Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Acid vs Alkaline Diets

Acid vs Alkaline

Why add lemon to your water?  Acid vs Alkaline is a relative measure of acidity based on the pH scale.  However, when we look at nutritional quality of food, we actually measure the effect of the foods once they enter the body, rather than testing the food itself.  If you were to test a lemon before eating it, it would indicate a very acidic pH.  However, once in the body, this same food proves to have a very alkalinizing effects on the body. 

The food that enters our mouth gets digested leaving us with the nutritional qualities that we need to thrive.  Each food, once digested, leaves residues in the body.  Alkaline foods provide minerals that can help us to neutralize acids withing the body.  Acidic foods leave acids that need to be neutralized.  Unfortunately, the process of neutralizing these acidic foods takes minerals from within the body.  If you eat too many acidic foods, your body can run out of the minerals needed to keep you healthy.  Once your body runs our of minerals, dis-ease can set in.

So, what is the best ratio to consume of acid vs alkaline foods?  I like to recommend an 70% alkaline, 30% acidic diet to most of my athletic clients.  With that being said, diets are definitely person dependent and so it is important to look at your own lifestyle (ie exercise habits, stress levels, type of employment, and current health concerns) to figure out the best diet for you. 

Contact me if you would like to restore your body's Acid/Alkaline balance.  Together, we can help your body return to an optimal form:)

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Goal Setting 101

Preamble:  Proper goal setting is necessary to maximize your potential for success in order to minimize the stresses placed on your body and on your emotions.  Goals should be within your capacity to manifest in a healthy way, given the right conditions and a realistic time frame.
Ultimately, we want to plan at least 2-3 goals per season that are Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.  In other words, your goals will be SMART! 

Make sure your goals express who you are, not something that will impress someone or earn praise.  Do it because you want to do it!

Four Principles of Goal Setting:

 1) Your goal must be Measurable
       ·       Complete a 10km race in less than 1 hour or lose 5lbs in 3 weeks

2) Your goal must be under your control
       ·       You only have a measure of control over yourself, your training, and your motivation
       ·       Win the race is not in your control because you do not know who will show up

3) Your goal must stretch you!
       ·       Qualify for something; improve by a certain time; feel more energy (nutritional related)

4)  Your goal must be stated in the positive
      ·       Focus on what you want to happen, not what you want to avoid
      ·       Example:  don’t go out too hard at the start of the race....you will actually go too hard
      ·       Don’t get a running injury?  Rather try “lower the risk of injury by running only when recovered”

Goals should be racing-outcome oriented.  However, if it has to do with obstacles that have held you back in the past, such as overtraining, burnout, injury or health problems, than that is ok. 

Don’t confuse goals with dreams.

It's ok to Dream!  Actually, it's quite HealthyJ   If we didn't dream there wouldn't be anything to look forward to in the future.  Remember, Dreams can become realities, but they usually take longer than one season to accomplish. If what you can achieve something within the year or a seaon, it’s not a dream...it’s a GOAL!

A successful individual typically sets his next goal somewhat but not too much above his last achievement.  In this way he steadily raises his level of aspiration ~ Kurt Lewin

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Food For Thought! Support Your Brain

This week marked the beginning of another school year.  As I spoke with various students over the past few days, I have noticed that emotional levels were on an all time high (versus the relaxed summer months).  Many are excited to see their friends, others are energized as they get ready to embark on a new grade, and there are those that are anxiously anticipating the much dreaded homework and testing that accompany education. 
We are in school to gain knowledge, so why not fuel our brain to ensure that we can retain as much as possible.  Not only will our students end up with higher GPAs but the improved memory will help to reduce stress levels.  That really means food for thought! 
General Brain Optimization Program

1)  Consume “Brain Boosting” Foods and avoid those “Brain Bummers”

2)  Consume mostly raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, farm eggs and fish

3)  Pair Complex Carbohydrates (whole grains, rice) with protein and Essential Fatty Acids

4)  Get 6 hours of Physical Activity per week (Joining a group such as the Hamilton Hammerheads is great for your children.  We offer workouts in swimming, biking, running and strength and conditioning)

5)  Get adequate rest to avoid fatigue (8 hours of sleep per night is optimal)

***** Secret tip:  hold breath for 30 seconds every hour for 30 days (improves mental alertness)

Food is essential to our ever changing and growing bodies.   So, when you wake up in the morning, think about how you want your brain (or your children’s brains) to work.  Below I have listed some of the best brain boosting foods, as well as “Brain Bummers”.  Try these foods in any combination, or follow my recommended Brain Boosting Recipes throughout the day to Power your Brain.

If you are still feeling apprehensive about your brain’s memory ability, contact a Holistic Practitioner as they may help to determine more specific needs for your body.

Best Brain Boosting Foods

Spinach - Aids in memory retention

Eggplant - Improves focus

Broccoli – Improves cognitive function

Eggs – Contain a high level of choline which gives memory a boost

Yogurt - (if you are able) contains a high level of calcium which helps with memory and alertness as well as an amino acid called tyrosine which produces dopamine.  Dopamine is responsible for reward-driven learning.

Wild Salmon - improves brain growth & function

Bananas - are high in antioxidants, dopamine (boosts memory and attention) and serotonin (boosts memory, learning and mood).

Blueberries - boost brain function and help to protect the brain from stress while improving motor skills and learning capacity

Apples - prevent the loss of acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter important for memory and brain health
Hemp Seeds - are Rich in Omega 3's which are essential for brain and nervous system health.  They promote memory, learning, and immune function.

Lecithin - helps to increases acetylcholine levels in the brain which boosts memory.  Acetylcholine actually determines Brain Speed, if you have a lot your brain works faster than if you are deficient. As a bonus, it is also helpful in reducing anxiety. 

Nuts and seeds - help to improve cognitive function due to their high content of Essential Fatty Acids and acetylcholine.   

Garlic - possesses memory-enhancing properties

Brain Protection

Red Cabbage – As an antioxidant it helps to decrease brain cell damage

Brain Bummers

Coffee - offers immediate gratification and awakens the mind, but rest assured your will crash and be left without memory retention capacity.
Simple Sugars - may seem like a great idea in the moment but they actually “turn-off” your brain.

 Brain Booster 1
2 Tbsp Flax Oil
1 Banana
½ Cup of Pre-Soaked Almonds (Soak Overnight)
1 Cup Frozen or Fresh Blueberries
2 Cups of Almond Milk
4 ice cubes
1 Serving of Protein Powder

Brain Booster 2

1 Banana
1 Apple (you can use apple juice if you like)
½ Cup Blueberries
1/3 Cup Hemp Seeds
1 Tablespoon Lecithin
4 ice cubes Handful Ice
1tbsp ground flax seed
“Brain-iac” Salad
3 tbsp Hemp seeds
1 tbsp Lecithin granules
Shredded Red Cabbage
4 Radish
Chopped Broccoli
1 tbsp Raisins

Brain Boosting Snacks

Yogurt and nuts
Yogurt and berries
Banana and nut butter
Apple and nut butter
Hard boiled egg
Yogurt mixed with homemade granola (nuts, hemp hearts, lecithin, maple syrup, raisins)

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Selecting the Right kind of Fat!

Fat is Essential

For a while, many people felt that this little three letter world was leading to the extremely large North American Problem of Obesity. Well, I am here to tell you that this is not the case. Fat is essential to our well being! Unfortunately, you must be very careful with regards to the quantity of fat consumed and the quality of fat you are eating.

Consuming adequate "essential fat" ensures the body:

  • Has a necessary source of fuel
  • Is well insulated and protected
  • Has a healthy immune system
  • Is able to absorb nutrients and use them to function properly

Types of Fat

Unsaturated Fats (Healthy Fats)

Found in plant foods and fish, these fats are good for heart health. Feel free to consume these in higher quantities as the fat is used in the body for promoting health and well being rather. They will not store in the body as "fat", therefore will not result in obesity. The best sources can be found in olive oil, tuna, salmon, hemp hearts, chia seeds, and flax seed.

Saturated Fats

Saturated fats are found in animal products such as butter, cheese and milk as well as in the meat of the animal. Saturated fats are also in palm and coconut oils. Eating too much saturated fat can raise blood cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease. With that being said, coconut oil does not lead to the same risk, despite being "saturated". Coconut oil is quickly absorbed by the liver and used in the body for energy. It can be consumed daily.

Trans Fats

These are the fats found in margarine and in pre-packaged and restaurant foods. Foods we consider snacks, baked goods and fried are all full of this unhealthy fat selection. Hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils listed in an ingredient list are a sign that the food should be avoided. Similar to saturated fats, trans-fats raise cholesterol and can lead to an increased risk for heart disease. These should be avoided if at all possible.

Hopefully this short and simple breakdown gives you a little clarification on the goods and the bads of fat. Contact me for more information or to help you create a meal plan that will give you all of the benefits your body deserves.

All the best in Health,

Deanne Dietz, CNP

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Nutritional Recommendations to Minimize PMS

Are you suffering from the effects of PMS?  Well, the road to feeling better has approached your doorstep, just follow-it, and your symptoms will start to improve.  PMS is a condition which is presented by many symptoms due to imbalances in our body.  Anxiety and irritability are likely associated with excessive estrogen and a deficiency in progesterone levels while your breast tenderness is due to increased fluid volume, an excess of the hormones aldosterone and prolactin.  Aldosterone is produced in the adrenal glands and causes water retention, and usually becomes elevated 2-8 days before we begin our period.  Prolactin increases as a result of stress, too much estrogen, or a magnesium deficiency and leads to PMS symptoms of breast tenderness and swelling, anxiety and irritability. The good news is that these symptoms can be reduced with making some small changes in your diet.  I am happy to suggest five dietary recommendations that should help to alleviate your own symptoms.  With this in mind, I want you to realize that decreasing symptoms can take time, and you may not notice complete dismissal of all symptoms during your next cycle; rather it may take 2-3 cycles. 

1.  Increase consumption of fibre-rich fruits.  Specifically, you can start by eating an apple every day.  Apples are packed with pectin, a type of dietary fibre that is very effective for carrying estrogen out of the body through regulation of your bowels.  This will help balance your hormones and decrease your PMS symptoms of anxiety, irritability and pain. 

2.  Take 1 tablespoon of flaxseed oil daily.  Flaxseed oil supplies omega 3 essential fatty acids, which will reduce inflammation and corresponding pain associated with PMS.  

3.  Reduce Caffeine Intake. Caffeine consumption is strongly related to the presence and severity of anxiety and breast tenderness as it impairs estrogen metabolism.  Reducing the amount of caffeine will therefore help the process of eliminating the estrogen so that you have a better balance in the body.   Another great effect that reducing your caffeine will have is the ability to maintain vitamin and mineral content in your body, since caffeine is a diuretic which flushes the body of many of these essential components. 

4.  Include a high quality multi-vitamin/multi-mineral twice daily.  When selecting your brand, there are some specific aspects to look for as they will be beneficial in reducing your PMS symptoms.  I am going to give you some ranges, simply to make it easier as there are many multi-vitamins/multi-minerals on the market that have different dosages. Look for magnesium citrate (200-300mg) to help improve premenstrual pain threshold and emotional instability.  Please avoid magnesium oxide, magnesium glyconate, magnesium sulfate or magnesium chloride as they are not absorbed as well and have more laxative side effects.  Next you want to look for Vitamin B6 (50 -75mg) also known as pyridoxine as it shows positive effects on all symptoms of PMS by reducing estrogen levels and increasing progesterone levels throughout the cycle.  B6 will also help to keep the magnesium in the cells of the body, resulting in better sleep which may lead to less anxiety.  Zinc 200-300IUs) is a mineral that will help reduce your breast tenderness caused by reducing prolactin levels.  Finally, the multi should contain 200IU of Vitamin E.  There are different forms of Vitamin E but I want you to look for d-alpha-tocopherol as it is the more natural versus synthetic form. Vitamin E helps with anxiety and will also help to decrease breast tenderness.  In addition, it increases energy which will be beneficial while reducing your coffee intake.

5.  Take a Probiotic.  Our GI tract should contain thousands of bacteria beneficial to our health.  A side effect of taking antibiotics is the destruction of these beneficial bacteria.  Since you are taking Tetracycline, we want to re-inoculate the GI tract with some beneficial bacteria.  You are specifically going to look for a brand containing acidophilus and bifidus bacteria with 5 billion viable cells. This should be taken 2X daily with meals, (away from birth control pills) and is extremely safe.  You should not experience any detrimental side effects but should notice a decrease in symptoms of gas, and bloating. 

The sooner you make the changes, the faster you will note improvements.  Keep in mind, complete ratification of symptoms takes time and may take more adjustments.  Contact me for a free 15 minute consult so that I can specifically help you on the road to health.  Together we can evaluate your improvment and take more steps to reaching more stability of your cycle. 


Deanne Dietz, CNP

Thursday, 26 April 2012



ANTIOXIDANTS….Have you heard of this term and wondered why if at all they are good for you.  Well here it is in a nutshell.   Antioxidants are vitamins that kill free radicals in the blood stream before they can do damage to our cells. 

But wait; let me tell you about those darn free radicals.  Free radicals are in our blood stream and attack healthy cells in our bodies.  Once they have attacked a healthy cell, the healthy cell itself becomes unstable and unhealthy creating a continuous cycle of negative reactions.  Eventually the body begins to lose its ability to fight and disease can set in. 

Let’s take a look at the Causes and Symptoms of Free Radical Damage in the Body:

Causes of Free Radical Formation

  • Oxygen
  • Stress
  • Pollution and Sun Damage
  • Excessive Cardiovascular Exercising
  • Smoking
  • Poor, unhealthy Diet
  • Alcohol
Diseases linked to Free Radical Damage

  • Premature Aging
  • Heart Disease
  • Stroke
  • Cataracts
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Gum Disease
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Lupus
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Asthma
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Leukemia
  • Skin Cancer / Cancer
  • Alzheimer’s Dementia
  • Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Diverticulitis
  • Psoriasis
  • Infertility
  • Menstrual Disorders
  • Endometriosis
Getting Back to the Importance of Antioxidants!

 Antioxidants are made naturally in the body but are also able to be consumed in our diet.  These antioxidants work hard in the body to break down the enemy; Free Radicals.  This simply means that more antioxidants mean less free radicals floating around harming your body.  And as you can see from the chart above, we all have free radicals in our bodies.  It is important to realize that regardless of how well you believe you eat, and how much you avoid the causes of free radical damage, you will never fully eliminate the free radicals. 

Looking for Foods with a High Antioxidant Value

 It’s quite simple, think of the word ACE.  Foods with high amounts of vitamins A, C, and E have great antioxidant value.  Selenium and Beta Carotene are also great Antioxidants.  You can find these in colourful fruit, vegetables and berries, but for your enjoyment here is a little guide to some of the best Antioxidant Foods. (Complements of The World’s Healthiest Foods by George Mateljan)

Bell Peppers
Brussels sprouts
Cayenne pepper
Collard greens
Green beans
Green peas
Romaine Lettuce
Sunflower seeds
Sweet potatoes
Swiss Chard
Winter squash

Supplemental Sources of Antioxidants

 There are some great products on the market for supplementing with antioxidants, but try consuming the foods first.  It’s definitely best to consult a Holistic Nutritionist first to see your specific needs before delving into the world of supplements.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Herbal Remedies to rid that Cold or Flu!

This past Saturday, my husband and I got in some great training before heading out to our neices 3rd birthday party. As you will see in an article I have being published on Fitness Republic in a couple of weeks, high intensity exercise depletes your immune system, and this was definitely the case for us. Sunday morning my husband woke with his body aching all over. Being the lovely wife I am (NOT), I completely put it off as him being a wimp and told him to suck it up, he would be ok.

Unfortunately, we soon realized this was not the case as he began to run a high temperature. After missing 2 days of work, we brought him to the doctor to find out that he had a bad ear infection and possibly pneumonia. Of course the doctor quickly prescribed antibiotics.  So what did we do? We decided to take the natural approach and break this thing without the use of pharmaceuticals. Within 12 hours, his fever had broke. He still felt achy but his appetite came back within 24 hours and within a day and a half he was feeling ready to go back to work.

Here's a look at our home cold/flu remedy kit:
Tincture (every 3-4 hours)
10 drops astragalus (boosts immune system)
5 drops propolis (immune booster, anti-bacterial)
5 drops oil of oregano (anti-bacterial)

Cold and Flu Herbal Tea (3-4 cups daily)
1 part Echinacea
1 part bayberry bark
½ part elderberry flower
½ part goldenseal
1 part red raspberry leaf
1 part peppermint
Aside from the herbal remedies and tinctures above there some definitely things to keep in mind when battling your colds/flus and respiratory infections.
·         If you are not hungry, don’t eat.  Especially if you have a fever.
·         Stay hydrated - Hot lemon water with a spoonful of raw honey does wonders
·         Take as much vitamin C as possible (Ester C packages are great!).  You’ll know it’s too much if  your bowels become loose.
·         Avoid dairy – it adds to your congestion
·         Avoid Sugar – your don’t want to feed the bacteria
·         Get as much rest as you can.  You want your body to work at fighting the bug, not fueling your energy.

If you are struggling with colds, flu’s or allergies this season, or want some advice for improving your immune systems strength, contact me at deanne@coachdeanne.ca to book an appointment.   

Tuesday, 3 April 2012


Healthy Chocolate Pudding
So I am 26 weeks along in my pregnancy and now the cravings are starting to begin.   I'm not craving anything  weird or unusual like pickles, but I am craving Sugar and Dairy.   I haven't eaten much sugar in years and I quit drinking milk about 3 years ago, but it seems these days that's all I can think about, and it's hard not to give into cravings:( 

A couple of days ago I decided I wanted Chocolate Pudding!  Yes, that's right.  That chocolately, sugary, milky delicious treat that I would have as a young girl.  But I decided that this was one craving I was going to control by making my own version of chocolate pudding.  It turned out so well that I couldn't wait to share it.  So here goes:)

3 Cups of Unsweetened Coconut Milk (almond will work too)
1/3 Cup Raw Cacao Powder (you could use dark chocolate powder too if you would like)
1/4 Cup maple syrup
1/4 Cup cornstarch (to thicken)
1 1/2 tbsp pure vanilla
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons butter

*Place all ingredients in a pot over medium-high heat.  Continue stirring until pudding thickens.  Add more cornstarch if you like a thicker pudding and less if you like it thinner.  Once it has thickened, pour into serving bowls and let it stand to cool.  We make about  servings with this recipe, but you can make servings smaller or larger depending on what you are craving:)

It was so simple, yet so yummy and so good for you that I know for sure what dessert I will serve for Easter this year:)

Oh, and shhhhhh......don't tell my little one, I even licked the bowl. 

Happy Easter

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Does Consuming Flaxseed benefit Cardiovascular Health

 ***This is a research paper that I wrote while in school.  Just another reason why Flaxseed is so beneficial:)

Flaxseed hit the market just a few years ago as a beneficial food, and people worldwide embraced it.  Today, supplemental products for flaxseed are everywhere.  Recent literature tells us that this little seed, whether in whole food or compressed oil form will provide us with optimal health.  One of the newest claims is that Flaxseed can benefit cardiovascular health by reducing the risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease. 
The purpose of this research essay is to investigate whether and under which conditions dietary flaxseed (linseed, Linum usitatissimim) can provide necessary benefits to Cardiovascular Health.  In section 1 of this paper, I provide definitions of Cardiovascular Disease, Atherosclerosis as well as give a brief explanation of Flaxseed (linseed, linum usitatissimim) with information as to the health benefits listed for the food.  I will investigate the possible connection between dietary intake of flaxseed and the benefit for cardiovascular health.
Section 2 of this paper will delve into current studies on whether flaxseed will diminish atherosclerosis thereby reducing the number of deaths by heart disease.  The third section discusses the importance of dietary flaxseed supplementation (ALA) for helping reduce cholesterol levels promoting a healthier heart.  A summary of all key points will follow, providing a brief but thorough recap of the entire document.
Many people worldwide are plagued with having to make decisions to eat processed, packaged and fast foods resulting in a high risk of cardiovascular disease. More women die from cardiovascular disease than from all forms of cancer combined(Balch, 2010).  Despite the remarkable technology that exists today, the first sign of cardiovascular disease may be life-threatening.  Cardiovascular disease is responsible for at least forty-three percent of all deaths in the United States(Murray, 1998).    Imagine if just adding this small little seed, ground up to your salads, potatoes, smoothies could improve the lives of so many and prevent many others from living a life of increased risk of heart disease, wouldn’t it be worth it.
Section I
Heart Disease is a term often used to describe atherosclerosis.  Atherosclerosis is the hardening of the artery walls due to a build-up of plaque, which contains cholesterol, fatty material and debris.  Other concerns with Cardiovascular disease are congestive heart failure, arrhythmias, mitral valve prolapsed, and cardiomyopathy.  This disease is the leading cause of mortality worldwide, and is responsible for as many as 500 000 deaths of women in the US yearly(Balch, 2010).
Elevated blood cholesterol levels greatly increase the risk of death due to heart disease.  For every one percent drop in LDL cholesterol, the risk for a heart attack drops by 2 percent.  For every 1 percent increase in HDL the risk for a heart attack drops three to 4 percent (Murray, 1998).  Diets high in omega-3 oils from fish or veggies have reduced risk of developing heart disease.  Omega 3 fatty acids lower levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides,(Murray, 1998) and so it has been stated that patients with heart disease who took 1 gram of omega-3s had fewer deaths and admissions to the hospital for treatment of their heart disease (Balch, 2010). 
Flaxseed (linseed, linum usitatissimim) is an edible oil seed/grain that has been recently acknowledged as a beneficial food.  It has gained much attention because of its unique nutrient components.  Flaxseeds are the most concentrated plant source of the omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and are an essential source of dietary fibre. ALA comprises approximately 55% of the total fatty acid content of flaxseed fatty acids.  ALA is a precursor to the omega-3’s that are found in cold water fish, which is known for their anti-inflammatory properties (Mateljan, 2007).  According to the World Health Organization, Flaxseeds contain lignans which provide many health benefits.  They are said to promote Heart Health as the ALA is associated with a lower risk of developing plaque and dying for heart disease.  ALA helps to lower cholesterol and provide protection against heart disease.  They are also full of folate, magnesium and vitamin B6 which are all necessary to have a healthy heart.
Therefore, an investigation is necessary to see if consuming quantities of flaxseed will help to reduce plaque, lower cholesterol, improve your overall heart health and diminish signs of atherosclerosis.
Section II

Consuming omega-3 is promoted as providing cardioprotection against heart disease. Recently, flaxseed has been promoted as a beneficial alternative source as it is one of the richest sources of ALA which has been identified in several epidemiological trials as having beneficial effects against heart disease and in decreasing signs of atherosclerosis.
In 2011, an investigation was completed on the effects of dietary flaxseed with and without a diet enriched with cholesterol.  In this test, 8 rabbits were given one of four randomly assigned diets, either a control, a diet with cholesterol added, a diet with flaxseed added or a diet with both cholesterol and flaxseed added.  Following the 8 weeks, testing revealed that consumption of flaxseed significantly increased plasma and adipose levels of ALA therefore decreasing the percentage of atherosclerotic plaque in the rabbit. The results of this study, give a p value of less than 0.05 indicating that there is only a 5% probability that the differences they received is due to chance.  This is a very good indication of strong results; however, with a testing on just 8 mice, more study should be completed (McCullough, Edel, Bassett, Lavallée, Dibrov, Blackwood, Ander, Pierce, 2011).

Despite studies showing that there would be a reduction of plaque formation with the consumption of flaxseed, there was still much debate as to the true benefits and whether Flax could inhibit atherosclerosis.  According to study posted in the American Journal of Physiology in 2007, using cholesterol fed rabbits to model human atherosclerosis is not an ideal representation.  Genetically manipulated mouse models such as the LDL receptor-deficient (LDLrKO) would be a closer representation to the human condition.  As such, they completed a similar study but using LDLrKO mice as it only develops diet-induced atherosclerotic lesions.  These mice were also administered various diets either consuming of flaxseed, cholesterol, a combination of both, or a regular diet.  Coconut oil was also used for one group as a means of a control.   The purpose was to assess the antiatherogenic effects of dietary flaxseed on the mice in order to determine the mechanism of action of flaxseed at a cellular level.  This well-designed study used 100 female mice, randomly assigned 1 of 7 dietary treatment groups following a 1 week acclimatization period.  Mice consumed 4g of diet daily.  Temperature was controlled and ethical standards followed.  Following 24 weeks, tissue, plasma and lesions size was measure. 
The results of this study indicated that flaxseed decreased the omega 6/omega 3 ratio in plasma, and it increased plasma ALA and EPA.  The cholesterol group did not increase ALA.  Flaxseed did not alter plasma cholesterol when taken by itself, but when taken with cholesterol the flaxseed mitigated the hypercholesterolemic effect.  Additionally, flaxseed showed a protective effect against atherosclerosis as well as showed an anti-proliferation and anti-inflammatory action.  The researches of this study provided p values of less than 0.05 giving the study even more certainty indicating that there is 95% likelihood that the results are real.  As such, this study demonstrated that dietary flaxseed can inhibit atherosclerosis in the LDLrKO mouse through a reduction of circulating cholesterol levels and, at a cellular level, through anti-proliferative and anti-inflammatory actions (Duspasquier, Dibrov, Kneesh, Cheung, lee, Alexander, Yeganeh, Mohgadasian, 2007).  However, further studies should be completed using male mice to conclude the effectiveness on either gender.   
In response to the previous research, LT Bloedon et Al set out to complete the first clinical trial on the benefits of flaxseed against cardiovascular risk factors.  These researches agreed that the alpha linolenic acid (ALA) content of flaxseed in combination with the fiber and lignans make it a very desirable food that could potentially reduce cardiovascular risk.  Conducted at the University of Pennsylvania, this double blind, randomized controlled clinical trial brought more confirmation to the already existing research completed on rabbits and mice.  This study was completed on 62 men and women who had all been diagnosed with hypercholesterolemia, or high levels of LDL cholesterol, and were at risk of cardiovascular disease.   For 10 weeks participant’s diets were low fat and low cholesterol and they were given either given 40g of ground flaxseed daily or wheat bran daily for 10 weeks.  As with the previous studies testing was completed to measure inflammation and lipoprotein levels.  Results concluded that ground flaxseed could lower LDL cholesterol levels substantially in the short term; however its effect seems to dissipate in the long term.  Flaxseed increased ALA levels in the blood, reduced lipoprotein by 14% and improved insulin resistance by 24%; however this test did not show any affect on inflammation. The researches give promising results especially with p values of 0.01, 0.05, 0.02 and 0.03 indicating that they are confident that the results are real and not due to chance (Bloedon, Balikai, Chittams, Cunnane, Berlin, Rader, Szapara, 2008). From this we can see that there is reason to consume ground flaxseed in order to get a reduction in cardiovascular disease, however, more studies can be completed to see if consuming ground flaxseed can ward of the development of cardiovascular disease in today’s society.
Section III

The data provided from the various studies supports even more direct evaluation of the anti-atherogenic potential of dietary flaxseed for humans.  It has been demonstrated through testing that supplementing with 20-50grams of ground flaxseed daily can reduce LDL cholesterol and reduce atherosclerotic plaques in mice, rabbits and people.    
From these studies, we can determine that the cholesterol-lowering effect of flaxseed is one of the main contributing factors however additional mechanisms at the cellular level, such as its anti-proliferative and anti-inflammatory effects are likely all responsible flaxseeds atherosclerotic effect.  Despite the testing, more studies are required using human trials to determine the true ability of ground flaxseed to inhibit atherosclerosis altogether, however, there is definitely a positive effect and so consuming ground flaxseed daily can be recommended.

Conclusion / Bringing it All Together

This paper reviewed three cases in which dietary flaxseed were shown to reduce or inhibit the atherogenic effects of high cholesterol.  Studies were completed on LDLrKO mouse, on white rabbits and on people with atherosclerosis.  The results of these studies showed an improvement in cholesterol levels and indicated that consumption of this seed can inhibit cell proliferation and inflammation.  Since these studies have been completed to evaluate the effects of flaxseed in more than 1 animal, and now with humans, further trials should be completed using double blind, controlled studies on human populations both with and without signs of cardiovascular disease to see if consuming ground flaxseed can ward of the development of cardiovascular disease in today’s society.
Regardless of still existing uncertainties we can be assured that consuming ground flaxseed will not be deemed harmful to the body in any way.  It is important to remember that the ALA found in flaxseed is the agent which converts to the omega 3 fatty acids EPA & DHA, and therefore if a person has a problem with the mechanism to convert, Flaxseed supplementation would not be as beneficial.  With that being said, this food is filled with nutrients and dietary fibre in addition to the possible beneficial effects for cardiovascular health. 

Full Reference List

Balch, P.A. (2010). Prescription for nutritional healing. Cardiovascular Disease (pp.306-318) New York, NY:  Penguin Group

Bloedon, LT., Balikai, S., Chittams, J., Cunnane, SC., Berlin, JA., Rader, DJ., & Szapara, PO. (2008). Flaxseed and cardiovascular risk factors: results from a double blind, randomized, controlled clinical trial. Journal of the American College of Nutrition,  27(1), 65-74

Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18460483 

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