Archive for December, 2008

The Benefits of Tea

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

I had mentioned earlier the benefits of green tea. Let’s look at the September 2006 issue of JAMA. Researchers tracked the health of 40,000 adult participants from 40 to 79 years of age for 11 years. They had no history of stroke, heart disease, or cancer when the study began. Evaluating the death rate of participants compared to their tea drinking consumption rate, researchers found that those who drank five or more cups of green tea a day were 26 percent less likely to die of cardiovascular disease, compared with those who drank less than a cup a day.

Both black tea and green tea come from the plant camellia sinensis.The difference is in how they are processed. Black tea leaves are fermented and oxidized, green tea leaves are simply dried. This may be why green tea is able to retain higher levels of antioxidants called catechins.

As we know the antioxidants bond with molecules called oxidants, or free radicals, which may otherwise bond with healthy cells and damage them. There are claims that green tea may help prevent cancers of the skin, breast or stomach. Green tea and green tea extracts have also been used to improve mental alertness, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and help in weight loss. (Just look at the ads today.)

Researchers do not know how much green tea is needed to reap these benefits. Green tea usually contains caffeine, and drinking too much caffeine can create other problems. Decaffeinated green tea may be the answer here. Or there are extracts available as a supplement.

Predictions for 2009

Saturday, December 27th, 2008

A food and beverage analyst offers his insights on what’s in store for 2009.

Christopher Shanahan, research analyst, Global Chemicals, Materials and Food, Frost and Sullivan, forecasts “The expected effect of the global financial situation and volatile food prices is that a growing number of consumers will begin to switch away from fresh meats, fresh fruits and vegetables, and value-added food products, and begin to consume more shelf-stable and relatively more affordable alternatives.”
What does it mean if he is right in his assessment?

First of all we know that food loses its nutrition as it ages. And if the soil doesn’t have the nutrients needed for this particular plant to grow it doesn’t have all the nutrients at harvest. So let’s assume that the plant has 100 percent of its nutrients at harvest. If it is quick frozen most of the nutrients are saved. If it is consumed shortly after harvest most of the nutrients are consumed. If it is canned it loses nutrients, and if high heat is used in the process even more is lost.

If Mr. Shanahan’s predictions are true it means we will lower our nutritious intake of food. Most foods are made stable by removing nutrients so that the food does not spoil. Have you noticed that most stored foods don’t get insects in them anymore? That’s because the insect knows there is no nutrition left and it’s a waste of their time to consume it.

High prices are a concern. Just look at your cost of health care for one. Think if we would change our habits and eat rich wholesome food with all its nutrition in store we wouldn’t need the health care for many self-induced illnesses. Foods without hydrogenation and whole foods like butter and coconut oil, lean meats, green leafy vegetables, instead of hydrogenated cooking oils would be much healthier for us.

My prediction for 2009 is that if we take responsibility for our health and wellness and do a little research on what is and isn’t good for us, we will be much healthier by the end of 2009 than at its beginning.

Christopher Shanahan’s prediction comes from http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com December 17, 2008

Holiday Wishes For You

Friday, December 26th, 2008

Will you start out the New Year with a Health Plan? Don’t just do it piecemeal. Take it as a complete program and it becomes easier to stick with your health improvement plan-eating right, exercising regularly, breathing from the diaphragm to get air into your whole lung, meditation, quit smoking. What can you do to improve your health? And remember it’s never too late to start.

Dr. Jennifer Peterson uses the example of when you are hungry you eat, but before you are hungry you plan how to get food. She says, do the same for your health. Go to a doctor when you need but plan to stay healthy and follow the plan. It’s easier when you do it with another person or a group. I have a friend who as a young woman decided to run a marathon. Basically she had never run before. She found training with a group and running together made the journey much easier. Now she’s signed up for another run in 2009.

When you’re making your plan don’t think shape – think health. The healthy body will come to the shape it’s supposed to be.

Take these last remaining days of the year to plan your health program. Look up books, go to the web, check with an alternative health program, make the decision to be healthy. Attitude is the greatest tool to achieve your goals.

NIACINAMIDE

Thursday, December 25th, 2008

NIACINAMIDE © by C. Norman Shealy, M.D., Ph.D.
 
Two weeks ago I wrote about the benefit of Niacin in lowering cholesterol and triglycerides as well as raising HDL cholesterol.  Another chemical variation of Niacin, Niacinamide (also called Nicotinamide), has far less effect on cholesterol but it has tremendous  positive effect on mental status, memory and arthritis!
 
Niacinamide is one of the mainstays of orthomolecular psychiatry, with benefits in schizophrenia, paranoia and hallucinations, as well as in insomnia.  It also has been beneficial in patients with early Parkinsonism.  Nicotinamide also offers significant protection of the brain in traumatic brain injury.  Niacinamide also reduces homocysteine neuronal toxicity.  One of the most interesting effects is that it induces differentiation of embryonic stem cells into insulin secreting cells.  It also is particularly helpful if used early after onset of Type I diabetes
 
Niacinamide does dilate blood vessels, although not as much as Niacin, and helps remove plaque from arteries. Niacinamide also has anti-inflammatory effects. A drug, Nicarandil ®, derived from Niacinamide, has many too many complications for any consideration.  And some of those same problems can occur with the large dosages of Niacinamide required to treat psychoses and arthritis. The major “side effects” of Niacinamide are elevation of liver enzymes and diarrhea.  Topically Niacinamide reduces yellowing, red blotchiness and hyperpigmentation spots on the skin.
 
High dose Nicotinamide (or Niacinamide) was introduced to treat both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis over 50 years ago. Generally this means 3.5 to 4 grams of Niacinamide daily.  If you choose this route, and certainly it is safer than long term NSAID therapy, you should have liver enzymes checked at 6 months, one year and every year thereafter.  And if you develop diarrhea, obviously this is not the treatment for you!

www.NormShealy.com 

He was among the first physicians ever to specialize in the resolution of chronic pain.

A Different View of the Crestor JUPITER Study

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

This article by Dr.Graveline is very important to me because I almost died from prescription meds. This Jupiter test shows how twisted our studies can be.

“This was definitely a pretty stunning result,” said Dr. Steven E. Nissen, chairman of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. “I, for one, will be checking CRP in more patients. If it’s elevated, we will be treating them.” So went this story in the New York Times on 18 November 2008 as reported by Tara Parker-Pope, referring to results from the JUPITER study.

But there is definitely another way of looking at this. The Vytorin® – Enhance study – scandal broke only a few months ago and I said then that no study better proved the irrelevancy of cholesterol as a marker for cardiovascular risk. In that study the drug company compared the effectiveness of plain, generic, inexpensive Zocor® with the more expensive Vytorin®, consisting of the combination of Zocor® with Zetia®.

Zetia® had already made millions, if not billions, by convincing the medical community that the addition of Zetia® to gain an extra measure of cholesterol reduction was worth the extra cost. So enter gladiator Zetia® into the arena with the result that although Vytorin® resulted in much greater cholesterol reduction, the benefit in plaque status was no better than with Zocor® alone.

There is only one way to interpret the data. Reduction in cholesterol is irrelevant to plaque maintenance. The anti-inflammatory effect of the plain statin is where the cardiovascular benefit lay. This was heresy. Cardiologists and internists were stumbling over each other trying to explain this away. But no further explanation was necessary. After four decades of brainwashing us about the evils of cholesterol, they had done a magnificent job of shooting themselves in the foot with this trial. The last thing they wanted the public to know was that the billions of dollars recently spent on cholesterol reduction was unnecessary. Cholesterol was not the enemy, inflammation was. My grandmother was right all along with her eggs and butter. 

I could hardly believe it when a few weeks later I first heard about the preliminary results from the JUPITER trial. They had chosen patients with normal levels of cholesterol but with elevated levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) to study the effect of Crestor®. Predictably those with elevated levels of CRP got the best response to the statin. The test, which can cost $20 to $50, measures inflammation. There is now little doubt that people with high CRP are at higher risk for heart attack, regardless of cholesterol levels. 

A reasonable interpretation of the data tells me that cholesterol is not the CV risk marker we once thought. C-reactive protein comes very close to being the best available marker for CV risk. Those at risk based on elevated CRP levels should be treated with an appropriate dose of statin or other anti-inflammatory agent.


Physicians have been blindly dosing statins at cholesterol reducing doses when all the time it appears the dose should be based on inflammatory response. Why use 80 mg of a statin for example with its established potential for glial cell inhibition and mevalonate blockade when much lower anti-inflammatory doses are all that is needed. Naturally the statin lobby would prefer to treat both cholesterol and CRP elevations. In so doing they are denying the tens of thousands of statin disabled victims as well as the underlying biochemistry in their priority to maximize profits.
 The issue here is side effects. We had to wait until 2002 for Frank Pfrieger to announce to the world the special importance to the human brain of cholesterol. The thousands of cases of amnesia, confusion, forgetfulness, disorientation and dementia associated with statin use are because of the effect of statins to inhibit glial cell cholesterol synthesis. The higher the statin dose, the greater the glial cell inhibition.

Shortly after this reality ( which incidentally, the drug companies failed to warn us about ) we learned that in their capacity as reductase inhibitors these statins blocked the vital mevalonate pathway in each of our cells, the pathway that synthesizes not only cholesterol but also CoQ10, dolichols, selenoproteins, Rho and normal phosphorylation. To block the mevalonate pathway sufficiently to inhibit cholesterol synthesis means that inevitably you are reducing bioavailability of these other vital biochemicals as well.

It was Shovman who told us in 2002 about the powerful anti-inflammatory effect of statins and Hilgendorph, who suggested in 2003 such effect was obtained at doses far lower than those required for cholesterol reduction. The pursuit of cholesterol reduction has been misguided from the very beginning. It is perhaps our most essential biochemical, intimately involved in every aspect of our lives. The JUPITER data has served to guide treatment along its proper path.

Duane Graveline MD MPH,www.spacedoc.net Former USAF Flight Surgeon
, Former NASA Astronaut, Retired Family Doctor
 

Omega-3 EPA better than DHA in Asthma Study

Saturday, December 20th, 2008

The omega-3 fatty acid EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) is a more potent inflammatory inhibitor than DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) a UK and US study showed.

The Anglo-American researchers obtained cells from the lungs of 21 asthmatic adults. The pure EPA and EPA-rich media suppressed the infection of the asthma cells more than the DHA and DHA-rich media. The study showed the greater the EPA content of fish oil formulation the greater the inhibition of the inflammation.

The European Federation of Allergy and Airway Diseases Patients Association said over 30 million Europeans suffer from asthma, costing Europe 17.7 billion euros every year. The cost in lost production was around 9.8 billion euros. No figure was given for the US.

The complete report can be found at www.nutraingredients-use.com,December 18, 2008

More on Vitamin K

Friday, December 19th, 2008

Dr. Andrew Weil brings more light on this neglected nutrient.

This group of fat-soluble compounds has many benefits from strengthening bones and improving cardiovascular health to decreasing cancer risk.

There are two main forms of vitamin K. Phylloquinone, or vitamin K-1, is produced by plants and makes up 90 percent of the vitamin K we get from foods such as cauliflower, parsley, kiwifruit, avocados, olives, Brussels spouts, broccoli, and dark leafy greens. The other 10 percent comes from a group of menaquinones, called vitamin K-2, which comes from bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract converting K-1 to K-2. Some foods that have K-2 are some meat products, egg yolks, fermented dairy and fermented soy.

Both a Japanese study and a Toronto study showed fewer fractions with vitamin K, and the Canadian scientists noted lower cases of cancer. A German study of 11,319 men found a 35 percent reduced risk of prostate cancer. A Dutch study of about 4,600 volunteers showed a 50 percent less chance of plaque buildup and a lower risk for heart disease.

Vitamin K-2 is less likely to be destroyed by blood thinners, antibiotics, and drugs used to lower cholesterol.

For the complete story go to Dr. Andrew Weil’s Self Healing newsletter, December 2008.

Raw Milk

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

It’s hard to know what’s good to eat and what’s not.
Take raw milk for example. It’s against the law to sell raw milk in Minnesota for human consumption. This is a super food which provides almost all of the nutrients the body needs everyday. Not only does it contain the vitamins and minerals, it also contains active enzymes and beneficial bacteria that make digestion and nutrient assimilation a smooth process. Raw milk also contains 20 of the 22 amino acids our bodies need daily. Raw milk does not create the problems of conventional, pasteurized-homogenized milk, such as heart disease and diabetes.

Those who say raw milk is unhealthy and unsafe, fail to realize that many populations around the world have thrived on raw milk for centuries.

Research shows that all of the past decades of salmonella outbreaks from milk have come from pasteurized milk. Pasteurization destroys ALL of the positive bacteria and helpful organisms that protect against pathogens. Pasteurization exposes milk to very high temperatures, which in turn makes the milk’s amino acids, vitamins, calcium and other minerals virtually useless and unavailable to the body. It also destroys all of the milk’s enzymes, which were there originally to help the body assimilate the nutrition of the milk in the first place.

Right now you cannot buy raw milk in Minnesota. Let your legislators know that you want to eat healthy, whole foods and not engineered food which is not nearly as healthy.

New Light on Alternative Health Care

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

A National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) studied the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) by adults and children in the US. It found that 38 percent of adults aged 18 and over and nearly 12 percent of children aged 17 and under use some form of complementary medicine. This study included a diverse medical and healing practices such as herbal supplements, meditation, chiropractic, and acupuncture which is normally not considered part of conventional medicine.

From over 30,000 interviews of adults and children the most commonly used products were: fish oil/omega-3/DHA, Glucosamine, Echinacea, Flaxseed oil or pills, Ginseng, a combination herb pill, or prebiotics or probiotics.

The data pointed out that more laypeople are looking for other solutions for their ailments than just taking another drug. Our one year old grandson is also taking omega-3 because our daughter’s doctor approved it.

Full article can be found: NutraIngredients-USA.com, Dec. 12, 2008

Vitamin K

Monday, December 15th, 2008

Vitamin K promotes blood clotting. My doctor recommended K for my minor surgery in 1960.

In the 1930s, Danish researchers noted that baby chicks fed a fat-free diet developed bleeding problems. They finally solved this problem with an alfalfa-based compound that they named vitamin K.

Today scientists know that the bulk of the body’s vitamin K needs are met by bacteria in the intestines, and only about 20 percent comes from foods.

Vitamin K sets in motion the blood-clotting process when there is a wound. Without it we may bleed to death.

Too little is usually found with those people who have liver disease or intestinal illnesses that interfere with fat absorption. Too much is only dangerous if you’re taking anticoagulants. Otherwise there seems to be no danger.

Leafy green vegetables are rich in vitamin K. Broccoli, spring onions, and brussels sprouts are also good.