Smart people eat chocolate...

Throughout history many cultures globally have recognized the medicinal effects of chocolate. The Mesoamericans used chocolate to treat an assortment of ailments as far back as 600 B.C., a precious and scarce commodity, only reserved for priests, government officials and royalty. Throughout history we've witnessed the waxing and waning popularity of chocolate.  Fast forward several thousand years, our scientific interests are peaked yet again.  Heated debates have occurred over this delectable treat and it's health benefits. Delicious treat? Of course! Notable health benefits? Questionable until now.

Recently, scientists have a new found interest in chocolate and its components as a nutraceutical. Two components in particular that are gaining popularity for their positive health effects are polyphenols and flavonoids both components of dark chocolate.

Robust systematic reviews have unearthed eight studies showing components of chocolate  having improved effects upon mood. Of these, three of which show clear evidence of cognitive enhancement with the use of cocoa flavonoids and two studies showing acute cognitive improvement with the use of cocoa polyphenols.Polyphenols are known to increase cerebral blood flow and provide anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effect.

Polyphenols are found in coffee, tea, berries, nuts and other foods. Flavanoids improve circulation, specifically microcirculation in the cerebral vasculature. They also provide neuroprotective properties and are found in most fruit and veggie source. Makes sense right?!

Long-term consumption of cocoa shows cognitive performance in the area of processing, attention and working memory! Choosing those sweet treats with the highest levels of cacao are best and of course GMO free and organic.  So enjoy those brain sharpening, mood boosting treats daily...I know that I will! Doctor's orders!





Tick Tips

Hello Bock family, Somer DelSignore here!

I posted this last year and find it so important to take preventative steps to avoid tick encounters!

It is April, temperatures are still Winter-like here in the Northeastern Region. We are seeing tick exposures already! As the weather warms we see a rise of tick activity and with it tick bites!

Each year the CDC reports upwards of 300,000+ people exposed to Lyme disease and other tick borne infections. No need to hide inside this season. We've provided some recommendations to keep those ticks and other critters at bay this Summer.

1. Cover up Vulnerable Areas- Long pants tucked into socks, a fashionable look for some, can prevent ticks from latching on. Also wearing quick dry clothing may deter ticks from further seeking a comfy spot to attach. They need moisture to survive.

2. Repel, Repel, Repel! - use permethrin on clothing, socks and shoes avoiding direct skin contact if in high grasses, brush or heavily wooded areas for extensive periods of time. Evidence suggests using DEET is ineffective. Also use a natural insect repellent for your skin and hair. I personally use Bug Away by Three Sisters Herbals on my entire family to include the dog.  There are many safe herbal options in your local health food stores and apothecaries.

3. Be Mindful at Home- The majority of lyme exposures are reported around the home. Understand that outdoor adventures also pose a threat but are not the most common. Always consider an exposure risk while out and about on your lawn.

4. Tick Checks!- Always.....let me repeat..ALWAYS perform daily tick checks of yourself, your family and pets. Make this a habit anytime you are out enjoying nature. Ticks can transmit parasites, multiple Borrelia strains, viruses and other pathogens within 24 hrs. Less time for tick-borne viruses, Powassan Virus can be transmitted within 15 minutes of attachment to its host..Yikes! These additional pathogens  prove to be just as devastating as Lyme Disease.

5. Lower those Carbs! Ticks seek out carbon dioxide when searching for prey. The more carbohydrates we eat, the more carbon dioxide we breath off therefore attracting the attention of ticks. This goes for mosquitoes too!

6. Soak up the Sun- a tick's anatomy prevents long term survival in low humidity. This is why we find them often in shady, brush covered areas. Stay in the sun!

7. Evaluate your Lawn- deer and small rodents, particularly mice avoid certain plants and herbs. Try planting things like Mint, thyme, lavender, black-eyed susan, lemon balm, Mexican marigold and chrysanthemum around the perimeter of your lawn to keep deer and most small rodents out preventing ticks from hitching a ride. Coincidentally, mosquitoes, deer flies and black flies will stay away from most of these plants as well. Ticks will not cross a woodchip barrier. Creating these around the edge of your lawn  will keep them away. Clean up brush and keep grass on the shorter side.  You may also make or purchase tick tubes to place around your lawn's parameter.  These changes to your lawn can create an unsuitable environment for ticks to thrive ultimately providing you and your family some protection without the use of toxic chemical sprays.

If you do by chance find a tick attached remove it immediately and seek out the advice of your lyme-literate provider!

Enjoy your Summer season and remain vigilant!



Olive leaf extract and its extraordinary properties!

Olive Leaf Extract is highly regarded throughout history for its rejuvenating and healing properties. Ancient Egyptians used it regularly for its many medicinal properties. Biblical references note olive leaf perhaps to be the" tree of life". Fast-forward to the late 1800’s and beyond, shows its use against malaria and febrile illnesses along with an article in Pharmaceutical Journal suggesting a recipe for olive leaf tinctures and directions for use against fevers. Decades later, Scientists across Britain, Denmark, Italy and the United States were able to isolate the active ingredient, oleuropein from the olive leaf. Oleuropein was trialed and found to be effective against hypertension, reducing blood sugar, improving clotting and vascular issues and more recently as a potent antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal herbal. American researchers in the 1960s reported oleuropein to impact every virus tested against it.  It seems as though oleuropein dissolves the outer lining of microbes killing them. Also of note is its effectiveness against some cancers. Animal model studies show oleuropein’s ability to inhibit growth factors and disrupt signaling pathways for cancer cells. Further research needs to occur with human model studies to make any further claims.

As a lyme specialist, I love this stuff! I use oleuropein often to support the immune system, treat viral illnesses and those suffering from candida overgrowth and SIBO (another topic for another day).  The spirochete known to cause lyme disease produces a toxic outer surface protein Osp A. This protein suppresses the immune system by dampening its ability to proliferate lymphocytes.  It also suppresses B cells and antibody producing plasma cells. This can explain the lack of antibodies produced in presence of an active lyme infection.  Those of you with lyme disease and “negative” lyme laboratory results, hopefully this sheds some light.

The take away here is a suppressed immune system can give rise to re-activation of dormant viruses and other opportunist infections, making treatment even more challenging! 

 Chiao JW, Villalon P, Schwartz I, Wormser GP. FEMS. Immunol Med.Microbiol; 2000 July; 28(3): 193-6.    Elsner RA, Hastey CJ, Olsen KJ, Baumgarth N. PLoS Pathog; 2015 Jul; 11(7):e1004976.

As a general immune support supplement, it’s worth its weight in gold! Perhaps something to consider during those winter virus months. Contact our office for further details!

Stay healthy Bock patient family!

Somer DelSignore, PCCNP, BC-PNP

Lyme Specialist


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Ketogenic diets show promise with Neurological diseases..

We have known for decades the positive effects of ketogenic diets upon epilepsy and other seizure disorders. Slowly we are beginning to correlate inflammatory conditions and immune dysfunction with ASD and other neurological disease risks in children.

So how does this work?

Ketogenic diets in essence restrict glycolysis and increases fatty acid oxidation forcing the neurological cells to rely upon the resulting ketone bodies for energy vs. glucose.

These ketone bodies seem to enhance cellular metabolism and improve mitochondrial function. This alternative energy pathway contributes to a cascade effect of much needed processes lacking in those with neuroinflammatory and mitochondrial diseases such as autism spectrum disorder, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, epilepsy and ALS.

It is thought that Ketone bodies via increased cellular signaling assist with restoration of neurotransmitter and ion channel functions. Ketone bodies also change metabolism and neuronal excitability thought to increase ATP. Increasing ATP ultimately raises adenosine levels in the brain and restores DNA methylation. Ketone bodies also influence regulatory effects upon glutamate by blunting it's release.

Research shows that adenosine plays a major role in cognition often a symptom of neurological conditions and glutamate in high doses can contribute to agitation, social anxieties, insomnia, severe mood swings, mania and addictive behaviors.

The ketone bodies generated from the diet seem to alter the brains processing of glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter. Through a complex process it seems as if ketones trigger more production of GABA which assists with a glutamate purge.  The benefit is less provocation by an excitatory neurotransmitter.

Adenosine can translate ketone provoked metabolic changes into enhanced energy metabolism of the brain.

Anecdotally as a practice, we find positive changes with cognition and sociability with our autism spectrum disorder population and less inflammatory symptoms in our chronic tick-borne illnesses and autoimmune disease patients.

If you would like to learn more about what the ketogenic diet can do for you, visit Dr. Kenneth Bock or his colleague Somer DelSignore to discuss further!



What's in an orange peel?

A supplement used for many years by French women to repair varicose veins seems to have many health benefits. Hesperidin and diosmin a synergistic combination of flavonoids found in orange peel shows promise with improved microcirculation, lymphatic drainage , antioxidant and tissue healing properties.

Several studies show numerous beneficial effects upon the gastrointestinal , vascular and neurological system by increasing blood flow to the areas and blocking prostaglandins. This supplement seems to have positive effects upon microcirculation in the body. Also, Superoxide dismutase, a powerful antioxidant, was elevated with the use of diosmin and hesperidin providing free radical protection.

Other studies show promise with neurodegenerative diseases. It seems that hesperidin ameliorates MPTH (1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6 tetrahydropyridine) induced motor dysfunction and also significantly protects microglia activation reductase release of inflammatory cytokines. It is thought that neuroinflammation contributes to neurodegenerative diseases and the use of this flavonoid combination seems to have a  positive impact.

Another beneficial use currently under investigation is diosmin and hesperidin's effects upon depression and anxiety. Some studies show increased signaling of serotonin with it's use but needs further investigation.

We'll continue to trend this supplement and it's potential uses within our patient population. Food for thought!