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Diet, Weight Loss & Nutrition

Raspberry Ketones for Weight Loss

Raspberry Ketones for Weight Loss

The obesity epidemic has long been growing out of control, with over a third of the United States population being considered obese. While obesity is widely considered merely a cosmetic condition, many don’t think about the extreme damage being caused internally by carrying such large amounts of extra weight, as well as engaging in unhealthy dietary and exercise habits.

Obesity, as a disease, is among the most deadly on the planet. According to the National Institute of Health, obesity and overweight together are just behind tobacco use, and are the second leading cause of preventable death in the nation with an estimated 300,000 people yearly dying from related illnesses.

Weighing yourself

As a catalyst, obesity causes very serious illnesses like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, fatty liver, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, stroke, and even some types of cancer. High blood pressure, dubbed the “silent killer” by members of the health community, can easily be caused by obesity. Too much extra fat in the body increases the amount of extra capillaries that must transport blood throughout the body. This coupled with hardening of the arteries and artery blockage forces the heart to work much harder, eventually leading to heart damage and failure.

Heart failure

As a catalyst, obesity causes very serious illnesses like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, fatty liver, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, stroke, and even some types of cancer. High blood pressure, dubbed the “silent killer” by members of the health community, can easily be caused by obesity. Too much extra fat in the body increases the amount of extra capillaries that must transport blood throughout the body. This coupled with hardening of the arteries and artery blockage forces the heart to work much harder, eventually leading to heart damage and failure.

Diabetes is another deadly disease caused by obesity. Some may think that it is treatable, which it is, but this disease places much undue stress on the kidneys and body in general, and even with treatment will lead to deadly symptoms.


Now, more than ever, members of the medical field are exploring more options to get the obesity epidemic under control. While diet and exercise are always at the top of the list of recommendations, there are other diet aids that can help to maximize efforts and generate more weight loss while preserving health.

Raspberry ketones are a product that have been on the market for some time, but are still being studied for efficacy and safety, with great results.

Raspberry ketones in raspberries

Raspberry ketones are chemicals that are naturally found in red raspberries. These phenolic compounds are what give the raspberries their aroma. Ketones are not only found in raspberries. They are also found in kiwi, peaches, grapes, apples, other berries, and vegetables like rhubarb. These unique compounds are even found in certain tree bark like the bark of yew, pine, and maple trees.

Raspberry ketone is not just used for weight loss, it is also used in cosmetics, other foods, and as a flavoring agent, but because natural raspberry ketone is extremely expensive –a kilogram can cost as much as $20,000- most companies use synthetic raspberry ketone.

Research has shown that these aroma compounds may help to boost the metabolism, also affecting the production of adiponectin, a hormone in the body that regulates metabolism.

One study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition evaluated the efficacy of a multi-ingredient weight loss product containing raspberry ketone on 70 overweight men and women. This weight loss product contained a mixture of primarily raspberry ketone, but also caffeine, capsaicin, garlic, ginger and Citrus aurantium.

Using a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind design, 70 obese but otherwise healthy subjects were given either a weight loss product in question, or placebo, being tested for changes in things like body composition, serum adipocytokines (adiponectin, resistin, leptin, TNF-α, IL-6) and markers of health including heart rate and blood pressure.

While only 45 participants completed the study, those who did complete it showed significant improvement in body weight, fat mass, lean mass, waist girth, hip girth, and energy levels, without any changes or significant differences in dietary intake, systemic hemodynamics or clinical blood chemistries, and in addition “During the first 4 weeks, effects/trends for maintaining elevated serum leptin (P < 0.03) and decreased serum resistin (P < 0.08) in the METABO group vs. placebo were also observed.”

Leptin is a protein produced by fatty tissue in the body, and is responsible for regulating fat storage. Resistin has been found to link obesity with type 2 diabetes, and is produced fatty tissue as well, but leads to insulin resistance. This hormone is linked to type 2 diabetes because it is assumed that thiazolidinediones may work via PPARg receptors to switch on or off a fat cell specific gene that is involved in insulin mediated signaling pathways.

This study is great news for those who believe raspberry ketone to be an effective weight loss supplement, and also provides support to its contractors who were hesitant to get behind the compound due to no human trial evidence.

Raspberry ketones for weight loss

Researchers concluded in this study that the administration of this weight loss product, containing mostly raspberry ketones, is a safe and effective adjunct to an 8 week diet and exercise weight loss plan, and helps to improve body composition, as well as waist and hip girth.

One of the most talked about properties of raspberry ketone is its ability to help the body burn fat more effectively. Studies have shown, like one published in Planta Medica, that raspberry ketone increases both lipolysis and fatty acid oxidation, specifically preventing “high-fat diet-induced elevation in body weight and to increase lipolysis in white adipocytes.”

Fat cells

Researchers investigate the ability of raspberry ketone to prevent secretion of adiponectin, lipolysis, and fatty acid oxidation in 3T3-L1, and found that raspberry ketone increased lipolysis, the breakdown of fats and other lipids by hydrolysis to release fatty acids, significantly in adipose cells, the body fat cells.

Further blood tests showed that raspberry ketone, like other studies, “increased both the expression and the secretion of adiponectin, an adipocytokine mainly expressed and secreted by adipose tissue.” In this way, raspberry ketone acts as a metabolism booster, speeding up the amount of fat the body turns to energy, and regulating the amount of fat stored in the body.

While raspberry ketone, like other potent weight loss aids, shows great promise to help the body burn more fat and reduce body weight, it is always best to supplement diet aids with improved nutrition and exercise, and raspberry ketone has shown great promise, both in efficacy and safety, when combined with diet and exercise.

Everyone is looking for the magic weight loss bullet, to end obesity once and for all, but the plain truth is that it doesn’t exist, and may never exist, so the best way to lose a few pounds, or a hundred pounds or more and get back on the track to good health is to put in the work and use raspberry ketone as they are intended, a supplement that can help you lose weight more quickly and safely.

Raspberry ketones as supplements

Brain Function and Weight Loss

Looking at brain function can be fascinating when it comes to dieting and weight loss. Our mood and emotions can have a tremendous impact on our eating behavior. Many people who experience anger, frustration, anxiety, or depression use eating to regulate their emotions in complex ways.  Choosing nutrient poor foods high in fat and sugar content also reduces the intake of fruits and vegetables and overall dietary quality. This situation is very common for individuals suffering from sadness, loneliness, or concern. Stress and external triggers can lead to anger or frustration which tends to be associated with a lack of control on the quantity of food consumed. Low cognitive restraint, or an inability to restrict food intake in order to control body weight, is common in those who struggle with anxiety. Each of these scenarios can contribute to becoming overweight and obesity.

Dieting and weight loss can be particularly challenging for those who are affected by emotional eating habits. For long term success to occur in changing eating behavior, it often requires a deeper understanding of each individual’s external triggers and specific imbalances of emotional neurotransmitters. For instance, eating a meal may reduce arousal and irritability and increase calmness and positive mood, whereas a small meal portion size may have opposing effects on mood. Sweetness and fatty structure can also improve mood by activating brain opioidergic, dopaminergic, and benzodiazepine/g-amino butyric acid neurotransmission. In fact, dopamine neurotransmission reflects the ‘‘wanting’’ motivational aspect of eating, whereas opioid and benzodiazepine/g-aminobutyric acid are linked to the ‘‘liking’’ hedonic aspect of food-related stimuli. Properly balancing these neurotransmitters can go a long way in positively changing eating behaviors and success in weight loss.

Scientists are learning interesting things about appetite. Most recently they have finding that it is not appetite per say that is the problem with eating disorders and weight control, but rather a fear of appetite associated with possible anomalies in systems related to fear and defense of appetitive behaviors, particularly in relationship to food, shape and weight. Anomalies in these systems can impact attention.

Attention is part of the process of selectively processing information. The allocation of attention is influenced by top-down information (representations of goals and their relevance). These goals are merged with bottom-up priority signals. A balance and synthesis of these inputs determines the allocation of attention. Certain bottom-up signals such as threats have very high importance. Additionally, motivational drives such as hunger can also change attentional processing. Anxiety and fear around eating are thought to be underpinned by maladaptive attentional biases toward threats. In an analysis of 172 studies, patients with a wide variety of anxiety disorders had a small to moderate attentional bias to threat cues. “Fear of fat” and “fear of carbs” are central to the weight control as they relate to body shape or weight with a fear of ingesting fats and carbs. Individuals with weight control problems usually report anxiety in anticipation of a meal, concern about the content of the foods consumed, and fear of the effects of food on health and weight. Thus, both food and fatness are feared.

A recent study performed at Bringham Young University and Obesity the part of the brain, called the pre-frontal cortex, involved in executive functioning, prioritizing interests, and making difficult decisions on competing interests. People who had lost weight had high activity in their prefrontal cortex when they viewed foods like pizza, burgers and ice cream cones, which could explain why they succeeded in losing weight, researchers said.  The pre-frontal cortexes of successful dieters were able to beat out the parts of the brain involved with emotion, fear, and hunger.

How I Treat My Own Family

Doctor Treating His Own Family


Someone recently asked me, “Dr. Ryan, you’re so knowledgeable about health, wellness, and medicine. What do you do to treat your own family when they get sick?” The short answer is that I don’t. When anyone in my family gets sick, they go to the doctor just like everyone else. The long answer is that I do try to educate and inspire them, and because of that, my family is extraordinarily healthy.

Doctor Treating His Own Family

If you’ve read some of my other posts here on the blog, you may already know I have two small boys. I try to teach them that life is made up of your thoughts and internal images expressed to the extent you believe them. I also teach them to focus on positive thoughts and feelings. I know this sounds overly simplified, and that’s because it is.

As adults, we tend to complicate things, doubt our dreams, and fail to believe in ourselves. Sometimes we’re unclear about what we want and we’re inconsistent in how we go about achieving it. All of this slows us down or stops us from the health, wellness, and happiness we really want. The answer is always within ourselves, our genetics, and the decisions we make to move towards good health.

basket of tropical fruit including pineapple, mango, and papaya

My boys were originally raised in Hawaii so they were always exposed to delicious tropical fruits, vegetables, fish, and other seafood. They’ve learned to eat whatever mom and dad eat, so their palates are extraordinary. They’ll happily eat fresh produce, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, and proteins. Maybe it’s because my wife and I are lucky, but maybe it’s because we inspire them to make good choices about how to take care of themselves. When it comes to snacks, my boys enjoy all kinds of healthy options. They’ll eat fruit salad, hummus and carrot sticks, apple slices with nut butters, and even nuts, seeds, and edamame.

Even though the boys consume a healthy diet, they still take three daily supplements. One is an omega fatty acid because research has shown that developing brains require essential fatty acids. They also take a multivitamin-mineral because some of the most common deficiencies in growing children are minerals like iron, magnesium, and zinc. The third supplement they take is probiotics because it’s important to influence healthy gut bacteria in children.

herbal tincture for a healthy immune system

I’m blessed because both of my kids understand the importance of education and inspiration. When they get sick, they visit a doctor like anyone else. At the first signs of sniffles or stomach troubles, I may give them a herbal glyceride tincture to help boost their immune systems. The kids take great care of themselves though but eating a healthy diet and constantly playing to stay physically active. As young kids, they may not yet understand mindfulness and connectedness, but it is something we are starting to teach them because it creates happiness in life.

If you have kids in your family, I know it can sometimes be a struggle in terms of education and inspiration. There’s a lot to be mindful of including boosting their immune systems, expanding their palates, and making sure they’re constantly playing to avoid being sedentary. You can use the information here on the Zenith Labs website to learn how to create health and wellness in your life and the lives of your family members.

Dr. Ryan Shelton of Zenith LabsIf you liked this video/article, do share it with your friends and loved ones. Subscribe to the Youtube channel for weekly tips on new tools and techniques to improve your health and well-being.

I believe in the original meaning of the word doctor, ‘docere’, which means teacher. I’m here to help educate you on how to take care of yourself in ways that you may not have heard of before, but that are effective. I always want to hear your ideas and feedback so be sure to leave me comments below!




Top 7 Liquids You Can Drink While Intermittent Fasting

Top 7 Liquids You Can Drink While Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is currently one of the world’s most popular health and fitness trends. People are using is to lose weight, improve their health, and simplify their lifestyles. Many studies have shown that it can have powerful effects on your body and brain, possibly even helping you live longer.

Top 7 Liquids You Can Drink While Intermittent Fasting

What is Intermittent Fasting?

intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting doesn’t specify which foods you should eat, but when you should eat instead. It’s not a diet in the conventional sense, but more accurately described as an eating pattern. Common intermittent fasting methods involve daily 16-hour fasts or fasting for 24 hours twice a week, and lots of patients in my own practice have followed these methods.

Fasting has naturally been a practice throughout human evolution. Ancient hunters and gatherers didn’t have supermarkets, refrigerators, or food available year-round, so sometimes they simply didn’t have anything to eat. As a result, humans evolved to be able to function without food for extended periods.

In fact, fasting from time to time is more natural for our biological process than eating every three or four hours throughout the day. Fasting is also done for religious reasons, often practiced by those following Islam, Christian, Jewish, or Buddhist faiths.

7 Liquids You Can Drink While Intermittent Fasting

While fasting, it’s important to take in enough fluids for your body. There are seven different fluids you can use to support the benefits that intermittent fasting brings you.

1. Water

young woman drinking glass of water

The first and most obvious fluid to consume while fasting is water. Wondering how much water you should drink each day? Here’s a simple formula to use: Take your body weight in pounds, divide that number by two, and that’s how many ounces of pure water you should drink every day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, your minimum goal would be 75 ounces.

2. Green Tea

glass mug of green tea outside

Green tea is known for supplying powerful antioxidants such as polyphenols, catechins, and epicatechins. It does contain some caffeine, but those antioxidants are important for brain health and liver detoxification. As a bonus for some, studies have shown green tea may aid in weight loss.

3. Kombucha

two glasses of kombucha

Kombucha is a fermented drink made tea, typically green or black tea. Kombucha contains the same powerful antioxidants as green tea, but since it is fermented, it also contains probiotics. Probiotics are healthy bacteria that are necessary for good gut health.

4. Detox Tea

looking down at a mug of detox tea

There are many brands of detox tea here in the United States, such a Yogi Tea or Traditional Medicinals. Detox teas contain herbal agents that help your body get rid of built-up toxins, so it’s recommended to have at least two or three cups of detox tea while you’re fasting intermittently.

5. Green Drink

glass of green drink with green fruits and vegetables

A green drink contains extracts from herbs, mushrooms, fruits, and veggies. A good green drink combines all kinds of nutrients in one beverage, so consuming one every day while fasting can be very helpful.

6. Vegetable Juice

beet juice with carrots

Though it’s not part of a strict fast, vegetable juice is a good beverage to consider during intermittent fasting. A vegetable juice made from root vegetables, like carrots and beets, is a powerful tool during a weight loss program like intermittent fasting.

7. Epsom Salt

epsom salts in a wooden dish

The last liquid to consider contains Epsom salt. You could consume Epsom salt diluted in water but it usually acts as quite a laxative in most people. Instead, take a hot Epsom salt bath. Simply fill the tub with hot water, add about a cup of Epsom salt, and then soak in it. Epsom salt baths have been used for centuries to help with aches, pains, muscle and joint relief, and detoxifying the liver.

bottle of pure greens superfoods supplement

These seven fluids are important to include during intermittent fasting. To help you out, Zenith Labs has created a green drink called Pure Greens. It contains 57 superfoods in one delicious beverage. It’s so tasty that even my two young sons drink it, calling it their ‘special juice.’

Dr. Ryan Shelton of Zenith LabsIf you liked this video/article, do share it with your friends and loved ones. Subscribe to the Youtube channel for weekly tips on new tools and techniques to improve your health and well-being.

I believe in the original meaning of the word doctor, ‘docere’, which means teacher. I’m here to help educate you on how to take care of yourself in ways that you may not have heard of before, but that are effective. I always want to hear your ideas and feedback so be sure to leave me comments below!




Oxytocin for Weight Loss

Oxytocin for Weight Loss

The touch of another human being is an incredibly powerful thing, capable of eliciting an extremely vast array of emotions near instantly. No other animal uses touch quite like humans. We have a myriad of complex gestures to identify our feelings with others, we shake hands to greet or congratulate one another, and studies even show that children deprived of touching actually have a greater propensity for violence.


The psychologist James W. Prescott identified a link between mother/child physical bonding and lifelong emotional disturbances, noting that children whose mothers did not adequately bond with them may experience lifelong emotional disturbances.

The sense of touch

The sense of touch is not just great for bonding, but studies show that it can also be an integral part of a great diet plan, helping you to lose weight more effectively.

Scientists have been researching the chemical reactions that take place inside the body during physical contact. When we touch others, a stream of hormones circulate through the body, one of which is called oxytocin, a hormone produced in the magnocellular neurosecretory cells of the supraoptic and paraventricular nuclei, and is stored in Herring bodies at the axon terminals in the posterior pituitary.

During moments of intimacy, the pituitary gland releases oxytocin into the bloodstream. Oxytocin affects many parts of the body, including the breasts and uterus, and as a chemical messenger in the brain controlling various key aspects of the reproductive system like childbirth and lactation, but can also affect certain aspects of human behavior.

As for weight loss, studies show that this unique hormone can also stimulate the body to lose weight more effectively. Studies show that when used as a weight loss treatment, usually via a nasal spray, participants were likely to eat fewer calories, leading to weight loss.

Studies show lower levels of oxytocin in obese individuals versus normal versus those with a healthier weight. In addition, circulating oxytocin has been found to be lower in those with type-2 diabetes versus normoglycemic individuals.

Because of its connection to human emotion, touch, and our expression of love, oxytocin has been referred to as the “love hormone”. Studies show that those with more circulating oxytocin simply eat less.

In love

This may be some kind of evolutionarily necessary reaction to being attractive for your mate, or it may be as simple as the age old idea that love can make a person sick, including widely documented loss of appetite. Now you know why you just don’t have the desire to eat as much when you’re in love.

Oxytocin also works by helping to curb some of the psychological triggers that can cause many to partake in emotionally-based eating. Emotions often cause us to treat our negative feelings with food, which is why it is called emotional eating.

Oxytocin can help with emotional eating as well, not only helping to curb appetite, but to trigger those happy thoughts you get while you’re being touched or cuddling.

A recent study published in the July 2016 edition of the journal Endocrine Practice, researched oxytocin’s ability to produce weight loss. For this study, scientists used a nasal spray to deliver oxytocin to the participants.

In this this double-blind study, caloric intake was indeed reduced for the 85 participants receiving oxytocin treatments. Calories were reduced by about 122 kcal per 24 ul of oxytocin treatment. The study proceeded for 9 weeks, producing an average of 9kg of weight loss per participant.


Researchers also found that a complimentary side-effect of oxytocin treatments was reduced postprandial –the period after a meal- glucose and insulin levels.

Another interesting effect being studied is oxytocin’s ability to help the body burn fat more efficiently. Some studies show that oxytocin can increase lipid utilization, essentially boosting the body’s fat burning potential.

A growing base of evidence supports the theory that oxytocin is vital in the regulation of energy balance in the body. Published in the American Journal of Physiology, researchers found a distinct tie between oxytocin and its ability to help the body burn fat.

When administered to rat being fed a high fat diet, oxytocin “elicited a sustained reduction of fat mass with no decrease of lean mass in rats with established diet-induced obesity.”

These results are not simply related to the ability of oxytocin to curb appetite either, scientists observed that these effects resulted from:

  1. Maintenance of energy expenditure at preintervention levels despite ongoing weight loss
  2. A reduction in respiratory quotient, consistent with increased fat oxidation
  3. An enhanced satiety response to cholecystokinin-8 and associated decrease of meal size.

The body continued burning fat at a higher rate for approximately 10 days after treatment subsided.

If decreased appetite and increased fat burning aren’t enough to convince you of the power of the love hormone, how about its ability to regulate bone mass?

Human skeleton

The relationship between fat and our skeleton, is a tight one. You might even say that they’re like best buds. Oxytocin, due to its regulation of energy metabolism can directly regulate bone mass as well. Studies show that mice with insufficient oxytocin or the oxytocin receptor display severe osteopenia, a condition that occurs when the body doesn’t make new bone as quickly as it reabsorbs old bone.

One study contends that oxytocin administration “normalizes ovariectomy-induced osteopenia, bone marrow adiposity, body weight, and intra-abdominal fat depots in mice.”

Losing a little weight can benefit many aspects of life, from mobility, to happiness and self-satisfaction, to internal health and avoidance of chronic diseases like type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and with over 78 million Americans considered overweight, the current weight loss options we’re trying are clearly ineffective.

Oxytocin represents a great new possibility for safe, effective, and consistent weight loss without the side-effects of harmful medication or over-the-counter stimulants.

If you’re looking for the latest trend in weight loss aids, perhaps look no further than human contact. The powerful hormone oxytocin is simple to use, normally administered via a nasal spray, and unlike other invasive, pharmaceutical weight loss aids, oxytocin thus far exhibits very little or no side-effects, making it safe and effective for long term use.

Acid Reflux


Acid reflux, also known as gastro-esophageal reflux, is where the stomach contents such as food and acidic digestive juices escape upwards into the esophagus. This can irritate the esophagus and cause heartburn and other symptoms such as regurgitation, and sour taste, and coughing.

A long-term study recently revealed the number of people who experience acid reflux at least once a week has gone up by nearly 50% in the last 10 years, with women appearing to be more susceptible to the condition than men.

Acid reflux affects much of the population, with 60 percent of Americans having experienced some type of gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, within the last year, and as many as 30 percent experiencing weekly symptoms. GERD is the most severe and recurrent form of acid reflux.

Most acid reflux is easily controlled with diet and lifestyle changes. Losing weight, quitting smoking, reducing salt intake, increasing dietary fiber, slowing down at mealtimes and chewing food more thoroughly, avoiding foods which may commonly act as triggers to reflux, and exercise are among the best non-medication ways to help relieve yourself of acid reflux.

A major concern among healthcare providers is the chronic, over-use of medications by a large percentage of the population to treat the symptoms of acid reflux. Many of these medications, known as proton pump inhibitors, were originally developed as prescription medications and only intended to be taken for short periods of time typically around 6 weeks. These medications work very well to reduce the acid produced by the stomach. However, stomach acid is required to extract certain essential minerals from the foods we eat and long-term deficiencies of these minerals can lead to poor bone density, joint and muscle discomfort, and mood irregularities.

In place of the medications and the diet/lifestyle changes mentioned above, I recommend four natural strategies to my patients to help them safely combat acid reflux.

Eliminate Triggers and Add Bitter Foods

fast food
Common foods which can acts as triggers to acid reflux include coffee, alcohol, spicy peppers, citrus fruits, tomatoes, onions, mint, and high fat meals.

Many of us are lacking in the consumption of bitter foods. One great benefit of certain foods considered to be bitter is their ability to help eliminate acid reflux. Bitter foods can improve the efficiency of gastric emptying and reduce the symptoms of acid reflux.

A great natural way to help your stomach better digest food is to consume bitter foods like bitter green salads, Brassica vegetables, endive, cranberries, arugula, radishes, and other foods high in bitterness.


waking up

Studies published as early as 2007 have revealed that melatonin, a hormone produced by a gland in the brain that regulates the wake/sleep cycle and other daily biorhythms, may have potential as a new treatment option for those suffering from acid reflux.

The great news about the effectiveness of melatonin in treating acid reflux, is that it is naturally occurring in the body, so no foreign substances are introduced to the body.

Melatonin as a treatment for acid reflux was published in March 2007 in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology. Researchers tested the efficacy of melatonin for acid reflux on 60 participants, half of which received a placebo.

Those who received melatonin took 5mg every evening, and after 12 weeks, over half no longer felt symptoms of acid reflux.

Melatonin is widely available over-the-counter at any pharmacy or supermarket in the US and is non-habit forming. In addition, melatonin is much cheaper than prescription medication, and carries the added benefit of helping users fall asleep at bedtime.

Like any other treatment, melatonin won’t help everyone with their acid reflux. But at such a reasonable price, lack of harmful side-effects, and with the added benefit of better sleep – also linked to improved gastric function- melatonin is definitely worth a try.

Heel Drops

glass of water

Another interesting recommendation for relieving acid reflux is what is known as heel drops.

A heel drop is a method most often used by physical medicine practitioners to treat hiatal hernias, a condition which can cause many cases of acid reflux. The heel drop is also effective for treating milder acid reflux.

The method is simple:

  1. Drink approximately 8 ounces of slightly warm water immediately after getting out of bed in the morning.
  2. While standing, raise both arms to your side at 90 degrees, like a capital T, then fold your arms in at the elbows to touch your chest with your hands.
  3. Stand up as high as you can on your toes.
  4. Drop down on your heels.
  5. Repeat 10 times.

After your 10th drop, keep your arms raised and pant in short, rapid breaths for 15 seconds.

The heel drop works by helping to align the stomach and diaphragm, allowing your esophagus to get some relief. Be sure to repeat the heel drop for acid reflux until symptoms subside.

Introduce herbs which help to coat the linings of the esophagus and stomach.

marshmallow root plant

Many natural substances and botanical agents have been used for centuries to help protect the inner linings of the esophagus and stomach against the potentially damaging effects of stomach acid. The most widely available include sodium alginate (a seaweed extract), slippery elm bark, marshmallow root, deglycyrrhizinated licorice root extract, and Indian barberry. Ideally, a combination of these agents should be taken about 20-30 minutes prior to each meal.

Using these four strategies along with the diet/lifestyle changes mentioned above can go a long way in improving your symptoms of acids reflux without the potential negative long term consequences of taking proton pump inhibitors.

Antioxidants The Good, The Bad And The Ugly!

Antioxidants: The Good, The Bad (And The Ugly!)

You’re probably like over two-thirds of American who take at least one dietary supplement every day, and if you look at the ingredients of that supplement, it probably contains at least one antioxidant. However, if you take just one antioxidant or the wrong kind of antioxidant, it may cause more damage than good.

Antioxidants: The Good, The Bad (And The Ugly!)

How are Free Radicals Affecting You?

word cloud of free radicals and health We are constantly inundated by free radicals from our environment and within our bodies. We each have over 37 trillion cells, plus bacteria and microbes, but free radicals are always stealing electrons in an attempt to stabilize themselves. In doing so, they begin a chain reaction which can damage cell membranes, mitochondria, and alter your DNA. If left unchecked, it can wreak havoc on your body, affecting your immune system, accelerating aging, and making you more vulnerable to chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and vision and hearing changes.

Our bodies can counterattack by generating antioxidants to extract free radicals and help protect us. We also have enzyme systems like catalysts, superoxide dismutase, and glutathione paroxetine, and thioredoxin. There’s a catch though. Those electrons have to go somewhere out of the body so they’re not causing damage.

array of foods high in antioxidants

Consuming an antioxidant-rich diet full of fruits and vegetables, essential fatty acids, and functional foods can play a positive role, but many of us need additional support from dietary supplements. The buzz around antioxidants took off in the early ‘90s as the connection between oxidative damage, chronic inflammation, and chronic disease became increasingly clear. Additionally, studies came out showing that individuals who consumed a high content of antioxidants in their diet through fruits, vegetables, and fatty acids were at a lower risk of chronic disease than those individuals who did not.

Marketers began adding antioxidant-related claims to all sorts of foods and beverages, so in 1997 the FDA introduced rules about having to be specific with labeling. Companies had to list the antioxidants specifically as Vitamin C, Vitamin E, lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, lycopene, polyphenols, proanthocyanidins, quercetin, or catechins.

Antioxidants don’t work in the same ways but rather work together as a matrix, always regenerating and recycling. For instance, if your cellular membranes are being attacked by free radicals, essential fatty acids and vitamin E can help rid your body of those electrons while quercetin or ubiquinol can take care of those free radicals. Each antioxidant has its cycle of regeneration so if you’re taking just one antioxidant, you’re not paying attention to all the different pathways and cycles. Instead of relying on marketing claims, you need to figure out which supplements are worth your money and time.

What Kind of Antioxidants Should You Take?

senior woman struggling with joint pain in her knees

You should take a specific supplement based on your individual health goals. A 60-year-old with joint pain has different needs than a 30-year-old who’s struggling with sleep and insomnia. Looking specifically at mitochondria, which are in every cell of your body and are the energy producers. When mitochondria are damaged by free radicals, you experience changes in your sleep, muscle strength, aging, thyroid, and lipids. You can experience diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and dementia. One in 5000 individuals are affected by free radical damage to mitochondria, and making sense of all the information out there can be overwhelming.

breakfast foods with antioxidants and supplements

There’s a ton of conflicting information online and much of it is pushed by people trying to sell you specific supplements. It’s important to remember that antioxidants work as a team and if you’re not getting the full team, you may be causing more harm than good. When it comes to your diet, focus on eating the rainbow – eat nine servings of five colors of fruits and vegetables every day.

You should feel empowered on your journey to better health and part of that is taking the right supplements. Be sure to take a multi-antioxidant supplement so it can protect you from the damaging effects of free radicals.

Dr. Ryan Shelton of Zenith LabsIf you liked this video/article, do share it with your friends and loved ones. Subscribe to the Youtube channel for weekly tips on new tools and techniques to improve your health and well-being.

I believe in the original meaning of the word doctor, ‘docere’, which means teacher. I’m here to help educate you on how to take care of yourself in ways that you may not have heard of before, but that are effective. I always want to hear your ideas and feedback so be sure to leave me comments below!




Probiotics and Anti-Aging

Probiotics and Anti-Aging

Americans are only just recently discovering what other cultures have known forever, that the gut and the microbiota living there are instrumental in overall health. Not only can your gut control the amount of nutrients your body absorbs, but studies show that the microbiota living there can actually communicate with your body via chemical signals, even influencing your metabolism and how the body burns fat.

Probiotics, once an unknown word and concept, have moved into the forefront of the American awareness, largely due to word of mouth touting their ability to help restore gut health. The word probiotics is a general term used to describe all of the microorganisms living in the gut, but not all are beneficial. The gut contains an extremely delicate balance of microorganisms, some which are beneficial and others that are detrimental.

Consuming foods rich in beneficial probiotics, like sauerkraut, dark chocolate, microalgae, fermented foods like miso and kimchi, pickles and tempeh, can help to crowd the gut with good microbes which in turn starve out the bad ones.

Fermented probiotic foods

Having a well-rounded mix of microbes in the gut provides many benefits to the body, including helping to support healthy immune system function, preventing and treating urinary tract infections, improving digestive function, healing inflammatory bowel conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, managing and treating skin disorders like eczema, fighting food borne illnesses, boosting metabolism and telling the body to burn fat, and even providing support in how the body ages.

Scientists are discovering more benefits of probiotics every day. One recent study suggests that the microbes in the gut can affect how a person ages, helping to “restore acidic skin pH, alleviate oxidative stress, attenuate photoaging, improve skin barrier function, and enhance hair quality.” Researchers believe that probiotics are so integral to our survival, that they can slow the skin manifestations of both intrinsic and extrinsic aging, meaning that they can help the skin age slower at a cellular level in addition to the skin as a whole.

Another study looks at the effects of Lactobacillus gasseri SBT2055 (LG2055), and its ability to extend the lifespan of the animals they inhabit. Studies show that this specific strain of bacteria can help prevent the host from catching influenza A and other viruses, which can also help the host with longevity.

To test its effect on the aging process, scientists examined the effects of LG2055 on lifespan and aging of Caenorhabditis elegans, a species of roundworm that lives in temperate soil environments, and analyzed the mechanism of prolongevity, with the results showing a positive effect on longevity.

Researchers found that “Feeding with LG2055 upregulated the expression of the skn-1 gene and the target genes of SKN-1, encoding the antioxidant proteins enhancing antioxidant defense responses.”

Your DNA

For this study, results showed that LG2055 promoted the roundworm to express a gene that in turn had an antioxidant effect for the roundworm. Antioxidants are extremely important to living organisms, as they remove potentially damaging oxidizing agents, preventing against diseases like cancer.

For the roundworm, research concludes that “feeding with LG2055 is effective to the extend lifespan in C. elegans by a strengthening of the resistance to oxidative stress and by stimulating the innate immune response signaling including p38MAPK signaling pathway and others.”

Round worm

By introducing the right kind of probiotics to the gut of the roundworm, scientists were able to extend its lifespan. They discovered that the probiotics could cause the roundworm to express certain genes, increasing its ability to fight free radicals, the effect of oxidative stress on molecules in the body. Free radicals are so destructive because they lead to atomic chain reactions that can damage the body’s cells.

Another beneficial strain of probiotics is Lactobacillus plantarum HY7714 (HY7714), with studies showing that it can help slow down the aging process on our skin, the most visible age-identifier on our bodies.

Researchers studied these effects on 110 participants aged between 41 and 59 years, each with noticeable dry skin and wrinkles. Research lasted 12 weeks, during which time participants received either HY7714 or a placebo, measuring the skin for hydration, wrinkles, skin gloss, and elasticity. At the close of the trial, researchers noted significant increases in the skin water content of the face and hands for the group treated with HY7714.

Volunteers in the probiotic group also experienced significant reduction in wrinkle depth, and a significant increase in skin gloss by week 12. Finally, when skin elasticity was measured, the group taking HY7714 had improved elasticity by 13.17 percent by week 4, and almost 22 percent by week 12.

With anti-aging results as promising as these, it won’t be long before people are taking specifically engineered probiotics as part of their skin regimen.

The ability of probiotics to communicate with the body is truly amazing. One thinks of bacteria as tiny organisms without a central intelligence organ like a brain, just trudging around eating things, so it is truly incredible to realize that these tiny, seemingly insignificant organisms are so essential to the function of our body. They can talk to our bodies via the cells in our colon and intestines, relaying chemical messages that can benefit us in ways we’ve yet to fully understand.

Organisms in you body

Probiotics can be found in over-the-counter treatments like pills, or more easily in certain foods. Some cultures have been consuming them, unwittingly enough, for ages. Asian foods feature many fermented foods like miso and kimchi, each one a probiotic powerhouse. But other cultures enjoy probiotic rich foods as well.

Without the technology to study the mechanisms of fermented foods, these cultures simply relied on their gut to inform them of the benefits of fermented foods. When you eat them regularly, you just feel good.

Fermented soybean paste

Miso, or fermented soybean paste, has been found to have radio-protective properties, preventing against radiation effects, but is also a rich source of calcium, isoflavones, and vitamin K, each of which helps maintain bone health. In addition, miso is rich in probiotics, helping to heal the gut and benefit the body in ways yet unknown.

Another great probiotic food is sauerkraut. Cabbage alone is dietary powerhouse, with high levels of dietary fiber, vitamins A, C, K, and many B vitamins, as well as iron, manganese, copper, sodium, magnesium, and calcium. Sauerkraut also contributes a healthy amount of protein to the diet, along with large levels of probiotics to help the digestive tract and help the body absorb all of those nutrients effectively.


Probiotics are nature’s little helpers and chances are you’re not getting enough probiotics in your diet. The Western diet is typically high in fat and sodium, and low in nutrients. Getting more probiotics can require a pretty serious lifestyle change for some, but be assured that your body will thank you for it.

Anti Aging Superfoods


When we think of things that we consider to be super, we often think of superheroes. While these marvels only exist in the minds of movie and comic book creators, we’ve got our own superheroes right here on Earth. Many of us consider our parents, our mentors, perhaps even our children as our superhereos as well.

The term superfood is used to describe our most amazing foods available to us, simply marvels in Nature among other normal foods. Using food as medicine, these superfoods top any list for their health promoting benefits. Superfoods are extremely nutrient rich foods that are touted for their extraordinary health benefits for a variety of different reasons.

Among the most desired effects of consuming more superfoods is for their anti-aging properties. Some even regard superfoods as the fountain of youth to help prevent illness encourage radiant looking skin, and potentially slow down the aging process.

Generally. superfoods will contain large quantities of antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins, and mineral…all things that provide their own individual benefits to the body. Many also contain beneficial bacteria or health promoting forms of fiber. Among the most coveted superfoods are green tea, grapes, berries and cherries, nuts and seeds Brassica vegetables, tomatoes, avocados, kefir, medicinal mushrooms, edible seaweeds, and salmon, each a superfood in its own way.

grapes tomatoes green tea cherries

Foods high in antioxidants like green tea, grapes, berries and cherries, and tomatoes help reduce the amounts of free radicals in the body. These superfoods can also help improve brain function, fat loss, and lower the risk of developing certain diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, depression and anxiety.

Tomatoes are prized for their anti-aging properties, as studies show that its main antioxidant, lycopene, can protect the skin from harmful UV rays. Grapes, berries and cherries contain polyphenols, resveratrol and proanthocyanidins, which are other powerful antioxidants great to slow down the aging process. Resveratrol and pterostilbene are antioxidants of particular interest when it comes to anti-aging. The first human-safety study of pterostilbene was published in 2013, and investigations have intensified since then. Pterostilbene is now championed as a more potent form of resveratrol. It’s said to offer all of the previously known benefits of resveratrol but with superior bioavailability.

Omega fatty acids are found in foods like avocado, fish, and nuts and seeds. These beneficial fats help lower triglyceride levels in the body, can help mitigate the benefits of rheumatoid arthritis, and can even help with depression, asthma, ADHD, and Alzheimer’s disease, among many other healthy benefits.

avocado fish nuts seeds

Several studies were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, November 2007 edition, which all concluded that in the elderly, a diet high in fish and fish products is associated with better cognitive performance in a dose-dependent manner. Maximum effect was observed at an average intake of ≈75 g/d (or 2.5 oz/day). And newer studies show the same results. In a 2017 study, higher fish intake was associated with slower decline in both overall cognition and memory. Consuming ≥4 servings/week versus <1 serving/week of fish was associated with a lower rate of memory decline.

Advancements in our studies of antioxidants like flavonoids, polyphenols, anthocyanidins and all the other beneficial phytochemicals still doesn’t change the basic fact that fish is one of nature’s premier anti-aging foods. Each ounce of salmon contains roughly 500 mg of omega-3. Most of us should consume a 4 oz portion yielding about 2000 mg of omega-3, ideally at least 3 times a week.

probiotics joghurt dark chocolate pickles sauerkraut kimchi

Probiotics are found naturally in the gut and are essential for optimal health. Fermented foods like kefir, yogurt, soft cheeses, sauerkraut, pickles, and even dark chocolate contain high levels of probiotics.

Probiotics help balance the flora in the digestive tract, which helps boost the immune system, improve digestive function and nutrient absorption, can help manage certain skin conditions like eczema, and can help to balance out your moods.

Brasssica (also known as cruciferous) vegetables contain unique sulphur containing compounds named glucosinolates, such as glucoraphanin and glucobrassicin. The glucosinolates are metabolized by our bodies into indoles and isothiocyanates. These sulphur compounds are tremendously helpful to maintain liver health, promote healthy detoxification from harmful chemicals, and may even protect us against certain types of cancer. Brassica vegetables include foods like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, arugula, bok choy, collard greens, and Brussels sprouts.

seaweed salad

Medicinal mushrooms contain beneficial compounds found nowhere else in Nature. Mushrooms such as white button, Shiitake, Reishi, Lion’s main, and Maitake contain powerful antioxidants, amino acids, and unique forms of fiber which can act as anti-inflammatory agents for your brain, super boost your immune system, and targets anti-again genes.

Edible seaweeds (red, green, and brown) are rich in vitamins and trace minerals, contain antioxidants such as fucoxanthin to protect your body from free radicals, special forms of fiber to support healthy bacterial growth in your gut and promotes weight loss, and improving risks of developing both cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Seaweeds may sound intimidating to you, however, they are extremely versatile and can be used in many dishes, including sushi rolls, soups and stews, salads, and smoothies.

You don’t have to travel to krypton to find a superhero. We’ve got a ton of wonderful superfoods right here in Earth to help you stay healthy, fit, and feeling young for ages to come.

Vegan Diet Benefits and Risks

Vegan Diet Benefits and Risks


People around the world implement a variety of dietary and nutritional plans to achieve and maintain their health and wellness. Often, these choices can vary from one culture and set of traditions to another. Some dietary strategies focus on fats or other trending topics, and as a result, they come and go quickly. Other dietary strategies, such as the vegan diet, have more staying power.

vegan wrap with avocado and carrots

We’re going to talk about the potential benefits and risks of choosing a vegan diet. People choose to be vegan for a variety of reasons such as tradition, culture, ecological reasons, or ethical beliefs. Some people choose to be vegan simply because, based on several studies, it’s good for your overall health.

Vegan Diet Benefits and Risks

My Experience as a Vegan

man chopping vegetables on a cutting board

I personally have experienced being a vegan. 25 years ago, when I was a freshman in university, I went through a personal tragedy that made me want to be a vegan. My grandfather died of a heart attack much too early in his life. I had watched him eat a lot of fried foods and meats, and as an aspiring scientist, my first instinct was to look up dietary research. Sure enough, I found several articles that showed how being a vegetarian or vegan can reduce major risk factors for cardiovascular disease and some types of cancer.

I was only a vegan for one year because as a freshman in college, I found it difficult socially to keep up with. My friends wanted to go out to eat hamburgers and hot wings, so I often found myself on the outside looking in. I chose to gradually reintroduce meat in a responsible way and that choice has stuck to this day. I eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, healthy proteins, and healthy fats. When it comes to protein and dairy products, I make smart and ethical choices around what I choose to consume.

Being a Healthy Vegan

vegan protein sources like tofu, beans, and nuts

There is a healthy way to be a vegan as well as an unhealthy way. Some people switch to veganism and end up consuming primarily refined carbohydrates, thinking they’re making healthy choices. Unfortunately, that can lead to deficiencies in micronutrients like vitamins and minerals, and macronutrients like essential proteins.

If you’re not mindful of your food choices as a vegan, you may become deficient in calcium, iron, or zinc. It’s important to eat dark leafy greens, nuts, and seeds for calcium and iron. Amino acid deficiencies can be common if you’re not eating enough nuts, seeds, whole grains, beans, and legumes. The vegan diet also does not contain any natural vitamin B12 so it’s recommended that you use a supplement.

Beans and legumes tend to be low in an amino acid called methionine but high in lysine, both of which are essential amino acids. Grains are the opposite though, low in lysine but high in methionine. Therefore, it’s important to get both beans and grains in your diet, which will help you maintain good health on a vegan diet.

Dr. Ryan Shelton of Zenith LabsIf you liked this video/article, do share it with your friends and loved ones. Subscribe to the Youtube channel for weekly tips on new tools and techniques to improve your health and well-being.

I believe in the original meaning of the word doctor, ‘docere’, which means teacher. I’m here to help educate you on how to take care of yourself in ways that you may not have heard of before, but that are effective. I always want to hear your ideas and feedback so be sure to leave me comments below!




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