Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Omega-3 fatty acids reduce mortality risk more effectively than statin drugs

Omega-3 fatty acids reduce mortality risk more effectively than statin drugs
A review published in the April 11 2005 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine analyzed the effects of various lipid lowering regimens on overall mortality and mortality from coronary heart disease. Researchers reviewed 97 clinical trials that included 137,140 men and women receiving treatment and 138,976 control subjects. This analysis compared the mortality risk associated with diet, lipid lowering drugs, omega-3 fatty acids (commonly found in fish oils) and niacin. Statins (a class of lipid lowering drugs) and omega-3 fatty acids significantly lowered both overall and coronary heart disease mortality risk during the trial periods. When compared to controls, overall mortality risk was reduced 13 percent by statin drugs and 23 percent by omega-3 fatty acids. When the risk of mortality from heart disease alone was examined, the use of statin drugs and omega-3 fatty acids were found to lower the risk by 22 and 32 percent, respectively. Since omega-3 fatty acids did not reduce cholesterol levels significantly, researchers suggest that protection against heart arrhythmias, in addition to its anti-inflammatory properties may be responsible for the reduction in mortality risk.

The Cholesterol Conspiracy

If you tell a lie often enough, it soon becomes accepted as truth. In 1991 Professor Edward R. Pickney, M.D., (former editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association) and Doctor Russell L. Smith, PhD.D., produced a book entitled The Cholesterol Conspiracy. In it, he says, "Hitler did it. He was not the first but he did it quite successfully. 'It' being the big lie. What is even worse, the big lie about cholesterol may well kill millions of people . . "

As I watch TV, the airwaves seem to be filled with advertisements for drugs like
Lipitor, Crestor, Pravachol, Zocor or Mevacor. These are a class of drugs that are intended to lower the bad (LDL) cholesterol in our blood. The theory being that high cholesterol causes heart disease and heart attacks. Drug ads are really funny. They show a beautiful young couple skipping through a field of flowers without a care in the world. The implication is that by taking their drug, you could look like this too. So . . . You go to your doctor and ask him if "xyz" drug would be good for you. What is he supposed to say? No? So of course he gives you the prescription you ask for and you are off to skip in the flowers. After all, he does not want to lose you as a patient. And we all lived happily ever after. Click here to access a very amusing (but serious) video concerning drug safety.

Baycol (cerivastatin) was marketed a few years ago as a "super-statin." They claimed that it was able to lower LDL cholesterol more than any other drug. Unfortunately, there were not enough human tests done on the drug and many people were severely injured and/or died. It was removed from the market in 2001. The newest statin, Crestor (rosuvastatin) has been marketed as a "super-statin" because AstraZeneca claims it reduces LDL cholesterol to a greater degree than the other approved statin drugs. Like Baycol, Crestor has a number of disturbing side effects:

  • Abdominal Pain
  • Arrhythmia
  • Asthenia
  • Myalgia
  • Myopathy
  • Pancreatitis
  • Rhabdomyolysis
  • Kidney Failure/Dialysis
  • Hospitalization
  • Death

Other statin drugs have a similar list of side effects. If you take a statin drug, you should contact your doctor immediately if you experience unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness, especially if accompanied by a fever or flulike symptoms or yellowing of the skin or eyes, abdominal pain, unexplained fatigue, dark colored urine or pale colored stools. These may be early symptoms of muscle or liver problems from taking a statin drug.

One of the most disturbing side effects (besides death) is muscle pain and weakness, a condition called rhabdomyolysis, most likely due to the depletion of Co-Q10, a nutrient that supports muscle function. Dr. Beatrice Golomb of San Diego, California is currently conducting a series of studies on statin side effects. The industry insists that only 2-3 percent of patients get muscle aches and cramps but in one study, Golomb found that 98 percent of patients taking Lipitor and one-third of the patients taking Mevachor (a lower-dose statin) suffered from muscle problems.

The test for muscle wasting or rhabdomyolysis is elevated levels of a chemical called creatine kinase (CK). But many people experience pain and fatigue even though they have normal CK levels.

Tahoe City resident Doug Peterson developed slurred speech, balance problems and severe fatigue after three years on Lipitor. —For two and a half years, he had no side effects at all. It began with restless sleep patterns, —twitching and flailing his arms. Loss of balance followed and the beginning of what Doug calls the "statin shuffle"—a slow, wobbly walk across the room. Fine motor skills suffered next. It took him five minutes to write four words, much of which was illegible. Cognitive function also declined. It was hard to convince his doctors that Lipitor could be the culprit, but when he finally stopped taking it, his coordination and memory improved.

John Altrocchi took Mevacor for three years without side effects; then he developed calf pain so severe he could hardly walk. He also experienced episodes of temporary memory loss.

For some, however, muscle problems show up shortly after treatment begins. Ed Ontiveros began having muscle problems within 30 days of taking Lipitor. He fell in the bathroom and had trouble getting up. The weakness subsided when he went off Lipitor.

In another case, reported in the medical journal Heart, a patient developed rhabdomyolysis after a single dose of a statin. Heel pain from plantar fascitis (heel spurs) is another common complaint among those taking statin drugs. One correspondent reported the onset of pain in the feet shortly after beginning statin treatment. She had visited an evangelist, requesting that he pray for her sore feet. He enquired whether she was taking Lipitor. When she said yes, he told her that his feet had also hurt when he took Lipitor. treatment.

Active people are much more likely to develop problems from statin use than those who are sedentary. In a study carried out in Austria, only six out of 22 athletes with familial hypercholesterolemia were able to endure statin treatment. The others discontinued treatment because of muscle pain.
By the way, other cholesterol-lowering agents besides
statin drugs can cause joint pain and muscle weakness.

A report in Southern Medical Journal described muscle pains and weakness in a man who took Chinese red rice, an herbal preparation that lowers cholesterol. Anyone suffering from myopathy, fibromyalgia, coordination problems and fatigue needs to look at low cholesterol plus Co-Q10 deficiency as a possible cause.

So what is rhabdomyolysis any way? It is the breakdown of muscle fibers resulting in the release of muscle fiber contents into the blood circulation, which can be toxic to the kidneys and can result in myoglobinuria and kidney damage.

Myoglobin is a damaging oxygen-binding protein pigment found in the skeletal muscle. When the skeletal muscle is damaged, myoglobin is released into the bloodstream. It is filtered out of the bloodstream by the kidneys. Myoglobin breaks down into potentially toxic compounds causing kidney failure.

Here are a few questions to consider.

  • If statin drugs cause the breakdown of muscle fiber (including the heart muscle) and a depletion of Coenzyme Q-10 (a nutrient that supports muscle function), could they actually CAUSE you to have a heart attack?
  • If the liver is responsible for regulating up to 80% of my cholesterol levels, why would I want to take statin drugs for lowering cholesterol considering that the number one known side effect of statin drugs is liver damage?
  • If cholesterol is the main culprit in heart disease, why don't veins ever get narrowed and blocked?
  • If high cholesterol foods are responsible for raising cholesterol levels, then why do people on the high-cholesterol Atkins Diet experience such a significant drop in cholesterol levels?
  • Why do Eskimos who eat a traditional diet of almost pure saturated fat (whale and seal blubber) have almost a zero incidence of heart disease?

Dr. Mike Gordon puts it this way:
If a person were healthy, would he/she need drugs to maintain this health? Did nature/God make bodies that were short on chemicals and long on organs? You certainly get this impression from the advertising and most MD's. I submit that the real issue is unhealthy daily habits that are allowed to continue by default when you take drugs to suppress the symptoms of this unhealth. Medicine was intended to be short term, if at all, until you were able to raise your level of health to no longer "need" the drug. Profits have since intervened. We are now told or it is implied that this or that drug is necessary for the rest of our life. This goes against all logic. What other live thing on the planet requires drugs to survive? This argument is made all the more obvious when you see the information I have included below. I would like to offer a few more stats for everyone to consider: "Total number of deaths caused by conventional medicine is an astounding 783,936 per year. It is now evident that the American medical system is the leading cause of death and injury in the US. (By contrast, the number of deaths attributable to heart disease in 2001 was 699,697, while the number of deaths attributable to cancer was 553,251" These stats are from Life Extension Magazine March 04. Article DEATH BY MEDICINE You and I are responsible for being healthy. It comes from healthy choices each day, not in a bottle. Dr. Mike Gordon

Check out some surprising information about Statin drugs:

Dangers of Statin Drugs: What You Haven’t Been Told About Popular Cholesterol-Lowering Medicines

Can Your Cholesterol Be Too Low?

Cholesterol is NOT the Cause of Heart Disease

Debunking The Cholesterol Myth

The Benefits Of High Cholesterol

Cholesterol—How Low Should You Go?

Statin drug side effects

Stopped Our Statins
Side Effects, Resources, General Info

Cholesterol Conspiracy Blog by Ladd McNamara - There are two sides to every story; discover some of the less publicized facts about cholesterol-lowering drugs

Diet comparable to statin drugs in lowering LDL cholesterol

Statins are a class of drugs commonly prescribed to treat elevated cholesterol levels, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. A new study published in the Feb 2005 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has found that the regular intake of certain foods may lower cholesterol as effectively as statin drugs. The participants, who each had elevated cholesterol levels, underwent three separate one-month dietary treatments assigned randomly: a very-low saturated fat diet (control diet), the control diet plus 20 mg lovastatin (statin diet), and a diet high in vegetables, soy protein foods, almonds, high- fiber foods (oats, barley, psyllium, okra and eggplant), and fats derived from plant sterols and stanols (portfolio diet). The Portfolio diet and statin diet had similar results. The portfolio diet reduced LDL cholesterol by 30%, the statin diet by 33%, and the control diet by 9%. Twenty-six percent achieved their lowest LDL cholesterol levels on the portfolio diet. Dietary combinations of cholesterol lowering foods may have an effect similar to statin drugs in reducing mild-to-moderate LDL cholesterol levels and achieving goals for primary prevention of heart disease.
Physicians have for the most part been very discouraged with the results of First-Step Therapy and have a tendency to simply write a prescription without offering their patients an opportunity to improve their clinical situation with healthy lifestyle changes. This is happening because physicians believe that their patients will simply not be able to make these lifestyle changes or even if they do, they will not be that effective. This attitude along with the tremendous amount of marketing by the pharmaceutical industry directly to the patient has led individuals to believe that their best option is to just begin taking medication. However, it is becoming more evident each and every day that there is also an inherit risk with taking any medication. In fact, adverse drug reactions to properly prescribed and properly administered medication are the FOURTH leading cause of death in this country.

Talk to your physician about the side effects of statin drugs which might include:

Inability to concentrate
Lowered sex drive
Weakened immune system
Shortness of breath
Liver damage
Kidney failure
Nerve pain
Muscle weakness
Rhabdomyolysis (painful bursting of muscle cells)

Explain your concern about these kinds of side effects and educate yourself about the Cholesterol Myth. Click on (and read) my post on the Cholesterol Conspiracy to learn why statin drugs are not the best answer for dealing with heart disease.
Cholesterol MythCholesterol Conspiracy

The Healthy for Life Program is an effective, internet based lifestyle program that has been shown in clinical trials to significantly lower your cholesterol, lower your blood pressure, prevent diabetes, reverse pre-clinical diabetes, and decrease your risk of heart disease. What is even more exciting is the fact that there was also a significant weight loss in those participants that needed to lose weight. That's right. These are healthy lifestyles that simply have a side effect of permanent weight loss. Participants from all over the country are joining the Healthy for Life Program as a way to protect their health or even regain their health as they decrease their dependence on medication and begin releasing fat. I encourage you to take a closer look at this exciting new program by clicking on to the link below:

Healthy For Life Program

In a 12 week clinical study, people on the Healthy For Life program significantly lowered their cholesterol.
Total cholesterol dropped from an average of 206 mg/dL (Baseline) to 176 mg/dL (Final). Most of this decline resulted from a drop in LDL cholesterol from an average of 134 mg/dL (Baseline) to 111 mg/dL (Final).

 Pass this by your doctor as an alternative to cholesterol lowering drugs and have him monitor the results. I'm sure you will both be pleased with the outcome.

P.S. No nasty side effects

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Supplemental vitamin D and calcium reduces risk of diabetes

The incidence of type-2 diabetes is lower among women who get adequate calcium and supplement with vitamin D. Researchers used data from the Nurses Health Study, which includes over 83,000 women, to study the relationship of calcium and vitamin D intake to type-2 diabetes.

After 20 years of follow-up, it was concluded that a combined daily intake of over 1,200 mg of calcium and more than 800 IU of vitamin D was associated with a 33 percent lower risk of type-2 diabetes. Interestingly, dietary vitamin D intake did not appear to provide any statistically significant benefit. But the women who supplemented with at least 400 IU of vitamin D had a 13% lower risk of diabetes when compared to those who took less than 100 IU per day. Both dietary and supplemental calcium resulted in decreased risk of type-2 diabetes, and those with overall intakes above 1,200 mg had a 21% lower risk than those who got less than 600 mg per day.

Elevated intakes of calcium and vitamin D, especially from supplements, are significantly associated with lower incidence of type-2 diabetes.

Diabetes Care 29:650-656, 2006

Fluoride: It's Not Just For Breakfast Any More!

I picked up a tube of Crest toothpaste the other day and read a warning that caught my eye. It said, "If more (toothpaste) than used for brushing is accidentally swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away." What is this poison? It is a toxic substance that you may be unknowingly ingesting on a regular basis. In their infinite wisdom, your local government may have decided to mass medicate you and your water supply. The Toxic substance is called fluoride.

About 2/3 of the nations water supplies are treated with fluoride products, described by the U.S. Public Health Service as insecticides, rodenticides, and fungicides. In addition, fluoridated toothpastes and mouth rinses are spit into bathroom sinks all over the country to end up in the waste water. Before this water can be discharged into rivers and lakes, it must be treated to remove raw sewage and solid wastes. The fluoride, however, is not removed.

Water fluoridation is a peculiarly American phenomenon. It started at a time when asbestos lined our pipes, lead was added to gasoline, PCBs filled our transformers and DDT was deemed so "safe and effective" that officials felt no qualms spraying kids in school classrooms and seated at picnic tables. One by one all these chemicals have been banned, but fluoridation remains untouched.

For too many decades we heard from scientists who worked for the cigarette companies that cigarettes were not addictive, even in the face of mounting evidence of harm. When I was a child, we had an old black and white television. This was a few years before they came out with color television. I remember watching a TV commercial that featured a doctor in a white lab coat who stood there and said, "Six out of ten doctors prefer Chesterfield cigarettes." No one died from smoking one cigarette, one pack, or one carton. But after twenty years, cancers started to "mysteriously" appear. We were told these deaths were unrelated to smoking.

Now, the American Cancer Society states that, "During 1995, approximately 2.1 million people in developed countries died as a result of smoking." Tobacco use is responsible for nearly one in five deaths in the U.S. Scientists were wrong about tobacco; tobacco was not safe and neither is fluoride.

There are people (ADA) that would have us believe that fluoride in the water system will greatly reduce the amount of cavities in children. After all, there have been many studies that have proven this fact, right? A story always sounds true until you hear the other side. In the largest U.S. study on fluoridation and tooth decay, the U.S. Public Health Service took the dental records of over 39,000 school children and showed that the decay rate of permanent teeth was virtually the same in fluoridated and non-fluoridated areas. The worst tooth decay in the U.S. occurs in the poor neighborhoods of our largest cities, the vast majority of which have been fluoridated for decades. In New Zealand, they found that tooth decay statistics from 60,000 children showed fluoridation has no significant effect on the decay of permanent teeth (Colquhoun, J. Community Dentistry and Oralepidemiologyy 13:37-41 1985). Major dental researchers also concede that fluoride is ineffective at preventing pit and fissure tooth decay, which is 85 percent of the tooth decay experienced by children (JADA 1984; Gray 1987; White 1993; Pinkham 1999). In a 1992, a study of 26,000 elementary school children found that the more fluoride that a child consumes, the more cavities appear in the teeth (Study conducted by University of Arizona headed by professor emeritus Cornelius Steelink).

Click on the following article to read how an ardent supporter of water fluoridation changed his thinking and went from advocate to adversary:

According to the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology , they have concluded that fluoride added to the public water supply, or prescribed as controlled-dose supplements, delivers no discernible health benefit, and causes a higher incidence of adverse health effects. Click here to read and download the article.

So what kind of health effects are we talking about? Fluoride is more toxic than lead and like lead in minute doses, accumulates in and can be damaging to brain/mind development of children, producing abnormal behavior in animals and reducing IQ in humans, especially in conjunction with deficiencies of key nutrients such as calcium, iodine and vitamins. It can also contribute to many disease processes. Because it is almost as toxic as arsenic,fluoridess ability to play havoc in the human body should surprise no one.

Click here to read an article that talks about studies that have shown that fluoride consumption has a link to lowered fertility and brain dysfunction.

Click here to review an article that links excess fluorideconsumptionn to kidney disease.


Fluoride & the Brain: Impact on Childrens IQ
Fluoride & Pineal Gland: Click here to read article.
Up until the 1990s, no research had ever been conducted to determine the impact of fluoride on the pineal gland - a small gland located between the two hemispheres of the brain that regulates the production of the hormone melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate the onset of puberty and helps protect the body from cell damage caused by free radicals.

Fluoride linked to under-active thyroid hypothyroidismm)

Bone Cancer and Birth Defects

Dental Fluorosis - Excessive ingestion of fluoride during the early childhood years may damage the tooth-forming cells, leading to a defect in the enamel known as dental fluorosis.
It has been estimated that 63% of the water systems in the U.S. have fluoride in them. Many communities have been or are beginning to fight this trend. ManyEuropeann countries have succeeded in keeping it out of their water and have experienced a similar (if not better) decline in tooth decay as compared to the U.S. and Canada. Click here to read the whole study.

Countries That Have Banned Water Fluoridation
Holland, Romania,
Belgium, Hungary, Russia (15%),
China, India, Spain,
Denmark, Japan, Sweden,
France, Norway, Germany,
Greece, Portugal, UK (10%),

If you are still having a hard time making up your mind, click on this last reference and look at the rest of the story.
What Your Dentist Isn't Telling You About Fluoride

The Fluoride Deception

After documenting all the scientific evidence for why fluoridation is a bad idea, a common response has been: "If it's so obviously bad, why do my dentist, the Surgeon General, and my toothpaste company all say it is so wonderful?"

In his book, "The Fluoride Deception," Chrisopher Bryson begins his research as an investigative reporter to discover mountains of scientific evidence that point to a cover-up concerning fluoride's potential for human harm. He uncovers secret government and industry documents showing that the aluminum, steel, atomic weapons, phosphate fertilizer, and other industries all have been aware for more than 50 years that one of the most serious and costly pollutants these industries release is airborne fluorides. The cold war obsession with building ever more nuclear weapons to win the "arms race" cemented cooperation between government and industry to promote fluoridation. The US Public Health Service during the 1940s was still a division of the Department of Commerce and its head was a top attorney for Alcoa. Bryson found meetings and letters between the military, Public Health Service, and industry where the idea of putting a shiny public relations image on fluoride by adding it to water first surfaced.

In an interview with Christopher Bryson, he put it in his own words.
I'm a reporter. I don't know how many modern stories have the same epic reach of history and rich cast of characters as you will find in "The Fluoride Deception."
I stumbled on the story in 1993. I was working in New York as a BBC radio producer and was asked to find "an American angle" on water fluoridation. Ralph Nader put me in touch with a couple of government scientists (William Hirzy at the EPA and Robert Carton at the U.S. Army) who opposed water fluoridation, and explained how the science underpinning the nation's fluoride safety standards was fraudulent.
I met the medical writer Joel Griffiths whose 1992 story in Covert Action Information Bulletin laid out the monumental scale of industrial fluoride poisoning, and explained how industry had long manipulated the public debate over water fluoridation.
I just kept reporting.
I interviewed the famous chemist Philip Sadtler. He told me how he had investigated in the aftermath of the most notorious air pollution disaster in U.S. history, the 1948 Halloween tragedy in Donora, Pennsylvania, in which a couple of dozen people were killed and hundreds were injured. He had measured high levels of fluoride in the blood of local citizens in the disaster aftermath. His work was dismissed at the time, but after Sadtler's death I uncovered a secret autopsy report on one of the Donora dead, performed by Alcoa, which found similar levels of fluoride in the blood. Sadtler had been right, it seems.

With today's increasing revelations about drug industry manipulation of science and government campaigns of deception, maybe the time is ripe for Bryson's book. Some people won't be willing to believe that their own dentist may have been duped. They won't feel comfortable reading this book. But for everyone curious enough to glimpse into the dark side of science manipulated for profit, this book is for them.

Fluoride and Bone Cancer in Boys

The Fluoride controversy has been heating up in the news again this week. It seems that a student at the Harvard Dental school submitted her thesis in which she raised very serious concerns about fluoride's safety and its potential to cause bone cancer in teenage boys. The findings raise fundamental questions about the wisdom of adding fluoride to tap water. Click here to read her 27 page thesis. Her advisor, Dr. Chester Douglas, is alleged to have covered up the facts and/or lied about the results of her work when reporting the results of his federally funded research to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). Dr. Douglas is on the payroll of Colgate. Click on the following article to read more:
Harvard Study:
Strong Link Between Fluoridated Water and Bone Cancer in Boys
Department Chair With Industry Ties Misrepresented Results to Federal Authorities

Fox News: Study Links Fluoride to Bone Cancer in Men

Obviously, this is not the first time that someone has tried to make this connection.
Click on the following article from the Taipei Times: Fluoridated water can cause bone cancer in boys - June 2005

Newsweek (2/5/90)Don't Drink the Water? . . . studies indicate that fluoride might be a carcinogen.

The Fluoride Bombshell. Oakland Tribune (2/16/90)

HEALTH EFFECTS: Fluoride & Osteosarcoma (Bone Cancer)

Fluoride Linked To Bone Cancer in Boys

I will be following this story and will let you know what happens next.

Science and Supplement News: Grapeseed Extract to Lower Blood Pressure

Grapeseed extract may reduce both high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. A small study at the University of California at Davis tested grapeseed extract among those with metabolic syndrome, a diagnosis given to patients who have a combination of high blood pressure, abdominal obesity, high cholesterol and high blood sugar estimated to affect 40 percent of American adults. Only 24 men and women participated in the study. They were divided into three groups of eight. One group received 150 milligrams of grapeseed extract daily; the second group got 300 milligrams; the third group took a placebo. After one month, blood pressure dropped among both groups taking the grapeseed extract. And LDL (“bad”) cholesterol also dropped in the 300 milligrams group. The cholesterol reductions were greatest among patients whose cholesterol was highest at the outset of the study. The researchers are now testing grapeseed extract on pre-hypertension patients, those with systolic (top number) pressure of 120-139 mmHg, and diastolic (bottom number) blood pressure of 80-89 mmHg.


Friday, March 03, 2006

Depressed and Diabetic

Do you, or someone you know struggle with some of the following: fatigue, high cholesterol, carbohydrate/sugar cravings, weight gain, high blood pressure or have you been diagnosed with atypical depression? This book could be the breakthrough you've been waiting for.

It sounds too good to be true, but when the peer reviewed scientific literature backs up the claims, you have to sit up and take notice.

In this fabulous book, Dr. McLeod shares his incredible & accidental discovery that a nutrient deficiency (Chromium) is at the root of a glucose metabolism problem "insulin resistance" that can lead to a suite of health symptoms (above) that include atypical depression.

The book outlines how a simple supplementation with Chromium Picolinate at the right dosage along with excerise and diet changes, lead to dramatic and complete relief for many people in as little as 2 days. Dr. McLeod chronicles the story of this discovery as he experiences the joy and surprise of many of his patients as they encounter relief from depression (and much more). Most of them report a dramatic elevation in mood, increased energy, reduced cravings for carbohydrates and vivid color in their dreams. One patient (Sarah) found that chromium picolinate relieved almost all her symptoms of PMS. She said, "Chromium eliminates my irritability, depression, hyper-sensitivity to light and noise, craving for sweets, cramps, and I'm able to work and be around people." Another patient found that chromium reduced their craving for alcohol.

Unfortunately, western diets that are high in refined carbohydrates such as white potatoes, white rice, white sugar, white bread, pastries and pasta help to increase urinary excretion of chromium by up to 300%. This is one reason why Type II diabetes is most common in countries with a high consumption of refined carbohydrates. When it comes to food, a good rule of thumb is . . ."If it's white, it ain't right!"

Chromium deficiency is common in the United States. Taking supplemental chromium has been shown to significantly improve insulin function, decrease fasting glucose, cholesterol and triglyceride levels and also to increase beneficial HDL cholesterol. The protective role of chromium is further supported by the fact that diabetes is rare in Africa, China and other countries where whole, unrefined foods are the staples in the diet (other factors preventing diabetes in those countries include high-fiber, low calorie diets and exercise). Taking 200 to 1,000 mcg of tri-valent chromium (also called GTF or "Glucose Tolerance Factor" chromium) can help control symptoms in persons deficient in chromium but is not enough to completely control or reverse diabetes. A good diet, exercise and possibly other nutritional supplements are also essential.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Lycopene and Prostate Cancer

Benefits of Lycopene

Red tomatoes contain lycopene, an antioxidant that has been much in the news. There are in fact over 450 scientific articles linking lycopene to the prevention of cancer. Perhaps the most exciting of these was a randomized trial at Wayne State, Detroit, that tested the effect of adding lycopene to the diets of men undergoing conventional treatment for prostate cancer. Twenty-six men who had been newly diagnosed with prostate cancer were randomly assigned to receive a tomato extract containing 30 mg of lycopene or no supplementation for three weeks before the complete removal of their prostates (radical prostatectomy).

Nearly twice as many men who took lycopene had small tumors compared to those who didn't get the tomato extract (80 vs. 45 percent). Men who took lycopene were also nearly four times more likely to have the disease confined to the prostate than those who didn't take it (i.e., 73 vs. 18 percent had organ-confined disease). When it came to the widespread involvement of the prostate in cancer-like changes, 33 percent of the controls had this vs. zero percent of the lycopene group! And the average prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels were also lower in the lycopene group compared with the controls. (Kucuk 2002) Those are impressive numbers that should be tested in larger, more rigorous studies.

You can of course buy lycopene supplements, and you might need to in order to get huge therapeutic doses. But for most purposes dietary sources of lycopene are readily available: tomato, tomato products and some other fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon. But make sure to drizzle your tomatoes with olive oil, the way the Italians generally do, since lycopene needs some oil to be properly digested and absorbed. Although I generally favor raw vegetables, scientists tell us that processed tomato products are rich in lycopenes. This includes tomato paste, tomato sauce and, of course, ketchup, which beneficially contains some oil.

Benefits of Organic

Talking of ketchup, a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) study from the end of 2004 showed that organic ketchup has three times as much lycopene as some commercial brands. It also contains organic cane sugar as opposed to high-fructose corn syrup, which could be a boon to people with corn allergies. The USDA group tested 13 commercial ketchups – six popular national brands, three organic, two store brands and two from fast-food chains. They found that the organic brands were the most abundant in lycopene: one contained at much as 183 micrograms per gram of ketchup. By contrast, non-organic brands averaged 100 micrograms per gram. In fact, one fast-food brand contained a mere 60 micrograms per gram. Happily, Heinz is now marketing an organic ketchup in supermarkets. (Ishida 2004)

Choosing a tomato product for its lycopene content is relatively easy. First of all, read the label. Reject any product that uses artificial coloring, flavoring or preservatives. Then hold the bottle up to the light. Look for the darkest red color. Since lycopene is the natural red pigment in the tomato, the deeper the shade of red, the more of this phytonutrient you are likely to get.

A word of caution, though: one should use ketchup in moderation – even the organic brands are generally loaded with sugar. Despite what President Reagan thought, ketchup is not a vegetable, although I'm sure he would have taken comfort from this latest USDA finding.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Healthy, Wealthy and Wise

I'm sure we are all familiar with statements like, "Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise." Or how about, "If you have your health, you have everything!"When it comes to fitness and health, a couple of recent studies show that money matters. That is, the greater the income people have, the better the odds they'll be physically fit.

In a 1998 Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System report, the Centers for Disease Control notes that members of households making less than $20,000 per year are 50% less likely to exercise than those taking home $50,000 or more. Likewise, a Shape Up America study shows that people with little disposable income are more likely to fill their spare time with passive activities such as watching television. Let's face it: It's cheap entertainment. If most of your focus is on putting food on the table and paying the rent, when you do have free time you want to vegetate in front of the TV.

These studies aren't the first to show a correlation between wealth and health. In 1996, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Report of the Surgeon General stated that the percentage of the population reporting no leisure-time physical activity is higher among the less affluent than the more affluent. "In general, persons with lower levels of education and income are least active in their leisure time," the report states.

A survey by Yankelovich Partners Inc., commissioned by Shape Up America, revealed a slew of obstacles that make it more difficult for poor people to become more active and eat a better diet. Among the findings were:

One-third of respondents said they did not have anyone in the household to watch the children, which prevented them from getting more activity outside the home.
Lack of access to parks, sidewalks, and recreational areas is a major deterrent for lower-income Americans trying to be more physically active.
Over half of those making less than $15,000 a year (51%) say the inability to afford a gym or health club keeps them from becoming more physically active.
One in four Americans making less than $15,000 a year cited the cost of healthier foods, such as fruits and vegetables, as an obstacle.
Low-income Americans worry about the safety of their neighborhoods for undertaking outdoor activity.

Although lack of money may be part of the problem, lack of time and knowledge also plays a part. Often, lower-income people don't have time to exercise. For example, to make ends meet, some poor people, especially those in one-parent households, hold down more than one job or work long hours. Still, all that's needed, according to federal guidelines, is 30 minutes of exercise five times per week -- something that can be squeezed into the most demanding schedules.

People who take an active role in staying healthy tend to have lower medical bills. When they eat right, exercise and take quality supplements, they tend to get sick less often and take fewer visits to the doctor. This translates to fewer sick days and less time taken off from work to take care of children. When I hear people complain of the high prices for healthty food or supplements, I want to ask, "Have you priced heart disease, cancer, diabetes and the like lately?" Some of the drugs that doctors prescribe for these ailments can run over $100 per month. The cost of health and life insurance can be drastically lower for someone in good health. A 35 year old (non-smoker)male can buy $500,000 of life insurance for $34 per month. If he smokes, it can be four times as much!

Take control of your health today. Carve out thirty minutes of every day to do some form of exercise that you enjoy. It could be as simple as taking a brisk walk. Choose to eat a few extra helpings of fresh fruits and vegetables too.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Alzheimer's and Dental Amalgam Fillings

The controversy regarding amalgam fillings has been raging for over 100 years. Yet one thing is clear: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have both declared the mercury in amalgam fillings as a toxic, dangerous substance that should not be touched or released into the environment. OSHA requires that dental amalgam materials be stored in unbreakable, hazardous waste containers, away from heat and no one should handle amalgam material without protection.

If OSHA has determined that the mercury released from amalgam is so dangerous that it can’t be touched, then why in heaven’s name are we putting this stuff in our mouths?”

-- Dr. Myron Wentz, Founder of Sanoviv Medical Institute and author of "Mouthful of Poison"

A Mouth Full of Poison: The Truth about Mercury Amalgam Fillings

How Mercury Causes Brain Neuron Degeneration
Watch a movie from the University of Calgary, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Physiology & Biophysics.

IAOMT: The Smoking Tooth
Watch a movie or download a PDF file that illustrates the scientific evidence of toxic mercury vapors that can leak from an amalgam filling.

Mercury-Free Dentistry at Sanoviv Medical Institute

Click here to see the chairman of the department of chemistry from the University of Kentucky talk about his findings and his ten year fight to expose some of the causes of Alzheimer's. Mercury in amalgam fillings is again the major culprit.
Nutritional supplements slow aging of brain

A study published in the December 2004 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has found a correlation between nutritional supplement use and improved cognition later in life. Cognition is the mental process of thought, including perception, reasoning, intuition and memory.

The researchers found that supplement users scored higher on mental speed tests than those who did not take supplements. Fish oil supplement users were found to have greater red blood cell membrane omega-3 fatty acid content, which was correlated with improved cognitive function later in life. A greater ratio of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) to arachidonic acid was also related to better cognitive function.

The results of this study are consistent with previous reports that dietary supplements may reduce dementia risk and suggest that optimizing omega-3 fatty acid intake may improve the retention of cognitive function in the elderly.
High folate intake may reduce risk of Alzheimer's disease

Study findings have suggested an association between Alzheimer's disease (AD) risk and several vitamins when used as preventive agents. In a recent study published in the journal Alzheimer's and Dementia, researchers examined whether total intake of antioxidant vitamins (E, C, carotenoids) and B vitamins (folate, B6, and B12) is associated with a reduced risk of AD.

Participants were 579 nondemented elderly volunteers from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging who completed dietary diaries and recorded supplement intake. After more than 9 nine years of follow-up, AD developed in 57 participants. Higher intake of folate, vitamin E, and vitamin B6 were associated individually with a decreased risk of AD after adjusting for age, gender, education, and caloric intake. When these 3 vitamins were analyzed together, only total intake of folate at or above the RDA was associated with a significant decreased risk of AD.

The findings of this study suggest that total intake of folate at or above the RDA may be associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer's Disease.

Alzheimer's and Dementia 2005 Jul:1 (1):11-18.
Both of my parents have Alzheimer's. It is a devastating disease that steals someone away form you a little at a time. Some people call it the "long goodbye." Currently there is no cure but there seem to be some things that one can do to protect themselves.

Resveratrol may help protect against Alzheimer's

A study published in the November 11 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry has shown that resveratrol, a compound found in grapes, red wine, peanuts and berries, lowers the levels of the amyloid-beta peptides, which cause much of the neurological damage associated with Alzheimer's disease. Researchers administered resveratrol to cells which produce human amyloid-beta and tested the compound's effectiveness by analyzing amyloid-beta levels inside and outside the cells. They found that amyloid-beta levels in the treated cells were much lower than those in untreated cells. It is thought that resveratrol acts by stimulating the degradation of these amyloid-beta peptides.

Although more research is needed, researchers suggest that this natural compound may have a therapeutic potential in Alzheimer's disease. Resveratrol is currently being researched for a potential role in fighting other human amyloid-related diseases such as Huntington's, Parkinson's and prion diseases.

J. Biol. Chem. Vol. 280; Issue 45: 37377-37382, November 11 2005.