a measure of cognitive control, showing younger, on average, do better than older adults. But, older adults who have high macular pigment, lots of lutein in the back of their eyes, do significantly better. These results suggest that the “protective role of carotenoids like lutein within the [brain] may be evident during early and middle adulthood, decades prior to the onset of” more apparent cognitive decline later in life.

You can take 20-year-olds and show superior auditory function in those with more macular pigment in their eyes. Look: “The auditory system, [our hearing,] like the rest of the central nervous system, is ultimately constructed and maintained by diet, and it is therefore, not surprisingly, sensitive to dietary intake throughout life”—all the way back to childhood.

Higher macular pigment is associated with higher academic achievement among schoolchildren. You can look into a kid’s eyes and get some sense of how well they may do in subjects like math and writing. “This finding is important because macular [lutein] is modifiable and can be manipulated by dietary intake.” Okay, okay, so where is lutein found? The avocado and egg industries like to boast about how much of these macular pigments they have in their products, but the real superstars are dark green leafy vegetables. A half-cup of kale has 50 times more than an egg, a spinach salad, or a 50-egg omelet.

And the earlier the better. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should definitely be checking off my Daily Dozen greens servings. But it’s also apparently never too late. While some age-related cognitive decline is to be expected, these effects may be less pronounced among those eating more green and leafy, but you don’t know for sure…until you put it to the test, which we’ll explore next.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Mikael Häggström via WikiJournal of Medicine and pxhere. Images have been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

There’s an “extensive scientific literature [describing] the positive impact of dietary [plant compounds] on overall health and longevity.” “However, it is [only] now becoming clear that the consumption of diets rich in [plant foods] can influence neuro-inflammation [brain inflammation] leading to the expression of cytoprotective [cell protective] and restorative proteins.” Just “[o]ver the last decade, remarkable progress has been made to realize that oxidative…stress…and chronic, low-grade inflammation are major risk factors underlying brain aging.” So, no wonder antioxidant and anti-inflammatory foods may help.

“The brain is especially vulnerable to free radical attack [oxidative stress] due to its high fat content and [its cauldron of] high metabolic activity.” You don’t want your brains to go rancid. So, you’d think one of the major fat-soluble dietary antioxidants like beta-carotene would step in, but the major carotenoid concentrated in the brain is actually lutein; the brain just preferentially sucks it up.

For example, if you look at the “oldest old,” like in the Georgia centenarian study. Recognizing that oxidation” is involved in age-related cognitive decline,” they figured dietary antioxidants “may play a role” in its prevention or delay, so they looked at eight different ones: vitamin A, vitamin E, on down the list, and “only…lutein was significantly related to better cognition.” Now in this study, they looked at brain tissue on autopsy, but by then, it’s a little too late. So, how could you study the effects of diet on the brain while you’re still alive? If only there was a way we could physically look into the living brain with our own two eyes. There is! With our own two eyes.

The retina, the back of our eyeball, is actually “an extension of” our central nervous system—an outpouching of the brain during development, and right in the middle there’s a spot. This is what the doctor sees when they look into your eye with that bright light. That spot, called the macula, is our HD camera, where you get the highest resolution vision, and it’s packed with lutein.

And indeed, levels in the retina correspond to levels in the rest of your brain, so your eyes can be a window into your brain. So, now, we can finally do studies on live people, to see if diet can affect lutein levels in the eyes, which reflects lutein levels in the brain, and see if that correlates with improvements in cognitive function. And indeed, significant correlations exist between the amount of macular pigment—these plant pigments like lutein in your eye—and cognitive test scores. You can demonstrate this on functional MRI scans, suggesting lutein and a related plant pigment called zeaxanthin, “promote cognitive functioning in old age by enhancing neural efficiency”—the efficiency by which our nerves communicate. Like, check out this cool study on white matter integrity using something called diffusion tensor imaging, which “provide[s] unique insights into brain network connectivity,” allowing you to follow the nerve tracts throughout the brain. And researchers were able to show enhanced circuit integrity based on how much lutein and zeaxanthin they could see in people’s eyes—”further evidence of a meaningful relationship between diet and neural integrity” of our brains, particularly in regions vulnerable to age-related decline.

So, do Alzheimer’s patients have less of this macular pigment? Significantly less lutein in their eyes, significantly less lutein in their blood, and a higher occurrence of macular degeneration, where this pigment layer gets destroyed. The thickness of this plant pigment layer in your eyes can be measured, and may be a potential marker for the beginnings of Alzheimer’s. Let’s not wait that long, though. We know macular pigment density is related to cognitive function in older people; what about during middle age?

“One apparent consequence of aging appears to be loss of some aspects of cognitive control,” which starts out early, in ‘mid-adulthood,’ but not in everybody—suggesting maybe something like diet could be driving some of these differences. Here’s a measure of cognitive control, showing younger, on average, do better than older adults. But, older adults who have high macular pigment, lots of lutein in the back of their eyes, do significantly better. These results suggest that the “protective role of carotenoids like lutein within the [brain] may be evident during early and middle adulthood, decades prior to the onset of” more apparent cognitive decline later in life.

You can take 20-year-olds and show superior auditory function in those with more macular pigment in their eyes. Look: “The auditory system, [our hearing,] like the rest of the central nervous system, is ultimately constructed and maintained by diet, and it is therefore, not surprisingly, sensitive to dietary intake throughout life”—all the way back to childhood.

Higher macular pigment is associated with higher academic achievement among schoolchildren. You can look into a kid’s eyes and get some sense of how well they may do in subjects like math and writing. “This finding is important because macular [lutein] is modifiable and can be manipulated by dietary intake.” Okay, okay, so where is lutein found? The avocado and egg industries like to boast about how much of these macular pigments they have in their products, but the real superstars are dark green leafy vegetables. A half-cup of kale has 50 times more than an egg, a spinach salad, or a 50-egg omelet.

And the earlier the better. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should definitely be checking off my Daily Dozen greens servings. But it’s also apparently never too late. While some age-related cognitive decline is to be expected, these effects may be less pronounced among those eating more green and leafy, but you don’t know for sure…until you put it to the test, which we’ll explore next.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Mikael Häggström via WikiJournal of Medicine and pxhere. Images have been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Doctor's Note

What about just taking lutein supplements? You guessed it—that’s the topic of my next video. Stay tuned for Do Lutein Supplements Help with Brain Function?

The antioxidant pigments in berries also make it into the brain:

What was that about some “daily dozen”? Check it out: Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen Checklist (available as a free app on iPhone and Android).

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

152 responses to “Brain-Healthy Foods to Fight Aging

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  1. Wow, this is such a fascinating video filled with so much useful and unique scientific findings I had to watch it twice to catch all the details. Going to take a look at the research papers, too. It’s research like this that makes advanced technology shine. But I think most of us NF fans already knew the answer: Eat your KALE :-)

      1. I third it that opinion. And I’m glad that I ate my & everybody else’s spinach at lunchtime in elementary school. I never thought about whether I liked spinach or not. I just ate it to gross out the other girls at my lunch table.

          1. True story, Liisa. My nickname was The Garbage Disposal.

            I’m a caregiver, too. So I understand your need for humor.

            I will always remember the simple but sage advice of an old Russian woman I knew back in the 80s. She was a wonderful accompanist at the Russian classical ballet school I attended while living in LA. We all called her Mommy. She said, with a thick Russian accent, “You have to have a sense humor in this stupid life!”

            1. Great story Nancy! Thanks for sharing! I can hear the accent In my head!

              All of my truly funny relatives have passed away and that story reminds me of them. I was thinking about what made them so funny and it was that they could laugh at themselves. They would share the darnedest stories.

              My very short great-great aunt would talk about how she got her lapel pin stuck on the belt of a tall man in a revolving door and had to try to keep up with him as he walked briskly across the floor.

              Another had the police pull her over because she was talking and laughing so much while she was driving that she stopped at a toll booth and looked at the place to throw her money in and threw her trash instead.

              I have a few of my own from days with my grandmother. Not vegan friendly and uncharacteristically cold hearted of me, but we were having spiders in the house and I got nervous because of spider bites and I usually would just put them outside and they would build huge webs at our door entrances, which didn’t have automatic lights, so I would just walk straight into them and feel like The Lord of The Rings Trilogy.

              So I bought gigantic glue traps. That is a long story, but the day came when the spider glue traps arrived and a spider was descending to land on the banana hook which was on the kitchen table and my grandmother was saying, “I think we need a new tablecloth” while I was trying to peel the paper off the glue trap, which turned out to be 4 glue traps which needed to be taken apart first, but some of us grew up with males and don’t read the directions all the way to the end. So I was pulling with all my might and the stupid tape was slowly inching off and I could barely do it and then, it became too hard to get the tape off and I huffed and puffed and it came apart and stuck permanently to the tablecloth and the spider had walked away very slowly before I could let him outside. My grandmother in the midst of her dementia still had razor sharp comic timing and she looked at the tablecloth and said, I think we need to turn it around.

              1. The short versus tall concept reminds me that I was surprised how tall Dr Greger looked in the recent donation page picture.

                It was like looking at those perspective rooms on Brain Games.

                Dr Greger are you tall?

                Either way, I hope everybody who got Amazon gift cards remembers to use smile. 5 days left and still a ways to go.

                1. I know, Deb. For some reason I keep thinking Dr. G is a little guy. Not that there would be anything wrong with that, but it freaks me out every time I see a picture or video where he towers over everyone.

                  It’s funny how our perceptions about people, especially physical traits, aren’t always correct when we’ve only see them on a 2-dimensional screen.

                  1. but it freaks me out every time I see a picture or video where he towers over everyone.

                    It’s funny how our perceptions about people, especially physical traits, aren’t always correct when we’ve only see them on a 2-dimensional screen.
                    —————————————————————————————————————-
                    Keep in mind it could be the camera angle.

                    Remember Alan Ladd? He had to stand on a box to be at eye level in a two shot. If you shoot someone from just below it makes them look taller. If someone is trim they often seem shorter as we are used to tall people being more filled out.

                    And as you said, nothing wrong with being a “little guy.” Larry Bird, the almost 7 foot basketball player acknowledged he’s not going to live a long life as statistics show these very tall people die younger. (Personally, I think genetics can be overcome with lifestyle)

                    1. So true, Lonie. Many years ago I saw Michael & Kirk Douglas in a beach restaurant in Saint Tropez. I couldn’t believe how tiny they were!

                    2. And Kirk, now having turned 102 on December 9, is no doubt even smaller now.

                      Good ol’ Kirk! I wonder what he eats.

                    3. Nancy, I agree that Kirk doesn’t look so hot — am sure the stroke couldn’t have done him any good. Yes, Olivia always looks great in her pics (although we gotta wonder when they were snapped).

                      Rhonda Fleming, one of Hollywood’s beauties, is still very active at 95. Then there’s Betty White. George Burns, although he smoked (stinky) cigars, made it to 100, I think. Probably a lot of other celebrities still around too, who just don’t want to be seen by the public. Can’t blame ’em.

          2. Liisa,

            Remind me who you are care taking?

            I know we talked about it, but trying to figure out when is more than my broken brain could handle.

            1. My brothers doctors appointment is today. 11 hours from now.

              I am devastated that they are talking kidney cancer. I don’t want to lose him.

              I watched the video where veggies changed survival rates for women with breast cancer. Praying.

          1. You bet I’m still a rebel, Deb. I don’t think I ever succumbed to peer pressure. In college some guy tried to blackmail me once. He was surprised to find out that I wasn’t impressed. And neither was anybody else.

            I hope all goes well with your brother. Please do keep us posted.

            And thanks for the funny stories about your very short great aunt & your grandmother. She sounds like a real hoot!

            1. LOL!

              I already know that you are a force to be reckoned with.

              I found out that my brother has a 6 cm tumor. Too big for cryo. He will be having his kidney removed.

              They aren’t biopsying. 4 out of 5 solid masses are Cancer and Big = Cancer is what I have read, so it is solid and too big for cryo.

              He is taking it in stride. He is just like my mother is what I am going to say. She had a philosophy of “If you can’t change something, don’t let it affect you.” She never got mad or sad about things which were past tense. She didn’t get upset when she got Stage 4 Cancer. She didn’t shed a tear and didn’t get nervous or emotional. She was a calm one.

              I think I go into “I am going to change this” mode and that is a more hyper, more emotionally driven place.

              My brother was a gracious host of everybody at Christmas and didn’t look anything up. I looked up his condition left and right and knew what every major hospital and cancer center does for treatment and what the statistics are and what the studies are. I knew the things like Modified Citrus Pectin and Lactobacillus, which are used to prevent metastases and concept after concept and would already have water fasted before the CatScan and knew the vegetables and walking statistics and ordered Prolon.

              I pondered it today because he and my mother calmed everyone down and make life so much more enjoyable, but my mother died.

              I don’t settle for statistics.

              The Stubborn One.

              1. They all wanted me to calm down when I was being abused and I wanted to change things and was frustrated that I couldn’t be heard.

                That forged my personality.

                My dog is still alive.

        1. Just think of all the damage done to youngsters by the poor preparation of spinach….I’ve always hated the stuff…tasted like cooked rags….

          I take Dr. Whitaker’s Vision Essentials Gold with 40 mg lutein….

          1. Bob, as I recall (it was a long time ago) the school kids referred to it as green slime & pond scum. But yes, it was ever so poorly cooked.

      1. Hi Hina, Moringa is a source better than kale and is available in India really cheap. Its actually a local vegetable but its not very well known. I learnt about it some time ago and was surprised to learn about its nutrition. In so many counts it turned out to be better than kale.
        You can consume it daily in the form of dried leaves powder.
        It’s a great green superfood.
        In another post (you’ll find maybe scrolling up) under the same video, I have posted links of papers which show how much L+Z there is in the powder as well as fresh leaves.

      2. Hello, Hina Fatima! I do not know what is available to you in India, but certainly leafy green vegetable of some sort may be found, and they tend to be the richest in lutein. This analysis found the richest sources to be “…green vegetables such as parsley, spinach, chicory, chard, broccoli, courgette, and peas…Moreover, lutein is present in fruits such as mango, orange, watermelon (Stahl and Sies 1999), kiwi, red grapefruits (O’Connel and others 2007), and in flowers, such as marigold…” Surely some of these are available to you.
        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26540023
        I hope that helps!

  2. I wonder why cooked spinach contains significantly more lutein than raw spinach. Some other carotenoid is converted to lutein under the influence of heat?

    1. heating the spinach allows the cell walls to break down, allowing more lutein to be available. Same reasoning is behind why you get more lycopene from cooked/canned tomatoes than fresh

    2. IT might also have a volumetric component….1/2 cup of cooked spinach represents likely 2-3 cups of raw spinach, as it wilts so much when cooked and collapses in volume.
      So you have many more spinach leaves in 1/2 cup cooked spinach compared to 1/2 cup raw spinach, hence more lutein. I did not catch if they were comparing volumes vs. weight.

  3. In case you missed the article on how to maximize nutrient absorption (which mentions lutein,her is an extract)
    “Just 40 seconds in a blender can break down spinach to a subcellular level.
    Why does that matter? Let’s look at folate, the B vitamin in greens that is especially important for women of child-bearing age. Feed people a cup of spinach a day for three weeks and their folate goes up compared to control. What happens if you eat finely chopped spinach instead of whole leaves? You end up with more than twice as much in your bloodstream and the same absorption-boosting effect with lutein, the green nutrient so important for our eyesight. It’s not what you eat—it’s what you absorb.
    The boost for lutein was only 14%; so, a few extra bites of the whole leafy greens would have given you just as much. Some other nutrients, such as vitamin C, aren’t affected by pre-chopping at all. This is also less of an issue with cooked vegetables. “

    1. Casper, thanks for posting that very very thorough information on kale. Unfortunately in my stores there are not that many varieties from which to choose. I did discover from Bon Apetit Magazine that baby kale is best used raw and mixed in with other salad greens. I was surprised to see in the information you posted that they include the stems. Everything I have ever read about kale suggests discarding the stems. So many opinions abound!

      Lida

    1. Probably because tough and unappealing.
      It was always suggested in every recipe I saw that the leaves be trimmed away from the stems and used independently.

  4. Hm. My grandmother lived to 101. Her memory and cognitive function was really strong till age 99, when she broke her leg, entered a nursing home (the beginning of her end). What’s interesting is that she also had advanced macular degeneration, which began around age 70. This seems thi contra-indicate the relation between Alzheimer’s macular degeneration/low macular lutein. Of course, this is an ‘n of 1’, and I don’t know her actual macular lutein level, but interesting.

  5. All very interesting… i have a cousin who just turned 100 years of age.

    He has suffered from macular degeneration for decades and can barely see.

    Yet, he is mentally sharper than almost anybody I know, and I don’t hang with a bunch of dummies. Go figure.

    1. According to much of what I’ve read, astaxanthin provides much of the same benefits as lutein, etc… has it been put to the test?
      —————————————————————————————
      Would like to know this as well.

      I take astaxanthin with zeanthin daily and eat a lot of tomato (soup, juice, salsa) too. Just wondering if we can somehow get a measure of what is optimal vis a vis the macular portion of our eyes. As it stands, there seems to be no limit to what we can safely consume.

      1. Olives still have much if not all of their oil so I assume eating olives with lutein rich foods should also do the job of enhancing the lutein uptake.

        Hope so any way ’cause I eat olives with almost every meal. Soup? I add about 10 to 12 olives and tomato (V-8) juice. Herring filets? I side dish with avocado salsa and ~ a dozen olives.

        1. Lonie

          Doesn’t that lead to very high levels of sodium consumption on your part?.Olives are notorious for being high in sodium, especially the bottled green ones.

          1. Doesn’t that lead to very high levels of sodium consumption on your part?.Olives are notorious for being high in sodium, especially the bottled green ones.
            —————————————————————-
            Yes, and I’ve taken that into consideration. I’m pretty good at avoiding hidden salt in what I eat so my labs show sodium content well within range.

            Also, as I spear the olives with a skewer I turn them hole side down to drain all the juice. They don’t really add much of a salty taste to whatever I’ve added them to or even when I just snack on them by themselves.

            The ones I eat are the Greek Kalamata type.

  6. Panchito, could you provide a source? Curious, because I’d imagine fat sources from nuts would be a healthier option for ADEK absorption for those with concerns over OO consumption.

    1. Has it been proven the wax is harmful? I just assume it waxes forth from the stomach and then wanes through the intestine until you moon your throne. ‘-)

    2. Hi I’m a RN health support volunteer.
      By cheap, I assume you mean conventional, non organic. Conventional fruit and vegetables is far better than no fruit and vegetables. Dr. Greger has a series of videos about this:
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/are-the-benefits-of-organic-food-underrated-or-overrated/

      The benefits of apples should outweigh any risks of pesticides and wax.

      You might like this information about a cheap, easy DIY fruit wash
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/how-to-make-your-own-fruit-and-vegetable-wash/

      I wouldn’t stop eating your apples.
      NurseKelly

  7. If you’re not washing cheap apples you’re probably taking a nice pesticide hit. Are you also too lazy to use a peeler, bc that could solve both problems.

      1. I think Dr. Greger talks about whether to still eat fruit and veggies if you can’t afford organic. I think he said that there is a risk/benefit ratio where there is more benefit in having some nutrition from the foods versus not eating them. Organic is better, but there would be a smaller percentage of people getting cancer from pesticides than getting cancer from not having produce, I think was the conclusion.

        1. I have written posts that never got posted. This is a little frustrating when you take time to find links etc. Anyway, Environmental Working Group says to eat veggies and fruit wether they are organic or not. Use their lists of ‘clean 15’ if it helps. If I had to try to convince people here to buy organic as well as go wfpb, I would get nowhere. Conventionally grown food here is expensive enough as it is.
          They do use pesticides in commercial organic enterprises too. Wash that apple no matter where it was grown.

          1. I’ve been doing the trusty baking soda and/or white vinegar soak for fruits and veggies, including organic ones. I figure it can’t hurt:

            https://www.self.com/story/the-dirtiest-fruits-and-veggie

            From the above link: “Ever discover something especially nasty in your groceries?”

            I wouldn’t call it “nasty,” but the other day while chomping down on my grapes/applesauce/cia seeds/hemp seeds lunch, I thought something tasted a little weird. Turns out that four bright red cherry tomatoes had found themselves a home in the plastic bag of red grapes that I bought from Stop&Shop. When I washed them earlier, I did think they were unusually red compared to the others, but then forgot about it.

            The store manager was mystified, and offered to give me a refund. But I just felt like ranting a little — it wasn’t going back for a refund.

  8. Laughing, I tried to post my Clap Clap Clap’s because I liked the video, but it didn’t post.

    No video links at all, it just didn’t like my applause.

    No waiting for moderation either.

    The game rules are changing.

    Maybe we will figure it out eventually.

    1. Deb, I’ve had an occasional problem with viewing videos on this site; it’s usually in the morning, and eventually resolves itself, so I can watch it sometime later in the day. I’ve no idea why, or what was wrong.

      1. Dr. J.

        That is fascinating.

        I wonder why that happens.

        Well, the site works pretty well in the middle of the night. Some of us who have insomnia have learned that.

    1. Casper, yes, but it was my whole comment, which didn’t display and I didn’t try to post a link.

      It used to fail if I tried to post several links, but would post if I limited it to one or two.

      Now, people can’t post a NF video link, but mine was just a comment with an emotionally positive response to the video.

  9. Score one for kale!
    Q: Why did this video not mention Goji berries as a source of Lutein?
    An earlier video on eye health listed Goji berries as the best source of zeaxanthin.
    Was that video about zeaxanthin, for eyes only, and not about lutein?

  10. Speaking of Kale, I strongly recommend watching this video and Rick Dina’s others if you haven’t already. Many people automatically fear Kale if they have Thyroid issues, when in fact most of them should have no fears at all. There may be a tiny subset who should take consumption of Kale, et al seriously, but this vid may change your perspective:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=oH1RZGptv2E

    1. Well, I know a person who has grown a tail. Not a long one, but just enough to be annoying.

      My 8-year-old pal grew a horn already.

      Doctors have to be fearless for all of the things that they have to try to solve.

      My brother is at the doctor still. I feel a little sick inside today. We had a good Christmas and I have been doing pretty well, but things are about to escalate.

  11. Sometimes these topics seem more like self flattery for following a diet pushed by this particular doctor and not anything based on actual evidence. This entire video is based on conjecture and has not been ‘put to the test’ as he loves to say. He often recommends people avoid spending money on a health approach until studies confirm, other times he throws that out the window.

        1. In fact, many of us are overjoyed; Christmas is over for another year! No more gagworthy Christmas music on my Music Choice (Easy Listening) TV channel. Yaaaaaay! :-D

    1. Reality Bites,

      I understand your point, but there is a sentence at the end, which means that there is more information and it says:

      “but you don’t know for sure…until you put it to the test, which we’ll explore next.”

      People often get frustrated at the beginning of the series.

      Wait and get frustrated at the end.

      1. Actually, I like Reality Bites.

        I understand there will be comments about being off-topic and now RB has a second area of interest of reminding Dr. Greger not to stray too far from the “put it to the test” criteria.

        RB, You need a shorthand.

        gtfOT for going too far off topic
        PitttV for a Put it to the test violation.

  12. the blog rss feed now wants to download as a file on my computer , has there been a change in how to view the blog? i can no longer view the blogs from nutrition facts

        1. I did a search of NFO topics and SIBO does not appear although Dr. Greger certainly addresses SIBO symptoms in several videos, not mentioning SIBO by name. I will forward your interest in having this discussed in more detail in the future. In the meantime I found two articles that cite research and seem to provide a balanced view of this topic: https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/121112p16.shtml/
          Treatment and Management of SIBO — Taking a Dietary Approach Can Control Intestinal Fermentation and Inflammation and

          https://universityhealthnews.com/daily/digestive-health/sibo-diet/
          SIBO Diet: What to Eat If You Have Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth which summarizes “There is a lack of consensus as to what is the best diet for SIBO, but most recommend reducing carbohydrates, excepting insoluble fiber. Examples of formalized diets include: the Low Fodmap Diet (LFD)…”
          The first article cautions that “Customizing patients’ diets according to personal tolerance yields the best results for digestive symptom management.,” so there may be not general advice Dr. Greger can give regarding specific foods, other than the avoiding SIMPLE carbs. Individual guidance on complex carbs may need to be guided by specific individual tolerances. Hope these articles will shed some further light on this topic. Best of health to you.

  13. And then we have those from middle years forward whose health care professionals have warned them away from broccoli, spinach, kale and most dark green servings because of interactions with their prescription drugs. Drugs which are geared toward aging related illnesses such as Alzheimers, dementia and circulatory difficulties. It breaks my heart to see my parents developing such avoidable problems, but their generation is resistant to change and has been trained to place trust in pharma over “self”.

    1. I am not sure what drugs you are referring to mary, but even with the use of warfarin to prevent blood clots doctors usually do not discourage the consumption of leafy greens. They try to get the patient eating a more or less consistent quantity of greens so that the warfarin can be adjusted to the correct dose.

      As for those “from the middle years forward” I would have to disagree that ‘they’ are resistant to change. There are many (many!) of us fans of Nutrition Facts fans who are middle aged and beyond, who eagerly grasped the chance at changing our health destinies and did so successfully. I feel sorry for the younger folks. It’s a perilous food environment out there, and a tough one to be raising kids in.

      1. Mary, relatives/friends might enjoy the introductory videos by Dr Greger:
        https://nutritionfacts.org/introduction/

        Or, this hour long talk was one of the first introductions I had to plant based eating :
        https://nutritionfacts.org/video/more-than-an-apple-a-day-preventing-our-most-common-diseases/

        Still others have mentioned they saw the documentary “Forks over Knives”.. the website is packed with info and success stories that I find inspiring. All the best to you!

  14. Not a big fan on spinach / kale. Perhaps I should become one.

    It seems like asparagus is also a lutein source – I wonder if cooking destroys it? Cooked asparagus is just too good!

    Dmitriy P,
    Shilajit Secret

      1. I haven’t really noticed any of that for myself.

        Ironically, a friend of mine (also a fan of asparagus) just told me about a similar “effect” a few days ago, wondering where that stench came from. I’ll go ahead and demystify it :) Thanks for the info!

        Dmitriy P,
        Shilajit Secret

    1. I do not believe cooking kills these things. In one video here, COOKED kale was actually shown to have more antioxidants if I’m remembering correctly. Considering Dr. Greger is not an all raw advocate and reccomends both raw and cooked foods, I think he would have addressed that here if there were concern.

      You might enjoy kale microgreens! Also try chopping it up tiny on potatoes and things. Baby kale has a much milder taste, too, which you might like. I actually make whole salads out of baby kale—I t’s so mild that I don’t even have to mix it with lettuce.
      Also sautéed or water sautéed kale with sliced garlic is amazing… to me anyway.

      1. You might enjoy kale microgreens! Also try chopping it up tiny… sautéed or water sautéed kale with sliced garlic is amazing
        ——————————————————————————————————————-
        Interesting suggestions, but personally I’m not in to kale or collards or spinach type stuff. But knowing kale is important to the macular portion of our eyes, I recently ordered some powdered kale. I can disguise that easy enough just as I do with Moringa Oleifera.

        Speaking of which, wish that had shown up on the lutein list.

          1. WFPB-Hal, Interesting, but I don’t do smoothies for various reasons. Explained why under a (much?) earlier video.

            Do people make smoothies out of raw asparagus too?

            1. YR (Cool Kitty), I guess one could add raw asparagus to a green smoothie, but I prefer the taste of having it cooked. But I do frequently blend leafy greens because, to me, they don’t really have much taste to them and I do prefer to get the most nourishment out of them since they are so packed with nutrients. And if I remember correctly, gorillas live on mostly leaves and shoots, so they must have a lot of protein, too :-)

              1. “but I prefer the taste of having it cooked.”
                – – – – –

                *sigh* So do I. Maybe I’ll buy them again (when the price is right; seems to me they have a “season”). I live alone, anyway, so “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!”

                1. YR, Yes, agree: “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!”

                  I do believe they have a season in most parts of the country (USA), so I buy them only when in season here in the northeast.

            2. “I actually make whole salads out of baby kale—I t’s so mild that I don’t even have to mix it with lettuce.”
              – – – – –

              S, I have a raw salad with dinner every evening. Last time I shopped I bought a plastic container (5 oz.) of Nature’s Promise Organic Baby Spinach & Kale, from Stop&Shop. They tell us it’s “perfect for juicing, smoothies, cooking and salads.”

              A lot of their raw greens have the “baby” claim on their containers…..baby lettuce, baby’s butt, etc. (just kidding about the butt). Somehow it sounds healthier and fresher, doesn’t it! “Elderly Spinach & Kale” just wouldn’t pull ’em in.

            3. Yeah, I make it a point to blend my greens often after seeing one of the videos here on bioavailability. Luckily, I actually grew to enjoy the taste of blended leafy greens and find it a really convenient way to get a lot of greens in.

              YR, I’m curious about why you don’t make smoothies, now! I agree asparagus is amazing cooked but I actually do enjoy the taste eating it raw, too. My cat, Luca, loves asparagus too! (raw or cooked). My poor cats, they’re herbivores at heart but lack the physiology :(

              1. S, the main reason is I have to travel by bus to and from the supermarket to get my groceries. Having to put all that lovely kale and etc. into a Vitamix blender for an admittedly delicious drink (I do get almond butter/banana/kale/ etc. smoothies sometimes when I have lunch at a local health food store cafe or in NYC) would practically use up the bag all in one fell swoop! Don’t own a blender, anyway.

                So I chow down on some steamed kale instead. With my (remaining) teeth. :-)

                (Cat people are special. I miss our two….)

      2. S, I love kale microgreens! I eat them almost everyday. Arugula microgreens, too. They come from a farm about a mile & a half from my house. They’re good on just about everything!

        1. Same here, Nancy. They’re amazing in salads or on anything and honestly, I love just eating them straight along side my berry smoothie in the morning. I’d like to grow my own eventually.

      3. “Also try chopping it up tiny on potatoes and things”.

        This might be the way for kale to win my heart! Great suggestion – I’m in love with potatoes.

        Dmitriy P,
        Shilajit Secret

  15. Hi, just to let you know that the French subtitles attached to this video are the wrong ones. It looks like they were mixed up with those of another video.

  16. I wonder if in the next video he’ll re-address the dangers of lutein supplements… An important point to elaborate in my opinion as I can see people going out and buying supplements over this information. There’s actually been a lutein supplement commercial not long ago… smh.

  17. What is your recommendation for people who had a traumatic brain injury in terms of supplementation? My partner is eating a plant based diet, has trouble digesting grains and works out daily for 1 hour, running, race walking and hiking. Do you have other recommendations or resources?
    Thank you SO much for the amazing work you offer so generously!

    1. Except for the recommendations Dr. Greger has made for Vit b12 and Vit d, this site generally does not recommend supplements for specific conditions. It’s great your partner is exercising and eating plant based which should meet nutrient needs without supplements. However you also mentioned problems digesting grains. Has there been any consideration about gluten? Please check these NFO videos out; https://nutritionfacts.org/audio/a-glut-of-gluten/
      https://nutritionfacts.org/2016/02/25/what-to-do-if-you-suspect-gluten-problems/ Keeping a log of exactly which grains seem to be causing problems would be wise and ruling out any possible interference with oils or spices that might affect digestion, then avoiding specific triggers, remembering how healthy whole grains are so eliminating only if there is a clear pattern of a specific whole grain (served plain) causing digestive problems, Hope that helps and best of health to your partner. Good for you is searching for solutions using a careful plant-based approach.

  18. Hello people, this is off topic but I had a blood test recently and turns out that my Vitamin A levels are high, the lab reference range goes from 0.34 to 0.80 mg/L and my level is 1.36. Also my folate levels are like 3 times higher than the reference value. I eat mostly WFPB, a decent amount of winter squash, tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes and spinach, legumes, cereals and fruits. No supplements except for a weekly dose of B12. Should I be worried about these numbers?

    Additionally, if there´s a doctor reading this I would like to know his / her opinion about my hepatogram (I don´t have an appointment with the doctor until next week)

    TGO 30 (R/V 13 – 46)
    TGP 44 (R/V 5 – 50) Never had it this close to the limit (Vitamin A toxicity?)
    Alkaline phosphatase 138 (R/V 65 – 300)
    Total bilirubin 0.79 (R/V 1 or less)
    Direct bilirubin 0.14 (R/V equal to 0.30 or less)
    Total cholesterol 135 mg/dl

    Any opinion or coments are welcome, thank you!

    1. Hi Federico! Current studies find that while taking in Vitamin A supplements, what is called “preformed Vitamin A”, is associated with toxicity, including liver toxicity, but that dietary carotenoids from orange vegetables is not associated with systemic toxicity. It can, though, cause carotenoids, where the skin turns orange. This is creepy, but not harmful, and resolves when carotenoid intake is reduced. Your liver tests are normal.

      Of note, having vitamin levels checked without fasting produces different results. The normal values are based on fasting. Also, recent alcohol intake can temporarily raise Vitamin A levels.

      Here is a segment of the National Institute os Health document where I got this information (you can google “NIH Fact Sheet Vitamin A” to get the whole thing):

      “Health Risks from Excessive Vitamin A

      Because vitamin A is fat soluble, the body stores excess amounts, primarily in the liver, and these levels can accumulate. Although excess preformed vitamin A can have significant toxicity (known as hypervitaminosis A), large amounts of beta-carotene and other provitamin A carotenoids are not associated with major adverse effects [38]. The manifestations of hypervitaminosis A depend on the size and rapidity of the excess intake. The symptoms of hypervitaminosis A following sudden, massive intakes of vitamin A, as with Arctic explorers who ate polar bear liver, are acute [39]. Chronic intakes of excess vitamin A lead to increased intracranial pressure (pseudotumor cerebri), dizziness, nausea, headaches, skin irritation, pain in joints and bones, coma, and even death [2,4,5]. Although hypervitaminosis A can be due to excessive dietary intakes, the condition is usually a result of consuming too much preformed vitamin A from supplements or therapeutic retinoids [3,5]. When people consume too much vitamin A, their tissue levels take a long time to fall after they discontinue their intake, and the resulting liver damage is not always reversible.

      Observational studies have suggested an association between high intakes of preformed vitamin A (more than 1,500 mcg daily—only slightly higher than the RDA), reduced bone mineral density, and increased fracture risk [1,4,40]. However, the results of studies on this risk have been mixed, so the safe retinol intake level for this association is unknown.

      Total intakes of preformed vitamin A that exceed the UL and some synthetic retinoids used as topical therapies (such as isotretinoin and etretinate) can cause congenital birth defects [2-4]. These birth defects can include malformations of the eye, skull, lungs, and heart [4]. Women who might be pregnant should not take high doses of vitamin A supplements [2].

      Unlike preformed vitamin A, beta-carotene is not known to be teratogenic or lead to reproductive toxicity [1]. And even large supplemental doses (20–30 mg/day) of beta-carotene or diets with high levels of carotenoid-rich food for long periods are not associated with toxicity. The most significant effect of long-term, excess beta-carotene is carotenodermia, a harmless condition in which the skin becomes yellow-orange [1,25]. This condition can be reversed by discontinuing beta-carotene ingestion.

      Supplementation with beta-carotene, with or without retinyl palmitate, for 5–8 years has been associated with an increased risk of lung cancer and cardiovascular disease in current and former male and female smokers and in male current and former smokers occupationally exposed to asbestos [27,41]. In the ATBC study, beta-carotene supplements (20 mg daily) were also associated with increased mortality, mainly due to lung cancer and ischemic heart disease [27]. The CARET study ended early, after the investigators found that daily beta-carotene (30 mg) and retinyl palmitate (25,000 IU) supplements increased the risk of lung cancer and cardiovascular disease mortality [41].

      The FNB has established ULs for preformed vitamin A that apply to both food and supplement intakes [5]. The FNB based these ULs on the amounts associated with an increased risk of liver abnormalities in men and women, teratogenic effects, and a range of toxic effects in infants and children. The FNB also considered levels of preformed vitamin A associated with decreased bone mineral density, but did not use these data as the basis for its ULs because the evidence was conflicting. The FNB has not established ULs for beta-carotene and other provitamin A carotenoids [25]. The FNB advises against beta-carotene supplements for the general population, except as a provitamin A source to prevent vitamin A deficiency.”

      Best to you! Dr Anderson, Health Support Volunteer

  19. What about the anti-oxidant vitamin E? Can we get a video on that one? I’ve been doing some deep digging into what I eat and how close I come to the 100% RDA. Now that I don’t eat anything with oil, I do not get very much in my diet unless I eat sunflower seeds. I try to limit seeds and nuts so I have to pick the benefits of walnuts or almonds over vitamin E in sunflower seed It seems like if you were WFPB and did not eat sunflowers, then it would be tough to get to 100% on dark green leafies alone, but that’s just me and I am not an expert. Any thoughts?

    1. Hi Dr. Tim – I’m Janelle, a Health Support Volunteer for Dr. Greger as well as a Registered Dietitian. Thanks for your question! Unless you have a nut or seed allergy, I would encourage you not to count them out of your diet as they offer numerous health benefits beyond serving as a source of vitamin E (https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/nuts/).

      The current RDA for vitamin E for adults is 15 mg/day. Eating just 1 ounce of sunflower seeds/almonds/hazelnuts (examples of nuts/seeds that are higher in Vitamin E per serving) can help you to reach 1/3-1/2 of the RDA. In addition, aim to include leafy greens like spinach, mango, kiwi, tomato, broccoli into your daily diet as these also provide vitamin E, but in smaller amounts. So the key is to focus on consistency with intake of these foods and variety. I hope this helps!

    1. Saksham Sharda, can you copy and paste the information that backs up the information you posted “40 to 80mg per 100gms of fresh weight!!”

      I read your link and couldn’t find that information anywhere, only a reference that Moringa contained Lutein.

      To be clear, I am a big fan of Moringa Oleifera and see it as a Super Food. I add it in its leaf powder form to foods often. I think one could live healthily on consumption of that as a supplement alone

      Still, I would like to see data that says it beats kale for arguments sake with others.

      1. “Among various tissues, the highest content of total carotenoids is recorded in leaves (44.30–80.48 mg/100 g FW), followed by immature pods (29.66 mg/100 g FW), and flowers (5.44 mg/100 g FW).”
        Its the line below the one containing the phrase ‘Lutein’.

      2. Sorry, you’re right.
        I misread the article that I cited previously. There it talks about the total carotenoid content rather than specifically Lutein.
        Here are two articles that talk individually about each of the carotenoids and their mg/100g basis for different varieties of Moringa as well as for different drying methods employed. A rough figure could be around 35-40mg/100g of fresh leaves.
        What’s good to learn was is that the dry powder form that I consume the leaves in, still has over 90mg/100g; fair enough given that I tend to consume about 10gms daily.
        Here are the articles:
        Different varieties vs their lutein content: https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007%2Fs00217-014-2174-3.pdf
        Different drying methods vs lutein: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4152524/pdf/13197_2014_Article_1264.pdf

        1. Excellent information, especially about the drying methods. It seems they all have strong points but the lyophilization seems to tick more boxes.

          Thanks for posting.

  20. Could you make a comment about whether or not NMN supplements are healthful, or worth taking? (Based on David Sinclair’s research and anecdotes on the JRE podcast)

  21. I need some information on plants fasciitis. A co worker of mine has this and I am the nurse where she works. I would like to help her so I am asking you for the help. Thank you Sue

  22. I wonder if your employee could have been confused about her condition. (I was an occupational nurse and this happened often.) I could find no listing of plants fascilitis. Could she be referring to plantar fascilitis? Here’s a link so you can review symptoms to determine if that’s what she’s referring to with overview of the condition. Hope this helps.

  23. I could find no listing of plants fascilitis. Could she be referring to plantar fascilitis?
    ————————————————————————————————————
    I’m not in the medical field, but I was wondering if she might be confusing plants fascilitis with plantar fasciitis?

  24. Hello I’m really interested in finding out if diet can reverse damage to the brain. I have several white matter lesions that appear to not be a de-mylenating process but could be a svd issue instead. I’ve had several MRIs and the number and size of the lessons has not grown or increased but I’m very worried. I’ve noticed that it has affected my cognitive ability and I find I have issues focusing and picking up things as quickly as i used to. I also have been having vertigo and chronic anxiety within the last 2 years. Can diet reverse this? I’m starting a vegan/whole food plant based diet again and plan to never go back to the SAD. Any input would be greatly appreciated….cheers!

  25. I think you will find much to reassure you if you review Dr. Greger’s comments on brain health: https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/brain-health/ This summary article will link you to several NutritionFacts.org videos that will provide a wealth of information about brain health and cognitive decline. Another article I’d highly suggest is this one: https://www.bluezones.com/2019/10/the-2-foods-that-combat-alzheimers-disease-other-lifestyle-factors-to-reduce-your-risk-of-cognitive-decline/ another science-based resource for you.
    Do remember that stress and worry have been shown to affect cognitive ability so it is helpful to manage these. I think these resources will help and having frank talks with your doctors about meaning of your tests and proactive efforts you can make to keep your brain and cognitive functioning at highest level, which of course includes many approaches including sleep, nutrition, stress management.
    Best of health to you, brain and whole-body wise.

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