Post From http://youtu.be/HvYaU01uUAA
Post From http://youtu.be/HvYaU01uUAA
Okay, let’s admit it: there’s something super appealing about health products that let us just sit there (or stand there!) and work their magic without needing us to do much. Unfortunately, we can’t outsmart biology, and many “miracle” products are based on hype and shaky science (if there’s any science at all!). So, we should naturally be skeptical whenever we hear about something that sounds too good (and too easy) to be true.
With that in mind, the idea of hanging out in front of a red spectrum light (yes, like a zoo reptile!) and gaining a whole host of health benefits might sound like something from a sci-fi movie. But, the research behind this therapy is shockingly robust, and my own experience matches up with what the science would predict (that is, amazing and extremely noticeable effects!). In particular, using a Joovv light (which we’ll see later in this post, is one of the only home products that achieves the therapeutic effects of red and near-infrared light) has resulted in improved energy, markedly reduced fibromyalgia pain, boosted mood, improved skin, and weight loss. As you can probably imagine, I’m a crazy huge fan!
Remember learning the acronym “Roy G. Biv” that stands for red, orange, green, blue, indigo, and violet? There’s a reason red comes first in line (and is the top band of the rainbow!): it has the longest wavelength of the visible light spectrum (about 620-750 nanometers), followed by infrared with an even longer wavelength (up to 1 millimeter, and which we can’t see with the naked eye!). (At the opposite end of the visible spectrum is violet, followed by increasingly shorter wavelengths that the human eye can’t perceive: ultraviolet, x-rays, and gamma rays.)
Most of us already know that certain wavelengths can be harmful at high exposures (like ultraviolet rays from the sun, or gamma rays from radioactive decay). But, it turns out that some wavelengths can also be extremely beneficial for our health! In particular, the wavelengths in the mid-600s nm and low-800s nm (encompassing red light and some infrared) have extreme therapeutic value, due to its ability to easily pass through human tissue (getting absorbed to a depth of about 8 to 10 mm). When applied at low levels to our bodies, light from the red and near-infrared spectrum is known as red light therapy. (Unlike light therapies designed to intentionally damage tissue [such as using lasers for ablation, thermal coagulation, or cutting], red light therapy involves power densities too low to actually heat and damage the tissue.)
In the scientific literature, red light therapy is usually called photobiomodulation or sometimes low-level laser therapy (LLLT). Even though these aren’t exactly household terms, this type of therapy has actually been around since the 1960s, when a Hungarian researcher named Endre Mester discovered that shining low-level laser light on shaved mice caused their hair to grow back more quickly (and also stimulated wound healing)! By the 1970s, Mester was using low-level lasers on humans to help treat non-healing skin ulcers. In the decades since then, research on this therapy has grown to include various skin benefits (including wrinkle reduction!), weight loss, oral health improvement, arthritis reduction, better sleep quality, a lessening in autoimmune symptoms, and more!
So, how does it work? On a super technical level, red light therapy causes a photochemical reaction within our cells. Chromophores (which are responsible for a molecule’s color) in our mitochondria absorb photons from red and infrared light, causing electrons in those chromophores to get excited and jump into a higher-energy orbit. As a result, our body can use this new stored energy for a variety of cellular tasks, which then have wide-ranging benefits for our health.
One of the most amazing effects of red light is its ability to increase adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production in the mitochondria, by activating an enzyme called cytochrome c oxidase (Cox) that plays a role in generating ATP synthase (the enzyme that produces ATP). ATP is the major energy currency of our cells, and when red light increases its levels in our tissue, we essentially have more of this currency to use for transporting energy needed for all of the metabolic activities of our cells! As a consequence of this ATP boost, we can experience more rapid healing and muscle recovery (in fact, some research shows that red light therapy can enhance athletic performance by improving recovery and tissue repair!). Research has also demonstrated that red light therapy can help modulate reactive oxygen species (ROS) and induce transcription factors that play a role in protein synthesis, cytokine modulation, cell proliferation, growth factors, tissue oxygenation, and inflammatory mediators.
Importantly, immune cells are strongly affected by red light therapy (helping explain why this type of therapy has such major benefits for healing). Mast cells, in particular, degranulate in response to red-spectrum wavelengths (degranulation involves releasing certain molecules, often cytotoxic ones, from the cells’ secretory vesicles). As a result, the pro-inflammatory cytokine TNF-α gets released from cells and leukocytes (white blood cells) are better able to infiltrate the body’s tissues to promote healing. Red light therapy also helps activate lymphocytes and increases the motility of epithelial cells, helping wound sites to close up more quickly.
On top of that, red light therapy has been shown to enhance the production of basic fibroblast growth factor, as well as increase the proliferation, maturity, and motility of fibroblasts (a type of cell that produces collagen and extracellular matrix). That’s right… red light can actually increase our collagen production, and deliver all the skin and joint benefits that come as a result (if you’re not yet on the collagen boat, it’s time to hop aboard! There’s a reason I’m so obsessed with it! Check out Collagen Peptides and Collagen Veggie Blend).
Beyond the ability of red light therapy to improve immune function, there’s clinical trial evidence that red light therapy can improve specific autoimmune conditions. The science is particularly strong for hypothyroidism (most commonly caused by Hashimoto’s thyroiditis) and joint pain (especially caused by rheumatoid arthritis). So, let’s examine the scientific evidence for adding this adjunct therapy to our lives!
As early as the 1990s, red light therapy was introduced as an alternative to more invasive treatments for rheumatoid arthritis. The mechanisms? The pain- and stiffness-relieving effects of red light therapy are most likely due to its anti-inflammatory effects (in fact, it’s not uncommon for people to feel a reduction in joint pain almost immediately from a red light therapy session!), and in some cases, due to its ability to stimulate collagen production (by enhancing the production of basic fibroblast growth factor as well as fibroblasts, a type of cell that creates collagen and extracellular matrix). The release of nitric oxide (NO) from cells during light therapy also stimulates vasodilation, which plays a huge role in joint inflammation and arthritis. Pain in the knees, fingers, hands, wrists, shoulders, back, elbows, neck, jaw, ankles, feet, and toes have all been shown to benefit from direct exposure to light from the red or near-infrared spectrum!
But, just how much relief can red light therapy deliver? A Cochrane Review analyzed five placebo-controlled trials (with a total of 222 patients with rheumatoid arthritis) and found that relative to the control group, low level laser therapy reduced pain by a whopping 70%! That’s a remarkable improvement. And, not only that, but the treatment reduced the duration of morning stiffness by 27.5 minutes, and increased tip to palm flexibility by 1.3 cm. A more recent meta-analysis of 22 trials found that when using appropriate energy doses, and when applied directly to affected areas, low level laser therapy could be a good alternative to NSAIDs in terms of relieving joint pain (with similar effectiveness but without the side effects). A 2017 literature review from Germany concluded that this type of therapy could be an “effective, noninvasive, safe and cost-efficient means” to treat a variety of musculoskeletal conditions, including inflammatory joint disorders like chronic degenerative osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Although some clinical trials failed to show an effect of light therapy on joint pain, those trials universally failed to meet the experimental parameters recommended for achieving joint benefits (as we learned earlier, there’s a “sweet spot” for different variables related to red light therapy, and anything falling outside that sweet spot will either have a reduced efficacy or won’t show any improvement at all). Among studies that are well-designed and stay within the correct parameters, the effects of red light therapy are overwhelmingly positive.
So, it seems red light therapy could be a serious blessing for those of us with joint disorders. What we’ve learned from existing studies is that applying red light directly on (or near) the arthritic area (or in the case of rheumatoid arthritis, using the light directly over a nearby vein) will help reduce inflammation, increase joint mobility, and reduce stiffness significantly. For anyone who suffers from joint pain (and who knows how much it can interfere with day-to-day life), red light therapy combined with a diet and lifestyle that supports joint health could be the ticket to far greater physical freedom.
One of the clinically demonstrated benefits associated with red light therapy is on autoimmune hypothyroidism (also called chronic autoimmune thyroiditis). A 2013 randomized, placebo-controlled trial enrolled 43 adults with chronic autoimmune thyroiditis, all of who had a history of taking levothyroxine (a manufactured form of the thyroid hormone T4, or thyroxine). Those volunteers were then randomly assigned to either a placebo group (where they received 10 sessions of a placebo treatment) or an infrared light therapy group (where they received 10 sessions of low-level laser treatment, using a wavelength of 830 nm and an output power of 50 mW). Thirty days after the treatment sessions were over, the volunteers were taken off levothyroxine and followed for nine months, during which the researchers reintroduced as much levothyroxine as needed in order for the participants to achieve normal levels of T3, T4, free-T4, and thyrotropin.
The results? Compared to the placebo group, the light therapy group saw significant reduction in how much levothyroxine they needed to take (and even more impressive, many of the participants in that group didn’t need any more levothyroxine at all to have healthy thyroid markers!). Likewise, autoimmunity (assessed by measuring thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPOAb)) was significantly lower in the light therapy group. Basically, the near-infrared light therapy caused major improvements in thyroid health!
And, that’s not the only study suggesting a major benefit of red light for thyroid disease. This study confirmed what was previously seen in the initial pilot study, which found that all 15 participants who underwent near-infrared light therapy were able to reduce or discontinue their levothyroxine usage during the nine months following treatment (along with having reduced TPOAb levels). Another analysis by the same researchers found a statistically significant increase in TGF-B1 levels among the participants receiving the light treatment, giving evidence for its anti-inflammatory effect. Even more exciting, the larger placebo-controlled study recently completed a long-term follow-up (six years) showing that the thyroid benefits of near-infrared light persisted over time and didn’t come with any safety risks.
So, how might red light exert effects on the thyroid gland? Scientists are still investigating the mechanisms, but a few possibilities already exist. Red light has already been proven to act upon various components of the immune system, so it wouldn’t be a stretch to think it could help regulate the dysfunction found in autoimmune diseases. In fact, some researchers suggest that the similar processes involved in autoimmune diseases and inflammatory diseases (aberrant reactions from the innate or adaptive immune systems) offer a clue: since red light therapy has a well-demonstrated benefit for inflammation, the same mechanisms that underlie its effect on inflammatory processes could underlie its effect on autoimmunity. (Likewise, red light therapy may help promote T4 to T3 conversion by reducing levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which inhibits this conversion and can lower thyroid hormone production by decreasing TSH.) Red light also has the ability to regenerate tissues, and in animals, has been shown to improve microcirculation in the thyroid and raise T3 and T4 levels—all of which could help explain the similar effects we see in humans. Also, because certain red and near-infrared light wavelengths increase ATP production in the mitochondria (see above), improved local energy availability may play a role in helping the thyroid gland produce more natural thyroid hormone.
For people with hypothyroidism resulting from chronic autoimmune thyroiditis, the effects of red light therapy are extremely good news! Typically, people who develop this condition are told they’ll have to be on medication for the rest of their lives. The fact that red light therapy not only reduces the dose of thyroid medication people need, but in many cases (47% of the participants in the existing studies!) lets them go off medication entirely, shows the tremendous therapeutic potential of these special light wavelengths. If you suffer from autoimmune hypothyroidism, red light therapy is something to seriously consider.
One of the reasons red light therapy hasn’t become more mainstream (and why it’s sometimes considered a controversial therapy) is because some studies on this topic have been improperly designed, and as a result, fail to show the benefits red light therapy can produce. In order for red light therapy to work, a number of variables (including power density, wavelength, dosage, and pulse structure) need to be in an optimal “sweet spot” that delivers the therapeutic benefit. Anything outside this sweet spot will be less effective (and in some cases, won’t show any benefit at all!). In fact, when it comes to red light therapy, the effects are neither linear nor in a bell curve as we move across the wavelength spectrum; the best absorption by our tissues peaks in the ranges of 660-670 nm and 830-850 nm, and therapies that use wavelengths between these two peaks will have little biological effect. (So, we can’t operate on the logic that if a red light at 670 nm delivers measurable health benefits, then a light at 750 nm will be even better… the reality is actually the opposite!)
Also important, if the light being used doesn’t have enough irradiance (or the time it’s applied for is too short), there won’t be any therapeutic response; if the light being used has too much irradiance (or the time it’s applied for is too long), the therapeutic response will likewise diminish. In other words, dialing all these factors to the sweet spot is pretty critical!
So, it’s not a surprise that some research on red light therapy has had mixed results: treatment methods can vary considerably between trials, and any study that doesn’t use the correct dosage or light wavelength would be expected to turn up empty handed!
Here’s where Joovv comes to the rescue. Currently, Joovv is the main consumer product on the market that optimizes all the variables needed to hit that therapeutic window. Many other products out there use dosages and power outputs that are too low to achieve benefits, don’t use the right wavelengths, or don’t target large enough areas of our bodies (or better yet, target our entire body!). What I love about Joovv is that it delivers clinical benefits by using a high power output (research shows benefits start coming when we receive at least 4-6 Joules/cm2 of energy from red lights, and Joovv products can deliver this level in a matter of minutes!), and by using scientifically proven wavelengths (660 nm, 850 nm, or a combination of both—with 660 nm having greater benefits for the skin, and 850 nm having greater benefits for deep tissue healing). This ensures Joovv’s products offer the same therapeutic value seen in red light therapy research and with professional red light therapy treatments, making these lights an amazing investment. Plus, it simply hangs on a door!
I personally have been blown away by the benefits I’ve experienced using my Joovv for twenty minutes most days (ten minutes facing it and ten minutes with my back to it–I have the Joovv Combo Max ). I notice an immediate boost in mood and energy that lasts most of the day. If I have fibromyalgia pain (which correlates with stress for me) or muscle pain from CrossFit, a session on the Joovv can make a big difference. My skin has improved noticeably, including tone, fine lines, stretch marks, and spider veins. And, since I started using my Joovv, I’ve lost weight that my body seemed to be resistant to losing. (Full disclosure: I did change a couple other things at the same time, so the weight loss effect might not be entirely attributable to Joovv; but I will cover how Joovv can spur weight loss in an upcoming post.) Of course, don’t just take my word for it. One of the best things about red light therapy is that the research speaks for itself.
Abergel RP, et al. “Biostimulation of wound healing by lasers: experimental approaches in animal models and in fibroblast cultures.” J Dermatol Surg Oncol. 1987 Feb;13(2):127-33.
Baltzer AWA, et al. “[Low level laser therapy : A narrative literature review on the efficacy in the treatment of rheumatic orthopaedic conditions].” Z Rheumatol. 2017 Nov;76(9):806-812. doi: 10.1007/s00393-017-0309-1.
Brosseau L, et al. “Low level laser therapy (Classes I, II and III) for treating rheumatoid arthritis.” Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2000;(2):CD002049.
Chen AC, et al. “Low-level laser therapy activates NF-kB via generation of reactive oxygen species in mouse embryonic fibroblasts.” PLoS One. 2011;6(7):e22453. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0022453. Epub 2011 Jul 21.
Chung H, et al. “The nuts and bolts of low-level laser (light) therapy.” Ann Biomed Eng. 2012 Feb;40(2):516-33. doi: 10.1007/s10439-011-0454-7. Epub 2011 Nov 2.
el Sayed SO & Dyson M. “Effect of laser pulse repetition rate and pulse duration on mast cell number and degranulation.” Lasers Surg Med. 1996;19(4):433-7.
Gale GD, et al. “Infrared therapy for chronic low back pain: A randomized, controlled trial.” Pain Res Manag. 2006 Autumn; 11(3): 193–196.
Hamblin MR. “Mechanisms and applications of the anti-inflammatory effects of photobiomodulation.” AIMS Biophys. 2017; 4(3): 337–361.
Höfling DB, et al. “Assessment of the Effects of Low-Level Laser Therapy on the Thyroid Vascularization of Patients with Autoimmune Hypothyroidism by Color Doppler Ultrasound.” ISRN Endocrinol. 2012; 2012:126720.
Höfling DB, et al. “Low-level laser in the treatment of patients with hypothyroidism induced by chronic autoimmune thyroiditis: a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial.” Lasers Med Sci. 2013 May;28(3):743-53. doi: 10.1007/s10103-012-1129-9. Epub 2012 Jun 21.
Höfling DB, et al. “Low-level laser therapy in chronic autoimmune thyroiditis: a pilot study.” Lasers Surg Med. 2010 Aug;42(6):589-96. doi: 10.1002/lsm.20941.
Höfling DB, et al. “Effects of low-level laser therapy on the serum TGF-beta1 concentrations in individuals with autoimmune thyroiditis.” Photomed Laser Surg. 2014;32:444–449.
Höfling DB, et al. “Long-term follow-up of patients with hypothyroidism induced by autoimmune thyroiditis submitted to low-level laser therapy.” Lasers Surg Med. 2017;49:36.
Huang YY, et al. “Biphasic dose response in low level light therapy – an update.” Dose Response. 2011;9(4):602-18. doi: 10.2203/dose-response.11-009.Hamblin. Epub 2011 Sep 2.
Jang H & Lee H. “Meta-analysis of pain relief effects by laser irradiation on joint areas.” Photomed Laser Surg. 2012 Aug;30(8):405-17. doi: 10.1089/pho.2012.3240. Epub 2012 Jun 29.
Karu T & Kolyakov SF. “Exact action spectra for cellular responses relevant to phototherapy.” Photomed Laser Surg. 2005 Aug;23(4):355-61.
Karu T, et al. “Irradiation with He-Ne laser increases ATP level in cells cultivated in vitro.” J Photochem Photobiol B. 1995 Mar;27(3):219-23.
Karu T. “Primary and secondary mechanisms of action of visible to near-IR radiation on cells.” J Photochem Photobiol B. 1999 Mar;49(1):1-17.
Pereira AN, et al. “Effect of low-power laser irradiation on cell growth and procollagen synthesis of cultured fibroblasts.” Lasers Surg Med. 2002;31(4):263-7.
Walsh LJ, et al. “Human dermal mast cells contain and release tumor necrosis factor alpha, which induces endothelial leukocyte adhesion molecule 1.” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1991 May 15;88(10):4220-4.
Webb C, et al. “Stimulatory effect of 660 nm low level laser energy on hypertrophic scar-derived fibroblasts: possible mechanisms for increase in cell counts.” Lasers Surg Med. 1998;22(5):294-301.
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For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m delving more deeply into dopamine. Readers asked some great questions and made some interest comments in the comment board of last week’s post on dopamine, and today I’m addressing three of them. First, how does caffeine related to dopamine? Second, what’s the deal with all my mention of pornography in the last post? And finally, is MDA just providing dopamine hits?
I’ve often wondered about caffeine and its affect on the dopamine pathway. I’ve heard, but don’t know with total certainty, that it does, Does it increase dopamine production in the short term or just cell sensitivity (or some other mechanism?). And then have a resulting desensitizing result with long term use?
Yes. Caffeine affects the dopaminergic pathway. It stimulates the release of dopamine in the brain. It increases dopamine receptors in the striatum (the movement region) of the human brain. But unlike the false pleasures of getting the “likes” on Facebook or spending three hours a day having every sexual whim satisfied through virtual space, caffeine is context-dependent. Caffeine is what you make of it.
When I wake up well-rested after a good night’s sleep, a strong cup of coffee fills me with what I can only describe as productive optimism. I not only have more energy and am able to focus on the task at hand, I am excited about what the task at hand can lead to. I feel optimistic about life and that optimism increases my productivity. For that reason, I think caffeine when used appropriately as a boost to productive optimism rather than a replacement for sleep can really enhance our life and if anything improve our dopamine function. Consider where the French and American revolutions were planned: in coffee houses.
Of course, you can waste that window of dopaminergic productivity.
There’s probably some bias at play here. I love coffee and I’ve only ever found it to be a boon to my life and my health. But the preponderance of evidence supports my bias. Coffee just seems to be really really good for us, or at least not bad. Whether it’s randomized controlled trials or observational studies of a population, coffee consumption is consistently associated with protection from diseases like diabetes and dementia, reductions in oxidative stress, and improved mental performance. It even compares favorably to most of the fancy new nootropic supplements out on the market; just recently, the creators of a nootropic supplement had to concede when an efficacy trial showed that caffeine was more effective than the product.
Ronda pointed out:
An awful lot of info about porn
You’re right. I did mention porn a lot, and I was a little trepidatious about doing so. In today’s climate anything sexual is characterized as wholly good and unimpeachable. I agree to a point—sex between people who care about, love, or at least consent to each other is great. There’s nothing wrong with that. And the evidence is quite clear that a healthy sex life leads to a healthy life in general. But something seems off about the idea of an entire generation of men and women satisfying their completely natural sexual urges not through actual sex but through watching other people doing it on the computer or their smart phones.
Some people throw out the fact that we’ve had porn forever, that you could find ancient Greek frescoes showing people in all sorts of sexual contortions. That’s true, but let’s be honest: an abstract fresco isn’t quite the same as 3-D VR porn. The porn today is a super normal stimulus in its intensity, its vividness, its realism, and its ease of access. Nobody’s sneaking their dad’s Playboys into the bathroom, looking over the shoulder, hoping not to get caught. No one’s scanning through the blocked cable channels straining to see a breast amidst the static. They’re getting anything they want, whenever they want, as often as they want. In many cases, it’s easier and arguably better than having to work for it and maybe coming up short or getting rejected. Porn is certainly more reliable than the real thing.
On the extreme end, you’ve got addiction to Internet porn, a real condition mediated by dopamine. Naltrexone, a medication that, among other things, inhibits opioid-induced augmentation of dopamine release, can successfully treat porn addiction.
But you don’t have to be clinically addicted for porn to have a negative effect on your life. You can choose it over real life.
And that’s my main objection to over-reliance on pornography, one that can affect anyone: it’s the easy way out, it lets you avoid the hard work. Hard things are what make us humans. They shape us, teach us, make us stronger and more resilient. Ultimately, they make us happier. Porn is a poor substitute for all those things, but on a superficial level, in the immediate moment, it can seem good enough. And therein lies the danger.
Somewhat cheekily, HealthyHombre asked:
So my daily MDA fix is causing dopamine desensitization? ?
Actually, you’re not too far off. Coming to MDA every morning and getting some actionable advice, then telling yourself, “Oh, that sounds great. I’m going to do that/start that new workout/start getting more sleep/incorporate more colorful produce. And it feels damn good, and the dopamine flows, because that’s the first win.
The way any kind of lifestyle change works is that you first decide to do it—you hear some information, you read a book, something changes your mind—before you alter your course of being. So every change, every positive life change, every dietary improvement, starts with the mental decision. It’s necessary—but it’s not sufficient. And when we read self-improvement blogs or fitness blogs like Mark’s Daily Apple, we get the opportunity to make those those first changes every day. If we don’t follow up that initial blast of dopamine, it’s all for naught. Nothing happens and we end up chasing the dopamine high.
Keep reading MDA. Just make sure you’re not just reading it. If something I write appeals to you, something speaks to you, then try living it. Try doing it—and let me know how it turns out for you.
Thanks for reading, everyone. Take care!
In this episode, Stacy and Sarah talk about epigenetics and how gene expression can be affected by different lifestyle stresses and factors.
Click here to listen in iTunes
The post TPV Podcast, Episode 277: Epigenetics, Adoption, and Turning Genes On and Off appeared first on The Paleo Mom.
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Grass-fed beef, fatty fish, organ meats… some animal foods get an easy green light when it comes to eating Paleo. But, another major animal food group tends to be less frequently discussed: poultry! Domesticated fowl like chicken and turkey are favored in mainstream nutrition due to being relatively lean and low in calories, but for those of us who don’t fear natural animal fats, other meats may be more popular choices (hello, sizzling rib-eye!). One reason for that is definitely flavor (skinless chicken breast isn’t known to make most people salivate), but another has to do with poultry’s reputation for being nutritionally inferior to other meat sources (especially its relative abundance of omega-6 fats). So, do birds deserve a prominent place on our menus? Let’s take a look at what poultry can and can’t offer us!
One of the most legitimate concerns with poultry involves its fatty acid profile. Poultry is the richest source of omega-6 out of any animal food: conventional chicken fat is almost 20% omega-6 as a percent of total energy, which is more than canola oil (19% omega-6) and not too far behind peanut butter (22.5%)! In fact, chicken contributes an average of 13% of the omega-6 content to the average American diet! (For a refresher on why we don’t want astronomical omega-6 intakes, check out “What About Fat?” and “Why Vegetable Oils are Bad”)
And, simply giving poultry access to the outdoors (which allows the meat to be labeled free-range) isn’t always enough to turn the fatty acid tables. Research focusing on the effects of different poultry farming methods (caged versus free-range) and diets (conventional, organic, or pasture access) have had mixed results, and suggest the labeling we associate with higher-quality chicken doesn’t guarantee a better fatty acid profile for the bird. Some studies of cereal-fed chickens with or without access to pasture show no difference in the omega-6/omega-3 ratio, unless the birds have their intake of cereal grains deliberately restricted (which sometimes increases their levels of the omega-3 fats eicosapentaenoic acid, docosapentaenoic acid, and docosahexaenoic acid). Likewise, chickens that pasture-graze in the spring (but not other seasons!) tend to have higher levels of omega-3 fats in their meat. And, some studies of free-range versus conventional chickens have shown that free-range breast and thigh meat have a higher omega-6/omega-3 ratio than the same meat from conventionally raised chickens!
What does seem to make a difference isn’t so much the “free range” or “conventional” distinction, but other particulars of the birds’ diets. One report by the American Pastured Poultry Producers Association found that among pastured chickens, those that were fed soy-containing diets had an omega 6/3 ratio of 8 to 1, while those fed soy-free diets had a much-improved ratio of only 3 to 1. (For comparison, a chicken labeled “organic free-range” had a ratio of 11.6 to 1, and a chicken labeled “non-organic free range” had a ratio of 11.3 to 1.) Studies of turkey have shown similar omega 6/3 patterns related to diet and forage access.
Unfortunately, that level of dietary detail isn’t usually available on meat labels at the store (though befriending the local poultry vendor at the farmers market is one way to get the scoop!). But, here’s the good news: reducing our omega-6 content from poultry doesn’t require knowing every detail of the bird’s life. In general, leaner meat (particularly breast) is going to have less omega-6 than fattier poultry parts (like legs and wings), and the skin—even though it’s pretty delicious!—is a highly concentrated fat source. Choosing lean poultry and removing the skin will automatically reduce our omega-6 intake, regardless of how the birds were raised and fed.
Apart from fatty acid content, how does poultry measure up to other meat sources on the micronutrient front? Although the exact nutritional profile depends on the specific cut of poultry meat, which bird we’re eating (chicken, turkey, duck, geese, pheasant, and so forth all have slightly different nutritional profiles), and what the birds were fed, we can still get a ballpark idea by comparing poultry to other meat of similar quality. For example, let’s look at 100 g of conventional chicken breast and 100 g of conventional top round beef:
Graphically, here’s what these numbers look like:
As we can see, beef is the clear winner when it comes to iron, zinc, and vitamin B12, but chicken actually comes out ahead for niacin and vitamin B6, and many of the other nutrients are comparable between these two meat sources. But, what about other meats? Here’s chicken side-by-side with another Paleo favorite, pork chops!
Again, graphically, here’s what these numbers look like:
Pork is a much better source of selenium and thiamin, but chicken wins for niacin, and is relatively neck-and-neck with pork for most other nutrients.
So, we can safely say that when it comes to vitamins and minerals, chicken (and poultry in general) is far from empty calories! In particular, poultry’s high concentration of niacin can assist with energy production (as well as digestive, skin, and nervous system health); its vitamin B6 content helps the body manufacture neurotransmitters; its phosphorus plays a big role in skeletal health; and its selenium helps maintain thyroid function and protect against free radical damage. Not too shabby!
Along with its vitamin and mineral contributions, poultry is a fantastic source of complete protein. (To see why complete animal protein totally rocks, see “Link to Plant-Based Protein post”). One cup of cooked skinless chicken breast provides a whopping 43 grams of protein! As a result, poultry may help regulate appetite, improve body composition, enhance thermogenesis (fat burning), reduce bone loss and improve bone density, improve blood sugar control, assist with wound healing (see “Nutritional Support for Injury and Wound Healing”), and offer other benefits that come from increasing our intake of high-quality protein. And, for people with iron storage disorders (like genetic hemochromatosis), poultry is great for providing animal-based nutrients without the hefty iron content of red meat.
On top of poultry muscle meat, birds have some other incredible, nutrient-dense parts that we should incorporate into our diets! Poultry livers are micronutrient goldmines (not to mention, more mildly flavored than beef liver and easier for some people to enjoy) that are packed with vitamin B12, vitamin A, folate, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and selenium. Poultry feet, necks, and bones provide connective tissue that can lead to super gelatinous broth, rich in glycine and proline (see “Why Broth is Awesome”). The more of the bird we can eat, the more we’ll benefit!
Overall, there’s no reason to avoid poultry! It’s a great way to diversify an omnivorous diet and enhance the quantity and scope of our micronutrient intake. But, we also shouldn’t rely exclusively on poultry to meet our animal food needs. Consuming plenty of omega-3-rich seafood (like salmon and mackerel) can help balance out any excess omega-6 we get from poultry, and most of us could benefit from the iron and zinc found in higher concentrations in other animal products (like beef and shellfish). Bottom line, we can definitely enjoy poultry as part of a varied and delicious Paleo diet!
Badger M. “Pasture and Feed Affect Broiler Carcass Nutrition.” American Pastured Poultry Producers Association (APPPA). 22 Apr 2015.
Chen X, et al. “Effects of outdoor access on growth performance, carcass composition, and meat characteristics of broiler chickens.” Poult Sci. 2013 Feb;92(2):435-43.
Funaro A, et al. “Comparison of meat quality characteristics and oxidative stability between conventional and free-range chickens.” Poult Sci. 2014 Jun;93(6):1511-22.
Halton TL & Hu FB. “The effects of high protein diets on thermogenesis, satiety and weight loss: a critical review.” J Am Coll Nutr. 2004 Oct;23(5):373-85.
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Post From http://nomnompaleo.com/2017/12/04/meatza
Pizza used to be a big deal in our house. Pre-Paleo, Henry and I were pizza freaks. Believe it or not, we once flew 700 miles from San Francisco to Phoenix, Arizona just to eat at the legendary Pizzeria Bianco. (Yes, we’re crazy.) But then, we went Paleo, and our neverending pizza party stopped. Sure, we saw Paleo folks making pizza with alternative flours, and we occasionally tried some gluten-free pizzas. But to me, they always seemed like inferior versions of the real thing.
But recently, inspired by Robb Wolf’s meatza-making on Instagram, I decided to make a pizza with a sausage crust. And lo and behold: It’s amazing. Plus, umami-packed meatza is a million times easier to make than pizza.
Pro tip: Blotting the juices from the sausage crust is mandatory, or you’ll run the risk of your meatza collapsing in a soggy mess. And that would be no bueno.
Preheat the oven to 425°F on convection mode (or 450°F on regular mode) with the rack in the middle position, and place a large sheet of parchment on a clean, flat surface.
Spread the bulk sausage on the parchment, and use your hands to form the meat into a rectangle.
Place another piece of parchment on top of your sausage rectangle…
…and use your hands to evenly press down on the sausage between the two sheets of parchment paper.
Then, use a rolling pin to uniformly flatten the sausage until it’s about ¼-inch thick, making sure it’s not too wide or long to fit on a half-sheet (18-inch x 13-inch) rimmed baking pan.
No rolling pin? No problem! Use a metal water bottle or the bottom of a large, flat-bottomed skillet.
Peel off the top layer of parchment and transfer the flattened crust (with the sheet of parchment underneath) to a rimmed baking sheet.
Pop the baking sheet in the hot oven and bake until cooked through, about 10 minutes, rotating the tray around at the halfway point.
The crust should be cooked through with some browning at the edges. Remove the pan from the oven.
At this point, you may notice a lot of accumulated sausage juice. Blot the crust well with paper towels.
Then, carefully transfer the crust to a clean piece of parchment. Discard the old parchment paper, and wipe away any spilled meat juices from the rimmed baking sheet. Transfer the meat crust (with the parchment) back onto the baking sheet.
Now, it’s time to go crazy with the toppings: Slather a layer of marinara sauce on the meatza crust…
…and add your favorite toppings. Me? I like thinly sliced mushrooms, bell peppers, red onion slices, and olives.
Add cheese if desired. I prefer dairy-free cheese or goat cheese (because I don’t do well with cow’s milk cheeses), so I’ll sometimes dollop on some chevre or almond milk ricotta.
Return the meatza to the oven…
…and bake for 5-10 more minutes or until the toppings are browned.
Take it out of the oven and let the meatza rest for 5 minutes. Last but not least: Slice and eat!
Looking for more recipe ideas? Head on over to my Recipe Index. You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my iPhone and iPad app, and in my cookbooks, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2013) and Ready or Not! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2017)!
Prep 10 mins
Cook 20 mins
Total 30 mins
Yield 4 servings
Meatza, or pizza with a sausage or seasoned meat crust, is a delicious, low carb, paleo-friendly alternative to greasy take-out! It’s super simple, too!
No rolling pin? No problem! Use a metal water bottle or the bottom of a large, flat-bottomed skillet.
Cuisine Italian, Paleo, Low Carb, Keto, Primal, Gluten-free
Post From http://youtu.be/ArnPio-IiGg
Hanukkah is the festival of lights and celebrates the Miracle of the Oil, where only one day’s worth of oil was left in the Temple menorah, and it burned miraculously for eight days. To commemorate this miracle, foods fried in oil are celebrated on Hanukkah especially latkes and donuts, alongside traditional Jewish staples.
Keep your traditional Hanukkah entirely Paleo with these 27 delicious recipes, including some for latkes and donuts. All of the following recipes are free from refined sugar, dairy, grains, refined oils, and legumes.
Latkes are quintessential Hanukkah food. Today’s popular potato latke, whose name in Yiddish means “little oily,” comes to us from the Ashkenazi Jews of Eastern Europe in the 1800s. This recipe uses sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes for a lower-carb Paleo option.
Recipe: PaleoPlan | Sweet Potato Latkes
If you’re skipping potatoes entirely, these carrot latkes are the perfect substitute. You can also try parsnips or purple carrots for a colorful variety.
Recipe: Elana’s Pantry | Carrot Scallion Latkes
For that little hint of sweetness, these throw in green apples and pair the final latke with smoked salmon and horseradish for a zesty flavor that will quickly become a year-round favorite.
Recipe: Primal Palate | Parsnip-Apple Latkes with Smoked Salmon
Latkes are traditionally served with applesauce because they taste so good atop your little oilys! But there’s a little more the story. If latkes are served with meat, applesauce keeps to the Kosher rule of not mixing meat and dairy in they same meal. This Paleo applesauce is easy to make in your own kitchen.
Recipe: PaleoPlan | Paleo Applesauce
If latkes are served at a dairy meal, both applesauce and sour cream can be served. This non-dairy “sour cream” is perfect for serving with your latkes at any meal, keeping things Kosher and Paleo.
Recipe: Paleo Cupboard | Paleo Sour Cream
In Jewish culinary tradition, nothing signifies an occasion more than a loaf of challah bread! This easy grain-free Paleo challah substitutes wheat flour with almond, arrowroot, and potato flours.
Recipe: Zenbelly | Paleo Challah
Chicken liver is a traditional Hanukkah spread. Like potato latkes, chopped chicken liver recipes came to America with Eastern European Jews at the turn of the 20th Century. Nutritionally speaking, chicken liver is packed full of vitamins and minerals, and the recipe below is super easy to make and has bold, delicious flavor.
Recipe: PaleoPlan | Chopped Chicken Liver
Hummus originated in the Middle East and has been a staple in the Jewish cuisine in that area for centuries. Only recently has it become popular in Western Jewish cooking. Traditional hummus is made with garbanzo beans, a legume that isn’t Paleo. However, hummus can be made with several Paleo-friendly ingredients, like the ones found in this recipe.
Recipe: PaleoPlan | Paleo Hummus
Plantain chips taste like potato chips, only better! Full of fiber, plantain chips are the perfect complement to your hummus and chicken liver spreads.
Recipe: Fed and Fit | Paleo Plantain Chips
Making your own crackers is super easy and very rewarding. With just a few minutes and four ingredients, you’ll have a batch of perfectly crunchy crackers for your appetizers and you’ll never want the store-bought stuff again!
Recipe: Elana’s Pantry | Salt and Pepper Crackers
Bone broth is Jewish soul food. Slow simmered with bones, it is full of collagen and gelatin, as well as minerals and amino acids like glycine that are central to digestive health, proper immune function, and wound healing. It works perfectly as the starter to any celebration, including Hanukkah, and can be used as any soup base.
Recipe: PaleoPlan | Simple Bone Broth
This grain-free chicken “noodle” soup is filled with nutritious veggies, like zucchini noodles, and gets its warm glow from a generous portion of anti-inflammatory turmeric.
Recipe: PaleoHacks | Turmeric Chicken Noodle Soup with Zoodles
Creamy, rich, and savory, this comforting soup is sublime in all the elements: texture, flavor, and aroma. It’s the perfect winter soup and makes an excellent Hanukkah meal first course.
Recipe: PaleoPlan | Ginger, Carrot, and Sweet Potato Soup
Brisket is Jewish “comfort meat” and it’s the perfect centerpiece for your main Hanukkah meal. Slow cooking brisket softens up the tough collagenous fibers and makes this dish incredibly tender. Tomatoes, onions, and garlic add great flavor.
Recipe: Primal Palate | Paleo Slow Cooker Beef Brisket with Tomatoes and Onions
Before there were slow cookers, brisket was cooked in the oven. This recipe does just that and the result is a superb one-pot meal of meat and veggies.
Recipe: Zenbelly | Brisket with Caramelized Onions and Porcini Mushrooms
If you’re looking to get your brisket nice and tender in half the time, pull out your Instant Pot! After the brisket is seared in bacon fat, this recipe takes on a Mexican flair with a chipotle powder rub. It’s quick and absolutely delicious.
Recipe: Fed and Fit | Instant Pot Chipotle Brisket
Lemon, garlic, rosemary, and thyme are classic roast chicken seasonings and perfect for roasted chicken, a classic Hanukkah dinner.
Recipe: Paleo Newbie | Lemon and Herb Roasted Chicken
Not a classic, but a very fun spin on “chicken and waffles,” this recipe takes fried food to the next level. You’ll wow your family and guests on Hanukkah and find yourself returning to this recipe all year long.
Recipe: Zenbelly | Fried Chicken and Latke Waffles
Supplying an abundance of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, salmon is the definition of a superfood. Rosemary and pecans add flavor, aroma, and crunch.
Recipe: PaleoPlan | Baked Salmon with Rosemary and Pecans
Lamb is rich in protein, minerals, and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)—a compound with potent antioxidant properties. Paired with peppery arugula and buttery pistachios, this elegant meal elevates lamb to new heights.
Recipe: PaleoPlan | Lamb Chops with Wilted Arugula and Pistachios
Pomegranates are rich in nutrition as well as Jewish symbolism. According to Jewish lore, pomegranates have 613 seeds, the same as the number of commandments of the Torah. Whether that’s a fact or not, they taste great and give meals an added touch of beauty.
Recipe: PaleoPlan | Kale Salad with Pomegranate and Pumpkin Seeds
This seasonal side dish makes ordinary Brussels sprouts extraordinary with a sprinkling of festive pomegranate seeds.
Recipe: PaleoPlan | Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Pomegranate
You can’t have a Jewish celebration without kugel! Most commonly made with egg noodles, this grain-free version is Paleo-friendly and made with sweet potatoes.
Recipe: Paleo Running Momma | Sweet Potato Noodle Paleo Kugel
This veggie-packed kugel supplies a rainbow of nutrition. It’s as pretty as it is delicious!
Recipe: Thriving on Paleo | Veggie Kugel
A Paleo Hanukkah means it’s time to make the grain-free donuts! You can fry them, but baking is just as good (and less messy!). Made with Paleo-friendly almond and arrowroot flours, you can frost these donuts with either chocolate ganache or lemon glaze, or make a few of each!
Recipe: Primal Palate | Grain-Free Donuts
Perhaps it’s a chocolate dessert you’re craving this Hanukkah? Unsweetened cocoa powder and coconut flour create a rich and luxurious base for a topping of white chocolate icing.
Recipe: PaleoHacks | Chocolate Paleo Donuts
What’s Hanukkah without Hanukkah gelt! This recipe makes suggestions for toppings for your coins but that’s totally up to you. Feel free to wrap your coins up in shiny paper and give them as treats to your family and guests. Hanukkah gelt is for children, but everyone will love these homemade coins!
Recipe: Allergylicious | Healthy Homemade Chocolate Coins
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