Category Archives: Vitamins & Supplements

Benefits of Taking Bacillus species Probiotics

digestive-holistic-acupunctureCurrent research shows that probiotics can benefit digestion in a variety of different ways.  They can improve nutrient absorption, reduce bloating, stop acid reflux and be targeted to almost any digestive ailment.  But what is really happening when you take a probiotic supplement? How do we know if a bacteria is beneficial or harmful in the body? This article will explain the different mechanisms by which probiotics can help digestive and immune health.

Humans have developed a symbiotic relationships bacteria over the past 2 million years. This mutually beneficial relationship happens with bacterial species and, of course, many bacterial species are not beneficial for humans and can cause disease.  The most important beneficial bacteria are:

  • Bacillus species
  • Lactobacillus species
  • Bifidobacterium species

Most of us have heard about Lactobacillus, specifically Lactobacillus acidophilus, which is found in many supplements and also in cultured dairy products. However, this article will focus mostly on Bacillus probiotics which are are perhaps the most uniquely beneficial class of bacteria that inhabit the human GI tract. They have developed a special ability to survive through our harsh gastric system and to thrive both inside and outside the human body.  This species is generally taken in a spore form, which means it becomes activated only after it is placed in the human digestive tract.  Because they are in spore form, Bacillus probiotics are very resilient and do not need to be refrigerated.

In the Digestive System, Bacillus species support the following functions:

1.) Modulate and Train Our Immune System:
Bacillus species stimulate an important structure called the gut associated lymphoid tissue.  By doing so, these bacteria improve T-cell and B-cell (immune) function as well as tune the function of the adaptive immune system. They also reduce inflammation and help the body move through the immune cascade. In addition, by tuning the immune response, Bacillus species improve pattern recognition and can help suppressing unwanted responses (like allergies).

2.) Assist in Digestion:
Probiotics help digest food by producing a whole range of digestive Enzymes including: protease, peptidase, lipase, cellulase, amylase, lipase, lactase and pectinase. In addition, they directly digest incoming starches and non-starch polysaccharides.  By aiding with the breakdown of these fibers and polysaccharides probiotics reduce the production of gas and bloating.

SIBO-Small-Intestine-Bacterial-Overgrowth3.) Help Control other Microbes and Yeast:
Bacillus can target and kill other harmful bacteria in the human gut.  Perhaps surprisingly, these “good bacteria” can produce antibiotics that help kill off the “bad bacteria”.  This is especially important where conditions of bacterial overgrowth (like SIBO) are thought to cause up to 80% of IBS cases.  It should be noted that probiotics are also one of the best ways to reduce a fungal/candida overgrowth.

4.) Produce Nutrients in the Gut:
Lastly, probiotics produce the whole array of nutrients that are essential for human life.  This includes B-vitamins, quinols, vitamin K2, and short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). SCFAs are critical to the health of the large intestine and the gut as whole. They also control inflammation, regulate colon function, improve metabolism, and contribute to detox activities. Low levels of SCFA production can leads to leaky gut and chronic pathogenic bacterial overgrowth.

No other strain of probiotics is known to provide such a wide array of beneficial functions for human health as Bacillus does. This bacterial-human symbiotic relationship results from millions of years of co-evolution between Bacillus and humans. Modern super-clean human living spaces and super-clean food minimizes the natural exposure to Bacillus bacteria as nature intended.  Because of this, many people can benefit from a supplement that contains a range of Bacillus species probiotics.

 

Finding High Quality Vitamins & Supplements

Selecting a good quality supplements can be confusing. With so many brands and so many choices… where to start? This post will cover the basics to look for in a good quality supplement and also a short list of good brands on the market today.
Note that this post will not cover when/if supplements should be used or at what dosage.

General Guidlines for Supplements:

  • Buy supplements in capsule form, not in compressed pills or tablets. This will eliminate the use of high pressure binders and waxes in tablets.
  • Avoid Magnesium Sterate and Titanium dioxide in supplements. These additives are used as flowing agents so it is easier for the manufacturer to create the final product. Neither of these chemicals will likely cause any major harm in small doses, but effects may add up over time as these additives could possibly irritate the sensitive gut lining. In addition, magnesium stearate may bind to and prevent the absorption of nutrients in the digestive tract. Magnesium stearate is not a supplemental source of magnesium but rather a form of stearic acid. It’s essentially chalk, and research has shown that it suppresses your natural killer cells, which are a key component of your immune system.
  • In general, supplements found in major chain drug stores (like CVS, Walgreens, etc) should be avoided. The brands carried in these stores have consistently been shown by independent tests to have lesser quality (see below for unbiased review sites).
  • Look for low quality ingredients on labels including: sugar (in its many forms), artificial coloring, artificial flavoring, preservatives, and additives such as shellac, chlorine and other questionable chemicals.
  • Read labels. Different nutrients have different forms used in supplements. For some nutients, like Vitamin C, the exact form may not be quite as important. In contrast, supplements like Vitamin E and beta-carotene, should only be taken in their natural forms.
  • The FDA does not regulate supplements. Therefore, look for supplements that are approved by a 3rd party with considerations for quality, purity and absorbtion. Certifications to look for include: CL (Consumer Labs) and USP (The United States Pharmacopeia) or for athletes, NSF and Informed-Choice marks.
  • When relevent, ingredients should be sourced from organic sources whenever possible.
  • For certian products like fish oils, supplements should be tested for toxic substances and any contaminants such as lead or mercury.
  • Be especially careful to look for hypoallergenic products if you have sensitivity problems or allergies.
  • Look for an expiration date on the bottle. No expiration date on the label generally indicates a questionable product.
  • The producer’s contact information should be easy to find on the packaging. If there is limited information about the producer on the bottle then this indicates a questionable product. Don’t hesitate to call the manufacturer to ask questions. The experience of calling the company’s help line will likely give valuable insight into the quality of the company and therefore the quality of the final product.

Notes on Taking Supplements:

  • Take most vitamins and supplements with food.
  • Take fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) with a food source containing fat.
  • Take enzyme supplements between meals or just before meals (depending on the type of enzyme).
  • Calcium can inhibit the absorption of Iron, so take these supplements at different times (Note that Iron should only be taken after a lab test confirms Iron deficiency).
  • Take probiotics between meals on an empty stomach.  This can be first thing in the morning or last thing at night.
  • Take amino acids on an empty stomach.
  • Some herbs need to be taken at rather large doses to get an effective dose. Depending on the herbal product and condition, some herbal supplements will need to be taken at 2-4 times the dosage listed on the bottle. (consult your healthcare practitioner for specific instructions).

Unbiased Research on Supplement Quality:


The information above should serve as an unbiased template to evaluate supplements and manufacturers. The information below is strictly the opinion of the author based on years of experience and experimentation.

Highest Quality Supplement Brands:

  • Thorne Research
  • Pure Encapsulations

Mid-Level Supplement Brands:

  • Now Foods
  • Solaray
  • Jarrow
  • Designs for Health
  • Biotics Research
  • Gaia Herbs
  • MegaFood
  • Ortho Molecular
  • Integrative Therapeutics
  • Source Naturals
  • Life Extension Foundation
  • Metagenics

* Most supplements carried in the major drug-store chains would be grouped under the heading “low quality supplement”. I will not attempt to list any specific brands here, but purchasing supplements in reputable health food stores is a good starting point to exclude low quality supplements.

* The lists above should serve as a starting point in finding high quality supplements. This list is not meant to be an exhaustive list of all supplement companies, and there are certainly many good quality supplement brands that have not been included for the sake for brevity and/or lack of personal experience with certain brands.

* Also note that some of these supplement brands have excellent products in certain areas, but not in others. Jarrow, for instance, has some excellent herbal products, but generally produces ineffective probiotics (just an opinion, of course).

Healthy Hair with Foods and Supplements – Women’s Hair Loss

women's hair lossPerhaps there’s good reason women care so much about their hair. Quite simply, good looking hair is a reflection of good internal health. A full head of healthy hair indicates that the endocrine organs (especially thyroid) and digestive tract (especially small intestine) are healthy too. Hair is formed as a direct result of good nutrient absorption. The list of nutrients needed for healthy hair is long, but the essential ingredients include:

  • B Vitamins (especially folate and B12)
  • Minerals (including zinc, copper, calcium and magnesium)
  • Essential fatty acids (especially DHA and EPA)
  • Iron and Protein (with the correct balance of all 8 essential amino acids).

Although nutrients are important, hair loss is not always the result of nutritional deficiencies. There are quite a few health conditions that can cause hair loss, even when there are sufficient nutrients available. Some of these medical conditions include:

  • Hyperthyroidism (excess thyroid hormone)
  • Hypothyroidism (low thyroid hormone)
  • Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (autoimmune thyroid condition)
  • Hormonal Imbalances including: high or low estrogen, low progesterone, low hormone levels due to menopause, high testosterone, and PCOS.
  • Stressors such as sudden weight loss, post-pregnancy, surgery, moving, etc.
  • Food intolerances or allergies.
  • Medications: anti-depressants, beta-blockers, or NSAID pain relievers.
  • Scalp conditions including: alopecia areata, scalp dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, ringworm, lichen planus and others.
  • Chemical treatments, chemotherapy
  • External irritants including shampoos, conditioners and other common hair products.

The list of possible reasons for hair loss is quite long and most people do not know which of these conditions apply to them. Working with a holistic health care practitioner is the most effective approach to identify and reverse the root cause of hair loss. Finding the root cause of hair loss will involve taking a look at various aspects of your life including diet, stress levels, exercise, lab results, and health history. After a proper assessment has been completed, the necessary changes can be made to efficiently and quickly restore a healthy head of hair.

In the meanwhile, it is always helpful to maximize the nutrients your body has available to grow new healthy hair. Below is a list of healthy food choices that will help to do just that:

1.) Vitamin C: Collagen is the substance that wraps around hair strands. As we age collagen gradually degenerates, causing hair to break and thin. Surprisingly, vitamin C is the best way to boost collagen, there is not need for pricey medical procedures. High vitamin C foods include: citrus fruits, strawberries and red peppers. Taking a supplement with 250-1000 mg daily can help increase collagen production and even reduce skin wrinkles.

2.) Biotin: Biotin, is possibly the most important B vitamin for healthy hair. As a water soluble vitamin of the B complex, biotin encourages hair growth and a healthy scalp. Food sources of biotin include nuts, brown rice and oats.

3.) Essential Fatty Acids: EFA’s are those fats that are essential to the proper functioning of your body. The human body is not able to create these fatty acids on its own, so it is important to eat foods containing them. Get Essential fatty acids from cold-water fish, chia seeds, grass-fed beef, walnuts, flaxseeds and avocado.

4.) MSM: MSM (or Methylsulfonylmethane) has been shown to aid in the production of keratin, which is the main protein found in hair. In addition, MSM can even strengthen hair follicles. In a recent study, 100% of test subjects who added a supplement with MSM showed less hair loss and increased hair growth in less than two months. Foods with MSM include: Leafy vegetables, such as Swiss chard, cabbage and watercress, asparagus and beets.

5.) Iron: Essential for hair growth, iron is found in: grass-fed beef, green vegetables, blackstrap molasses, cashews, figs, and berries. Taking vitamin C at the same time will help your body absorb more iron from food sources.

6.) Minerals Silica and Zinc: Most people know about the mineral zinc, but the lesser-know silica is also critical for hair health. Foods containing silica include: cucumber, green leafy vegetables, beans, celery, asparagus, mango, and horsetail herb. Some foods high in zinc: grass-fed beef, fresh oysters, eggs, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, brazil nuts, pecans.

 

Healthy Drinking – How to Avoid a Hangover

Some studies show that moderate alcohol consumption is beneficial for long-term health.  In fact, moderate drinking, defined as one to three drinks per day, is associated with the lowest mortality rates in alcohol studies.  This gives us all another reason to have an occasional drink (or two) and enjoy a rich social life.  With that in mind, below are some simple ways to minimize any potential negative effects of alcohol consumption:

> Step 1: Choose a clean alcohol source with the least toxins.  Selecting an alcoholic drink wisely should mean a good time tonight and less of a hangover tomorrow.  The list below ranks alcoholic beverages in order from best (cleanest) to worst (most toxins):
=> potato vodka (least toxic), grain vodka, gin, tequila, whiskey, other distilled spirits, champagne, dry white wine, white wines, red wines, dessert wines, beer (most toxic).

> Step 2: Block the conversion of alcohol into aldehyde.  Aldehyde is the most potent hangover-causing metabolite that may also increase the signs of aging (especially in the skin).  To block this toxin take: a.) Vitamin C (250 mg), along with b.) N-Acetyl Cysteine (500 mg) before each drink.

> Step 3: If you want even more protection, add c.) Vitamin B1 (100 mg) and d.) R-Lipoic Acid (100 mg) before each drink.  Or, you can take this nutrient combo before your first and after your last drink.  For a final layer of protection you can supplement with e.) Liposomal Glutathione (2 mL).  This supplement is expensive, but very useful as one of the most powerful whole-body detoxifiers available (Bulletproof Glutathione is recommended).

> Step 4: Absorb any toxins with a binding agent.  To bind toxins in the digestive tract take 2-4 capsules of f.) Activated Charcoal after you’re done drinking.  If you chose beer or wine, you may want to take 1 capsule with each drink.  Activated charcoal works like a sponge to bind toxins, including aldehyde, in the intestines so they don’t absorb into the blood stream.

So enjoy the summer, drink in moderation, and have good tomorrow.  Cheers!

Stress-Calming Foods – Naturally

Yes, food effects the way you feel!  This is especially true when it comes to managing stress and mood.  Refined sugars and carbohydrates will give a short-term high and then bring the inevitable long-term low in a matter of hours. This blood sugar roller coaster can influence so many aspects of performance including concentration, mood, energy and sleep.

When it comes to stress and mood, sugar metabolism is not the only factor at-play.  Nutrients, including vitamins and minerals, are essential for adapting to stress.  These nutrients are best absorbed through food sources – taken in the way that we were meant to absorb them.  Here are some great stress-lowering food choices:

Spinach contains plenty of Magnesium which helps to relax nerves and muscles.  Magnesium, along with hydration, also helps prevent muscle tension, muscle cramping and fatigue. Spinach is a magnesium powerhouse, and also a good source of Vitamins A, C, Iron and Folate (B9). Buy organic spinach because the conventionally grown version is relatively high in pesticides.
* Other foods high in Magnesium: halibut, basil, pumpkin seeds and peppermint.

Basil contains anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that are beneficial for a variety of inflammatory conditions – from tendonitis to IBS. Boost the taste of your food by adding fresh basil leaves and you get a dose of iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium and vitamin C.  Add basil near the end of the cooking to preserve most of its natural flavor.
* Other herbs that reduce stress: Lemon balm and chamomile.

Dark chocolate contains Tryptophan – an essential amino acid which is used by the body to create serotonin, a neuro-chemical that relaxes the brain and make you feel at-ease.  In addition, dark chocolate, contains heart-boosting antioxidants.  Choose a chocolate that is high in cocoa solid but low in sugar to get the maximum health benefit.
* Other foods high in Tryptophan: almonds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, nuts, oats and red meat.

Brazil nuts are high in Selenium.  A deficiency in selenium has been linked to higher rates of anxiety, depression and generalized fatigue. Selenium is only needed in small quantities.  Just a handful of mixed nuts, or 2 Brazil nuts each day will be enough to keep you feeling good.
* Other foods high in selenium: shitake mushrooms, tuna, cod, salmon.

Broccoli has a good dose of potassium.  Lower potassium levels in the blood can cause muscle fatigue and generalized fatigue can make you feel irritable and anxious. Broccoli is also high in beta-carotene, vitamin C and E which all work together to strengthen immune system.
* Other sources of potassium include: avocado, beet greens, banana, kale, cabbage, winter squash, and tomatoes.

Green Tea is a great source of L-theanine.  L-theanine is a naturally occuring amino acid mainly found in tea leaves.  Recent research has shown that this substance reduces stress, promotes relaxation and enhances mood by stimulating alpha brain waves (a calmer and more relaxed state).  In addition, green tea has been shown to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, reduces blood pressure and promotes weight loss.
* Black tea and oolong tea also contain L-theanine and some of the anti-oxidizing properties found in green tea.

Kiwi and other fruits contain Vitamin C.  The human brain needs adequate amounts of vitamin C to convert tryptophan into serotonin. In fact, the brain has a specialized Vitamin C pump that pulls this vitamin out of the blood and pushes it into the brain.
* Other vitamin C-rich fruits include: strawberries, papaya, orange, grapefruit and guava.

Lastly, be sure to stay clear from moldy grains and legumes which contain some highly toxic, cancer-causing fungi.  Mold and fungus from grains and other improperly stored foods can quickly make you feel bad, causing symptoms like headaches, fatigue, poor concentration, etc.

Magnesium is Amazing!

Amazing: Magnesium (Mg) plays a key role in over 300 biochemical reactions that take place throughout your body.  Its benefits are best known in promoting good bone health (when combined with Calcium & Vitamin D).  In addition to healthy bones, Magnesium:
  • Maintains normal muscle and nerve function
  • Keeps the heart beat regular & supports cardiovascular function
  • Promotes a healthy immune system
  • Maintains blood sugar and blood pressure within normal range
  • Promotes energy metabolism
In practical terms, there are 3 conditions that I most often recommend Magnesium for:
1.) For Muscle Cramps or Spasms:  Take Mg in electrolyte powder form for maximum absorption into muscle tissue.  Electrolyte packets (such as “Electrolyte Stamina”) usually contain Magnesium Oxide or other easily absorbable forms.
2.) For Anxiety and Insomnia:  Use magnesium glycinate or magnesium maleate, twice a day for best effects.
3.) For Constipation:  Use magnesium citrate or magnesium oxide to bring more fluids in the digestive tract and gently support regularity.  Start with a low dose and gradually increase (two times per day).

Treating Joint Pain with Anti-inflammatory Foods

Many factors can lead to chronic joint pain. More often than not, the root cause is systemic inflammation, not old age. The pain that you experience is your body’s way of telling you that it’s irritated and needs some help. So instead of brushing it off or tuning it out with a pill or two, take the time to listen. One way to address the condition is to group foods as “Inflammatory Hot foods” vs “Anti-inflammatory Cooling foods”.  A summary of these food categories is given below:

Inflammatory Hot Foods – Avoid These:

  • Fried foods
  • Red meat from corn-fed animals raised with antibiotics and/or hormones
  • Partially hydrogenated (trans) fats (found in margarine, chips, processed baked goods)
  • Saturated fats (e.g., animal fats such as butter and lard)
  • Corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil or soy-based oils
  • Soft drinks, including both diet and regular soda and fruit juices
  • All forms of sugar, including natural and refined
  • White flour and other processed grains
  • Most fast-food and prepackaged meals

Anti-Inflammatory Cooling Foods – Eat More of These:

  • Dark green vegetables (including spinach, kale, and seaweed)
  • Antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, as well as vitamin C and E supplements
  • Raw nuts and seeds (including almonds, pecans, and walnuts)
  • Omega-3-rich fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and anchovies (or supplements containing EPA/DHA)
  • Cold-pressed oils such as virgin olive, macadamia nut, grapeseed, and avocado
  • Soups made with free-range poultry or meat bones
  • Limited amounts of gluten-free whole grains, especially amaranth, millet, and quinoa

Get Electrolytes!

Electrolytes are essential muscles and neurons.  As most of you know, the over-sweetened sports drinks are not the answer to real hydration.  Below are 4 ways to replenish your electrolytes naturally and give your body some serious nutrition at the same time:

  1. Juice Celery + Apple + Lemon – This juice combination works wonders for replacement of electrolytes. The celery has a natural source of sodium, potassium, magnesium, chloride, and phosphorus. Apple provides additional potassium and natural sweetness. Lemon is the highest electrolyte containing citrus fruit.
  2. Stir Sea Salt + Baking Soda + Lemon Juice + Maple Syrup into 8 ounces of Water – This is a great natural remedy for serious endurance athletes – You might think drinking baking soda is a little weird, but it’s been used for centuries to treat various aliments. In this case, it’s added to the mix because it makes the body less acidic and provides an additional source of sodium bicarbonate.
  3. Shake Raw Coconut Water & Chia Seeds – Raw coconut water has a ton of electrolytes and potassium that will not only help you stay hydrated but also keep your body from getting any cramps. It is completely natural and very low in sugar. Combine this with a packet of chia seeds and you have a 1-2 punch! Chia seeds are an incredible energy food – full of omega 3 fatty acids, protein, fiber. These seeds have the ability to keep you from getting dehydrated because of they can hold 9 times their weight in water!
  4. Blend Frozen Banana + Almond Milk + Kale – This smoothie is extremely hydrating. The banana provides a good source of potassium and magnesium which help regulate your fluid stores. Almonds are extremely rich in magnesium and potassium. When you make your almond milk, make sure you add sea salt (store bought almond milk already has salt added to it). Kale is a superfood and another excellent source of magnesium and calcium.

Best Form of Calcium Supplement

With so many options, what is the best form of Calcium?  To start, it is important to know that calcium is best absorbed in an acidic medium, hence best utilized, generally, when taken with food.  In addition, calcium can compete for absorption with other minerals such as iron, zinc and copper which are normally taken in smaller amounts.  Calcium should be taken at a separate time of day from a multi with minerals, or the large amount of calcium will potentially interfere with utilization of the iron, zinc and copper.  Some calcium supplements may include zinc, but these wouldn’t be my first choice for calcium.  The small amounts of calcium included in multis isn’t enough to worry about since usually it’s only about 100 to 200 mgs.  Fiber supplements should be taken at a different time of day then minerals, since the fiber may bind minerals in insoluble complexes and interfere with absorption and utilization.
 
Below is a listing of all the forms and what their strengths and weaknesses:

Calcium Citrate has the advantage of being mildly acidic in nature (derived from Citric Acid); this acidity enhances absorption, even when taken without food. 

Hydroxyapatite includes both calcium and phosphorus in a two to one ratio; calcium and phosphorus compete for absorption, so, if dietary intake is skewed from the one to one ratio of the two required (1000 mgs of each per day), the phosphorus may hinder calcium absorption.  Those with very high protein intake, as well as those with liberal intake of carbonated beverages like soda may have high enough phosphorus already that additional phosphorus with the calcium is not desirable.

Aquamin is well-utilized and is appropriate for individuals who want a plant-based calcium.  It tends to be quite a bit more expensive than other calcium forms.

Coral calcium is fine for absorption, but it is sometimes overpriced for benefits given.  Trace minerals in a mined form of coral calcium would probably not be as high as in a marine-grade coral because of leaching of minerals from environmental exposure.

Calcium carbonate has the advantage of high milligrams per pill since it’s 40% calcium by weight (higher percent than other forms).  It’s not as well absorbed, especially if an individual has low stomach acidity anyway or is taking an acid blocker.  Calcium carbonate is alkaline (basic) in nature – think similar to antacids.

Natural Sugar Blockers

Did you know you can slow the absorption of sugar just by using the natural power of food? Believe it or not, this doesn’t involve any extreme or gimmicky diets, just some basic tips of what to eat and when to eat it. Here are 7 sugar-blocking tips:

  1. Eat a fatty snack up to 30 minutes before a meal. A teaspoon of nuts or seeds will trigger the pyloric valve between your stomach and small intestine. This valve regulates the flow of food to help slow down digestion. This helps you reduce sugar spikes and keeps you feeling fuller longer.
  2. Begin a meal with a salad. The soluble fiber in plants, beans, carrots and even some fruit helps absorb starch and sugar. As soluble fiber passes through your intestines, it expands and traps sugar.  This fiber eventually dissolves, but this slower rate of absorption helps reduce the amount of insulin your body needs to handle it.
  3. Use vinegar on that salad. The high acetic acid content of vinegar helps deactivate amylase, the enzyme that turns starch into sugar, which helps slow down the digestive process. Vinegar also increases the body’s sensitivity to insulin, so your pancreas won’t need to produce as much.
  4. Don’t overcook vegetables. Lightly cooked vegetables take longer to digest, so you’ll feel fuller longer.  Roasted vegetables are a tasty alternative to starchy sides.
  5. Add some protein to your meal, so you won’t need as much insulin to process starches. In fact, a serving of protein eaten with starch “can reduce the subsequent blood sugar surge by 44%.” Eat an egg with your oats in the morning or have a turkey meatball with your favorite gluten-free pasta!
  6. Although not for everyone, a glass of vino with a meal actually temporarily stops your liver’s production of glucose.  This means the blood sugar load of a typical serving of starch can be reduced by up to 25% when accompanied by a glass of wine! Something to keep in mind when ordering a starch-heavy meal at your favorite ristorante.
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