Discover the science behind the recommendations – Ottawa Herald

Written by Michael Roizen, MD

Q: I wonder about advice you had about migraines and something called the LIFE diet that was published in something called BMJ Case Reports. Was it a reliable study and what is BMJ anyway? – Fred C. , Urbana, Illinois A: Thanks for asking that question, Fred. I want to take this opportunity to teach you how to prepare my columns and how opinions and ideas are based on science. But first – BMJ stands for British Medical Journal. Like JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), they decided to use the initials a few years ago, and it became their official name. Case Reports is a related journal they have published that presents interesting case studies – they may be one-off only, but their implications are beneficial. In the case of studying the case of migraine, it is clear that the treatment offered – the daily diet of low-inflammatory foods (LIFE) – is healthy. Eating plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits and avoiding red meat and dairy products is good for heart health and reduces inflammation. And because it’s just a case study, the column states that it “might” help treat migraines. For the 40 million people in the United States who are desperate to find relief from the pain and life-hindering migraine interventions, she accurately says it “might” be worth a try. Regarding the general approach of columns, let me assure you that, as they are developed, they are carefully researched and annotated for references – almost all of which are primary sources. We define studies (as far as possible taking into account word-length restrictions in the column) as clinical, randomized, double-blind, laboratory studies – whatever the truth. I am happy to tell you that on our website launching in early fall,, we will be posting columns along with their references/footnotes/sources so you can see firsthand the information came from. * * *

Q: I am generally in good health, white, 75 years old male, 5 feet seven inches, 165 lbs. My annual physical and blood work showed an elevated ‘pre-diabetic’ glycated hemoglobin of 5.9 (normal 4.8-5.6). I take NSAIDs for osteoarthritis (knees) and low-dose statins (LDL 85, HDL 77, Tri 42). I exercise (mostly cycling) regularly. My father developed type 1 diabetes at the age of 12 and lived to his late 60s before dying of kidney failure. Is my A1C worrying? What can I, or should, do about it? – Arthur J., Lincoln, Nebraska A: You’re doing some things right — taking care of your heart health by exercising and taking statins — but you’re a bit overweight and that’s a risk factor for high blood sugar and insulin resistance. Both are signs of prediabetes, and insulin resistance increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes, cancer, and inflammatory conditions such as osteoporosis and cognitive impairment. That’s why it’s important to achieve a healthy level of A1C. The top four recommendations for lowering glucose levels and insulin resistance are:

1. Increase your daily physical activity, especially strength exercises

2. Improve your diet by cutting back on foods that increase glucose levels, such as added juices and simple carbohydrates, and try intermittent fasting (details are in my What to Eat and When book).

3. Adopt stress management techniques such as meditation.

4. Improve your sleep quality by adopting a schedule (go to bed and wake up at the same time each day), take digital screens out of the bedroom and make sure the room is cool, dark and quiet.

5. Reduce chronic inflammation. You can do this by flossing regularly and getting good dental care. Also ask your doctor about getting a blood test to measure levels of inflammatory markers such as hsCRP and MPO. Also ask about taking 81 milligrams of aspirin twice daily with half a glass of water before and after taking CoQ10 and phosphocreatine. For more support in managing prediabetes and diabetes, see “This is Your Do-Over.”

Health pioneer Michael Roizen, MD, chief health officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four New York Times bestsellers. His next book is “The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Young Tomorrow.” Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please send an email to (c) 2022 Michael Roizen, MD and Mehmet Oz, MD Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.