Links on heart disease, calcium and iodine

Whether nutrient deficiencies or other metabolic imbalance is the cause is not clear or it may be a response to oxidative stress, however levels of the trace nutrients magnesium, selenium, zinc, and vitamin D3 were found to be low and the level of calcium elevated in myocardium, a type of muscle tissue in the heart. (1)

The short story – adequate nutrition is needed to support pregnancy and lactation (breast feeding) – longer duration breast feeding (6-12 months or more) is associated with less heart disease (2) and breast cancer (3risk. Increased amounts of iodine is needed for pregnancy and lactation (4) and low iodine and low selenium may be involved in breast cancer risk. (5)

A high protein diet, especially one high in dairy products is associated with more heart disease risk. (6) Background information – a high protein diet creates more work for the kidneys in order to excrete the extra nitrogen from protein that was converted into energy (ketones) (7(29) instead of being used to build muscle or other proteins.

Magnesium may help protect against calcification in heart disease in two important ways. It is needed for the kidneys to be able to excrete excess calcium. It also acts as a calcium channel blocker by providing electrical power from inside of cells or organ tissue in order to help keep excess calcium from entering the soft tissue and blood vessels through the membrane calcium channels. Medications used for hypertension include several calcium channel blockers.

Potassium is also important to protect against calcification of blood vessels by preventing increased calcium entry into the cell. The mineral is also important for preventing high blood pressure/hypertension – in addition to excess sodium/salt, too little potassium can be a problem. See excerpt with the link. (29)

Five to nine servings of vegetables or fruits per day is the recommendation for a healthy balanced diet (five) or potentially cancer preventing diet (nine). They are a good source of potassium and magnesium in addition to other trace nutrients.

Cholesterol plaque formation (atherosclerotic plaques) along vessel membrane walls may be simply acting as a coating to prevent the electrically active calcium ions from entering cells or doing other damage by plastering it in place, like plaster or spackle on dry wall. Calcium and magnesium levels in normal health are very carefully controlled by the kidneys. Lack of potassium and excess sodium may also affect the kidneys ability to excrete excess calcium.

The current understanding of atherosclerosis does not describe the role of magnesium in this way – current description: (8) and (9).

The role of potassium, magnesium and calcium in hypertension is available here: (10) and (29).

Magnesium has been found to help reduce vascular calcification (atherosclerotic plaques in blood vessels) in animal based research, (11) {and I believe in a few human research studies too but I have to find the links again. See Table 7 for a list of symptoms common to magnesium deficiency, hypertension and myocardial infarction are included: (14)} Magnesium may also help reduce prostate cancer risk or progression, (15), and low magnesium levels may be an underlying factor in the formation of cancer tumors, (18); and depression (16) can be a symptom of magnesium deficiency (14) and frequently co-occurs with other diagnoses. (17)

The short story – excess calcium may increase heart disease risk while adequate iodine, selenium, magnesium, potassium and vitamin D are all important for a healthy pregnancy, ability to lactate for a longer duration and reduce the risk of heart disease and breast cancer.

Addition, miscarriage history and history of having more than four pregnancies/four children has been associated with increased risk of heart disease for the mothers. (12) Increased losses of iodine and magnesium stores from the bones may be an underlying factor.  Premature infants born to multiparous women (women who had previous pregnancies) are more likely to have low Thyroid Stimulating Factor – which is associated with hypothyroidism which can simply be due to low iodine levels during the pregnancy. (13)

The long story is in the links below;

except for references about magnesium, potassium and vitamin D for pregnancy and breast feeding but they are also important for pregnancy and lactation. The baby may not thrive or may be fussier if the breast milk is low in essential nutrients or it may be difficult to maintain an adequate supply if the woman is malnourished.

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes. Thanks.

  1. Karl T. Weber, William B. Weglicki, Robert U. Simpson, Macro- and micronutrient dyshomeostasis in the adverse structural remodelling of myocardium, Cardiovasc Res. 2009 Feb 15; 81(3): 500–508. (1)
  2. Katherine Lindemann, Mothers who breastfeed may be less likely to suffer from heart disease and stroke later in life, an interview with Sanne A. E. Peters, University of Oxford, Research Fellow in Epidemiology, June 21, 2017, blog post,  Benefits were seen/measured with six months increments in breastfeeding duration, with a large group of Chinese mothers, “Mothers who had breastfed their babies had a nine percent lower risk of heart disease and an eight percent lower risk of stroke.” (2)
  3. Loren Lipworth, L. Reness Bailey, Dimitrios Trichopoulos,

    History of Breast-Feeding in Relation to Breast Cancer Risk: a Review of the Epidemiologic Literature, JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Volume 92, Issue 4, 16 February 2000, Pages 302–312, “Overall, the evidence with respect to “ever” breast-feeding remains inconclusive, with results indicating either no association or a rather weak protective effect against breast cancer. […] It appears that the protective effect, if any, of long-term breast-feeding is stronger among, or confined to, premenopausal women. It has been hypothesized that an apparently protective effect of breast-feeding may be due to elevated breast cancer risk among women who discontinue breast-feeding or who take medication to suppress lactation; however, the evidence is limited and should be interpreted with caution” (3)

  4. Angela M. Leung, MD, MSc, Elizabeth N. Pearce, MD, MSc,* and Lewis E. Braverman, MD, Iodine Nutrition in Pregnancy an Lactation, Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am. 2011 Dec; 40(4): 765–777.  Iodine needs are increased during pregnancy and lactation and in iodine replete geographic areas breast milk levels seemed adequate for the infant’s needs. 250-290 micrograms is estimated to be needed compared to the RDA of 150 micrograms. That level did not seem adequate in geographically low area of New Zealand: ” In a recent study, the iodine needs for breastfed infants in iodine-deficient New Zealand remained inadequate even when their mothers were supplemented with 150 μg/d of iodine during the first 6 postpartum months.” (4)
  5. Peter PA Smyth, The Thyroid, Iodine and Breast CancerBreast Cancer Res. 2003; 5(5): 235–238. Autoimmune thyroid disease and goiter is more common in patients with breast cancer. Iodine and selenium may be protective against both conditions, a review of literature rather than a study. (5)
  6. Heart Risk of High Protein Diets, June 4, 2018, The Hippocrtic Post, The group of men with the highest intake of protein in percentage of total calories had increased risk of heart disease, except for protein from fish or eggs. “When they compared men who ate the most protein to those who ate the least, they found their risk of heart failure was:33 percent higher for all sources of protein;
    43 percent higher for animal protein;
    49 percent higher for dairy protein;
    17 percent higher for plant protein.” (6)
  7. Sherwin RS, Hendler RG, Felig P.,  Effect of Ketone Infusions on Amino Acid and Nitrogen Metabolism in ManJ Clin Invest. 1975 Jun;55(6):1382-90. (7)
  8. Isabella AlbaneseKashif KhanBianca BarrattHamood Al‐KindiAdel Schwertani, Atherosclerotic Calcification: Wnt is the Hint, Basic Science for Clinicians, February 8, 2018 Journal of the American Heart Association, (8)
  9. The Cardiovascular System in Disease, Diseases of the Vessels, Chapter 6, Ch006-M3430.indd 4/19/2007, (9)
  10. Mark C. Houston MD, MS, Karen J. Harper MS, PharmD,  Potassium, Magnesium, and Calcium: Their Role in Both the Cause and Treatment of Hypertension, JCH, Vol 10, Issue 7, pp 3-11, July 2008, (10)
  11. Fatih Kircelli, Mirjam E. Peter, Ebru Sevinc Ok, Fatma Gul Celenk, Mumtaz Yilmaz, Sonja Steppan, Gulay Asci, Ercan Ok, Jutta Passlick-Deetjen, Magnesium reduces calcification in bovine vascular smooth muscle cells
    in a dose-dependent manner, Nephrol Dial Transplant (2012) 27: 514–521, (11)
  12. Kashmira Gander, Having More Kids Linked to Heart Disease Risk in Mothers, According to New Study, June 4, 2018,, (12)
  13. Kelli K Ryckman, M.S., PhD, Cassandra N Spracklen, M.S., John M Dagle, M.D., PhD., Jeffrey C Murray, M.D.Maternal Factors and Complications of Preterm Birth Associated with Neonatal Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2014 Sep; 27(0): 929–938. “Maternal and neonatal thyroid levels are tightly correlated and hypothyroidism …. Multiparous women had infants with lower TSH levels (P=8×10−4) compared to …” (13)

  14. R. Swaminathan, Magnesium Metabolism and Its Disorders, Clin Biochem Rev. 2003 May; 24(2): 47–66. (14)
  15. Oseni, Saheed & Quiroz, Elsa & Kumi-Diaka, Jim. (2016). Chemopreventive Effects of Magnesium Chloride Supplementation on Hormone Independent Prostate Cancer Cells. Functional Foods in Health and Disease. 6. 1-15. (15)

  16. Eby GA, Eby KL, Rapid recovery from major depression using magnesium treatment.Med Hypotheses. 2006;67(2):362-70. Epub 2006 Mar 20. (16

  17. Hee-Ju Kang, Seon-Young Kim, Kyung-Yeol Bae, Sung-Wan Kim, Il-Seon Shin, Jin-Sang Yoon, and Jae-Min Kim, Comorbidity of Depression with Physical Disorders: Research ad Clinical ImplicationsChonnam Med J. 2015 Apr; 51(1): 8–18. (17)
  18. : Castiglioni S, Maier JAM. Magnesium and cancer: a dangerous liason. Magnes Res 2011; 24(3): S92-S100 doi:10.1684/mrh.2011.0285 (18)
  19.  Pharmacology of Cardiac Potassium Channels, Cardiovascular Research, Volume 62, Issue 1, 1 April 2004, Pages 9–33, Oxford Academic – see Table 4, (19)
  20. Lakshman Goonetilleke, John Quayle, TREK-1 K+ Channels in the Cardiovascular System: Their Significance and Potential as a Therapeutic Target, Cardiovascular Therapeutics 30 (2012) e23–e29 (20)
  21. University of Pittsburgh: Cardiovascular system during the postpartum state in women with a history of preeclampsia, Chapter 2: Cardiovascular System,  pp 190-191, Advances in Physiology Research and Application: 2012 Edition, Scholarly EditionsDec 26, 2012, ebook, (21)
  22. Ma R, Seifi M, Papanikolaou M, Brown JF, Swinny JD, Lewis A.TREK-1 Channel Expression in Smooth Muscle as a Target for Regulating Murine Intestinal Contractility: Therapeutic Implications for Motility Disorders.  Front Physiol. 2018 Mar 6;9:157, (22)
  23. Antidepressant Drugs Suppress Activity of Potassium Channels, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Feb. 8, 2011,, (23)
  24. Nicholas J. Talley, SSRIs in IBS: Sensing a dash of disappointment. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, May 2003, Volume 1, Issue 3, Pages 155–159. (24)
  25. Tülay Özkan Seyhan, Olgaç Bezen, Mukadder Orhan Sungur, İbrahim Kalelioğlu, Meltem Karadeniz, and Kemalettin Koltka,

    Magnesium Therapy in Pre-eclampsia Prolongs Analgesia Following Spinal Anaesthesia with Fentanyl and Bupivacaine: An Observational Study., Balkan Med J. 2014 Jun; 31(2): 143–148. Exerimental group needed less fluid replacement and waited longer before requesting additional pain killing medication than the women with normal (no preeclampsia) deliveries. (25)

  26. Ramanathan J, Vaddadi AK, Arheart KL. Combined spinal and epidural anesthesia with low doses of intrathecal bupivacaine in women with severe preeclampsia: a preliminary report. Reg Anesth Pain Med. 2001 Jan-Feb;26(1):46-51. (26)
  27. KCNK2 potassium two pore domain channel subfamily K member 2 [ Homo sapiens (human) ], Gene ID: 3776, updated on 23-May-2018, (27)


  28. Tayyba Y Ali, Fiona Broughton Pipkin, and Raheela N Khan, The Effect of pH and Ion Channel Modulators on Human Placental Arteries. PLoS One. 2014; 9(12): e114405.  “In vessels isolated from placentae of women with pre-eclampsia (n = 6), pH responses were attenuated.” (28) *attenuated means a weakened response, less responsive to the stimulus.
  29. Qi Qian, Dietary Influence on Body Fluid Acid-Base and Volume Balance: The Deleterious “Norm” Furthers and Cloaks Subclinical Pathophysiology, Nutrients 2018, 10(6), 778; Open Access, “Recently, Sun et al. [53] demonstrated a causal role for dietary K+ in the regulation of osteogenic differentiation and calcification of vascular smooth muscle cells, both in vitro and in atherosclerotic animal models. Specifically, lower levels of extracellular fluid K+ induce vascular smooth muscle cell osteogenic transformation by elevating intracellular calcium. The latter activates CREB (cyclic AMP response element-binding protein) leading to an enhanced expression of osteogenic markers, e.g., RUNX-2, and simultaneously reduced smooth muscle cell markers, e.g., α-actin. Remarkably, even a slight serum K+ reduction (mean K+ level, 3.70 ± 0.21 mEq/L) in mice can trigger significant vessel calcification associated with elevated pulse-wave velocity, a reliable indicator of aortic stiffness. On the contrary, when K+ levels are raised to ~4.73 mEq/L by dietary modification, signs of osteogenic differentiation were abrogated, and vascular calcification prevented. Consistent with the notion of K+ being protective to vasculature, a high ratio of urine Na+/K+ excretion (indicative of high Na and low K+ intake) has recently been linked to the genesis of HTN [54].?” (29)
  30.  Robert Vink, Mihai Nechifor, editors, Magnesium in the Central Nervous System, University of Adelaide Press, 2011,, free ebook pdf,  See page 20 re TRPM7 channels and different effects of oxidative stress on calcium versus magnesium being allowed through the ion channel. Magnesium helps survival while calcium can increase risk to the cell.  other notes about the book:

Healthy Hair is the Proof – of a healing diet

Strong, shiny hair that grows well and isn’t thinning can be a visual sign of good health inside the body too. Hair and fingernails are a slightly tougher form of skin and outer skin is a slightly tougher form of the membranes that line our internal organs and cells.

A more in depth analysis of the nutrient content in the Dairy, fish and meat version of the 30% of calories from carbohydrates example menu (the last one in the series) showed that adding herbs and spices does add nutrients to your day’s average intake, adding essential fatty acids and the green leafy ones include quite a bit of potassium which can help reduce the risk of hypertension. High blood pressure problems may be due to low potassium intake rather than just a problem of excess sodium. Nuts and seeds are also very nutritious.

The reanalysis led to a few slight changes in macronutrients as I went to a nutrient database that was more complete for a few ingredients (listed in the References below) so to make it close to 2000 again I reduced the portion of hemp kernels to one tablespoon.

Macro-nutrients: Total calories 2003 with approximately 129 grams of protein (516 calories, 25.8% ); 90 grams fat (810 calories, 40.4%): 147 grams digestible complex/simple carbohydrates (588 calories, 29.4%); and 47 grams of indigestible fiber.

(*The math percents don’t add up but in the nutrient databases the total calories do not always match the amount calculated from the grams – it is all somewhat estimated based on average types of foods and portions, so do pay attention to your own body’s hunger and fullness cues – and remember that thirst is best quenched with water. It is common to mistake thirst for hunger and to overeat and still not be satisfied because you needed a drink of water. In nature only breast milk and water are beverages that we were accustomed to having at different stages of life. Whole fruit and vegetables have fiber which slow down digestion of the fluid and sugars..)

The summary findings are vitamin D is very inadequate, only milk for drinking is notified so even with cheese and yogurt the amount is very low. Vitamin B 12 was also slightly low and potassium was helped by the spices but even with several vegetables the limited fruit left potassium (increasing the portion size of beans in place of meat increased the potassium a lot but decreased niacin and a couple minerals) and vitamin C slightly below goal. B vitamins are provided however and other minerals are within the U.S. Recommended Daily Intake goals. Calcium was over provided with the dairy servings plus calcium rich seeds and vegetables. I have three more plans to calculate, so we will see if B12 is more plentiful in any of the other examples.

*Macronutrients for the 30% carbohydrate with dairy and fish plan – 1993 calories with 127 grams Protein (508 calories, 25.5%/1993); 79 grams Fat (711 calories, 35.7%/1993); 145 grams digestible complex/simple Carbohydrate (580 calories, 29.1%/1993); and 73 grams indigestible Fiber.

** Macronutrients for the 30% carbohydrate with dairy plan – has walnuts and almonds instead – 1970 calories with 95 grams Protein (380 calories, 19.3%/1970); 91 grams Fat (819 calories, 41.6%/1970); 147 grams of digestible complex/simple Carbohydrate (588 calories, 29.8%/1970); and 78 grams indigestible Fiber.

*** Macronutrients for the 30% carbohydrate vegan plan – has 2 teaspoons of Nutritional Yeast Flakes added as a vegetarian source of B12, and 1/4 cup avocado, 1/2 cup tomato and large leaf of lettuce to make a sandwich or salad with it. I also added 1 teaspoon of cumin and coriander and 1/4 cup raw cilantro as I have been trying to eat those everyday. Cilantro may help the body with detoxification of heavy metals. – Calories 1964 with 84.9 grams protein, (340 calories, 17.3%/1964); 89.6 grams Fat (806 calories, 41%/1964); 148.8 grams digestible complex/simple Carbohydrate (595 calories, 30.3%/1964); and 93.3 grams indigestible Fiber.

*The list includes data for four meal plans now, within the same bullet point for easier comparison.

Micro-nutrients in milligrams (mg) unless otherwise listed:

Not all foods had information for all of the nutrients so this is an underestimate for some (Copper, Manganese, Selenium, Pantothenic Acid, Choline, Betaine, Vitamin D, E, K, Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids are some with incomplete data available).

  • 1615.03 mg Calcium /dairy & fish with beans & sweet potato instead of meat & fries – 1642.03/ //dairy & beans, with almonds, walnuts instead of fish – 1653.93// ///vegan plan- 1181.23/// I double checked the math. This is the with dairy meal plan and it is providing an excess amount of calcium. Goal: 1300 mg is recommended for teens of either gender, and 1000-1200 for older adults.
  • 23.72 mg Iron /with beans instead of meat… – 46.27/ //dairy & beans, with almonds, walnuts instead of fish – 44.96//  ///vegan plan-59.92 (hemp kernel portion size is larger in this plan, they are an exceptional source///- Goal: 8-11 for teen boys and men and menopausal women, 15-18 for teen girls and women.
  • 531.99 mg Magnesium /with beans instead of meat… – 750.99/ //dairy & beans, with almonds, walnuts instead of fish -777.79// ///vegan plan-856.07/// – Goal:  240-360 for boys, girls and women, 400-420 for men.
  • 2185.3 mg Phosphorus /with beans instead of meat… – 2467.8/ //dairy & beans, with almonds, walnuts instead of fish -2242.3// ///vegan plan-1993.5/// – Goal: 1250 for children and teens, 700 for adults.
  • 4385.47 mg Potassium /with beans instead of meat… – 5600.47/ //dairy & beans, with almonds, walnuts instead of fish -4791.97 (took out Dill Weed too, it helped here)// ///vegan plan-5341.67///- Goal: 4.5-4.7 grams 4500-4700 mg.
  • 1887.68 mg Sodium /with beans instead of meat… -1165.18/ //dairy & beans, with almonds, walnuts instead of fish -1183.28// ///vegan plan- 786.33 ( I add salt to taste at the table, whole vegan foods tend to be very low salt, this amount could be too low for health///- Goal: 1.2-1.5 grams, 1200-1500 mg.
  • 17.52 mg Zinc – /with beans instead of meat… –  15.74/ //dairy & beans, with almonds, walnuts instead of fish -15.69// ///vegan plan-14.736/// Goal: 8-9 mg for children, teen girls & women, 11 for teen boys & men.
  • 2.425 mg Copper – /with beans instead of meat… – 3.225/ //dairy & beans, with almonds, walnuts instead of fish -3.225// ///vegan plan-4.663 (Chia seeds portion is larger in this plan, it and other nuts, beans and avocado are a source, too much can be a problem, especially if there is too little zinc in the diet/// Goal: 700-900 micrograms (which would be 0.7-0.9 mg)
  • 3.81 mg Manganese -/with beans instead of meat… – 8.71/ //dairy & beans, with almonds, walnuts instead of fish -9.81// ///vegan plan-8.509/// Goal: 1.6-1.8 for girls and women, 1.9-2.3 for boys and men.
  • 308.125 micrograms Selenium -/with beans instead of meat… – 290.275/ //dairy & beans, with almonds, walnuts instead of fish -219.575// ///vegan plan-199.405/// Goal: 40-55 micrograms
  • 36.45 mg Fluoride -/with beans instead of meat… – 14.05/ //dairy & beans, with almonds, walnuts instead of fish -14.05// ///vegan plan-4.25/// Goal: 2-4 mg
  • 57.65 mg Vitamin C -/with beans instead of meat… – 51.25 (also without raw tomato)///dairy & beans, with almonds, walnuts instead of fish -49.65// ///vegan plan-80.97/// Goal: 45-75 mg for children 9-13 y, teens & women, 90 mg for men.
  • 2.048 mg Thiamin (B1) -/with beans instead of meat… – 2.285/ //dairy & beans, with almonds, walnuts instead of fish -2.022// ///vegan plan- 4.221 (the nutritional yeast flakes is exceptionally high in several B vitamins)/// Goal: 0.9-1.2 mg
  • 2.111 mg Riboflavin (B2) -/with beans instead of meat… – 2.312/ //dairy & beans, with almonds, walnuts instead of fish -1.903// ///vegan plan- 3.788/// Goal: 0.9-1.3 mg
  • 30.421 mg Niacin (B3) -/with beans instead of meat… – 24.421/ //dairy & beans, with almonds, walnuts instead of fish -9.984// ///vegan plan- 19.969/// Goal:  12-16 mg
  • 6.27 mg Pantothenic Acid (B5) -/with beans instead of meat… – 6.77/ //dairy & beans, with almonds, walnuts instead of fish -3.97// ///vegan plan- 4.12/// Goal: 4-5 mg
  • 2.73 mg Vitamin B6 -/with beans instead of meat… – 2.582/ //dairy & beans, with almonds, walnuts instead of fish -1.129//  ///vegan plan- 2.534/// Goal: 1.0-1.7 mg
  • 365.02 mg Folate -/with beans instead of meat… – 724.52/ //dairy & beans, with almonds, walnuts instead of fish -707.62// ///vegan plan-928.32 (the nutritional yeast)/// Goal: 300-400 mg
  • 8.54 micrograms vitamin B12 -/with beans instead of meat… – 6.02/ //dairy & beans, with almonds, walnuts instead of fish -1.32// ///vegan plan-2.9 /// Goal: 1.8 for children and teens, 2.4 for adults.
  • 153 mg Choline /with beans instead of meat… – 76.3/ //dairy & beans, with almonds, walnuts instead of fish -96.5// ///vegan plan- 78.5/// (newer discovery, in the family of water soluble B vitamins) – Goal: 375-400 mg for children and teen girls, 425 for women and 550 for teen boys and men.
  • 7.71 mg Betaine /with beans instead of meat… – 22.01 (the sweet potato was the great source)/ //dairy & beans, with almonds, walnuts instead of fish -22.16// ///vegan plan- 43.11/// (also in the family of water soluble B vitamins) – Goal: 20-25 for children, 9-13 y and teens, 30 for adults.
  • 154.1 Vitamin A in RAE /with beans instead of meat… – 598.1 (the sweet potato was the great source)/ //dairy & beans, with almonds, walnuts instead of fish -589.1// ///vegan plan- 1298.1/// (Retinal A Equivalents) -new & not all data is available
  • 18329.45 IU Vitamin A /with beans instead of meat… – 27233.9/ //dairy & beans, with almonds, walnuts instead of fish -26988.2// ///vegan plan-40913.2///  (IU – International Units, beta-carotene and retinal) – Goal: 600-900 micrograms, (extra beta-carotene from produce is nontoxic, excess retinal can be a danger especially to a developing fetus)
  • 6.4 IU Vitamin D /with beans instead of meat… – 3.4/ //dairy & beans, with almonds, walnuts instead of fish -3.4// ///vegan plan- 0/// (IU – International Units) *note only liquid milk for drinking is typically fortified with vitamin D, the yogurt and cheese is clearly not a good source. – Goal: 15-20 micrograms (the IU is confusing, I will have to brush up on what exactly is meant)
  • 11.49 mg Vitamin E – /with beans instead of meat… – 20.2 (increasing the portion size of hemp kernels made the difference here)/ //dairy & beans, with almonds, walnuts instead of fish -27.8// ///vegan plan- 30.456/// Goal: 11 mg for 9-13 year old children and 15 mg for teens and adults.
  • 128.11 micrograms Vitamin K -/with beans instead of meat… – 91.51 (there had been extra lettuce with the hamburger, salad is great have some!/ //dairy & beans, with almonds, walnuts instead of fish -91.91// ///vegan plan-152.66///  Goal: 60-75 for children 9-13 y, and teens, 90 for women, 120 for men.
  • 28.341 grams Saturated Fat /with beans instead of meat… – 23.891/ //dairy & beans, with almonds, walnuts instead of fish -24.483// ///vegan plan- 14.97///
  • 26.867 grams Mono-unsaturated Fat /with beans instead of meat… – 21.251/ //dairy & beans, with almonds, walnuts instead of fish -19.551// ///vegan plan- 20.89///
  • 25.931 grams Poly-unsaturated Fat /with beans instead of meat… – 26.9/ //dairy & beans, with almonds, walnuts instead of fish -34.9// ///vegan plan- 42.457///
  • 0.393 grams Trans-unsaturated Fat /with beans instead of meat… – 0/ //dairy & beans, with almonds, walnuts instead of fish -0// ///vegan plan- 0///
  • 257.5 milligrams Cholesterol /with beans instead of meat… – 186.5/ //dairy & beans, with almonds, walnuts instead of fish -77.5// ///vegan plan- 0///
  • 7005.43 milligrams Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Salmon and Chia Seeds were extremely good sources) – /with beans instead of meat… –  7251.33 (black beans are a good source)/ //dairy & beans, with almonds, walnuts instead of fish -4542.03 (walnuts are a good source but the salmon was a better source)// ///vegan plan- 6877.08/// Goal: 1.0 – 1.6 grams – which would be 1000 to 1600 milligrams – this recommendation is lower than some doses found beneficial in research, 6 grams/6000 milligrams has been used in depression studies. (23)
  • 13908.25 milligrams Omega-6 Fatty Acids (Brazil Nuts, Tahini, Hemp Kernels were extremely good sources, Salmon, Chia and Pomegranate Seeds were good sources.) – /with beans instead of meat… – 16490.25 (increasing portion size of hemp kernels was the main increase but beans are also a source)/ //dairy & beans, with almonds, walnuts instead of fish -24892.25//  ///vegan plan- 28920.45/// Goal: 10-12 grams for females, 12-17 for males – which would be 10000-17000 milligrams,
  • Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.


  1. Black Beans, cooked with salt, 1 cup (x.5)
  2. Yogurt, plain, skim milk 13 gr protein per 1 cup (x .5)
  3. Parmesan Cheese, shredded 1 Tbs (x 2)
  4. Ricotta Cheese, part skim 1 cup (x.25)
  5. Cheddar Cheese, 1 ounce, 28 grams
  6. USDA Food Composition Databases,  brazil nuts
  7. Nut and Seed Products, Brazil Nuts (1 cup is 133 grams, I divided by 14.25 to get 1/3 of 28 grams)
  8. Finfish and shellfish products, Salmon, Alaska wild caught, 1/2 fillet 154 grams,
  9. Carrot, raw 1 cup, (x .5)
  10. Celery, raw, 110 gr, (x .5)
  11. Spice, Basil, dried leaves, 1 tablespoon, 2 gr
  12. Oregano, dried, 1 teaspoon 1 gr
  13. Chives, freeze-dried, 1/4 cup, 1 gr ( x.25)
  14. Lundberg Organic Brown Rice Cake, Lightly Salted,  1 cake is 60 calories,
  15. Rice long grain, brown cooked, 1 cup, 216 calories ( multiply x .56)
  16. Tahini from roasted and hulled seeds, most common type, 1 tablespoon ( x 2)
  17. Chia Seeds, dried, 1 ounce (28 grams) (~ 2 Tbs) (x  .5))
  18. Pomegranate, one 4 inch, (x .5 ~ 1/3-1/2 cup seeds)
  19. Vegetable oil, coconut
  20. Cocoa powder processed with alkali, Dutch, 1 cup, 86 gr (x .125)
  21. Tarragon, dried leaves, 1 tablespoon, 2 gr
  22. Hemp seed kernels, * complete protein source (Table 3) and good source of GLA omega 6 fatty acid
  23. Alan C. Logan, Omega-3 fatty acids and major depression: A primer for the mental health professional. Lipids Health Dis. 2004; 3: 25.
  24. Sweet Potato cooked, baked in skin without salt, 1 medium (60 gram)
  25. Walnuts, English, 1 ounce (28 gr) (x .5)
  26. Almonds, ( 1 ounce 23 whole kernels),
  27. Cumin Seed, ground spice, 1 Tbs (x .33)
  28. Coriander Seed, ground spice, 1 Tbs (x .33)
  29. Cilantro, raw, 1/4 cup
  30. Avocado, raw 1 ounce 28 gr (x 1.8),
  31. Nutrient Recommendations: Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) Goals
  32. Hamburger, 95% lean, 5% fat, pan  broiled, 100 gr (~ 4 oz)

Average Autism and Alzheimer’s Rates Differ by Gender

Autism is more of a risk for boys than girls by a factor of four boys for every one girl or three boys for every one girl diagnosed with autism depending on the type of study and diagnostic criteria. There is some speculation that autism in girls presents with less obvious symptoms than in boys. Girls with autism may have less repetitive behavior and be able to fit in socially better than boys with autism and may have less obvious focus on one main topic of interest. (1)

At the other end of the age spectrum females have a greater rate of Alzheimer’s Disease than males. (13)

The difference has been shown to be significant, not just a difference in diagnostic criteria. Estrogen is a female hormone that may be protecting girls from the risk of developing autism but then in menopause is no longer protecting older females from the risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease. Patients with Autism and Alzheimer’s have been shown to have a tendency to have increased amounts of protein clusters (amyloid beta) in the brain which in normal health would be cleared away. An animal based study found a genetic strain of mice with a clear gender and age difference. Young male mice developed autism like symptoms and older female mice developed Alzheimer’s like symptoms.

A different study found a gender difference in the amount of a protective protein (ADNP) in young male mice with autism like symptoms and older female mice with Alzheimer’s like symptoms. (6) Complete lack of the protective protein leads to very early death with neural tube defects in animal studies.  (7) The neuroprotective protein (ADNP) seems to promote autophagy (our body’s recycling method, it makes us more energy efficient and helps detoxify/remove old cells or material such as the beta-amyloid protein for reuse, read more:  14) and the deficit of it may also be involved in schizophrenia. (8) The protein is involved with control of the dendritic branching of brain cells which is typically found to be  different in children with autism. The protein also plays a role in regulating over 400 genes involved in embryo development including ApoE and the tau protein which is found to collect in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s Disease in addition to beta-amyloid protein. (9)

The role of apoE involves membranes, cholesterol, cannabinoid receptors and lipid rafts – chemistry geeks have fun, three dimensional drawings and a discussion of cholesterol within the brain and its role in several neurodegenerative diseases is available online in full text, the brain includes 25% of the body’s cholesterol even though the brain only accounts for 2% of the total body weight, on average. (10).  A briefer description of the role apoE plays in the brain and with estrogen and Alzheimer’s risk is available with a discussion of the gene differences that are known to increase but not guarantee risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease. (11)

Disclosure: a genetic screening suggests I do have one of the higher risk differences in the ApoE gene. (rs2254958)

Strategies to help increase autophagy may help reverse some of the risk factors associated with reduced ApoE/reduced ADNP levels –

  1. vigorous exercise,
  2. a ketosis promoting, low carbohydrate diet, regularly or occasionally,
  3. fasting for a day or a partial day occasionally. (14)

The activity of the apoE protein on other genes can be affected by cannabinoids, too little cannabinoids may be a problem or too much.

The take home point – magnesium and adequate cannabinoids seem to be involved in helping clear the protein clusters during normal health.

  • Nutritional strategies recommended to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease include increasing intake of magnesium. Research has found that low levels of magnesium promoted build up of  beta amyloid protein while high levels of magnesium promoted breakdown of the misshapen proteins.

“Lab studies show that magnesium modulates enzymes involved in amyloid beta production; at low levels, magnesium favors amyloid beta buildup, while at higher levels it favors amyloid beta breakdown.101,102″ [2]  (from a  2014 post)

Certain genetic conditions and chronic health conditions or older age can make the body less able to make cannabinoids endogenously/internally. External sources of cannabinoids have been shown to be helpful for clearing the protein clusters involved in Alzheimer’s Disease. (

An underlying infection with bacteria or yeast may be involved in the buildup of the protein clusters as they have a protective effect against some types of infection, so addressing low grade chronic infection may be needed to help stop the over production of the amyloid beta protein clusters in addition to providing adequate magnesium and cannabinoids. Note that there are non-euphoric cannabinoids and legal food sources in addition to medical marijuana. Pumpkin seeds are a good source, $200 billion per year is estimated to be spent on Alzheimer’s care annually at our current rate of the disease prevalence – that would buy a lot of pumpkin seeds. (15 )

That article also mentions that 192 pharmaceutical chemicals have been anticipated and tested in hope of a cure or effective treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease but which have ultimately not been found to be successful. One hundred and ninety two chemicals tested, one hundred and ninety two chemicals found ineffective – magnesium and cannabinoids however have been found effective at helping the body to naturally break down the tau and  beta-amyloid protein clumps that lead to brain damage and later symptoms of dementia in Alzheimer’s Disease and a few other neurological conditions including traumatic brain injuries and autism. (15 ) (links re tau/amyloid in autism & Alzheimers) (links re tau/amyloid protein in traumatic brain injury)

Ibuprofen is a pharmaceutical that is no longer covered by a patent and it has been found to be beneficial in protecting against Alzheimer’s Disease (link: 16) and the underlying reason is likely that ibuprofen prevents the break down of cannabinoids (17)(Search term: “ibuprofen prevents break down of cannabinoids”) – but you need cannabinoids first and some people might no longer be able to make them after a certain age or state of health or may never have been able to make them as well due to genetic differences.

So celebrate protecting your brain today by eating pumpkin seeds, cardamom spice, the herb rosemary, chocolate, or leafy green vegetables. – and the brightly colored tiny inner part of a piece of corn that you can see when eating corn on the cob is also a good source.

  • The misshapen tau/amyloid-beta proteins have a protective effect against bacteria and the yeast Candida albicans so a chronic lowgrade infection may be an underlying cause of the accumulation of beta amyloid placques. [3] [4] (from a  2014 post)

There are many more legal food sources of cannabinoids or a precursor available, a longer list is included below. The progression of Alzheimer’s Disease can take twenty years before symptoms are obvious, so getting an early start on protecting against the tau/beta-amyloid protein build-up makes sense to me (Disclosure, I have a direct family history of the disease in older relatives and a genetic screening suggests that I am more at risk, so I am biased towards preventing the disease in my own brain or other family members.)

Phospholipids are part of cannabinoids and other phosphorus containing nutrients are important in energy production. The phospholipids and cannabinoids are important for the health and function of skin and other membranes lining cells and organs, and/or if you care more about having a good hair day than whether you might get Alzheimer’s Disease in several decades, then the phospholipids are also important for hair growth: *The phospholipid mixture in this animal-based study was applied on the skin surface for hair loss associated with inflammatory skin dermatitis: (18)

(Additional Discloure: I am also genetically at risk for Male Pattern Baldness which became visibly apparent when my autoimmune disease was more severe, however with my switch to phospholipid rich foods my hair has since grown back and my autoimmune condition is in remission as long as I continue with my new health habits).

Other nutrients including the B vitamins, vitamin E, and zinc are also important for healthy hair growth (read more) but many of the following list would also be good sources of B vitamins, vitamin E, zinc and other trace minerals and essential omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Pumpkin seeds are a good vegetarian source of zinc, otherwise the mineral is more commonly available in meats.

  • Food Sources of Phospholipids and other phospho-nutrients: Hemp seed kernels and oil; Artemisia turanica/wormwood leaf; amaranth seed; asparagus; avocado fruit or the inner kernel, dried and powdered; beans/legumes; cardamom seeds and powder; carrots; celery stalks and leaves; cocoa beans and cocoa powder, baker’s chocolate, dark chocolate and to a lesser amount milk chocolate and chocolate syrup; coconut; cumin seed/powder; fennel seed, flax seed, pine nuts; sesame seeds, pumpkin seed kernels, squash seeds; butternut squash and pumpkin; gingko leaf; grapefruit and orange juice with the pulp; Jerusalem artichoke (this is a root vegetable rather than a green artichoke); lettuce, spinach and mustard leaves and other leafy green vegetables and herbs; nuts/peanuts, cashews, walnuts; oats; okra seeds; onion root, leek leaves, garlic;  parsnip root; pomegranate seeds and pomegranate peel extract;rice, white or brown but the bran is the best source; rosemary; sorghum;  sweet potato or yam; buckwheat (a seed botanically that is not wheat and is gluten free); wheat. (G.26)

That topic took a walk around the block and picked some daisies along the way but the important message might be that eating well and exercising regularly may promote healthy hair, a fit body right now while helping maintain healthy brain function into the future. Genetic susceptibility may be involved in the rate of young males with autism and older females with autism and prevention might include more magnesium and phospholipid rich foods in the diet with a diet that is moderate in carbohydrates and regular vigorous exercise to promote autophagy to help promote the natural recycling of tau and beta-amyloid protein that tends to accumulate in the brains of people with autism and Alzheimer’s Disease. Lack of ADNP protein may lead to lack of ApoE or a genetic difference may cause reduced ApoE and the deficiency may lead to a reduced level of autophagy.

Fasting for a day or partial day occasionally or a low carbohydrate diet, even just a diet balance as low as 30% of calories, and vigorous exercise are three natural ways that may help promote autophagy – our body’s natural method for removing and reusing old cellular material. (14) Those strategies might help a woman with Alzheimer’s risk but for an infant or toddler may need to be adapted to simply allowing vigorous, safe play, and a diet that with a greater percentage of healthy fats than average. The list of phosphonutrient rich foods are generally healthy and safe for prenatal diets or other stages of life and would likely promote a fit body and healthy hair for a person of any age and gender – and what is good for the hair is good for other membranes throughout the body and is also good for the brain. The hair is a protein that is a modified form of skin tissue and so is fingernail protein – beauty is more than skin deep.

Some daisies.

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes. Thanks.

  1. Sarah Deweerdt,  Estimate of autism’s sex ratio reaches new low, April 27, 2017, 
  2. Liam Hawkins, Nutritional Strategies and Alzheimers, March 2013,
  3. Lisa Conrick, What is Causing Beta-Amyloid Production in Alzheimer’s and Autism?, Oct. 23, 2012,,
  4. Molnar Mark, Alzheimer’s Disease Emerging Role of Infection,
  5. Why women have more Alzheimer’s disease than men: gender and mitochondrial toxicity of amyloid-beta peptide. J Alzheimers Dis. 2010;20 Suppl 2:S527-33.
  6. Activity-dependent neuroprotective protein (ADNP) exhibits striking sexual dichotomy impacting on autistic and Alzheimer’s pathologies. Transl Psychiatry. 2015 Feb 3;5:e501.
  7. Shmuel Mandel, Gideon RechaviIllana Gozes, Activity-dependent neuroprotective protein (ADNP) differentially interacts with chromatin to regulate genes essential for embryogenesis. Developmental Biology, Volume 303, Issue 2, 15 March 2007, Pages 814-824.

  8. Shlomo Sragovich, Avia Merenlender‐Wagner, Illana Gozes, ADNP Plays a Key Role in Autophagy: From Autism to Schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s Disease. BioassaysVolume39, Issue 11, November 2017, Pages 1700054

  9. Gozes Illana, (2015) Activity-dependent neuroprotective protein (ADNP): from autism to Alzheimer’s disease. SpringerPlus. 4. L37. 10.1186/2193-1801-4-S1-L37.’s_disease
  10. M Maccarrone, G Bernardi, A Finazzi Agrò, and D Centonze, Review: Cannabinoid receptor signalling in neurodegenerative diseases: a potential role for membrane fluidity disturbance. British Journal of
    Pharmacology, Themed Issue: Cannabinoids in Biology and Medicine, Part I, Nov. 16, 2010.
  11. Hilary Lampers, ND, 5 Reasons to Know Your APOE:  Understanding Your Alzheimer’s Disease Risk. June 13, 2016
  13. Maxwell A. Ruby, Daniel K. Nomura, Carolyn S. S. Hudak, Lara M. Mangravite, Sally Chiu, John E. Casida, and Ronald M. Krauss, Overactive endocannabinoid signaling impairs apolipoprotein E-mediated clearance of triglyceride-rich lipoproteins. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Sep 23; 105(38): 14561–14566.

  14. Nick English, Autophagy: The Science-Backed Way to Cleanse Your Body, July 4, 2016,,
  15. Stuart W Titus, PhD, Dr. Titus’ Insights: Alzheimer’s Research and the Work of Dr. Schubert, Aug. 5, 2016,,
  16.  Neuroscientists say daily ibuprofen can prevent Alzheimer’s disease., March 26, 2018,,

  17. K. D. Rainsford, IbuprofenDiscovery, Development and Therapeutics. 
    John Wiley & Sons, June 25, 2015, page 134,
  18. Seong-Hyun Choi, Jeong-Su Moon, Byung-Suk Jeon, Yeon-Jeong Jeon, Byung-Il Yoon, and Chang-Jin Lim, Hair Growth Promoting Potential of Phospholipids Purified from Porcine Lung Tissues. Biomol Ther (Seoul). 2015 Mar; 23(2): 174–179.
  19. ADNP related syndrome FTNW, *lack of ADNP genetically leads to reduced muscle tone and can cause eating problems in children.