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Blog author, Solai Buchanan is an experienced Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator with an MS from Columbia Teachers College. She specializes in treating heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, polycystic ovarian syndrome,and other chronic diseases. She is a provider at a full-service cardiology practice accepting most insurance and staffed with a primary care MD, pediatrician, and cardiologist. Call: 718.894.7907. NYCC is lead by Interventional Cardiologist Sanjeev Palta, MD, FSCAI, FACC. He trained at Cornell-Columbia Presbyterian Hospital and the State University Hospital of Brooklyn. He currently is an Attending Cardiologist at New York Methodist Hospital and Maimonides Medical Center. He is also an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center. Having performed over 2000 invasive cardiac procedures Dr. Palta’s patients know they are in trusted hands.

Thursday, July 21, 2016


The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) conducts detailed surveys and physical examinations on a nationally representative sample of approximately 5,000 individuals each year.  It is one the primary ways in which the Center for Disease Control and Prevention tracks the health and nutritional status of Americans.  A recent analysis of adults in NHANES from 2009-12 uncovered an intriguing association between poor hydration status and excess weight.   

For the study, researchers assessed adults ages 18-64, noting height, weight, and urine osmolality.  Results indicated nearly one-third of participants were inadequately hydrated and those who were inadequately hydrated were 1.6 times more likely to be obese, even after they controlled for factors known to effect hydration status.  So, these result clearly indicate a link between obesity and insufficient hydration but it is unclear if there is a causal relationship.  Certainly, people with obesity need more water than people who have smaller bodies, making the hydration threshold potentially harder to reach.  It is also possible that people at higher weights are less likely to practice behaviors that support hydration such as eating fresh fruits and vegetables (which significantly contribute to our fluid intake - a medium  cucumber, for example, contains over 1 cup of water).  Alternatively, poor fluid status may be a contributing factor to obesity.  For example, if an individual tends to eat when they are actually thirsty, they would be more likely to gain weight.  Certainly, there is evidence that overweight/obese persons who drink water before meals lose more weight those who do not.  

What to do:  Whether or not inadequate hydration is a driver of excess weight, maintaining proper hydration is essential to our health.  Even modest dehydration has been found to contribute to problems such as kidney stones, constipation, urinary infections, and headaches.  Mild dehydration has also been shown to decrease mood and depress psychomotor and attention/memory skills.  So, how can you tell if you’re drinking enough fluids? The Institute of Medicine recommends men get 125 ounces (~15 1/2 cups) of fluid from all food and beverages consumed daily while women need 91 ounces (~11.5 cups).  But fluid needs vary considerably depending on individual characteristics as well as weather conditions and activity level.  The most reliable way to tell if you are adequately hydrated is to check the color of your urine. If it is light, almost the color of water, then you likely getting enough.  Avoid high calorie drink choices like soda, juice, and other sweetened drinks.  If you are not a fan of plain old water try seltzer, herbal tea, or flavoring water with lemon, lime, orange, mint, or cucumber.

Chang T, Ravi N, Plegue MA, Sonneville KA, & Davis MM.  Inadequate dydration, BMI, and obesity among US adults: NHANES 2009-2012. The Annals of Family Medicine, 2016; 14 (4): 320. DOI:10.1370/afm.1951

Information adapted from articles available at:

Thursday, July 14, 2016


Diets low in sodium and rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium are associated with healthier blood pressure levels.  These minerals play a pivotal role in the body's regulation of fluid and the function of the arterial muscles.  Still, experimental trials with supplementation have yielded mixed results, but a recent meta-analysis strengthens the case for magnesium's blood pressure benefits. Researchers pooled data from 34 magnesium supplementation clinical trials with a total of 2,028 participants, to find a small but significant association between magnesium intake and reduced blood pressure, particularly in those individuals whose diet is inadequate in magnesium.

Combining the findings of the different trials revealed that taking about 368 mg of magnesium daily for about three months resulted in overall reductions in systolic blood pressure (the top number in a reading) of 2 millimeters of mercury (mm/Hg) and diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) of 1.78 mm/Hg.  The effect of supplementation was more pronounced in individuals with inadequate dietary magnesium sources. 

What to do:  These findings underscore the importance of consuming a healthy diet rich magnesium.   The U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowance for magnesium is 310-320 milligrams per day for women and 400-420 mg per day for men.   While a balanced diet rich in plant foods is plentiful in magnesium, it is estimated that 60-80% of Americans do not get adequate dietary magnesium.  Excellent sources include whole grains, beans, nuts and dark green leafy vegetables.  If you feel your diet might be lacking discuss supplementation with your provider.  Do not supplement with high doses of magnesium as it can cause GI symptoms, and impede absorption of other minerals or medications.   Magnesium aspartate, citrate, lactate, and chloride forms of the supplement are better absorbed than magnesium oxide or sulfate. 


Zhang X, Li Y, Gobbo LCD, et al.  Effects of magnesium supplementation on blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trials.  Hypertension2016. Published online ahead of print July 11 2016, DOI :10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.116.07664

Information adapted from articles available at: