Nutrition Tips

The Connection between Diabetes and Alzheimer's


Alzheimer’s disease has recently been in the news because of the lack of progress on new treatments. Many of the big pharmaceutical companies are abandoning their current research on finding new treatments for this incurable problem. The research has been trying to find a way to decrease the plaque that can build up in the brain. There’s a strong correlation to this amyloid plaque and worsening symptoms.

They have spent billions of dollars and hopeful studies to reduce plaque and improve outcomes. We still have no new medications and no really good treatments for this debilitating disease that reaches into most of our families.

There are a few medications on the market that can help slightly. They have been out for years and offer a little improvement with memory and other problems associated with dementia.

It seems like every day science is advancing and I am confident that one day we will have better options than we have now. For years now, we have known of the connection to diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. Some doctors have referred to it as Type III dementia.

There is more and more research showing this connection to diabetes and insulin resistance. Recently, there have been studies suggesting that common medications we use to treat insulin-resistant diabetes may in fact help with dementia.

So I am hopeful that eventually our smart scientists and doctors will come up with better solutions. But for now, what should you do if you are concerned about Alzheimer’s?

I believe the current evidence strongly supports healthy eating and exercise! I have seen numerous patients who change their diets and start an easy exercise program and have slowed down the damage of this disease. Our bodies are fearfully and wonderfully made and will respond when we treat them well.

If you’re having bad results with your health, and you don’t eat well or exercise, why not try for a few days to eat clean and exercise a little? What do you have to lose but a couple of pounds?

Try my 10-Day Diet Challenge and see if you feel better in just 10 days. Most people report positive results. The average male will drop 6–8 pounds and the average lady will lose 4–6 pounds.

If you have diabetes or have a family history of diabetes, download my free manual and how to beat diabetes. I believe this information can also help slow down the development of Alzheimer’s in patients who are at risk.


I am amazed at how most people’s bodies will respond to healthy nutrition, exercise, and sleep. Most of people will spend more on taking care of their cars than they will spend on taking care of their bodies!

Take care of yourself. Splurge a little and pay for a gym membership or see your doctor for a check-up. Spend a little more money on buying good food. Invest some time in exercise. Read a good book. Your body will thank you for the investment!

Wishing You an Amazing Life,

Dr. Curtis Brown

Curtis Brown Bio Pic.jpg

Dr. Curtis Brown is a family care physician in Yukon, Oklahoma, specializing in nutrition and weight loss management. He is the author of The Caleb Journey.

Two Weeks on the Keto Diet: The Good and the Bad


The ketogenic diet seems to be the latest thing in weight loss circles. There are many articles about the diet and many celebrities are promoting it as well. So I decided to try the ketogenic diet for a couple of weeks and wanted to write about my experience.

The ketogenic diet—or keto for short—is basically a low-carb, high-protein, and high-fat diet. To get into ketosis, you need to consume fewer than 50 grams of carbohydrates daily. The idea is to consume the majority of your calories from healthy fats (yes, there are such things) and protein. I recently penned a blog about the keto diet that goes into much more detail. Read “A Primer for the Ketogenic Diet.”

I have messed around with the keto diet for a few days at a time in the past but never really tried to sustain it for any length of time. Recently, I did the keto diet for two weeks and kept my carbohydrate intake down to under 50 grams a day and on several days fewer than 20 grams.

I found myself in ketosis (which is good) fairly quickly. The cool thing about ketosis is it tends to block your appetite. I didn’t get as hungry as I normally do. Overall, I dropped 2 lbs. a week for a 4-pound weight loss. Not to bad for two weeks. I also got to move my belt up another notch!

I did have a tough time with my workouts. I had trouble with energy. Our bodies will prefer to burn carbs as a primary source of energy, but when you are not consuming any carbs, our bodies turn to fats to burn energy. I was able to complete all of my workouts, but my intensity was down slightly. I think with time I could probably figure out a better way to fuel for workouts but did struggle for these two weeks.

I also had some trouble finding healthy fats to eat that were convenient. I do like avocadoes but after a while, I grew a little weary of eating them. Fortunately for me, my wife is an amazing cook and prepared some great ketogenic meals for me. I also consumed a lot of nuts. They are easy and convenient but do pack lots of calories. One of the good things about the keto diet is that it’s carnivore-friendly. You do want to watch your protein intake and not go overboard with it. (For me details about how much to eat, please read the previous blog mentioned above). I did probably eat too much beef jerky!

The interesting thing for me was my blood test results. I had previously tested my blood several months ago and then tested on the final day of my two weeks. My main personal go was to make sure I could get and keep my blood sugar down. My fasting blood sugar was well below 100 and my A1c was 5.4. (The A1c is an average of your blood sugar for 3 months.) The crazy thing for me was my total cholesterol. It went from being well below 200 to over 300! One positive thing about my lipid panel was my HDL (the good cholesterol). It went up really high as well. My ratio of good cholesterol to bad was okay.

My overall takeaway from my two-week experience was generally positive. I found the diet fairly easy to tolerate without getting too “hangry.” If I were to do it again and for a longer time, I would have to come up with some different snacks and meals. There are plenty of resources available for free on the Internet that gives you great recipes and other ideas for foods. I was disappointed in my total cholesterol number but hope to get it back to normal before long.

I hope this has been helpful for you and I would encourage you to try the ketogenic diet if you have any interest in it. It is especially good for getting your blood sugar down.

I am still a fan of my 10-Day Diet Challenge. It has worked the best for me over the years of just about anything I have done. Let me know about your experiences with your weight loss journey. I would love to hear from you about the keto diet or if you have done the 10-Day Diet Challenge.

Wishing You an Amazing Life,

Dr. Curtis Brown

Supplements: The Basics and the Best Ones


Do you take supplements? Have you considered taking them, but you have too many unanswered questions?

Many doctors have varying opinions ranging from, “Must take always,” to “Never take any.” I believe somewhere in the middle is the correct path.

If you research the subject, you will find countless articles and opinions on the value of supplements. Almost anything anyone takes can have a placebo effect of up to 30 percent. I always make the argument that if you are taking a supplement and you feel better, it doesn’t matter if it’s a placebo effect or if it’s biologically effective. Better is good! (I guess the one caveat is that the supplement is doing no harm.)

One of the more critical things is to trust the source. So many of the supplements manufactured are unregulated. You may or may not be getting what you think you are. You will always want to verify the source as being reputable. For me, I always recommend Thorne Research products. They go above and beyond standard requirements for production and safety. I know there are other good manufacturers of supplements, but I have been working with them for several years and have had no issues or concerns.

Thorne only distributes their products through healthcare providers. They believe patients are at least receiving some guidance through their providers. I am an affiliate of Thorne. This means I get a rebate when someone purchases their products with my healthcare provider account. If you want to use their products, you will need to provide my HCP #: 1050950.

I suggest you visit their website even if you do not use their products. They have a tremendous library for education on most all things related to supplements.

The following are products I frequently recommend or take myself. I also provide a brief explanation of the reason to consider taking them. Please consult with your healthcare provider before starting anything. Also, be aware some of these might interfere with prescription medications. The following is simply a list and should not be viewed as a recommendation to any one individual. You can get on their site and learn more about each product than what is presented here.

·      Al’s Formula — a vitamin especially designed for men over 40.

·      Basic Nutrient III — a vitamin for men and post-menopausal women.

·      Basic Nutrient IV — a vitamin designed for women who are still having periods.

·      Children’s Basic Nutrient — simply an all-around MVI for kids.

·      Super EPA Pro — their best fish oil product.

·      Vit D-5000 —5,000 units of vitamin D3.

·      Whey Protein Isolate — a good protein supplement for smoothies. It has chocolate and vanilla flavors. (I prefer the chocolate in my smoothies, but the vanilla tastes okay as well.)

·      Fiber Mend — fiber supplement that can help keep your bowels regular.

·      Flora Mend — a probiotic. I almost always recommend patients take a probiotic if they are taking antibiotics for infections.

·      LipoCardia — expensive, but can help lower your total cholesterol and also supports muscle energy.

·      MethylGuard —a vitamin-B complex. (I take this one daily for energy.)

·      Meriva 500 — contains curcumin and is used for multiple reasons. I mainly think of it as an anti-inflammatory agent.

Thorne has hundreds of other products available and you can view them their website. They provide patient education in well-written monologues. Take a look at their products and research and compare with other brands.

Wishing You an Amazing Life,

Dr. Curtis Brown

A Primer for the Ketogenic Diet


First Things First: What’s the Best Diet?

There are all sorts of diet plans easily available. Simply search the internet, and you will find hundreds of different types of diets—all claiming to be the best. It can be confusing to say the least. So which one is the best? Why are there so many different plans? How can so many experts disagree on the best plan?

One of the reasons there are so many different diet plans is because there are so many different people with different preferences, genetics, experiences, and tastes. Many plans are really healthy and good for you. Some are kind of crazy and should generally be avoided. But still, which one is the best one?

I am honestly not sure if there is a “best” one. The one that is best for you may not work for me.  So the best one for you is the one that works. It’s the one you can actually live on and is healthy for you.

This blog is about the ketogenic diet. It may not work for you. I know it can work for most people, but it may not fit your lifestyle or preferences.

Bye, Bye, Carbs!

The bottom line to weight loss is to use up more calories in your body than you put in. It’s as simple as that and as hard as that. Most of us cannot exercise enough to overcome bad eating habits (and we all have them). So any diet that accomplishes the net negative calorie intake should do the trick. However, not all calories are created equal. While it is true a hundred calories is a hundred calories no matter the source, our bodies are far more complicated than the simple math would imply.

It’s not hard to understand that a hundred calories from an apple is probably better for your body than a hundred calories from a candy bar. The food we eat contains far more than just calories. It actually communicates with our bodies in some wonderful ways.

One of the reasons I like the ketogenic diet is that it generally doesn’t make me as tired as some other diets I’ve tried. The idea behind the ketogenic diet is to limit your total carbohydrates to fewer than 50 grams a day and preferably around 20 grams of carbohydrates. Many of the foods I enjoy probably have 20 grams of carbs in each bite!

When we limit our carbs, our bodies have to turn to fat for energy. Generally, our bodies use glucose or sugar as its primary energy source. It’s easier to get the energy out of sugar as compared to protein or fats. When we don’t consume carbohydrates, our bodies will start to burn fat (a very good thing) for its energy needs.

When we start to burn fat instead of sugar, one of the byproducts of the fat metabolism is ketone formation. When we have ketosis, it tends to curb our appetites and we feel full longer.

Another positive benefit of the ketogenic diet is our insulin levels remain lower. Insulin is a pro-growth hormone. It makes us sluggish and tells our livers to store more fat. Insulin can also stimulate our appetites. High insulin levels lead to insulin resistant diabetes.

When we eat carbohydrates, our blood sugar immediately goes up. When blood sugar goes up, so do our insulin levels. High insulin levels are not good! When insulin levels increase, so do our appetites. That’s one of the reasons it’s hard to eat only one cookie or just one chip.

Eat the Fat

One of the problems with diets that are high in protein and low in carbs and fats is fatigue. It is amplified if you are exercising. The ketogenic diet allows for healthy fats. The fats give us energy and will help with exercise. It does take some adjusting. I find it hard to work out really hard when I am strictly on a ketogenic diet. It takes some time for my body to get used to it, but I can still get a pretty good workout in.

There are several lists of healthy fats on the web. In general, avocados, olive oil, nuts, and butter are good sources of healthy fats. Fish and other meats will also have healthy fats. Several sauces are considered acceptable on a ketogenic diet. I found this website to be very helpful with an overview of foods to eat and not eat: (I am not affiliated with them in anyway but do appreciate their work. They have some plans you can purchase that are more detailed. I have yet to get one but have thought about it.)

Break It Down

Ideally, on a ketogenic diet, you will get about 70–75% of your calories from fats and about 20–25% from protein. Try to limit the carbohydrates to about 5% of your total calorie intake.

Your calorie input will vary on your needs or desire. A general rule is to take whatever weight you want to weigh and add a zero to it. So if you want to weigh 150 pounds, simply add a zero and that equates to 1,500 calories. If you exercise, you can calculate how many calories you burned and add them back to your total for the day. If you burned about 300 calories working out, and your target weight is 150 pounds, then you should be able to eat about 1,800 calories that day.

One of the really tough things on a ketogenic diet is to control what you snack on. If you slip up and get too many carbohydrates, it will defeat the purpose of getting into ketosis. Healthy snacks you might consider would be walnuts, pecans, and pistachios. One of the sneaky secrets to watch out for is that each kernel of nut will have about 10 calories. The count can add up quickly.

Check Yourself

Don’t be surprised if you have increased urination during the first few days. Stored fat being burned for fuel will release a lot of water during metabolism. You will also want to be sure to drink plenty of water.

One of the benefits of a ketogenic diet is decrease in hunger. That is a major clue you are in ketosis. Ketosis will help suppress your appetite. Some people will purchase “keto” sticks for urine testing. It will allow you to know if you have ketones in your urine. Ideally, you will. If not, go back and look and see if you can find where the carbs sneaked in.

I hope this has been helpful information. Life is too short not to enjoy some birthday cake or some special food for a celebration, but I do believe most of us can improve our health with improving our diets. This is just another tool for you to use. Keep trying and eventually you will find a plan or combination of plans that fit you and your lifestyle.

Wishing You an Amazing Life,

Dr. Curtis Brown



What Is the Best Diet Ever? 


I am frequently asked this question: “What is the best diet?” After all, there are some many diet plans available and all of them claim to be the best or have some scientific explanation as to why they are better than the other diets. Stop and think how many different diet plans you have heard of, or better yet, you have tried. I bet you can think of at least a half dozen or so.

Honestly, I do not even like the word diet. It’s a four-letter word! The word itself has painful or limiting connotations associated with it. I prefer to think of it more of a lifestyle of eating, something that I stick with long-term. Not a short-term fix.

So which diet or lifestyle is best? My answer is . . . wait for it, wait for it . . . it depends!

What do I mean by it depends?

The reason most people want to talk about a diet is they want a plan to lose weight. At the very core of weight loss is a simple formula:

Weight loss = Calories in – Calories out.

If you want to lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you consume. If you are not able to lose weight, you are consuming more calories than you are burning up.

Weight loss is obviously more difficult than this simple formula, but the formula is never the less true. (Our bodies are extremely complicated, and there are many hormones that influence our appetites and metabolism.) I have patients tell me all the time that they “feel” like they do not overeat. Something else must be wrong, like their thyroid or their metabolism. Yet, the underlying truth is they eat more than they burn off. It is a hard but simple truth.

If you are struggling with losing weight, you either must eat less (maybe different) or burn up more calories. I believe weight loss is about 80% what we eat and about 20% what we do. It is easier to lose weight by controlling the input than by increasing the output.

Now, the secret answer to which diet is the best is simply the diet that works for you! We all have different histories, different preferences, different sleep cycles, different exercise preferences, and different metabolic rates. So in the end, the best “diet” for you is the one that works.

So when you are reading an article that claims the latest diet to be the “best diet ever,” it is probably true for the person penning the article. But it may not be the best diet for you.

I personally try to limit high glycemic carbs from my lifestyle. (I prefer not to call it a diet!) I will try to live my Ten-Day Diet Challenge throughout the week and splurge some on the weekends. About every 6–8 weeks, I will do the Ten-Day Diet Challenge for 7–10 days. This seems to work for me.

I know a lot of people love the Paleo Diet. They tend to love meat. It works for them. Others go vegan and seem to do well. You have to find what works for you. I would encourage you to think of it more of a lifestyle than a temporary diet.

So the best diet for you is the one that works and one you can live with long-term. No matter what “plan” you go with, you will need to burn up more calories than you consume if your desire is to lose weight.

Wishing You an Amazing Life,

Dr. Curtis Brown

So What Are Mitochondria and Why Should I Care?


Mitochondria are very important to our health and cellular energy. They are the engines that provide energy for our cells. In general, the more of these you have, the more energy you have.

Mitochondria health has been confusing at best, but we are learning much more about it. If you read about mitochondria on the Internet, you can find a lot of interesting information about their origin. One of the more interesting things is that all of our mitochondria come from our mothers. Fathers pass on nada! Mitochondria DNA is also very similar to bacterial DNA. Many evolutionists point to this as being evidence of evolutionary development. I personally do not ascribe to that theory but find it interesting nonetheless.

Endurance athletes can improve their performance by improving their energy production in the mitochondria. Training improves not only the mitochondria’s individual abilities to make more energy but also encourages the muscle cells to make more mitochondria. More mitochondria per muscle cells equates to more energy production.

Our brain cells have more mitochondria per cell than any other cells. The brain requires lots of energy for it to perform at peak levels. Better and healthier mitochondria should improve cognitive function and may help prevent Alzheimer’s. There is lots of current research around supporting the brain cells’ mitochondria.

It seems to make sense that if you can keep your mitochondria healthy and active, that it will translate into health and improved energy. Once again, sugar and refined carbohydrates seem to hurt our mitochondria. There are various theories about this, but most of it seems to come back to an increase in inflammation. More inflammation is BAD, less inflammation is GOOD!

Thorne Research has several products that promote mitochondria health. I am currently trying one called Neurochondria. It is early, but I think I can tell a slight difference in my energy, especially for workouts. (It is perhaps the worst-smelling supplement I have ever taken!)

It has most all of the basic nutrients that are recommended for optimum mitochondria support. This includes Acytel-L-Carnitine, folate, B12, glutathione, Coenzyme Q10, R-Lipoc acid, to name a few.

I am only taking about a third of the recommended dosage. It is fairly expensive. If you want to learn more, go to their website and search for it. They have tremendous amounts of research and information available for free. I am affiliated with them and if you purchase from them, I receive a dividend. You will need to use my HCP number (HCP 1050950) to be able to order any of their products. (They only allow products to be sold through healthcare providers.) You can also use their site for research and see what product your local health store might have that is very similar.

Mitochondria are extremely important to our well-being, and we go as our mitochondria go! Eating a clean, healthy diet, getting plenty of sleep, and getting regular amounts of exercise can make a big difference in your mitochondria’s health and your overall energy.

Wishing You an Amazing Life,

Dr. Curtis Brown



The Midsummer Five-Day Diet Challenge

It’s midsummer and the Fourth of July is behind us! If you’re like me, you’ve let your diet slip a little. It’s so easy to cheat, especially around the Fourth. I’ve found challenges like this one (even if it’s relatively short) help me reset my mindset and appetite and improve my success with eating clean.

My goal with this five-day challenge is to lose about 2.5 pounds. Perhaps more importantly, I want to improve my healthy eating moving forward for the rest of the summer. I firmly believe we become what we eat and if we are not eating a healthy diet, we will not like the ultimate results.

This is a simple challenge I am starting on July 17 and ending the evening of July 21. It’s a Monday through Friday challenge. For five days, I am going to avoid any bread, potatoes, pasta, rice, sugar, and milk. Wednesday, I am going to do at least a 12-hour fast from any calories. (I will drink water and maybe tea or coffee.) I might do a 24-hour fast, but this will be a game day decision.

I am going to try to eat around 1,750 calories a day except on Wednesday when I will be fasting. If you do this challenge with me, I would suggest you pick your ideal body weight (whatever it is you want to weigh) and then add a zero to it. This number will be the number of calories to eat daily. I want to weigh around 175 pounds so I’m going to limit my total calories for the day to 1,750.

It is my hope many of you will join me on this short challenge and post comments and/or questions of my Facebook! It is always more fun and seems easier when doing these challenges with friends and family. I do have some good recipes for smoothies and meals on the blog.

Let me know if you are in!

Wishing You an Amazing Life,

Dr. Curtis Brown

What Are the Benefits of Fasting?

Fasting is almost a four-letter word! F-A-S-T(ing)! It is an ancient ritual that is not practiced much in our culture. In ancient times, it was mainly a spiritual practice to draw one closer to their Creator and to practice self-denial. (Obesity was not much of a problem in the ancient world.)

Today, I want to review some physical benefits our bodies have to fasting. One of the major ones is to reduce our insulin levels. Insulin is a pro-growth hormone that slows our basic metabolic rate down and promotes fat storage in our liver and abdomen. Lower levels of insulin facilitate fat burning. (Who doesn’t want that?)

Chronic high levels of insulin can cause many problems we face in our society today. Insulin-resistant diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and is the result of long-standing elevated insulin levels.

Fasting also promotes elevated levels of human growth hormone, which improves fat burning and increases muscle mass. Fasting improves cellular repair through reducing oxidative stress. This can have several positive effects on our bodies to include better overall immune function.

Fasting also positively affects gene expression. This is an area of great possibilities, and we are really just now unraveling some of the secrets of our DNA.

Fasting, if practiced regularly, has been shown to increase basic metabolic rate from 3 to 14%. It has also been shown to decrease abdominal fat by 4 to 7%. The abdominal fat is particularly inflammatory.

As mentioned earlier, fasting decreases insulin. It has been shown to decrease it as much as 20 to 30%. This will improve insulin resistance and can lower the overall blood sugar by 3 to 6%. Fasting has been shown to improve blood pressure, lipids, and inflammatory markers as well.

So, as you can see, there are many benefits to fasting. There are also many ways to fast. I am not an advocate of fasting from everything. I think we can do harm to our bodies if we fast from liquids and get dehydrated. I am an advocate of fasting for 12 to 24 hours from anything with calories.

I must confess: it has been a while since I have fasted. But I am going to remedy that problem. I am going to start a new ten-day weight loss challenge this coming July. Part of the challenge will include a fast for 24 hours!

One of my main goals is to lead us into the practice of fasting. I also want to bring back fasting in my own life and use it to draw me closer to God. I believe fasting will improve our physical health and can also improve our spiritual health. I will be posting more details about the next ten-day challenge. It will be some time after the Fourth.

Until then,

Wishing You an Amazing Life,

Dr. Curtis Brown

Supplements: To B or Not to B

Today, I am blogging about B vitamins. I recently said fish oil was my favorite supplement. Well, a close second is my B-complex vitamin.

Many people believe B-12 helps with energy. I have patients come in to my clinic asking for a B-12 shot frequently. It gives them a little boost. I do not think it lasts very long and again there is probably a placebo effect. We have had a retired NFL player report he and many of his teammates would take a B-12 shot right before the game. He said they would look for any kind of edge they could find and believed B-12 gave them a boost.

Most people can supplement with oral B-12 and be just fine. There are a few people who are missing an intrinsic factor in their stomachs and will benefit from the shots.

I think the B-complex supplement I take helps me some with energy but also with mood. I know it may sound a little crazy, but I think I am generally a little happier when I am taking it.

B-12 has shown to improve homocysteine levels in our blood. Low homocysteine levels have been associated with cardiovascular risks. I do not routinely check homocysteine levels, but many holistic doctors do.

Supplementing with B-12 has some other reported benefits. One of the more interesting ones is how it helps to maintain healthy DNA. There is a common process in our bodies called methylation. It is responsible for many different functions. One of them involves keeping our DNA healthy. If you are low on B-12, it can affect your ability to properly methylate.

I get all of my supplements from Thorne Research. They are one of the top supplement manufactures in the world. They have recently partnered with the Mayo Clinic. They only provide their supplements through medical providers. If you want to use their products, use my code, HCP1050950. I am an affiliate, and this means I get a commission if you buy from them. Some patients just use them for education only. They have a fairly extensive library of articles on different supplements and uses.

I hope you have found this information helpful.

Wishing You an Amazing Life,

Dr. Curtis Brown

Dr. Curtis Brown's Favorite Supplement

I have recently been blogging about supplements. If you have read my blogs, you know I have put a disclaimer out. These are my opinions only. I am sure others will have different opinions than mine.

I do not think there is a single supplement that is right for everyone. So, be sure to communicate with your healthcare provider before starting any supplements.

My general advice on all supplements is to give them a try and see how your body responds. If you feel better, I count it successful. Is it real or is it placebo? Better is better, and I leave it at that. If it doesn’t help, probably okay to stop it.

My favorite (or at least the one I take the most) is fish oil. Fish oil has many reported benefits and there are several small studies that back them up. To be honest, there are also studies that do not support the daily use for fish oil.

I take fish oil to improve my lipid panel and to help with arthritis or joint inflammation. My joints simply feel better when I am taking my fish oil routinely. I am like everyone else and will forget to pick some up and stop taking it for a little while. Before long, I will start to stiffen up, and then I will remember to get back on my fish oil.

It usually takes about 2–3 weeks for my joints to respond. I think it helps me. I understand it may just simply be the placebo effect, but I feel better.

Fish oil has been shown to help with triglyceride levels and many other things. I have written more about fish oils and their benefits in my e-book, The Caleb Journey.

Up next: B vitamins.

Wishing You an Amazing Life,

Dr. Curtis Brown