Weight Loss – How Grehlin Helps and Hurts You

Ghrelin and Hunger

DasWortgewand / Pixabay

The Basics: What you need to know to understand and combat ghrelin and lose weight.

Ghrelin is a hormone.  It sends signals to your brain telling you it is time to eat.  Once your stomach and intestines have processed the last meal you ate, it is time to fill up again.

Leptin is a hormone.  It sends signals to your brain telling you that you are full and to stop eating.

Eat slowly and pay attention to what you are eating to reduce your ghrelin levels.  A pre-meal is a good idea to reduce the overall effect of ghrelin on your appetite.

Fructose stops leptin from signaling your brain to stop eating.  Unsaturated fats boost your leptin levels so that you will feel fuller faster.  Saturated fats do not boost your leptin levels.

The Details:  What you need to know if you really want to understand more about what makes you hungry and what you can do about it.

Ghrelin is a hormone, secreted in your belly and intestines.  When your stomach is empty ghrelin makes you want to eat. And if you ignore the signals, which typically come every half hour or so, then your belly sends out more ghrelin. “And not just a little bit more,” says Dr. Oz. “A ton more until you’re absolutely famished and have to eat whatever you see.” This is why deprivation dieting or starvation dieting doesn’t work.  Fasting, with the right mindset going in – a designated period of time – or type(s) of foods – makes more sense than depriving yourself of food.  Ghrelin is an extremely powerful hormone.  It is very difficult to ignore, but you can fool it.

Eat something small and light a half hour or so before you sit down to eat your main meal.  This might include nuts, fruit, or even a glass of water with some soluble fiber.  I prefer to take two or three tablets of glucomannan if I know I will be eating a lot of pasta when I go out to eat.  When you have no food in your stomach or intestines, your ghrelin levels will rise.  A pre-meal shuts down the level of ghrelin intensity since you have some food in the digestion process.  Smartly planned, your main meal should be less than you would normally eat.

Your ghrelin levels dissipate when food is being processed in your body.  Eating slowly extends your digestion time.  Put your fork down after each bite.  Taste you food – feel the texture of your food.  Chew it completelyHorace Fletcher and Dr. Hendrik Smit popularized the practice of chewing each bite of food at least 33-35 times before swallowing.  When food is being processed slowly in your stomach and intestines, it limits the amount of ghrelin that can be made.  You are winning the battle against ghrelin.

Leptin, which is a hormone that’s secreted by our bodies’ own fat.  As your body is digesting food, the fat being consumed slowly turns on the production of leptinLeptin controls how full you feel as you eat.  There is a satiety level that all of us have – a temporary feeling of fullness about one-third to one-half way through a typical meal.  If we stopped, we would be full and sated.  However, we justify our action to continue eating by telling ourselves that it is just a little bit more; or, I don’t want to send that much food back to the kitchen; or, I paid for this meal and I’m not going to leave any.  We rationalize eating more when we should stop eating.  We have developed habits over our lives and this is a hard one to break.

Fructose, found in high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is harmful in many ways.  It blocks leptin from telling your brain that you are full, so you keep eating.  Avoid foods rich in high-fructose corn syrupUnsaturated fats are healthy for you.  Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats help to boost your leptin levels – you feel fuller faster.  Saturated fats do not boost your leptin levels.

Ghrelin and leptin oppose each other – one wants you to eat and the other wants you to stop eating.  Ghrelin is much more powerful than leptinGhrelin also permeates the pleasure center of your brain – the same center that is stimulated by opiates.  This is why it is so difficult to have just ‘one’ cookie; or, one of anything.  If that first one tasted so good, the next one will taste even better.  Knowing ahead of time that your brain will try to get you to have seconds is to be well-armed in fighting the battle of extra calories.

Red O’Laughlin aka The Prosperity Professor

Improving Brain Health


Age-related nutrient deficiencies can be supplemented.

ColiN00B / Pixabay – Age-related nutrient deficiencies can be supplemented.

Phosphatidylserine (PS) is an essential fatty acid.  Our bodies produce essential fatty acids from the food that we eat.  As we age, the chemical processes in our bodies slow down. They lose efficiency.  PS levels begin to decline as we reach middle age.  This is exacerbated by lowering levels of other essential fatty acids, folic acid, and vitamin B12.

PS is required for successful neurotransmission.  PS deficiency has been noted for various types of mental impairment – Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, depression and Parkinson’s disease.  The scarcity of PS in patients with psychological impairment led some investigators to believe that PS supplementation could reverse memory loss if PS levels were brought up to normal levels.

In various studies, PS supplementation has raised levels of PS in our brains.  It has boosted nerve chemical activity, stimulated nerve cell growth and lowered levels of stress hormones.  In many cases, PS appears to reverse age-related memory loss in clinical studies.

I have looked at several studies with successful outcomes when patients were treated with 100 to 400 milligrams of PS a day for an average of three months.  The patients were typically elderly with various degrees of age-related memory loss. I have seen very positive results in my own family with dosages in this range.

Is a deficiency in PS the only cause for age-related memory loss?  No.  Some studies have shown that hypertension, diabetes, vitamin B12 deficiency, heavy metal poisoning, menopause, multiple medications, depression, lack of mental activity, stress and atherosclerosis have an effect on cognitive impairment.  In fact, one study was done by Larrabee & Crook in 1994 estimated that more than half of people over age 60 have some age-related memory impairment.

Age-related memory impairment can be as slight as a perception of memory loss.  You say to yourself, “Where did I put my car keys?”  Many times, this slight level of perceived memory impairment can be overcome by looking at the location of where you placed your keys, glasses, or other items that you use frequently. Say to your brain, “I left my keys on the counter next to the phone.”  This reinforces your brain to remember where you left something.

PS supplementation has been shown to be more effective with lower levels of age-related memory loss.  There are few side effects from PS supplementation – nothing more significant than an upset stomach.  The longer you had impaired memory problems, the longer it takes to return to normal.

There has been a noticeable change in memory loss in most patients, even if they don’t return to the full memory level.  There seems to be a gradual build-up of PS to required levels in your brain.  The longer it is taken, the better the results.

Professor Parris Kidd from the Memory Loss Institute has reviewed over 3000 peer-reviewed research papers on PS and found remarkable benefits.  PS supplementation has been established as very safe to take.  Professor Kidd believes that PS supplementation (phosphatidylserine and phosphatidylcholine) is the single best means for conserving memory and other high brain functions as we age.

Aricept, Exelon, and Razadyne are cholinesterase inhibitors. They are prescribed by doctors to treat Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers believe that preventing the breakdown of acetylcholine in the brain fights the onset of Alzheimer’s. The side effects of these drugs are typically nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, dizziness, overall weakness, muscle cramps and more are reported side effects. Another commonly used dementia drug is Namenda. It works to inhibit the stimulation of nerve cells by glutamate.

Retaining proper brain function in later years can be as simple as using your brain more.  But, there is a supplement that can help you if you are interested. PS is only one of several factors that influence age-related brain dysfunction. Talk to your physician about taking supplemental PS. Some studies show it is more effective than Aricept and similar drugs. The side effects are significantly less than prescribed medications.




Weight Loss – Gluten and What You Need to Know

Most breads contain gluten

qrione / Pixabay

The Basics: The short story – the facts.

Gluten can cause weight gain. Gluten is found in wheat, barley, rye and many other grains. Gluten intolerance/insensitivity causes inflammation in your small intestine. The resulting inflammation produces symptoms such as: headaches, inability to concentrate, gas, bloating, constipation, vomiting, reflux, fatigue, etc. There is no one symptom that clearly defines gluten intolerance.

A gluten-free diet alters the bacterial make-up of your intestines. A gluten-free diet will not cause you to lose weight. Why? Because many gluten-free manufactured products contain extra fat and calories. Gluten is not listed on all food labels.

A good source for this weight loss topic and many other topics that focus on the cause of weight gain and loss is “Results Matter When You Want to Lose Weight and Keep It Off”, by Red O’Laughlin, aka The Prosperity Professor. A Kindle ebook is available from Amazon (http://amzn.to/11zxr0B)

The Details:  If you want to know more, the real details about Gluten, please continue reading.

Gluten might be the cause of your weight gain. Your blood sugar level affects your hunger and cravings. Low-glycemic foods and protein cause your blood sugar levels to rise slowly. Because the rise was slow, your subsequent decline in blood sugar will be slow. This slow decline in blood sugar levels abates your cravings. Protein gives you a full feeling after eating.

Gluten Intolerance

Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, barley, rye, and another twenty or so grains. Gluten gives elasticity to baked goods and makes them chewier. Some people have intolerance to gluten. Gluten intolerance or gluten insensitivity causes inflammation in your small intestine. There are dozens of potential gluten intolerance symptoms. However there is no one symptom that categorically defines gluten intolerance. Sufferers of gluten intolerance have intestinal issues combined with other symptoms, such as – headaches, inability to concentrate, gas, bloating, constipation, vomiting, reflux, fatigue, etc.

Some people have a slight to moderate sensitivity to gluten. The symptoms associated with the various levels of this sensitivity range from rashes to bloating. People with sensitivity to gluten have difficulty absorbing the proper nutrients. The extra energy used to process the gluten foods often leave you tired and fatigued.

Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is a rare autoimmune disease based on gluten intolerance. There is no known cure for Celiac disease. There are no effective medicines to treat this disease. People with Celiac disease can experience diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating, anemia, fatigue and even damage to their small intestine by eating products with gluten. The only treatment for this disease is to not eat any products containing gluten for the rest of your life.

One of the main reasons celiac disease is so devastating is that the place in the small intestine where it causes the most havoc is the site where vitamin B12 is absorbed. Vitamin B12 is critical for many cellular functions, including your body’s manufacture of red blood cells, nerves, and neurotransmitters.

Sometimes celiac disease can go dormant, particularly during your teen years. If celiac disease is detected and confirmed, then goes dormant, it is extremely important to have regular tests to determine its recurrence. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) has been thought to be a mild case of celiac disease or celiac disease that has gone dormant. Celiac disease causes elevated liver enzymes; however, a gluten-free diet can completely normalize your liver chemistry over time.


You have good and bad bacteria in your small and large intestines. When the good bacteria thrive, they control the bad bacteria. A gluten-free diet alters the bacterial make-up of your intestines. Prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients that stimulate the growth and/or activity of the bacteria in your digestive tract. They are necessary for good health. A prebiotic is not a probiotic. Probiotics are live microorganisms. Probiotics are contained in pills, dairy products and yogurt.

Wheat and barley contain prebiotics. Prebiotics have been removed from many products in North America. Prebiotics provide for increased calcium absorption, stronger and denser bones, enhanced immunity, reduced allergies, lower triglycerides, and other benefits. The most significant benefit for people interested in losing weight is that prebiotics aid in appetite suppression and weight control.

Gluten-free Diet

A gluten-free diet will not cause you to lose weight. Many people actually gain weight on a gluten-free diet. You have to be very conscious of your carbohydrates and fats when eating gluten-free. Gluten-free means that you are eating less processed foods. Some gluten-free foods are manufactured with fat as a replacement for gluten. Eating gluten-free foods reduces refined carbohydrates, but may not reduce total calories or fats. Gluten can be insidious because it is not listed on labels. Beer, pizza, burgers, pancakes, etc. contain gluten.

Adhering to a gluten-free diet is not easy. You must read labels like your life depended on it (it does!). Gluten comes from wheat, barley and rye. Oats were thought to contain gluten, but further studies indicate that oats were processed in the same machinery that processed gluten-containing grains. If you have a minor sensitivity to gluten, you might consider adopting a gluten-free lifestyle for at least four weeks to determine if gluten is a problem for you.

Gluten can be found in everything from prescription medicines to thickening agents. Gluten permeates the food processing industry. Hydrolyzed vegetable protein, flour, cereal, vegetable protein, modified starch, vegetable gum and some sauces could contain gluten. Your food product contains gluten if the words – stabilizer, starch, flavoring, emulsifier, hydrolyzed or plant protein – are listed on the label.
People overindulge in gluten-free products because they think they can eat more. Many gluten-free products have the same calories or more than the ones that they replaced. It is very difficult to stay on a gluten-free diet without your life at stake. In a 2006 study followed by the American Journal of Gastroenterology, 81% of 188 people with celiac disease gained weight on a gluten-free diet. Nearly 100 people in this study were overweight or obese when the two-year study started.

Gluten Alternatives

Alternatives are other whole grains such as quinoa, buckwheat, millet, teff, sorghum and wild rice. Quinoa was used by the Inca warriors as an energy booster. It contains all nine essential amino acids. Quinoa is low on the glycemic index. Buckwheat is rich in antioxidants and magnesium. Millet has been grown from Africa to China and was considered to be a prized crop in the Bible. Millet is actually a seed rather than a grain. It is alkaline and provides many minerals and vitamins and provides serotonin to calm you.

Teff is the smallest grain in the world. It is considered to be the grain with the most fiber-rich bran and germ than any other grain. It is also high in calcium. Sorghum is the third largest crop in the United States. It is used for both human and livestock. It is rich in iron, phosphorous and B vitamins. Wild rice is comparable to many grains for nutrition. It is rich in B vitamins, potassium and phosphorous, and contains all the essential amino acids. It is more expensive than brown or white rice due to the harvesting processes.

Red O’Laughlin aka The Prosperity Professor

Weight Loss – Eating Disorders

Weight Loss - Eating Disorders

The Basics:  What you need to know.

Do you eat in moderation?

Do you rarely overeat or fast?

Do you have a positive image about your body, regardless of any extra pounds you might be carrying?

You are normal!

Eating disorders are characterized by extremes – starving and overeating.

Eating disorders can impair your physical and mental health.


The Details:  If you want to know more, continue reading.


Eating disorders are more complex than just eating more than you should at each meal – or continually eating between meals; and, snacking late at night. Scientists haven’t been able to correlate the ‘cause‘ and ‘effect‘ of eating disorders as well as they would like. There are biological, environmental, nutritional, behavioral, social, exercise and emotional issues that intertwine a myriad of causes. This myriad of causes build on each other until control has been eliminated from your dietary and nutritional lifestyle.

Most people with eating disorders don’t believe they have a problem. Malnutrition and obesity have the same behaviors – just different ends of the spectrum. People don’t choose to be malnourished or obese. It happens because of genetics and brain chemistry most of the time. Eating disorders can be inherited. Genetics appears to some degree in 50-80% of research. Research has shown that brain chemistry is altered in the majority of eating disorder patients. It should be pointed out however, that eating disorders are predominant with other mental conditions, such as depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Personality traits have also been observed to predispose a person towards an eating disorder.


One would think that your brain would react differently to bingeing, purging or extreme fasting, but it doesn’t. Anxiety is reduced and the actions taken to achieve that ‘feeling’ are reinforced to continue that behavior. Interestingly enough, many of your brain’s chemistry problems can be brought back into normal ranges by proper nutrition. With an aggressive nutritional program, many patients with eating disorders have normalized their thinking and subsequent behavior.


How would you recognize an eating disorder in someone else? One would think that overeating is the main symptom. However, it is much more complex. You can actually see symptoms of eating disorder before they become serious. Food related symptoms include: dieting and constant diet changes; avoidance of joining others to eat; inflexibility regarding what, how much and when to eat; needing to know the calories of every items they eat; interest in cooking and recipes without actually eating; secretive eating (foods and times); never available for family meals; anger at being forced to eat; food disappearing frequently, etc. Note, one or more of these symptoms does not constitute an eating disorder – or, an early detection. Many people will eat only when they are hungry. Nutrition has a major impact on brain chemistry and should also be included in any assessment of too little or too much food at a meal.

Other symptoms include: excessive exercise; failure to gain weight according to normal curves for their age; socially withdrawn; and, inability to describe emotions. This is a short list of symptoms and is for educational purposes only – not intended to diagnose a problem you, a friend or loved one might have. People with eating disorders typically deny that they have a problem, or that anything is wrong. Early diagnosis and treatment will prevent further serious health problems.


Eating disorders occur most frequently in children, teenagers and young adults. Women are more likely to develop eating disorders compared to men. Men account for 5-15% of patients with anorexia or bulimia. Women make up 90%, give or take, of patients with anorexia or bulimia. Men account to up to 35% of patients with binge-eating disorder compared to 65% for women.

Success Rate

There is a high success rate with eating disorders. It is imperative that other psychiatric conditions be diagnosed and separated for optimal treatment. Anxiety disorders, substance abuse, despair, and depression can be causes of eating disorders. Psychiatric and medical treatments work well if diagnosed early and treated. Eating and psychiatric disorders can lead to many heart and kidney problems, neurological complications, impaired physical development, electrolyte and fluid imbalances, and even death – by related disease or suicide.

Scientists have classified over three-dozen unique and specific types of eating disorders. I will focus on three main categories – anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and eating disorders not otherwise specified. Anorexia nervosa is considered to be a brain disorder. Some researchers believe that in some cases it is linked to undiagnosed autism. Bulimics, on the other hand, tend to suffer from depression or general anxiety disorder.

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa symptoms include: a persistent quest for a leaner and slenderer body to the point of emaciation, an unwillingness to maintain weight within normal standards, an intense fear of gaining weight, excessive dieting or exercise, misuse of laxatives, diuretics or enemas. The anorexic’s brain cannot perceive reality. They see themselves as fat or overweight when it is obvious to everyone around them that they are scrawny and undernourished. Anorexics weigh themselves constantly. They eat very small servings of only certain foods. Anorexics typically have osteopenia/osteoporosis (bone density diseases), brittle hair and nails, dry and/or yellowish skin, muscle weakness, severe constipation, slowed breathing and pulse, and low blood pressure. They typically feel cold all the time because their internal body temperature is below normal.

Successful treatments for anorexia nervosa include: an aggressive educational program to understand the causes and effects of anorexia nervosa, gaining weight to normal levels, nutritional balance, behavior change to prevent/eliminate relapse, and appropriate treatment for any associated psychological issues. The most important first step is to regain the weight needed for the other treatments to be most effective.

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa is different than anorexia nervosa. Anorexics fall below normal weight standards for their age and height. Bulimics fall within the normal weights standards. Bulimics feel that they have no control over the food that they eat. They have binge-eating sessions followed by purging, excessive exercise, use of laxatives or diuretics, and fasting to compensate for their binge-eating. These cycles, binge-eating and purging occur several times a week. They fear gaining weight, just like anorexics. They are ashamed and disgusted with their weight and overall appearance. Most bulimic behavior is done secretly.

Bulimics create some unique problems with their binge-purge cycles. They have chronically inflamed or sore throats, swollen glands in their necks below their jaws, worn tooth enamel, electrolyte imbalances, gastrointestinal problems, intestinal distress, kidney problems, and severe dehydration.
Many bulimics have substance abuse issues, depression and anxiety. Treatment includes nutritional counseling, appropriate medical and psychological treatments for accompanying mental problems. The main treatment is focused to change eating attitudes.

Binge-eating Disorder

Binge-eating disorder should not be confused with bulimia nervosa. Binge-eating disorder is distinguished by repeated binge-eating episodes. Like bulimia nervosa, the same loss of control over eating is prevalent. However, there is no purging, excessive exercise, or use of diuretics or laxatives. People with binge-eating disorders are typically overweight. They suffer remorse, humiliation, and distress about their eating habits. This usually leads to more binge-eating.

Like other eating disorders, binge-eating disorder can coexist with the typical psychological ailments, such as depression and anxiety. Various personality disorders are also manifested with binge-eating disorder. Many are obese with cardiovascular disease and hypertension. The treatments of binge-eating disorder are similar to bulimia nervosa. It is critical that the underlying emotional issues are addressed early. In many cases, appetite suppressants are prescribed. There are over a dozen prescription appetite suppressant drugs. As with all prescription drugs, side effects abound. Non-prescription appetite suppressants worthy of your consideration are: apples, flaxseeds, caffeine, water, chicken or vegetable soups, oatmeal, salmon, nuts and proteins.

Other Eating Disorders

Other eating disorders are: compulsive overeating, purging disorder, rumination, diabulimia, pica, night eating syndrome, and orthorexia nervosa. Not all of these other related eating disorders are related to brain chemistry abnormalities.


How do you know if you successfully recovered from an eating disorder? Barring any serious brain damage, anorexia and bulimia are successfully treated every day. The earlier treatment is started, the better the results. It used to be thought that eating disorder treatment would last for the rest of your life; or, that you could never fully recover from the disease. That is not true for the vast, vast majority. Most treatments last months, not years.

Full recovery can be observed with manifestations of physical hunger driving your eating habits rather than emotional hunger. Weight is restored to normal levels along with nutritional and metabolic metrics. Decisions regarding food are made based on caloric and nutrient intake. Purging and other related behaviors are eliminated. Skin, dental and hair health return to normal ranges. Disproportionate exercise is gone. A wider variety of food is chosen on a regular basis. Full recovery is also seen in the ability to recognize eating behaviors and having the ability to prevent relapse or to seek further treatment. Weight and body image obsession have vanished.

Red O’Laughlin aka The Prosperity Professor