By Sarah A LoBisco, ND

May 2012’s Top Reads will be posted next week!

…And….wow, it’s jam-packed with some amazing and empowering insights….

Specifically, the NUTRIGENOMICS, HEALTH, and DRUG UPDATES sections for this month have been combined (in a scientifically delicious interaction) into a common theme of the connection between our lifestyle choices and health outcomes.

As the month progressed, I noticed that the articles I was coming across continued to pour in more proof that how we treat ourselves (through food selection, proper rest, and healthy lifestyle choices) is more important to our health than what genetic cards we were dealt!

The medicine of the future is giving up on the endless search for suppressing a gene for a specific disease! Instead, modern medicine is shifting to what substances can influence our own unique biochemistry and specific genetic profile to bring about health! Functional medicine meet the general public! Ta-da!

Here are some specific highlights on the power of healthy choices on health outcomes:

Cancer is related to Environment

This year, more than 1 million Americans and more than 10 million people worldwide are expected to be diagnosed with cancer, a disease commonly believed to be preventable. Only 5–10% of all cancer cases can be attributed to genetic defects, whereas the remaining 90–95% have their roots in the environment and lifestyle. The lifestyle factors include cigarette smoking, diet (fried foods, red meat), alcohol, sun exposure, environmental pollutants, infections, stress, obesity, and physical inactivity. The evidence indicates that of all cancer-related deaths, almost 25–30% are due to tobacco, as many as 30–35% are linked to diet, about 15–20% are due to infections, and the remaining percentage are due to other factors like radiation, stress, physical activity, environmental pollutants etc. Therefore, cancer prevention requires smoking cessation, increased ingestion of fruits and vegetables, moderate use of alcohol, caloric restriction, exercise, avoidance of direct exposure to sunlight, minimal meat consumption, use of whole grains, use of vaccinations, and regular check-ups. In this review, we present evidence that inflammation is the link between the agents/factors that cause cancer and the agents that prevent it. In addition, we provide evidence that cancer is a preventable disease that requires major lifestyle changes.

Source: Preetha Anand, Ajaikumar B. Kunnumakara, Chitra Sundaram, Kuzhuvelil B. Harikumar, Sheeja T. Tharakan, Oiki S. Lai, Bokyung Sung, and Bharat B. Aggarwal. Cancer is a Preventable Disease that Requires Major Lifestyle Changes. Pharm Res. 2008 September; 25(9): 2097–2116. Published online 2008 July 15. doi:  10.1007/s11095-008-9661-9.PMCID: PMC2515569

Epigenetics of Nature’s spices and health outcomes (Dr. Mercola)

More demonstration that food and spices modulate our risk for cancer!

The antioxidant resveratrol and curcumin (the active substance of the spice turmeric) both show promise as natural chemosensitizers—substances that can help overcome resistance to chemotherapy drugs

  • Both nutrients have a wide spectrum of anti-cancer actions and functions
  • By modulating inflammatory pathways and inflammatory molecules, resveratrol may also help alleviate many of the debilitating side effects of conventional cancer treatment, such as wasting, fatigue, depression, neuropathic pain, cognitive impairment and sleep disorders
  • Among all nutrients, curcumin has the most evidence-based literature supporting its use against cancer. Researchers have found that curcumin can affect more than 100 different pathways, once it gets into a cell
  • Epigenetic regulation constitutes an important mechanism by which dietary components can selectively activate or inactivate gene expression. Both curcumin and resveratrol induce epigenetic changes

In May last year, a study investigating curcumin’s ability to affect epigenetic regulation was published in the journal Genes & Nutritiovi. The authors write:

“Epigenetic regulation, which includes changes in DNA methylation, histone modifications, and alteration in microRNA (miRNA) expression without any change in the DNA sequence, constitutes an important mechanism by which dietary components can selectively activate or inactivate gene expression.

Source: Mercola, J. Make Mincemeat out of Cancer cells with this Breakthrough Spice. 5/16/12.

Why everyone should Catch Their ZZZZssss (Dr. Amen)

Not as severe as cancer, but the choice to tweet vs. sleep or poke vs. pass out affects our hormonal, digestion, ability to deal with stress, and basic metabolic factors:

Chronic sleep loss can reduce the capacity of even young adults to perform basic metabolic functions, such as processing carbohydrates or regulating hormone secretion.  Cutting back from the standard eight down to four hours of sleep each night produces striking changes in glucose tolerance and endocrine function. Sleep deprivation also alters the production and action of other hormones, dampening the secretion of thyroid-stimulating hormone and increasing blood levels of cortisol, especially during the afternoon and evening. So how much sleep do we need? Healthy adults require about 7-9 hours of sleep per night.  Children need about 10-11 hours and teens around 9.

Source: Amen, D. The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on the Brain.

Read more fun facts here:

Learn more about my practice and how personalized medicine, with the support of a licensed Naturopathic Doctor and Functional Medicine Certification Candidate, can help you achieve wellness! Find out more.



2. My next training is in Arizona is May 30th-June 3rd for the Cardiovascular Advanced Practice Module. (Trainers include: Dr. Hyman, Dr. Bland, and Dr. Houston!)

My focus will be on learning and bringing the information back to incorporate for you and your health; therefore, I will not be readily available via email or phone these dates.

3. Have a happy memorial day!


Blood Sugar Solution by Mark Hyman is a good place to start with a step-by-step guide on how to balance your blood sugar and optimize ideal weight. It also contains a comprehensive cookbook! Don’t miss the latest from one of my mentors and an originator of functional medicine! Thanks to a few of my wonderful patients for bringing me this book and allowing me to tailor the suggestions just for you!


Tune in Saturday, May 26, 2012 to hear how your feminine flow affects your life:
Regain Your Energy!

In this streaming radio show, Gabrielle Bernstein interviews Alisa Vitti, Functional Nutritionist, Holistic Reproductive Health Expert, Founder and CEO of They will discuss women, hormones, and manifesting: how we can leverage our bodies to get more accomplished with grace and learn the science why your hormonal imbalances: period problems, fertility challenges, low energy and low libido hold you back from manifesting fully.