NCI Well Connect: January 4, 2016
Free New Year's Preview Issue
Dear Steve, 

DID YOU KNOW that according to a new study in Skin Therapy Letter, sugar consumption has as much to do with sagging, aging skin as any other lifestyle choice? See details below. Happy New Year!

Most of you are aware of that our loyalty program provides discounts at certain product purchase benchmarks. The rewards zero out every January 1. So start your orders now to gather points and discounts.

We just wanted you to know that we renewed a lease to stay in our current suite for at least five more years!

Have a happy, healthy day. Steve and Bonnie
NCI Well Connect Is Free Today.
Get It for 2016 at 40% OFF!
Steve Minsky
From Editor Steve Minsky
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Read stories like these twice weekly from our award-winning eNewsletter, access two titles per month from our Action Plan Library, and book free wellness coaching sessions, all for one dollar per week with an NCI Well Connect Membership!
Well Connect Feature
Avoid the Sugar Sag
Bonnie: Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are formed through a reaction called glycation. Increased accumulation of AGEs in human tissue is associated with end stage renal disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, memory disorders and, recently, skin aging.

AGEs occurs by internal and external forces. The largest internal factor for AGEs is the consumption of sugar in the diet. Certain methods of food preparation (i.e., grilling, frying, and roasting) produce AGEs as well, but to a lesser degree.

The first, and perhaps most well-known, physiological AGE to be discovered was glycated hemoglobin (hemoglobin A1C), now widely used to measure glycemic control in diabetes.

While there are several dietary compounds that have emerged as promising candidates for the inhibition of AGEs aging, the best option is still to curtail sugar consumption.

In a new study from the December issue of Skin Therapy Letter, the authors highlight dietary strategies that may be able to combat AGEs.

AGEs and the Skin
AGEs accumulate in various tissues as a function, as well as a marker, of chronological age. Collagen in the skin are especially susceptible to modification by glycation. Collagen has a half-life of approximately 15 years and thus can undergo up to a 50% increase in glycation over an individual's lifetime.

Combating AGE With Diet
Nearly 70 years ago, researchers reported that the level of sugar both in the blood and in the skin is decreased with a diet low in sugar. Although its significance was not appreciated at the time, this finding demonstrated a quintessential connection between diet and skin health.

AGEs are absorbed by the gut with approximately 30% efficiency. They can then enter the circulation, where they may induce protein cross-linking, inflammation, and intracellular oxidative stress.

Not surprisingly, a diet low in AGEs correlate with a reduction in inflammatory biomarkers. Other researchers have cited the relatively youthful appearance that is often associated with the elderly Asian population as evidence of the long-term impact of low sugar consumption and employing water-based cooking practices, which are characteristic of Asian cooking.

Tight glycemic control over a 4-month period can result in a reduction of glycated collagen formation by 25%. Avoiding foods that result in higher levels of AGEs can be an effective strategy for slowing "sugar sag."

Helpful Dietary Compounds
Of interest, several culinary herbs and spices are believed to be capable of inhibiting the production of AGEs. These include cinnamon, cloves, oregano, and allspice. Other dietary compounds that have been linked to inhibition of AGE formation include ginger, garlic, alpha lipoic acid, carnitine, taurine, carnosine, flavonoids (e.g., green tea catechins), alpha-tocopherol vitamin E, niacinamide (B3), pyridoxal (B6), selenium, riboflavin (B5), and zinc.

The cosmeceutical industry has taken notice of this data, and several have recently released topical products containing carnosine and alpha lipoic acid.

Since glycation is accelerated in the presence of reactive oxygen species, antioxidants should be effective in limiting the production of new AGEs. They may also impact AGE-induced tissue damage. Supplementally, alpha lipoic acid is the most universally utilized antioxidant.

Dietary Tactics
Dietary caloric restriction, the most effective strategy for slowing the general aging process known to date, may function to some degree by preventing accumulation of AGEs in the human body, especially skin collagen.

Once again, there is no tactic more important than lowering sugar consumption.

According to the authors, "the role of diet in skin aging is undeniable. Awareness of the critical impact of AGE formation in both diabetics and non-diabetics must be extended to all patients, regardless of their current health status. That task begins with clinicians. Dietary counseling should be incorporated into our regular interactions with patients, alongside essential discussions about UV-protection and avoidance of tobacco. After all, these are the three most important known exogenous aging factors."
Care's Corner - Pediatric Cancer
Bonnie and Steve: There is a new term in gerontology (the field of aging): healthspan. Gerontologists believe that while there is no reason why lifespan should not continue to rise, they believe that we have a lot left to be desired when it comes to healthspan, or length of healthy life.

We are in love with the term healthspan. It is echoes everything we stand for. Of course, we would like all of our clients to have long lifespans. That has not been a problem as lifespan has risen in the U.S. to 78 years for males and 83 for females, healthy or not. This is a remarkable achievement considering in 1900 the numbers were 55 and 58. However, we still are ranked second to last of wealthy nations in lifespan based upon our annual average income.

While we have reduced mortality, we have gotten worse in reducing morbidity (health problems). This is almost an impossibility considering the marked reduction in smoking over the last few decades. Yet, here we are. Putrid diet, lack of exercise, unhealthy environmental factors, and a medical model that only treats disease instead of promoting prevention, has led to a decline in U.S. healthspans.

A New Year's Message to You
We want you to focus on putting in the work to increase your healthspan. Exercise your mind with meditation or mindfulness. Exercise your body with consistent movement and standing. Limit your environmental exposure to toxicity. Utilize individualized, supplemental nutrients to fill in the foundational cracks, and to supply the daily boost you need to thrive through the day. Finally, stack days with optimal dietary decisions, knowing that the more you stack, the longer you will stave off chronic disease.

We are so excited for 2016. Of the myriad preventive modalities we have at our disposal, the fact that we can now evaluate the deepest layer of your individual needs through genetics allows us to further optimize your healthspan.

With the financial and scientific wherewithal we have in this great country, lifespan should not be the goal of every American. Healthspan, or longer length of healthy life, should be the goal.

As always, we are here to help either in-office, off-site, or this eNewsletter.
Pomegranate and Alzheimer's Protection
Steve: Studies show that pomegranate extract can help protect against the development of Alzheimer's disease. But researchers weren't sure which molecules to thank.

A study in ACS Chemical Neuroscience has shown that the responsible compounds may be urolithins, which are made when gut bacteria break down polyphenols called ellagitannins.

Of 21 compounds screened, mostly polyphenols, the only ones that could cross the blood-brain barrier were urolithins. Urolithins reduced Amyloid Beta (AB) fibrillation levels in vitro, as well as reduced brain inflammation.

Pomegranate is not the only food that contains high ellagtannin content. Other fruits and nuts such as black raspberries, raspberries, strawberries, walnuts, and almonds have ellagtannins that can be broken down by gut bacteria to create urolithins.
Steve Minsky
When an Apple a Day Is Not Advised
Dr. Gary Stadtmauer in a recent Medscape piece has finally stated in the medical world what we have been saying in the wellness world: allergic cross-reactions can be devastating if not addressed.

Dr. Stadtmauer refers to as oral allergy syndrome (OAS) and "pollen-fruit allergy symptoms". In shortm what he means is that environmental allergens trigger food allergy.

While most symptoms are associated with runny nose and eyes, serious reactions can occur. Airborne allergens most associated with oral allergy syndrome are birch (tree) pollen, grass pollen, ragweed pollen, and latex. Foods that cross-react are some of our most popular, including carrots, celery, fresh fruit (including apples), potatoes, soy, tomatoes, grains, and more.

Cooking these foods lower their allergenicity, but not totally. If you have any of the aforementioned airborne allergens, we highly recommend that you avoid the cross-reacting foods two weeks before, during, and two weeks after the height of their respective allergy seasons.

For those who are symptomatic throughout the year, you need to first address the core triggers for your continued heightened allergic state.

Details about the cross-reacting foods and what to replace them with are in ourConquering Allergy and Intolerance Action Plan, which is available to NCI Well Connect members by email request.
We Cannot Increase Cognitive Capacity As We Age
Bonnie: Wrong. Older adults who take college courses may increase their cognitive capacity and possibly reduce their risk for developing Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia, according to new research published inNeuropsychology.

And it is not just college courses. Any similar tactic such as exercise, brain games, and active social life performed consistently can maximize the cognitive capacity of your brain.
BrandBuzzBrand Buzz
Bonnie-approved and available at our office.
This replaces the Twinlab Iron but is an even better iron source, glycinate.
Dark Chocolate Coconut flavor is Bonnie-approved.
The Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Coconut Bar
32 oz. box Pacific Foods Simply Chicken Stock (unsalted)
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic or shallot, minced
6 celery stalks with leaves
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
2 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms
1 1/2 cups fresh parsley
2 bay leaves
Sea salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 pound cooked turkey, roughly chopped
2 cups chopped green beans
1 zucchini, sliced into rounds
1 yellow squash, sliced into rounds
2 cups chopped kale

In a large stock pot, combine 8 cups water, chicken stock, onions, garlic, celery, carrots, mushrooms, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a low boil; over high heat, then reduce to medium-low, and cook for 30 minutes. Remove celery and parsley.

Add the turkey and green beans, and cook on medium heat for 20 minutes. Add zucchini, squash and kale, and cook for 15 minutes more. Add more salt and pepper, if needed. Remove bay leaves before serving. SERVES 8 to 10
Eliminate Mealtime Distractions
Bonnie: A new University of Illinois study reveals that distracted dining affects the quality of not only family mealtimes, but meals eaten out or alone. 
If you're getting up and down because you're distracted during a meal, you're probably not able to pay attention to your hunger cues -- noticing when you're full and not continuing to eat. This increases risk for obesity.

The beneficial effects of regular family mealtimes are many and well known. But it's not enough to encourage families to eat together regularly without identifying distractions and disruptions.

Wherever you eat your meals, focus on conversation if you're with people. Listen to relaxing music. Shed technology for 25 minutes while focusing on taste and chewing.
Nature Affects Crime
Steve: Numerous studies have demonstrated the benefits of contact with nature for human well-being, but little is known about the social consequences of such contact.

In the December issue of BioScience, researchers determined that people's experiences of local nature could explain an 8% increase in perception of community cohesion. The relationship with crime was similarly striking. The amount of green space or farmland accessible in people's neighborhoods accounted for a 4% decrease in crime rates.

The authors argue that the positive impact of local nature on neighbors' mutual support may discourage crime, even in areas lower in socioeconomic factors. Further, given the political importance placed on past crime reductions as small as 2%-3%, the authors suggest that findings such as theirs could justify policies aimed at ameliorating crime by improving contact with nature.
Bonnie and Steve: If one or more of these boxes are yellow or red, then you have genetic deficiencies that may impair your ability to break down and move toxins from your body. You can prevent impairment with diet and nutrient modification.

The graphic is an example of what our clients receive when screening their methylation cycles. The results have nothing been short of incredible.

Derived from your raw genomic data provided by the genetics company 23andMe, the results reaffirm why many clients have been so vigilant about managing their diets and lifestyles. For others, the results are providing that final push to reach their goals.

Why the Methylation Cycle? Why Now?
It was one of the major nutritional conundrums which had evaded us for years. We tried to cover all bases to help your methylation cycle, the most important pathway for detoxification of chemicals, hormones, and other unwanted environmental byproducts, but we did not have the entire map at our disposal. Now, we can pinpoint exactly if and where your cycle is impaired and fix it.

Methylation impairment can contribute to carcinogenesis, body mass gain, autoimmune disorders, to name a few.

The Process is 5 simple steps:
  1. Pay to have your genetic kit sent to your home from the lab 23andMe. You can get the test for $179 instead of $199 at this link because of your relationship with us. We have no financial interest in 23andMe.
  2. When you receive your genetic kit, follow the instructions to prepare your sample (saliva sample) and send back to 23andMe via the US Postal Service.
  3. 23andMe will email you when your results are complete.
  4. Feel free to share your disease carrier, traits, and wellness reports with us by email.
  5. Most importantly, download your raw data from 23andMe and and email the file to us. Contact us if you need help with this step.
  6. When we get your raw data file, we will upload it into our methylation database and contact you when the results are complete to make an appointment.
Why Is This Such an Incredible Opportunity?
  • In addition to the methylation data that we analyze, 23andMe maps your entire genome. This is crucial if we offer further genetic analysis on other bodily functions or for other health care providers who may require your genetic info.
  • You only need your genome mapped once!
  • 23andMe provides you with information about your ancestry. We do not delve into this aspect of your genetic results. It is completely private to you.
  • Knowing your disease carrier status, traits, and wellness genetics (like lactose intolerance) is invaluable to you and your health professionals. 23andMe has many more test in the offing as the research becomes more available.
  • Many of you have heard us refer to the MTHFR genetic mutation for pregnancy, neurological function, and detoxification. MTHFR is included in the panel, as well as every other major gene associated with the methylation pathway.
Why Did We Decide to Finally Use Genetic Testing?
  • While we feel that much of the information about the humane genome is "not ready for prime time," we feel extremely confident that the genes associated with the methylation pathway have more than enough clinical data. The pharmaceutical industry has done most of the work for us by putting billions of dollars into researching genetics and methylation so they can find out who can best metabolize and avoid side effects from their drugs!
  • As better research comes along, having your genetic information allows us to contact you when, for instance, a genetic bone health panel comes along. How can you beat that service?
Putting Your Methylation Results Into Action

Going over the results should only take about 15 minutes. This is free for NCI Well Connect Members. For non-Well Connect members, the fee is $45.

To start the process, just go to 23andMe and click on the link:
Far Infrared Sauna Therapy
It is always the right time to experience Far Infrared Sauna Therapy.


Aside from the fact that you are taking one hour out of your busy lives to relax, Far Infrared Therapy offers numerous therapeutic benefits, most importantly enhanced detoxification. Many clients use it to relieve painful joints, rev up metabolism, and remove buildup of heavy metals.


A recent study in JAMA Internal Medicine found that increased frequency of sauna bathing reduced the risk of sudden cardiac death, coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease, and all-cause mortality.

Contact us to schedule a session.

WildCardWild Card
Fall Prevention In the Elderly
Steve: A new study in Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Science and Social Sciences showed that cognitive training had a measurable impact on walking balance and gait in older adults.

Those who participated in a 10 week computer-based cognitive training intervention performed significantly better than controls, especially with balance and gait while walking distractedly, which is when most falls occur.
"Don't awfulize events in your life, AWESOMIZE them."
-Amanda Wolfe
Wellness Session of the Month
23andMe, Pure Genomics Methylation Cycle Evaluation

One of the perks of being a NCI Well Connect Member is that you have two free 15 minute wellness coaching sessions. 


The perk comes in handy when you've gotten your 23andMe raw genetic data and want us to analyze your methylation cycle.


To schedule your free appointment with Steve, email or phone 847-498-3422. An appointment with Bonnie is $45.

ActionPlanAction Plan of the Month:
Fast Mimicking Diet
One of the perks of being a NCI Well Connect Member is that you can request two titles monthly from our our Action Plan Library (41 plans: total value $300). 

This comes in handy when you are eyeing a sensible, intelligent, effective eating style to aid detoxification and weight balance.

Our new Fast Mimicking Diet Action Plan is our smart version of the calorie-restricted eating plan which gerontologists have linked to longevity.

Action Plans are free by email request for NCI Well Connect Members or can be ordered separately. To activate your NCI Well Connect Membership today at 40% OFF and get your free copy, click here.
eNewsBriefseNews Briefs
WCMembershipLike What You See? Finalize Your NCI Well Connect Membership at 40% OFF Today!
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NCI Well Connect Membership is open to clients and non-clients of our practice!

One Year Membership Includes:
  1. Weekly eNewsletters (84 issues). We publish our long-form issue on Monday and a Mid-Week Brief on Wednesday. Our eNewsletter has been awarded Constant Contact All Star status seven years in a row to date.
  2. Self-Help Action Plans. Access to two titles per month from our self-help Action Plan Library. There are currently 41 Action Plan titles to date on all aspects of wellness, including the new Irritable Bowel Syndrome Action Plan. You can view the list here.
  3. Natural Foods Shopping List. Updated quarterly, our Natural Foods Shopping List includes only the most meticulously vetted, highest quality food and beverage products that we recommend to our clients. These include gluten-free, corn-free, and kosher pareve items.
  4. Free 15 Minute Wellness Coaching Sessions on topics such as 23andMe genetic results, Immune System, Detox, Shedding Weight, Food Cravings and Food Addiction, and any other topic of your choosing.

The approximate cost for all of this? One dollar a week! Quite a bargain for this volume of expert wellness advice.

Click here and activate your membership today!

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Our Wellness Menu
We have a multitude of options for simple fine-tuning or the toughest cases.
  • Balanced Eating 101 (focus on eating style only)
  • Full Wellness Evaluation (with bloodwork)
  • NCI Well Connect Membership
  • Genetic Methylation Evaluation - NEW
  • Food/Med/Supplement Interaction Evaluation
  • Food Intolerance Screening and Menu Plan Implementation (separate fees)
  • Dietary Supplement Update
  • Wellness and Lifestyle Coaching Sessions
  • Far Infrared Sauna Treatment
  • Grocery Shopping Tours and Pantry Advice
  • Workplace Wellness Evaluations
  • Chiropractic and Acupuncture

Consulting prices range from $45 to $225. Contact us at 847-498-3422 or email for details.

Movement Videos
Qi Gong
Tai Chi
NFSLNatural Food Shopping List
Are you completely overwhelmed with finding trustworthy foods that fit your individualized eating style? Don't fret.Natural Foods Shopping List does the work for you.

Natural Foods Shopping List consists of food items that meet our strict criteria for safety, clean ingredients, and of course, palatability.

Natural Foods Shopping List is revised frequently and is available online to NCI Well Connect Members. The latest update is from October 1, 2015. We just added an index for easier usability!
Snowbirds & Out-of-Towners
Whether you leave Chicago for the winter or live out of state, don't be a stranger. Stay connected!
  • If you need Bonnie's guidance, she is only a phone call away.
  • Read our eNewsletters to reinforce your wellness plan.
  • If you need to order supplements, we ship anywhere in the United States. We use green and recycled shipping materials. We ship probiotics that require refrigeration.
Serving your individual wellness needs. We appreciate your patronage and support.

Have a happy, healthy day,
Bonnie, Steve, and all of us at Nutritional Concepts
(847) 498 3422 - main 

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