Q: What are the two most important things that a doctor needs to address concerning his or her patients’ nutritional protocol?
A. What type of food is right for my patient? (Synonymous with putting the right fuel into your car.)
B. Are the organs and glands digesting, assimilating, metabolizing and detoxifying my food properly? (Synonymous with your car needing a tune up.)
Q: Why is a blood chemistry analysis an excellent diagnostic tool to assess a patient’s nutritional protocol?
Cima: A blood chemistry analysis is key and addresses the questions above. Every doctor uses a blood test to assess chemical functions in the body; however, one must carefully analyze the results to look for signs of weakness. These signs can be counter-balanced by a nutritional plan using a diet specific for you and supplementation to help rebuild and repair the glands and organs that are not functioning optimally. A blood chemistry analysis is a testing procedure that is valid scientifically, biochemically, and physiologically. Follow-up testing objectively evaluates correction of a condition in conjunction with symptomatology. The real beauty of this methodology is that it detects these conditions—not at the life-threatening stage—but at the beginning stages of malfunction.
Q: Does cookbook nutrition (i.e., take this supplement for this symptom or condition) work?
Cima: Not really because you are using supplements the way an MD uses medication and you just chase symptoms.
Supplements play a vital role in overall health. Supplements must be used to support the body from a biochemical perspective, giving the raw materials that the body needs to rebuild or repair the weak organ or gland. And the best way to select the correct supplement is through a blood chemistry analysis. A follow-up blood test can determine if you need additional support.
Q: What do you think are a few of the “most commonly needed” nutritional supplements?
Cima: A general program for support should include:
• Natural multivitamin and mineral formulation
• Sea salt, because of its micromineral content
• Multiglandular product for organ and glandular support
• Additional vitamins A, C, E and B-complex
• Additional calcium, magnesium and phosphorus
• Omega oils
• Protein powder (Most people are protein deficient)
Rotate supplements taking some every other day. Never “megadose”. Support your diet through supplementation, not in lieu of it.
Q: Can a patient’s diet affect his/her pain level or joint problems?
Cima: Yes, diet can have a dramatic effect on pain and joint inflammation. There are certain processed foods, as well as alcohol and drugs, which can literally create a pro-inflammatory process in your joints, increasing your pain levels. A perfect example of this is gouty arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis that can flare up based on alcohol and/or improper nutrition.
Q: Why is body composition more important than weight loss?
Cima: Body composition is more important than weight loss because it’s not how much you weigh but, rather, how much of that weight is fat. Body composition tells you the percentage of your weight that is fat and the percentage that is not, which is called lean body mass. Having a body fat of 30% or higher will increase your risk for diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
Q: Is it true that you can normalize blood sugar levels by knowing how to use glycemic index and glycemic load?
Cima: Glycemic index is a measurement of how fast carbohydrates enter your blood stream as compared to glucose. You would want foods that have a moderate to low glycemic index so glucose enters the blood stream in a time-released fashion, preventing spikes in your blood sugar and insulin levels, which can lead to diabetes or hypoglycemia.
Glycemic load is a measurement of how many carbohydrates in grams or calories are in that food. For example, 2 oz.’s of pasta has 50 grams or 200 calories of carbohydrate compared to 2 oz.’s of vegetables which contains 12 grams or 50 calories of carbohydrate, with the pasta having a much higher glycemic load (4x’s that of the vegetable). So you can have a moderate to low glycemic index with whole-wheat pasta, but the load is much higher, so you need to keep a balance between glycemic load and index.
Q: How can diabetes and hypoglycemia be improved through diet?
Cima: By using a combination of foods that have a low to mid glycemic index and load. Also, by supporting the pancreas or other organs which affect blood sugar, like the liver or the adrenals, with particular vitamins, minerals and tissue concentrates.
Q: Why are cholesterol levels being lowered again and how low is too low?
Cima: Most people do not realize or remember that normal cholesterol levels back in the early 1980’s were between 200-325 mg/dl’s. Through the years, I’ve watched the high range go from 300 to 150 and below. Today, some doctors say that your cholesterol levels should be less than 150 mg/dl’s to reduce the risk of heart disease.
How can you reduce your appetite and prevent binging?
• Eating 4-5 small meals a day keeps your blood sugar at a more even keel preventing drops in blood sugar leading to binging.
• Fatty protein meals will keep you satisfied longer. So, if you will be having an early lunch/dinner, use protein to sustain you longer while reducing your appetite.
• Exercising instead of eating is tough, but after you exercised you will find that your appetite is suppressed.
• Stay away from processed foods which act like addicting drugs
• Eat whole and natural foods
• Drink plenty of water.
This theory doesn’t work for many reasons: Heart disease is still the “number 1 killer”. More than 1 million Americans die each year from this disease and it is still on the rise. Even though cholesterol levels have been reduced through diet, exercise and a new line of designer drugs known as statins, such as Lipitor, cardiovascular disease, angioplasties and obesity are still hitting all time highs.
If the levels continue to decrease, too little cholesterol can create as much devastation to the body as high cholesterol can. Cholesterol is necessary to produce sex hormones that prevent erectile dysfunction and hormone replacement therapy. Cholesterol is necessary to produce certain enzymes for digestion of fats. It is necessary to produce antibodies to protect us against immune diseases. And, cholesterol is necessary to protect our skin and body membranes against oxidation.
I would recommend that you keep a running check on your or your patients’ cholesterol levels over the years. This creates a reference point or a pattern that will let you know that your cholesterol levels may be on the rise.
Meanwhile, do not become alarmed about a cholesterol level of 220. To get the complete picture, you have to look at all the factors, like body composition, body weight, age, diet, activity level, etc.
Q: Can you detoxify your body through nutrition?
Cima: Absolutely, by staying away from junk food, drinking plenty of water and eating healthy foods which help clean your body, such as fruits, vegetables/oils and grains.
Q: Why is childhood obesity on the rise?
Cima: I would say that one of the main reasons childhood obesity is on the rise is because more and more time is now being spent indoors playing video games, surfing the internet or watching television. Children are not getting the necessary amount of physical exercise they need to combat obesity. Some schools are even making physical education elective. Additionally, some children are not being taught proper nutrition at home or they are consuming an alarming amount of processed foods. It’s extremely important for parents to teach their children proper nutrition because, as a result, they will be more likely to make healthy choices on their own.
Q: How many meals should you eat a day?
Cima: 3-5 meals/snacks should be eaten daily. The purpose of more meals is to keep the meals easier to digest while keeping blood sugar levels at an even keel. This will, then, reduce binging.
Q: Does the food pyramid need to be changed?
Cima: With 2/3 of Americans being overweight, it’s obvious that something needs to change. The 12-year-old food pyramid is made for the masses, and it’s vital to find a nutritional plan that caters to the individual body. It isn’t as much about how many servings of protein, fruits and vegetables one should be eating so much as it’s about individual needs and requirements. Again, the blood chemistry can help determine what fuels and nutrients the body needs to work at optimum levels. We should be educating people that healthy eating cannot be categorized into a dietary plan.
Q: Is it true that diet can cause many mental and emotional conditions, such as depression, fear, grief, uncertainty and anxiety?
Cima: Diets high in processed carbohydrates can cause blood sugar irregularity resulting in many emotional conditions as mentioned above.
Q: Can antioxidants have a lessening effect on heart attacks and strokes?
Cima: Yes, because antioxidants reduce oxidation and, since the heart and brain require large amounts of oxygen, they can be (if electrons are not transferred properly) damaged through oxidization which literally destroys coronary muscle, arteries and veins.
Dr. James P. Cima teaches seminars and has created a software package for the doctors to help them assess their patients’ nutritional needs. For more information, call toll free 1-877-627-2770 or fax 561-624-3871, or e-mail Dr. Cima at