Flashback Friday: How to Slow Brain-Aging by Two Years

Flashback Friday: How to Slow Brain-Aging by Two Years
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The consumption of blueberries and strawberries is associated with delayed cognitive aging by as much as 2.5 years—thought to be because of brain-localizing anthocyanin phytonutrients, as shown on functional MRI scans.

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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.

“A plant-based diet is thought to have played a significant role in human evolution and the consumption of whole plant foods…[and even just] extracts has repeatedly been associated with… decreased risk [of] aging-related diseases.” And, by healthy aging, I’m not talking preventing wrinkles. What about protecting our brain?

“Two of the most dreaded consequences of dementia with aging are problems moving around and difficulty remembering things. Dementia robs older adults of their independence, control, and identity.” What can we do about it?

Well, fruits and vegetables help reduce the risk of other chronic diseases. Might they work for brain diseases, as well? “There has been a proliferation of recent interest in plant polyphenols as agents in the treatment of dementia.” There are 4,000 different kinds found “ubiquitously in foods of plant origin.” But, berries are packed with them, possessing “powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.” And, there’s a subset of a subset called anthocyanidins—natural blue-purple pigments “uniquely and specifically capable of both crossing the blood-brain barrier and localizing inside brain regions involved in learning and memory…” And, that’s where we need it.

The brain takes up less than like 2% of the body weight, but may burn up to 50% of the body’s fuel, creating a potential firestorm of free radicals. So, maybe these brain-seeking phytonutrients in berries could fight oxidation, inflammation, and increase blood flow. So, this raised a “thought-provoking idea.” Maybe a “nutritional intervention with blueberries may be [beneficial] in forestalling or even reversing the neurological changes associated with aging.”

So, did researchers give blueberries to people, and see what happened? No. As I noted in an earlier video, they gave blueberries to rats. It would be a decade before the first human trial. But, it worked! Blueberry supplementation improves memory in older adults, suggesting that “consistent supplementation with blueberries may offer an approach to forestall or mitigate” brain degeneration with age.

What other blue/purple foods can we try? Concord grape juice had a similar benefit, improving verbal learning—suggesting that “supplementation with purple grape juice may enhance cognitive function [in] older adults with early memory decline.” Why use juice, and not whole Concord grapes? Because then, you couldn’t design a placebo that looked and tasted exactly the same, to rule out the very real and powerful placebo effect. And, also, because it was funded by the Welch’s grape juice company.

This effect was confirmed, though, in a follow-up study, showing for the first time an increase in neural activation in parts of our brain associated with memory using functional MRI scans. But, this brain scan study was tiny—just four people in each group. And, same problem with the blueberry study; it just had nine people in it.

Why haven’t large population-based studies been done? Because we haven’t had good databases on where these phytonutrients are found. We know how much vitamin C is in a blueberry, but not how much anthocyanidin—until now. The Harvard Nurses’ Health Study followed the cognitive function of more than 16,000 women for years, and found that “[H]igher, long-term consumption of berries [was associated with] significantly slower rates of cognitive decline in this cohort of older women, even after careful consideration of confounding by socioeconomic status”—meaning even after taking into account the fact that rich people eat more berries. The first population-based evidence that “greater intakes of blueberries and strawberries…were highly associated with slower rates of cognitive decline,” and not just by a little bit. “The magnitude of associations…were equivalent to the cognitive differences that [one might observe] in women up to 2.5 years apart in age.” In other words, “women with higher intake of berries…appeared to have delayed cognitive aging by as much as 2.5 years.”

Why not just take some kind of anthocyanidin supplement? Because there hasn’t been a single study that found any kind of cognitive benefit just giving these single phytonutrients. In fact, the opposite. “Whole blueberries appear to be more effective than individual components, showing that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. These findings potentially have substantial public health implications, as increasing berry intake represents a fairly simple dietary modification to test in older adults for maintaining [brain function].”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

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.

“A plant-based diet is thought to have played a significant role in human evolution and the consumption of whole plant foods…[and even just] extracts has repeatedly been associated with… decreased risk [of] aging-related diseases.” And, by healthy aging, I’m not talking preventing wrinkles. What about protecting our brain?

“Two of the most dreaded consequences of dementia with aging are problems moving around and difficulty remembering things. Dementia robs older adults of their independence, control, and identity.” What can we do about it?

Well, fruits and vegetables help reduce the risk of other chronic diseases. Might they work for brain diseases, as well? “There has been a proliferation of recent interest in plant polyphenols as agents in the treatment of dementia.” There are 4,000 different kinds found “ubiquitously in foods of plant origin.” But, berries are packed with them, possessing “powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.” And, there’s a subset of a subset called anthocyanidins—natural blue-purple pigments “uniquely and specifically capable of both crossing the blood-brain barrier and localizing inside brain regions involved in learning and memory…” And, that’s where we need it.

The brain takes up less than like 2% of the body weight, but may burn up to 50% of the body’s fuel, creating a potential firestorm of free radicals. So, maybe these brain-seeking phytonutrients in berries could fight oxidation, inflammation, and increase blood flow. So, this raised a “thought-provoking idea.” Maybe a “nutritional intervention with blueberries may be [beneficial] in forestalling or even reversing the neurological changes associated with aging.”

So, did researchers give blueberries to people, and see what happened? No. As I noted in an earlier video, they gave blueberries to rats. It would be a decade before the first human trial. But, it worked! Blueberry supplementation improves memory in older adults, suggesting that “consistent supplementation with blueberries may offer an approach to forestall or mitigate” brain degeneration with age.

What other blue/purple foods can we try? Concord grape juice had a similar benefit, improving verbal learning—suggesting that “supplementation with purple grape juice may enhance cognitive function [in] older adults with early memory decline.” Why use juice, and not whole Concord grapes? Because then, you couldn’t design a placebo that looked and tasted exactly the same, to rule out the very real and powerful placebo effect. And, also, because it was funded by the Welch’s grape juice company.

This effect was confirmed, though, in a follow-up study, showing for the first time an increase in neural activation in parts of our brain associated with memory using functional MRI scans. But, this brain scan study was tiny—just four people in each group. And, same problem with the blueberry study; it just had nine people in it.

Why haven’t large population-based studies been done? Because we haven’t had good databases on where these phytonutrients are found. We know how much vitamin C is in a blueberry, but not how much anthocyanidin—until now. The Harvard Nurses’ Health Study followed the cognitive function of more than 16,000 women for years, and found that “[H]igher, long-term consumption of berries [was associated with] significantly slower rates of cognitive decline in this cohort of older women, even after careful consideration of confounding by socioeconomic status”—meaning even after taking into account the fact that rich people eat more berries. The first population-based evidence that “greater intakes of blueberries and strawberries…were highly associated with slower rates of cognitive decline,” and not just by a little bit. “The magnitude of associations…were equivalent to the cognitive differences that [one might observe] in women up to 2.5 years apart in age.” In other words, “women with higher intake of berries…appeared to have delayed cognitive aging by as much as 2.5 years.”

Why not just take some kind of anthocyanidin supplement? Because there hasn’t been a single study that found any kind of cognitive benefit just giving these single phytonutrients. In fact, the opposite. “Whole blueberries appear to be more effective than individual components, showing that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. These findings potentially have substantial public health implications, as increasing berry intake represents a fairly simple dietary modification to test in older adults for maintaining [brain function].”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Minnesota Historical Society and Chiot’s Run via flickr

184 responses to “Flashback Friday: How to Slow Brain-Aging by Two Years

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    1. “.. such an under-used concept in our world of reductionist thinking!”

      No kidding!

      Don’t you love it though when you see an article or comment in which someone is talking about sugar, with an unstated focus on refined sugars, and they act as if all carbs are the same. Then you see or read ridiculous comparisons in which they show some healthy, high plant or whole grain based meal has as much “sugar” or carbs as some stupid sweet cereal. Or how a couple pieces of fruit has more “sugar” than a can of soda.

      Every time I run into that stuff I still cannot believe that people are just that shallow of thinkers when it comes to something as complex as food!

      1. I know, it is frustrating, especially now with all the keto garbage out there! All carbs are evil! So evil they eliminated my diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, high blood pressure, and on and on. I’m okay with inducing ketosis occasionally by water fasting, but I can’t see how intentionally ingesting tons of fat and not much else can be thought of as similar!

        Speaking of which, Dr G…. any timeline on the promised fasting series??? I’d love to hear some legitimate FACTS!!!

      2. Well, I agree thoroughly on the facts. But these guys comparing carbs in oranges and in soda pop are not shallow thinkers, they are interest driven. If I had to sell cornflakes or soft drinks, I would argue in the same direction. Confusion about facts is the strategy of those who cannot fight the facts. No shallow thinking there, but well calculated strategy, we saw the same thing on smoking, and see the same thing on climate issues.

        1. Excellent point, Rainer. That is absolutely true! However there are some people with no vested interests who think in this way or make these comparisons based off of the confusion put out there by the interest-driven. You can particularly see a lot of this “thinking” coming from fitness instructors attempting to give nutritional advice.

      3. i am postig this hoping dr m will see this followlng study mabey were taking to much b 12 ??? B12 (more than 55 micrograms per day over 10 years) had a two-fold increase in risk of lung cancer compared with non-users, says Theodore Brasky, lead researcher on the vitamin B analysis and an epidemiologist at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center

        1. Oh my word this is alarming if true in all instances! Most people on this site are long time vegans. I take a sublingual spray. The problem is the discrepancies of dosage across brands and suppliers varies wildly as does what physicians prescribe. I too would like more info on this study and others like it…if there are others?

          1. The association was only observed in male smokers. And only among those taking about 23 times or more the B12 RDI

            Unless you are both male and a smoker, and taking much more than the daily RDI, why would you be concerned?

              1. In regards to male smokers, what about taking the once a week dose of cyano B12 suggested by Dr. Greger? Would that fall under the safe dosage or is that unknown?

                1. Barb

                  I think it is unknown. Nor do I recall what form of B12 the smokers in that study were consuming.

                  If it was the cyano form, perhaps it was the cumulative effect of daily cyanide consumption from both cigarettes and b12 pills that caused the increased risk. However, that wouldn’t explain why women smokers were not affected … although perhaps women smoke fewer cigarettes on a daily basis and are more likely to take iron supplements. My understanding is that high amounts of iron in the blood may increase the body’s ability to detoxify cyanide somewhat.

                  As an aside. a form of B12 – hydroxocobalmin – is considered an antidote to cyanide poisoning so it’s a complicated matter.

            1. If your taking any supplement of b12 you getting hundreds to thousands of times more b12 than RDI. Yep i know now we are only suppose to take it every couple of weeks, but I didn’t always know that.

              End

        2. Dale,

          Nice work on finding this study for a really useful and detailed response to your question I’m going to refer you to this evaluation: https://examine.com/nutrition/vitamin-b-cancer/ , it’s in depth and also explores the potential pathways for the findings. You might also find the researchers answer to questions by the author very enlightening.

          One of the takeaways is: ” The effect of B vitamins on non-smokers is still uncertain. In this study, sample sizes for never-smokers were too small to evaluate associations accurately.” So do we have a direct correlation that we can utilize regarding B vitamin dose and association to our typical audience, I think not.

          Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger http://www.Centerofhealth.com

    2. I have long held the opinion that blueberries have a positive impact on mental functions. I’m glad to hear that there is some scientific confirmation. I am, however, curious to learn what the intake weight and volume were to achieve a 2.5 year extension of normal brain function. Were the results proportional to the intake weight of specific berries?

      Also, I’m curious. why did you use a photo of blueberries and raspberries when you mentioned blueberries and strawberries.

      1. I looked over sources for this study and while the first study mentioned specifics on grams of supplements for blueberries and strawberries, this was an animal study and not relevant for human intake considerations. The other studies involving study of human memory/cognition unfortunately only mentioned “greater consumption” and drinking a wild blueberry juice but did not spell our specifics of intake on fruits or juice. ” Can’t say why that attractive photo of berries was chosen. The studies cited several healthy berries, so perhaps the actual berry wasn’t as crucial as the eye-catching graphic…?

  1. For anybody who wants to see visual results of eating blueberries, and who has spider veins down above the ankle bones, just eat a half cup or more of blueberries daily for three weeks. It’s incredible how those veins recede from view and become redder, apparently with increased oxygen, instead of the dark blue they were when you began this little experiment.

      1. Let us know how it goes! If we’d had cell phone cameras when I did it maybe I’d have thought to take before and after shots. My mom was in her late 80s and it helped her a lot, too, though her veins were much worse than mine and they didn’t disappear as much as mine.

      1. Cool, a few N of 1’s!

        Share the results!

        My brother has serious leg damage from standing on concrete for 50 years.

        I haven’t found anything to help him, except the future of 3-D laser.

        Not sure it will be In our lifetime, but he likes blueberries.

        Maybe it will help him prevent amputation someday.

    1. Rebecca Cody, I know some people with this issue, I’ll let them know and hope they give it a try. Will be interesting if they have the same experience and a great way to get people to eat more berries for overall health!

      1. Interesting article. I saw that red cabbage is reasonably high, not far below cultivated blueberries (which are behind wild ones). This is good to know for anyone who has sugar handling problems (which can adversely effect prediabetics, not just diabetics).

        1. “not far below cultivated blueberries (which are behind wild ones)”

          Does anyone know if there is substantially more in wild blueberries or is it because of its tiny size thus receiving more of the skin per cup for example?

          Gengogakusha, in a video here entitled “How Much Fruit Is Too Much” (going on memory, sorry if I got it wrong), it’s mentioned that fruit restriction did not have a positive impact on those with diabetes. You’ll have to check out the video to get exactly what was said about it, I’m just going on memory and that’s about all I can safely say based on that.

          1. Thanks for the reply. Checked out the video and the key reference on diabetics and fruit. I think that study has some serious weaknesses, one of which is that the key blood sugar marker was HbA1c, which provides a rough estimate of 3-month average glucose level, but provides no information about the variance around the mean. That is, it does not say anything about short-lived blood sugar spikes, which can, it seems, be very important over the long run. Here’s a url of a doctor in the UK “Dr. Joe”, who discusses this often ignored issue.

            https://thedrjoe.com/non-diabetic-blood-sugar-spikes/

            Actually my comment was motivated by my wife’s experience – as of December 2018, she has been classed as prediabetic, having an HbA1c of 6.0 (= ave glucose level of 126). She is thin, unlike the medicated overweight/obese diabetics in the study, as well as active and on a wfpb diet (virtually no “-b”). It turns out that many, supposedly safe (medium GI) whole fruits like wild blueberries, bananas, apples her postprandial blood sugar into the 160-180 mg/dl range, but then the level returns to normal very quickly (and her fasting glucose level has been and is still very normal, 70-90).
            This rise corresponds to our switching our wfpb diet to one that is much higher in whole fruit (no juice) and whole carbs (lots of steamed sweet potatoes with skin). Measurement of her postprandial levels showed that fruit can greatly spike her blood sugar, even as part of a meal consisting of oatmeal, walnuts, and salad. Through careful measurement, she has determined that the type of diet recommended by Dr. Fuhrman and Dr. Joe (who, by the way, credits Dr. Greger with solving his own metabolic issues and recommends Dr. Greger’s book) solves her problem: beans as the main or only carb, unlimited non-starchy veggies, plenty of nuts/seeds to bring up the calories to the needed level to maintain a healthy weight, and restriction of both starchy carbs and whole or minimally processed grains and — fruit. So I am skeptical of general statements like “diabetics have no need to restrict fruit” or “a starch based diet is fine for diabetics and by implication prediabetics”.

            Thanks for raising this issue. I think the topic of short-lived, sugar spikes and their role in health outcomes deserves more attention. Perhaps, Dr. Greger might address it sometime.

  2. I do agree with you too a point chlorophyll does the same and so much more it works in the blood it produces oxygen which cuts for happy entire body who am I to say something like that I’m the one who stabilize chlorophyll I was awarded a patent in 97 prior to me chlorophyll would oxidize in 20 minutes I have given it a shelf life if you have an instant green drink per se it’s because of me I hope that this helps everyone cuz I do now that chlorophyll helps everyone who takes it Nobel Prizes have been awarded in conjunction to it. It has been injected directly into the veinsand is a great blood substitute for all types of blood. I don’t think blueberries have

    1. It’s true that chlorophyll helps many things, and that some brands work while others don’t. My husband has trouble at high altitude, and a hotel employee in Santa Fe (7,000′) told him about Chloroxygen. You take drops from an eyedropper daily and after a couple of days his headaches stopped and he felt more energy.

      On a trip previous to that one, he had suffered the whole time we were in Ecuador, where we were much higher than that. Quito is 9,300′ and one place where we spent a night was over 13,000′. Even I felt a bit woozy from the altitude at that level.

    2. When I use voice to text, it doesn’t punctuate unless I tell it to.

      But, even more, some of us have had cell phones which made punctuation so challenging that we understand the choice of not using it.

    3. Hey Frank! Excellent! Thank you! As in whole leafy greens or supplementation? Personally I don’t do well with things like spirulina which features in just about every green powder or juice out there. What is your recommendation, based on your studies, as an intake of greens/chlorophyll daily?

  3. Why not combine several powdered berries and whisk them into water or kombucha? I do so with a total of 14 berries, spices, and medicinal mushroom powders. (And I make my “buchie” with both green tea and hibiscus flower.)

  4. *warning off topic*

    I could use some helpful information from relevant members of this forum. Has anyone found that calcium rich vegetables have been enough to compensate for or improve osteopenia based on DXA scan scores? I cannot exercise due to bone-on-bone knees and wonder if diet without significant exercise can bring about some positive results? Thanks in advance for any insight.

    Lida

    1. Lida, I can tell you what my GP told me. You can eat all the calcium rich foods you want and take calcium supplements, but if you’re not doing weight-bearing exercise, it may not go to your bones. He said it’s like buying all the materials you need to build a house, but if you don’t have a carpenter, your house won’t get built. Exercise is your carpenter.

      If you can’t walk because of your knee problems, maybe lifting weights with you arms might help. Or doing other weight-bearing exercise that won’t bother your knee.

      To my knowledge, the plant foods with the highest calcium levels are as follows:
      Grain – amaranth
      Beans – soy & great northern beans
      Fruit – figs
      Sweetener – molasses
      And, of course, greens. All greens. Lots of greens. And almonds & prunes help with the osteoclast/osteoblast cycle.

      1. straight leg raisers strengthens your patella tendon in your knee without bending or putting pressure on your knee then your knee will heal === lots of physical therapies exercises on you tube

          1. Lida,

            If all else fails, do have the knee replacement. My uncle is 94 and he’s sharp, he emails pictures of his grandkids, he still has his sense of humor and lives independently, but he scarcely moves from his recliner because of his knees. I think he’d have had them fixed years ago if he’d known he was going to live so long! Now he feels he’s too old.

      2. Hi, Nancy
        Thanks for your reply. I do eat many of those foods with the exception of high fodmap since I have some digestive issues. The interesting thing, though, is that until my knees got so bad I worked out diligently 5 days a week for at least an hour each day doing treadmill, elliptical and weights. I don’t know if that caused my knees to rebel but it certainly did nothing to stave off the osteopenia.

        I still do weights occasionally except for when my shoulder pain gets too bad. As you can see, I am a sad case of bone and joint problems. I need to work on not giving up too easily though and do as much as I can.

        Again, thanks for reaching out with suggestions.

        Lida

        1. external rotation exercises for shoulder physical therapy on you tube some bad some good you have to see which ones work for you —stop doing pressing motions until you strengthen back and rear delfts to stabilize shoulder the worst thing you can do is stop exercising– modify all exercises shorten range of motions light weights or resistance bands

        2. Lida, if you haven’t already seen the videos on almonds & prunes for osteoporosis, please do see them. There is evidence that they help the osteoclast / osteoblast cycle. I’d put the links here for you but have had difficulty posting links these days. You can use the search feature at the top of the page to find them.

        3. Lida, it probably is too late because of your ‘bone-on-bone’ knees, but I just wanted to give feedback on your former exercise routine. When I had my second knee surgery (with my other knee screaming in pain also), my orthopedist told me to get off of the treadmill and get on the bike. I had both in my ‘home gym’ but I hated the bike. So I gave up the treadmill. After so long doing the bike 5 miles or so daily, I noted both knees were pain free. I was in fact building the muscles around the knees. Five years later, I still do the bike. Still pain free. The pounding motion of the treadmill is not good for the knees. Also, I had put on some weight which I dropped with WFPB diet. That really helps the joints. I hope there is a solution for you.

      3. That is really interesting WFPB Nancy! Thanks for sharing that advice.

        I would also add that I find chia seeds to have an impressive amount of calcium in their small serving. And of course we need to be getting enough vitamin D and magnesium for proper calcium absorption, that has been my understanding.

        Good luck!!

    2. Lida,

      Others are giving you the answer you asked for. I’d also like to suggest you look into prolotherapy for your knees. Unfortunately it won’t be covered by insurance, but could save you from the need for knee replacement. It worked very well for my husband, preventing him from requiring a second hip replacement. Just google prolo or prolotherapy.

      With prolo the doctor injects an irritant (it’s a sugar water solution) into the area where the joint is impinging. It forces the ligaments and/or tendons to grow apart, which stops the pain fairly permanently. The injections aren’t fun and you can’t take anti-inflammatories during healing, because inflammation is part of the healing process. But I’ve never talked with anyone who wasn’t happy with the results. The friend who first told me about it cured two herniated discs at least 12 years ago. For my husband the effect faded after about 10 years. He then had another type of procedure because his prolo doctor had retired, and that seems to be working, too.

      1. Hi, Rebecca, I have not heard of this and am surprised it was never mentioned by the orthopedists I have gone to. I had a series of injections which did little or nothing and was eventually told there was no point in continuing them. I will look into this prolotherapy and see if it is offered here where I live.

        Thanks so much for your suggestion and I am so glad your husband has benefited from this therapy. I would really like to avoid knee replacement for many reasons and I do not wish to get on medications that my doctor suggests to prevent osteoporosis. I would much rather find alternative ways to prevent additional bone thinning and hopefully to perhaps re-densify my bones if that is at all possible.

        Lida

        1. Most of the practitioners using prolo are alternative types and naturopaths. The doctor my husband saw was an osteopath (DO).

          Do you live where you can get sunshine every day? I don’t, so I do take vitamin D3 and I’ve recently started an exercise class designed for seniors, with balance, aerobics, and some light weights. Maybe you can find some sort of class to accommodate the areas of your inabilities.

    3. PEMF.

      Look up Curatron bone on bone cartilage re-growth.

      There was a study and I think only 30-something percent had their cartilage regrow, but it happens.

      It takes a long time. The study was for 2 years, but it happened for over 1/3 of the people.

      I bought Micropulse ICES – cheaper than PEMF and I can wear it all day, but Curatron has one of those photos of an elderly person who had their cartilage grow back and it is so pretty to see.

      1. I bought the Micropulse ICES when my sister-in-law lost the cartilage in her knee after a walking accident, but she wouldn’t use it and I am the one who ended up healing my ankle.

        I had injured it 7 years ago and couldn’t walk up and down stairs without pausing at each step. One session with it (albeit a half a day session) and I could walk on snow and on uneven ground and up and down the steps. It was wild. I used to have so much pain in Winter, but it is still gone. I only did that one session because I moved on to using it to stimulating the nerves to my brain to see if I could do brain plasticity and to see if I could stimulate the vagal nerve and start to eat blueberries or at least break my emotional revulsion toward them. It worked. I also overcame my aversion to turmeric and green tea and pomegranate seeds and tofu and the list goes on and on. Yes, maybe it was a placebo effect from reading the study that you could stimulate the vagal nerve and break the emotional connections to food, but placebo effect or not, I ended up eating blueberries.

        I don’t use it near my brain though because of the comment people on this site, made me worried about my blood brain barrier, but the good news is that all of the nerves go to the brain and I can stimulate my feet or hands or neck or whatever. (And people have seriously good results from TMS in stroke recovery and in psych, so if I ever have a stroke, I might use it on my head, but for now it is like backing up from the microwave or not holding the cell phone directly against my ear.)

        1. Yes, I have brain problems and I like gadgets. You should use that information and PubMed when you calculate the logic of my sentences.

    4. Lida, I have full blown osteoporosis, and I have for years. But I don’t worry about it too much, for a few reasons.

      One is that osteoporosis is a risk factor for fractures, but accounts for about 1/6 of the total risk. The other 5/6 of the risk factors include poor eyesight, poor lighting, poor balance, poor muscle tone, trip hazards and clutter, lack of railings where needed, etc. All of these risks can be decreased to some degree.

      Another is that as I recall, bone density is not necessarily a good measure of overall bone strength, especially with respect to risk of fractures. But as soon as drug companies developed drugs to increase bone density, no matter how little, no matter what the side effects, DXA (or DEXA?) machines started appearing in every doctor’s office, courtesy of — you guessed it, drug companies. And these same drug companies started pushing osteoporosis as a disease. Curiously, even if they do slightly increase bone density, these drugs don’t seem to decrease the risk of fractures by much if at all. Which is, of course, the point of taking them. (shhhh…)

      But in fact, osteoporosis may have a genetic basis, at least in part. e.g.: “Osteoporosis is a common disease with a strong genetic component characterised by low bone mass, microarchitectural deterioration of bone tissue and an increased risk of fracture.” (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10927613) [Ha; note the word “disease.” These authors drank the kook-aid. What about “condition?” of advanced age?]

      Plus, osteoporosis seems to be a normal part of aging, like wrinkles and gray hair (both of which I have in spades; I’m almost 68): Bone density score for womenm is based on what is normally expected in a healthy young adult female. Though normal doesn’t necessarily mean healthy, as Dr. Greger has emphasized many times.

      And finally, recent research has shown that calcium, at least as supplements, does not decrease fracture risk. (Though it may increase risk of heart attack.) Other research concludes that weight bearing exercise does not increase bone density. Though it probably decreases fracture risk, by increasing muscle tone and strength.

      But, we do the best we can. For me, that means eating plant based whole foods, exercising more, drinking alcohol less (far less, almost nothing), not smoking, etc. Doing what I can to improve my health and my risks, and not worrying too much about the ones I can’t do much about.

      ps: What about swimming or bicycling for general exercise?

      1. Dr.J,
        Your comments really resonate with me. That is the position that I instinctively take. I am sure my doctor is well meaning but I do not like her single-minded approach to each condition as a “disease” which needs to be addressed with medication. And for those who suggest finding a new doctor, it is not quite that easy. Getting established as a new patient is quite expensive and if you need to work your way through several, well let’s just say it will cost quite a bit more than organic blueberries.
        I take to heart what you have expressed and will do my best to find ways of addressing this “condition” in more natural ways (with the exception of getting in a pool, which I hate!). By the way, of interest is that the doctor seemed to become more aggressive in treatment when she discovered that my mother had broken her hip. But, good heavens, she was in her eighties when it happened and that doesn’t seem so remarkable to me.

        Again, thank you for your common sense approach which I find very acceptable.

  5. this is the best brain salad (the ultimate in food synergy = that taste great—-1/2 cup cooked kale &1/2 cup cooked spinach & 1 cooked garlic clove & 1 very small slice cooked onion & 1 cooked mushroom, 1/4 cup cooked broccoli let cool while prepare raw ingredients == .3 cups of baby green mix ( kale, spinach, arugula) 1 1/2 cup concord grapes, 1 chopped apple skin on, 2 tablespoons chopped onion, 1garlic clove, 2 tablespoon broccoli tops, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar——- take big scissors and chop and mix together — before you eat this salad take1 tablespoon of flax seed & teaspoon turmeric ( I like to swallow it like pills with water as a chaser ) because those two ingredients wreck the taste of salad. No nuts or oils or salad dressings.. watch video,” nuts wont save your life” on you tube. I hated greens & never really liked vegetable BUT THIS TASTE GREAT all the different flavors combined is great. I am lucky that I found someway to eat all those vegetable, because I don’t like on their own.

      1. It may not seem so, but even broccoli has fats. Some people don’t do well on nuts and seeds, but if they eat enough green veggies they can get the fats they need.

        1. livewire, actually most vegetables are extremely low in fat and it isn’t enough to absorb fat soluble nutrients to significant extents. Dr. Greger has videos on this. Just eating a couple walnuts with a meal, as per one of his suggestions, should help you absorb them all.
          EFA’s are extremely important for hormonal function, optimal brain function, skin, hair, etc… They aren’t called essential for no reason and Dr. Greger has servings of nuts and seeds in his daily dozen recommendation for a reason granted that certainly isn’t the only reason.

    1. My go to salad dressing is 2 parts organic apple cider vinegar, 1 part lemon juice, 1 part soy sauce. I use it for everything from green salad to potato salad to quinoa salad to marinade. Delicious and fat free.

  6. Thanks Dale, and ty for the video suggestion. I did watch it. After consuming 1/2 to 1 walnut per day, 1 tbsp flax seed, 2 tbsp peanut butter per week for some time, I got back the worst results on my blood tests in years. My cholesterol is climbing higher with each test, in spite of using many of Dr Greger’s suggestions, and wfpb, to lower it. No more nuts, or avocado slices for me for sure!

    1. Walnuts, flax seed, and peanuts were not responsible for your high cholesterol. Perhaps you consume processed (powdered) plant matter and meat?

      1. not a chance 100% whole plant base diet mostly sweet potatoes beans .oatmeal and fruits and vegetable I have only been on diet 1.5 years and I was really bad before I started that has a lot to do with it dean ornish said when trying to reverse not prevent you have to go 100 %

      2. I consume only wfpb, b12, iron, amla, and thats it. No animal products, no processed foods. no oils, no coconut, nothing. It just doesnt work for me I guess. We (my husband and I) have been doing this a long time now.

        1. Barb, I understand your situation. It seems that many sincere and fervent plant eaters feel that it will solve every single problem. But not so. I think, too, that there are many medical pundits who do not seem to vilify cholesterol over 200 if HDL is also very high. Wonder if it is genetic or post-menopausal issue (both in my case).

          1. Thanks Lida, good to hear of your experience. With me, it is postmenopausal cholesterol jump for sure, and likely genetic also . Triglycerides level in my case reflects diet and is fine, but it’s the LDL that is elevated. We will just have to do the best we can and not worry. We started doing a bit yoga here too a few times per week.. very relaxing!

          2. I think the terms ‘vilify’ and ‘vilification’ are used by saturated fat and cholesterol apologists as a means of dismissing and ignoring all the evidence that does not support their beliefs.

            They particularly like the high HDL ratio idea because high saturated fat diets tend to raise HDL levels along with total and LDL cholesterol levels. Therefore, they argue, the high (LDL) cholesterol levels resulting from such diets are not risky because the accompanying increase in HDL levels means that people’s risk is low.

            However, the latest studies seem to indicate that non-HDL C are a better risk predictor than HDL ratios. According to the Mayo Clinic:

            ‘For predicting your risk of heart disease, many doctors now believe that determining your non-HDL cholesterol level may be more useful than calculating your cholesterol ratio. And either option appears to be a better risk predictor than your total cholesterol level or even your low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) cholesterol level.
            Non-HDL cholesterol, as its name implies, simply subtracts your high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or “good”) cholesterol number from your total cholesterol number. So it contains all the “bad” types of cholesterol.
            An optimal level of non-HDL cholesterol is less than 130 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), or 3.37 millimoles per liter (mmol/L). Higher numbers mean a higher risk of heart disease.’
            https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/expert-answers/cholesterol-ratio/faq-20058006

            This may be because inflammation (perhaps caused by diets like Atkins, Keto, SAD, Paleo etc) may damage HDL cholesterol and render it dysfunctional.
            https://www.researchgate.net/publication/281519089_Dysfunctional_HDL_and_atherosclerotic_cardiovascular_disease

        2. Barb sorry to hear that.

          I have asked you before which B12 you use, but I forget what you answered.

          Methyl didn’t work for a few of us and low B12 can cause it.

          1. hey Deb, I just take the ordinary inexpensive B12. My levels turned out fine as did the rest of my bloodwork, thank goodness. I was told not to add iodine , we’ll test the thyroid response first. Oh, and I do take D3 . Now the water fasting is an interesting idea – I have been considering that. All of these comments today are excellent suggestions! Yes to the paper filter, and lots of green foliage and fiber. I will have to research what dehydration does to LDL levels… thanks Deb!

            1. Actually, water fasting can raise it.

              There was a discussion about why.

              Dehydration and electrolytes were two of the reasons considered.

              Decreasing salt intake is one of the things, which can raise it up, but salt has its own issues.

              The hormone concept intrigues me in that the Adventist vegan women blew the vegans outperforming everybody at longevity list and when I examined why, there were a few differences between them and the fish eaters and lacto ovo group. Both other groups did hormone replacement and the vegans didn’t. The vegans also ate a lot of transition food, which has sodium. The vegans also had broken wrists and when I looked up falls – dementia and being so thin that they would only have one person walking them were two of the theories. (People who fall by far have one person walking them versus two and I already know that when people are heavy, they have two people walk them.)

    2. maybe people are a little different in what their bodies benefit from…. some people are deadly allergic to nuts. but maybe you benefitted/// I had angina = pains in my chest & when I cut out all fat except flax seed my chest pain went away. setting that aside the nut debate=== the combinations of flavors sweet and tangy is assume –try it and add your nuts. it might even taste better with nuts

    3. what kind of peanut butter? Was there bad fats or sugar added to it for stability and taste?
      Worst cholesterol numbers – in terms of what? Total? LDL went up? Did your LDL stay the same or slightly reduce and your HDL go up (which would be a good thing) which would increase your total cholesterol number? And you increased from what to what? How much? Which component changed? By how much? Your score going up may mean little, nothing or something.
      Did you make sure to not have drank, worked out, or done anything stressful two days before each test? Even weight training the day before a cholesterol test can raise your numbers and make things look bad. Or going in on too little sleep can impact a cholesterol test as good a bad meal the day before.
      Or, did HDL and LDL stay the say and your triglycerides go up?
      Just speaking generally about a total cholesterol number leaves out way too much information since a cholesterol score is literally a summation of its parts.
      Try again and check with your doctor about each component of your total cholesterol score rather than just the total score since there is more to the score than the total.
      FYI – You need not answer those questions above here. I only put them out there as for things to consider that from your very generalized comments about your cholesterol score it didn’t sound like you considered any factor or thought about the underlying parts that make up the cholesterol score.
      Good luck with your cholesterol going forward and keep watching videos on this channel, especially about nuts and seeds in the diet.

      1. Thank you Michael, Navy, Blair, for your responses. Tom (Mr FumbleFingers) has mentioned more recently that a possible reason for high LDL while wfpb is genetics. I have not been tested for this but I did suggest a small dose of synthroid to see if it makes a difference .. we may try that this spring. (thyroid tested fine though).

        Your collective comments are very helpful and encouraging to people who may be new to this eating style. I was just so disappointed because I had put together many suggestions and was hoping for a better result. One thing I have noticed though is that many of the diet tweaks I try do not net the same results as in videos. I am thinking it’s because we are already wfpb, and not eating SAD when we try them. Thanks again to all.

        1. Is your thyroid over 2.5? Many people claim that anything over 2 is considered a thyroid problem. The normal range THS is .01- 5. That seems like a huge range and mine being just under 4 they told me was fine. But I was consistently at body temps in the 97.3-97.8 range. Fingers and toes hurt and with lots of other symptoms of Low thyroid. Anyway just something g to read about. I did increase my iodine, along with a few other things and it help bring my body temp back to normal range. But I really don’t have Cholesterol problems.

          End

          1. DArmstrong, thank you for your comment today. The doctor said “low normal” and was willing to try just a bit of synthroid to see if it makes a difference. I am amazed at hearing about painful fingers and toes. Mine are killing me and had a hand x rayed yesterday! I am so tired also. Anyway, I will try it soon and see what happens. All the best to you !

            1. Ask your Dr for your test results to see the actual TSH score. I read a lot of bad things about thyroid supplements, then a lot of good. Generally I think dr G is not a fan. Anyway make sure to do plenty of research. I opted to take a supplement for short term, along with iodine, and stoped. I will take some intermittent about every 2-3 weeks between with a very low dose. My fingers and feet were hurting so bad I told my wife it felt like they were just brittle bones and skin with no muscle or heat or cushion. I happy to say they are much much better now. But also I doing tons to improve circulation including deep breathing I diet.

              If your TSH is 2.5-3 I would look for alternate ways to improve it without supplements.

              End

        2. I was looking at charts of cholesterol and men have it decrease until age 55, then it starts to decline.

          Women have it increase until 65, then we start to have the decrease.

          It can’t just be hormonal because the hormones don’t suddenly spring back up at 65 and I found one study where it wasn’t related to hormones, but I do know that there are other studies which say it is, and that is someone’s theory. They don’t believe it is related to eating cholesterol at all, they think it is all related to hormonal changes over time. I don’t understand why it would suddenly drop again if that were true, but that is a theory, which is out there.

          1. Deb

            These are population averages.

            Older people are more likely to have chronic diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s, liver disease and experience heart attacks and falls, and undergo surgery. All of those things and more cause cholesterol to decline. It is no surprise then that they have lower cholesterol averages (and that low cholesterol is associated with higher mortality in such populations).

          2. It’s also worth noting that, as we get older, our immune systems become less effective and older people are consequently more vulnerable to infections

            ‘As age advances, the immune system undergoes profound remodelling and decline, with major impact on health and survival [81,82]. This immune senescence predisposes older adults to a higher risk of acute viral and bacterial infections. Moreover, the mortality rates of these infections are three times higher among elderly patients compared with younger adult patients [83].’
            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4707740/

            infections, even low grade infections, also cause cholesterol to decline.

    4. Hi Barb, thanks for your comment. I would suggest looking further what is the underlying issue as you said you are following a Whole plant based food diet as Dr Greger recommends. One has to question why is it that the body is producing more? As Dr Greger mentions, Cholesterol is a vital component of our cells, which is why our body makes all that we need. The Scientefic paper below goes into detail of endogenous and exogenous pathway of cholesterol formation in the body. I hope this is useful to you.
      Chapter 31Cholesterol, Triglycerides, and Associated Lipoproteins

      1. Barb, didn’t you once post that your doc suggested you see a dietician for possible diet tweaks? Like, maybe consume a little fish once or twice a week?

        Sometimes we gotta do what we gotta do. (How’s that for a profundity!)

      1. Familial hypercholestrolemia is found in about 1:200 individuals, but the drug companies seem to suggest that anyone that eats a western diet that results in hypercholesterolemia must be genetically predisposed to it and therefore the only solution is medication, which is simply not true.

        Here is the published evidence: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25612857

        Dr. Ben

  7. Hi Dale Packwood, thanks for your comment. Yes, you are right some people have allergy to nuts. General recommendations of plant based whole food that is indicated by Dr Greger and in the website is health promoting. However, every individual has to be more conscious of what food agrees with them. I wish you good health.

  8. I don’t want to look a gift horse on the mouth, but 2.5 years seems almost like placebo effect. I mean how can you tell the difference between a person 72.5 and 75 years of age in regards to brain health or anything else. Don’t get me wrong, I’m gonna eat some blueberries, but 2.5 years doesn’t seem to be much to brag about. Perhaps if we see it in contrast to things that actually increase brain age and the net affect is like 8 years or whatever then we have something to brag about.

    1. David, read the studies. Some measured increased cognitive function after supplementation.
      Some measured average function of those eating more polyphenols with those who don’t.
      Studies in rats show different outcomes in the group fed the better diet,
      How the people looked had nothing to do with it.

      1. Marilyn, who said anything about how people looked. I asked to make a determination on a person 2.5 years apart for whatever measure you use. Please don’t put words out here that we’re not actually said.

        End

    2. David, I found that 2.5 years a little short, too. But then I got to thinking about quality of life. That wasn’t measured by the study, but one of the reasons we find it important to eat WFBP is so that those last years – however many there are – are healthy ones, not spent in a nursing home or being a burden to our children. So, people these days are quite often unable to care for themselves for several years. The idea here is to live fully until one day you wake up dead!

      1. Livewire, I do agree with that. Most people especially eating the SAD diet have a pro-oxidant diet which will reduce over all brain and physical health. So my comment was mostly to take into consideration but if the 2.5 years is the combo between both seems limited. The length of the study may make a difference.

        End

    3. If you are 75 with a life expectancy of 87, then 2.5 years of increased brain health might be a very big deal relatively speaking? How quickly does brain health decline on average in the old-old?

      1. That’s a good point Tom. I also don’t know if these people have been eating more blueberries and a better diet all through life or just during the study. or a couple years like me. So I would like to think it would make more difference with a prolonged healthy diet. Most people I know, absolutely won’t change until their health is absolutely gone or close to it.

        I told my nephew that donuts are horrible and like eating rat poison and my brother in law looked at me like I was crazy and told the nephew he’ll take him to get donuts in a little bit.

        End

  9. This is the big problem. When people get old they do the same things every day (saves/conserves energy). But the brain heath works on a demand based system just like the body. The response to the demands keeps the brain functional because it makes an effort (it does not shrink to conserve energy). When people get old they think that the good life is based on security. People that do the same thing everyday panic if they have to change because the brain has adapted to an energy conservation state. To keep the brain healthy, you need a multiple approaches (motivation, body exercise, some brain exercise, blueberries, etc)

    1. Panchito, you make really good points. Apparently even using different hands to do chores, driving or walking different routes, etc. exercises the brain.
      And physical exercise raises BDNF. So does fasting apparently. Would like to see Dr. Gregor’s take on fasting, restricted eating hours, or the fasting mimicking diet.
      I would imagine reading the studies Dr. Gregor posts helps also! Both body and brain need to be challenged!

      1. Marilyn,

        A moderator told us that there will be a chapter on fasting in his upcoming book, so we can expect information down the road. Not sure if it will be intermittent fasting or a wider range, but it was in the previews of coming attractions in the comment section a while back.

      2. Meanwhile, check Youtube for talks by Dr Alan Goldhamer. His TrueNorth Health Center in Santa Rosa, CA has been helping patients through medically supervised water-only fasting for over 30 years. He has published in a couple of journals, and has had excellent results reversing many, many kinds of conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, autoimmune conditions, and some cancers. He’s definitely the go-to guy when it comes to fasting.

        1. livewire, yes, I listened to him when I decided to water fast my dog to try to save him from cancer.

          Water fasting is powerful. Genuinely powerful.

          I couldn’t get my brother to try it.

          People have to stumble over the concepts themselves.

          1. I’ve wanted to try fasting or mimicking fasting, but have been too scared to do it. It’s an odd fear, as I think about getting hungry, (even though I have food in the kitchen) then I think about losing muscles, and that at 50+ it’s hard to get it back. Then I wonder about how to fit it in with my cycling workouts and exercise routines. I need a coach to talk me through it.

            End

            1. DArmstrong,

              I understand that. Yes, you get a whole new immune system and may get rid of scars, and bad mitochondria and cancer, but at a certain point you do lose muscle.

              My dog is a LOT stronger after the season of water fasting, but it was getting rid of cancer and maybe getting rid of pain or something else. He looks so much better now, but if you are eating seriously healthy foods, maybe you don’t need it.

            2. When water-only fasting you need to rest. At TrueNorth they check things daily and if you are getting into burning muscle instead of fat, they stop the fast. After that it would be considered starvation. Fasting rids the body of toxins, old cells, etc., but not muscle mass. That’s one of the important differences in fasting and starving.

  10. Get yourself a mini-trampoline and do some rebounding. I lightly bounce 10 minutes in the a.m. and 5-10 minutes in the PM before hitting the sack. Keep your feet ON the rebounder, don’t jump up and down like a crazy maniac.

    Our cells are happy when we try to keep ourselves in shape. :-) It’s a holistic thing, y’know. Everything works together: body, mind (positive thinking), healthy diet, and exercise. We need to do this (and floss our teeth!) every day for the rest of our life for as long as we can. I’m sure I’d feel sort of blah if I had to miss my morning yoga and other exercises.

    https://www.wellbeingjournal.com/rebounding-good-for-the-lymph-system/

    1. YR,
      This may be a good solution for me.
      Do you know of a therapeutic rebounder that doesn’t cost a great deal? I wonder if one with a stabilizing bar would be a good idea for me.
      Would appreciate your input.

      Lida

      1. If you’re using the social media called Nextdoor, post to all the nearby neighborhoods that you are looking for a rebounder. I bought one for $10.
        It was like new and cluttering up the garage of the woman who had it. It didn’t have a bar, and I was using it next to a large window, so I bought one of those suction cup devices with a handle that they use for carrying large sheets of glass. I put it on the window and had it to grasp if I felt unstable. You can get one of those at Harbor Freight and probably other places.

  11. I love and have loved the Nutrition Facts site and Dr. Greger for over 15 years. I support the site financially, and I share videos with friends and family. A friend to whom I send videos recently pointed out how many and how often weak modifiers are used. I this video, the words “may,” “up to,” “associated with,” “appear to,” and “potentially” seem to slip into the conversation without any mention of “may not,” “maybe less than,” “may not be caused by,” “may not be what they appear to be,” and “potentially not.” This disturbs me.

    1. Stephen,

      Can you give any examples of which ones disturbed you?

      It seems to me that Dr Greger tends to point out when the studies are weaker versus stronger. For weak ones, he points out the risk/benefit ratio and cost/potential benefit ratio.

      Today, I was watching his kidney videos and I was so blown away again that he has study graphs and charts and exact words visible versus other doctors who do “eat fish because it is good for you” or “drink bone broth because it is good for you”

      My relatives are already saying that my brother can’t eat high protein plant foods or higher potassium or phosphorous plant foods anymore and most people even here end up agreeing and then I go to the Harvard studies and plant proteins don’t harm the kidneys and inflammation and acid does are not what they are reading on the kidney sites.

      1. Stephen,

        Please give specific examples. It can help the website.

        Dr Greger and his staff read the comments and they are so responsive.

        He has a team of 19 researchers reading the 150,000 journal articles and he has script writers and a whole staff of people working on this process.

        I do know that he sometimes does do topics people ask for whether the science is finished or not. People, like me, have wondered about topics like blood root or vitamin c for Cancer and he nicely puts the current information out there.

        Some topics haven’t been double blind placebo tested yet but people want to know about CBD oil whether it has solid tests or not, for instance.

        1. Deb, just fyi: Science is never finished. It might be settled. Till it becomes unsettled. But it’s the best process we have for explaining how things work, and predicting how they will work in the future.

      2. Deb, Just watch the video or read through the transcript. Dr. Greger has been my guru for many years. I haven’t done a broad analysis, but it seems to me that he is selective in which weaknesses he highlights and which ones he blows by.

        Indeed Dr. Greger does point out the small sample sizes of some of the studies. And I agree with the idea (supported by Dr. Greger) that we don’t require iron clad findings before we act on them, such as with the dangers of smoking. And eating more blueberries is not a concern even if the particular research conclusion is not strong.

        Still, the pattern does concern me.

        Sent from Mail for Windows 10

        1. Stephen,

          I cannot name one doctor or scientist anywhere who doesn’t do a similar process.

          Lots of theories out there.

          I read the pages of just about every famous doctor from every dietary perspective and the research studies and I can’t point to one doctor and say, “Wow, that doctor is doing a better process than Dr. Greger. Look at how much more relevant and proven his research is.”

          On the contrary, all of them are reading the journals and most of them don’t say how many people are reading journals to cover them all.

          I wonder if Dr. Oz has 50 people reading journals for him?

          All I do know is that the doctors all touch on the same subjects eventually and, even looking at the kidney videos again, Dr. Greger is the only one who gave me that information.

          As it is, my brother’s own doctors aren’t giving it and they don’t believe the study (and mostly, won’t watch the videos and saying it is a Harvard study didn’t make it better.)

          1. I could take all of them and say, “Wow, Dr. Axe sounds like such an intelligent man and listen to him talk” and then I get to bone broth and he isn’t going to mention the lead. I get to salmon and he isn’t going to mention the mercury. You get to essential oils and he isn’t going to mention that people get liver problems.

            Dr. Hyman

            Dr. Amen

            The Doctors

            Dr. Fung

            Dr. Seyfried versus Dr. Goldhamer.

            I have scoured the internet day and night during this time and there isn’t anyone I would put as so thorough that I can just trust them on every single detail.

            Dr. Greger gives me information in a form I can genuinely use.

            And not one of the MS friends I have know of Dr. Swank and not one of the kidney patients have heard of Dr. Kempner or know the difference between animal proteins and vegetable proteins. Mostly, people do not ever hear the information. Ever. Anywhere.

        2. Okay, I just read through the transcript and found the maybes

          “Well, fruits and vegetables help reduce the risk of other chronic diseases. Might they work for brain diseases, as well?

          So, maybe these brain-seeking phytonutrients in berries could fight oxidation, inflammation, and increase blood flow. So, this raised a “thought-provoking idea.” Maybe a “nutritional intervention with blueberries may be [beneficial] in forestalling or even reversing the neurological changes associated with aging.”

          So, did researchers give blueberries to people, and see what happened? No. As I noted in an earlier video, they gave blueberries to rats. It would be a decade before the first human trial. But, it worked! Blueberry supplementation improves memory in older adults, suggesting that “consistent supplementation with blueberries may offer an approach to forestall or mitigate” brain degeneration with age.

          What other blue/purple foods can we try? Concord grape juice had a similar benefit, improving verbal learning—suggesting that “supplementation with purple grape juice may enhance cognitive function [in] older adults with early memory decline.” Why use juice, and not whole Concord grapes? Because then, you couldn’t design a placebo that looked and tasted exactly the same, to rule out the very real and powerful placebo effect. And, also, because it was funded by the Welch’s grape juice company.

          This effect was confirmed, though, in a follow-up study, showing for the first time an increase in neural activation in parts of our brain associated with memory using functional MRI scans. But, this brain scan study was tiny—just four people in each group. And, same problem with the blueberry study; it just had nine people in it.

          Why haven’t large population-based studies been done? Because we haven’t had good databases on where these phytonutrients are found. We know how much vitamin C is in a blueberry, but not how much anthocyanidin—until now….. The Harvard Nurses’ Health Study followed the cognitive function of more than 16,000 women for years, and found that “[H]igher, long-term consumption of berries [was associated with] significantly slower rates of cognitive decline in this cohort of older women, even after careful consideration of confounding by socioeconomic status”—meaning even after taking into account the fact that rich people eat more berries. The first population-based evidence that “greater intakes of blueberries and strawberries…were highly associated with slower rates of cognitive decline,” and not just by a little bit. “The magnitude of associations…were equivalent to the cognitive differences that [one might observe] in women up to 2.5 years apart in age.” In other words, “women with higher intake of berries…appeared to have delayed cognitive aging by as much as 2.5 years.”

          I guess that I don’t have a problem with it.

          The maybe’s had positive studies, if small and then, the Harvard Women’s Study is the bigger one and he explained confounding issues.

          Most of the doctors don’t do that part. Most of them jump straight to the studies and don’t explain the weaknesses. Maybe that is why it looks like a weakness, when I see that part as a strength because it helps me to understand.

    2. I think that’s the language of science. Scientists rarely seem to talk in absolutes. It often sounds weak to me. T Colin Campbell, after about 60 years of research in his background, does the same thing.

      1. livewire,

        Yes, Dr. McDougall does sentences like “After 40 years, I am still evaluating B-12 and I reserve the right to change my mind.”

        That isn’t an exact quote, but it is very close.

    3. Stephen, what I do is, I read all the transcripts with an open mind. I’ll take what resonates and makes sense to me, and just ignore the rest. Especially since we know that surveys and research, etc. are known to “change their minds” within a month or so.

      So, I don’t pay much attention to “lies, damn lies, and statistics.” For instance, that bit about living a couple of years longer simply because somebody scarfs down a certain measurement of blueberries or whatever certainly isn’t about to change my life in any way. I figure if it works, don’t fix it. And, so far, everything works just fine. :-)

    4. Stephen M. Billig, That’s how scientists speak and write. We draw conclusions from our observations and data, but we know that they are only the best conclusions we can make at this time. Future information may result in changing our conclusions. That’s how science works. Which is what makes it so exciting. It’s not weak; it’s truthful. And the negative is always implied by words that are tentative, as opposed to definitive. Oh, 7th grade grammar has been so useful!!

      1. Excellent point. Science is preferred method to most because it actually measures observation. Before science we had religion which never changed and was it considered a sin to challenge religious findings. Tongue in cheek , I say thank god for science.

        End

        1. “….was it considered a sin to challenge religious findings.”
          – – – –

          Change “findings” to “dogma,” and I’d say it certainly was considered a mortal sin and a matter for the confessional. :-)

    5. Stephen

      You shouldn’t be disturbed by such language. It is the language of responsible scientists.

      I am much more concerned by YouTube/internet doctors and health gurus who coach their advice in absolute terms. They are usually selling something directly or indirectly.

      1. Tom,

        That is what I think about all of the time.

        Before I landed on this site, I was getting “tricked” left and right and center. Tricked in circles by people who just would make proclamations. Someone must teach that way of communicating, the same way science teaches a different way of communicating. They are so bold and confident and I can go back to Dr. Axe “Bone broth is the best thing you could ever eat.” I think was him. So confident. He says it and my friends drink it. Then, a year later, I find out that it has lead in it, from this site, and my friends have been tricked into so many dangerous things over and over and over again by the confident communicators. They were doing things like drinking bleach and I can’t even remember what the logic was, but I remember that the person who started the logic skipped to Mexico or something. They ARE over-using essential oils, in my opinion, and over-using bone broth and Keto and coconut oil in general. They listened to Dr. Axe healing his mother with essential oils and they are taking it as vitamins and also taking capsules of several types of oils throughout the day and also are putting it under their tongue and are also rubbing it on their necks and hands and foreheads and are also sniffing their hands and drinking a drop in water and are also diffusing it and sniffing their hands and all of it is what they have been taught and I look at PubMed and dogs can die from diffusing too much of it makes me already want to stop them.

        1. Hi Deb

          Yes, let me guess, Axe sells essential oils?

          As for bleach, yes it kills cancer cells – in a petrie dish. Unfortunately it kills every other type of cell as well.

          On the other hand, if you drink enough of it, you definitely won’t die of cancer.

          1. “On the other hand, if you drink enough of it, you definitely won’t die of cancer.”

            Hahaha… Sadly I can see a headline from that: “New Research Finds Drinking Bleach Kills Cancer!”

          1. Cool Kitty, I’ve often wondered about Dr Fuhrman, too. Most of his recommendations appear to be supported by good research and he seems to support a WFPB diet (Greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries, etc.), but the selling of all those vitamins puzzles me. Does he really need the extra income?

              1. Wow, amazing that he has so many! I never realized he was so enthusiastic about so many concoctions. Definitely a different approach from most other WFPC Docs. Thanks for making me aware of this.

                1. Dietpreneur: An entrepreneur who makes money from dietary advice, writing books, video blogging, blogging, lectures, and who has a web store that sells supplements. They make a lot more money than dieticians, as dieticians are usually employees of someone else. They have a unique ideology, usually self made, that differentiates them from the rest. They create their own future and they are not employees of nobody.

                  1. This could explain why there are so many different branches of a similar diet. In order to exist economically, they must differentiate ideologically. Their unique selling ideology is what makes the difference (branch) and what allows them to economically thrive as an entrepreneur. The economical success also drives the dietary success in a self perpetuating wheel. How many ideological wheels could the internet support? Well, they are exclusive wheels. If a person adopts one, then it doesn’t adopt another. Thus they are naturally divergent.

                2. I looked at his vitamins and don’t mind that he sells supplements for vegans. Vegans do need supplements and if his ever come back testing off in the numbers, he would have quite a few people holding him accountable.

                  This was the list from the first one I linked onto. There might be a few of the ingredients I wouldn’t have chosen, but it isn’t as bad as most multivitamins and those of us who have to supplement B-vitamins and Zinc and D3 already spend that much for separate vitamins.

                  Amount Per Serving % Daily Value
                  Vitamin C (as calcium ascorbate and acerola fruit extract) 100mg 167%
                  Vitamin D3 (as vegan cholecalciferol) (VitaShine®) 2000IU 500%
                  Vitamin K2 (as natural menaquinone-7 (MK-7)) 40mcg 50%
                  Thiamin (as thiamin HCl USP) 0.75mg 50%
                  Riboflavin (as riboflavin USP) 0.425mg 25%
                  Vitamin B6 (as pyridoxine HCl USP and pyridoxal 5-phosphate) 0.5mg 25%
                  Vitamin B12 (as methylcobalamin) 200mcg 3333%
                  Biotin (as biotin USP) 200mcg 67%
                  Pantothenic acid (as D-calcium pantothenate USP) 5mg 50%
                  Iodine (from kelp) 150mcg 100%
                  Magnesium (as magnesium aspartate and magnesium amino acid chelate) 100mg 25%
                  Zinc (as zinc amino acid chelate and zinc picolinate) 10mg 67%
                  Chromium (as chromium amino acid chelate) 30mcg 25%
                  Vanadium (as vanadium amino acid chelate) 10mcg *
                  Taurine 250mcg *
                  Pomegranate fruit extract 160mg *
                  Reishi mushroom extract 50mg *
                  Cranberry fruit extract 50mg *
                  Tomato/Lycopene concentrate (providing 2 mg lycopene) 50mg *
                  Whole Food Fruit, Veggie & Greens Blend: Broccoli sprout extract, acai fruit extract (Euterpe oleracea), lycium (goji) berry extract, citrus bioflavonoid complex (mixed citrus fruits), green cabbage floret concentrate, kale leaf, watercress leaf, alfalfa grass, bilberry fruit extract (25% proanthocyanidins), grape seed & skin extract, wild blueberry extract, cranberry concentrate, raspberry extract, strawberry concentrate, tart cherry concentrate, wild whole bilberry fruit extract, prune concentrate

                3. Yes, $300 per month just for the amino acids already knocks me out.

                  I don’t regret trying things with my dog, but supplements of any kind add up so quickly.

                  Someone tol me that my vet makes $300,000 per year, where I make closer to $30,000 per year. I genuinely can’t afford him.

                4. I think the amino acid program at TrueNorth is fairly new. At least I never heard anything about it when my husband and I spent 10 days there a couple of years ago. I doubt many people use that program. It’s probably for tough-to-treat cases.

                  While staying at their facility all the food is included in the daily charge for the room. We shared a two bedroom apartment with another couple.
                  We had our own bathroom and they had theirs. The living room had comfortable furniture and a big screen TV. There were also big TVs in each bedroom, along with portfolios of over 40 videos on health and diet subjects. After all, people who are water-only fasting are supposed to rest, so the videos kept them occupied and learning.

                  There were excellent speakers (Doug Lisle, Dr Klaper, Dr Lim, etc.) every day and a cooking demonstration (Cathy Fisher, Katie Mae, etc.) every day.

                  Food plates were enormous, the food organic and copious and always available. Even all night there would be fruit available.

                  Laundry was picked up daily and returned within hours, no added charge.

                  Doctors (interns, usually) came to our room twice each day to check our vitals and weight, answer questions, handle anything unusual that came up.

                  All the above was included in the daily fee of about $150 each. That cost varies depending on the apartment you’re in, whether you share or have it to yourself, and probably other factors.

                  Yes, additional appointments with doctors, NDs, massage therapists, exercise physiologists, etc. were charged separately, and some of those were covered by insurance.

                  All those people have to make a living. They have a good sized facility to operate, a LOT of organic food to buy, a huge staff to pay, so they do charge for their services, just as any business does. But their charges seemed reasonable to us. Most people going there were quickly off medications, and that alone could pay for the room charge for several days for many.

                  Some people go there annually or more often just for a sort of spa vacation/renewal.

    6. That’s just how science works. Bertrand Russell has a great quote: “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”

      Thank you for your longstanding support!

  12. Thank you for a great video doc! We eat blueberries every day based on your many recommendations over the years. What bothers me though is the quality we can afford…as you say in this study rich people eat more berries and they’ll be eating organic. We get a half a cup of organic blueberries for an outrageous price of $3 here in the UK and that’s at supermarket prices. I buy frozen berries but they are not organic and I have no idea what has been sprayed on them or how well they were cleaned before freezing and you cannot get them clean after they have been frozen. I imagine no one cares about the pesticides and herbicides who grow the berries commercially. I wrote to the people who publish the clean fifteen asking about blueberries since they carry a superfood label and production will have escalated because of that but to date an answer is lacking. Does anyone here know how safe blueberries are to eat? Do their benefits outway the potentially harmful add ons? Thank you

    1. There is a video on this site somewhere that states that the benefits of fruits and veges outweigh the potential harm from being commercially grown.

      1. Thanks for your answer CP. I appreciate your effort. Is it as easy as that though since a lot of these pesticides and herbicides are cumulative and don’t detox easily. If you are an older adult with the toxic load of years stored away in tissues and fat eating already, further heavy toxic load could tip the scales in the wrong way. We eat servings and servings of vegetables, fruit and pulses every day. Logically there must be a downside if you cannot find organic to buy (sadly the case where we live) or grow your own cleanly which is also an issue since I live very far north on the globe. It’s disgusting that in fact we cannot trust the people who provide our food because they don’t care what we are sold as long as they make a profit. I can be so naive at times and was shocked to I read that organic is not grown without pesticides and herbicides either, just different ones than those used by commercial growers. These chemicals are not listed on tags so we actually do not know what is in or on the products we buy including those that have been frozen or processed. Are there specific studies rather than generalities about this please? I’ve just found a lot of rehash on the net. Thank you.

    2. Charmaine, I have no idea if you live in a London flat or have a little land around you. If you do have land, you can easily grow blueberries in the UK. How do I know? I live in the coastal NW corner of the US and when I’ve visited my son in London and we’ve taken tours around the country I’ve seen the same plants growing there as we have here. Our climate is quite similar. You do need to check the soil pH and make sure it’s on the acid side. Ask at your garden center. Meanwhile, enjoy whatever blueberries you can find.

    3. Hello Charmaine,

      I understand your confusion with regards to organic/non-organic foods, but I will try my best to clear that up for you. In an ideal world, we would be able to eat only home grown organic food year round, but for obvious reasons that is not realistic so we do the best we can. If Americans were to eat just 600g/day more fruits and veggies 20,000 lives could potentially be saved; however, 10 cancer cases may be caused by pesticides on conventional produce. Based on this data (presented in the video linked below), the benefits far outweigh the potential harms. Think of it like water. If you don’t have access to filtered water, then you’re probably going to drink whatever source you have available to you because it’s a necessity. We should strive for the best, but don’t stress if it’s not attainable. If you’re getting the fruits and veggies in, you’re definitely going to benefit!

      Matt, Health Support Volunteer

      Organic vs Non-organic: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/are-the-benefits-of-organic-food-underrated-or-overrated/

      1. Thank you very much Mnagra! It’s the volume of contaminated veg, fruit, nuts, seeds, lentils, pulses and water we consume day in and day out, year after year. In tandem certain things become very potent. Cumulative effects. I’m looking for studies about this. I always ask here first because people here have an interest in such things and often know.

      2. Mnagra I’m not confused. I’m asking what the cumulative affects on the body are, if anyone one knows of a study, especially those potent toxins found in tandem and mixed in what we eat across the board in the long run. If I was a sad eater I probably would not care about this but being a vegan and consuming tons of fruits and veg, nuts and seeds, pulses over the years I am thinking about the long term effects. The video is interesting but it is still advising to eat organic. Organic though is sprayed. Thank you for your answer.

  13. Part of my horoscope for today : You love useful ideas like some people love chocolate

    How very true! I thank you for your very useful ideas.

    1. Well, I’m not going to watch the video, but I’m going to assume he’s ranting about vegans and not those eating plant based for health or other reasons in which case I can answer you with a resounding no, it is absolutely not true. A friend to the animals is a friend of mine! :) But, there are *******’s in all walks of life… still appreciate their compassion towards the animals though.

      1. Most of the video showed a young couple who just couldn’t hack the vegan diet any longer. They still eat a lot of veggies, etc., but also “incorporate” (as they say) a little animal foods in their menus now.

        1. I’m compelled to mention that “vegan” isn’t actually a diet but often misused when people are solely talking about eating plant based. And all these people… I swear… Ok, so you decide to incorporate meat/eggs/dairy cause you want to, fine… I mean I don’t agree with it because there are actually victims involved so it’s no longer a personal choice, but it’s what some people do which is beyond my control. But don’t whine about it and say you couldn’t “hack” or “handle” eating all plant based and blame some invisible force of not eating animals; at least OWN your decision people! So irritating. It’s childish really.

          1. S

            I think it is the vegan community, which feels it is misused. The cooking books and channels and television shows have it as both a diet and a political viewpoint.

            I know that people want to make the vegan diet WFPB, but some people are vegan foods without any fruits or vegetables at all and their existence is how the word became to become both.

            1. My brother is letting people make dinners for him and he is doing 5% animal proteins. He doesn’t like much of it yet, but I am praying we find things he will like.

              He would be one who would be nutritionally vegan with the cooks not necessarily having a single concept of WFPB. They are lowering animal proteins and sodium.

              But he might end up vegan just because it is easier to find vegan recipes than 5% animal product recipes.

              Okay, I re-bought How Not To Die again and my question is: which recipes are ones people like the most?

              1. The person who went today said that they are so miserable eating this way. So far, so miserable.

                I am praying for a decrease in pain or a shrinking of the tumor or somwthing to make them like this way of eating.

                My dog doesn’t like it either, but I want both of them to live longer.

      2. I assumed Cool Kitty was just trying to stir up some controversy, perhaps out of boredom, or perhaps because some planet was in the wrong house.
        Wouldn’t be the first time, right, Cool Kitty? :-)

    1. Hi Lela,

      Dr. Greger recommends 1/2 cup of berries every day. You can download the Daily Dozen Checklist or find the free apps here: NutritionFacts.org/daily-dozen-challenge.

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