Tuesday, April 26, 2005

If you have RA, try this formula, instead of or inclusive of any drugs you are taking...

By Maureen Williams, ND

Healthnotes Newswire (April 21, 2005)—People with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can reduce their symptoms by supplementing with fish oil, and supplementing with olive oil can add to the benefit, according to a study published in Nutrition (2005;21:131–6).

RA is an inflammatory condition caused by an autoimmune reaction that targets the joints; symptoms include joint pain, stiffness, swelling, and fatigue. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, steroids, and medicines that inhibit the immune system are typically used to treat RA. In addition, some dietary measures and nutritional supplements can be helpful.

Studies have suggested that identifying and eliminating foods that trigger the inflammatory process from the diet can reduce RA symptoms. Supplementing with fish oil has also demonstrated a positive effect on RA symptoms. Fish oil contains high amounts of two fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These are polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. Olive oil is rich in the monounsaturated fatty acid, oleic acid, which is also believed to have anti-inflammatory properties. Furthermore, extra-virgin (unrefined) olive oil contains vitamin E and numerous other compounds that act as antioxidants and could contribute to its beneficial effects. Olive oil’s potential ability to treat RA has not been previously studied.

In the current study, 55 people with RA were randomly assigned to one of three groups: one group received a total of 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids from 20 capsules of fish oil per day; a second group received the same amount of fish oil fatty acids plus 6.8 grams (about 2 teaspoons) of extra virgin olive oil per day, taken on salads; and a third group received a soy oil placebo. Medications used before the study were not changed during the study. Symptoms (pain, stiffness, and fatigue) and ability to function (hand grip strength, and limitations to daily activities and self-care) were evaluated at clinic visits at the beginning of the study, after 12 weeks, and after 24 weeks. Blood tests were done at the same visits to measure markers of inflammation and disease progression.

At the end of the study, both groups supplementing with oils experienced significantly more improvement than the placebo group. The improvements noted at 12 weeks, however, were seen more in people using fish oil plus olive oil than those using just fish oil. Furthermore, those using fish oil plus olive oil had a significantly greater improvement in a blood marker of the disease than those using placebo, but those using fish oil alone did not.

These results suggest that extra-virgin olive oil might enhance the benefits of fish oil in people with RA. People with RA who are using fish oil fatty acids as part of their treatment would be well advised to incorporate olive oil into their diets. The observations from this study further suggest that previous studies in which olive oil has been used as placebo might have underestimated the effectiveness of fish oil fatty acids in treating RA. Future studies of fatty acids should use a more suitable placebo.

Maureen Williams, ND, received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University in Seattle, WA. She has a private practice in Quechee, VT, and does extensive work with traditional herbal medicine in Guatemala and Honduras. Dr. Williams is a regular contributor to Healthnotes Newswire.

Comment: If you reduce the bad oils and fats in your diet and do as the above study suggests, you will see profound improvements in RA.
Fat Facts...


Christopher Wiechert's Healthblogger is for educational or informational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose or provide treatment for any condition. If you have any concerns about your own health, you should always consult with a healthcare professional. To be removed from this e-mail program, reply back and say unsubscribe.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Vitamin C Saves Lives - You really should read this one...

Source: (Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, April 22, 2005) -

Millions die each year from heart disease and stroke, and the overwhelming evidence is that vitamin C supplementation would save many lives.

Two-time Nobel Prize winner Dr. Linus Pauling estimated that the rate of heart disease would be reduced by 80 per cent if adults in the US supplemented with 2,000 to 3,000 mg of vitamin C each day. According to Dr. Pauling, "Since vitamin C deficiency is the common cause of human heart disease, vitamin C supplementation is the universal treatment for this disease."[1] Heart disease is the number one killer in the US. For those with existing heart disease Dr. Pauling said that blockage of heart arteries could actually be reversed by supplementing with 6,000 of vitamin C and 6,000 of lysine (a common amino acid) taken in divided doses throughout the day. Vitamin C supplementation both lowers serum cholesterol levels and repairs lesions of arterial walls. 1998 Nobel Prize winner Dr. Louis J. Ignarro found that supplementing with vitamin C and vitamin E significantly reduces the risk of developing arteriosclerosis.[2]

A study examined vitamin E and vitamin C supplement use in relation to mortality risk in 11,178 persons aged 67-105 who participated in the Established Populations for Epidemiologic Studies of the Elderly over a nine year period.[3] Simultaneous use of vitamins E and C was associated with a lower risk of total mortality and coronary mortality after adjusting for alcohol use, smoking history, aspirin use, and medical conditions.

A landmark study following over 85,000 nurses over a 16-year period for a total of 1,240,000 person-years found that vitamin C supplementation significantly reduced the risk of heart disease.[4] Intake of vitamin C from foods alone was insufficient to significantly effect the rate of heart disease. High quantities of vitamin C from supplements was essential to provide the protective effects. The study adjusted for age, smoking, and a variety of other coronary risk factors.

An international team pooled data from nine prospective studies of 293,000 people that included information on intakes of vitamin E, carotenoids, and vitamin C, with a 10-year follow-up to check for major incident coronary heart disease events in people without disease when the study began. Dietary intake of antioxidant vitamins was only weakly related to a reduced coronary heart disease risk. However, subjects who took as little as 700 mg of vitamin C daily in supplement form reduced their risk of heart disease events by 25 per cent compared to those who took no supplements. [5]

Researchers in Finland measured serum vitamin C levels in 2,419 middle-aged male participants of the ongoing Kuopio Ischemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. Men with a history of stroke were excluded from this analysis. Participants were followed for up to 10 years; the outcome of interest was development of stroke. During the follow-up period 120 participants suffered a stroke. After controlling for potential confounders - including age, BMI, smoking, blood pressure, and serum cholesterol - the researchers found that men with a low vitamin C level in their blood were more than twice as likely as those with a higher vitamin C blood level to experience a stroke.[6]

A stroke commonly occurs when a blood clot or thrombus blocks the blood flow to parts of the brain. A thrombus may form in an artery affected by arteriosclerosis. A recent study has shown how low plasma vitamin C was associated with increased risk of stroke, especially among hypertensive and overweight men.[7]

Vitamin C preserves the integrity of the artery walls and strengthens cardiovascular tissue. Research indicates a reduced incidence of major coronary heart disease events at high supplemental vitamin C intakes.[8] Recent studies have shown that vitamin C appears to reduce levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation, and there is a growing body of evidence that chronic inflammation is linked to an increased risk of heart disease.[9]

Most Americans fail to eat the US RDA for several vitamins and minerals. Supplements are not the problem; they are the solution. Malnutrition is the problem.

What is Orthomolecular Medicine?

Linus Pauling defined orthomolecular medicine as "the treatment of disease by the provision of the optimum molecular environment, especially the optimum concentrations of substances normally present in the human body." Orthomolecular medicine uses safe, effective nutritional therapy to fight illness. For more information: http://www.orthomolecular.org

Comment: Take 8 important minutes and watch this flash website by Bill Sardi. Share this with everyone you know who values there health, especially heart patients.


Christopher Wiechert's Healthblogger is for educational or informational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose or provide treatment for any condition. If you have any concerns about your own health, you should always consult with a healthcare professional. To be removed from this e-mail program, reply back and say unsubscribe.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

VITAMIN D - Exciting confirmation of the need to increase this important vitamin...

Did you know the activated form of vitamin D is the most potent steroid hormone in the human body?

Did you know you make about 20,000 units of vitamin D in your skin after sunbathing for a few minutes?

Can you name one common chronic disease that has not been associated with vitamin D deficiency?

Did you know that most vitamin D experts believe that more than 50% of Americans are vitamin D deficient?

Understanding Vitamin D

Why all this excitement about vitamin D? We all know that vitamin D (cholecalciferol) is crucial to health. But is vitamin D really a vitamin? Is it in the foods humans normally consume? Although there is some in fatty fish, vitamin D is not in our diets unless humans first fortify a food, like vitamin D fortified milk. Nature intended you to make it in your skin, not put it in your mouth. So is vitamin D really a vitamin?

Unlike any other vitamin, vitamin D is actually a prehormone; it is your body's only source of potent steroid hormone called calcitriol. First, you skin makes vitamin D when sunlight strikes a precholesterol molecule. Then your liver converts vitamin D into the storage form of vitamin D, called calcidiol (25-hydroxy vitamin D). The body stores calcidiol in the blood and fat for later use. Your doctor can measure calcidiol with a blood test to find out if you are vitamin D deficient. Ideal calcidiol (25-hydroxy vitamin D) levels are between 35 to 65 ng/ml (87 to 162 nm/L), year around.

If you have enough calcidiol in your blood, then the real action starts. Some calcidiol goes to the kidneys to help maintain blood calcium levels but the real story is in your tissues. Tissues all over your body convert calcidiol into calcitriol. Calcitriol, or activated vitamin D, is the most potent steroid hormone in the human body. Again, calcitriol is the most potent steroid hormone in your body; it is active in picogram quantities or 1/1,000,000,000,000 of a gram. Like all steroid hormones, calcitriol works by turning your genes on and off. That is, in hundreds of tissues throughout your body, calcitriol demasks your genome! It signals your genes to make hundreds of enzymes and proteins crucial to maintaining health and fighting disease.

All this happens if, and only if, you get enough vitamin D from sunshine or from supplements. If you totally avoid the sun, recent research indicates you need about 4,000 units of vitamin D a day! So you can't get enough vitamin D from milk (unless you drink 40 glasses a day) or from a multivitamin (unless you take about 10 tablets a day), neither of which is recommended. If you don't get vitamin D the way Mother Nature intended, from sunshine, you need to take vitamin D supplements. As most of us get a lot more vitamin D from sunshine than we think, most of us need about 2,000 units a day extra. More and more Internet and health food stores are selling vitamin D. Make sure the vitamin D you buy is cholecalciferol. Also, buy pure cholecalciferol, don't buy a preparation with vitamin A added. Just plain cholecalciferol.

Many of the diseases of modern civilization, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, periodontal disease, depression, and even obesity, are now clearly associated with vitamin D deficiency. But association is not the same as causation. Does vitamin D deficiency cause many cases of cancer, heart disease, diabetes or obesity, these diseases of modern civilization? We just don't know. We need the National Institutes of Health to fund more research on vitamin D. So far, they refuse.

If you want to understand vitamin D, you need to understand three facts. All three facts have been generally ignored by all but a few vitamin D scientists. Aldous Huxley once said, "Facts do not cease to exist, just because they are ignored." Two of these ignored facts are simple and one is more complex.

The first fact you already know. The active form of vitamin D is a steroid hormone, a very potent steroid hormone, the most potent steroid hormone in the body. Steroid hormones work by demasking the genome, that is, they enable the manufacturing of proteins and enzymes by your genetic material, the stuff of life. So the active form of vitamin D acts by enabling genetic expression of proteins and enzymes crucial to health in hundreds of tissues throughout the body. This fact explains why vitamin D deficiency is involved in so many different diseases.

The second fact changed my life. It made me ask why? The fact is this: most of us make about 20,000 units of vitamin D after about 20 minutes of summer sun. [For most skin types, a full body minimal erythemal (slight redness) dose of UVB light results in the production of about 20,000 units of cholecalciferol]. This is about 100 times more vitamin D than the government says you need every day.

Ask yourself why? Why would humans make so much vitamin D, so very quickly? I have thought about it, studied textbooks, researched the medical literature, asked all the experts, and dedicated the rest of my professional life to getting others to ask themselves "why." Why would we have a steroid hormone system that makes so much substrate so very quickly?

The only answer anyone can come up with is: "Probably for a good reason." Science does not know why. Zoologists know nature does not design systems as complex as the vitamin D steroid hormone system for no reason. Medical science simply doesn't know why we have the capacity to make so much vitamin D so quickly. If you think about it long enough, you too will conclude it is probably for a good reason. Although we don't know why, a few scientist have been trying to find out why -- and gasping at the breathtaking implications.

This second fact (20,000 units in a few minutes fact) also tells you something about the normal human condition -- and the current deviant one. Before we started living in buildings and cars, and wearing sun-protective clothes and lathering on the sunblock, we farmed and hunted. Before then we scavenged naked in the subequatorial African sun (for more than a million years). How much vitamin D did we get then? A lot.

We started moving inside during the industrial revolution and now the move is almost complete. Some of us go for days, weeks, or even months without letting sunshine strike our skin and make vitamin D. If we do go in the sun, our dermatologist chides us. Whether good or bad, this existence is aberrant to the species; modern sun-avoidance is deviant for homo sapiens. Since we make about 20,000 units of vitamin D with a few minutes of sunshine (perhaps 10,000 units after our skin tans) then human beings are used to getting a lot of vitamin D every day, until very recently. Now, most of us get very little. This is simply deviant.

The third fact is more complex and has to do with the unique regulation of the vitamin D steroid hormone system. Steroid hormones are molecules manufactured from cholesterol and which act by effecting a receptor on the genome. Steroid hormone systems are tightly regulated by the body. When the levels are too low, the body manufactures more hormone; when levels are too high, the body makes less. Not so with vitamin D.

First, unlike other steroid systems, the vitamin D system needs both cholesterol and sunlight to get started. The body has no way of obtaining vitamin D unless you go into the sun or take supplements. That is, unlike all other steroid hormones, the body cannot manufacture its own vitamin D from cholesterol. It needs sunshine as well. Of course, until about 300 years ago, humans always had plenty of sunshine.

Remember, the real action is in the tissues. The autocrine (in the cell) and the paracrine (around the cell) vitamin D systems appear to be turned on full bore, all the time. [In scientific terms, the Michaelis Menton constant is never approached throughout the full range of physiological substrate concentrations for both calcidiol production in the liver and for calcitriol production in the tissues]. Direct negative feedback does not appear to be operating at physiological substrate levels for both calcidiol production in the liver and calcitriol production in the tissues. This implies that tissue levels may be chronically depleted in modern humans. Furthermore, we'd have no easy way of knowing we are depleted because depletion has become the normal human state.

If the tissue production of calcitriol is turned on full, all the time, what prevents vitamin D toxicity in humans living in the sun? First of all, much of the vitamin D you make is excreted in the bile. The same may be true for much of the calcidiol your liver makes. In addition, there are numerous other metabolites of vitamin D. So only about 1/1000 of your calcidiol is turned into calcitriol. That said, the tissue production of calcitriol is still running full bore at normal calcidiol substrate concentrations. So what limits the amount of tissue calcitriol?

The skin. After you make about 20,000 units, sunshine begins to destroy vitamin D in the skin. The same sunlight that makes vitamin D in the first place begins to degrade it. Production equals destruction. As calcitriol production in the tissues and calcidiol production in the liver always function below their biochemical capacity, this means that the rate limiting step for the most potent steroid hormone in the human body appears to lie in the skin. In a way, it lies in your behavior, you choice to step into the sun. This is biologically unique for any and all steroid hormones.

This third complicated set of facts strongly implies widespread severe deficiency in modern humans. When steroid hormone systems are turned on full bore, without periodically turning off, this usually means the body is asking for more hormone. Since few of us live naked in the sun, our vitamin D systems are dry, our calcidiol tanks are running on low, our tissues are starved for more of the most potent steroid hormone in the body, and, perhaps, just perhaps, diseases of civilization are rampant. That is what all the excitement is about.

Comment: We take 2,000 IU to 4,000 IU a day, depending upon the time of year. More during the Winter Months, less in the Summer.

NSI Vitamin D3 -- 1,000 IU


Christopher Wiechert's Healthblogger is for educational or informational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose or provide treatment for any condition. If you have any concerns about your own health, you should always consult with a healthcare professional. To be removed from this e-mail program, reply back and say unsubscribe.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Exporting Obesity to China

18/04/2005 -

As the West faces growing concerns over rising levels of obesity, a new study on 19,000 Chinese consumers finds around 18 million adults in China are obese, 137 million are overweight and 64 million have metabolic syndrome.

The researchers, based at Tulane University School, link the rise in obesity and metabolic syndrome to growing affluence.

“Economic development and consequential changes in lifestyle and diet might explain this high and increasing prevalence of the metabolic syndrome and overweight in China,” says co-author Jiang He, professor and chair of the department of epidemiology at the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.

Rising incomes are transforming China’s food sector, both domestically and in foreign trade.

There has been an increase in per capita income levels, and the consequent increase in disposable incomes has brought about a shift in favour of branded and packaged food.

Changing lifestyles and growing urbanisation in larger cities have also contributed, bringing a wider acceptance of newer products and driving sales for foods like ready meals, pasta and frozen food.

China food industry sales took off in the mid 1990s, quadrupling from under 100 billion yuan (€9.2bn) in 1991 to well over 400 billion yuan (€37bn) just ten years later.

According to new figures from market research and training body IGD, China will become the world’s second largest food retail market by 2020 behind the US.

In 2003 the Chinese food market was 35 per cent of the size of the US market; by 2020 this figure will rise to a considerable 82 per cent.

But as for European and American adults, heart disease is the leading cause of death for Chinese adults.

“ The high prevalence of metabolic syndrome and overweight underscore the urgent need to develop comprehensive national strategies aimed at prevention and treatment, to reduce the increased societal burden of cardiovascular disease in China,” say the Tulane University researchers, who published their findings in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Metabolic syndrome is characterised by a clustering of cardiovascular risk factors, including abdominal obesity, raised blood pressure and glucose concentration, and abnormal blood lipid levels.

According to national data, approximately one in five adults in the US has metabolic syndrome, compared to 13.7 per cent in China.

For the InterASIA study, 16,000 people, aged 35-74 years from 20 urban and rural areas in China, completed a survey on their health and received a clinical examination.

Men and women residents of northern China had higher blood pressure, bodyweight, body-mass index (BMI), waist circumference, cholesterol and blood glucose levels than their counterparts in southern China.

Reflecting the influence of urban lifestyle on diet, body-weight, BMI, waist circumference, cholesterol levels and blood glucose were substantially higher in urban than rural areas.

And of growing concern, the researchers found that the prevalence of overweight adults in China is currently exceeded that of other Asian countries.

Comment: As the Chinese move to a diet high in breads, cereals and grains, especially processed food and the sugar that comes along with them, it's no wonder they are becoming like us. I like exporting Democracy, but obesity, not to proud on that one.


Christopher Wiechert's Healthblogger is for educational or informational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose or provide treatment for any condition. If you have any concerns about your own health, you should always consult with a healthcare professional. To be removed from this e-mail program, reply back and say unsubscribe.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Think first before asking for another drug

Provided by St.Petersburg Times on 4/18/2005

With the revelation that another drug, this time Bextra for arthritis, has been withdrawn from the market, millions of people once again must scramble to find an alternative medication for this problem.

Bextra joins Vioxx and Celebrex as drugs that were once touted as being just fine for people seeking relief from arthritis, but now are revealed to be harmful or even fatal to some who take it.

What's wrong with this picture?

Prescription use has grown like wildfire in our medication nation. It is impossible to watch TV at any hour of the day without seeing commercials touting the latest prescription drug for the latest disease, and urging all of us to go to our doctor to ask for them.

It also is nearly impossible to go to a doctor's appointment without seeing a drug company representative, and sometimes several of them, in the waiting room, too.

And this constant urging for us to take more drugs is accompanied by "new, tougher" guidelines for such things as blood pressure, trigylcerides and cholesterol from various health agencies, many of whom are being funded by the same drug companies urging prescriptions upon us.

The new, improved guideline for blood pressure, for instance - the gold standard - is now 120/80, which usually is achieved only by lean teenagers and those in the most superb physical shape. Anything above those readings, even slightly is now labeled as a prehypertensive reading.

So what do these impossible circumstances mean for most Americans? It will probably mean that the percentage of Americans taking at least one prescription drug will keep rising dramatically, perhaps with a goal of getting nearly every man, woman and child in the country on some sort of pill or other.

And if there are not enough old diseases for which to take a pill, don't worry, there are many new diseases coming around the bend. You can now take a pill for slight social anxiety and a recent TV report says it is estimated that 8-million people have Adult Attention Deficit Disorder - a whole new market for drug companies.

Let me make it very clear that I agree that there are drugs that have brought relief to many millions of Americans. I and my wife each take one prescription pill every day. We are grateful for the benefits of such drugs, as, I am sure, are most people who use prescription drugs.

But isn't it time to question what is happening in our country? Shouldn't we hesitate to take a new prescription rather than clamoring for them and pestering our doctors to give us one more pill to add to our arsenal of pills?

Being as educated a patient as we can be is the only real way to see that our health is really being taken care of. Should we, for instance, just roll over and take a pill as soon as we think our health does not meet new and tougher guidelines? Or should we, instead, more carefully weigh the pros and cons of taking yet another prescription?

Often, there are more natural ways of fighting health problems. For instance, it is not very radical to think that we can eat less and exercise more - what a concept!

We need to take charge of this precious area of our lives and make informed, educated decisions, regardless of what drug companies tell us. We must do this with our physicians, and they must accept us as partners in making decisions about our health.

Here is a true story. I recently found an unused prescription in my medical files. It was written a few years ago when I was having some neck problems. While I accepted the prescription, I also indicated that I wanted to try some natural methods for relieving the neck stiffness. The neck straightened out after many months of stretching exercises, and I no longer have to take even a nonprescription medication for it.

And the unused prescription that I decided not to take?

It was for Vioxx.

--Douglas Spangler, a writer and former university administrator, lives in Palm Harbor. Guest columnists write their own views on subjects they choose, which do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.

Comment: Drugs almost always have side effects, natural remedies, usually have side benefits.


Christopher Wiechert's Healthblogger is for educational or informational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose or provide treatment for any condition. If you have any concerns about your own health, you should always consult with a healthcare professional. To be removed from this e-mail program, reply back and say unsubscribe.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Wild Blueberry Compounds May Work Against All Stages of Cancer

Thursday April 14, 9:52 am ET

PORTLAND, Maine, April 14 /PRNewswire/ -- New research findings concluded that Wild Blueberry compounds have the potential to attack all stages of cancer -- initiation, promotion and proliferation. (Source: Journal of Food Science, 70(3):S159-S166, 2005.) According to the study, different types of Wild Blueberry phenolic compounds are active during different stages of cancer, resulting in a broad spectrum of potential cancer-fighting benefits.
"Wild Blueberry compounds offer a multi-pronged attack against cancer," said Dr. Mary Ann Lila, Ph.D., lead researcher from the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign. Other collaborators include John Pezzuto, Ph.D., from the School of Pharmacy, Purdue University, and Muriel Cuendet and Young-Hwa Kang from the Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, University of Illinois at Chicago.

According to Dr. Lila, cancer begins as a result of an assault on cells by free radicals leading to oxidative stress or inflammation. "We're investigating the potential of natural antioxidants like those found in Wild Blueberries to combat the free radical attack in the body," said Dr. Lila. "What makes it so intriguing is that in addition to free radical scavenging, Wild Blueberries contain other natural components that are simultaneously inhibiting cancer-promoting enzymes and blocking the growth of tumor cells. How these compounds get into the body and the mechanics of how they work is the next frontier."

According to Dr. Lila, these results build on previous work done at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which demonstrated the positive effect of Wild Blueberry proanthocyanidins or condensed tannins on the promotion stage of cancer. (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 52:6433-6442, 2004.)

Nature's #1 Antioxidant Fruit(TM)

According to Susan Davis, MS, RD, Nutrition Advisor to the Wild Blueberry Association of North America, Dr. Lila's work expands on the importance of Wild Blueberries in helping fend off diseases of aging, like cancer. "Dr. Lila's investigation of specific phytochemicals indicates that different compounds are attacking cancer cells at different stages," said Davis. "This underscores the complexity of whole foods and the importance of eating fruits like Wild Blueberries more regularly."

Davis noted that recent USDA research findings using the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) measure ranked Wild Blueberries highest in antioxidant capacity per serving, compared with more than 20 other fruits. The study showed that a one-cup serving of Wild Blueberries had more antioxidant capacity than a serving of cranberries, strawberries, raspberries, apples, and even cultivated blueberries. (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 52:4026-4037, 2004.)

Antioxidants are important in terms of their ability to protect against oxidative cell damage that can lead to conditions like Alzheimer's disease, cancer and heart disease -- conditions also linked with chronic inflammation. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of blue-purple foods like Wild Blueberries may have the potential to help prevent these diseases.

Comment: What's also great about Wild Blueberries is that they are naturally low in sugar, as opposed to farm raised which are larger and grown to have a much higher sugar level. The goal of a perfect diet is to get nutrient rich foods that don't raise your insulin levels, which for most people are way too high for most Americans. I like Wymans Wild Blueberries, available at Raleys in the frozen food dept. Also Trader Joe's has good ones as well. Wherever you get them, eat them often, along with Raspberries, Strawberries, Blackberries, Marionberries, etc. Nutrilite makes an awesome product that delivers some of the best-researched plant antioxidants, in amounts equivalent to those found in 10+ servings of fruits and vegetables in just 2 tablets a day.


Christopher Wiechert's Healthblogger is for educational or informational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose or provide treatment for any condition. If you have any concerns about your own health, you should always consult with a healthcare professional.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Fish oil beats statins for lowering mortality risk

April 13, 2005

Life Extension Magazine

The April 11 2005 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine published a review of the effects of various lipid lowering regimens on overall mortality and mortality from coronary heart disease. Researchers from Basel Institute for Clinical Epidemiology and University Hospital in Basel, Switzerland reviewed 97 clinical trials published between 1965 and 2003 that included 137,140 men and women being treated and 138,976 control subjects. The current analysis compared the association with mortality risk of diet, lipid lowering drugs categorized as statins, fibrates and resins, and the nutritional supplements omega-3 fatty acids (commonly found in fish oils) and niacin.

While the fibrate class of drugs failed to influence overall mortality and mildly elevated noncardiac mortality, and while diet, resins and niacin appeared to provide insignificant benefits, statins and omega-3 fatty acids significantly lowered both overall and coronary heart disease mortality risk during the trial periods. The risk of overall mortality was reduced by 13 percent by statins and 23 percent by omega-3 fatty acids compared to the risk experienced by those who did not receive treatment. When the risk of mortality from heart disease alone was analyzed, the use of statin drugs and omega-3 fatty acids were found to lower the risk by 22 and 32 percent, respectively.

The superiority of omega-3 acids in lowering the risk of overall and cardiac mortality cannot be explained by an ability to reduce cholesterol, which averaged 2 percent in this meta-analysis compared to an average reduction of 20 percent achieved via the use of statins. The protection provided by omega-3 fatty acids against heart arrhythmias, along with their antithrombotic and anti-inflammatory properties may be responsible for the mortality risk reduction suggested by this review.

Comment: This study shows us 2 things. First that fish oil omega 3's were almost twice as effective at lowering mortality rate of CHD than Statins were. Second, what I have been trying to teach for a very long time, that cholesterol is not what causes CHD, it is just a symptom of the fact that inflammation damage is occurring on the arterial walls. Treating symptoms is not the way to prevent CHD, treating the cause is. What is the cause then, thought you would never ask. The Linus Pauling Cure for Heart Disease.

Omega 3 EPA/DHA


Christopher Wiechert's Healthblogger is for educational or informational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose or provide treatment for any condition. If you have any concerns about your own health, you should always consult with a healthcare professional.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

How to protect yourself from a stroke

Natural antioxidants protect brain from stroke damage

The May 2005 issue of the journal Experimental Neurology revealed that antioxidants present in vegetables and fruit help protect the brain from damage incurred by stroke or other neurologic disorders.

Researchers at the University of South Florida College of Medicine and the James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital in Tampa led by neuroscientist Paula Bickford PhD fed rats diets supplemented with blueberries, spinach, the algae spirulina, or unenhanced diets. Earlier research conducted at USF had determined that consuming these foods could reverse the age-related decline in mental function in older rats.

After a month on the diets, ischemic strokes were induced in the animals, followed by return of blood flow one hour later. Greater post-stroke movement was exhibited by the animals who received supplemented diets than by those whose diets were not supplemented. When the brains of the animals were examined, it was found that rats who had received supplemented diets had areas of damage that were half the size of those of the untreated animals. Rats who received spirulina apparently experienced the greatest amount of protection, with lesions that were three-quarters smaller than those observed in the rats who did not receive supplemented diets.

The high antioxidant content of blueberries, spinach and spirulina may counteract the free radicals produced during ischemic stroke that damage the brain. These foods also contain anti-inflammatory substances that lower the amount of inflammation and resultant nerve cell injury normally caused by stroke. Dr Bickford commented, "I was amazed at the extent of neuroprotection these antioxidant-rich diets provided. The clinical implication is that increasing fruit and vegetable consumption may make a difference in the severity of a stroke. It could be a readily available, inexpensive and relatively safe way to benefit stroke patients."

A new paradigm for stroke prevention

by William Davis, MD, FACC

Reducing stroke risk by reversing carotid and aortic plaque is becoming an everyday reality, as more and better tools become available to us. To determine your own stroke risk, the best and most widely available imaging tool is carotid ultrasound, which aims to identify carotid plaque or intima-media thickness of more than 1.0 mm. Any degree of calcification of the aorta, such as that indicated by a CT heart scan, is another useful measure of risk. A prior transient ischemic attack, or “mini-stroke,” also puts you at heightened risk for future stroke.

Treatment to reduce risk is multifaceted and should examine all sources of risk, such as metabolic syndrome and levels of small LDL, lipoprotein(a), and C-reactive protein. Fish oil is the one crucial ingredient in any stroke-prevention program. Other supplements can be used in a targeted fashion, depending on the sources of carotid or aortic plaque. Ideally, repeat scanning of the carotids should be performed some years after beginning your treatment program to assess whether you have successfully reversed plaque growth.

Comments: Thanks to LifeExtension News for this new information.


Christopher Wiechert's Healthblogger is for educational or informational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose or provide treatment for any condition. If you have any concerns about your own health, you should always consult with a healthcare professional.

Are you paying too much to get your omega 3's

Stores Say Wild Salmon, but Tests Say Farm Bred


Fresh wild salmon from West Coast waters used to have a low profile in New York: it generally migrated eastward in cans. But a growing concern about the safety of farm-raised fish has given fresh wild salmon cachet. It has become the darling of chefs, who praise its texture and flavor as superior to the fatty, neutral-tasting farmed variety, and many shoppers are willing to pay far more for it than for farmed salmon.

Today, "fresh wild salmon" is abundant, even in the winter when little of it is caught. In fact, it seems a little too abundant to be true.
Tests performed for The New York Times in March on salmon sold as wild by eight New York City stores, going for as much as $29 a pound, showed that the fish at six of the eight were farm raised. Farmed salmon, available year round, sells for $5 to $12 a pound in the city.

For shoppers, said David Pasternack, the chef and an owner at Esca, a theater district fish restaurant, buying authentic wild salmon "is like a crapshoot."

The findings mirror suspicions of many in the seafood business that wild salmon could not be so available from November to March, the off-season. Wild and farmed salmon fillets and steaks look similar because farmed fish are fed artificial coloring that makes them pink, but that coloring can be measured in laboratory testing.

With East Coast wild salmon all but extinct and West Coast wild catches restricted by quotas, farmed fish constitute 90 percent of this country's salmon sales.

Yet last month, when fresh wild salmon should have been scarce, 23 of 25 stores checked by The Times said they had it in stock.

The Times sent random samples of salmon bought on March 9 to Craft Technologies in Wilson, N.C., for testing and comparison of levels of natural and artificial pigments, a method that scientists at the Food and Drug Administration have used to identify wild and farmed salmon. The Craft scientists analyzed pigments known as carotenoids.
Only the sample bought at Eli's Manhattan on the Upper East Side ($22.99 a pound) tested wild. Salmon tested farmed at six stores: Dean & DeLuca in SoHo ($16.95); Grace's Marketplace ($28.99) and Leonard's ($19.95) on the Upper East Side; M. Slavin & Sons wholesale market at the Fulton Fish Market ($4.50 a pound for whole fish) and its Brooklyn retail store ($5.99); and Wild Edibles at the Grand Central Market ($20.99).

Officials at Craft Technologies said that a sample from Whole Foods Market in Chelsea ($14.99) seemed to show that the fish had been farmed at one time and had escaped into the wild. Storms or holes in the netting are some of the opportunities that fish exploit to make a break for it. Figures for the number that flee their pens are hard to come by, but it may be in the millions yearly.

A researcher at the F.D.A., who reviewed the results only on the condition of anonymity, said that Craft Technologies "had used a method that is accepted," and that he agreed with its findings.

In the last two years two scientific studies have reported that farmed salmon contain more PCB's and other contaminants than wild salmon, and numerous studies have called farming practices an environmental hazard.

When told of the results of the fresh salmon tests, Gretchen Dykstra, New York City's commissioner of consumer affairs, said, "Labeling any item to be something it's not is a classic deceptive practice." She added that her agency would "be investigating whether these stores are in fact improperly baiting their customers." Mislabeling food is against federal law.

Officials at the stores had a variety of explanations.

Peter Leonard, an owner of Leonard's, said that his records did not go back as far as March 9, but that his sales clerks "must have gotten the salmon from the wrong pile in the back."

William Lettier, the vice president for retail operations at Dean & DeLuca, said four of his vendors could not provide him with their paper trail. He said he now wanted proof of the source of the fish from his vendors and would have his salmon spot-tested.

Jonathan Meyer, a partner in Wild Edibles, said he had narrowed the source of his fish to two Northwest vendors and had suspended business connections with both.

At M. Slavin & Sons in Brooklyn, the store manager, Phil Cohen, said: "Our salmon is from Canada. All wild salmon in Canada is farm raised."

But it can't be both.

A whole salmon sold to this reporter as wild from Slavin's in the Fulton Fish Market was pulled from a box marked "farmed Canada."

"I know you are looking at the label, but believe me," the clerk at Fulton said. "Don't pay any attention to the label."

When his remarks were repeated to Herbert Slavin, an owner of M. Slavin, he said: "How do you know he is an expert? We do not misrepresent."

The Times tested two salmon fillets sold as wild by Grace's Marketplace, one labeled "Rainforest," indicating it came from Washington State, the other "Columbia River." Joe Doria Jr., an owner of Grace's, said that one of his suppliers, Alaskan Feast, had sold wild Alaskan troll king salmon to the store.

But Daniel Kim, an owner of Alaskan Feast, said he had not sold the store Rainforest or Columbia River wild salmon, adding that it would have been almost impossible to buy any fresh wild salmon from either source in March.

Mr. Doria offered another explanation: "Sometimes when these fish come off the boat they get separated, and I got sent the wrong salmon from my supplier."

In addition, Mr. Kim called to say that a whole salmon one of his salesman at the Fulton Fish Market sold to this reporter as wild was actually farmed. He said his salesman had "made a mistake." The fish was not analyzed.

Margaret Wittenberg, the vice president for marketing and public affairs at Whole Foods, said its wild salmon was properly labeled and came from the trolling of California's wild king salmon.

The Times's findings were confirmed by two Norwegian researchers, Dr. Bjorn Bjerkeng, a leading researcher in the analysis of salmon carotenoids at the Institute Aquaculture Research in Sunndalsora, Norway, and Dr. Harald Lura, a fish biologist and expert in salmon reproduction, who said of the study, "The methodology and results are convincing."

Wild salmon become pink by eating sea creatures like krill, which contain a carotenoid called astaxanthin. Farmed salmon are naturally grayish but turn pink when they are fed various sources of astaxanthin, including one that is chemically synthesized and others that originate from yeast or microalgae.

During Craft's two-week testing, it determined that the controlled sample and the one from Eli's had more than 60 percent of the form of astaxanthin that occurs naturally, within the range of 50 to 80 percent typical for wild salmon. All the other samples except the one from Whole Foods had 30 percent or less of the form dominant in wild salmon. The sample from Whole Foods had 37.9 percent. The farmed samples tested high in either the synthetic or the yeast forms of astaxanthin.

Laura Fleming, a spokeswoman for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, a state agency that promotes wild seafood, said, "The symptom is not confined to Manhattan." She added, "We've had calls from various places around the country over the last several years from indignant fans telling us that stores are promoting product as wild Alaskan salmon when in fact it is not wild salmon at all."

"The extent of the problem is certainly surprising," Ms. Fleming said, "especially in a place like New York, where the most sophisticated consumers in the country live, people who really scrutinize a purchase."

Federal regulations governing country-of-origin labeling took effect on Monday. They require fish to carry a paper trail back to the source, but they apply to full-service markets like grocery stores, not to fish markets.

Joseph Catalano, a partner at Eli's and the Vinegar Factory who is responsible for the fish those markets sell, said he was not surprised by the test results. "The bottom line on all this is money," he said.

Faced with fillets of wild and farmed salmon, even renowned chefs like Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin and Mr. Pasternack of Esca, who pay top dollar for the choicest seafood, could not visually distinguish one from the other. After the fillets were cooked, however, they could taste the difference.

"The most obvious clue is flavor," said Ms. Fleming of the Alaskan agency, "but by that time it's too late."

Comment: Only wild salmon has reliably high omega 3 content and even then, mercury can be found in them, if not caught in unpolluted waters. Get your omega 3's from a reliable source in capsule form, that's the way we take them.


Monday, April 11, 2005

Was there ever any science behind the original Food Pyramid? You will be shocked...

The history of the making of the Food Pyramid...

The McGovern Committee Senate Hearings, held in the 1970s, grew out of the ideas for developing nutrition policy that were put forth at the 1969 White House Conference on Foods and Nutrition. Some of the recommendations that came out of the White House conference were orchestrated by lawyers and lobbyists from the food industry. The McGovern Committee originally planned to hold hearings on heart disease and diet, but evidently changed to hearings on all the "killer diseases" and their nutritional causes, although the major emphasis still came from the National Heart and Lung Institute (as it was called at that time) and the American Heart Association, with much testimony orchestrated by the American Health Foundation. Behind the scenes, the edible oil industry and the Grocery Manufacturers of America played a major role in lobbying efforts.
The McGovern Select Committee heard erroneous testimony from various research "scientists," most of whom had particular biases against animal fat and meat. For example, Dr. Gio B. Gori from the National Cancer Institute and Dr. David M. Hegsted from Harvard School of Public Health testified that there was "a direct relationship between dietary intake and forms of cancer and that it was their recommendation that Americans should cut down on the amount of food they eat, and specifically, eat less meat and fats" (Congressional Record 9/16/76 p S15993-4). The animal fat and cancer connection was first introduced by Dr. Ernst Wynder from the American Health Foundation using processed vegetable fat data mistakenly labeled animal fat. Colon cancer was also tied to beef in an erroneous interpretation of the National Cancer Institute Japanese-Hawaiian study which actually showed macaroni, green beans and peas to have higher risk associated with colon cancer than beef or lamb.

Committee members ignored testimony debunking the anti-animal fat agenda even though the testimony defending meat and animal fat was supported by science and came from highly qualified researchers. The meat and dairy lobbies were very ineffective in defending their products.

The Select Committee produced a report that called for the decrease in consumption of animal fat, dairy fat and eggs. If you decrease the amount of fat in the diet, something has to increase to take its place and that something was to be the carbohydrates.

Once mandated, no government employee or government-funded researcher could contradict the US Dietary Goals. All the research from that point on had to be geared to creating educational material to match the US Dietary Goals and to produce a science to support them. If a researcher wanted another grant, the results he or she came up with would have to fit the guidelines.
Even though these goals/guidelines originally had no science to back them up, and still have no clear science to support them, they have become the law of the land.

Thus the Senate, with the help of the food industry and the complicity of a major part of the nutrition community, came up with a low-fat, high-carbohydrate Rx that produced profound changes in the way Americans ate. Vegetable oil and carbohydrate (mostly refined carbohydrate) calories replaced animal fat calories resulting in massive obesity in the populace. The US government is now proposing more of the same to combat. . . the massive obesity epidemic among Americans!

About the Author
Mary G. Enig, PhD is the author of Know Your Fats: The Complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils, and Cholesterol, Bethesda Press, May 2000.

Comment: None needed, you get the point.


Christopher Wiechert's Healthblogger is for educational or informational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose or provide treatment for any condition. If you have any concerns about your own health, you should always consult with a healthcare professional.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

The politics of marketing the new health pyramid

When a Food Marketer Helps Devise Nutrition Advice


Candy lovers from 200 countries voted on a new M&M's color in 2002.

Purple won, and hundreds of newspapers and television stations reported the news. Web sites buzzed. Jay Leno worked it into his monologue on "The Tonight Show."

The campaign, regarded as a masterwork of food marketing, was created by Porter Novelli, one of the world's largest and most successful public relations companies.

Now the company is selling a different kind of product. Within the month, the Agriculture Department is expected to present a new icon to help Americans interpret the recently released federal dietary guidelines. For the company's work in designing the icon (which may or may not retain the shape of the current food guide pyramid) and for related tasks, Porter Novelli will receive nearly $2.5 million.
At a time when the government is increasing its use of public relations techniques to promote its agenda, its hiring a company with a stable of food industry clients to sell the national nutrition plan has some public health advocates concerned.

Government nutrition guidelines and the icon that illustrates them are more than keys to healthy eating. They can be powerful marketing tools for the food industry; a favorable nod toward one food group or another can result in millions of dollars in sales, food manufacturers say. They also influence federal food programs costing $46 billion a year, including food stamps and meals for schoolchildren.

Several former or current Porter Novelli clients offered formal comment on the guidelines and the new icon at government hearings last year. The Campbell Soup Company suggested that processed foods be given better standing than in the current pyramid. The Dole Food Company said fruits and vegetables should have a starring role.

And as soon as the guidelines were released in January, Porter Novelli account executives used them as a hook to promote client products like California almonds.

The company's current and former clients also include McDonald's and the Snack Food Association. And while no one expects Porter Novelli to subvert the government's nutrition message by giving its own clients' products a bump, some nutritionists and public health advocates worry about subtle ways in how the message is shaped. The government's main tool for defining a healthful diet, they say, should be kept out of the hands of marketers with close ties to the industry.

"You have a company on one hand pushing McDonald's or almonds or whatever, and on the other providing objective advice on government nutrition programs," said Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, an advocacy group that frequently criticizes food manufacturers. "It could lead Porter Novelli to just be positive in the presentation or to tone down criticisms. It's very subtle, and it may not be bad in a way: the almond might be a good nut. But it really does pose a conflict of interest."

Government health officials say hiring a company like Porter Novelli is a smart choice. Porter Novelli invented the pyramid graphic, which was released in 1992, and its experience with both food marketing and health-oriented social marketing campaigns just may be the right combination to persuade ever-fatter Americans to change how they eat.

"If this kind of marketing is what the consumers expect to see, if this is what they see everywhere else, we've got to have it," said Eric Hentges, director of the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion at the Agriculture Department.

A government-appointed board of scientists and doctors wrote the guidelines last year, reviewing medical studies and hearing testimony from virtually every major food processor and commodity group.

Many of those same groups then offered public comment in the next step of the dietary guidelines process, which was to determine whether to keep the pyramid configuration and how otherwise to shape the government's message.

Porter Novelli employees have worked closely with federal officials on both parts of the process. At the same time, they have worked with interests that have tried to influence it. The company's executives say a fire wall dividing the government effort from the corporate interests, and the various corporate interests from one another, is maintained by confidentiality agreements, strict separation of the teams working on various campaigns and a number of protocols and computer safeguards on the flow of information.

"Porter Novelli is totally open with our public health clients about our commercial work in health and in food," said Rob Gould, a senior partner and managing director of the Washington office. Besides, Mr. Gould said, the company's job in this case is only to sell what the government has decided to promote.

"It is not our role to determine the science or actual public health recommendations," he said. "What our public health clients are looking for us to do is translate those scientific recommendations in a way that consumers can understand and make use of in their lives."

Concerns over the food industry's influence on the process have arisen before. When Porter Novelli invented the first pyramid in the late 1980's, milk and meat producers complained that their products were placed in such a way that people might be discouraged from consuming them. Other groups complained, too, and the Agriculture Department delayed its release until 1992.

To a large extent, that earlier effort has not worked. Although more than 80 percent of Americans now recognize the pyramid, few use it. Since the early 1990's the number of states with serious obesity problems has risen to all 50 from just 4, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Still, federal officials in charge of creating dietary advice say they are ill equipped to dispense it without help from marketing professionals.

"Putting together the frameworks for what has to be good federal policy on diet and health is what we do," said Mr. Hentges of the Agriculture Department's guidelines project. "We do not have expertise in all the mechanical systems to run through and do focus groups or Web testing."

Mr. Hentges said the project's integrity had been protected by a cumbersome process requiring dozens of government employees to review all the dietary guidelines material, including a consumer guide, the new icon, pamphlets, CD-ROM's and Web-based educational material designed by Porter Novelli.

Missions that might be considered conflicting are not new for Porter Novelli. For example, it has worked for both the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and for Guinness stout and Johnnie Walker Scotch.

On the other hand, the goals of a commercial client and a public health client can blend in a way that benefits both. For example, both Dole and the National Cancer Institute pay Porter Novelli to create and market a campaign to get people to eat more fruits and vegetables.

Whatever the benefit of a particular food, though, that is just the kind of partnership that makes some public health advocates nervous.

"How much of a corporate message is behind the government's message?" said Harold M. Goldstein, executive director of the nonprofit California Center for Public Health Advocacy, which is fighting to get junk food out of schools.

Porter Novelli was founded in 1972 by William D. Novelli and Jack Porter, advertising men who worked together to get President Richard M. Nixon re-elected. From the start, mixing traditional marketing with government-financed social marketing was central to the firm's success, says Mr. Novelli, who left in 1990 and is now chief executive of AARP. The company has since become a subsidiary of the advertising and marketing giant Omnicom Group and has offices in 60 countries.

One of Porter Novelli's earliest clients was the Agriculture Department, and since 1997 the company has obtained $59 million worth of federal contracts.

"Sometimes you can marry those interests," Mr. Novelli said of the government-corporate mix. "It's about synergy. It benefits both clients. Consumers are not purists. They are not monolithic."

Comment: I would like to thank Leigh Steinberg for e-mailing me this article. It is a great follow up to yesterdays Blog. It shows how easily a conflict of interest can occur when a marketing company that represents food companies develops the guidelines for how we Americans should eat. The article states that "Although more than 80 percent of Americans now recognize the pyramid, few use it. Since the early 1990's the number of states with serious obesity problems has risen to all 50 from just 4, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention". I would like to state that quite the contrary, we have not only followed it we have embraced it, and that is why we have such an epidemic of obesity in America. You better be prepared to think on your own on this issue, and not let the government or a marketing company choose how you should eat, it could be detrimental to your health.


Christopher Wiechert's Healthblogger is for educational or informational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose or provide treatment for any condition. If you have any concerns about your own health, you should always consult with a healthcare professional.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Did the Faulty Food Guide Pyramid Make You Obese?

From Dr. Mercola's blog site:

The Dietary Guidelines for America (DGA), which are sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and make up the foundation of the Food Guide Pyramid, are neither nutritionally or biochemically sound. In fact, many experts now believe that the very principles that were meant to be "heart healthy and beneficial to all who followed them" may be responsible for the epidemics of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity facing the nation.

The principles are based on the "lipid hypothesis," developed in the 1950s by nutrition pioneer Ancel Keys, that linked dietary fat to coronary heart disease--the nutrition community of that time completely accepted the hypothesis, and encouraged the public to cut out butter, red meat, animal fats, eggs, dairy and other "artery clogging" fats from their diets. This was a radical change to the diets of tens of millions of Americans.

Experts cite the following problems with the Dietary Guidelines:

Protein is considered to be the least important macronutrient.

The fat-phobic recommendations lead to a critical deficiency in saturated fat, an unnecessary limitation of dietary cholesterol and an unhealthy ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids.

The essential fatty acids are ignored.

An unhealthy excess of carbohydrates is recommended.

There is not enough of a recommendation to limit the dangerous trans fatty acids.

The paper's authors acknowledge that it won't be easy to change the "long-held beliefs that animal fats cause cardiovascular disease and grain products are the staff of life," but say that ignoring the science that says otherwise is no longer an option. Further, they point out that the 2005 changes to the DGA and Food Guide Pyramid will make the guidelines more complex but won't correct the errors.

Journal of the American Physicians and Surgeons, Winter 2004: 109-113 (Free Full-Text PDF)

Comment: In my opinion the food pyramid did create the current obesity and type II diabetes epidemic, as well as increasing cardiovascular events and cancer levels, and the new changes recently announced do not go far enough.
To learn more about how the Faulty Food Guide Pyramid effects your health read Syndrome X
To learn what an idea diet looks like, read Ideal Diet.
To learn how to moderate your carbohydrate levels easily, read Glycemic Index.


Christopher Wiechert's Healthblogger is for educational or informational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose or provide treatment for any condition. If you have any concerns about your own health, you should always consult with a healthcare professional.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Vitamins, foods might improve your genes

06 Apr 2005

Taking your vitamins and eating a variety of fruits and vegetables - such as raspberries and spinach - can make up for your not-so-healthy genes.

That's according to a new book, Feed Your Genes Right (John Wiley & Sons, March 2005).

Your genes, which you inherited from your parents, contain the biological programs that control your health. But you don't have to be at their mercy.

Best-selling nutrition and health author Jack Challem points out that certain vitamins and foods enable your genes to function at their best.

For example, at least one-third of Americans have a variation in the gene that reduces activity of folic acid, a B vitamin. As a result, they are more likely to heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer's disease. A woman with this defect is more likely also to have a baby with birth defects.

You can't change the gene, but taking a daily multivitamin and eating certain fruits and vegetables help that gene to work better, Challem says.

"Our bodies need B vitamins and other nutrients to make, repair, and regulate our DNA and genes," Challem says. "In a sense, vitamins are inexpensive gene therapy to help our genes function at their best."

The B-vitamins are involved in what biochemists call "one-carbon metabolism." The process donates molecules needed to make the nucleotides that form DNA and genes.

Challem's advice includes these suggestions:

-- Take a moderately high-potency daily multivitamin, which includes the B vitamins. Several of these vitamins help suppress cancer-promoting genes.

-- Eat spinach salads. Spinach is rich in folic acid, a B vitamin needed to make and repair genes.

-- Eat berries. Raspberries and blueberries are loaded with antioxidants, which protect genes from damage.

-- Drink green tea. It protects genes from the cancer-promoting effects of dioxin and other pollutants.

-- Go easy on foods high in refined carbs and sugars. They boost levels of insulin, a hormone that turns on fat-storage genes.

"The biochemical basis of our genetics comes back to nutrition," Challem says. "Nutrients provide the biochemical building blocks for our DNA and genes."

Excerpts from the book are available at http://www.feedyourgenesright.com.

Jack Challem is a leading nutrition and health writer and the author of the best-selling "Syndrome X" and "The Inflammation Syndrome" books. He writes regularly for Alternative Medicine, Body & Soul, and other health magazines. His scientific articles have been published in Free Radical Biology & Medicine, Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, Medical Hypotheses, and other journals.

Comment: Well, if you have been reading my Blogs for a while, you know I have been advising these recommendations for years. I can add another health writer that goes even farther. Bruce N. Ames, professor of molecular and cell biology at UC Berkeley.

He states this...

"A deficiency of any of the micronutrients: folic acid, Vitamin B12, Vitamin B6, niacin, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, iron, or zinc, mimics radiation in damaging DNA by causing single- and double-strand breaks, oxidative lesions, or both. For example, the percentage of the US population that has a low intake (<50% of the RDA) for each of these eight micronutrients ranges from 2 to >20%. A level of folate deficiency causing chromosome breaks was present in approximately 10% of the US population, and in a much higher percentage of the poor. Folate deficiency causes extensive incorporation of uracil into human DNA (4 million/cell), leading to chromosomal breaks. This mechanism is the likely cause of the increased colon cancer risk associated with low folate intake. Some evidence, and mechanistic considerations, suggest that Vitamin B12 (14% US elderly) and B6 (10% of US) deficiencies also cause high uracil and chromosome breaks. Micronutrient deficiency may explain, in good part, why the quarter of the population that eats the fewest fruits and vegetables (five portions a day is advised) has about double the cancer rate for most types of cancer when compared to the quarter with the highest intake. For example, 80% of American children and adolescents and 68% of adults do not eat five portions a day. Common micronutrient deficiencies are likely to damage DNA by the same mechanism as radiation and many chemicals, appear to be orders of magnitude more important, and should be compared for perspective. Remedying micronutrient deficiencies should lead to a major improvement in health and an increase in longevity at low cost".

Good health to you all...


Christopher Wiechert's Healthblogger is for educational or informational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose or provide treatment for any condition. If you have any concerns about your own health, you should always consult with a healthcare professional.

CLA keeps body fat off over two years

01/04/2005 - Supplements of conguated linoleic acid (CLA) taken for two years helped overweight adults keep their body fat mass down, without having to restrict calories or change exercise habits, shows a study published today.

The findings, published in the Journal of Nutrition, come from the extension of a 12-month study on 157 adults. It found that a daily intake of 3.4g of Tonalin brand CLA, made by Cognis, produced an average 9 per cent reduction in body fat mass.
While the second year of study was not carried out in double-blind conditions, and therefore cannot provide such strong evidence of efficacy, it does reflect high compliance levels for the product and its long-term safety.

“The high compliance and low drop-out rates indicate that long-term CLA supplementation was well-tolerated by subjects,” write the authors.

After the initial 12 month trial, published last spring in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 134 of the participants volunteered to continue for another 12 months. Ethical reasons stopped the researchers from continuing the double-blind procedure.

“All patients knew they were taking CLA which minimises our findings somewhat,” said study co-ordinator Dr Jean-Michel Gaullier from Scandinavian Clinical Research in Kjeller, Norway.

“However the placebo group from the first year of study, which started the CLA treatment during the second year, showed the same decrease in body fat mass as those taking CLA in the first year. This confirmed our results from the initial trial,” he told NutraIngredients.com.

He added: “Those who continued to take the CLA maintained the lower amount of body fat mass, without decreasing it further, but without regaining the fat.”

As a general rule, a population with this kind of age profile should gain around 1kg each year, explained Dr Gaullier.

The researcher says that a 9 per cent body fat decrease represents about 2 kg in weight for a person weighing around 80kg to begin with, or the kind of weight loss that can be seen with a long-term exercise programme.

People on certain diets can lose up to 10 kg in the best case scenario but the benefit of CLA is that it does not affect the basal metabolic rate, according to Dr Gaullier. Other weight loss products reduce metabolic rates and this leads to weight regain.

CLA supplementation also appeared to lower levels of leptin, a hormone associated with increased weight. Over the course of 24 months, leptin levels dropped 20-35 per cent as study subjects lost body fat.

The researchers say that risk of side effects from CLA is no greater than in those taking the placebo. (They can only be properly measured in the first year, during placebo control). Most of those reported were unrelated to the use of CLA, with the remaining 6 per cent described as ‘mild’ reactions, most frequently gastrointestinal in nature, and seen equally across both CLA and placebo groups.

“The side effects were mainly due to capsules or the amount of oil ingested everyday that can affect some people,” said Dr Gaullier.

The new results suggest that people with the highest body mass index (BMI) and body fat mass, especially women with a 25 to 30 BMI, lose the most body fat on CLA supplementation.

Further research is needed to find out if obese people benefit even more.

“The best market for CLA would be those who are overweight but not yet obese. There is no treatment for these people so CLA could be interesting for them,” Dr Gaullier noted.

CLA is thought to work by lowering the amount of fat normally stored after meals, helping the body to break down and efficiently use fat.

Changes during the past 30 years in how cattle are raised (moving to grain feed over grass), coupled with the trend toward low-fat dairy and reduced beef consumption, have drastically reduced the amount of CLA humans acquire through diet.

Comment: CLA has been tested for a long time and is one of the few weightloss supplements that actually has been proven to keep weight off after is has been lost, without dietary or caloric restriction. I like the Nutrilite® CLA 500 product. The product is not cheap, but it's good to know it at least works from clinical sutdies.

The Quixtar website describes the product this way: Lose fat, not muscle...
Reduce body fat and support lean-muscle retention. This essential fatty acid helps your body do both. Get the most out of your workout!

30-day supply * 180 softgels QTY * SKU: 100280 From Quixtar site.


Christopher Wiechert's Healthblogger is for educational or informational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose or provide treatment for any condition. If you have any concerns about your own health, you should always consult with a healthcare professional.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Eat cranberries, drink a little red wine, and eat some peanuts - it's good for you...

Resveratrol Identified as an Anti-Cancer Compound


04 Apr 2005

(HealthNewsDigest.com).. New research suggests the importance of foods like cranberries that naturally contain resveratrol, an anti-cancer compound. A research team led by Dr. Bharat Aggarwal at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, in conjunction with Dr. Navindra Seeram of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition, David Geffen School of Medicine, published their review article, citing more than 70 previous studies, in the journal Anticancer Research.


The authors reviewed studies examining resveratrol's ability to suppress proliferation of a wide variety of tumor cells, including lymphoid and myeloid cancers; cancers of the breast, colon, pancreas, stomach, prostate, head and neck, ovary, liver, lung and cervical cancers; melanoma; and muscles. Some studies indicate antiproliferative effects at certain dose ranges but not others, indicating further need for systemic research to test a range of resveratrol concentrations in vitro and then apply those doses in vivo to the different types of tumors.


Besides inhibiting proliferation, resveratrol was also shown to induce apoptosis through one of two pathways (inducing Fas-dependent apoptosis in some cell lines, and Fas-independent apoptosis in others) in b-cell and t-cell lymphomas; myeloid leukemia; breast, colon, pancreas, stomach, prostate, thyroid and head and neck, ovary, liver, lung, and cervical cancers; and melanoma. Most studies indicate resveratrol does not induce apoptosis in normal cells.

In vitro and animal studies comprised the majority of the research reviewed, though several of the leukemia studies were in vivo. The research points to anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of resveratrol as well. Good sources of resveratrol include grapes, peanuts, cranberries and other berries.

The researchers conclude that resveratrol holds great potential in cancer prevention and therapy. In vivo studies clearly showed that resveratrol is pharmacologically safe. Its ability to radiosensitive and chemosensitize suggest additional opportunities. With a simple structure and the presence of hydroxyl groups, resveratrol would also be well suited for structure-activity relationship studies to improve biopotency and bioavailability.

Reference: Aggarwal, BB. Role of Resveratrol in Prevention and Therapy of Cancer: Preclinical and Clinical Studies. Anticancer Research 2004;24:2783-2840.

Cranberry juice modulates atherosclerotic vascular dysfunction
04 Apr 2005

Six months on cranberry juice normalizes blood vessel function-relaxation and may protect against heart disease -

San Diego (April 3, 2005) - Protection against a wide variety of diseases is among the many benefits of a diet high in whole fruits and vegetables. Cranberries over the years have been identified with preventing or ameliorating urinary tract infections and playing a positive role gum disease, ulcers and even cancer.

Recent work shows that cranberries contain naturally derived compounds (antioxidants, flavonoids, and polyphenols) that may help protect against heart disease. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine studied the effects of taking cranberry juice powder regularly over six months and found a pronounced improvement in the vascular function -- the ability of blood vessels to relax - in subjects with high blood cholesterol and atherosclerosis.

"Since the abnormal functioning of blood vessels is an important component of heart disease, finding ways to improve vascular function in patients with high cholesterol and atherosclerosis is critical to helping protect these patients from consequences such as heart attack or stroke," according to lead researcher Kris Kruse-Elliott.


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Christopher Wiechert's Healthblogger is for educational or informational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose or provide treatment for any condition. If you have any concerns about your own health, you should always consult with a healthcare professional.

Friday, April 01, 2005

You are what you eat - Are you nuts?

Discoveries Help Peanuts Shed Fat Stigma

2 hours, 42 minutes ago
By ELLIOTT MINOR, Associated Press Writer

ALBANY, Ga. - Peanuts, a dietary outcast during the fat-phobic 1990s, have made a comeback, with consumption soaring to its highest level in nearly two decades and more doctors recommending the nuts as part of a heart-healthy diet.
When consumption of peanut butter and snack peanuts plummeted as Americans switched to lowfat diets, the peanut industry responded with studies showing the health benefits of peanuts.
"Mothers gave us peanuts and peanut butter. Now, we've figured out that mom was right. But it took a lot of researchers and universities to figure that out," said Don Koehler, executive director of Georgia's Peanut Commission.
The campaign apparently worked. Total consumption of peanuts jumped last year to nearly 1.7 billion pounds, 9.2 percent higher than the 1.5 billion pounds consumed the year before.
Consumption of snack peanuts alone climbed to 415 million pounds in the 2003-2004 crop year, the highest since a low of 285 million pounds in the mid-1990s. And peanut butter consumption soared to 900 million pounds, from a low of about 700 million also in the mid-1990s.
The federal government's latest dietary guidelines now acknowledge that peanuts, which contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat, can be consumed in moderation.
"Now we know that the type of fat found in peanuts is actually good for us," said Lona Sandon with the American Dietetic Association. "It doesn't clog our arteries like saturated fat. It helps keep the arteries clean."
But that's only if peanuts are consumed "in moderation," and that's the part that often trips up peanut lovers. There are 14 grams of fat in one serving of peanuts, which is only one ounce. And a handful can have up to 200 calories.
"The problem is that the portions need to be low so you don't overconsume the calories, that's where the public has a disconnect," said Madelyn Fernstrom, director of the Weight Management Center at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. "It's a well spent 200 calories if you can limit it to that. The problem is volume. It's very hard to have a small serving of peanuts, meaning a small handful."
Peanut consumption dwindled in the early 1990s when the government began requiring nutrition labels on food products, which show peanuts to be high in fat.
U.S. peanut consumption dropped from about 1.6 billion pounds during the 1989-1990 crop year to about 1.4 billion pounds in 1995-96.
What American consumers seemed to overlook in the 1990s is that the humble peanut contains a respectable list of nutrients — vitamin E, niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, and essential minerals such as copper, phosphorous, potassium, zinc and magnesium. They also are a good source of fiber and protein.
Peanuts also contain a small amount of resveratrol, the antioxidant in red wine that has been linked to the "French Paradox" — a low incidence of heart disease among the French, despite their love of cheese and other high-fat foods.
Research at Penn State University, Harvard Medical School, Purdue University and the University of Florida have shown that peanuts may help prevent heart disease, that they can lower bad cholesterol and that they can help with weight loss, possibly by making people feel satisfied so they eat less overall. One of the Harvard studies showed an association between peanut butter consumption and a reduced risk of diabetes.
Even the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized a qualified health claim for peanuts and some tree nuts. Producers can say they may reduce their risk of heart disease by eating 1 1/2 ounces daily.
Anna Resurreccion, a University of Georgia food scientist, has focused her research on the resveratrol found in peanuts. By subjecting the nuts to stress — slicing the kernels, or subjecting them to ultrasound — the resveratrol level greatly surpassed that found in red wine, she said.
This development opens the door for new food products, such as enhanced peanut butter, that may help prevent cancer and heart disease. It could also be a way to get resveratrol into the diets of children.
"Young children can't very well drink wine," she said. "But most of them love peanut butter and peanut snack foods."
Seattle nutrition consultant Lola O'Rourke said the recent research provides scientific backup for what nutritionists have known all along.
"It's good news that people are realizing that some fat is OK and fat in moderation can even work well with a weight management program," she said. "The fats in peanuts are healthy fats. ... It all comes back to balance and moderation."

Comment: You all know how I feel about fats by now, you can read about it on my website, Fat Facts.. The cultures who eat high fat diets have lower levels of Heart Disease then do Americans who eat a diet high in refined carbohydrates. Not only do the French have lower heart disease, but so do Eskimo's and some tribes in Africa who have 60% or more of their total calories in the form of fats in their diets. What really matters is the blood levels of anti-oxidants like resveratrol, A,C,E, Zinc & Selenium and low insulin levels. We eat lots of nuts, the best being Raw Almonds, Walnuts and Macadamia Nuts. One caveat though, if you are trying to lose weight, eat them when your in maintenance mode for best fat loss. Understanding the Glycemic Index and weight control.


Christopher Wiechert's Healthblogger is for educational or informational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose or provide treatment for any condition. If you have any concerns about your own health, you should always consult with a healthcare professional.