Monday, August 29, 2011

Help for a man who lost weight but did not get lower blood pressure....

Today's Post: Monday, 8-29-2011

The company that makes the relaxation device, Resperate, that has helped some people lower high blood pressure sponsors an email called, Ask Dr Rowena, (see .)

Their email last week sent on Thursday, 8-25, 2011 had this question.:

"I am 6'7" and when I weighed 285 my BP was 165/90. On the advice of my Dr. I have lost 30 lbs. My BP is now 170/110.

I am on Diovan 160 once per day. Bumping to a 320 per day has not changed my BP. Adding Lisinopril 10MG has not changed my BP.

Is it common to lose 30lbs and have your BP increase? Not making much sense to me or my doctor.

My diet is good - low sodium, few carbs (and those are whole wheat carbs). I exercise 3x per week doing cardio and lift weights 3x per week. Where else should I be looking to lower my BP? Thanks”

1. Dr Rowena gave a great answer:

Here's my summary of it.

a) Try losing a second 30 pounds.

b) There are treatable medical conditions that produce the effect he has experienced. They can prevent high blood pressure from going down. So she said for him to be sure to have his doctors check him very thoroughly for those!

The three she listed were: "kidney disease, thyroid disease and sleep apnea." She noted that there are others to check for too.

This a superb point. If he has one of these, treating it well will not only remove a barrier to lower blood pressure, it may be life-saving on its own merits. And the point of lowering blood pressure is to prevent harm to the person doing it.

c) She also said he was doing the right thing by his fat loss efforts, eating right, and exercising. Absolutely correct!

2. This post is to add several other things he can look at or do in his situation. Or people like him can add. They too can help fix his problem. And doing them will help lower his blood pressure and protect his health.

a) First of all her idea of losing a second 30 pounds is a good one. At 6'7" and 255 pounds, his BMI is 28.7. A more desirable 25.0 BMI would about 222 pounds. So it might well pay him to lose 30 to 32 more pounds.

b) He is eating a high protein, low carb diet. But there are some upgrades he does NOT say he is using that will give him better health protection. They will also help him lower his blood pressure.

*And one such upgrade will be a huge help in both lowering his blood pressure AND losing some of the second 30 pounds.

He does not say he is using a variation of the DASH II diet in a low carb form.

That diet is very strong on gradually adding more and more nonstarchy vegetables until you eat much more than most people do now. Foods such as tomatoes, raw broccoli florets, kale, romaine lettuce, cooked green beans, asparagus, mild green chilies, Brussels sprouts, all are high in fiber and potassium and nutrients. And, some of those also protect against cancers.

They are also amazingly high in nutrition and very, very low in calories.

Adding those very low glycemic vegetables to what he eats will definitely cause him to lose a good bit of his remaining fat and weight.

In fact, people who go on the DASH II diet often lose 10 to 25 pounds with no extra effort or hunger from just doing this one thing.

**Eating far less whole wheat and eating such vegetables instead will actually lower the effect of the carbs he still eats. Even though whole wheat at least has fiber and nutrients well above that of refined grains, it still tests as nearly as high a glycemic food. That means that every time he eats whole wheat, he is spiking his blood sugar and insulin. Doing that is a proven fattener. If he makes this switch, that too will help him lose his remaining 30 pounds of fat.

***The DASH II diet is proven to lower high blood pressure. The main reason for this is that it adds so much potassium in a natural form. The moderate salt restriction in the DASH II diet helps some people get lower blood pressure more than others; but this added potassium will lower blood pressure for almost everyone.

****He might be eating lots of processed meats, other fatty meats from grain fed animals, and too much full fat dairy from cheese or butter or cream. That’s still a low carb way of eating.

But such fatty but low carb foods are high in omega 6 oils which produce chronic inflammation which damages the inside of your arteries which in turn is a cause of high blood pressure.

The DASH II diet includes lowfat dairy and fat trimmed chicken instead.

Other protein foods without this problem include raw, unsalted nuts for people not allergic, and beans and lentils which are also low glycemic and inexpensive, some whole eggs each week, wild caught salmon and other fish high in omega 3 oils, and 100 % grass fed lamb and beef or buffalo on occasion. Egg or whey protein supplements also work for some people.

The other problem with the fatty kinds of high protein foods and higher intake of fats from animals is that they are less health beneficial than smaller amounts of extra virgin olive oil would be.

If he is eating 2,100 calories a week of animal fats now, switching to 1330 calories a week of extra virgin olive oil and 420 calories a week of animal fats, will cause him to lose a pound every 10 weeks. It may be gradual. But he won’t be extra hungry. And in two years he will lose an extra 10 pounds every bit of which is fat.

Even better, he will get multiple health benefits of eating the extra virgin olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil instead of cheap vegetable oils high in omega 6 and instead of fats from grain fed animals with the same problem is a key reason the Mediterranean diet provides the multiple health benefits it does.

c) Stress can cause higher blood pressure quite effectively and often does.

So, if his stress level at work or at home went up during this time, that too would explain a lot!

The Resperate the sponsoring company sells -- if used 4 to 7 times a week with 6 or 7 times much more effective -- is FDA approved because it has been tested to lower such stress driven high blood pressure.

But it takes about 15 minutes a time to do and is very difficult for the kind of proactive man this man sounds to be in his question to sit through.

Tai Chi is a better choice. It can take as little as 10 minutes to do. It’s active.
And, it burns as many calories as walking for that long does. It also has tested as lowering stress driven high blood pressure a bit better than the Resperate.

So, if he can add a 10 minute a time Tai Chi session and do it 4 times a week or more to his current exercise program, his blood pressure may well go down 15 to 20 points from the stress relief; and he’ll also lose a bit more fat from the calories burned.

d) Doing the set of things just listed would be a priority, particularly getting checked for treatable medical conditions that might be the cause and doing these food and stress relief upgrades.

But it also may be that in his case he needs different kinds of drugs for hypertension than he is now getting.

People are quite variable in what they respond to and what side effects they get.

The drugs he is taking now may not lower high blood pressure as much as alternatives possibly in even lower doses. Or the side effects of his current drugs may stress him enough to be the underlying problem.

So working with his doctor to try other kinds of drugs might also help.

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Friday, August 26, 2011

Why the proposed FDA NDI policy for supplements would be so horribly harmful....

Today's Post: Friday, 8-26-2011

Open letter to:

Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services

FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg

You are charged with protecting the public health of the United States.

Realistically, events may prevent you from doing some of the good things you’d like to do protect the public health.

The proposed labels on packs of cigarettes are truthful and likely would cut consumption providing millions or even billions of dollars in reduced health care costs.

You may or may not succeed in this as you know.

But you DO have the ability to avoid harming the public health due to your own decisions that are carried out.

Do you want to be known in the history books for significantly harming the public health of the United States on your watch?

If you allow the currently proposed FDA NDI policy for supplements to be enacted, you will do exactly that.

Further, at a time of seriously too high health care costs, the added and even higher and now avoidable health care costs this policy would make happen, would harm our economy so much, if this policy is put in place, this would guarantee your place in future history books.

This policy would at a stroke make the current supplement industry illegal and slam shut the access of the public to supplements. Only the few supplements that the drug industry thinks it can make drugs of would survive. It would take up to 10 years or more to regain access to those. And, they would be ten to a hundred times as expensive as the existing supplements are now.

As things are now, thousands and thousands of Americans take inexpensive to moderately priced supplements that prevent diseases and the necessity for very expensive medical care to treat them.

Worse, since many more people could do this and save on our health care costs, wiping out supplements would make improving our high health care costs dramatically more difficult.

Lastly, this could not possibly come at a worse time for the impact of high or even higher health care costs on the economy of the United States.

Demographic forces are inexorable and can be seen years in advance. Two very scary trends now exist. The baby boomers are now beginning to cascade into the years when they need the most health care if they have not taken good preventive steps to avoid it. In addition, the generation of children who will be adults soon have been raised on soft drinks, fast food, and sugary and fatty snacks. Too many of them will get diseases in their thirties and soon after that people only used to get after age 65.

As you may not now be aware, many supplements now available are successfully keeping a lid on avoidable and very large increases in our health care costs.

I’ll use myself as an example to make the point clear and easy to see. There are thousands of dollars of health care costs I have not had and very likely won’t have if supplements continue to be available.

1. Supplements, available as they are now, prevent heart disease and the related costs to treat it. And, I have the blood tests to prove it. I’m NOT guessing.

My family history is such that if I took no action to prevent it, it’s quite likely that I would have had a heart attack already or will have one in the next 10 years.

My blood tests show clearly that the healthy lifestyle I’ve followed and that the supplements I’ve taken have protected me so far. And the chances of me getting a heart attack in the next ten years is close to zero.

When I began to pay attention, my LDL cholesterol was 130 while the family history suggests it might well have been over 160 had I not eaten well, exercised, and taken the two supplements I took then.

When I found out 130 was still relatively high risk I took a bit more of one supplement and added two more. My blood tests show that this lowered my LDL to scores from 96 to 106. That’s a low risk range.

Then more recently I added two other supplements for other reasons. I was then delighted to find that my LDL cholesterol had gone down to the mid 70’s. That’s extremely low risk.

Even better, my HDL has been over 80 & my triglycerides have been under 50. Some of that has been from not eating junk and my regular exercise. But some of my supplements have added to this positive and protective effect.

These are such good readings a cardiologist would turn cartwheels if their patients had them or they did themselves.

Why take an action to prevent me and thousands like me from protecting ourselves by destroying the supplement industry?

Have you priced emergency room visits for heart attacks or stays in the ICU or the cost of balloon angioplasty lately?

Please do not take an action that would incur these costs for me and thousands like me. It would gravely harm the public health and do even worse harm for our economy.

2. Unfortunately earlier in my life I gained too much belly fat, was under too much chronic stress, and drank too much coffee. As a result, I got GERD, acid reflux disease. To avoid heartburn pain from ruining my sleep and getting esophageal cancer, I’ve taken proton pump inhibitors ever since.

But that has a downside. We now know that taking proton pump inhibitors causes depletion of magnesium to the extent that it makes leg and hip bones brittle and they often break when they otherwise would not. Magnesium is also essential for many other normal health functions as well. But the FDA’s own publication had data that found that just supplementing magnesium prevented this in 75% of the people studied.

I take more magnesium than the people studied and eat nuts daily. I also do weight bearing exercise and eat foods daily that are high in calcium and I take vitamin D3 at close to its real optimum dose. So, I do not expect this to be a problem for me. But if I no longer have access to magnesium or D3 as this would proposal would guarantee, that might well change.

Have you seen the dollar cost of treating hip fractures lately? Are you aware of the extent to which they make working at an economically productive job far less likely?

Please do not take an action that would incur these costs for me and thousands like me. It would gravely harm the public health and do even worse harm for our economy.

Second, taking proton pump inhibitors can cause or worsen B12 deficiency. That has been shown to lower the cognitive ability of older people or even contribute to dementia. Again that’s not been a problem for me in part due to having access to a B12 supplement that allows me to absorb it directly from my mouth before the drug prevents me access to it in my stomach or small intestine.

Have seen the dollar cost of treating people with dementia recently? Are you aware of how much less economically productive the baby boom generation will be if such supplement unavailability reduces our brain power?

Please do not take an action that would incur these costs for me and thousands like me. It would gravely harm the public health and do even worse harm for our economy.

There are dozens of similar examples of good health habits plus the right supplements preventing health care costs.

These are two I happen to know well

But cancers, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, BPH, Alzheimer’s disease and many others have similar stories.

(The book, Anticancer, A New Way of Life, New Edition by MD, PhD, David Servan-Schreiber describes how certain life styles and supplements effectively prevent cancer as another example. It’s well though of by the top cancer doctors in the country. I recommend it highly as it shows how both Western medicine and preventive strategies like supplements are each valuable and how they differ.)

But there’s far more reason to not implement this policy of pulling supplements from the market and treating them as if they were drugs.

With the exceptions of companies that allow harmful contamination of their products and/or add real drugs that are not announced on their labels, the supplement industry has an exemplary safety record.

Those real problems could be better addressed directly which the FDA already has the authority to do.

Destroying the entire supplement industry to solve these problems is like burning down a whole multi-story building with the people in it to swat a mosquito on the second floor.

This draconian, proposed FDA policy simply cannot be justified. The requisite public harm does not exist.

Worse, there ARE federal government regulations that prevent the public from real harm. The policies on clean air and water have been proven to protect the public health.

If this policy is put into place, the public will rightly see the federal government as enacting regulations that do no good and are horribly harmful to the public health and our economy.

This will strengthen the hands of people who want to eliminate the regulations that do protect us.

Please protect us from this policy and do not allow this proposed FDA policy or even one similar to it to be enacted on your watch.

The bad consequences would unbelievably harmful in all these ways at once.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

How the Dietary Supplement Labeling Act would be harmful....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 8-23-2011

We already know that the proposed Dietary Supplement Labeling Act would for sure be harmful. It would be a disaster.

This is NOT guesswork. The evidence is already in the public record.

It would harm the public health and dramatically increase the already too high cost of health care. Further, it would do so enough it would harshly brake our economy and cause further job losses.

The Dietary Supplement Labeling Act pretends to be consumer-oriented, but instead will give the FDA redundant power that it very, very likely will harmfully misuse, restricting the public’s access to supplements and raising the cost of buying them.

Since many supplements, now at relatively moderate cost and readily available, prevent diseases that are horribly expensive to treat, this is one of the most potentially harmful bills ever proposed in our congress.

Under this bill, the FDA and the Institute of Medicine must compile a list of dietary ingredients that could lead to adverse events or are otherwise deemed risky in some way. Creating a list of "bad" ingredients or "bad" doses completely based on arbitrary or non-existent standards is a slippery slope; for example, in Europe, the maximum dosage of vitamins was restricted to less than what is found in fruits and vegetables.

Moreover, almost all of this act's beneficial provisions are already covered by existing laws, so there's no need for any new legislation. Please firmly and energetically oppose the Dietary Supplement Labeling Act.

Mercifully, the evidence already in the public record, shows that these gravely harmful results WILL ensue if this bill is passed.

The once prestigious Institute of Medicine has already recently gone on record of ignoring the evidence and endorsing exactly this kind of harmful action.

And, it wasn’t even close. The once prestigious Institute of Medicine either totally failed to do the due diligence required or they chose to ignore it completely due to financial conflicts of interest or worse.

Empowering this group to regulate supplements and their dosages is like sending the wolf to the henhouse to protect the chickens and opening the henhouse for the wolf.

When our public health and economy are at such severe risk, we cannot afford to allow this bill to pass.

Please, make it a high priority to vote NO on this bill and to campaign against it.

Here’s why.

For about the last 15 or 20 years there has been increasing research done on vitamin D3.

People make well over 10,000 iu a day of vitamin D3 if they spend time outside on a summer day.

Other research shows that our bodies use at least 3,000 iu of vitamin D3 if it is available.

One study of a health benefit found none for vitamin D3 at doses lower than 1700 iu a day but definite benefit at 1700 iu a day and up.

And, a recent summary of the work on vitamin D3’s anticancer effects found that the most effective dose for cancer protection was at least in the 4,000 to 8,000 iu a day range.

Incredibly, vitamin D3 is also heart protective, more important by far than calcium in keeping your bones strong, and makes your T cells so much more effective, you are more likely to survive a serious infection if you have been getting enough vitamin D3. It even is likely that autoimmune diseases such as lupus and multiple sclerosis are prevented or made far less likely by getting enough vitamin D3.

And, there is new evidence that getting enough vitamin D3 also helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

The evidence is so striking that taking 2,000 to 10,000 iu a day of vitamin D3 is so protective in so many different ways, that virtually every serious researcher who has done any of these studies now takes that much!

Meanwhile early on it was found that a tiny dose, 400 to 800 iu a day of vitamin D, would prevent rickets. At that time people did things like walk to work or school or worked outside and played baseball summer evenings and weekends. So, it was only in the winter they badly needed vitamin D.

People today drive to work. Most of us work inside. And most people watch TV inside evenings and weekends.

So, the once prestigious Institute of Medicine was asked to review this research showing clearly that the minimum needed for good health for vitamin D3 is between 1700 & 3,000 iu a day and the optimal amount is between 4,000 and 10,000 iu a day and update the tiny previous standards.

Astoundingly, they didn’t read any of this research or were paid in some way to ignore it. That’s a grave charge. But the evidence is that overwhelming!

They basically kept the tiny original amounts and ignored all this research from all over the world.

Worse, they stated that amounts over 4,000 iu daily might be harmful. (Wikipedia is better informed. They show it takes 100,000 iu a day of vitamin D3 to begin to show harmful effects.) And the actual evidence is that 4,000 iu a day of vitamin D3 is on the lower end of optimal intake for vitamin D3.

I’ve read that one of the doctors involved was working on a way to make a patented drug from vitamin D3 that would prevent cancer almost as well as taking vitamin D3 itself. This certainly would explain a lot if true. But that’s not the point. Their conclusion is wrong and incompetent and ignores the evidence no matter what caused them to do so.

Meanwhile without this horrible bill and putting such incompetent or corrupt people in charge of dosages and access to vitamin D3, you can easily go buy the likely optimum daily amount of vitamin D3 for $8 to $16 a month.

If things stay as they are without this bill, more and more people will take protective doses of vitamin D3 and we will have less of the diseases it prevents as people begin to learn about this new research.

Our health care costs will go DOWN.

Should this bill or one like it pass, and the standards for dosages be handed such incompetents, fewer people will be protected by vitamin D than now.

Thousands of people will get cancers and diseases like Alzheimer’s disease who would avoid doing so if this bill is killed now.

Why vote for that kind of human suffering?

And, in today’s precarious economy why vote for these added health care costs?

For example, it was in today’s paper there is a promising new cancer drug. But for just one person to be treated with it costs between $94,000 to 121,000 in addition to the doctor visits and time away from work.

Passing this bill would help us incur MORE such costs by the hundreds each year that our current access to supplements would have prevented.

Please do your best to defeat this horrible bill!

I'm writing my two Senators and am also getting this to a Senator who is known to already oppose this bill.

Please consider doing the same!

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Monday, August 22, 2011

My monthly fatloss progress report....

Today's Post: Monday, 8-22-2011

Since last month, I gained three pounds! So, after I lost 2 pounds the month before, for the two months since June, I gained a pound.

This past month my waist went up about an inch. And, though I may have measured differently than the month before, I definitely looked and felt fatter there.

I now need to lose 6 pounds total to return to my goal weight. And, I still need to lose at least two to 5 inches off my waist.

According to pictures I’ve seen, I’m now at about 22 % bodyfat or a bit more, perhaps 25%. To remove my abdominal fat, according to those same pictures, I also need to add enough muscle to stay at or just slightly below my goal weight AND lose about 12% of my current bodyweight as fat.

Last month, I left everything the same except four things

1. My two part plan to eat less almond butter did NOT work.

I think I must have doubled how much I ate. So my new plan is to cut back to one serving a week on only one day a week from the 14 a week or so I believe I had last month

I had also planned to eat a few thawed frozen, organic, broccoli sprouts in place of the almond butter. (I had found before that adding nonstarchy vegetables is effective.)

I didn’t remember to do that most days last month. But I must begin to stock the frozen florets into the container to thaw each night. First of all I want to lose the 3 pounds back. And, if I don’t eat the almond butter and am hungry, I need those to eat instead!

That’s my most important goal for next month.

2. I had a significant worry most of last month. This week, I’ll do what I can to resolve that. And, I’ll start building a just in case strategy too. And, though I’ll still worry for quite a while since it will take months to know if my efforts helped, I’ll make more of an effort to stay calm enough to not mess up eating right.

3. I suddenly came down with something about two weeks -- ago a continuous mild, but significant headache and sudden fatigue. To be sure I didn’t get worse instead of boosting my amount of exercise as planned, I cut back until I began to feel better and am still not quite back to where I was when I got sick. I hope to stay well and be back to the level of exercise I was doing earlier in the month last month. That will help!

4. The week before my measurement day, my wife and I went to a special breakfast. I ate well. I don’t think I ate enough extra to gain 3 pounds. But some of the 3 pounds may be because I overdid a bit then.

The good news is that most of what I did to lose the 15 pounds I wanted and 3 pounds extra is still in place. I’m still doing those things. And, I am still 9 pounds lighter than I was when I started.

I’ll keep that up and work to implement the fixes from the problems I had last month.

I’ll let you know how that works next month!

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Friday, August 19, 2011

News on 3 new ways to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and mental decline....

Today's Post: Friday, 8-19-2011

For a summary of the other ways likely to be effective in doing this, see my recent posts on Thursday, 7-21 and Friday, 7-22. (The combination of eating curried foods often and taking curcumin from the turmeric in curry each day and taking 4,000 to 10,000 iu a day of vitamin D3 new research has found can prevent Alzheimer’s disease and may even reverse it in its early stages.)

The good news is that there many other effective ways to do this as well.

Following most of the obvious good health habits was in the news recently as doing just that.

Not smoking or eating or drinking junk and getting regular exercise and eating lots of high nutrition vegetables and fruit every week not only prevented other kinds of mental decline, they reduced the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease.

This post has three more new methods to add from news I saw recently.

1. Apples and apple juice have been known to have some antiviral effects. Since activating the part of your immune system that removes amyloid plaque seems to be how curcumin and vitamin D3 do the job, it makes sense to see if apples or apple juice might help.

Further, people who drink one glass of real juice daily whether a real fruit juice or a vegetable juice have been found to have less mental decline and Alzheimer’s disease.

The research found that apples may do more than that. In Alzheimer’s disease, the amount of acetyl choline, an essential chemical for nerves to communicate with each other gets too low. The research found that drinking apple juice seemed to prevent this.

(If you are working to lose weight or keep off extra fat, eating a whole apple or applesauce with no sugar added may be better than drinking apple juice. And, the fiber in them and the other nutrients in the apple peel have other health benefits too.)

2. Drinking moderate amounts of alcohol, one a day for women and up to two a day for men but rarely more, was in the news yesterday as cutting the risk of getting Alzheimer's disease and other kinds of dementia by 23 percent.

Researchers at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine analyzed 143 studies and also found that drinking wine was better at producing this effect than other kinds of alcoholic drinks.

Heavy drinking, about double the amount of moderate drinking or more, tended to wipe out this effect entirely. That much drinking either indicates harmful levels of stress or outruns the ability of your liver to protect your nerves from the alcohol.

The best news is that this protection from moderate drinking remained even after adjusting for age, sex, education, and even smoking!

3. Dr Brownstein’s email I got today also had something significant.

Using B vitamins to lower homocysteine as a method to prevent heart disease so far has not been tested as effective. In that use the homocysteine may be an indicator of another problem. So lowering it may be like removing smoke without putting out the fire. Then too, most of these tests were on people where the damage was already done.

But lowering homocysteine with B vitamins DID test as preventing mental decline not long ago.

The study in Dr Brownstein’s email may explain why.

Poor blood flow tends to cause both vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. That’s why following heart protective practices and getting regular exercise for sure each week prevents mental decline.

It seems that a randomized, placebo-controlled study found that daily oral supplementation with 0.8 mg of folic acid (800 mcg) & 0.4 mg (400 mcg) of vitamin B12 was associated with significant increases in blood flow, as compared to placebo. The study was published in the March 7, 2011, issue of Coronary Artery Disease.

This may or may not be helpful to your heart as it may have such good or such bad blood flow this may not help or help more. But getting enough blood flow to your brain is ALWAYS important.

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Foods and drinks harmful enough to avoid....

Today's Post: Thursday, 8-18-2011

1. Fattening foods and drinks.

Michelle Stacey has a blog post on which she notes that she has tended to avoid labeling things as “BAD” foods.

She has found that when people are dieting for fat loss & have come to like such foods, they can have problems avoiding them. That’s because when they do, they can get obsessed by them.

But she did find the recent study of health professionals that found that those who routinely ate some foods and drank soft drinks gained 17 pounds over 20 years because of it cause to rethink. As bad as the fat gain from drinking soft drinks, people in this study who routinely eat processed potato foods such as French fries and potato chips gained more fat from that than the soft drinks.

See Sunday, July 24, 2011 “The Truth About "Bad" Foods (Finally).”

The average fat gained was so high because people who drink soft drinks also tend to eat the other fattening foods too and not exercise.

Two quick points.

The group was made up of health professionals such as nurses and doctors. Many of the health problems and excessive medical care costs today are because the average American has been eating and drinking twice that much of such foods and drinks.

The study also found that those who did NOT eat such foods and never drank soft drinks and also got at least some exercise regularly gained no fat or extra weight at all over the 20 year period.

It’s true that you could only eat such foods once a week or once a month if you really loved them and not be harmed too much. But in practice that can be like being an alcoholic and hanging out in bars once or twice a month.

It’s a safer and in some ways easier way to go to simply write them off and put them on the list of things you don’t do.

There are some other reasons to write off soft drinks.

Not only are both regular and diet soft drinks known fatteners, they are the very worst kind. Instead of making you less hungry as foods or even juices do, they cause blood sugar spikes and insulin spikes that directly fatten and then make you hungry again once your blood sugar crashes later which causes you to crave more food and often sugary, fattening foods. If you want to be trim or less fat soft drinks are the LAST thing you want to put in your body!

Also, so far regular soft drinks have been sweetened lately with high fructose corn syrup. Some of the high fructose corn syrup on the market is made in a way that it contains mercury which can cause dementia and nerve damage if you get too much of it. In addition many studies have found that high fructose corn syrup is more fattening and more likely to trigger type 2 diabetes than regular sugar.

The health protecting choice is to not only pass on regular soft drinks that contain high fructose corn syrup; but always read the labels and pass on ANY food that contains high fructose corn syrup.

Helpful strategy:

If you really like French fries or hash browns, limit yourself to those you make yourself at home and don’t do it more than once a week. By baking them and adding a bit of extra virgin olive oil and spices after they are done, you can make them to your taste and almost good for you.

That also works for something like oatmeal cookies with chocolate chips. You can use real sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup and use apple sauce or real butter from grass fed cows or extra virgin olive oil instead of partially hydrogenated soy oil.

2. Other food ingredients too harmful to eat at all besides high fructose corn syrup include:

a) Partially hydrogenated and fully hydrogenated vegetable oils and the trans fats in them cause heart disease.

They have been found to lower your heart protective HDL and boost your heart threatening triglycerides. That’s an indicator that eating this junk increases the small particle LDL that is a direct cause of heart disease. In fact this has also been tested directly to happen!

Partially hydrogenated and fully hydrogenated vegetable oils and the trans fats in them are heart attack starters. Why volunteer to ever eat ANY?

Always read labels and in addition to passing if you see high fructose corn syrup or its possible new name, corn sugar. And always pass if you see any amount of trans fats besides zero AND pass if even one ingredient is a hydrogenated oil.

Also do your best to avoid commercial baked goods where you have no label to check out. If it wasn’t homemade by you or a baker you personally know and have asked or a health oriented friend, the chances of it having neither high fructose corn syrup or a harmful oil approach zero.

b) Foods that contain oils high in omega 6 or worse -- partially or fully hydrogenated vegetable oils.

We just covered the hydrogenated oils. But cheap, high omega 6 oils are close to as bad for you.

The excessively high intake of omega 6 oils such as soy oil and corn oil and to a degree canola oil and from the fats in grain fed meat tend to cause chronic inflammation. This is a major cause of heart disease and chronic inflammation also has been implicated in causing many cancers.

Oils high in omega 6 also tend to lower your HDL cholesterol and help cause heart disease that way too.

This is made worse by the bioconcentrated pesticides and herbicides in the fat of grain fed meat. They not only are high in omega 6, twenty times as much as 100 % grass fed, they also have more pesticides and herbicides by far than produce that was directly sprayed.

A study reported today that persistent pollutants such as these in the fat of grain fed animals and farmed fish tend to cause type 2 diabetes even in people who don’t overdo sugars and starches.

Helpful strategy:

Know and eat the health OK alternatives!

a) Except for those too high in mercury which include most tuna and all swordfish, wild caught fish are low in pollutants and high in omega 3 oils your body needs to lower inflammation, avoid excessive clotting, and lower your dangerous triglycerides.

Pasture raised chickens in pastures clean of pollutants and 100 % grass fed beef and eggs from naturally fed chickens raised at home or from a small farm near you are another way to go.

And, since even eggs from the store aren’t too bad since they have such high quality protein and so little fat. (Eggs from providers that are free of antibiotics and are at least partly free range are available at Whole Foods and other markets.)

Two percent lowfat milk and other low fat dairy products also work in moderation. So does eating lean cuts of grain fed meat that have all the visible fat removed. So does eating skinless poultry. (You can add back flavor with extra virgin olive oil and spices.)

Vegetable proteins such as from beans and lentils, mushrooms, and nuts if you aren’t allergic also work.

b) Nonstarchy, high nutrition vegetables are a superb fat loss choice. They have so few calories and close to zero boost to your blood sugar and are so filling, you can be less fat and healthier by eating MORE of this kind of food!

In fact, several kinds of studies have found the nutrients and phytonutrients in them are powerful producers and protectors of good health.

Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, tomatoes, green beans, asparagus, even carrots work as do dozens of others. Sweet potatoes and yams also work in moderation.

c) Drinks that work include filtered water, coffee, tea, green tea, and unsweetened cocoa. There are flavored teas too such as lemon and chai and vanilla chai tea available across the country.

d) Snacks that work include dark chocolate in modeation, nuts such as walnuts, almonds, and pecans if you aren’t allergic and only eat them raw or dry roasted. They also include cherries, organic peaches and nectarines and strawberries and blueberries and black berries. Unwaxed, organic apples also work.

So do vegetables with a health OK dip such as guacamole or hummus or lowfat Greek yogurt with spices.

e) Skillful use of extra virgin olive oil, wine, garlic, onions, and spices such as basil, oregano, and turmeric and curry combinations, not only can make these healthy foods a delight to eat, most of these also have their own health benefits.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ways to prevent or reduce gout....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 8-16-2011

Last week I found an article that had some useful information about ways to prevent gout or reduce it if you once get it.

Excess uric acid causes it and chronic inflammation makes it worse and hurt more.

Eating a LOT of fatty red meat, particularly grain fed, and drinking high amounts of alcohol, particularly beer and hard liquor and bar drinks seems to cause it. For some reason, eating a LOT of shellfish can make gout worse also.

So following the suggested things many of our posts have had about more health protecting ways to eat protein will help prevent gout and help reduce it if you use them.

Processed meat is the one kind to not eat or eat least of all. It’s extra fatty, usually from grain fed animals, often very salty, and has other preservatives. Processed meats such as bacon and sausage do taste good. But eating them more like once or twice a month is far better for your health in every way than eating them once or twice a day. If you have gout, never eating these meats at all until you become gout free also makes sense.

Hamburger is a very similar meat and I include it with processed meats. Except for the preservatives, it shares the other characteristics of processed meats.

The much better news in the story, “Prevent and Treat Gout Naturally,” last Friday by Sylvia Booth Hubbard is that beans and lentils that were once thought to make gout worse not only do not do so, they may help get rid of it if you eat them many days a month instead of fatty or processed meats.

Wild caught salmon once or twice a week is an excellent idea since it seems NOT to boost uric acid and has inflammation lowering omega 3 oils.

Moderate amounts of lowfat dairy, red wine, eggs, and skinless poultry also seem helpful. The article had this: “Low-fat dairy. A study of male health professionals found that men who consume the highest amounts of low-fat dairy reduce their risk by 50 percent. “

She quotes Dr Ray Sahelian as saying that a DASH II style diet with a lot of green and nonstarchy vegetables and onions tend to fight gout. And, “Parsley, thyme, and peppermint are especially high in a flavonoid called apigenin which helps control uric acid.”

He also says that keeping off or removing excess bodyfat helps, I suspect by lowering the pressures on the joints in your feet, legs, and hips. Eating a lot of these vegetables most days every week helps to do that.

The article also said that drinking enough water to stay well hydrated helps. The uric acid crystals that cause the problem don’t form if the ratio of uric acid to water is favorably low. When there is too little water in your system and a bit too much uric acid, that is NOT good. Drinking enough water gives you a bit of extra leverage.

But the best point in the article is that “The king of gout-fighting fruits are cherries; some experts recommend eating six to eight cherries each day to prevent gout and 20 to 30 during an acute attack.”

You can buy canned, pitted, sour cherries without added sugar. This is relatively inexpensive. And, it’s much less time consuming than buying cherries and de-pitting each one as you eat it. Even better, sour cherries actually taste really good despite their name and are a quite low glycemic treat. The only two downsides are these.

There are often a few pits that didn’t quite get removed. So you need to eat the canned and mostly pitted cherries carefully or cut each one in half to check for pits first if you are going to eat them fast.

The even better news is that you can get similar phytonutrients from blue berries, black berries, raspberries, and strawberries. The organic berries in this group have very high levels of health benefits in many other areas from keeping your mind sharp or restoring it to some degree to helping prevent cancers.

There are cherry extract supplements, black cherry extract supplements, bilberry supplements, and elderberry supplements that all can be helpful.

The antioxidants in coffee may also help if you can drink it without problems otherwise. “According to a study at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, drinking at least four cups of coffee each day lowers the risk of gout by 40 percent. Six cups lower risk by 60 percent.”

Also avoid eating too much sugar or any high fructose corn syrup. “Sugar, especially high-fructose corn syrup, is linked to an elevated risk of gout. One recent study found that drinking just one serving of sugary soda a day raised gout risk in women by 74 percent compared to women who drank less than one serving each month.”

Other supplements the article listed as helpful include:

“Vitamin C. A study at the University of British Columbia found that men whose intake of vitamin C was at least 1,500 mg a day reduced their uric acid levels and their risk of a gout attack by 50 percent when compared to those whose daily intake was less than 250 mg. High levels of vitamin C may even prevent gout from ever developing. “

“ Quercetin. Take 1 gram of this flavonoid daily to reduce the formation of uric acid. “

“ Turmeric. An essential ingredient in curry, a 300 mg capsule of this natural inflammatory herb three times daily reduces the swelling and pain of gout.”

Since turmeric or the curcumin in it also helps prevent cancers and does tend to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, this one is great idea. Taking it with black pepper seems to enhance turmeric or curcumin’s anti cancer effects according to the book, Anticancer. And, taking it with 4,000 to 8,000 iu a day of vitamin D3 enhances its ability to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

Taking omega 3 supplements and eating extra virgin olive oil and NO cheap omega 6 oils such as corn and soy and sharply minimizing fats from grain fed animals all also lower chronic inflammation. So does doing a good job of flossing and brushing your teeth each day.

And, celery seed extract the article did NOT mention, has been found to lower inflammation in general and quite a bit if gout is present.

I like the ending of the article that began my interest in doing this post.

"Gout is a disease you have control over," says Sahelian. "Maintaining a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet, and taking helpful nutritional supplements can help you reduce the risk of a gout attack."

In fact, it sounds to me as if doing these things well and consistently can prevent you from ever getting gout or even making it go away if you get it.

Important note. If you have a flare up of severe gout, it might make sense to see a doctor immediately for drugs to lower your uric acid levels quickly.

In that situation, it not only feels as if you have shards of broken glass harming you, the uric acid crystals are coming close to doing exactly that.

But why let yourself get there or stay there? Avoid harmful foods, eat health supporting foods, and take the supplements that prevent it or at least turn it way down! Each of these 3 steps will keep you healthy in many other ways too!

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Monday, August 15, 2011

Public health and the FDA and supplement regulation....

Today's Post: Monday, 8-15-2011

Eight days ago on Thursday, 8-4-2011, we did a post explaining that for knowledgeable doctors and consumers many supplements as they now exist are an important, often effective, and safe way to protect the health of the people who take them.

Not eating or drinking harmful things, and eating and drinking foods and drinks that do support or protect health, and getting regular exercise each week are still very important – and effective. Far too few people do this set of things yet though that is changing.

But as supplements now exist, you can do more than just those methods to protect your health by taking supplements or taking supplements too. And, though supplements do cost money, they cost dramatically less than drugs.

Removing most of them from public availability and making the ones left available cost as much as drugs -- as the current NDI proposal would do -- would harm the health of the people who now take them and avoid getting sick because of it.

Because of this, if the FDA were to adopt this NDI proposal as a policy and enforce it, two very bad results would happen.

The FDA would spend a lot of money to do so a time we are trying to cut unneeded spending. They would have fewer resources to protect the public health in ways that are actually needed. And, since with exceptions we note shortly, supplements are safe enough that this proposed policy would be an irresponsible waste of money.

But of even greater importance, many of the hundreds of thousands of people who are now using supplements to stay well would begin to get sick or do so years earlier.

This specifically means that if the FDA were to adopt this NDI policy it would seriously harm the public health.

And, since medical care costs have already risen so high it is acting as a drag on our economy when we need the economy to do better and add jobs, the added medical care costs this policy would create -- would be a disaster for the economy.

This means the proposal is so horribly bad, it calls into question the FDA as it currently operates being the right agency to oversee supplements at all.

And, since such a policy would increase the money spent on drugs when the people got these diseases and the FDA as it exists now gets significant funding from drug company fees, it also looks as if this proposal is proof that the inherent conflict of interest is such that indeed, the FDA as it exists now may well not be capable of doing the job of regulating supplements at all.

But, that said, aren’t there some real problems with supplements that some part of the government should regulate?

Yes. But reasonable proposals to do so or to do so more effectively are not the current FDA proposal.

My understanding is that the FDA has the authority now with no new policies needed to do more than they have in this area.

There are two problem areas that cause most of the problems.

1. People who take supplements take a regular amount on purpose usually every day. They control how much they get of each supplement.

But for many supplements taking way too much by mistake is not wise.

This happened recently with the drug ibuprofen where people took it straight as Tylenol and also took less controlled amounts in over the counter remedies they often didn’t know contained it. Since few people knew or know now that this drug can cause quite serious liver damage if taken in excess or more than tiny amounts on occasion if taken by people who drink alcohol regularly, this did cause quite serious harm.

Supplements are simply not that dangerous. But there are some that it’s unwise to take in massive excess this way without knowing it.

Melatonin is a supplement that is an effective and safe sleep aid for many people. But the effective amount is tiny. Half a mg a day or at most 1 or 2 mg a day is enough. People who take way more than that, don’t sleep walk into dangerous situations as people do who take many sleep inducing drugs. But people taking 5 or 10 or more mg a day of melatonin can be so mellow and laid back and groggy, they won’t function well at school or work or feel like they can wake up 100 percent the next day.

And, some people eat a lot of brownies when they are stressed or hungry.

So, putting a good bit of melatonin into brownies sold AS FOOD is clearly an idiotic and irresponsible idea.

Should the FDA or the supplement regulating part of the Department of health pull such foods from the market and prohibit them from further sales.

Absolutely they should. It was because some fools did exactly that that some people asked the FDA to do more. In this specific case, they were absolutely correct to do so.

This also suggests that many “enriched” foods and energy drinks also should be far more closely regulated than they are now.

This is not because the supplements in them are harmful if used right; but because the amount of the supplement people get when it’s in foods or drinks can be out of control and excessive.

2. The other potentially harmful area for supplements comes from supplements advertised to help cause weight loss or muscle building or restore the sexual capacity of older people.

a) Some weight loss supplements with many ingredients have been known to include real drugs unlisted on the label. Many stimulant drugs do decrease appetite and increase activity. So people taking them can lose weight without doing many of the things that take effort to do such as pass on fattening foods or soft drinks or get regular exercise.

But taking these drugs without knowing it or taking too much without knowing it can cause sudden heart failure or other serious or deadly problems.

b) Some supplements to build muscle contain anabolic steroid drugs not announced on the label. These drugs do cause muscle development. For some medical uses, they can be valuable but only if used with great care and control including only taking them for short enough periods of time.

Taking these anabolic steroid drugs without knowing it or taking too much without knowing it can cause serious problems here too.

c) Some drugs for sexual enhancement contain Viagra or other similar drugs that are not listed on the label. This can cause some embarrassing problems but it can also cause harm. Though these drugs do work, they do NOT remove the diabetes or artery plaque that often causes the need for their use. When you need to use them for physical reasons instead of mental ones, you often have conditions your doctor should know about! That’s why these drugs should need a prescription to get. Further, the kinds of companies who sell them without a prescription or hidden in supplements may use too much or include dangerous impurities not safe to take.

The FDA or the part of the Department of health that replaces it to regulate supplements AND the responsible companies in the supplement industry need to work together to remove these hidden drugs from the market when they show up and do so well enough to deter it in the future.

Note though, that the supplements that do help these conditions, that are disclosed, and are safe to take do not need to be removed or treated as drugs to do so.

The FDA long ago should have begun working with the supplement industry to find and remove these products with hidden drugs and the companies selling them from the market.

So these two parts of the supplement industry do need more regulation and more effective regulation.

But the current FDA NDI proposal would cause massive increases in cost for the FDA and medical care costs for the people who now protect their health with supplements and harm the public health and remove people’s right to choose by treating all supplements is drugs is NOT the solution needed to fix these two legitimate problems.

It’s about as useful as blowing up the building with people in it to get rid of a fly instead swatting it instead.

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Friday, August 12, 2011

Broad spectrum virus removal and potential cancer cure announced this week!....

Today's Post: Friday, 8-12-2011

An astounding thing was announced this week.

If either a real cancer cure for all cancers OR
a drug that killed all of any dangerous virus you came down with,
were ever announced, you would think that would be front page news!

Last week they were BOTH announced!

Astoundingly neither story made it to the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle or the San Jose Mercury News. (If they were, it was not in large enough print to stand out; and I missed them.)

I saw them because they did reach the online health news on both Yahoo and Google.

This post is in case YOU missed them.

Of course, each one will need to be tested for safety and to be sure it’s as good as the initial reports make it sound.

The stories suggest they may well both pass and be as effective on everything as the initial indications showed.

I. The list of viruses that kill or often kill or cause lasting harm is long. West Nile virus, polio, HIV, Ebola, small pox, dengue, yellow fever, and many, many more. Some kinds of flu and most kinds of flu in some people also are on this list.

What if you could give someone who had a ridiculously dangerous virus or was doing poorly with a virulent flu a drug that would kill all the virus right away?

It would be like penicillin was for killing bacteria when we first realized how effective it was.

Something that may be just exactly that was announced this week.

It has been tested as effective against cold viruses too. But since I’ve read that killing enough viruses all at once can cause kidney failure if you aren’t careful, it will likely be reserved for more serious work. You can get over a cold without risking a hospital stay. Or, it may be safe to use in lower doses initially and then end with a large dose once there are less viruses to kill. That has not yet been tested.

But if you have a cold and the flu and viral pneumonia all at the same time, it could be life-saving.

More later on how it works and the research news is later in this post.

II. Cancer is often horrible stuff. It can kill. It can cause unbelievable pain. It and the treatment for it can disfigure you dreadfully and remove some of your ability to function normally.

Worse, you can get treated and seem cancer free only to have it come back worse than it was. So, people who are in that group of cancer survivors may be cured or they may just be out on temporary leave.

What if no matter what kind you had or where in your body it was, you could remove ALL of it, period and in a reasonably short time?

What if you could do that without radiation or even surgery if the tumor wasn’t too large?

Something that may be just exactly that was announced this week!

The news stories:

I. DRACO: A Broad-Spectrum Antiviral for HIV, Hep and Other Viruses (from AIDS MEDS online news source) August 12, 2011

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Laboratory have developed and demonstrated a novel broad-spectrum antiviral approach, called DRACO, which stands for double-stranded RNA activated caspase oligomerizer, that may prove to be effective against virtually all viruses, including HIV and hepatitis, according to a report published online by PLoS One. DRACO selectively induces apoptosis, or cell suicide, in cells containing any viral double-stranded RNA, rapidly killing infected cells without harming uninfected cells.

Viruses pose serious health threats worldwide. For viruses such as HIV or hepatitis, emerging viruses such as avian or swine influenza, and highly lethal viruses such as Ebola or smallpox that might be used in bioterrorist attacks, relatively few therapeutics exist. Most medications that do exist are highly specific for one virus, are ineffective against virus strains that become resistant to them, or are associated with side effects.

According to the PLoS One report, authored by Todd Rider, PhD, and his colleagues, DRACO was shown to be effective against all 15 viruses that the team has so far tested in cells, including cold viruses (rhinoviruses), H1N1 influenza strains, adenoviruses, a stomach virus (reovirus), a polio virus, dengue fever virus, and several members of hemorrhagic fever virus families. DRACO was also demonstrated to be nontoxic in 11 different cell types representing various species, notably humans, monkeys and mice, and organ types (for example, heart, lung, liver and kidney).

Experiments also demonstrated that DRACO prevented the deaths of mice infected with a lethal dose of H1N1 influenza. Currently, the team is testing additional viruses in mice and beginning to get promising results with those as well.

Though additional testing is needed, Rider and his colleagues suggest that DRACO has the potential to revolutionize the treatment and prevention of virtually all viral diseases. They also hope that DRACO’s broad-spectrum activity will render it useful against new or mutated viruses, such as the 2003 SARS outbreak.

Search: DRACO, MIT, Lincoln Laboratory, Rider, antiviral, HIV, hepatitis, HCV, Ebola, H1N1, SARS"

My comment:

This is a drug that uses genetic know how to kill viruses by killing them when they try to go into hypergrowth mode. This prevents them from spreading or harming you much. Since the immune system gets rid of them after that, this is comparable to discovering a super-antibiotic that kills all germs was only for viruses.

This will be the case if it really is safe for when people's cells grow normally for upkeep, building, and repair. And it will be the case if it tests as safe in other ways.

It does sound so far as if it is extremely effective and possibly impossible for viruses to become resistant to it.

II. “The Week Magazine Health and Science posted on August 12, 2011, at 11:33 AM

Breakthrough: Can designer T cells cure cancer?
A groundbreaking study suggests that a patient's own immune cells can be genetically re-engineered into tumor-targeting "serial killers"

A new study suggests that genetically altered T cells can target and kill cancerous cells in the body.

Cancer researchers worldwide are heralding the results of a "sensational" new study, in which a team from the University of Pennsylvania showed that a cancer patient's own immune cells can be genetically re-engineered to target and kill cancer cells. Though it's a preliminary study involving only three patients with leukemia, the successful results have left typically staid medical researchers wildly buoyant. Here, a guide to this breakthrough:

How was this study conducted?
Blood samples were drawn from three people with chronic lymphocytic leukemia, an aggressive form of cancer that affects blood and bone marrow. The patients' T cells — a type of immune cell found in the blood — were then genetically re-engineered with a strict agenda: To find cancer cells and kill them. "We put a key onto the surface of the T-cells that fits into a lock that only the cancer cells have," says researcher Dr. Michael Kalos, as quoted in the Vancouver Sun. The modified T cells were then infused back into the patients' blood.

What happened to the patients?
The results were so dramatic, even the doctors were shocked: "Within three weeks, the tumors had been blown away, in a way that was much more violent than we ever expected," says researcher Carl June. Moreover, these patients' tumors were in an advanced stage, and the prognoses were quite negative. Following the treatment, however, "we saw massive reduction in tumour burden," says Dr. Kalos. "One patient had over seven pounds of tumor and it all disappeared."

Could the cancer return?
It's possible. But the modified T cells — which essentially became "serial killers" — proved hearty, growing their numbers more than 1,000 times through reproduction, and surviving for months. Plus, the researchers programmed the cells to produce dormant offspring T cells that would spring back to life if the cancer ever returned.

How are the patients doing?
A year after the therapy started, two of the patients had complete remission of leukemia, and one had a partial response to the therapy — (plus) the patient's cancer is less severe. One of the patients wrote in a first-person essay, "I'm healthy and still in remission. I know that this may not be a permanent condition, but I decided months ago to declare victory and assume that I had won."

Are there any downsides to this new therapy?
Yes. The treatment is so strong that it can result in "tumor lysis syndrome" — chills, nausea, and fever — caused when a large number of cancer cells die very suddenly. Because tumor lysis syndrome can result in kidney failure, the condition requires prompt medical treatment.

What are other cancer researchers saying?
Most are very enthusiastic. "This is a huge accomplishment — huge," says Dr. Lee M. Nadler of Harvard Medical School, as quoted in the Los Angeles Times. Researchers have been struggling for decades to develop cancer treatments that use a patient's immune system to kill tumors with greater precision, leaving the rest of the body unharmed. "It is kind of a holy grail," says Dr. Gary Schiller of UCLA.

When will the new therapy be available?

Not for several years, if ever. Much more research needs to be conducted to ensure that this treatment is safe and effective. "The longer term toxicities and efficacy are not at all clear," said Dr. Bruce Chabner of Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, as quoted by ABC News. "[This treatment] could be historic, but it will take several more years and many more cases before we know."”

“Sources: ABC News,, LA Times, Medical News Today, Vancouver Sun”

My comment: This one is not as clear cut to be able to cure every cancer as the antivirus drug sounds for viruses. Each kind of cancer is slightly different and likely needs a different “key’ and it’s even possible a single case of cancer may have some cells the initial key they find in most of them doesn’t fit all of the cells exactly.

Yet, it clearly is a huge step forwards to cancer treatment that is both effective and far less harmful to cancer patients than the “stone knives and bearskins”, -- however high tech -- that we have now -- with most radiation, most surgery, and most chemo treatments tending to cause a lot of collateral damage.

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Even more reasons to eat less processed meats....

Today's Post: Thursday, 8-11-2011

A few posts back we noted the news of research showing that processed meats were far more likely to cause heart disease than meat that isn’t processed and other sources of protein such as wild caught fish, eggs, lowfat dairy foods, nuts, and beans and lentils. Even chicken, turkey, full fat cheese, and other sources were better for you than processed meats.

Processed meats include: hot dogs, lunch meats, bacon, pepperoni, sausage, and ham.

Now there is more bad news for these foods. Eating even a small serving daily was tested as making colon cancer, prostate cancer, and some other cancers more likely.

The non-profit organization, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, had this in their article I saw:

“At least 58 scientific studies have looked at the issue, and the jury has rendered its verdict, which is now beyond reasonable doubt. The more hot dogs people eat, the higher their risk of colorectal cancer. And it's not just hot dogs. Any sort of processed meat -- bacon, sausage, ham, deli slices -- is in this group.

And here are the numbers: Every 50 grams of processed meat you eat on a daily basis (that's about one hot dog) increases your risk of colorectal cancer by 21 percent. And just as there is no safe level of smoking, no amount of hot dogs, bacon, sausage, ham or other processed meats comes out clean in scientific studies.

The problem goes beyond colorectal cancer. An NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study found a 10 percent increased risk of prostate cancer for every 10 grams of increased intake of processed meats. Other studies have linked these same products to leukemia and ovarian cancer.

Exactly how processed meats do their dirty work is not clear; it could be their nitrites, saturated fat or other ingredients.”

But there’s MORE yet. Other research recently in the news shows one of the ways that eating processed meats causes or worsens heart disease had this:

“Red meat boosts diabetes risk: US study AFP Weds, 8-10-2011

Two slices of bacon, a hot dog or a serving of deli meat daily has been found to significantly boost the risk of getting type 2 diabetes, said a major US study published on Wednesday.

The research by experts at the Harvard School of Public Health represents the largest study of its kind to date and appears in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Eating 50 grams of processed red meat every day increased a person's diabetes risk by 51 percent, while eating 100 grams of unprocessed red meat each day, about the size of a deck of cards, boosted the risk by 19 percent.

However, those risks went down if the red meat was substituted with nuts, white meat, low-fat dairy or whole grain proteins.”

Our news is this.

We, meaning the overall health promoting industry and the more knowledgeable people in it, DO know some of the reasons for this.

Although these foods are high in fat, saturated fat, salt, and preservatives such as nitrites and nitrates, none of which is good for you -- particularly not in high daily doses, I think most of the damage comes from a different source.

These high fat meats are virtually all from grain fed animals. In his book, Anticancer, A New Way of Life, New Edition, Doctor David Servan-Schreiber makes a very strong case that the very high amounts of omega 6 oils in the fat of meats from animals fed grain, particularly corn, causes chronic inflammation.

We know that such inflammation causes heart disease. Dr Servan-Schreiber makes a strong case in his book that it also helps cause many cancers. These many studies seem to find strong evidence this is the case.

But there’s more. The grain these animals are fed contains some of the pesticides and herbicides that were sprayed onto the grain. It’s not a lot on the grain. But cattle and other large animals eat a lot of grain. And these pesticides and herbicides are then bioconcentrated in the fat of the animals that eat the grain.

Most of these processed meats taste good unfortunately.

What can you do now that you know this?

1. For one thing, you can eat these foods a LOT less. Instead of once to three times a day, if you have them at all, drop them to once or twice a month. That’s over 30 times safer to start with.

2. For ham, a processed meat, and beef and lamb, two of the red meats, another way to go is to start with lean versions and trim off most to almost all of the fat.

(I once de-fatted a 10 pound ham my wife brought home one Thanksgiving as a gift from her job.

I cut off all the easily accessible fat. I cut the rest into about one inch cubes. Then I boiled those cubes and removed all the chunks of fat that came loose. Then I put the water and ham chunks into the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, I skimmed off the layer of saturated fat off the top. Then I repeated the whole process a second time. Did the whole process a third time. And after skimming off the saturated fat off the top of the water, I poured out the water.

What I wound up with was about a pound or so of pea sized pork chunks that were dramatically less fat. Needless to say the salt and processing chemicals were also more than 95 % gone.

I then cooked it with small green peas and pearl onions. It was pretty good actually. But that was a LOT of work.)

You can always cook fat removed grain fed meats into mixed dishes with onion, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and other spices to get good flavor and the stick to your ribs effect of the original.

3. It’s also possible to buy beef and lamb from animals fed only grass --100 % grass fed. (Grass fed, grain finished beef costs more and is not that much better than just grain fed.)

Such real grass fed beef and lamb is leaner and less fat to start with, so you may need to cut them into smaller chunks and perhaps cook them into mixed dishes with onion, some extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and other spices for the best eating.

But the excessive omega 6 oils and all or most of the bioconcentrated herbicides and pesticides are gone. The animals never ate them to begin with!

So eating such meats as often as once or twice a week is likely safe.

4. The best solution is to eat other kinds of protein foods on most days.

Beans and lentils are very inexpensive and good for you in many ways besides not having animal fats high in omega 6 oils. They have incomplete proteins but need not be eaten by themselves. You can eat them with two percent lowfat milk. You can eat them with eggs. You can eat them with cheese. And, I even eat them with wild caught salmon occasionally.

Wild caught salmon, sardines, herring, and small mackerel are fish that do you triple good. They are all good protein sources. They all have enough oils to be quite filling. But best of all, they are high in the omega 3 oils that lower inflammation and help balance any omega 6 oils that you do eat.

Eggs and skinless poultry from pasture fed chicken and turkey are OK. And they aren’t too bad in moderation if even grain fed because they have so much less fat than red meats and processed meats.

Mushrooms and nuts (if you aren’t allergic to nuts) are also high in protein. Like beans and lentils, they are incomplete proteins; but also like beans and lentils they provide many kinds of health benefits besides the protein in them.

Whole grain foods are like beans and lentils as they have incomplete protein. Eating some is OK. But you need to avoid too much or eating them without less glycemic foods to balance them. Refined grain foods and even 100 % whole grain foods eaten by themselves boost your blood sugar more than sugar does.

The summary is that processed meats are best eaten if at all as a very infrequent treat.

Eating them more often than that tends to cause diseases -- heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and colon cancer and other cancers to be specific.

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Monday, August 08, 2011

Effective nondrug ways to lower LDL cholesterol....

Today's Post: Monday, 8-8-2011

If for any reason, the inner surfaces of your blood vessels are slightly injured, your body then patches the damage. But if small particle LDL or oxidized LDL or large particle LDL with sticky excess sugar or high triglycerides are present, the patches get so badly overdone that your blood vessels begin to be stiff and narrow from the plaque build up this causes.

This causes high blood pressure and reduced circulation to the brain and other key parts of you. And, it dramatically increases the risks you will have a heart attack or stroke.

1. One way to prevent this is to avoid the things that make it so much worse such as not exercising most days of every week, eating too much sugar, eating refined grains, and ingesting any high fructose corn syrup.

If you do the opposite instead, all the things we spoke of that make it worse tend NOT to be in your blood to worsen this damage.

Not exercising most days of every week, eating too much sugar, eating refined grains, and ingesting any high fructose corn syrup each tend to lower your HDL and increase your triglycerides. That makes the LDL you do have into the small particle LDL that causes heart disease three ways.

Small particle LDL is the tiny size that literally is smaller than the healthy surface of your blood vessels molecules. So it tends to stick in there like gunk gets stuck in between your teeth when you eat. Unfortunately that causes damage itself and inflammation.

Then too any time there is damage to the inside of your blood vessels your body sends in extra LDL to patch the hurt. When your LDL is the tiny size, this tends to make things worse instead.

Third, that set of bad health habits tends to cause excess blood sugar levels and high triglyceride levels. And excessive blood sugar tends to make ALL your LDL, even the normally harmless larger particle kind, into super sticky glue like particles that themselves cause damage in your blood vessel walls and even tends to destroy your capillaries by plugging them up too!

2. One way to make all these problems better as far as causing blood vessel and heart disease is to simply remove any extra LDL. If there is less of the small particle kind that is quite protective. And, if there is less of the large particle kind to have glue-like excess sugar stuck on to the particles, the excess sugar creates less damage.

That’s why if your LDL cholesterol is over 160, doctors know that’s a danger signal. And, it’s why if your LDL cholesterol about 100 or well under 100 they are much less worried.

(Statin drugs are a poor solution for most people to lower LDL cholesterol.

Only about a seventh of the population have the genetic pattern for which they do the most good first of all. Everyone else they found gets better results from niacin.

And, statins also have so many serious side effects, even for the seventh of the people where they are effective, they should only be used after trying other methods and/or for people who are in bad and immediate trouble such as those recovering from a first heart attack.

Statin side effects include loss of energy, muscle pains, muscle damage, fatal muscle damage, insomnia, nerve pains, nerve damage, memory loss, cataracts, and heart failure!)

Niacin slightly lowers LDL and also increases HDL and lowers triglycerides. So does regular exercise. This means that you have less of the small particle LDL that is most dangerous too. Neither niacin nor exercise are not risk free. But they are far safer and more effective than statins when used well and carefully.

But what about just having less of all kinds of LDL?

You can do that 3 ways. (That too can help you not need statins for the job.)

a) You can eat foods high in soluble fiber. Oatmeal, oat bran, beans and lentils, and apples and applesauce with no sugar added are the best sources.

b) You can take sterol supplements.

(Sterols, like soluble fiber, are in many foods.

These first came out added to margarines. But since margarines are not that good for your heart -- usually having either partially hydrogenated oils or corn oil in them -- taking the supplements only is much more protective.)

Beta sitosterol and the sterols found with it also help prevent prostate enlargement. So that’s the kind I take. Natrol makes the inexpensive beta sitosterol supplement I now take. I take 3 a day.

c) But what if even inexpensive supplements are too expensive or you don’t like taking anything whether supplements or drugs every day?

What if the FDA succeeds in removing sterol supplements from the market or makes them cost over 10 times as much as they are now threatening to do?

For sterol supplements at least, there is good news. Many foods are high in sterols. And virtually all of those foods have other health benefits!

Best of all, several of these foods have soluble fiber too!

Let’s start with those.

Apples, oat bran, beans and lentils and dried peas, all are high in both sterols and soluble fiber.

Nuts and seeds for those not allergic to them are high in sterols.

(Since hummus is a combination of ground up chickpeas which are high in both sterols and soluble fiber plus ground up sesame seeds which are high in sterols, hummus is a great food for heart health. And if you eat the kind of hummus that also has garlic and extra virgin olive oil, that does your heart even more good!)

Eating nuts also boosts your HDL cholesterol. Even better, they are high in magnesium which has heart benefits. Best of all, they taste good enough to eat instead of sugary snacks that tend to be bad for your heart.

The other foods high in sterols often make superfoods lists because they protect your health in so many other ways.

These include: Wheat germ, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, avocados, guacamole, tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, tomatoes, and blueberries!

This means that you can literally eat your way to good heart health by removing the foods that harm it and eating these foods instead.

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Friday, August 05, 2011

Why high inflammation causes heart disease and how to lower it....

Today's Post: Friday, 8-5-2011

It was discovered that high and chronic inflammation causes heart disease.

In fact, the HSCRP test for an inflammation maker called C-reactive protein was found to be quite predictive of future heart problems and heart attacks when it is high when the person is otherwise well.

Cytokines and other substances are high when inflammation is high. When there are too many of them or they are in your blood too long, they damage the endothelium, the inside surfaces of your blood vessels.

Your body then patches the damage. But if small particle LDL or oxidized LDL or large particle LDL with sticky excess sugar or high triglycerides are present, the patches get so badly overdone that your blood vessels begin to be stiff and narrow from the plaque build up this causes.

This causes high blood pressure and reduced circulation to the brain and other key parts of you. And, it dramatically increases the risks you will have a heart attack or stroke.

1. One way to prevent this is to avoid the things that make it so much worse such as not exercising most days of every week, eating too much sugar, eating refined grains, and ingesting any high fructose corn syrup.

If you do the opposite instead, all the things we spoke of that make it worse tend NOT to be in your blood to worsen this damage.

2. Clearly, NOT having the chronic inflammation in the first place would also be extremely protective!

a) Mild or moderate or horrible gum disease not only can cause bad breath and for you to lose your teeth, it also tends to stick around for months. And all that time, the cytokines released as a by product of fighting that chronic infection, are boosting the dickens out of your inflammation. That causes or worsens heart disease a lot!

This is NOT just theory either! People with gum disease have tested out as being more likely to get heart attacks and fatal heart attacks.

So, what few people yet know is that brushing your teeth in a way that cleans & stimulates your gums and flossing, which also does this, and doing both every day, is one of the most effective ways known to prevent heart disease!

So, see the hygienist at a local dentist or the dentist you go to. Learn how to brush and floss to do this most effectively. (The process is about 10 % brushing your teeth and 90% brushing your gumline and gums!)

Taking vitamin C and ubiquinol each day also helps your gums stay healthy and heal faster. (Ubiquinol is the active form of CoQ10 that your body actually uses.) These make your gums tougher and more resilient. They reduce excess inflammation. And they slow the aging process in the cells that make up your gums.

The other thing to do is to balance your omega 6 and omega 3 intake.

Doing so slashes inflammation.

Use extra virgin olive oil almost exclusively and avoid the cheap omega 6 oils completely such soy, corn, and even canola.

Sharply reduce or eliminate the fats and oils you get from grain fed animals since the corn they eat makes those fats and oils loaded with omega 6. It increases omega 6 by TWENTY times over what you get from animals fed only grass or their natural diet.

To do this you can eat beans and lentils and nuts and wild caught fish instead of meat. You can eat some meat but only from 100 % grass fed animals. Or you can eat only the most fat trimmed and lean versions of grain fed meat and skinless poultry.

That will remove the excess omega 6 from your food.

Part two is to eat wild caught fish high in omega 3 and low in mercury such as salmon, sardines, herring, and small mackerel.

And, as I write this, you can also take omega 3 supplements from purified fish oil and DHA supplements. Some DHA supplements come from purified fish oil and some from the same algae the fish get it from.

These omega 3 oils directly lower inflammation. And by also reducing the inflammation from excessive omega 6 intake, doing both these things gives you enormous leverage on reducing excess inflammation.

Lastly, there are spices and supplements that directly lower inflammation.

Ginger and turmeric work well. And, turmeric and curcumin supplements based on turmeric are currently available.

(Ginger protects you from heart disease in several other ways also. And turmeric and curcumin also help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and many cancers!)

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Thursday, August 04, 2011

Why supplements are worth saving as they currently exist....

Today's Post: Thursday, 8-4-2011

There are a number of ways people can actively support and improve their health.

1. They can learn what NOT to do and why and choose to NOT do those things.

Examples are not smoking, avoiding second hand smoke, not eating packaged snacks and desserts, not eating foods with hydrogenated oils or high fructose corn syrup, and not drinking soft drinks.

2. They can eat in ways that have been shown to help people stay healthy and eat more of the things that are unusually nutritious or health giving or help keep excess fat off.

Examples are eating beans and lentils, using only extra virgin olive oil instead of oils high in omega 6 oils or saturated fats from grain fed cows, and eating “superfoods” such as organic blueberries, broccoli florets, and more.

Three diets fit this well: The DASH II diet with extra virgin olive oil added, the Mediterranean diet with less pasta and more vegetables, or the paleo diet plus beans and lentils, extra virgin olive oil, and some dairy -- either low fat from grain fed cows or from cows fed only grass.

3. They can get all 3 basic kinds of exercise every week to the best of their ability and keep doing so as a lifestyle choice and upgrade. These include strength training, interval cardio, and different kinds of moderate exercise such as tai chi and walking.

4. And, in almost every specific area of health or health concerns, there are specific supplements available today to help people become healthier or prevent disease.

The evidence is clear for a very large number of specific supplements that they can be effective and in some uses even life saving.

The supplement industry is not perfect. But given that, the track record over the last 20 years for the whole industry has produced far less problems for people taking the supplements than aspirin all by itself. This includes the few supplements that have been problematic.

In addition, when consumers learn that certain supplements can be harmful they stop taking them. Ephedra caused some problems and few people take it now because those problems were publicized.

Because supplements contain folk remedies used for hundreds of years in many cases or are based on food ingredients from superfoods or spices and compounds natural to the human body, they have several benefits.

This makes them quite safe and explains why there are so few problems with them.

They quite often contain multiple ingredients that support health, sometimes even producing the desired result by containing mutually helpful ingredients that produce better results than using only the ingredient most helpful by itself.

They have very few side effects. This means that unlike many drugs, they can be taken without the side effects that, in drugs, often provide a specific needed benefit but harm the quality of life or even the health of the people taking them in other ways.

In addition, they often help fix the causes of illness instead of just removing the symptoms as drugs sometimes do.

This set of tools for good health overall contains supplements that are effective in helping people stay healthy in almost every important area of health.

Some are very inexpensive and some are a bit pricey. But because they are NOT treated as drugs, which their safety record does not justify, they are often dramatically less expensive than drugs addressing the same conditions.

There are people with a family history of heart disease who have very low risk factors for heart disease by doing the first 3 things AND taking the right supplements now have very low risks. I am such a person. And I have the blood tests to prove it.

In almost every area of health there are now people like me who are healthy now at reasonable cost because they do the first 3 things and take the right supplements.

This means that removing supplements from sale that have proven safe and preventing new ones from being developed would severely harm thousands and thousands of people. People who stay healthy now would get sick or they would develop diseases decade earlier.

So, it would strike a grave and serious blow to the public health of people in the United States.

But that’s far from all. The medical care costs that this would generate or make happen decades earlier than they would now, would be added to the massive cost increases of health care.

Those new costs would devastate our economy. Since it already is in serious trouble from the already high health care costs and other reasons, this is even more undesirable!

How you feel if you were forced to use only the computers and software that were available in 1994 and any upgrades would be few and cost thousands of dollars each?

This is exactly what the FDA has just proposed for supplements. All supplements now in use with a good safety track record but introduced since 1994 and any new supplements would become considered as and be tested as drugs.

This shows a complete misunderstanding of what supplements are and their current value to the public health and our economy.

Reasonable requirements would be that the providing company:

Have its supplements tested at independent labs after purchased by the lab from a current retailer to show the supplement listed contains the supplement and the amount of it that is on the label and does not also contain impurities or drugs not on the label and include that with the notice to the FDA.

Then the NDI notice would be automatically approved when the FDA takes delivery of the registered letter with this information. There would be no months or years long delay for supplements already in use to be approved or massive costs needed. Only if the supplement failed the tests would more be needed.

(As I understand it, the FDA already has the power to acquire any safety problems reported with the use of specific supplements and already collects this data. So any problems in use can be addressed later for specific supplements.)

As I see it, unless the FDA completely re-writes their current proposal to avoid treating supplements like drugs in ways similar to what I’ve just proposed, the FDA as now constituted should not be in the business of regulating supplements.

This quite possibly will prove to be the case. There is an inherent conflict of interest involved. Much of the FDA’s income is from the work they do regulating the pharmaceutical industry.

But if the FDA consults with the supplement industry and only plans to add reasonable requests such as those I’ve outlined above, then perhaps it can rise above this conflict of interest.

If it does not, we need a new and separate regulatory entity entirely. Or perhaps the FDA should be divided into 3 completely independent parts. One for food. One for drugs and medical devices only. And one for supplements.

Disclosure: I have a personal interest in this. My Dad died of congestive heart failure after surviving 3 heart attacks but having his heart damaged by them.

As a result of doing all four of these things, I dropped my LDL from the over 160 common in the rest of my family to 130 and then to 73 by adding supplements.

The sterol supplements I take that have produced a significant part of the 57 point drop in my LDL cholesterol would disappear from the market under these new FDA proposed guidelines. Then if they returned after a delay of a year or two, they would cost $80 a bottle or more instead of $8 that I pay now. Since sterol supplements have been in use for over 10 years with a superb safety record, this is not at all in my interest or in the interest of the thousands of people like me.

5. Drugs and surgery and medical devices and procedures when use precisely after the individual patient’s exact needs are determined can be very valuable and lifesaving when things go wrong.

But they are dangerous if misused or overused or used on the wrong people or on people who do not need them.

For those who stay healthy, they are not needed except for accidents and communicable diseases.

And, because drugs and surgery and medical devices and procedures have serious risks and side effects they should only be used sparingly and when truly needed.

This will be most doable in years to come only when people do more of the first four things here than most do now.

Removing supplements would make this even less possible. It clearly moves things in the wrong direction.

If you can, write the FDA. In finding out about this proposal, I got a suggested letter to write to them on this subject. (Since the deadline for public comment is quite soon, do it as soon as you can because if you delay a few weeks from here you will be too late.)

I’ve included it here for any of you who would like to use its wording.

It has the address to mail it to.

If you do that, also feel free to include a copy of this post. (I’ve made my best effort to explain WHY these proposed guidelines are unneeded and would go against the public interest and harm the overall economy not just the supplement industry.)

Food and Drug Administration
Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305)
5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061
Rockville, Maryland 20852

Re: Draft FDA Guidance Document for NDIs; Docket # 2011-D-0376-001

Dear Sir or Madam,
I am writing you to express my grave concerns about your Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient (NDI) Notifications and Related Issues, which was issued for industry and other comment in early July 2011. Your Agency sprung this on both industry and consumers without seeking any prior input from either and your draft Guidance is badly flawed as a result. Therefore, I ask that you withdraw this document at once, consult with industry and consumers on a longer-term basis than the 90-day period, and come out with a new Guidance that better reflects the realities of the marketplace and the safe track record of supplements, including those with new dietary ingredients (NDIs).
In particular, this draft Guidance causes me concern because it:

Requires NDIs to meet drug-like safety tests
Requires NDIs to be proven through unnecessary, expensive tests
Elevates NDI submissions to food-additive or GRAS levels

Ignores the incredible, proven safety record of supplements, both new and old

Ignores the intent of Congress when passing DSHEA that "the Federal Government should not take any actions to impose unreasonable regulatory barriers limiting or slowing the flow of safe products and accurate information to consumers"
Through its imposition of unnecessary high costs, arbitrarily discriminates against small- and medium-sized businesses
Will put thousands of people out of work by destroying jobs in a time of economic decline
Turns a basic notification system for new supplements into an arbitrary approval system.

Is overly burdensome and destructive of Congress' express intent in DSHEA that "the right of access of consumers to safe dietary supplements is necessary in order to promote wellness."

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