Category Archives: Healthy Aging

Oatmeal, Satiety and the Satiety Index

A small study titled “Acute Effect of Oatmeal on Subjective Measures of Appetite and Satiety Compared to Ready-to-Eat Breakfast Cereal: A Randomized Crossover Study” was recently published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.

The study showed that a simple low caloric, high satisfaction breakfast primarily of oatmeal “can prolong the period between meals and thus help establish habits conducive to weight loss.”

β-glucan content of the oatmeal, a viscous fiber, seems to result in the high satiety index of oatmeal. Its important to note that the oatmeal be as unprocessed as possible, for example muesli is only half as satisfying as oatmeal using the satiety index.


The Satiety Index of foods was developed by Susanna Holt PhD, and associates at the University Of Sydney. It adds a further refinement to other food indexes such as the Glycemic Index

Interestingly even though boiled potatoes are high on the Glycemic Index they are also the highest food on the Satiety Index. Meaning that if you fill up on them (note, not fries) you will stay full for a long time and therefore eat less. If you eat them with other foods, you will eat less.

More on this at


The Pima Paradox also shows how a high Satiety Index can greatly alter a high Glycemic Index score.

Whereas the Pima Indians have a significant genetic propensity toward diabetes which manifests in those consuming (in Arizona) a modern diet of plentiful refined carbohydrates, animal fat and protein. Their traditional diet (still consumed in Mexico) however comprises large amounts of corn and potatoes as well as activity, resulting in lean body mass and rare incidence of hyperinsulinemia, obesity and type 2 diabetes (NIDDM).


Thomas Martin LAc.

Health Benefits of Coffee

While caffeine has been  demonized by CAM practitioners for decades an increasing number of studies are supporting tea and coffee consumption in moderated daily quantities (even in some studies what would generally be considered excessive consumption). Coffee which contains numerous flavonoids, chlorogenic acid and the antioxidant caffeine, has been shown to to reduce incidence of several diseases and support healthy brain function.

A study conducted at the University of South Florida and the University of Miami involving 124 people aged 65 to 88 was published 6/5/12 in the Journal Of Alzheimer’s Disease. It showed that those individuals with the highest blood caffeine levels actually avoided conversion of mild memory impairment to Alzheimers disease in the 2 to 4 year period in which the study was conducted.

“These intriguing results suggest that older adults with mild memory impairment who drink moderate levels of coffee — about 3 cups a day — will not convert to Alzheimer’s disease — or at least will experience a substantial delay before converting to Alzheimer’s,” said study lead author Dr. Chuanhai Cao, a neuroscientist at the USF College of Pharmacy and the USF Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute. “The results from this study, along with our earlier studies in Alzheimer’s mice, are very consistent in indicating that moderate daily caffeine/coffee intake throughout adulthood should appreciably protect against Alzheimer’s disease later in life.”


The following article published by the Life Extension Foundation, an integrative medicine research organization, outlines the numerous health benefits of coffee – 

  • Decaffeinated and caffeinated coffee lowered the risk of kidney stones in women by 9 and 10%, respectively.
  • Caffeinated coffee reduced the incidence of gallstones and gall bladder disease in both men and women.
  • Scientists found that coffee boosted regular weight loss by 8 pounds and promoted body fat metabolism.
  • Sometimes-inconsistent findings have generally linked coffee drinking with reduced all-cause mortality and cardiovascular mortality.
  • For athletes, caffeine reduced muscle pain, increased energy (ergogenic aid), and enhanced endurance.
  • One study found caffeine, taken 2 hours before exercise, prevented exercise-induced asthma.
  • Confirming earlier research, a 2011 study on over 50,000 women found that 4 cups of coffee daily lowered the risk of depression by 20%, compared to coffee abstainers.
  • Antibacterials in coffee were found to inhibit plaque formation and prevent dental decay.
  • Whether caffeinated or decaffeinated, coffee consumption prevents constipation  and – despite the myth that coffee dehydrates the body – contributes to the body’s fluid requirements.
  • Caffeine is believed to boost by 40% the effectiveness of pain relievers against headaches. Caffeine also helps the body absorb headache medications more quickly.

      A large, as-yet-unpublished study presented October 24, 2011, found that men and women with the highest coffee consumption have a 13% and 18% lower risk, respectively, for  basal cell carcinoma (a type of skin cancer).129

      The May 14, 2011, issue of Breast Cancer Research reported that postmenopausal women who consumed 5 cups of coffee daily exhibited a 57% decrease in their risk of developing ER-negative

      A promising study appeared in the June 8, 2011, issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The research team reported that men who drank over 6 cups of coffee a day had an 18% lower risk of prostate cancer – and a 40% lower risk of aggressive or lethal prostate cancer.

      A 2009 meta-analysis in the Annals of Internal Medicine combined data on over 450,000 people and found that every additional cup per day of caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee lowered the risk of diabetes by 5 to 10%.

     Caffeinated coffee has also been associated with protection against Parkinson’s disease, the second most common neurodegenerative disorder after Alzheimer’s. A study of 29,000 individuals found that one to four cups daily decreased the risk of Parkinson’s by 47% and 5 or more cups decreased the risk by 60%.

     Many epidemiological studies show that the risk of diabetes drops directly according to the amount of coffee consumed. For instance, scientists found that overall risk is reduced by:

  •                1. 13% with one cup a day
  •                2. 47% with 4 cups a day,
  •                3. 67% with 12 cups a day.

It’s noted that most of the benefits outlined are available with decaffeinated coffee as well. Also for many people coffee is the major or only source of  polyphenols in the diet so those consuming a whole foods largely plant-based diet will already likely have significant reduction in incidence of diseases mentioned above. It’s also difficult to deduce which of the 1,000 phytochemicals contained in coffee are responsible for improved health though chlorogenic acid and caffeine may have significant play in neurodegenerative disorders.


Thomas Martin LAc.

The Triage Theory and Supplementing For Healthy Aging

The importance of taking supplements along with a healthy diet, though at the very least a prudent healthy practice, continues to be controversial in mainstream medicine. Widespread deficiencies have been reported especially in the elderly, the poor, obese individuals, pregnant women and those undergoing sustained stress. The genetic need for micronutrients also likely varies greatly among individuals.

Dr. Ames who is emeritus professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of California, developed the Triage Theory of optimal nutrition. The theory shows how over extended periods of time hidden deficiencies in vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients can result in age-related diseases.

When essential nutrients in the diet are limited the body shunts then into functions essential for immediate survival, such as reproduction, so on the surface an individual may appear healthy despite dietary deficiency. As we age however these hidden deficiencies begin to manifest in disease.

There are more or less 40 substances essential for every metabolic pathway in the body – approximately 15 vitamins that are co-enzymes and 15 minerals that are required in enzymes, two essential fatty acids, omega-3 and omega-6, and about eight essential amino acids.

Despite an abundance of macronutrients such as protein, fat and carbohydrates the modern diet is frequently deficient in many of the above micronutrients.

Such Triage Theory deficiencies are especially damaging to mitochondria, components in cells responsible for energy production. This age-related decay not only affects DNA/RNA but weakens cell membranes, reduces oxygen uptake, oxidises fats, increases the formation of cancer promoting metabolites. To this end Dr. Ames’ laboratory is currently working on the use of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants such as lipoic acid and the amino acid acetyl l carnitine to reduce cellular decline and degeneration.


From Dr. Ames’ website –

Inadequate intakes of vitamins and minerals from food can lead to DNA damage, mitochondrial decay, and other pathologies (7). Intakes below the…RDA, are widespread (e.g. in the U.S.: 56% for magnesium; 12% for zinc; 16% menstruating women for iron; 16% of women for folate) (7).

(Deficiencies) are particularly widespread among the poor, African-Americans, teenagers, the obese, and the elderly (7).

Inadequate intake of folate, B12, or B6 leads to uracil incorporation into DNA and chromosome breaks —a radiation mimic (8, 9).

Inadequate zinc in human cells in culture causes release of oxidants, oxidative damage to DNA, and inactivation of p53 and other zinc enzymes involved in DNA damage repair (10, 11).

Inadequate iron intake inactivates Complex IV in mitochondria, which causes oxidant release, mitochondrial decay, and DNA damage; in the brain complex IV inactivation mimics the neurodegeneration of aging (12, 13).

Biotin inadequacy from food is present in 40% of pregnant women; biotin deficiency in human cells in culture leads to oxidant release, DNA damage, accelerated mitochondrial decay, and premature senescence (14).

Magnesium deficiency in human cells in culture causes mtDNA- protein crosslinks, accelerated telemore shortening, and premature senescence (15).

I suggest evolutionary allocation of scarce micronutrients by enzyme triage is an explanation of why DNA damage is commonly found on micronutrient deficiency (7).

We are developing sensitive assays for measuring DNA damage in human blood (16) so as to determine what level of each micronutrient is optimum for keeping DNA damage to a minimum.

We are exploring the effect of high dose B vitamins in delaying the mitochondrial decay of aging (18)…An optimum intake of micronutrients and metabolites, which varies with age and genetics, should tune up metabolism and markedly increase health at little cost, particularly for the poor, obese, and elderly (7).


Also on Dr. Ames‘ research – Low micronutrient intake may accelerate the degenerative diseases of aging through allocation of scarce micronutrients by triage. –

Optimal micronutrients delay mitochondrial decay and age-associated diseases –  

Are vitamin and mineral deficiencies a major cancer risk? –


Harvard School of Public Health recommends a daily multivitamin supplement.

Here’s an example of a high-quality multivitamin supplement (add magnesium and calcium to complete it) –

Thomas Martin LAc.