Steven Masley MD, LLC Tune up your brain, heart, energy, waistline, and sex life! Mon, 25 Mar 2019 22:00:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Steven Masley MD, LLC 32 32 How to Heal Leaky Gut (It Could Be Caused by Antibiotic Use) Mon, 25 Mar 2019 22:00:26 +0000 The post How to Heal Leaky Gut (It Could Be Caused by Antibiotic Use) appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


Leaky gut has become an epidemic that affects millions of people around the world—even though many of them aren’t aware of the underlying condition that causes their symptoms ranging from digestive problems and mood imbalances to autoimmunity, and other chronic illnesses.

Some of the common triggers that can initiate leaky gut syndrome is antibiotic use, which can kill billions of gut microbes and leave you prone to this condition, and from following the SAD Standard American Diet, which is fiber deficient and loaded with sugar.

Traditionally-trained physicians often fail to recognize the critical importance of gut health, or how a leaky gut can affect your whole body and mind. Yet, many traditionally trained doctors will start you on a course of antibiotics for an infection, and ignore the importance of restoring and repopulating your gut microbiome. Your intestinal tract is the foundation of your body’s immune system and a key gatekeeper that lets in nutrients while preventing pathogens and toxins from entering your bloodstream.

When the lining of the intestinal tract is injured, such as when bad microbes overwhelm our gut (in medical circles we call this dysbiosis) the gut lining becomes inflamed and starts to leak food and microbes from the gut lumen into the blood stream. Our gut is designed to allow nutrients to pass from the gut lumen to our blood stream, but food and stool are not supposed to leak across this lining into the blood stream.

A leaky gut causes a cascade of problems, as foreign particles leak into the blood stream. The body responds with inflammatory compounds and body wide inflammation increases dramatically. The inflamed gut with microbes and foreign particles passing across the gut lining alerts the immune system to attack, causing additional damage, and as the system inflammation increases, this creates a vicious circle that is hard to stop.

In the short term a leaky gut makes you achier, you might notice brain fog and decreased concentration, your energy drops, and you have increased bloating and other GI symptoms. If this is allowed to continue long term, it can trigger an auto-immune attack with your immune system attacking your own tissues (such as inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, thyroid disease, and psoriasis). Over time, the dysbiosis will lead to substantial weight gain, and the prolonged rise in inflammation increases your risk for heart disease and memory loss.

People who consume probiotic food sources generally have a healthy gut microbiome and are less likely to develop gut inflammation and gut leaking. Great sources of probiotic foods include sources with and without dairy and/or soy:

  • Plain, organic yogurt, plain, organic kefir, Cottage cheese
  • Miso, tempeh, kombucha, natto
  • Sauerkraut, pickles, olives in brine, pickled vegetables

The leaky gut syndrome is common in people who follow the SAD Standard American Diet, which lacks adequate fiber and includes an overload of sugar and refined carbs that cause inflammation and overgrowth of bad bacteria.

Some medications can also cause a leaky gut, in particular antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs.

Anti-inflammatory drugs (such as Ibuprofen, Naprosyn, Aleve, Advil, Celebrex) are used to treat joint, tendon, and muscle aches. They do temporarily decrease joint pain and inflammation, but they can also cause major gastro-intestinal injury, bleeding, and initiate leaky gut syndrome. My general rule with my patients is to avoid the use of anti-inflammatory drugs and if you use them, make it rare use, and not more than 5-10 days per year.

Microbiome Killers

There are a variety of compounds that if consumed, can kill billions of healthy gut microbes. Some of the most common are antibiotics, artificial sweeteners, and other chemicals we are exposed to, such as weed killers.


Just one short 5-7-10 day course of antibiotics can kill billions of gut microbes and disrupt the normal balance in your intestinal tract for months or even years. This is why I’ve been adamant with my clinic patients that they avoid taking antibiotics for cold, bronchitis, or intestinal symptoms that will likely resolve on their own. Antibiotics play a vital role when treating serious infections, such as pneumonia, cellulitis, or a kidney infection, but according to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) well over one third of antibiotics prescribed in the United States are used inappropriately. Always ask your physician if you can safely give an infection time to recover on its own before starting a course of antibiotics.

If you do need to start a course of antibiotic therapy, you should also start a probiotic course that contains at least 25-50 billion bacteria per dose per day for several months to help restore normal gut microbes. If this seems like a big dose, consider that you have trillions of microbes in your intestinal tract and most of them will die with they pass through stomach acid, this is the minimal dosage that will likely make a difference.  It is also important to follow a high fiber diet that is loaded with vegetables, fruits, beans, and nuts as this is a great way to provide prebiotic fiber for your gut bacteria to multiply and repopulate your intestinal tract; without fiber, your gut microbes will starve and die. One of my favorite probiotic supplements is called ProMed50—I’ll share more on this probiotic shortly.

Weed Killers

One of the most commonly used weed killers in the United States today, and globally, is Roundup, a glyphosate compound. Not only does it turn out that it kills weeds, but if consumed it also kills healthy gut bacteria. Multiple studies show that trace quantities of a glyphosate will kill healthy gut microbes. There is also plenty of concern that consuming Roundup might increase cancer risk. Roundup use is extremely common, and many agricultural products are tainted with this product. The only way to effectively avoid it is to buy organically grown foods that ban the use of Roundup.

Artificial Sweeteners

Whoever initially created the artificial sweetener Splenda (sucralose) must have thought that they found a gold mine. By attaching chloride to a sugar molecule, you block the absorption of sugar across the intestinal tract. When you consume chlorinated sugar, you taste sweetness, but don’t absorb any calories. Initially, this seems like a great way to allow people to consume sweet tasting food products without the calories and impact on blood sugar levels.

But the same way chlorinated water kills bacteria in water, chlorinated sugar kills some of the healthy bacteria in your gut. So, this turned out not to be such a great idea after all.

Many scientists have reported that a variety of artificial chemical sweeteners (Splenda®, Saccarhin® and Nutrasweet®) impact healthy gut bacteria, and promote populations of gut bacteria that are more efficient at absorbing calories. And the impact of artificial sweeteners on the gut microbiome appears to apply to other compounds as well, not just those related to chlorinated sugar. One group of Israeli researchers have reported that artificial sweeteners enhance the populations of gut bacteria that are more efficient at pulling energy from our food and turning that energy into fat.

My best advice is to avoid all sweeteners, but if you must use one, then choose a natural option, such as stevia or xylitol (or erythritol).

Of interest, many Europeans have called for artificial sweeteners to be banned, and their use has never reached the same levels noticed in the United States. The European appeal for natural food sources, and an abhorrence to the idea of artificial flavors may have saved many people in European countries from being harmed by excessive use of artificial sweeteners.

Functional Medicine Steps to Heal Leaky Gut Syndrome:

  • Remove or reduce negative factors such as inflammatory foods (sugar, gluten), infections, use of antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs (Ibuprofen, Aleve, Advil), and artificial sweeteners (Splenda, Nutrasweet, and Saccarhin).
  • Replace depleted ingredients that promote gut health, such as digestive enzymes and 10 servings of fiber per day.
  • Re-inoculate beneficial bacteria to restore a healthy balance in your gut.
  • Repair your gut by providing essential ingredients (L-Glutamine is essential).

If you are going to add a probiotic supplement, ideally you need multiple strains (at least types of bacteria), preferably with strains that will survive passage through the stomach, and at ann adequate dosage. After a non-avoidable course of antibiotics, aim for a dosage of at least 50 billion microbes daily for at least two months.

My favorite probiotic supplement to repopulate your gut is: ProbioMed 50, which has the following features:

  • HIGH POTENCY 50 BILLION CFU – Featuring ten of the most highly-researched probiotic strains, with each strain and specific CFU count being fully disclosed. These strains are capable of surviving the harsh journey to the intestines, where they can support GI health & immune health.
  • DELAYED-RELEASE TECHNOLOGY – These capsules use delayed release technology as well as unique moisture-resistant, desiccant-lined packaging to further enhance survivability.
  • SHELF STABLE & DAIRY FREE – This novel packaging removes the need for refrigeration, making this dairy-free probiotic convenient for travelers and anyone on the go.
  • HIGHER STANDARDS. BETTER RESULTS – Designs for Health maintains a strict, no-compromises approach to quality raw material selection. We never cut corners with substandard ingredients. This product is Non-GMO.

How does L-Glutamine Repair Leaky Gut?

L-Glutamine is the most common amino acid in your body and a critical building block that your body uses to produce proteins. The cells along the lining of your intestine are higher dependent upon L-Glutamine to repair themselves; this is the primary amino acid that they use.

Regenerate Cells Faster to Restore Your Gut Lining. The great news is that your gut cells naturally turn over every few days, which is why my patients often fully repair their intestinal lining in only 3-4 weeks. L-Glutamine also helps to seal the leaks in your gut (tight junctions that exist between intestinal cells) in your gut and restores your gut lining to a healthy state even faster.

L-glutamine has also been shown to help help to heal stomach ulcers. It also helps support normal gut healing for anyone struggling with irritable bowel syndrome.

To provide your gut with the nutrients it needs, plan to take at 3,000 mg of L-glutamine daily for at least 4 weeks. If you avoid microbiome toxins, and you support your gut properly, the good news is that it only takes about one month to heal your gut. Options are a L-glutamine powder  (or use two capsules of 850 mg of L-Glutamine twice per day.

Another product that I have used to heal heartburn, is also useful to heal a leaky gut. It is called GI Revive. It contains a mixture of compounds that help to heal a leaky gut. Notice that if you are also using GI Revive, you’ll only need half the original L-glutamine dosage as this product also provides L-glutamine:

  • Glutamine 1,500 mg daily
  • Aloe Vera, which supports the intestinal mucosal lining
  • Slippery elm and marshmallow root support mucous membrane health
  • Licorice extract to soothe the stomach and intestinal lining

The key to preventing leaky gut syndrome is to eat ample fiber from vegetables, fruits, beans, and nuts daily, to consume at least 1-2 servings of a probiotic food source daily, and to avoid microbiome toxins, such as antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, and artificial chemical sweeteners.

To heal your leaky gut, focus on taking all the same preventative steps, plus supporting your gut with supplements such as probiotics, L-glutamine , and an additional supplement, such as GI Revive.


I wish you the best of health!

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, FAAFP, CNS

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Blueberry Ricotta Cheesecake Fri, 22 Mar 2019 16:11:43 +0000 The post Blueberry Ricotta Cheesecake appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


Italian version of a lovely dessert, great when you have company celebrating a special occasion. You can use any berry for the topping. The blueberries and orange rind provide valuable nutrients and an awesome flavor, the almonds add healthy fats, and the sour cream gives a probiotic boost.

Prep Time: 20 minutes;

Baking Time: 60 minutes;

Serves: 12


2/3 cup almond flour

1 cup finely chopped almonds

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon honey

½ cup ghee (clarified butter), softened


16 ounces part skim ricotta cheese

1 cup honey (or xylitol)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons almond flour

2 teaspoons, organic orange zest (divided, save 1 teaspoon for a garnish)

¼ teaspoon sea salt

6 large, organic-raised, cage-free eggs, beaten


½ cup, low-fat, organic sour cream

1 cup organic blueberries


Preheat oven to 350° (F).

In a bowl, combine almond flour, chopped almonds, and cinnamon. Mix in honey and ghee. Grease a 9-inch pie plate (or an 8- to 9-inch spring-form pan); press and spread crust into and up the sides.

Beat all filling ingredients except eggs until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low until combined. Pour into crust. Place plate on a baking sheet.

Bake until center is set, about 60 minutes. Remove from oven; let stand on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Spoon sour cream over the top of the filling. Sprinkle on blueberries over sour cream layer. Garnish with remaining 1 teaspoon of orange rind.

Refrigerate at least 2 hours, or overnight.



Steven Masley, MD

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Roasted Beet and Kale with Greek Lemon Vinaigrette Fri, 08 Mar 2019 22:03:16 +0000 The post Roasted Beet and Kale with Greek Lemon Vinaigrette appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


This is a Greek-style roasted beet and kale salad that is colorful and flavorful. Beets and kale can easily be roasted and dressing prepared a day in advance.

Serves: Four

Prep Time: 20 Minutes

Oven Roasting Time: 35-45 Minutes


4 medium beets, peeled and sliced

1 medium sweet onion, quartered and sliced

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (divided)

½ teaspoon sea salt (divided)

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning

12 medium kale leaves, ribs trimmed away, sliced into large bite-sized pieces

¼ cup pistachios, chopped

2 tablespoons feta cheese, crumbled (optional)


4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon honey

1 medium garlic clove, diced

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/8 teaspoon sea salt


Preheat oven to 395˚ (F).

Cut peeled beets into bite-sized slices, toss in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, black pepper, Italian seasoning, and onions. Place beets and onions on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for about 35-45 minutes, until al dente.

Meanwhile, toss kale with remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Spread on a baking sheet. Roast in heated oven for 10-15 minutes, until crisp. Remove from oven and set aside.

Heat a small sauté pan to medium heat, add pistachios, stir frequently until warm, but don’t overheat until they are browned.

While beets are roasting, whisk vinaigrette ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.

When beets are ready, spoon with kale on a serving platter, drizzle dressing over them, toss gently, and garnish with nuts and cheese.  Serve warm or at room temperature.


Steven Masley, MD

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Is the Protein You Eat Clean or Toxic? Thu, 07 Mar 2019 15:51:35 +0000 The post Is the Protein You Eat Clean or Toxic? appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


We all need some source of dietary protein. Whether you are vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, or you eat poultry and/or red meat. Every day we use amino acids, the building blocks for protein, to repair and restore tissue, and they need to be replaced.

The challenge is that unless we are careful, the protein we eat is often the most toxic food we consume.

The easiest way to avoid toxic protein is to be vegan (you eat no animal products), or vegetarian (you don’t eat fish, poultry or red meat, but do eat dairy and eggs. However, you don’t have to give up eating animal protein to avoid toxins. And the lower you eat on the food chain, the less toxic your food will usually be.

Vegans get most of their protein from beans, vegetables, and whole grains. They still need to ensure that they choose organic products when eating from the dirty dozen list (e.g., spinach, apples, blueberries, bell pepper). The biggest risk comes from eating out of cans that are lined with BPA (Bisphenol A), as this chemical compound is a hormone disruptor, and increases your risk for diabetes and cancer. When eating canned foods, such as beans and tomato sauces, always ensure that you buy BPA-free cans.

Vegetarians typically consume eggs and dairy products. In the US, egg-laying chickens are commonly fed pesticide-loaded grains and sprayed regularly with chemicals and antibiotics in their cages. All these toxins get transferred to the eggs that are sold for human consumption.

Commercial dairy is often given a hormone, recombinant bovine growth hormone, (rBGH) to increase milk production. Although in the United States the FDA has approved rBGH to be used in the dairy industry, it has been banned in Canada, Europe, and many other countries, as it has been linked to prostate, breast, colorectal, and other cancers. (The FDA says these studies have not been conclusive at this time. Yet, I am clearly going to err on the safe side and encourage you to use organic, free range egg and dairy products.

For pescatarians, make sure that your fish is either wild caught, or you need to know what the fish were fed while raised in pens. Too often, farm-raised fish are fed pesticide coated grains and soy products, and ground up fish meal that contains PCBs. Best is to buy wild caught fish. You also consume far fewer chemicals even with wild-caught seafood if you buy fish that are lower on the food chain, such as herring, sardines, sole, flounder, and shellfish. Even though wild caught salmon can be fairly large, they have a small mouth and eat low on the food chain so they are a good choice as well.

Large-mouth fish have the highest concentration of chemicals and mercury, so avoid swordfish, shark, tuna, grouper, and bass; eat it not more than 1-3 times per month or not at all.

More than 40% of pesticides in the American diet are thought to come from eating poultry and meat that have been fed pesticide coated grains, injected with hormones, and fed antibiotics. Not only do pesticides increase our risk for cancer, they also make it more likely to get Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes.

The most toxic of all the animal protein sources are hot dogs, bologna, bacon and deli meats. Not only do these sources of protein typically come from a feedlot, and often they use parts of the carcass instead of a real cut of meat, but they also have extra chemicals added to them to extend their shelf life. All processed meats and bacon that you consider should have been organically raised, but you also need to ensure that they do not have toxic nitrosamines, which are commonly placed on these foods. We have known for years that nitrosamines increase our risk for cancer substantially. But recently we have shown that they also increase our risk for diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.

Sometimes it is tempting to think about going vegan, buying mostly organic produce, and avoiding canned food products to ensure we avoid toxins from commercial food producers. Yet, if we follow these simple precautions, we can eat clean protein from a variety of sources.

Some foods help us excrete toxins via liver detoxification from our bodies. Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, bok choy, cauliflower), onions, scallions, garlic, and curry spices enhance liver detoxification. Another very good reason to eat at least a serving of cruciferous vegetables and foods from the onion family daily, and enjoy curry dishes (or a curcumin supplement) often to help push out chemicals from your body.

Sweating also helps remove toxins. Whether it is sweat from a workout or sweat from a sauna.  Regular sweat production is another way to help remove chemicals that have the potential to cause harm. Just remember to replenish your body with clean, filtered fluids.

  • Here is a link that makes it easy for you to find high quality, clean poultry, beef, and/or bacon products, visit

My goal is to help you eat non-toxic food you enjoy, and that you stay vibrant and healthy for years to come.

I wish you the best of health!

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, FAAFP, CNS

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Vietnamese Salad with Chicken Fri, 01 Mar 2019 23:57:29 +0000 The post Vietnamese Salad with Chicken appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


You can easily substitute shrimp or tofu for the chicken. As there are multiple ingredients, if your market doesn’t carry a few items, such as lemongrass or tamarind paste, it’s fine to skip them; this salad will be loaded with flavor.

Serves: Two

Prep Time: 25-30 Minutes


1 Tbsp avocado oil 

¾ pound chicken breast, very thinly sliced 

¼ tsp sea salt 

1 stalk lemongrass, trim the top and base of the stalk—use only the bottom 3 inches; peel off any dry or tough outer layers, then mince 

1 tsp ginger root, peeled and diced 


2 cups cabbage, thinly sliced 

2 medium carrots, grated 

1 cup daikon radish (1 small daikon radish), grated 

¼ cup fresh basil, chopped 

¼ cup mint, chopped 

¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped 


2 Tbsp macadamia nut oil 

Juice of 1 lime (~ 3 Tbsp) 

1 tsp Tamarind paste 

2 tsp sesame oil 

½ tsp Tamari sauce 

1 tsp honey 


2 tsp sesame seeds 


Heat a sauté pan to medium-high heat, add oil, then chicken (or other protein), salt, lemongrass, and ginger root. Stir occasionally until lightly browned, about 6-7 minutes, then set aside. 

Combine salad ingredients in a serving bowl. 

Whisk dressing ingredients until mixed. Toss with the salad and chicken.  

Garnish with sesame seeds and serve. 


Steven Masley, MD

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You Don’t Have to Surrender to Hot Flashes (Ways to Fix them NOW)! Sat, 23 Feb 2019 04:13:06 +0000 The post You Don’t Have to Surrender to Hot Flashes (Ways to Fix them NOW)! appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


If you’ve suffered from hot flashes, you understand how badly you can feel. Your face flushes. Your heart rate accelerates. Your body feels you’re stranded in triple-digit heat and you start perspiring intensely.

Perhaps the worst of it is, you can’t control when they occur. Hot flashes, like other menopausal symptoms, come whenever they please.

If you suffer from hot flashes, you’re not alone. About 70 percent of women have them during menopause, and about a third of those women say those hot flashes are frequent and/or severe.

After 30 years of clinical experience working with thousands of women has taught me what causes hot flashes, and I know how to help them.

A big part of the solution comes down to two words: Insulin resistance.

If you have been reading my blogs, this term should sound familiar, as it is the #1 cause for heart disease and memory loss.

You see, under normal circumstances, insulin controls blood sugar levels. Insulin is a very powerful hormone that moves glucose out of your bloodstream and into your cells, where it is used as energy and is stored away.

At least that’s what’s supposed to happen.

With insulin resistance, your cells tune out (or resist) insulin’s call, leaving your pancreas to crank out more insulin to do its job. Ultimately though, that just spells disaster for your weight, energy level, brain function, overall health, and those awful symptoms like hot flashes.

Data presented at the North American Menopause Society 23rd Annual Meeting has recently linked insulin resistance with hot flashes and night sweats.

I’ve been working to help prevent and reverse insulin resistance for all my patients. I have learned that insulin resistance can also make women struggle with hot flashes as well.

Many of my women patients have noted that when they have followed my program over time, their hot flash and menopause symptoms have improved significantly.

Over the years, you’ve also heard me talk about a close friend and colleague, Dr. Anna Cabeca. She is a triple board-certified physician and OBGYN, and she has written a new book, The Hormone Fix, (publication date is February 26, 2019) a book designed to help women with hot flashes, menopause issues, and help reverse insulin resistance.

For a link to buy her book, CLICK HERE.

Her emphasis is to “Go Keto-Green™”, shifting your body into ketosis to make you more insulin sensitive, which is the opposite of insulin resistance.

With her program, many women have been able to say bye-bye to hot flashes!

Combining a traditional keto diet with plenty of alkalinizing low glycemic load foods provides a one-two punch to zap menopausal symptoms and lose weight. (In fact, staying alkaline is the needle mover traditional keto diets miss, and why they often fail.) Anyone trying a keto diet should ensure they are also following an alkalinizing food plan—to me that is absolutely essential.

In The Hormone Fix, Dr. Cabeca provides food lists, daily menu plans, recipes, and more to help you get into and stay in keto effectively.

If you suffer from menopause and hot flash symptoms, please stop settling for less than your very best.

Although hormones can be helpful, they have limits, and lifestyle changes can be as much or more powerful than hormonal pills, patches, and creams.

Order this new book, and you will also receive 10 great bonuses (valued at $274), including:

· Staying Keto-Green on the Go – tools, and tricks to stay Keto-Green while you’re on the go – be it across town or across the country.

· Keto-Green Recipe Cards – there’s no such thing as too many recipes…

· It’s Not Your Husband… It’s Your Hormones! – Watch this video to learn about how your monthly cycle affects your mood and libido

· Keto-Green Community Membership – get helpful tips, recipes, and answers to any questions in regards to the Keto-Green Way

PLUS 6 more bonuses include free lab panel, fantastic olive oil and more…

For a link to buy her book, CLICK HERE.

I wish you the very best of health and control over hormone-related symptoms!

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, FAAFP, CNS

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Are Your Children Growing Plaque in Their Arteries? Mon, 18 Feb 2019 17:00:42 +0000 The post Are Your Children Growing Plaque in Their Arteries? appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


Yes, we worry about our children’s safety while they play outside. Did they do all their homework? Did they finish dinner? The bottom line is that being a parent is tough work. I know because, over the years, my wife and I have fretted plenty over our two sons. And now that we have a grandson, we’ll start watching out for him, too.

Now, I want you to ask yourself something more serious. Do you ever think of how they are aging on the inside? Are our children growing plaque in their arteries?

Several scientific articles have startled me in recent years. The first was a study published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine showing that today’s children are projected to have a shorter lifespan than my own generation and even my parents’ generation. The second article from a research group in Los Angeles showed that when arterial plaque was measured in obese adolescents, the average child had an arterial plaque score of someone in their mid-40s and several other studies have shown similar findings. This means that overweight children had mostly doubled their arterial plaque age and some, long before they were old enough to vote.

As a concerned parent, physician, and nutritionist, I conducted my own study to see if I got similar results. I used an ultrasound device (carotid IMT testing as I do on most adults in my clinic) to measure the arterial plaque score of adolescents (ages 15-21) I have seen over time as patients. Of these children who were obese by height and weight criteria, the average child had the arterial plaque of a 42-year-old adult. This means these children have aged their arteries at more than twice the normal rate. To me, this shows that unhealthy aspects of our culture are potentially killing our children.

Because it’s unrealistic for all parents to have this type of artery ultrasound testing, in our clinic, we have identified lifestyle factors that predict arterial plaque age and arterial plaque growth. So, how can you predict if your children are plaque free, or plaque producing?

Your answers to the following four questions will give you a good idea of how they’re faring:

  • Is your child active? To be active, children need at least one hour of moderate to intense activity daily, the equivalent of walking fast for at least 3-5 miles. The bottom line for them is, “Do you huff, puff, and sweat for an hour every day?” Well, they should!
  • Does your child get enough fiber? Use the fiber table tools online, or with the table in The 30-Day Heart Tune-Up, to calculate fiber content in the food they eat every day. The usual recommendation from the Academy of Pediatrics is that kids should eat about 14 grams (g) of fiber for every 1,000 calories they consume. So older kids who need more calories should also get more fiber in their diets.

Some general guidelines for fiber recommendations for kids include:

  • 1 to 3-year-olds should get about 19 g of fiber each day
  • 4 to 8-year-olds should get about 25 g of fiber each day
  • 9- to 13-year-olds should get about 25-30 g of fiber each day
  • Over 13, 30+ g of fiber each day (just like adults)
  1. Does your child eat enough vegetables and fruits? Of the fiber eaten, at least half should come from fruits and vegetables (but potatoes don’t count).
  2. Is your child at an appropriate weight? Typically, when your child gets a check-up, the doctor measures height and weight and calculates a body-mass index (BMI) score. Anything above the 75th percentile for BMI is likely overweight. Many medical groups allow up to the 85th percentile, which is generous in today’s world. For a tool to calculate your child’s BMI percentile, please visit:

Our clinical experience shows that if your children are active, get enough fiber (including their quota of vegetables and fruits), and are at an appropriate weight, their arterial plaque score should be totally normal. If not, ensure they receive the activity, fiber (especially from eating vegetables, fruits, beans, and nuts), and nutrients they need. If they are overweight, be sure to cut out all the sugar in their diet (sugar, not fat, is the number one cause for heart disease). Not only will making these changes help to ensure a healthy heart for you and your children, but they will likely help to correct any weight issues as well.

Lastly, during the month of February, Heart Month, please check out the recipes in The 30-Day Heart Tune-Up. The recipes are created for families—they are delicious, easy-to-prepare with ingredients you can find in your local grocery store and are designed with nutrients that will nourish your heart and soul.

I wish you and your family the very best of health!

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, FAAFP


  1. Davis PH, Dawson JD, Mahoney Lt, Lauer Rm. Increased Carotid Intimal-Medial Thickness And Coronary Calcification Are Related In Young And Middle-Aged Adults. The Muscatine Study. Circulation 1999; 100: 838–842.
  2. Tuzcu EM, Kapadia SR, Tutar E, Ziada KM, Hobbs RE, McCarthy Pm, Young JB, Nissen SE. High Prevalence Of Coronary Atherosclerosis In Asymptomatic Teenagers And Young Adults: Evidence From Intravascular Ultrasound. Circulation 2001; 103: 2705–2710.
  3. Homma S, Hirose N, Ishida H, Ishii T, Araki G. Carotid Plaque And Intima-Media Thickness Assessed By B-Mode Ultrasonography In Subjects Ranging From Young Adults To Centenarians. Stroke 2001; 32: 830–835.
  4. Oren A, Vos LE, Uiterwaal CSPM, Gorissen WHM, Grobbee DE, and BotsML. Change in body mass index from adolescence to young adulthood and increased carotid intima-media thickness at 28 years of age: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Young Adults study. International Journal of Obesity (2003) 27, 1383–1390.
  5. Iannuzzi A, Licenziati MR, Acampora C, Salvatore V, Auriemma L, Romano ML, Panico S, Rubba P, Trevisan M. Increased Carotid Intima-Media Thickness and Stiffness in Obese Children. Diabetes Care 2004: 27: 2504-06.

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Split Pea and Barley Soup Sat, 16 Feb 2019 04:07:26 +0000 The post Split Pea and Barley Soup appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


This is a great dish to make for lunch or dinner. Save a couple servings for leftovers— it’s even better the next day, though you may have to thin it with water. If you’d like to prepare this soup gluten-free, omit the barley and use 2 cups of split peas. (Recipe from The 30 Day Heart Tune-Up book)

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Simmering Time: 60 minutes   

Serves: 4 (makes 10 cups)


3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

4 cups water, plus additional water while cooking as needed

¾ pound (1½ cups) green split peas

½ cup barley, rinsed and drained

1 2⁄3 Tbsp virgin olive oil, divided

1 bay leaf

1 medium onion, diced

¼ tsp sea salt or to taste

4 garlic cloves, crushed or chopped

2 large or 4 small carrots, diced

2 celery ribs, diced

½ tsp fresh thyme sprigs or ¼ tsp dried thyme

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/8 –¼ tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)


Combine the broth, water, split peas, barley, 2 tsp olive oil, and the bay leaf in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Lower to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Heat remaining 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium. Add the onions with salt and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic, carrots, celery, thyme, black pepper, and red pepper flakes to the onions. Heat for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir the vegetable mixture into the soup. Continue to cook the soup for at least 30 minutes over low heat. The split peas should soften and thicken the soup.

Add water as needed and stir often to prevent the soup from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

The soup is ready when the split peas are soft and the vegetables are tender. Discard the bay leaf before serving.


Steven Masley, MD

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HOT TIPS and RECIPES FOR VALENTINE’S DAY Mon, 11 Feb 2019 21:21:36 +0000 The post HOT TIPS and RECIPES FOR VALENTINE’S DAY appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


Would you like to discover foods that will improve your romantic life? Then keep reading!

We’ve all heard of the aphrodisiac powers of oysters and chocolate. Old wives’ tales? Well not really.  The keys to enhancing romantic and sexual performance in men and women include improving your blood circulation, your ability to experience pleasure, and your drive. You may be surprised to learn that five nutrients found in a variety of foods have been scientifically proven to give you a better sex life. And, just so you know, these include the nutrients found in oysters and dark chocolate.

What are these elixirs of passion? Let’s start with those that improve your circulation:  nitrates and arginine

#1: Nitrates: Sounds like a bad chemical that might be put in processed foods, but nitrates in natural foods are incredible for your health. Your body uses them to make nitric oxide, the master compound that regulates the function of your arteries. If you increase nitric oxide levels, your arteries will dilate, your blood vessel function will improve, and along with it, you will enhance your athletic, sexual, and blood vessel performance. When men consume foods with “good nitrates” they have better romantic performance. When women eat these foods, they feel more aroused and receptive.

Foods that are rich in nitrates include:beets

  • Cooked spinach (You need at least one cup of cooked spinach to make a difference. Raw Spinach4spinach is mostly water. It takes 7.5 cups of raw spinach to equal 1 cup of cooked spinach). Not surprising then that Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and rapture, recommended beets as an aphrodisiac.

#2: Arginine: Arginine is another compound the body uses to make nitric oxide. Clinical studies have shown that arginine improves romantic and sexual function. Increase arginine, and you will increase blood flow for men and women. Arginine is a simple amino acid (protein building block), so I don’t see any safety issues or side effects with the moderate dosages I am suggesting.

Foods that are rich in arginine and contain about 3,000 mg per 5 ounce serving include:

  • Oysters
  • All shellfish (shrimp, lobster, crab)
  • Turkey

Studies show that when men take 1000 mg of an arginine supplement 1-2 capsules twice daily, they report improved sexual performance. A very good quality form of arginine can be found here.

Next, foods that increase your ability to feel physical pleasure.

The brain requires a chemical compound called dopamine for romantic desire and fulfillment. Endorphins are other compounds that increase relaxation and the sense of fulfillment. Endorphins allow us to feel relaxed, calm, and satisfied.

#3: Tyrosine: To make dopamine, you require a couple nutrients. The most important is an amino acid called tyrosine.

Foods that are rich in tyrosine include:

  • Shrimp
  • Lobster
  • Caviar
  • Turkey
  • Soy protein

#4: Endorphin precursors:  A variety of foods including salmon, vanilla, and bananas have been reported to increase endorphin production, but by far the top rated is:

  • Dark chocolate. We are not talking milk chocolate; the chocolate has to have at least 74% cocoa mass to qualify.

Finally, foods that improve your libido.

#5: Zinc: Foods that enhance adrenal function stimulate sex drive and libido. To have drive, you need good adrenal function, and in particular, you need zinc.

Food rich in zinc include:Food_Dark_Chocolate

  • Oysters
  • Dark chocolate

What undermines romantic performance? Well that would be too much alcohol. You need hydration, so enjoy sparkling water and iced green tea, but keep your alcohol intake moderate. Since you won’t be over-indulging, you might as well splurge and buy a special bottle of red wine or champagne. Just stick to one to two servings per person.

Now that you know the top foods for romantic function and pleasure, you should be able to guess my recommended menu for Valentine’s Day.

Recipes for a Romantic Valentine’s Day

Don’t forget to set the décor with candles and flowers.

Appetizers: (good choices include)

  • Smoked oysters with a dab of guacamole on sliced cucumber (yes, some of you may think raw oysters, but as a physician, I’d have to say be cautious with raw seafood, so I’m recommending smoked oysters). See recipe, Smart Fat, page 236.
  • Smoked salmon with a dab of guacamole on sliced cucumber
  • Crab See recipes, Smart Fat, pages 237-238, and 265.
  • Caviar

Main Course:

  • Shrimp or Lobster Kebobs (You could use turkey breast and/or thighs cut into cubes if you don’t like shellfish) See recipes, Smart Fat 250-252, and 266; The 30-Day Heart Tune-Up, page 319-320.
  • Roasted beets See recipe, The 30-Day Heart Tune-Up, page 333.
  • Spinach, sautéed in virgin olive oil, with Italian herbs and fresh garlic


  • Chocolate. Try 1-2 ounce of dark chocolate per person, drizzled over fresh strawberries or cherries. See recipe, Smart Fat, pages 282-283.
  • Or for a special treat, try my Chocolate-Raspberry-Orange Soufflé, The 30-Day Heart Tune-Up, page 338-339.


Coconut Milk Curry with Shrimp and Spinach

The curry flavors are terrific, plus you can use any protein (shrimp, lobster, or turkey) and match with your favorite veggie combinations, such as cauliflower or broccoli.

Serve with a side dish of roasted beets.

Prep and Cooking Time: 25–30 minutes    Serves: Two


1 1/2 cups hot water

3/4 cup brown rice

1 tablespoon avocado oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon peeled and grated ginger-root

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 teaspoon ground paprika

1/8 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (to taste, from mild to hot)

7.5 cups fresh spinach (or 1 cup of frozen whole spinach, thawed and drained)

3/4 pound large or jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 medium garlic cloves, diced

12 ounces canned coconut milk (full fat)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or Italian parsley


Combine water and rice in pot, bring to a boil, then simmer 25–35 minutes until rice is cooked. (Rice brands vary, so follow package directions.)

Heat a large sauté pan to medium-high heat, add oil, then onion, salt, and black pepper, and cook 3–4 minutes until onions are translucent. Add ginger, curry, paprika, and ground cayenne, stir, and heat another 2–3 minutes. Add spinach, shrimp, and garlic, stirring occasionally until shrimp turn pink, 3–5 minutes. Reduce heat to low, stir in coconut milk, cover and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in fresh cilantro and serve over rice.


Roasted Beets

Beets become sweeter when roasted.

Prep Time: 5 minutes     Baking Time: 40-45 minutes     Serves: 2


3 medium beets, peeled, cut into ½-inch pieces

2 Tbsp Virgin olive oil

¼ tsp sea salt

¼ tsp ground black pepper

½ tsp Italian herb seasoning


Preheat oven to 400° (F). Combine beets with oil, salt, pepper, and Italian herbs in an oven-proof dish. Bake until beets are tender, about 40-45 minutes.


Strawberries and Dark Chocolate Drizzle

A terrific dessert for Valentine’s Day.

Serves: 2


2 ounces dark chocolate

1 tablespoon organic butter

2 cups fruit (strawberries are perfect, but you can also try orange, or pitted cherries), cut in bite-size pieces

2 tablespoons chopped nuts of your choice


In a double boiler, melt chocolate, then add butter and stir together; alternatively, melt slowly together in a glass bowl in the microwave. Spread fruit pieces over a plate and drizzle with chocolate; sprinkle with chopped nuts. Serve immediately or chill and save for later.


Steven Masley, MD 

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Cod with Hazelnut Crust Fri, 08 Feb 2019 20:03:20 +0000 The post Cod with Hazelnut Crust appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


Fish with a nut crust is very tasty. Below, I chose cod and hazelnuts, but also try pecans, pistachios, or almonds. Choose the freshest white fish you can find; flounder, snapper, or sole also work well here. (This recipe is adapted from The 30 Day Heart Tune-Up)

Prep Time: 20–25 minutes

Baking Time: 20–25 minutes

Serves: 4


1½ pounds cod or other white fish (in 4 fillets)

1 cup orange juice

1 large egg (omega-3, free-range, organic)

1 cup coarsely ground hazelnuts

½ tsp sea salt

1 tsp thyme, dried (or a mixture of Italian or fines herbs)

1⁄8  tsp ground black pepper

Oil (avocado, almond, walnut)

4 medium garlic cloves, minced

4 lemon wedges


Preheat oven to 425°F.

Rinse fish fillets, soak in orange juice for 10 minutes, then pat dry.

Meanwhile, beat the egg in a bowl.

Heat a sauté pan to medium, sauté the ground hazelnuts with salt, thyme, pepper, and garlic for 2 minutes, enough to toast the hazelnuts slightly, but not brown them.

Transfer ¼ of nut mixture to a plate at a time. Dip the fish first in the egg, then in the hazelnut mixture. When dipping fish coated with egg in the nut flour, some of the flour will become wet and will clump.

When finished coating fish, discard all the excess nut mixture that came in contact with raw fish.

Coat a baking dish with oil and place fish on it.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until tender and flaky. Garnish with a wedge of lemon.


Steven Masley, MD

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Four Steps to Stop Heart Disease Tue, 05 Feb 2019 02:18:58 +0000 February is Heart Month! Let’s review four steps that will help you prevent and even reverse heart disease. FIRST, INCORPORATE FIVE HEART HEALING FOODS INTO YOUR DIET: Fabulous Fiber. If you added only one nutrient, pick FIBER. It’s the roughage in vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, and whole grains. Fiber suppresses appetite–reducing weight, improves your blood […]

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February is Heart Month! Let’s review four steps that will help you prevent and even reverse heart disease.


  1. Fabulous Fiber.

If you added only one nutrient, pick FIBER. It’s the roughage in vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, and whole grains. Fiber suppresses appetite–reducing weight, improves your blood sugar and cholesterol profile, decreases inflammation, and slows aging. Get 30 grams daily—meaning you need to eat at least five cups of fruit and veggies, 2 handfuls of nuts, ½ cup of beans, and one ounce of dark chocolate.

  1. Healthy Fats

No need to follow a low-fat diet, but do eat healthy fats. Research shows that fats from cold water seafood, virgin olive oil, and nuts decrease your risk for a heart attack and stroke, without adding weight. Enjoy avocado, seeds, and dark chocolate, too.

  1. Clean Protein

Avoid commercial meats and dairy loaded with saturated fat, hormones, and pesticides. Instead, eat free-range, organic animal protein like chicken fajitas and roasted Cornish game hens with herbs for flavor and health. Also, enjoy more vegetarian sources of protein.

Beans improve blood sugar and cholesterol and are the most powerful anti-aging food ever tested. Following my program, you’ll enjoy bean dips, turkey chili, and a lovely hummus.

  1. Beneficial Beverages

Start with 4 cups of pure water daily. Need caffeine? Green tea is best, though all unsweetened teas including mint are great. You can still enjoy 1-3 cups of coffee daily. In moderation, the pigments in those beverages are healthful.

My favorite breakfast: A fiber and protein-rich smoothie. It only takes only 2 minutes to make and includes protein powder, frozen organic cherries or blueberries, almond milk, and chia seeds. It’s delicious, and you’ll be satisfied and energized all morning!

  1. Fantastic Flavors

Nobody will eat healthy meals that taste like cardboard! Spices and herbs enhance flavor. Plus, Italian herbs, curry, garlic, and chili all block arterial plaque growth, slow aging, rev your metabolism, and lower inflammation.

Who would argue against chocolate? The fats in dark (at least 74% cocoa) chocolate act like olive oil—they’re awesome for your heart.  But avoid milk chocolate. It’s just candy.


It doesn’t matter how many minutes you spend per week exercising. What matters is how fit you are. In my book, The 30-Day Heart Tune-Up, I show you how to get fit, trim, and sexy in less time. The theme is combining aerobic and strength-training exercises that will strengthen your heart and arteries.


  1. burns fat
  2. improves blood sugar control
  3. lowers inflammation
  4. improves your cholesterol profile
  5. reduces stress
  6. builds stamina


Stress-induced spasms in coronary arteries can lead to a heart attack, stroke, or sudden death, especially in women. Reduce stress by:

  1. Good Quality Sleep

Sleep deprivation results in poor brain performance, increased appetite, low metabolism, and weight gain. Sleep increases growth hormone production, helping the body to repair itself. With inadequate sleep, your brain will be sluggish.

  1. Moments of Peace and Meditation

The grind of continuous stress will hurt your heart. So schedule 5-10 minutes of soul-calming activity daily. Gentle sounds, soft lighting, sweet fragrances, and massage bring sensory relief to different parts of the brain. Do yoga, have a massage, use your vacation days.  Meditation lowers blood pressure, decreases heart rate, relaxes muscles, lowers stress hormone levels, and enhances sleep.

Unless you are a meditation expert, one way to make meditation easy and highly effective is to use an app that you can download to your phone, called HeartMath. It only takes 5-10 minutes daily to reduce your stress levels. HeartMath gives you bio-feedback on your attempts to relax and teaches you how to get calm.

  1. Loving Relationships Including Sex

Sex is good for your heart! Research has demonstrated that people who define their relationships as “loving” are much more likely to live into their nineties than those who do not. Couples who enjoy a loving bond and increased sexual frequency have greater longevity than those who are sexually inactive. Human touch, intimacy, love, and bonding reduce stress.

  1. Exercise

Daily exercise is the most powerful therapy for burning away stress. No drug is as effective!


Make sure at a minimum that you get the following nutrients from food or a supplement daily:

  1. Magnesium, 400 mg per day
  2. Zinc, 12-15 mg daily
  3. Fiber 30 grams per day
  4. Fish or fish oil (2-3 servings of cold water, small-mouth fish, or 1000 mg of good quality EPA and DHA) daily (for vegetarians, ensure that you get at least 400-500 mg of DHA daily).
  5. Vitamin K, 250-1000 mcg daily
  6. Vitamin D, at least 2000 IU daily

If you find it difficult to get the daily nutrient minimums above from food, you can find the supplements that I recommend here.

In The 30-Day Heart Tune-Up, I teach you how to meet your needs from each of these nutrients daily.

Following these four steps will help you to prevent heart disease, and if you or a loved one already have heart disease, these steps can help you shrink your arterial plaque load as well.  At the Masley Optimal Health Center, we have hundreds of patients that have shrunk their artery plaque by at least 10% by following these guidelines, so I know for sure that this program works.

The good news is that when you follow a program that is good for your heart and circulation, you’ll find out that it will also tune up your energy, waistline, brain performance, and your romantic life, too.

I wish you the best of health!

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, FAAFP, CNS

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Turkey Tenders with Middle Eastern Spices Fri, 01 Feb 2019 18:00:33 +0000 The post Turkey Tenders with Middle Eastern Spices appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


Turkey is a flavorful alternative to chicken and is quite affordable, but we tend to pass it by and reach for chicken, out of habit. This combination of spices lowers brain inflammation and improves blood sugar control. (This recipe is from The Better Brain Solution book)

Marinating Time: 20-60 minutes

Preparation & Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Serves:  2


1 pound organic, cage-free turkey tenders, sliced into 1- inch-thick strip

2 tablespoons avocado oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

¼ teaspoon ground cardamom

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

2 medium garlic cloves, crushed and diced

¼ cup fresh mint, chopped


Marinate the turkey strips with 1 tablespoon of the oil, lemon juice, spices, salt, pepper, garlic, and all but 1 tablespoon of the mint for 20 to 60 minutes.

Heat a sauté pan to medium-high heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, then the turkey, and sauté until lightly browned on each side, turning every few minutes until fully cooked.

Remove from the pan, garnish with the remaining tablespoon of mint, and serve immediately.


Steven Masley, MD

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Coconut and Almond Pancakes Fri, 25 Jan 2019 15:19:04 +0000 The post Coconut and Almond Pancakes appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


Here is an option for healthy pancakes without the sugar and typical flour. Almond flour (also sold as almond meal) is a gluten-free option that you can find in most well-stocked markets. Serve with fresh berries.  (This recipe is adapted from The Better Brain Solution book)

Preparation Time: 10-15 minutes

Cooking Time: 5-10 minutes

Serves: 2-3 (makes about 6 medium pancakes)


1 cup almond flour/meal

¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes

½ teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder

1/16 teaspoon sea salt

½ cup unsweetened almond milk

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3 large organic, cage-free eggs, beaten

1 tablespoon organic ghee (clarified butter)

2 to 3 tablespoons almond butter

1 to 2 cups fresh berries of your choice


Combine the almond flour, coconut, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.

Combine the almond milk, vanilla, and beaten eggs in a separate bowl.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the egg mixture, mixing well.

Heat a pan to medium heat. Add the ghee and melt. Ladle the pancake batter into the pan and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Flip and cook for another 2 to 4 minutes, until golden.

Heat the almond butter until warm and drizzle a spoonful over each stack of pancakes. Garnish with berries and serve.


Steven Masley, MD

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Why is taking a sauna great for your health? Fri, 18 Jan 2019 18:56:35 +0000 The post Why is taking a sauna great for your health? appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


Sauna bathing is a form of whole-body thermotherapy and has been used since ancient times. It has been used in Roman baths, Aboriginal and Native American sweat lodges, Scandinavian saunas, Turkish baths, Russian Banyas, and similarly in Japan with hot water tubs and more recently infrared saunas.

These cultures have used whole body thermotherapy to relax, detoxify, and prevent various medical issues for thousands of years. Nowhere is this more popular today than in Finland, where nearly every household has at least one sauna.

Recently, a variety of studies, many published in Finland and Japan, have shown the multiple aids of regular sauna use.

The health benefits of regular bathing include:

  • Weight loss
  • Detoxification (removal of harmful chemicals)
  • Relaxation
  • Cardiovascular and brain benefits

The mechanism behind how sauna therapy produces these benefits is being actively evaluated. Studies show that it reduces oxidative stress and inflammation pathways, increases nitric oxide (which improves blood vessel function), produces heat shock proteins that impact immune and metabolic function, and enhances insulin sensitivity.

Back in 1981, (when I was already in medical school) the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported that “regular use of a sauna may impart similar stress on the cardiovascular system, and its regular use may be as effective as a means of cardiovascular conditioning and burning calories as regular exercise.”

During the 1980’s, NASA also shared the conclusion that infrared stimulation would help the American astronauts maintain cardiovascular conditioning during long space flights.

Now let’s be clear—this does not mean that taking a sauna can replace the benefits of exercise, but it does mean that regular sauna use compliments regular exercise.

So let’s dive into some of these benefits.

Burn Calories and Lose Weight

During a 20-30 minute sauna session, the body core temperature increases by at least one degree (F). To offset this rise in body temperature, the body sweats. During a 20 minute session, the average woman loses 0.5-0.75 pound of body weight in water, while the average man loses 1.0-1.5 pounds. The larger the person is to start, the more fluid they lose.

I am not counting water loss as body fat loss. The figures on immediate weight loss merely guide users on how much fluid to drink and replace during and after sauna use.

Fat loss occurs because sweating requires the body to burn calories to produce sweat. Studies have estimated that producing one gram of sweat requires 0.5 kcal of energy. The 1980 JAMA article noted above shared that a moderately conditioned adult can sweat up to 500 grams of sweat in a sauna, burning 250-300 calories. And because infrared sauna therapy produces more sweat than a traditional hot-air sauna, this makes this newest form of sauna especially useful for weight loss.

On average, a 150-pound person burns about 100 calories for every mile they jog, and in 30 minutes at 5 mph that person could run 2.5 miles. That means a moderate jogging pace over 30 minutes will burn about 250 calories.

Overall, that makes the calorie burn from a 20-30 minute sauna session similar to jogging 2-2.5 miles. My recommendation is that you do some combination of both.

Detoxify and Remove Harmful Chemicals

In a world where chemicals are ubiquitous, even in our food, we need to find better ways to remove chemicals from our body. Everyone carries some level of toxic metal load in their bodies.

Chelation (a process in which chemicals are used to remove heavy metals and other substances from the body) is one way to remove toxins, but it has real risk when we use chemicals to pull heavy metals and toxins out of body organs and bone and circulate them throughout the body to excrete them. While they are being eliminated through the urine and stool, some are also being redeposited in our brain, kidneys, and liver. Plus, many healthy minerals are removed and lost along with the toxins during chelation.

Another way to remove toxins is through sweat.  Sweat contains a higher concentration of chemical than blood, then sweating helps pump those heavy metals out of the body. Some of the most worrisome heavy metals in our environment are arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury, all of them are concentrated in body sweat. Sears ME, et al. Arsenic, Cadmium, lead, and mercury in sweat. Journal of Environmental and Public Health 2012; article ID: 184745.

  • Arsenic concentrations in sweat were 1.5 to 3.0 times greater than are found in blood plasma.
  • Cadmium concentrations were four-fold higher in sweat than in urine, and 10 fold higher than in blood.
  • In people with low lead levels, lead levels in blood and sweat were similar, yet in people with elevated lead levels (workers in a lead battery factory), lead levels in sweat were from 4-10 times greater than the blood.
  • Mercury sweat concentrations vary from person to person, but a study showed that the average level in sweat was 0.86 while it was 0.61 I blood and 0.65 in urine, about 30% higher. A small study in mercury-exposed workers showed that in people with high mercury blood levels, levels in sweat were at least 10 times higher than in people with normal mercury levels.

Another ubiquitous toxin in the environment is Bisphenol A (BPA), which is commonly found in the lining of food containers, especially cans. High levels of BPA increase the risk for diabetes, memory loss, and cancer. In a study performed in Canada (Genuis SJ, et al. Human Excretion of Bisphenol A: Blood, Urine, and Sweat Study. J Environ Public Health 2012 Article # 185731), researchers showed that with sweat collected from infrared sauna therapy, BPA concentrations vary from 2 to 20 times higher in sweat than in blood and are typically higher in sweat than urine as well. This makes sweating in a sauna one realistic mechanism to help remove BPA levels.

The bottom line from studies is that there is a gradient with higher concentrations of chemical compounds in sweat than are in the blood and that the skin can excrete more heavy metal and toxins per day in sweat than can be removed during 24 hours of urination. Sweating is clearly a useful way to enhance detoxification.

However, I must point out, that most detoxification is provided by the liver, not through sweating. Eating healthy food (especially foods like onions, garlic, and cruciferous vegetables that help the liver detoxify and remove chemicals) will have a much bigger impact on total detoxification than sweating. Avoiding toxic food is another essential way to reduce total toxic body load.

The bottom line is that sweating is a great way to compliment a detoxification program.


Infrared saunas provide an effective way to increase circulation and muscle relaxation. Athletes have used saunas for centuries to promote healing and recovery after a workout.

A few studies suggest that they may benefit people with depression and anxiety. I suspect but have not seen scientific studies showing that sauna use in the evening improves quality of sleep.

Cardiovascular Benefits

One of the concerns with sauna therapy has been that for people with bad hearts (in particular congestive heart failure), the high heat and dramatic sweating might stress the heart and cause serious adverse events. However, multiple studies in subjects with advanced heart failure have showed that with proper sauna use, sauna therapy resulted in better blood pressure control, reduced cardiomegaly (people with heart failure often have abnormally enlarged hearts, which improved with sauna therapy), and showed improved exercise tolerance, all without any adverse effects being reported. Fortunately, it appears that sauna therapy is good for your heart, even if you have heart failure. Of course, people with heart disease should first consult their own physician before using sauna therapy as everyone’s situation is unique. Hussain J, Cohen M. Clinical Effects of Regular Dry Sauna Bathing. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2018; Article #: 1857413.

The reason for the improvements in heart function in humans are not totally known, yet from animal studies we know that infrared sauna therapy enhances endothelial function1 (blood vessel function), and increases the production of nitric oxide2 (nitric oxide is a master controller of blood vessel function and works to improve blood flow and blood pressure control). 1Huang PH, et al. Far infra-red therapy promotes ischemia-induced angiogenesis in diabetic mice and restores high glucose-suppressed endothelial progenitor cell functions. Cardiovasc Diabetol. 2012 Aug 15;11:99. doi: 10.1186/1475-2840-11-99.  2Ikeda Y, et al. Repeated sauna therapy increases arterial endothelial nitric oxide synthase expression and nitric oxide production in cardiomyopathic hamsters. Circ J. 2005 Jun;69(6):722-9.

There are three recent and important studies out of Finland showing a relationship between frequent sauna use and a reduction in cardiovascular disease and memory loss.

One such study from Finland, published in 2018, showed that regular sauna use is associated with a substantial decrease in stroke risk. They assessed 1,628 men and women age 53-74 and compared frequent sauna use (4-7 times per week) with rare use (once per week or less). After nearly 15 years, and after controlling for other cardiovascular risk factors (smoking, obesity, cholesterol, etc.) those with frequent sauna use showed a 61% decreased risk for a stroke. Kunutsor SK et al. Sauna bathing reduces the risk of stroke in Finnish men and women. Neurology May 2, 2018. DOI:

Similarly, another 2018 study published from Finland showed that in 2,266 men followed over 26 years, both cardiorespiratory fitness and regular sauna use were associated with a lower rate of total cardiovascular events. Those with frequent sauna use had 40% less cardiovascular events and death than those with rare use. Those with high levels of cardiorespiratory fitness had 50% less events than those with low fitness. And those with high fitness and frequent sauna use had 60% less cardiovascular events than those low fitness and sauna use. This study advocates the benefit and importance of combining a regular exercise program with sauna use. Kunutsor SK et al. Joint associations of sauna bathing and cardiorespiratory fitness on cardiovascular and all-cause mortality risk. Annals of Medicine. 2018; 50: 139-46.

Dementia and Memory Loss Reduction

Dementia and memory loss benefits are also associated with sauna use. Again in Finland,  with 2,300 healthy men, aged 42-60, and followed over 26 years, and after controlling for multiple risk factors including: age, alcohol consumption, body mass index, systolic blood pressure, smoking status, Type 2 diabetes, previous myocardial infarction, resting heart rate and cholesterol levels, increasing sauna use from once per week to 2-3 days per week was associated with a 22% reduction in dementia rate. And compared to sauna use 4-7 days per week showed a 66% reduction.  Laukkanen T, et al. Sauna bathing is inversely associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in middle-aged Finnish men. Age Ageing. 2017 Mar 1;46(2):245-249. Doi:10.1093/ageing/afw212.

Do we need further studies to confirm the cardiovascular benefits of sauna use? Absolutely, further research is warranted, and we should be starting randomized clinical studies in men and women to better understand these benefits. Yet to date, regular sauna use appears safe and very promising!

Who shouldn’t use an infrared sauna?

The following conditions make sauna use contraindicated:

  • Not enough is known to conclude it is safe.
  • Children under 12 years of age. Small children may not tolerate high heat or be able to adequately rehydrate.
  • Acute injuries. Overuse syndromes likely benefit from sauna therapy, as the increased heat promotes blood circulation and healing. However, with an acute injury, there is often swelling, and heat makes swelling worse, potentially delaying the recovery process.
  • Excessive alcohol or recreational drug use. Excess alcohol use promotes dehydration and dizziness, and should not be a part of sauna use.
  • Surgical implants. Although metal pins and artificial joints reflect infrared rays and are not heated during infrared sauna use, always consult with your surgeon as to whether sauna use is appropriate with your implants.
  • Specific medications. In particular stimulant drugs like ephedrine, or anticoagulants (such as warfarin and Eliquis), and corticosteroids appear contraindicated with sauna use. If you are taking medications, always check with your medical provider to clarify if sauna use is appropriate for you.
  • Silicone implants. This applies to prostheses for the nose and ears, and potentially breast implants. Silicone won’t melt until very high heat, nearly 200 degrees Celsius, however always check with your surgeon or product manufacturer to be certain.
  • Uncontrolled and complex medical problems. If you have uncontrolled diabetes, hypertension, or heart disease, or conditions such as cancer or serious auto-immune diseases, always verify with your physician to confirm if sauna therapy is appropriate for you.

Final Take Home Message

There are multiple benefits associated with regular sauna use. Clearly, it helps to burn calories, detoxify and remove chemicals, and can be used for relaxation. It is also associated with lower rates for heart disease, strokes, and memory loss. Most people should consider regular sauna use to enhance their overall health.

Like many good things, sweating in a sauna can be used to excess. Especially if you don’t replace fluid lost and you become dehydrated. If proper steps are not taken, you risk fainting and injury. Appropriate sauna use requires common sense and rehydration to ensure that you benefit.

I wish you the best of health!

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, FAAFP, CNS


Later this week I’ll send you additional information about different types of saunas.

Join me this coming Thursday evening or Friday midday to learn more about the benefits of having your own sauna.

Click here, to join this free, live webinar, and ask your own questions. 


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Miso Soup Fri, 11 Jan 2019 23:21:41 +0000 The post Miso Soup appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


This savory soup boosts immune function and is an excellent source of up to 120 probiotic strains. Light and salty, it works well as a first course for a meal. Yellow miso is sweet and creamy, while red miso is stronger and saltier— select which one you prefer. Seaweed sheets come in a variety of types and sizes so choose what is convenient for you.

This recipe is adapted from The better Brain Solution, now available in paperback, here.

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

Serves: 2


3 cups filtered water

1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced into bite-size slivers

2 medium garlic cloves, crushed and minced

One 4 × 4- inch seaweed sheet (such as kombu, wakame, or nori), cut into small strips or squares

¼ pound organic silken tofu, cut into ½- inch cubes

2 medium green onions, diced

2 tablespoons red or yellow miso paste


Bring the water and shiitake mushrooms to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce the heat to a simmer.

Add the garlic, seaweed, tofu, and green onions, and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender.

Place the miso paste in a small bowl and set aside. When the simmering is complete, with a ladle remove ¼ cup of liquid from the saucepan and whisk with the miso paste to fully dissolve.

Return the miso mixture to the saucepan, stir well, turn off the heat, and serve.


Steven Masley, MD

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How to Boost Your Bone Density with Exercise? Tue, 08 Jan 2019 00:12:47 +0000 The post How to Boost Your Bone Density with Exercise? appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


Bone loss can have debilitating consequences. As your bones weaken over time, you risk having a debilitating fracture.

Years ago, I remember what happened after my Grandma Lois (she had been an amazing walker all of her life) fell and fractured her pelvis. At age 92, her bones were unfortunately weak and they couldn’t do surgery to fix her. Instead, she was transferred to a facility with round the clock care. It was awful to watch first hand. Sadly, my grandmother never got out of bed again and this ended her life. She was not alone, a disability from a debilitating fracture is a common way for people to end their lives.

Up until now, we have been taught that weight-bearing exercise (walking, jogging, using an elliptical machine) and weightlifting (using moderate weights) will help “maintain” bone mass, but we don’t think of it as a way to “boost” bone density.

Yet, what happens if older people weight lift intensively?

Recently, an Australian bone oriented medical center published an article on women that were doing high-intensity weightlifting; these investigators produced some amazing results!

The clinic studied 101 postmenopausal women, about half had osteoporosis and half were considered to have osteopenia. More than a quarter of them had already suffered from a fracture.

The women were divided into two groups, intervention and control; they exercised twice a week for at least 8 and up to 12 months, but the kinds of exercise they did were different.

For the control group, a low-intensity, home-based exercise regimen that emphasized balance and mobility, but not heavy-weight loading, was used. They did lunges, calf raises, and stretches with no more than 3-kg (6.6lb) weights in their hands — common types of exercises recommended for older women seeking to maintain fitness and bone strength.

The intervention group had supervised, 30-minute sessions of high-intensity resistance training at 80–85% of the “1 rep max” weight — that being the weight they could lift only once with maximum effort. The exercises included deadlift, overhead press, and back squat along with jumping chin-ups with drop landings.

Out of fear that these high-intensity exercises might cause an injury, these types of exercises are not usually recommended for older women, and prior studies of weight-bearing exercise for bone mass improvement used moderate loads rather than high loads.

The study’s results were fantastic:

  • The high-intensity group gained an average of 2.9% bone mineral density in the lumbar spine, while the control group lost an average of 1.2%.
  • The high-intensity group gained on average 0.3% bone mineral density in the femoral neck, while the control group lost on average 1.9%.
  • The high-intensity group gained 13.6% femoral neck cortical thickness, while the control group lost 6.3%.

One 59-year-old-woman who trained for a total of 12 months saw an increase of 10.5% in the hip and 8.8% in the lumbar spine!

Unfortunately, there has been a common misconception that women with low bone mass risk developing spinal fractures if they use heavy weights or free-weight exercises — but this study shows that this just isn’t true. Only one woman in the study had any sort of injury — a mild muscle strain in her lower back that likely occurred from an error in technique.

Keep in mind, these women did not do initial weightlifting on their own as they were supervised with a professional trainer who taught the proper form for lifting.

If you are concerned about bone loss and the risk of a debilitating fracture, consider signing up with a certified trainer (such as the American College of Sports Medicine) to try high-intensity weightlifting.

Data published at the Masley Optimal Health Center has shown that strength training isn’t just good for your bones, but that those with greater muscle strength (measured with push up and sit up strength) had less arterial plaque and better brain processing speed too. We also showed that those who improved their strength enhanced their brain processing speed.  In a separately published study, we showed that weight lifting helped with weight control.

If you worry about getting too bulky with weight lifting—fear not. This type of weight lifting twice per week isn’t going to add abnormal muscle mass to your frame, although it very likely will help you look more shapely and sexy, and there is nothing wrong with that!

For the best bone-boosting results, in addition to weight lifting, you should also add weight-bearing activity (20-30 minutes of walking, jogging, dancing, or using an elliptical machine) on most days of the week. I also recommend stretching after each exercise session, so that you don’t end up stiff and inflexible. A 5-10 minute stretch after each session, plus a yoga session 1-2 times per week would provide an optimal workout routine.

Of course, if you are bone nutrient deficient, you won’t build bone mass very well. The key nutrients for your bones are vitamins D and K, plus calcium and magnesium.

Aim to get:

  • 2000 to 5000 IU of vitamin D3 daily, enough to give you a 25-OH vitamin D blood level in the 40-60 range.
  • Vitamin K, preferably 500 to 1000 mcg of vitamin K1 daily, plus 200 mcg of vitamin K2 daily. Even higher dosages of K2 have been studied for women with bone loss. (See my blog article on vitamin K for more details)
  • Calcium, 800-1200 mg daily depending upon your activity level and bone mass. Preferably use protein bound sources of calcium, such as a calcium chelate, malate, or similar. As calcium blocks magnesium intake, you also must have magnesium if you are taking calcium.
  • Magnesium 400-800 mg daily, preferably from a protein bound source, such as protein malate, glycinate, or a chelate.

I wish you the best of health!

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, FAAFP, CNS


Watson SL, et al. High-intensity resistance and impact training improves bone mineral density and physical function in postmenopausal women with osteopenia and osteoporosis: The LIFTMOR Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research 2018; 33(2): 211–220. DOI: 10.1002/jbmr.3284

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Chicken Marsala Sat, 05 Jan 2019 00:08:47 +0000 The post Chicken Marsala appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


This is a take on classic chicken Marsala but made with chicken thighs for more flavor, and with almond flour to keep this gluten-free and have a lower glycemic index than the traditional dish made with wheat flour.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 2


½ cup almond flour/meal

1 teaspoon ground paprika

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 pound boneless organic, cage-free chicken thighs

1 tablespoon avocado oil

2 tablespoons organic ghee (clarified butter)

3 cups mushrooms (shiitake, if available), halved and sliced

2/3 cup marsala wine

¼ cup organic, low- sodium chicken stock

2 medium garlic cloves, crushed and minced

¼ cup fresh herbs for a garnish (parsley and chives), finely chopped


In a shallow bowl or plate, combine the almond flour, paprika, salt, black pepper, cayenne, thyme, and oregano. Roll the chicken in the flour-seasoning mixture, shaking to remove any excess flour. Set aside the remaining flour mixture.

Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat. Add the oil and 1 tablespoon of the ghee, then cook the chicken until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the partially cooked chicken to a plate.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon ghee to the skillet, then add the mushrooms, stirring frequently until the mushrooms have released their liquid and are lightly browned. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of the seasoned flour and stir for 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the marsala, bring to a gentle boil, and stir to thicken. When the wine is reduced by half, after about 3 minutes, add the chicken stock and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes, until the sauce thickens.

Lower the heat to medium and add the partially cooked chicken and the garlic to the skillet. Cook until the chicken is done and the internal temperature reaches 165°F, 5 to 6 minutes.

Garnish with fresh herbs before serving.


Steven Masley, MD

This recipe is from The Better Brain Solution book now available, in Paperback, here

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Chocolate-Raspberry-Orange Soufflé Fri, 28 Dec 2018 23:07:15 +0000 The post Chocolate-Raspberry-Orange Soufflé appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


For an occasional treat, here is a dessert worth celebrating! The combination of chocolate, raspberry, and orange flavors is one of my favorites. You can’t taste the yams, but they provide a nice texture and structure along with healthy fiber for the soufflé.

Raspberry Sauce

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Simmering Time: 10 minutes

Makes: ¾ cup


2½ cups raspberries, frozen or fresh (about 12 ounces)

¼ cup sugar

1 Tbsp Grand Marnier (or any other liqueur)

2 Tbsp orange juice

1⁄8 tsp sea salt

1 tsp grated orange zest

A few sprigs of mint or whole berries as garnish, mixed


Heat raspberries and sugar on medium heat in a saucepan until bubbling. Simmer 5 minutes. Push the raspberry pulp through a large sieve with a spatula to remove the seeds.

Combine filtered liquid with Grand Marnier or liqueur, orange juice, zest and salt. Then simmer another 5 minutes to thicken. Set aside to cool. Garnish before serving.

Chocolate Soufflé

Prep Time: 25–30 minutes

Baking Time: 35 minutes

Serves: 6


1 medium yam (or sweet potato)

3 Tbsp Grand Marnier (or other orange liqueur)

1/8  tsp sea salt

½ cup maple syrup

1/3  cup cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-processed, sifted

7 large eggs (organic, free-range, omega-3), separated into whites and yolks

4 Tbsp grated orange zest (2 Tbsp for soufflé mixture, 2 for garnish)

Nut oil (almond or walnut)

1 cup fresh berries


Preheat oven to 400°F. Prepare or buy raspberry sauce. Microwave the yam until soft, about 8 minutes. Peel yam, then mash into a puree.

Combine ½ cup of raspberry sauce with baked yam, Grand Marnier, salt, maple syrup, cocoa, egg yolks, and 2 tablespoon orange zest, and whisk until mixed to make the batter.

Beat egg whites until they form soft peaks.

Gently fold the soufflé batter into the egg whites, just enough so that most of the white of the eggs blend with the chocolate-colored batter. Don’t overmix or the soufflé won’t rise.

Grease a round soufflé dish (9-inch diameter, 4 inches high) with nut oil. Pour the soufflé batter into the dish. (It should fill 90% of the dish, but don’t fill it to the brim; use another dish if necessary.)

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the top browns slightly and an inserted long wood skewer or thin knife blade comes out clean. If you take it out too soon and the center is too wet when tested, simply put it back in the oven for an additional 5 minutes.

Have guests at the table and serve immediately. The soufflé will drop as it cools and shrinks once cut. Garnish each serving with a drizzle of the remaining raspberry sauce and a sprinkle of orange zest and berries.


Steven Masley, MD

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Six Foods to Improve Your Brain Function for the New Year! Thu, 27 Dec 2018 22:41:09 +0000 The post Six Foods to Improve Your Brain Function for the New Year! appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


Happy New Year! What would be more important than protecting and improving your brain function for the New Year? I can’t think of anything more essential.

Your brain is what makes you human. It brings you pleasure, memories, and helps you solve problems. You can live with a transplanted heart, liver, or other organ, but not without your brain. Without memory, we require constant care from family, friends, or total strangers, and we become a burden on the people we love the most.

Many people worry about memory loss, either for themselves or for a loved one, but did you know that you can improve your brain processing speed and become mentally sharper, quicker, and more productive? No matter what your age, you and your loved ones have the potential to get better.

Part of the reason memory loss is so scary is that memory loss is really common and it is occurring at a younger and younger age. The rate of Alzheimer’s disease is increasing at alarming epidemic rates. In fact, studies show that the number of new cases is predicted to increase by 200 percent in just the next 12-14 years! That means double the risk, so when you forget something, naturally your first thought may be, am I losing my memory?

Likely, the most important factor that impacts whether your brain is functioning optimally, or declining and shrinking, is the food you choose to eat every day.

To start your New Year, let’s focus on six amazing foods that improve brain function:

  1. Green leafy and other nutrient-dense vegetables
  2. Omega-3 rich seafood
  3. Olive oil and nuts
  4. Organic berries and cherries
  5. Cocoa and dark chocolate
  6. Spices and herbs


Did you know that eating 1 cup of green leafy vegetables every day makes your brain, on average, 11 years younger than someone who skips them? Delicious greens are packed with fiber, folate, vitamin K, and anti-oxidants. They decrease inflammation body-wide, and because they provide fiber with little to no sugar, they improve blood sugar control. Green leafy veggies are fantastic for your brain, arteries, and waistline. Good options include foods like kale, broccoli, spinach, and other greens, and if you are not a fan of green leafy vegetables, a really easy way to eat enough of them every day is to add them to a berry smoothie (because you won’t even taste them). Be sure to eat at least one cup per day.

Beyond leafy greens, eat other rainbow-colored vegetables, loaded with their protective pigments to slow cellular aging (including brain cells). Try to eat at least 3-4 cups of vegetables every day.

In particular, vegetables rich in nitrates improve blood flow to the part of your brain that enhances cognitive performance.  By far, beets are the best source of brain-enhancing-nitrates, but other options are: arugula (also called rocket salad), spinach, and dark green lettuce.


You should eat at least 2-3 servings of omega-3 rich seafood every week. After all, your brain is 40 percent by weight made from these fats. Not only do these healthy fats nourish your brain, but they also decrease inflammation and improve your cholesterol. Choose foods such as wild salmon, sardines, herring, mussels, and oysters, or if you are vegetarian, have a seaweed salad daily.

If you don’t enjoy this type of seafood, then I’d strongly recommend that you take a high-quality form of fish oil daily, and if you are vegetarian, take a seaweed source of a DHA supplement.


Another fat that is really good for your brain is extra virgin olive oil. Olive oil has been a culinary star for thousands of years, adding an irresistible flavor to food. It’s a staple in the Mediterranean diet, and famous for decreasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. People who consume more olive oil have lower rates of cognitive decline and better brain function.

The acclaimed Mediterranean Diet study from Spain is considered one of the most conclusive studies comparing the health benefits of a standard low-fat diet to a Mediterranean diet with liberal amounts of olive oil or nuts. The study showed that people in the low-fat diet group developed higher rates of cognitive impairment and dementia than the olive oil group. And people who ate extra olive oil had better cognitive scores than the low-fat eaters.  This is why I recommend one or more tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil daily. Toss it in a salad, use it in place of butter, and drizzle it on food after you’ve cooked it.

In this same study, they also showed that eating more nuts improves brain function and helps to prevent cognitive decline, just like adding olive oil. Aim to eat two handfuls (about 2 ounces) of nuts every day, in particular, choose: almonds, pecans, pistachios, walnuts, hazelnuts, and macadamia nuts.


Many plant pigments, but especially blue, purple, and red are associated with increased brain blood flow and less memory loss. Berries and cherries will satisfy your taste for sweetness without the damaging effects of increasing blood sugar levels, so they’re a fabulous dessert.

In studies, blueberries have been shown to improve cognition and slow cognitive decline, and also to reduce the production of beta-amyloid, the protein associated with Alzheimer’s disease. So please, enjoy a cup of cherries or berries every day.

One of my preferred desserts is a bowl of blueberries and raspberries with a dollop of organic, unsweetened yogurt. It’s terrific! Organic fresh berries are delectable when you can get them in season, but frozen berries are convenient, far less expensive, and just as beneficial.


Another delicious source of brain healthy plant pigments is dark chocolate and cocoa. With functional MRI brain imaging, when scientists measure blood flow to areas of your brain, they can actually see how consuming cocoa improves cerebral blood flow, in particular to the memory center of the brain, the hippocampus.

More recent research has shown that eight weeks of drinking a few tablespoons of cocoa every day improved cognitive testing results in older adults, especially for those with early cognitive decline.  And eating 1-2 ounces (28-56 grams) of dark chocolate daily has similar benefits.

For the best brain benefit, look for cocoa brands labeled “non-alkalized” to ensure maximum flavonoid content. And when it comes to selecting dark chocolate, don’t confuse milk chocolate with dark chocolate. It must be at least 74-80% cacao to make the cut.


Seasoning your food with herbs and spices makes your food taste fantastic and provides extraordinary health benefits. If you want to slow aging, protect your brain, and have fewer aches and pains, simply eat more herbs and spices.

All the Italian and French fine herbs are anti-inflammatory and have beneficial properties for your brain, and I use at least 1 teaspoon of these when cooking every day.

Especially beneficial is rosemary, which has been called a brain-boosting herb. Animal studies in mice and rats have shown that it slows cognitive decline and helps to maintain memory. In Italy’s southern regions, some locals eat rosemary-infused foods at nearly every meal. In one area near Naples, researchers have noted a very high rate of people who live into their nineties, with surprisingly low rates of dementia as well. I consider rosemary a terrific culinary herb; I grow it in my garden and cook with it several times per week.

Don’t limit your palate to Mediterranean cuisine when you’re searching out healthful, fabulous flavors. In southern India (where curry spices are used in abundance), studies show that they have one of the lowest rates of Alzheimer’s on the planet. Curry spices have amazing anti-inflammatory power. Eating them decreases joint pain, lowers cancer risk, and helps prevent memory loss. A typical blend of curry spices would include coriander, turmeric, cumin, and fenugreek, and may also include chili pepper, ginger, garlic, fennel seed, caraway, cinnamon, clove, mustard seed, cardamom, nutmeg, and black pepper. The potential varieties are nearly endless, and they don’t always have to be spicy hot.

The best-known individual curry spice with brain benefits is turmeric, the yellow, ginger-like plant. Turmeric plays an essential role in curry spice blends. A variety of studies using turmeric have suggested that it slows cognitive decline and benefits cognitive function. The challenge is that it is generally poorly absorbed, and the quantities needed to show a benefit are big, as in you’d need to eat about 3 heaping tablespoons of turmeric every day. When I lived and worked as a volunteer in various hospitals in India, including at a leprosarium near Calcutta, I likely ate this amount daily. That was when I ate curry- flavored meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I’ll admit that I don’t eat that much curry spice living in my home in Florida. Instead, I aim to eat meals with curry spices 1-2 times per week, and I take a 1000 mg curcumin supplement, Curcum-Evail, every day.


The bottom line is that you can improve your brain function starting right now (and prevent or delay future memory loss) by adding foods that boost brain function.

Happy New Year and Bon Appétit!

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, FAAFP, CNS


My book, The Better Brain Solution, is now available in paperback. This amazing step-by-step guide will help improve your cognitive function and prevent memory loss. This includes 50 delicious, easy-to-prepare recipes designed for optimal brain health.

You can ORDER the book from these retailers.


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Bûche de Noël Fri, 21 Dec 2018 16:23:16 +0000 The post Bûche de Noël appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


This is a glorious, French sponge cake, assembled like the traditional yule-log. It has a chestnut filling and is covered with rich, dark chocolate. Traditionally, Nicole makes this special treat in our home nearly every Christmas.

You can buy cooked and peeled chestnuts, (my choice) or spend an extra hour cooking and peeling them yourself. Already assembled, this cake freezes very well and can be made several days to a week in advance.

For this recipe, I have chosen gluten-free flour, and you have the option to make it sugar-free and dairy free if you choose. If you use Xylitol or Erythritol, please be aware that excessive portions can have a laxative effect—don’t have more than one serving when using these sugar substitutes.

Preparation Time: 1 hour with cooked and peeled chestnuts

Baking Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 8-12


10 ounces         Chestnuts, cooked and peeled

2 Tbsp                Organic half & half (or almond milk)

3 Tbsp                Sugar (or either Xylitol or Erythritol)

3 Tbsp                Dark rum (or for alcohol-free, use additional half & half or almond milk as above)

½ tsp                   Vanilla extract


½ cup                 Sugar (or either Xylitol or Erythritol)

½ cup                 Almond meal (almond flour)

½ cup                 Gluten-free all-purpose flour

½ tsp                   Sea salt

1 tsp                   Baking powder

1 tsp                   Baking soda

¼ cup                 Cocoa powder

1 cup                  Organic low-fat milk (or almond milk)

¼ cup                 Ghee (clarified butter, or almond oil)

2 tsp                   Vanilla extract


4 ounces           Semi-sweet chocolate

2 Tbsp               Hot coffee (regular or decaf)

Optional Topping:

1 cup                  Organic cream (for whipping, or dairy-free coconut cream)


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Purée the filling ingredients and set aside.

Cover a large cookie sheet with parchment or wax paper, then brush lightly with almond oil.

Combine dry cake ingredients and sift through a fine mesh strainer. In a separate bowl, whisk together liquid cake ingredients; if you use ghee and it clumps when cold, warm combined fluids until ghee liquefies. Then whisk and gently pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until well mixed.

Pour the batter onto the prepared cookie sheet and spread it evenly so that you have a 14 x 9-inch rectangle. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until cooked. Allow the cake to cool for 5 minutes, then gently roll it up lengthwise (like a jelly-roll) with the parchment paper still attached to it. Wait 1 minute, then gently unroll the cake and spread the filling evenly over the cake surface (don’t worry if the cake cracks; it won’t show in the end.) Roll the cake up again gently, while removing the parchment.  Allow the roll to cool.

With a bread knife, slice a 3-inch piece off each end at a 45-degree angle. Gently transfer the large piece onto a serving platter. Place the small pieces to either side of the roll with the slanted end showing outward. The cake should now look like a log with 2 cut-off branches.

In a double boiler, melt chocolate (If you don’t have a double boiler, use a saucepan on low heat.) Once melted, slowly stir in hot coffee. If it clumps, remove from heat and stir until it turns smooth to form icing.

Before it cools, gently, spread icing over the cake surface, leaving the branches and log ends visible. As the icing cools, draw vertical lines along the log and limbs, making the icing look like bark. Optionally serve with whipped topping.


Steven Masley, MD


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Is your gut microbiome a missing link for heart disease? Mon, 17 Dec 2018 21:09:19 +0000 Over the last decade, we have finally acknowledged the importance of our gut microbiome. The term “microbiome” refers to the friendly bacteria that live in and on your body. Nearly 9,000 research papers have been published over the last decade alone on clinical studies related to this intestinal microbiome. There are trillions of microbes living […]

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Over the last decade, we have finally acknowledged the importance of our gut microbiome.

The term “microbiome” refers to the friendly bacteria that live in and on your body. Nearly 9,000 research papers have been published over the last decade alone on clinical studies related to this intestinal microbiome. There are trillions of microbes living in your gut. Not only do these microbes outnumber the cells in your body (approx. 10 microbes to 1 human cell), they have 150 times more DNA and genetic diversity too.

We now know that your gut microbes influence:

  • Gastro-intestinal symptoms. If your gut microbes are out of balance, you can suffer from abdominal pain, bloating and excessive gas production.
  • Gut microbiome imbalances are the #1 source of systemic inflammation. Not only do high inflammation levels make your joints and tendons ache, they also increase your risk for arterial plaque growth, heart attack, stroke, and even memory loss.
  • The gut microbiome, with its active environment of bacteria, viruses and yeasts, has a major impact on whether we succeed or not with weight control. Your gut microbes influence:
    • How we metabolize the calories we consume—including how many calories are absorbed from the gut.
    • Our appetite and cravings, as some undesirable bacteria produce compounds that stimulate cravings for sugar.
    • Our basal metabolic rate (our calorie-burning rate at rest), which impacts how many calories we burn when sitting in a chair.
  • Cholesterol Profiles. Modifying bile acid levels in your gut can lower cholesterol, and these levels are influenced by gut microbiota.
  • Blood Pressure. Good bacteria can keep blood pressure in check (and bad microbes will do just the opposite).
  • Elevated Blood Sugar. Harmful microbes can cause a biochemical reaction that ultimately leads to insulin resistance, a major driver of cardiovascular disease

The reality is that nearly every aspect of your health is influenced by your gut microbiome. Until recently, the gut microbiome has been a missing risk factor for heart disease.

How do you support your gut microbiome?

The two most important steps you need to take to protect your gut microbiome and your health, are to eat fiber, and have a regular intake of probiotic microbes. Fiber is the food source that nourishes your microbes. If you don’t eat enough fiber, they literally starve. You also need to eat live probiotic foods to maintain a balanced, healthy gut microbiome.

Good sources of prebiotic foods include: Chicory root, greens, artichokes, jicama, garlic, onions, asparagus, oats, apples, beans, and cocoa.

Good sources of probiotic foods include: Yogurt, Kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, kimchi, miso, kombucha, aged, raw cheese, and apple cider vinegar.

Ideally, you should be eating at least 2-3 servings of these foods every day. If that isn’t realistic, then consider taking a probiotic supplement to help support your gut. You typically need at least 15-30 billion microbes per dose for several months to make a positive difference for your gut microbiome. Probiotic supplement products that I recommend in my office include ProbioMed 50 and Probiotic Supreme (both produced by Designs for Health), or Therbiotic Complete (produced by Klaire Labs).

What can hurt your gut microbiome?

There are several factors that adversely impact your gut microbiome.

Perhaps the most powerful adverse impact comes from using antibiotics. A single course of antibiotics can hurt your gut microbiome for months and even years. So don’t take antibiotics for a common cold and always ask your physician if the antibiotics you are considering are necessary or if they could be safely avoided? If you do have a life-threatening infection, such as pneumonia, then clearly you want to be treated as soon as possible. The good news is that you can support your gut microbiome during and after a course of antibiotics by: eating prebiotic, fiber-rich foods, eating probiotic foods, and taking a probiotic supplement to help boost your gut microbes back into balance.

Food allergies can also cause gut inflammation, leaky gut syndrome, and lead to bad bacterial overgrowth. If you have a food sensitivity to a specific food, then avoid that food entirely. This is especially true with gluten.

Some sweeteners also injure the gut microbiome. As an example, Splenda (sucralose), a chlorinated form of sugar that is common in prepared foods, can decimate healthy gut microbes. I recommend that you avoid products that contain Splenda.

Having a healthy gut microbiome is essential if you hope to enjoy optimal health long term. By adding the foods you need, and avoiding the factors that hurt gut microbes, you can make a dramatic difference in how you feel and how you live. So take active steps to support your own gut microbiome.

I wish you the best of health!

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, FAAFP, CNS



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Holiday Menu Fri, 14 Dec 2018 23:37:56 +0000 The post Holiday Menu appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


The recipes below are wonderful for gatherings during the holidays!

Leek and Mushroom Soufflé

Soufflés add splendor to a holiday meal. They are easy and fun to make. I like the leek-shiitake flavors, but you can enjoy other wild mushroom flavors, too.  

Preparation Time: 40 Minutes   

Baking Time: 40 Minutes   

Serves: 6


2 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium leeks, sliced and chopped finely (use only the white base and the first inch of light green)

2 cups Shiitake mushrooms, diced finely

½ teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon Italian herbs, dried

5 medium garlic cloves, minced

¼ cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 cup milk, organic (or dairy free option)

2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped

½ cup mozzarella cheese, grated

4 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated

¼ cup vegetable stock

10 large egg whites, organic cage free

½ cup whole wheat bread crumbs


1 tablespoon almond slivers

¼ cup parsley, finely chopped

1 tablespoon parmesan cheese, grated (optional)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add oil. Sauté leeks, mushrooms, salt, and herbs for 2 minutes. Stir occasionally. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in garlic and flour. Continue to heat 2 minutes. Add ½ cup of milk, stir for 2 minutes. Add remaining milk and parsley, stir, and remove from heat when thick, but not dry. Set aside to cool. Add grated cheese. Stir in 2-4 tablespoons of vegetable stock to keep moist but not too wet.

Beat egg whites until stiff. Fold breadcrumbs into egg whites. Gently fold white sauce into whipped egg whites. Don’t over mix or you lose air and the soufflé rises poorly.

Brush a round soufflé dish (9-inch diameter, 4-inch deep) with olive oil. Pour soufflé Mixture into dish. Garnish top with almond slivers, parsley, and parmesan cheese.

Bake until a knife or a long toothpick comes out clean and the top is golden 35-40 minutes. Serve immediately. The soufflé collapses when cut, or as it cools.


Whipped Yams with Ginger

Whipped yams are colorful and elegant. It’s a nice substitute for the traditional mashed potato dish and add the bundle of healthy nutrients and antioxidants to your meal.

Preparation Time: 10-15 minutes

Baking Time: 60-80 minutes

Serves: 6


4 medium yams

½ teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 cup milk, organic (or dairy free option)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Poke yams with a fork and bake until very soft, 40 to 60 Minutes. Remove skin and whip yams until smooth. Stir in ginger, salt, and milk. Place yam in a covered baking dish and keep warm in the oven.

To serve, place in a serving dish.


Green Beans with Mushrooms & Kale

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Serves: 6


4 cups green beans

1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced

1 cup purple kale, finely sliced

1 teaspoon olive oil

¼ cup vegetable stock


2 tablespoons slivered almonds


Remove stem from green beans. Remove shiitake stems. Discard stems. Slice mushrooms. Slice kale into thin slivers.

6 minutes before serving, heat a saute pan over medium-high heat and add oil. Saute mushrooms with salt for 2 minutes. Add green beans and kale and stir, reduce heat to medium add dill weed and stock. Heat 2 to 3 minutes. Serve directly on plates or on a serving dish.

Garnish with sliced almonds.


Steven Masley, MD

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Gift Recipes for the Holidays!! Fri, 07 Dec 2018 09:56:58 +0000 The post Gift Recipes for the Holidays!! appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


The recipes below are great to give as gifts or to bring to a party during the holidays!

Mango Chutney

This is a lovely condiment for curry dishes and also serves as a great holiday gift!

Preparation and Canning Time: 1 ½ hours

Yields:  12 Cups


1 ⅓ cup sugar or 1 cup xylitol

1 cup cider vinegar

2 medium limes, Juiced

1 teaspoon ground clove

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 teaspoon cardamom seeds

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon sea salt

8 large mangos, firm not overripe

4 tablespoons ginger root, peeled and minced

2 cups onion, minced

1 cup raisins

1 cup dried cranberries


Have ready a large canning pot with water and bring to a boil. Sterilize the utensils you will use including canning jars and lids. You can use any size canning jars you like, yielding 12 cups.

In a large saucepan, bring the sugar, vinegar, lime juice, cloves, cardamom, cayenne, and salt to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel mangoes and remove pulp from the seed. Dice pulp and combine with the minced ginger, onion, raisins, and cranberries. Add these to the vinegar solution and bring to a boil once more. Lower heat and simmer for another 5 minutes.

As soon as the chutney is done simmering, remove the sterilized jars and set them on the counter. Carefully fill each jar with the chutney allowing only about 1/4 to 1/2 inch of space from the rim. To ensure rims are perfectly clean, wipe them with a wet paper towel (dipped in the boiling water), then immediately seal the jars with the new sterilize canning lids and hand tighten.

Place the filled jars in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes (be sure the water is at a rolling boil and that you have each jar covered with at least 2 inches of water from the top of the jar to the surface).

Remove jars from the water and allow to cool. Once the jars have cooled, check each lid to make sure it is sealed properly. The jar should have created a vacuum and the lid should be flat.

You are now ready to label and date your jars.

Dried Fruit-Nut Balls

These fruit-nut balls are fun to make and are great to bring to a party.  Vary the dried fruit and nuts as you like.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Makes: 65 Balls


½ cup almond flour

½ cup dried cherries

½ cup dried figs

2 tablespoons powdered sugar (or substitute with 2 tablespoons of Xylitol)

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon rum (or 1 teaspoon orange extract)

2 ounces Semi-sweet chocolate

¼ cup hazelnuts, finely chopped


In a food processor, process 3/5 cup of almonds to make 1/2 cup of almond flour, or buy prepared almond flour. Add dried cherries and figs and process again. Stir in sugar, lemon juice, and rum.

Melt chocolate and blend with puree. Roll mixture into hazelnut-sized balls, 1 ½ teaspoon per ball. (Messy but fun!)

On a cookie sheet, spread out chopped hazelnuts. Roll fruit-nut balls in chopped hazelnuts, forming a delicate nut covering.

Freeze or refrigerate fruit-nut balls until ready to serve.


Steven Masley, MD

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Do You Get Enough Vitamin K1 and K2? Tue, 04 Dec 2018 01:45:06 +0000 The post Do You Get Enough Vitamin K1 and K2? appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


Vitamin K is essential for clotting, bone health, and preventing calcification of your arteries. Most Americans don’t meet even the minimal intake guidelines for Vitamin K.

Vitamin K was first identified to be essential for normal clotting, (vitamin K as in German for koagulation), otherwise one might bleed to death after a minor cut.

Over time, we have discovered that vitamin K is also essential for bone and artery health. Without adequate vitamin K, bones lose calcium, increasing your risk for osteoporosis and a debilitating fracture later in life. Arteries become stiff and hard as they can’t get rid of calcium from their walls, leading to atherosclerosis and heart disease.

There are two forms of vitamin K: K1 and K2. K2 is the more physiologically active of the two forms, but much more challenging to get in your diet. Vitamin K1 comes from eating green leafy vegetables and is fairly easy to get from food. Both forms are beneficial to your health.

How much Vitamin K1 do you need for your bones and arteries?

  • The minimum for proper clotting is around 100 mcg of vitamin K1 per day (90mcg for women, and 120 mcg for men). Many Americans don’t even achieve this minimal intake.
  • Yet for your bones and arteries, they function much better with at least 200 mcg of Vitamin K1 daily, and most experts in this field suggest that for optimum function you get 500 to 1,000 mcg daily.

Here are some great sources of Vitamin K1:

Food Content                               Measure             mcg of K1

Kale, cooked, drained                              1 cup                 1,062

Collards, cooked drained                        1 cup                 1,059

Spinach, cooked (or ~7 cups raw)           1 cup                   889

Beets, cooked                                            1 cup                   697

Broccoli, cooked                                        1 cup                   220

Brussels sprouts, cooked                         1 cup                   219

Onions, raw                                                 1 cup                  207

Parsley                                                        10 sprigs             164

Cabbage, cooked (or ~ 3 cups raw)          1 cup                 163

Asparagus, cooked                                      1 cup                 144

Lettuce, iceberg                                           1/4 head              3

The bottom line is that nearly everyone should be able to meet their needs for Vitamin K1 with food.

However, there is one contraindication to consuming vitamin K, and that applies to people receiving certain anti-coagulation drugs that decrease clotting. The drug warfarin (Coumadin) decreases vitamin K coagulation activity and taking extra vitamin K can block the medication’s action. In a person requiring this form of medication, taking extra Vitamin K could cause life-threatening clot formation. So, for people taking this type of medication, they should speak to their own physician managing their care before trying to increase their vitamin k intake, either from food, or from supplements. My goal with my own patients on warfarin is that they should eat a consistent amount of green leafy vegetables every day and modify their medication dosage as needed, but this can only be done with your doctor testing for the impact of vitamin K rich foods on your drug activity and blood levels, absolutely not something a person should try on their own.

As noted above, vitamin K2 is the more potent form of vitamin K, and provides additional bone and cardiovascular health benefits. This is especially important for people who already have known heart disease, or known bone loss and osteopenia or osteoporosis.

In the Rotterdam Study with 4800 subjects followed over 10 years, greater dietary vitamin K2 intake is associated with a decreased risk for cardiovascular disease. They compared people with less than 21 mcg of vitamin K2 per day, with 21 to 32 mcg per day, to more than 32 mcg/day. Those with more than 32 mcg per day had 57% less risk for heart disease than those with less than 21 mcg days.

For bone health, studies have shown that people likely need at least 50 mcg of vitamin K2 per day to lower their risk for osteoporosis and bone density loss, and up to 200 mcg might be a more optimal dose for people with osteopenia or heart disease.

In the table below, you can see foods that are high in vitamin K2. Apart from Natto (fermented soy), the amount needed to achieve at least 32-50 mcg a day for a heart disease benefit would be difficult to do with food alone.

You would have to consume a very large amount of saturated fat from either:

  • 14 tablespoons of butter
  • 5 ounces of raw-unpasteurized cheese that are aged and probiotic rich (some might call fermented cheese smelly)
  • 8 egg yolks

And to reach more than 200 mcg per day vitamin K2 intake to achieve a bone health benefit seems only achievable with a very large serving of natto (fermented soy).

FOOD                       Serving size        Vitamin K2 mcg/100 mg

Natto (fermented soy)      0.5 cups                        257

Munster cheese              1.5 ounces                       34

Camembert cheese        1.5 ounces                        27

Aged gouda cheese        1.5 ounces                        20

Roquefort cheese           1.5 ounces                        16

Swiss cheese                    1.5 ounces                       3.5

Mozzarella cheese          1.5 ounces                        1.7

Butter                                7 tablespoons                  15

Egg yolk (large)                 4                                        15

Animal meat                     3.5 ounces                       4.5

Fish                                   3.5 ounces                        0.9

Milk                                   3.5 ounces                        1.1

Green vegetables             2/3 cup                             0

Sauerkraut                        2/3 cup                             5

Fruit                                   2/3 cup                              0

Bread                                2 slices                               0

There is some conversion of vitamin K1 to vitamin K 2 both in the human intestinal tract and intracellularly. The challenge is that the amount of conversion varies from person to person, and it remains unknown if this conversion is adequate to meet the benefits provided by adequate vitamin K2 intake.

Specific drugs block the conversion of vitamin K1 to K2, in particular statin medications, alendronate (Fosamax), and warfarin (Coumadin). Anyone on these medications need to take extra precaution to add extra vitamin K2 daily, but if you are taking a medication such as warfarin, you must talk to your physician in advance to see if this is appropriate for you, be super consistent with your daily dosage, and work with your physician to modify your warfarin dosage appropriately.

Supplements provide a convenient way to increase intake for both vitamin K1 and K2. You can find vitamin K added to either multivitamins, fish oil, and vitamin D supplements.

While you should be able to meet your needs for vitamin K1 easily enough with green leafy vegetables, unless you enjoy eating ¼ cup of natto daily (this is definitely an acquired flavor), you’ll need to consider a supplement to meet your optimal intake.

Below are the supplements that I use with my patients to boost their vitamin K1 and K2 intake:

For people with advanced osteoporosis, there are studies that have used dramatically higher dosages of vitamin K2 daily to treat bone loss and risk for bone fractures. Dosages up to 15 mg to 45 mg daily have been used, but you should always discuss this dosing option with your own physician to clarify what is the best medical option for you.


Everyone at the minimum should ensure they meet their needs for vitamin K1 and get at least 250 mcg to 1000 mcg daily, something that you should be able to do by eating one cup of green leafy vegetables every day.

For people at high risk for bone loss or heart disease, especially for those who already have been diagnosed with either of these problems, adding vitamin K2 from either food (natto daily) or a supplement is appealing and worth discussing with your own medical provider.

I wish you the best of health!

Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, FAAFP, CNS

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Cherry Tomatoes Stuffed with Potato, Cheese, & Herbs Fri, 30 Nov 2018 19:30:07 +0000 The post Cherry Tomatoes Stuffed with Potato, Cheese, & Herbs appeared first on Steven Masley MD, LLC.


This is a cheerful and tasty dish for a holiday party. You can always substitute mashed cauliflower for the potato if you want to lower the glycemic load.

Prep Time: 30 Minutes

Makes: 20 Bite-size Appetizers


1 small Russet potato

1 teaspoon virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning

½ small white onion minced

½ teaspoon sea salt

20 medium cherry tomatoes

2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, finely grated

4 tablespoons Italian parsley, finely chopped

1 bunch chives, cut into 1-inch pieces


Peel and cube potato. Boil until very soft. Mash or whip in a food processor. Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium heat and add oil. Add onion and salt. Sauté 3-4 minutes until onion turns yellow. Add herbs and heat 1 minute. Set aside.

Slice a sliver off the bottom of each cherry tomato to form a flat base. Slice off the top third of the tomato. Set base and top aside. Repeat this process with each tomato.

Combine potato, sautéed onion, and grated cheese. Spoon or pipe 1/2 teaspoon filling over each tomato base and cover with top hat. Garnish with herbs.

Arrange on a serving plate. Garnish plate with remaining chives and a few sprigs of parsley.

Steven Masley, MD

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