Tag Archives: nutritiondata.com

Fiber and Systemic Inflammation

mpj0433185000011High dietary fiber intake helps prevent constipation, diverticular disease, hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome, and perhaps colon polyps.

Soluble fiber helps control blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, and it reduces LDL cholesterol levels, thereby reducing risks of coronary heart disease.

An article in the journal Nutrition suggests how fiber may have beneficial effects in atherosclerosis (the cause of heart attacks and strokes), type 2 diabetes, and some cancers.  These conditions are felt to be related to underlying systemic inflammation.

Systemic inflammation can be judged by blood levels of inflammatory markers such as interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor-alpha-receptor-2, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein.

Researchers looked at 1,958 postmenopausal women in the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study, comparing inflammatory marker levels with dietary fiber intake.  They found that high fiber intake was associated with significantly lower levels of inflammatory markers interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha-receptor-2.  This association was true individually for total fiber, insoluble fiber, and soluble fiber.  The researchers found no association with C reactive protein.

Bottom line?

High intake of dietary fiber seems to reduce chronic inflammation, which may, in part, explain the observed clinical benefits of fiber.

Average adult fiber intake in the U.S. is 12 to 15 grams daily.  Expert nutrition panels and the American Heart Association recommend 25 to 30 grams daily from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

Nutritionist Monica Reinagel at NutritionData.com has reviewed soluble vs insoluble fiber and good sources of soluble fiber:  oranges, apples, carrots, oats and oat bran, psyllium husk, nuts, legumes, and flaxseed.  Click the link for good sources of insoluble fiber.

Rest assured that the Mediterranean diet is naturally high in fiber.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Reference:  Ma, Yensheng, et al.  Association between dietary fiber and markers of systemic inflammation in the Women’s Health Initiative Observational StudyNutrition, 24 (2008): 941-949.


Filed under Fiber

Atherosclerosis: Development and Natural History

People with diabetes are prone to develop atherosclerosis, which is often called “hardening of the arteries.”  The hardening isn’t so bad; the problem is that the arteries develop obstructive plaques that impair the flow of life-sustaining blood to living tissues.

Actually, almost everybody will develop atherosclerosis eventually.  But it’s better to get it when you’re 120 instead of 50 years old.  Atherosclerosis causes most heart attacks, half of all strokes, and poor blood flow to the legs.

Diabetes accelerates the process of atherosclerosis, especially if the diabetes is poorly controlled.

The American Journal of Medicine in January this year published a supplement (volume122, number 1A) entitled “Management of Atherosclerosis: A Practical Guide in 2008.”  William Insull, Jr., M.D., wrote a chapter on development and natural history of atherosclerosis.  I summarized it at the Heart Health Blog at NutritionData.com today.

Did you know that atherosclerosis starts in childhood?  Find the details at NutritionData.

The good news is that we can modify risk factors for atherosclerosis, such as diabetes, smoking, physical inactivity, and poor diet, thereby preventing the heart attack or stroke in a 57-year-old.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Filed under Diabetes Complications

What Is Heart Failure and How Do I Know If I Have It?

On April 24, 2009, NutritionData.com published a blog post of mine discussing heart failure.  Since diabetes is a cause of heart failure, you may be interested in it.  If so, please click here to see the post. 

Today, NutritionData published my post on other causes and prevention of heart failure.

Steve Parker, M.D.


Filed under Diabetes Complications

Dr. Steve Parker Now Blogging Also at NutritionData.com

I am pleased and honored to be blogging for the next three months with the merry band of bloggers at NutritionData.com.  I’ve been visiting and recommending ND for years.

I will be writing in the NutritionData Heart Health Blog.

My compadres at ND are

  • Monica Reinagel, M.S., L.D.N., C.N.S.; ND’s chief nutritionist and a prolific author
  • Dana Lilienthal, M.S., R.D.
  • Stephen Cabral, C.S.C.S, C.P.T., N.S.
  • Elaine Murphy, B.A., C.N.C.

[Gee, now I feel like I need more letters after my name!]

Please take time to visit the NutritionData website, or see my review of it here.  The site is frequently updated and improved, so my review may be outdated.

I’ll still be posting here at my usual frequency, about twice weekly.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Filed under Shameless Self-Promotion