Author: Dr. Millie Lytle

What does a Cortisol Level Test Show?

What does a Cortisol Level Test Show?

Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash Whether your doctor feels its best, or you feel your body is out-of-whack, speaking with your doctor about a cortisol level test is never a bad request. It can tell you a lot about what’s going on in your 

Nutrigenomics for Prostate Health by Dr. Mille Lytle, ND, MPH, CNS

Nutrigenomics for Prostate Health by Dr. Mille Lytle, ND, MPH, CNS

The field of nutrigenomics is a subfield of epigenetics. These are big words but their concepts are relatively simple. Epigenetics is the study of the behavior of genetic material (RNA and DNA) through variations in the cellular environment. Epigenetics’ fundamental principle states that the cellular 

How Antioxidants, Superfoods and their Nutrients Heal Us By Dr. Millie Lytle ND, MPH, CNS

How Antioxidants, Superfoods and their Nutrients Heal Us By Dr. Millie Lytle ND, MPH, CNS

Antioxidants are natural or synthetic substances that may delay, prevent or heal cellular damage by reducing agents that harm cells (called free radicals or reactive oxygen species (ROS)). Antioxidants are naturally found in many plant foods and are also available as complexes or individual nutrients in supplements or drug form1.

While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maintains that the only reliable antioxidant claims come from Vitamin A and BetaCarotene (as long as it has a reliable level of Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin E2) some people are shying away from antioxidants at the advice of their doctor and some research3. However, there is a lot more to antioxidants than just vitamins.

Free Radicals

All living organisms are constantly exposed to oxidant agents (free-radicals or ROS) that derive from both endogenous and exogenous sources capable to modify biomolecules and induce damages. Free radicals generated by oxidative stress play an important role in the development of tissue damage and aging. Reactive species (RS) derived from oxygen (ROS) and nitrogen (RNS) pertain to the free radicals family and are constituted by various forms of activated oxygen or nitrogen. RS are continuously produced during normal physiological events but can be removed by antioxidant defense mechanisms; the imbalance between RS and antioxidant defense mechanism have a larger amount of reactive species than antioxidants and can lead to modifications in cellular membrane or intracellular molecules and, eventually, to genetically linked disorders and even cancer4.


Superfoods are called “superfoods” for a reason. But just what those reasons are remains a mystery. Deconstructing the nutritional value of foods remains very difficult as nutritional claims, daily value and RDAs are outdated and limited in terms of representations. Just as we do not truly know what is in breast milk, we do not understand or acknowledge all the healing properties of plant based foods. We know we have to consume them, we know we have to consume more of them, we even know we should consume up to 9 servings per day if we plan on acquiring a long health span. But many of us still do not understand why.

Phytochemical Antioxidants

IMG_6214Antioxidants (derived from plants) consumed through daily diet or plant-derived dietary supplements, have been shown to prevent free radical-related diseases by counteracting cell oxidative stress6. However, it is now considered that the beneficial effects of these phytochemicals on the body are unlikely to be explained by their antioxidant capability alone. Dozens of plant-based antioxidants exhibit hormetic properties, acting as ‘low-dose stressors’ that prepare cells to resist more severe stress. An organic plant is more medicinally valuable because it has had to fend for itself through cold snaps or when a pest takes a bite of it. These low-level stressors actually stimulate the plant to produce more protection mechanisms. And when we eat them, they do the same for us. In fact, low doses of these phytochemicals activate cell signaling pathways but high doses are cytotoxic, which explains why more is not necessarily better. It is a small amount in the daily diet that is most beneficial. A research study looked into the adaptive responses induced by the most known plant hormetic antioxidants – sulforaphane from broccoli, resveratrol from red grapes, curcumin from turmeric, flavonoids from the healthiest fruits and vegetables, green tea catechins and how they are specifically helpful in preventing degenerative disease and even cancer via activation of endemic antioxidant pathways6.

Another study looked at the variety of phytochemical antioxidants supplements that have demonstrated brain and central nervous system activity of neuronal cell death based on their chemical structures: (1) flavonoid polyphenols like epigallocatechin 3-gallate (EGCG) from green tea and quercetin from apples; (2) non-flavonoid polyphenols such as curcumin from tumeric and resveratrol from grapes; (3) phenolic acids or phenolic diterpenes such as rosmarinic acid or carnosic acid, respectively, both from rosemary; and (4) organosulfur compounds including the isothiocyanate, L-sulforaphane, from broccoli and the thiosulfonate allicin, from garlic. All of these compounds are generally considered to be antioxidants but not regarded by the FDA as such exhibit potential therapeutic value in neurodegenerative diseases7. They may be classified as antioxidants for one of two reasons – they directly scavenge free radicals or they indirectly increase endogenous cellular antioxidant defenses (for example, via activation of the nuclear factor transcription pathway, Nrf2). This means that these superfoods and super-nutrients have the ability to activate our own body’s antioxidants defense mechanism, namely Glutathione, Alpha-lipoic acid, Coenzyme Q, Ferritin, Uric acid, Bilirubin, Metallothioneine, L-carnitine and Melatonin4. Alternative mechanisms of action have also been suggested for the neuroprotective effects of these compounds such as modulation of signal effects on gene expression7.

Eat These Nutrients Daily

Here is the list of phytonutrients and their corresponding superfoods that have not been given an RDA or daily value recommendation but are absolutely proven for activating our own body’s antioxidant pathways, thereby lending further health value than any single antioxidant alone. These nutrients have an anti-aging ability by being able to activate antioxidant genes that stimulate our body’s own internal antioxidant protection mechanism. These protection mechanisms allow the cell to eject toxic substances and waste products, kill bad and cancerous cells, methylate the DNA for longevity and proper division, and improve the length of the cell cycle. If you eat these nutrients daily, your body will love you, even down to the genetic level.

The future of nutritional medicine is here! Do not wait to include these nutrients into your diet on a regular basis. There exists potential in superfoods to activate The NRF2 Antioxidant Nutrigenomic Pathway:5

  • Flavinoids found in red, blue, purple berries, and red & purple grapes.
  • Flavanols found in teas (green, black and oolong white), chocolate (choose dark chocolate for lower sugar content and higher catechin content!), grapes, berries
  • Proanthocyanidins found in chocolate, apples, berries, red grapes and red wine.
  • Flavanones found in Citrus.
  • Flavonols found in yellow onions, scallions, kale, broccoli, apples, berries and teas.
  • Flavones found in parsley, thyme, celery, and hot peppers.
  • Isoflavones found in Soybeans Legumes.
  • Non-flavonoid Polyphenols
  • Resveratrol found in Grapes.
  • Phenolic acids or Phenolic diterpenes
  • Organosulfur compounds found in Cruciferous or Brassica vegetables – Sprouts of Broccoli & Cauliflower (highest content), kale, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy, collards, Chinese broccoli and Broccoli rabe, kohl rabi, mustard, turnip, radish, arugula and watercress.
  • Thiosulfonate found in Garlic – Aged garlic is fermented garlic that converts allicin to S-allylcysteine & S- allylmercaptocysteine, which are more bioavailable, water soluble and stable.
  • Cinnaminic aldehyde found in Cinnamon.

For a full list of sources and references, click here!

InVite® Health Current Sale

Chocolate Orange Beauty Shake Recipe

Chocolate Orange Beauty Shake Recipe

Try out this great recipe for healthy, youthful skin. Our Chocolate Orange Beauty Smoothie is great for tightening, brightening, and detoxifying your skin, leaving you with a beautiful healthy glow. Use the following products to make a delicious shake that’s great for your skin! CHOCOLATE 

Low Vision Awareness Month: Protect your Eyes

Low Vision Awareness Month: Protect your Eyes

By Kristen M. Leccese and Dr. Millie Lytle, ND. Good eyesight is one aspect of our health that’s pushed to the side far too often. The ability to see our friends’ faces, breathtaking landscapes, movies, works of art, colors, expressions, and everything else is a 

Seasonal Affective Disorder: Fighting Winter Depression

Seasonal Affective Disorder: Fighting Winter Depression

Photo by Jason Blackeye on Unsplash

By Kristen M. Leccese and Dr. Millie Lytle, ND

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a specific form of depression that typically begins in the fall and continues throughout the winter months, causing moodiness, appetite changes, decreased energy levels and more. Symptoms may also hit during the spring and summer, although this is much less common.

It’s hard to feel motivated and upbeat when we’re trudging through the snow and dealing with freezing temperatures, icy streets, and travel issues. Symptoms of winter depression are much more severe for some people, though. So, how do you know if you’re suffering from a normal case of the winter blues or a more severe condition of Seasonal Affective Disorder?

It’s normal to feel that familiar lack of energy when the sky is gray all of the time, but if you’re having trouble getting through the days and completing your everyday tasks, feeling extremely hopeless constantly, or turning to alcohol and drugs for comfort, it’s time to take a closer look. Here are some of the most common symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder –

  • Depression, anxiety and hopelessness
  • Loss of energy
  • Fatigue and oversleeping
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Heavy, “leaden” feeling in the arms and legs
  • Social withdrawal
  • Loss of interest in usual activities

What causes Seasonal Affective Disorder?

There’s no known cause of Seasonal Affective Disorder, but some factors that play a role in this condition are a drop in levels of certain chemicals that occur naturally in the body. Reduced exposure to the sunlight may cause a drop in your serotonin levels, which is your body’s natural “happy” chemical. The drastic change in the seasons may affect the balance of melatonin in your body as well, which regulates sleep patterns and overall mood. In addition, when fall turns to winter your circadian rhythm, or biological clock, is disrupted – this can lead to feelings of overall sadness and depression. There are other common risk factors as well, including family history and the specific weather changes where you live. Females tend to suffer more often from SAD than men, and those who suffer from diagnosed bipolar disorder or clinical depression are at a significantly increased risk for SAD.

Dr. Millie Lytle, ND. Recommenations for SAD

If you’re suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, you’re not alone. Here are some great recommendations from Dr. Millie Lytle, ND for dealing with this condition –

Known as the sunshine vitamin, Vitamin D3 is the most absorbable. Vitamin D deficiency is not only a leading cause of osteoporosis, but also a cause for depression such as Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. It has been evaluated for its effectiveness to boost mood, especially in the gray and dark winter months. Vitamin D is not available in most foods, and fortified foods contain very low levels. Vitamin D may be especially deficient in overweight and obese individuals, in older individuals, those who live in northern latitudes, as well as in dark-skinned people who require extra time in the sun, but may not get it due to climate, sunscreens or sun avoidance. Infants and toddlers are also at risk. Thankfully, Vitamin D can be restored quickly by sunlight – up to 25,000 International Units (IU) can be generated in 30 minutes in fair skinned people, while it can take up to 2 hours to reach this level for those with darker skin. Studies show after just 6 days of casual summer sunlight exposure without sunscreen can make up for 49 days without any sun.

Source: Mayo Clinic – Seasonal Affective Disorder