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Vanadium: Beautifully Beneficial

Flickr/Kathy Sunderman

Flickr/Kathy Sunderman

Is Vanadium right for you? It seems from its discovery that it was destined to color your health.

Vanadium is a trace mineral originally discovered in the 1800’s in Mexico.

It was named after the Scandinavian goddess of beauty, Vanadis, because of the many beautifully colored compounds it produces.

How does it help? Vanadium has been used for medicinal purposes for many years. Scientists aren’t sure about exact mechanisms, but your body may need vanadium in tiny amounts particularly in relation to normal bone growth.  There is evidence it mimics the effects of Insulin and helps to keep healthy levels of sugar in blood, which has made this supplement a popular choice to support healthy blood sugar levels.

Where do we find it? Vanadium is an essential trace mineral. It is found in nature in the soil and in many foods. The richest sources of this micronutrient are found naturally in sunflower, safflower, corn, mushrooms, shellfish, black pepper and olive oil, as well as buckwheat, parsley, oats, rice, green beans, carrots, cabbage, and dill.

The good news is you don’t need the Scandinavian deity to ensure Vanadium goodness in your diet…you can try a good source supplement! Surely healthy levels of blood sugar will boost your beauty from the inside out!

-Dr. Jackie Miodownik-Aisenberg M.D. PhD – Internist

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Weight Loss: Advertising vs Realities



Have you ever watched a television commercial or read a print advertisement that guaranteed you the ability to lose weight with little to no efforts on your behalf or that appeared to be the magic fix that would enable weight loss? I have, in-fact millions of people worldwide have witnessed advertising and marketing for weight loss products and services. Many of these marketing programs cost extra money (different than a book with a plan to follow, for example) beyond that of what foods cost alone. In this vein, today’s blog-column examines some of these fad-advertising themes with straight, true guidance for you. The guidance for you is meant to assist you in achieving any weight loss goals, except this blog is without hype or the need for you to utilize your credit card for something special in the fight for a skinnier you.


  1. The Cigarette Diet – in the early 1920’s, the Lucky Strike brand of cigarettes marketed their cigarettes as a tool to aid in reducing appetite and for weight loss.
  2. The Tapeworm Diet – Can you believe that at one time, it was advertised to the public to use and swallow tapeworms to aid in weight loss? Tapeworms, when ingested hatch eggs, yield more worms and these worms can live within your small intestines. The tapeworm will expand up to about 20 inches in length. The tapeworm will also eat much of the food that you ingest, allowing you not to absorb all of the calories that you eat, resulting in weight loss. Would you want to use worms and them come out of your body if it aided in weight loss? Most would not. Thus, this weight loss plan fell out of favor.
  3. The Grapefruit Diet – this diet was advertised as a way to help weight loss. The reality is if you eat ½ to 1 whole grapefruit before eating each meal, which it would aid in burning extra calories and in significant weight loss. The reality is, the advertising campaign helped the citrus and farming industries, but not waistlines. Yes, eating at least ½ a grapefruit before each meal can aid in burning extra calories throughout the day, however over time this may not actually translate into much weight loss.
  4. The Master Cleanse Diet – this basic plan uses drinking juices and homemade juices to induce weight loss while imparting wellness. The diet is lower in calorie and the calories come from juices and honey for the most part while missing many classes and types of phytochemicals and nutrients. In fact, many people who have tried this liquid only diet, have quit due to excessive hunger and feelings of body related fatigue. It is a low calorie weight loss plan can lead to many nutrient           deficiencies.
  5. Take this pill for instant weight loss – infomercials and print ads have claimed that if you take some magic substance that only the company has access to in your quest for weight loss, then your results are guaranteed. Can this guarantee be true? Is a sport team mascot really an animal? Meaning no, if something sounds too good to be true, it is! Sure some dietary supplements and select herbals, standardized to contain a certain amount and type of bioactive components have been shown in research to aid in weight loss. These are the types of products to search for. Fad induced weight loss can help for short-term health promotion reasons, however without lifestyle changes (eating a little less than you need and including exercise daily or almost daily basis), the weight loss will only be short-term. The weight gain rebound is worse.


Five tips for true weight loss:


  1. Eat your larger meals earlier in the day – this allows more time throughout the day to burn off what you ate.
  2. Eat ½ the portion(s) that you want or think that you need. Also make the foods and meals that you are going to have be higher in protein and fiber content. If you are still hungry later on in the day, have a protein-rich food.
  3. Talk a 10-15 minute walk after each meal. The added stimulus of activity helps digestion and extra calorie burning.
  4. If wanting to use a dietary supplement for weight loss, realize that there is no magic pill, but the program in whole that seems best, has to include some exercise and smart eating. Think of the supplement as a catalyst that won’t on it’s help own for weight loss.
  5. Avoid anything that seems like it is just popular now or a fad. Fads help spot-weight reduction only – the spot on you that gets reduced is your wallet.


The idea of today’s blog is to share with you that if something sounds too good to be true, then, it probably is! Yes, some dietary supplements for weight control work and can be the spark for you to help the lifestyle change needed to sustain weight loss then maintain the lost weight. In order to determine just which products may fit this type of bill, ask then what direct research has been undertaken. If the company answers you, you can feel a little better about the product, however ask to read the research.


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Does Glucosamine actually work to prevent arthritis?


Just about everyone develops degenerative arthritis – or what we better know as wear and tear arthritis. Glucosamine is a compound that has received some attention recently as a supplement that has been shown to potentially slow arthritis progression. It is a supplement derived from proteins very similar to those found inside normal healthy cartilage and joints. Anatomical changes to the cartilage in the setting of wear as well as the actual discomfort of joint arthritis have been studied in patients taking glucosamine, with favorable results for both. Glucosamine sulfate is the preferred formulation to the hydrochloride version, but both are beneficial. It seems that glucosamine improves the water retention properties of the cartilage, essentially plumping it up  – allowing it to be more flexible and resistant to stresses. Some physicians recommend at least a 3 month trial of any supplement to assess potential benefit from any new vitamin, and patients may typically experience an improvement in pain and movement, however even in someone who does not see a clear cut change in symptoms with regular use of glucosamine benefits may still be gained over time. So it seems this is really an issue of protection. An investment in potential long term cushioning of the aging process of the cartilage and joint structures of the main joints of the body.

-Dr. Olga Kromo M.D – Rheumatologist

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How to Make More Money Through Nutrition

Flickr/Lindsey Turner

Flickr/Lindsey Turner

There are many health-promoting activities that one can get involved with. From how one eats, to sleep habits as well as exercise and activity are all examples of health-promoting activities. Throughout our lifespans there are ample opportunities to impact learning or earning power. If you think of missed days of school in any of your key learning years as the same once in the work force, and thus a part of the earning power as gain days and days where you missed a day or more of school or work as a loss day, we can put a value together for the “cost savings opportunity”.


A recent study found that consuming probiotics might decrease the duration of common upper respiratory infection significantly as compared to a placebo. Decreased duration of a cold also means less overall sick time. In practical terms, ingesting Lactobacillus and/or Bifidobacterium, which is found in yogurts and dietary supplements can help reduce the duration of the common cold. In the study, those on the probiotics experienced shorter illness episodes and few days absent from daycare, school or work versus those on placebo. Amongst the conclusions was also a referral to a 2011 published meta-analysis as support for the current and now reaffirmed findings.


In the United States, 22 million school days and 20 million workdays are lost due to the common cold and the economic impact of these lost days is estimated at $40 million. Any saved lost days, saves money and also allows greater learning opportunity. Probiotics as found in foods and in dietary supplements support the immune system and now are reaffirmed to be helpful with the common cold.


Some take home tips for staying healthy:


  1. Eat or take probiotics daily
  2. Wash your hands a few times daily
  3. Get adequate sleep
  4. Make protein a part of each meal
  5. Stay hydrated
  6. Enjoy a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables throughout the day
  7. Exercise


Yours in Health!


Douglas Kalman PhD RD


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  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21901706
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24780623


5 Slimming Foods

Chicken and Salad

Can it be true? Are there actual foods that can help you slim? We all know that weight management is an ongoing issue throughout the United States and perhaps other parts of the world too. For keeping a healthy weight the easy part to understand is that one needs to manage the calories in (from food and beverages) versus calories burned (from physical activity and daily living). However, this is not always so easy to eat less and move more. This being said, there are tricks that one can use to help keep the food intake part of the equation in check. The purpose of this article is to point out foods worthy of including in your daily fare to help with maintaining a slimmer you.


  1. Green or Oolong Tea – These two teas are typically found in Japanese and Chinese restaurants. They come from the same plant it is only the aging of the plant that makes the difference in tea color and taste. Studies have shown that when one drinks these teas and especially five glasses per day (total of 40 ounces), it makes the body burn an extra 90-100 calories per day. This is due to the special kind of polyphenols (catechins) that are found in the tea. Drink up to lose weight!
  2. Fiber – Fiber can be soluble or insoluble. Soluble fibers help with cholesterol management while the insoluble help with maintaining regularity. Studies show that meals that include fiber help a person feel full and feel full longer. Thus fiber can help with slimming as it helps you feel full so you will eat less food over a 24-hour period. Fiber intake for men and women is recommended to be 35 and 25 grams per day respectively. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are good sources of natural fiber. Have fiber at eat meal and snack. Read food labels and look for at least 3 or more grams fiber per serving.
  3. Mixed Greens Salad – Research has shown that when people dine out and they have either a salad or a piece of bread (roll) before the main meal, they eat less and feel fuller with a salad as the appetizer or starter. Lettuce and other greens used in salads contain water, some vitamins and minerals. The water content of foods can help with the food having a slimming effect. Aim to have a salad before your meals though do ditch the full fat dressings for more natural “vinaigrette” type dressing if you need one at all.
  4. Chicken and Fish – We are not saying that you must have chicken or fish with every meal, however research shows us that when the diet is higher in protein at the expense of some carbohydrate, that weight loss becomes easier. Diets that contain somewhere between 23 and 28 percent protein aid thermogenesis and satiety, so one burns more calories over a 24-hour period and feels less hungry. The tip is to always include protein in every meal or snack of the day. Protein foods include fish, chicken, turkey, fish, lean red meat, eggs and so forth.
  5. Plectranthus barbatus – is a plant that grows in India and other arid areas of the world. The common name for this food is Coleus Forskohlin (which has many spellings). Coleus (the root) is typically eaten as a pickle. Include it daily in your plan. Believe it or not, many medicines can be made from this plant. People also make tea from Coleus. Look to include this Indian and African botanical in your food meal or as a tea. It is also currently available in dietary supplement form with early evidence showing a weight loss effect.


Some say it is the small things that one does over time that can have a big impact. For slimming or weight management, this most certainly this is true. We believe including the aforementioned foods and themes in your diet is one sure way to help with weight and waist management. For great recipes to get you started see this link: http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20678467_3,00.html


To Your Health!

– Douglas S. Kalman PhD RD

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@Miami_Nutrition and


How can I make sure to receive study drug in a research trial and why does the study have placebos?

Medication Trial

Most Clinical Trials are “double blind”meaning that neither the patient nor the medical team know what medication or dose they are receiving until the study is over. Occasionally studies are “open label” where everyone knows what treatment the patient is getting. Less frequently studies can be single ” single blind” where one of the parties is aware of the treatment and the other is not.

In addition most trials involve a placebo which is a tablet that looks like the test medication but has no active ingredients. These trials compare the safety and efficacy of a new medication to a placebo or no treatment. This  can pose an ethical dilemma when a trial is evaluating a medical condition that has good medical options, hence participating in a trial may result in the individual not being treated for their medical issue

Occasionally trials use a comparator drug or different doses of the study drug  however the most effective way to test the efficacy and safety of a product is in a placebo controlled  double blind trial which  is ” the gold standard” .

I tell my patients that enrolling in a trial is important to help bring new safe treatment options to the market and does not always benefit those participating. Communication between the study team and study participant is crucial for a study to be successful.

-Dr. Howard Schwartz M.D. – Gastroenterologist

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Three Tips to Avoid Binging

Wine Glass

Every now and then do you enjoy a glass of wine with your dinner? Or perhaps, do you and your significant other sit, open a bottle of wine, enjoy some food and relax with each other? All of these aforementioned things can be fine and healthy and certainly are commonplace in adult society. So, should one worry if you like to include wine in your lifestyle?


Experts say that when it comes to food, to eat all things in moderation. However, how many moderates do you really know? Look around you with two-thirds of American society either overweight or obese, clearly the word moderation is not well understood. Yes, one can argue that weight status has nothing to do with enjoying the seasonal varietal, however such an argument might be short sighted. Weight status is related to how many calories we eat (consume) and how much we burn throughout the day and more importantly, over time. Can a single night of having perhaps instead of one glass of wine, but now three negatively affect you?


A new research study has found that having three glasses of wine can alter brain chemistry and decision making over the next 24-hours. In this study survey of over 2,000 adults, more than 50% said whenever they had three glasses of wine or more, within the next day, found themselves binging on food. The binge resulted in anywhere from 2,000 to 6,000 calories being eaten within the 24-hour period. As you might guess, the majority of people in this study also did not exercise the day after they binged (meaning the day after just having three glasses of wine).


So if you know that you might be having more than three glasses of wine and do not want to suffer all of the consequences possible from this, what might you do?


  1. Do not drink on an empty stomach. Make sure to eat food throughout the day and of course, to keep it low sodium. Extra salt makes you thirstier, salting foods is a great bartenders trick to make you buy more drinks.
  2. For every glass of wine ingested, drink an equal amount of water. Have an extra glass of water before going to sleep. This can help offset the diuretic effects of alcohol and prepare your body for a healthy tomorrow.
  3. The next day, when you awake, have a big glass of water, stretch and have a healthy breakfast. Within an hour, go for exercise or at least a long walk of at least 45 minutes. This helps to maintain a great metabolism and promotes healthier digestion. In addition, the exercise and healthy eating helps set your brain for a great day.


No one purposely wants to overeat when knowing that they can end up overweight and unhealthy. Drinking three or more glasses of wine can affect thinking and other mental processes. Being aware of this when just enjoying a bottle of wine with a friend or a mate can help you prepare for success the next day versus overeating or binging on extra food. These three little steps can help protect you from unwanted next day and longer effects of a nice evening.


To Your Health!

– Douglas S. Kalman PhD RD


For more great health and lifestyle tips, please follow me on Twitter:






1. http://www.bbc.com/news/health-27124357

Is it safe to participate in a clinical trial?  

Clinical Study

In general all research studies are designed to minimize the risk to the volunteers participating in the clinical trial. Most drug studies start evaluating the safety of the drug at the lowest dose and only move onto higher doses once a lower dose is found to be safe. During the trial, medical exams, office visits, laboratory and diagnostic test are unitized to monitor individuals safety and wellbeing while they are in a clinical trial.

It is important that you see your study doctor at every trial visit and let them know if you are experiencing any side effects from the investigational treatment. In my opinion, there are risks to any new treatment; however, if you have an informed volunteer with an experienced physician and a trial team, the study process works and the benefits out way the risks for most study participants.

Remember, as a study participant you can withdrawal or discontinue your study participation at any time for any reason without penalty or prejudice.

Thank you for following this series of articles. My goal is for you to be informed and have more knowledge about clinical trials. Don’t miss next week topic on study drug versus placebo.


-Dr. Howard Schwartz M.D. – Gastroenterologist

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Five Ways to Burn Extra Calories Without Trying

weight loss

Achieving and maintaining weight loss is not always so easy. Foods, snacks, beverages and more are constantly being advertised. It might now be more of a rarity to drive and not see a fast food restaurant and yet other places that sell or retail foods and beverages. Technology has opened up new ways of working and living to help us be more efficient with our time. One end result of these improvements is we are less active in general than in years past. Frustrations with weight can also result. Thinking about nutrition or health interventions that may be helpful, I examined the most current medical and scientific research as published by the National Library of Medicine. The tips are summarized below.

  1. 36,500 extra calories burned, just like that! One recent study found that by drinking extra tea one may burn about up to an extra 100 calories per day. Try drinking five cups of either green or oolong tea in order to enjoy this benefit (1,2).
  2. Might there be a treatment for cellulite? The answer is yes! In fact, it appears that Johnson & Johnson has a formula in mind, from what they recently tested in France, described as “topical cosmetic slimming product combining tetrahydroxypropyl ethylenediamine, caffeine, carnitine, forskolin and retinol.” (3) Read your favorite product labels, if you see these ingredients, chances are, you have the product that was effective in the referenced study.
  3. Berberine, an alkaloid found in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has weight loss effects while also supporting healthy cholesterol (lipid) levels. (4)
  4. A new B-like vitamin positively influences energy metabolism and reduces inflammation. This vitamin is known as PQQ. Research dosage found to be beneficial in humans was about 20 mg (5).
  5. Whey for weight loss? Whey protein combined with glucomannan fiber aids in feelings of satiety. In fact, the reduction in want to eat correlated with hormonal indicators of the same. The dose needed of both ingredients was small, 8 grams whey plus 1-gram glucomannan (6). This is easy to find in the health food store or online.

Today’s blog goal was to share evidence-based, referenced modern scientific solutions to help you obtain your goals. The evidence shared on this blog is meant to be used as simple tips that may help you in weight loss support. Nutrition is an evolutionary science, we are always learning more. Hopefully this blog serves you well in helping you to achieve your health and fitness goals.


To Your Health!


– Douglas S. Kalman PhD RD



For more great health and lifestyle tips, please follow me on Twitter:






  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=oolong+tea+and+thermogenesis
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20156466
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21564138
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22739410
  5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24231099
  6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24319546