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Drugs & Anti-Aging

By: Dr. Al Sears, MDdescribe the image

Sometimes patients come to me with what they call “symptoms of old age.” But often they’re not symptoms at all. They’re side effects.

Here’s what I mean: Prescription drugs cause side effects that look a lot like “aging.”

Research shows some drugs cause major cellular damage. They attack the mitochondria, the tiny energy generators in each cell of your body.

Why is that important?

Damage to the mitochondria is related to many diseases we think of as occurring in the elderly. Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, coronary artery disease … even strokes and diabetes.

One of the reasons these synthetic, man-made molecules cause aging is that mitochondrial damage shortens telomeres.

Telomere shortening causes cells to go into repair mode to fix the shortened DNA. All that repair activity going on while your body tries to fix your DNA and damaged mitochondria generates a lot of free radicals. They cause oxidation, which can shorten telomeres more. And the cycle continues.

You can trace mitochondrial damage back to statins, pain medications like acetaminophen, and a long list of psychoactive drugs. These cross the blood–brain barrier and can age brain cells.(1)

Other drugs directly shorten telomeres. Especially chemotherapy drugs. They also slow down the activity of telomerase, the enzyme that repairs telomeres.(2)

Most doctors wouldn’t think to blame premature as a side effect of medical drugs. They are taught that becoming older and more feeble is normal. They might even prescribe another drug to treat your new “symptoms.”

How can you protect yourself?

Here are a few of the drugs that age your body the most, and what you can do as an alternative:

1) Corticosteroids: Worse than arthritis pain. Some of my least favorite drugs are corticosteroids, like the hydrocortisone cream your doctor might prescribe. This is a family of anti-inflammatory medicines many doctors use to treat arthritis, asthma or a skin rash.

These drugs turn off your body’s natural repair and rejuvenation mechanisms, causing you to age more quickly. Fortunately, there are alternatives.

For Asthma: Try daily breathing exercises, massage therapy, and omega-3 fatty acids.

For Arthritis: Guggul and meadowsweet relieve osteoarthritis. Guggul is a Southeast Asian remedy which studies showed to be highly effective in reducing the symptoms of osteoarthritis.(3) Meadowsweet is a great example of why no matter how many times we think we’re smarter than nature, nature is better. Meadowsweet stores its active anti-inflammatories as inactive compounds. So when you ingest them, they go past your stomach intact. Then your liver safely converts them into the healing inflammation-dousing compounds that really work.

For Eczema or Skin Rash: My patients report great results with vitamin D oil while others prefer chamomile oil. Both are very effective.

2) Beta blockers: Shortcut to old age. Lopressor, Tenormin, Inderal, Corgard, or Normodyne and other beta-blockers age your heart more than almost any other drug. And in a recent study people who received beta blockers after having surgery that wasn’t even heart-related were at higher risk of dying or having a stroke.(4)

Here’s what you need instead:

CoQ10: This is my go-to supplement for my heart patients. It is the most important heart nutrient. Half of my patients have their blood pressure return to normal with CoQ10 alone. And it cures congestive heart failure.(5)

Garlic: This herb not only reduces triglycerides, which protects your heart, but it can also significantly reduce diastolic blood pressure.(6)

Hawthorn: This is the heart tonic of the ancients and it really works to relax the blood vessels.

3) Bisphosphonates: Perfect way to create old brittle bones. The bone drugs like Fosamax, Actonel and Reclast work by poisoning the cells that remove old bone. This disrupts natural bone remodeling so you get bones that are denser, but have weaker cells. If you take these drugs, your bones get more brittle and more prone to fracture, not stronger.

Before you take a bone drug, consider these natural alternatives that will harden your bones:

Natural D: The D3 form of vitamin D is the hormone that directs bone building in your body. Vitamin D also increases telomerase, the enzyme that lengthens telomeres.(7) Get 5,000 IU a day, preferably from direct sunlight.

Vitamin K2: This forgotten vitamin aids with your bones’ absorption of calcium to help make them stronger. The other benefit of vitamin K2 is that it rescues damaged mitochondria and cures mitochondrial dysfunction.(8) This helps prevent telomere shortening. You can find K2 in a variety of different foods including egg yolks, organ meat, and organic milk. I recommend 90 mcg a day if you supplement.

To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD

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Resources:
1. Neustadt J, Pieczenik SR. “Medication-induced mitochondrial damage and disease.” Mol Nutr Food Res. 2008 Jul;52(7):780-8.

2. Li P, Hou M, Lou F, Björkholm M, Xu D, “Telomere dysfunction induced by chemotherapeutic agents and radiation in normal human cells.” Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2012;44(9):1531-40.

3. Singh B. et al., The effectiveness of Commiphora mukul for the osteoarthritis of the knee: an outcomes study. Alternative Therapies 2003 May/Jun; 9(3): 74-79.

4. Devereaux PJ, Yusuf S, Yang H, Choi PT-L, Guyatt GH. “Are the recommendations to use perioperative b-blocker therapy in patients undergoing noncardiac surgery based on reliable evidence?” Canadian Medical Association Journal 2004; 171: 245–7

5. Langsjoen H., et al. Usefulness of Coenzyme Q10 in clinical cardiology: a long-term study. Mol Aspect Med 1004; 15 Suppl: s165-75

6. Andrianova I., et al. Hypotensive effect of long-acting garlic tablets allicor (a double-blind placebo-controlled trial).Ter Arkh 2002; 74(3): 76-78.

7. Zhu H, Guo D, Li K, Pedersen-White J, Stallmann-Jorgensen I, Huang Y, Parikh S, Liu K, Dong Y. “Increased telomerase activity and vitamin D supplementation …” Int J Obes. 2012;36(6):805-9.

8. Vos M, et. al. “Vitamin K2 is a mitochondrial electron carrier that rescues pink1 deficiency.” Science. 2012;336(6086):1306-10.

Do You Need a Sugar Detox? (4 Easy Ways to Tell!)

By: Kelley Herring, Healing GourmetSugar

  • Do you ever find yourself needing something sweet as a “pick me up” during the day?
  • Do you experience deep cravings for foods like chocolate or ice cream… or have trouble stopping once you start eating sweets?
  • Do you have difficulty saying “no” to dessert or candy when it’s offered at work or social gatherings?
  • If so, you’re not alone. In fact, most people find that they have a love-hate relationship with sweets. And the reason might surprise you.

Sugar: The Taste of Sweet Survival

We have a primal urge to eat sugar. In fact, humans are evolutionarily hard-wired to crave sweets.

You see, when the food supply was very unpredictable – and caloric energy was difficult to come by – calories were an evolutionary advantage. Sweetness represented energy, and energy meant survival.

Of course, in the days of our ancestors, sweet foods were uncommon, available only at certain times of the year or they took a lot of effort to obtain (picture yourself climbing a tree or cliff face to gain access to a bees nest). There was also competition for sweet foods from animals and others in your tribe.

But all of that has changed. Where sweets were once scarce and difficult to obtain, today they are cheap and ubiquitous.

While the landscape of our food supply has changed, the hard-wired survival instinct to consume sugar has not.

Sugar Addiction & Deafening Leptin's Message

The result? A vicious cycle of sugar addiction.

Some people say that eating sweets is like “opening Pandora’s box”. Once they have that brownie, cookie or any form of sweet treat – it’s difficult to stop.

But it’s not just about a lack of willpower. Your hormones are also to blame.

After eating a sugar-sweetened treat, blood sugar levels rise. The hormone insulin (often called the fat-storing hormone) is called upon to mobilize sugar from the blood. As blood sugar levels fall, signals are sent to the brain that available energy is dwindling. Hunger ensues.

And what do you reach for? That cookie… or brownie… or sweet treat – the very food that put you in the hormonal hunger cycle in the first place.

But there’s more to the equation than just blood sugar and insulin.  Eating sugar actually deafens the message sent to your brain that you’re full. And it does this by causing leptin resistance.

Leptin (also known as the satiety hormone) is an important regulator of hunger. It monitors the amount of energy we consume and provides feedback to our brain. When leptin works properly, our eating is in control. But as we become resistant its signals, this important biofeedback mechanism is compromised.

The result is not just that we become hungry again faster after eating a sweet treat – it’s also that we tend to eat more on the rebound because we’re not satisfied.

Of course, the most visible result of sugar addiction is weight gain. But a high sugar diet is also closely correlated with every chronic disease.    

Chronic Disease & A High Sugar Diet

In addition to promoting systemic inflammation and speeding up the aging process, a high sugar diet is associated with heart disease, declining brain health, cancer and more.

And while I could fill a book with the studies that establish this correlation, I’d like to share two recent ones that I think are particularly meaningful:

•    Sugar and Declining Brain Health: In a recent study published in the journal Neurology, researchers found a direct relationship between brain shrinkage and blood sugar. They also found a direct relationship between memory loss and elevated blood sugar. What’s more, it wasn’t just “diabetic” levels of blood sugar that caused these effects – even relatively moderate elevations caused harm to the brain and memory.

•    Sugar and Heart Disease: The Journal of the American Medical Association published a report this month entitled Added Sugar Intake and Cardiovascular Diseases Mortality among US Adults. Researchers evaluated how added sugars in the diet related to the risk of death from a cardiovascular event. The study showed a direct correlation between the amount of added sugar in the diet and the risk for death from a cardiovascular event. What’s more, when the researchers compared people whose added dietary sugars accounted for less than 10% of their total calories to those whose added sugar exceeded 25% of daily calories, those consuming the most added sugar had a 300% higher risk of death from a cardiovascular event!

How To Do A Sugar Detox

Detoxing from sugar and adopting a long-term, low-sugar lifestyle isn’t just important to improve body your body composition: it’s absolutely essential to prevent chronic disease.
Doing a sugar detox is especially important:

•    If you ever feel controlled by cravings for sweets and carbs – or you just can’t say no
•    If you become irritable or have mood swings based on blood sugar
•    If you feel you need sweets or carbs for a boost of energy during the day
•    If you just can’t stop once you start eating sweets

Did you answer “yes” to any of these questions? If so, your health would greatly benefit from a firm commitment to completely QUIT sugar for at least three to four weeks.

When I say sugar, of course I mean processed foods containing sugar like candy and soda. But I’m also talking about natural forms of sugar – honey and maple syrup – as well as starches that are rapidly converted into sugar.

And while many “sugar detox” programs still allow some level of carbohydrate and even fruit as part of their detox program, this strategy typically isn’t sufficient to fully elicit the important metabolic and hormonal changes that can help you break your sugar addiction including:

•    Resetting your metabolism from a “sugar burner” to a “fat burner”
•    Eliminating wild fluctuations in mood and energy levels
•    Resetting appetite and reducing leptin resistance
•    Resetting your taste buds so you no longer require sweet foods to feel satisfied

In fact, most people find they achieve the biggest benefit and quickest results by focusing their consumption solely on grass-fed meats, pastured poultry and eggs, wild fish, bone broth and stock, healthy fats (lard, tallow, grass-fed butter, duck fat, coconut oil) and non-starchy vegetables.

Here’s what your sample sugar detox daily menu might look like:

Breakfast: Pastured eggs with grass-fed butter or coconut oil, pastured pork sausage and avocado

Lunch: Atlantic mackerel or wild salmon burger or grass-fed beef burger, mixed green salad with olive oil and vinegar

Dinner: Duck breasts, leafy greens and bell peppers sautéed in duck fat with garlic

Snacks: Bone marrow, bone broth, olives, Brazil nuts

(Please Note:  My sample menu is a very low carb/potentially ketogenic menu that may not be appropriate for everyone.)

I want to hear from you! Have you done a sugar detox? If so, what were your results… what did you experience… and what foods did you enjoy during that time?

______________________________________________________________________________

Ed. Note: Kelley Herring is author of more than a dozen books on nutrition and natural healing. She is also the co-founder of Wellness Bakeries, which has just released their newest product - Better Bread - a 100% Paleo bread mix you can whip up in 5 minutes flat.

______________________________________________________________________________
REFERENCES
1.    Lucia Kerti MA, A. Veronica Witte PhD, Angela Winkler MA, Ulrike Grittner PhD, Dan Rujescu MD, Agnes Flöel MD. Higher glucose levels associated with lower memory and reduced hippocampal microstructure. Journal of Neurology. November 12, 2013
2.    Quanhe Yang, PhD; Zefeng Zhang, MD, PhD; Edward W. Gregg, PhD; W. Dana Flanders, MD, ScD; Robert Merritt, MA; Frank B. Hu, MD, PhD. Added Sugar Intake and Cardiovascular Diseases Mortality Among US Adults. JAMA Internal Medicine. February 3, 2014  
3.    Banks WA1, Coon AB, Robinson SM, e al. Triglycerides induce leptin resistance at the blood-brain barrier. Diabetes. 2004 May;53(5):1253-60.

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Super Fish

By: Dr. Al Sears, MDSalmon

I admire the strength and supernatural endurance of Pacific salmon.

Their trip to the spawning ground may cover more than 2,000 miles. They travel day and night upstream against powerful swift currents.

They even swim UP waterfalls. They have to outrun predators like seals, orca whales, bears and human fishermen.

And amazingly, during this entire journey the salmon never eat. Instead, they live off the fat stored in their bright pink muscle tissue. In fact, their pink flesh is the secret to their physical power… and the incredible health benefits you can get from salmon.

Not to mention the taste. I’m a huge fan of wild-caught salmon. I try to cook some on the grill at least once or twice a week.

Salmon get their color when they feed on marine algae. They contain a red carotenoid called astaxanthin.

It’s what provides legendary endurance to salmon. And it can boost your energy and physical performance, too.

Astaxanthin is the most powerful antioxidant in the world. It’s 6,000 times more effective than vitamin C. It’s hundreds of times stronger than CoQ10 and vitamin E.(1) Here’s why.

Other antioxidants can only handle one free radical at a time. But astaxanthin is like a super-hero. It takes on more than 19 bad guys at once. It forms an electron cloud around itself. Free radicals get absorbed into the cloud. It neutralizes multiple attackers at one time.

That’s really important for athletes or anyone who keeps physically fit. You see, exercise has a ton of health benefits. But it also creates a lot of free radicals. You can’t really avoid them.

The harder you work out, the more free radicals you produce. If you run a marathon you could generate 12 times more free radicals than when you’re resting.

Astaxanthin helps your body recover from that damage. It patrols your muscles for free radicals. Then it eliminates them. Studies show it provides excellent recovery from muscle and heart damage following exercise.(2)

And it improves endurance. In 2008 Swedish researchers studied 40 male students. Half received 4 mg of astaxanthin every day. The other half received a placebo.

They measured muscle endurance by the number of deep knee bends the men could perform before becoming exhausted. After 6 months, the placebo group could only do 20% more squats. The astaxanthin group increased their squats by 55%. They performed three times better than the placebo group.(3)

Researchers also tested it in competitive cyclists. They gave bikers either 4 mg of astaxanthin a day or placebo. In four weeks, the astaxanthin group became over 5% faster. They cut more than 2 minutes from a 20 kilometer ride. The placebo group cut a paltry 9 seconds.(4)

You don’t have to be an elite athlete to benefit from astaxanthin. It can help boost the benefits you get from doing just moderate exercise, gardening, or my P.A.C.E. program. It allows you to work longer without getting tired. Over time that can add up to better strength and stamina for everything in your life.

Natural astaxanthin is produced only by microalgae. We can get it by eating pink sea creatures that feed on the algae. These include some trout, red sea bream, crab, lobster, shrimp, and other pink seafood. But salmon – especially sockeye salmon – is by far the richest source. Just make sure it’s wild-caught.

A typical 6-ounce serving of Atlantic salmon only gives you about 1 mg of astaxanthin. The same serving of wild Pacific sockeye salmon gives you 4-5 mg. Still, you’d have to be eating wild-caught salmon every day to get enough.

Supplements are available. But avoid the cheap brands. They’re usually synthetic, which is 20 times weaker than the natural version. They won’t give you the performance benefits you expect. It’s worth paying the extra money to avoid taking a worthless petrochemical pill.

Most studies show doses of 4 to 16 mg per day are effective. I recommend taking at least 10 mg per day of a naturally derived form to support strength and endurance. You should see results in about four weeks or less.

Keep in mind that astaxanthin is fat soluble. Take it with a meal or snack containing some healthy fats like butter, coconut oil, or eggs. The fat will help your body absorb the astaxanthin.(5)

And try to take it with your krill or fish oil. It will boost your heart, brain and immune system health.

To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD

______________________________________________________________________________
Resources:

1. Pandey, S. et al,”Anti Aging Therapy: Various Alignments to Control Premature Aging.” International Journal of Pharma and Bio Sciences 2010;V1(2).
2. Aoi, W., Naito, et al. “Astaxanthin limits exercise-induced skeletal and cardiac muscle damage in mice.” Antioxidants and Redox Signaling, 2003;5, 139-144.
3. Curt L. Malmsten and Åke Lignell. “Dietary Supplementation with Astaxanthin-Rich Algal Meal Improves Strength Endurance. A Double Blind Placebo Controlled Study on Male Students.” Carotenoid Science, 2008;Vol.13.
4. Earnest CP, Lupo M, White KM, Church TS. “Effect of astaxanthin on cycling time trial performance.” Int J Sports Med. 2011;32(11):882-8. PMID:21984399
5. Mercke Odeberg J, Lignell A, et al. “Oral bioavailability of the antioxidant astaxanthin in humans is enhanced by incorporation of lipid based formulations.” Eur J Pharm Sci. 2003;19:299-304.

Can a Gluten-Free Diet Increase Your Risk of Arsenic Poisoning?

By: Kelley Herring, Healing GourmetRice

Although most people don’t know exactly what arsenic is or what it does inside the body… just about all of us know that it is a deadly poison. In fact, just saying the word “arsenic” can conjure up images of a skull and cross bones or a vial full of poison.

So, what in the world are high levels of this deadly poison doing in so many common foods – many of which are specifically marketed as “healthy” and some of which are made just for babies?

The truth is that it is virtually impossible to avoid arsenic entirely. Because it is a chemical element found throughout the earth’s crust, it is often present in soil and groundwater. It is not uncommon to find minute traces of arsenic in everything from leafy greens and fruit to seafood and tap water.

But certain foods are especially high in this deadly poison. And what is even more troubling is that while the Environmental Protection Agency has established safety standards for arsenic in drinking water at 10 ppb, no safety standard has been set for arsenic in food.

The result? According the independent analysis conducted by Consumer Reports, some common food products contain more than 90 times the arsenic that’s allowed in drinking water!

And the food that should cause the greatest concern is rice…

Arsenic in Rice Products Far Exceeds “Safe” Arsenic Limits

Rice plants take up silica to help them stand up in water-logged soils. But to the rice plant, arsenic “looks” very similar to silica. So any arsenic that is in the soil is easily taken up by the roots of the rice plant. In fact, rice pulls more arsenic from the soil than any other grain.

Another part of the problem is where the rice is grown. Much of the rice grown in the southeastern US is land that was once used for growing cotton. The pesticides that were previously used on cotton crops (many of which contain arsenic) persist in the soil and groundwater, thus increasing the arsenic available for uptake.

In the Consumer Reports investigation, all of the rice products tested contained some level of arsenic. Brown rice contained more arsenic than white rice. And concentrated forms of rice – like brown rice flour, brown rice syrup and certain processed foods – contained the highest levels of all.

This is of special concern for people following a gluten-free diet, because rice is often used to replace wheat. And because brown rice flour is typically the main ingredient in gluten-free baking mixes, breads, crackers, chips and pasta, just one daily serving of these foods could significantly increase the risk of arsenic poisoning.

Signs of acute arsenic toxicity include blood in the urine, severe stomach pain and convulsions as the poison damages the lungs, skin, kidneys and liver. But keep in mind that very small doses of a poison generally do not cause acute symptoms.

Instead, their toxic effects build up and accumulate over time. The symptoms chronic low-level arsenic consumption can be very mild at first, including headaches, brain fog, diarrhea, and drowsiness. Often, these symptoms are discounted as general malaise.

However, studies show that these chronic low-level exposures can lead to heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic respiratory illness, and even diabetes.

And while arsenic is dangerous for adults, it is an even greater concern for infants and children, whose brains and bodies are still developing. Arsenic exposure during these early years is associated with delayed brain development, speech and motor impairment and neuro-behavioral problems… as well as chronic diseases (including cancer and lung disease) in adulthood.

And unfortunately, rice cereal is one of the first foods consumed by many infants. Consider these numbers reported by Consumer Reports (and keep in mind that the EPA upper limit for drinking water is 10 ppb):

•    Gerber Rice Cereal - 264 ppb
•    Earth's Best Organic Whole Grain Rice Cereal - 274 ppb

And that’s not all, because many children’s snack foods – like gummy fruits, fruit leathers and other fruit snacks – are sweetened with brown rice syrup, an even more concentrated source of contaminants.

Or consider the surprisingly high levels of arsenic reported in these common gluten-free foods:

•    Arrowhead Mills Organic Sweetened Rice Flakes - 963 ppb (!!)
•    Della Basmati Brown Rice - 568 ppb
•    Arrowhead Mills Organic Brown Rice Flour - 565 ppb
•    Trader Joe's Organic Brown Rice Pasta Fusilli - 389 ppb
•    Great Value Brown Rice (Walmart) - 360 ppb
•    365 Everyday Value Long Grain Brown Rice (Whole Foods) - 282 ppb

Unfortunately, arsenic cannot be entirely avoided. But by staying away from foods that are known to have high concentrations – rice and especially products made from brown rice – you’ll do a lot to reduce your exposure.

Reducing Dietary Arsenic Naturally

If you do consume rice, opt for white Basmati rice grown in California which has been shown to have a very low level – roughly 1.6 ppb – of arsenic per serving. Also, be sure to rinse rice thoroughly before cooking and discard any water that remains after cooking.

If you are concerned about previous exposure and your body burden of arsenic, focus on boosting detoxification.

1.    Support Methylation and Sulfation Detox Pathways: Get sufficient vitamin B6, B12 and folate in your diet. These vitamins are essential to activate these two key detoxification paths. Free range chicken and turkey, grass-fed beef and bison, and wild seafood provide ample amounts of vitamins B6 and B12 while leafy greens, asparagus, avocado and broccoli are excellent sources of folate.

2.    Boost Glutathione: Boost your body’s “master antioxidant and detoxifier” with high quality protein. Good choices include grass-fed whey protein (non-denatured like Vital Whey), grass-fed beef, bison, free range poultry, eggs and wild seafood.

3.    Optimize Selenium and Iodine: Deficiencies in these two minerals has been found to increase the uptake and storage of arsenic in the body. Eat raw Brazil nuts for a superior source of selenium and boost iodine levels with wild shrimp and lobster.

Unfortunately, no food is entirely without risk. Arming yourself with information and adhering to the native grain-free diet of our ancestors is the best way to protect against the contaminants found in the modern day food supply.
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ED NOTE: Kelley Herring is author of more than a dozen books on nutrition and natural healing. She is also the co-founder of Wellness Bakeries, which has just released their newest product - Better Bread - a 100% Paleo bread mix you can whip up in 5 minutes flat.
_______________________________________________________________________________

Resources:

1.    Consumer Reports Magazine, November 2012. Arsenic in Your Food  - Our Findings Show a Real Need for Federal Standards for This Toxin. PDF
2.    Tseng CH, Chong CK, Tseng CP, et al. (January 2003). "Long-term arsenic exposure and ischemic heart disease in arseniasis-hyperendemic villages in Taiwan". Toxicol. Lett. 137 (1–2): 15–21.
3.    Smith AH, Hopenhayn-Rich C, Bates MN, et al. (July 1992). "Cancer risks from arsenic in drinking water". Environ. Health Perspect. 97: 259–67.
4.    Chiou HY, Huang WI, Su CL, Chang SF, Hsu YH, Chen CJ (September 1997). "Dose-esponse relationship between prevalence of cerebrovascular disease and ingested inorganic arsenic". Stroke 28 (9): 1717–23.
5.    Hendryx M (January 2009). "Mortality from heart, respiratory, and kidney disease in coal mining areas of Appalachia". Int Arch Occup Environ Health 82 (2): 243–9.
6.    Navas-Acien A, Silbergeld EK, Pastor-Barriuso R, Guallar E (August 2008). "Arsenic exposure and prevalence of type 2 diabetes in US adults". JAMA 300 (7): 814–22.
7.    Kile ML, Christiani DC (August 2008). "Environmental arsenic exposure and diabetes". JAMA 300 (7): 845–6.
8.    Andrea Raab, Christina Baskaran,  Joerg Feldmannb, Andrew A. Meharg. Cooking rice in a high water to rice ratio reduces inorganic arsenic content. J. Environ. Monit., 2009,11, 41-44

Nothing a Good Dose of Vitamin-C Can’t Cure

By: Dr. Al Sears, MDOranges

We have plenty of scientific evidence that proves the value of nutrients and supplements … but look at what happens when you take that evidence to a standard doctor.

A patient of mine didn’t want to make a long drive to my office for a little cold. So he went to see his primary care doctor. When he got to the physician’s office, his doctor was hassling him. “You haven’t been here for a visit in over two years.”

“But I never get sick,” he said. “I take Dr. Sears’ supplements and they work. I’ve shown you the research…”

“Look,” his doctor said to him, “I will give you any drug you want, but I don’t care about these natural supplements. And all those research articles that you’re bringing to me? They mean nothing to me.”

How can you tell a patient scientific research means nothing to you? It’s as if he thought the subject matter was not his concern. It’s as if he were saying, “This means nothing because it’s about supplements and that’s something I don’t and shouldn’t care about.” So he left and came to see me.

He had an acute viral syndrome or possibly even flu. He got the symptoms midway through a cruise, and it had been hanging around for 2 weeks. It’s nothing a good dose of vitamin C and eucalyptus can’t cure. And that’s the very least of what supplements can do for us.

The evidence that supplements are not only effective, but necessary to combat deficiencies caused by our unnatural environment are so plentiful they fill entire medical journals. Look at meta-analyses of saw palmetto. You can clearly prove, better than any drug that’s ever been sold, that saw palmetto is an effective treatment for prostate enlargement (BPH – benign prostatic hyperplasia). And the evidence comes from a lot of varied sources that don’t have a commercial interest.

So instead of a drug company doing one study, we’ve got over 60 studies from around the world on saw palmetto’s effectiveness. Vitamin C been marginalized as unnecessary and ineffective. But it has over eighteen thousand studies showing its benefits just in the PubMed database alone. Studies also find a link between low levels of vitamin C and risk of stroke.

Men with the lowest vitamin C in their bodies have a 240% greater chance of stroke than men with higher vitamin C levels.(1) Researchers at the University of California analyzed the vitamin C intakes and death rates of more than 11,000 men and women.(2) The study showed a dramatic decline in death from heart disease among the men with the highest vitamin C intake, especially among those who took a vitamin C supplement. And vitamin C, like vitamin E, has another benefit that we’ve only discovered recently, but which could be one of the reasons these antioxidants help you live better for longer.

Raising the level of vitamin C in the cells could slow down the shortening of telomeres up to 62%.(3) A landmark study from a university in Nebraska found that vitamin D has the potential to lower the risk of all cancers in women by 77 percent.(4) One study gave over 1,000 people either vitamin B3 (niacin) or a placebo and followed them for 15 years. 10 years after the end of the trial, doctors followed up and found that niacin had reduced the people’s chance of dying from any cause by 11%.(5)

In a study on the mineral selenium done at Harvard, the men who had the most selenium saw their prostate cancer risk dropped by 50%.(6) Recent research shows that people who get the least amount of magnesium have a 50% higher risk for heart problems.(7) These are some of the vitamins and nutrients that have the most evidence behind them, and you can find them all in a good multivitamin. I take one every day, and the one I have the most confidence in is Daily Power. I formulated it to provide the critical nutrients and co-factors that work together with the vitamins for your body to properly absorb them.

I encourage you to try Daily Power. But whichever multi-nutrient you choose, avoid the big box store and grocery chain brands. Not that I have anything against these stores, but when I checked into their formulas I found they use the cheapest, synthetic ingredients. And when it comes to your optimal health, this is one place where I don’t recommend cutting corners.

To Your Good Health,

Al Sears, MD

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Resources:

1.Kurl S, Tuomainen TP, Laukkanen JA, et al. “Plasma Vitamin C modifies the association between hypertension and risk of stroke.” Stroke. 2002; 33(6):1568-1573. 2.Enstrom JE, Kanim LE and Kleim MA. “Vitamin C intake and mortality among a sample of the United States population.” Epidemiology. 1992; 3(3):194-202. 3.Furumoto K. et al. “Age-dependent telomere shortening is slowed down by enrichment of intracellular vitamin C via suppression of oxidative stress.” Life Science 1998, vol. 63, no. 11 pp. 935-48. 4. Lappe et al. “Vitamin D Status in a Rural Postmenopausal Female Population.”Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 2006; 25(5):395-402. 5.Canner P, Berge K, Wenger N, Stamler J, Friedman L, Prineas R, Friedewald W. “Fifteen year mortality in Coronary Drug Project patients: long-term benefit with niacin.” J Am Coll Cardiol. 1986;8(6):1245-55. 6.Li H, Stampfer M, Giovannucci E, Morris J, Willett W, Gaziano J, Ma J. “A prospective study of plasma selenium levels and prostate cancer risk.” J Natl Cancer Inst. 2004;96(9):696-703. 7.Reffelmann T, Ittermann T, Dörr M, et. al. “Low serum magnesium concentrations predict cardiovascular and all-cause …” Atherosclerosis 2011.

The Fatty Fruit You Need to Get Lean (and Stay Young!)

By: Kelley Herring, Healing GourmetAvocado

Did you know that there is a delicious fruit that can help you lose weight, reduce inflammation, fight cancer, protect against heart disease, slow aging and even absorb more nutrients from your food?

It might sound like I’m describing a newly discovered rare superfruit from the jungle – the kind you see in over-the-top ads for nutritional supplements. It turns out this food is actually quite common. In fact, you’ve probably eaten it recently.

And that’s a good thing… because the health benefits of this common fruit are remarkably uncommon!

If you haven’t already guessed, I’m talking about the avocado!

Want to Shed Fat? Add Avocado to Your Lunch

Unfortunately avocados got caught up in the low-fat craze of the 70’s & 80’s. Many Americans shunned it due to its reputation for being laden with fat and calories. But we know that’s a good thing, because avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats – one of the healthiest fats of all.

In fact, research is proving that these certified superfruits can be a dieter’s best friend!

A recent study, published in the Nutrition Journal, showed that eating just half an avocado at lunchtime stabilized blood sugar boosted satiety by 40% three hours after the meal.(1)  These are two key factors for losing weight.

But the benefits avocado eaters enjoy don’t end there…

Boost Nutrient Absorption… with Avocados

Adding avocado to your meals can also help boost your body’s absorption of powerful anti-aging, disease-fighting compounds called carotenoids.

Researchers at Ohio State University conducted studies to determine how eating 150 grams (or roughly 5 Tbsp.) of avocado affected the nutrient absorption of tomato salsa and salad (including spinach, lettuce and carrots).

Blood was drawn from the participants and nutrient levels were monitored for roughly 10 hours after the meal. Here’s what the researchers found:(2)

•    Participants who ate avocado with salsa absorbed nearly 4.5 times more lycopene than those who abstained from avocado.

•    Participants who ate avocado with salad absorbed 8.3 times more alpha-carotene and 13.6 times more beta-carotene than those who didn't eat avocado.

•    Participants who ate avocado with salad absorbed more than four times as much lutein compared to those who ate only salad.

Avocado doesn’t just help your body to maximize the nutrients you get from your food. It also helps to convert the beta-carotene found in plant foods into the biologically active form – vitamin A.

According to research published in the August 2014 volume of the Nutrition Journal, eating avocado was found to boost the conversion of beta-carotene to vitamin A by almost 500%!(3)   

This is really important because roughly 54% of American women and men do not get enough vitamin A from their diets, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)(4).

Getting more antioxidants in your diet – from absorption and more efficient conversion – translates to greater free radical protection. But avocados even go a step further...

Protect Your Cellular Powerhouses with the Alligator Pear

Research also shows that compounds in avocado oil have the ability to go deep into the mitochondria of the cell to halt oxidative damage.  The mitochondria is the powerhouse and very life force of your cells.

When our mitochondria become damaged, so does our ability to produce ATP, the body’s “energy currency”.  The result is fatigue, accelerated aging and an increased risk of chronic diseases, including cancer.(7,8)

Christopher Cortes-Rojo led the recent research into the ability of avocado oil to penetrate the mitochondria and to heal oxidative damage there. He says that many of the antioxidants in other fruits and vegetables are unable to enter the mitochondria, therefore:

"The free radicals go on damaging mitochondria. This causes energy production to stop and the cell to collapse and die. An analogy would be that, during an oil spill, if we cleaned only the spilled oil instead of fixing the perforation where oil is escaping. Then the oil would go on spilling, and fish would die anyway."

By guarding against free radical damage inside the mitochondria, you eliminate a key source of oxidation while simultaneously protecting these vital energy-producing structures.

Getting More Anti-Aging Avocado in Your Diet

If you’re not already enjoying avocados as a staple in your diet, now is the time to start. They’re an incredibly versatile food that can compliment almost any kind of cuisine. They can be enjoyed at any meal. And they are easy to “sneak” into foods for the avocado averse.

And because avocados are protected by a thick, inedible peel, it’s not critical that you purchase organic. Conventionally grown avocados are on the “Clean 15” with no concern for pesticide residues.

Here are some simple ways to add more avocados to your diet:

•    Whirl half an avocado into a smoothie made with VitalWhey and organic berries for a satiating protein and fat-rich breakfast on-the-go
•    Enjoy with pastured eggs and sugar-free bacon or pork breakfast sausage for a breakfast that will power you all morning long
•    Use as a healthy fat source in grain-free baked goods like brownies and cakes or puree with organic dark cocoa and a little stevia for a creamy and delicious, nutrient-rich pudding (great for picky kids!)
•    Make guacamole – the best-known avocado recipe – and serve with grilled grass-fed flank steak and organic salsa for a satisfying Mexican meal
•    Cube and toss with organic cherry tomatoes, artichoke hearts and olives, drizzled with high quality olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt for a delicious Paleo antipasto

Including avocados in your repertoire won’t just keep you feeling full longer and stave off the cravings that can lead to weight gain over time. They’ll provide deep cellular nutrition and antioxidant protection that will help you defy aging and thwart chronic disease.  

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ED NOTE: Kelley Herring is author of more than a dozen books on nutrition and natural healing. She is also the co-founder of Wellness Bakeries, which has just released their newest product - Better Bread - a 100% Paleo bread mix you can whip up in 5 minutes flat.

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Resources:

  1. Michelle Wien, Ella Haddad, Keiji Oda and Joan Sabaté12.A randomized 3x3 crossover study to evaluate the effect of Hass avocado intake on post-ingestive satiety, glucose and insulin levels, and subsequent energy intake in overweight adults. Nutrition Journal 2013, 12:155  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-12-155. Published: 27 November 2013
  2. Nuray Z. Unlu, Torsten Bohn,Steven K. Clinton, and Steven J. Schwartz. Carotenoid Absorption from Salad and Salsa by Humans Is Enhanced by the Addition of Avocado or Avocado Oil. J. Nutr. March 1, 2005 vol. 135 no. 3 431-436
  3. Rachel E. Kopec, Jessica L. Cooperstone, Ralf M. Schweiggert, Gregory S. Young, Earl H. Harrison, David M. Francis, Steven K. Clinton, Steven J. Schwartz. Avocado Consumption Enhances Human Postprandial Provitamin A Absorption and Conversion from a Novel High–β-Carotene Tomato Sauce and from Carrots. First published June 4, 2014, doi: 10.3945/jn.113.187674 J. Nutr. August 1, 2014 vol. 144 no. 8 1158-1166
  4. Community Nutrition Mapping Project, 2009, CNMap, Version 2. United States Department of Agriculture.http://ars.usda.gov/Services/docs.htm?docid=15656
  5. Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). (2012, April 22). Avocado oil: The ‘olive oil of the Americas’?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120422162217.htm
  6. Mandavilli BS, Santos JH, Van Houten B. Mitochondrial DNA repair and aging. Mutat Res. 2002 Nov 30;509(1-2):127-51.
  7. Cadenas E, Davies KJ. Mitochondrial free radical generation, oxidative stress, and aging. Free Radic Biol Med. 2000 Aug;29(3-4):222-30.
  8. Singh KK. Mitochondrial dysfunction is a common phenotype in aging and cancer. Ann NY Acad Sci. 2004 Jun;1019:260-4.

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5 Ways to Reverse Autoimmunity That Have Nothing To Do With Food

By: Eileen Laird
Broth
When we follow the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol, food is foremost in our mind. We avoid the foods that exacerbate autoimmune disease. We look forward to the day when we can eat them again. And we go out of our way to eat healing foods, like bone broth and organ meats. The right food is essential, but healing is about more than just food. Lifestyle affects autoimmunity just as strongly. Healthy choices turn off inflammatory genes, while a stressed-out lifestyle turns them on. Here are five things you can do to help your body heal:

1.    Sleep: If you’re like most of us in the United States, you prioritize everything above sleep. You stay up late to “get important stuff done.” You rise early to squeeze more time into your day. Some people even pull all-nighters to meet a deadline. Here’s the thing: there is nothing more important than your sleep. That is when your body heals itself. The less you sleep, the less you will heal; this is a biological fact you cannot override. You also can’t “catch up” on sleep. Although you may feel less tired after 1 or 2 good night’s sleep, the inflammation you have ramped up in your body takes much longer to tone down. You need a minimum of 8 hours every night, and 10 is even better.

2.    Get Outside: In modern life, it’s easy to forget that human beings evolved to live outdoors. We are designed to make vitamin D from sunlight, and its deficiency is associated with many diseases, including autoimmunity. Our circadian rhythms are set by the natural cycle of day and night and affect our body on a genetic and cellular level. We are meant to move our bodies outside during the day, and sleep deeply in the dark of night. Modern life often has us doing the opposite, sitting inside all day and then finding it impossible to sleep at night. Our health suffers as a result. Do your best to get outside every day, even if just for a short while. Take a walk, lie in the sun, read in the shade, breathe in the fresh air, you can even work outside by answering phone calls and encouraging “walking meetings”. Remember there’s a world outside these walls.

3.    Learn to Say No: Let’s face it: healing takes time. Not just in terms of patience and reversing our symptoms over the long-term. It also takes an incredible amount of time every day: cooking our food, prioritizing sleep, and making time for other healthy activities like relaxation, exercise, detox baths, etc. It requires putting yourself first, which can feel very unnatural, especially if you have a family and you’re used to putting yourself last. It’s necessary, though. When you’re sick, your whole family suffers alongside you. Prioritizing your health helps everyone. So, where are you going to find the time? Answer: you need to say no to something else – several somethings, actually. Take a good look at your life and see what responsibilities you can let go and transfer to someone else. If you don’t think you can let anything go, consult an objective friend to help you prioritize.

4.    Learn to Love Your Body: With autoimmune disease, we’ve been told our bodies have betrayed us, are attacking us, and have become our enemies rather than friends. This simply isn’t true. The body’s whole purpose is to keep us healthy and alive, and they’ve done everything in their power to do so, until they could do no more. Symptoms are their way of telling us something is wrong, and autoimmunity is a miscommunication within the body, not an intentional war within. If we want to heal, it’s much more effective to realize that we are one with our bodies. We can’t live without them. When we get angry, blame and hate our bodies, we’re actually hating ourselves. That’s not a healing stance and often leads to bad choices. Practice loving your body (and yourself) instead. If your child is sick, do you get mad at them, or do you nurture them, and do everything in your power to help them be well? Don’t our bodies deserve that same unconditional love? Don’t we?
 
5.    Take a Computer-Free Day: I saved this one for last, because it gives you the chance to turn off your computer as soon as you finish this article. Have you noticed that your attention span is really short lately? That you can’t sit still, you lack focus, you bore easily, you feel anxious all the time, and are easily irritated? These are all direct effects of constant intermittent use of the computer throughout the day and night. This includes smartphones, tablets and desktops. Partly it’s how we use them – in small time fragments every few minutes throughout the day. Partly it’s the blue light they emit at night that’s over-stimulating to our brains and bodies. See if you can go 24 hours with no computer use whatsoever. It that feels overwhelming, start with 8. Here’s a tip: keep a notebook nearby and when you feel a compulsion to send an email, post to social media, or research something on the internet, write it down. You can do it tomorrow. As the hours pass, those compulsions pass too, and a deep relaxation sets in that you likely haven’t felt in a very long time. That deep sense of peace is incredibly healing, and it’s amazing to realize that just a few decades ago in our computer-free past, we felt that way most of the time.
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Eileen Laird

Eileen Laird is reversing rheumatoid arthritis with the paleo lifestyle and can be found on her blog Phoenix Helix: www.phoenixhelix.com.

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5 Reasons Your Kids Should Be Eating Organ Meat

Michelle Fitzpatrick, author of the blog Happy Paleo Kids, has worked with special needs children and their families for over 13 years to promote development and mental health. She adopted a “Paleo Diet” to lose weight after baby number 3, and quickly saw that the benefits of eating nutrient-rich, plant-and-animal-based foods would benefit her entire family. After applying the Paleo Philosophy to her family, she felt compelled to find a way to bring the science behind the impact of food on child development to the masses. Follow her blog, Happy Paleo Kids, or keep up to date on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About 95% of the times I mention “offal” (aka organ meat) I get the “wrinkled nose” response. Liver, kidney, heart and other organ meats aren’t my favorite foods, but I make a point of serving them at least once a week. Organ meats are nutritional powerhouses with numerous benefits for kids’ growing brains and bodies. They tend to be less expensive than other cuts, which means you can increase your weekly nutrient profile and decrease your budget at the same time. Bonus!

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Here are just a few reasons your child should eat organ meat 1-2 times per week:

1. B vitamins. Organ meat contains an abundance of B vitamins, a family of nutrients that have been shown to play an important role in child behavior and development. A recent Australian study found that adolescents with lower intakes of vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and folate were more likely to demonstrate aggressive and antisocial behaviors, and those with low B6 and folate intake were more likely to demonstrate symptoms of depression.[1] Deficiencies in B vitamins have been found to contribute to impulsivity, irritability, aggression, hyperactivity, anxiety, fatigue, depression, temper tantrums, and poor concentration.

2. Protein. Protein is an important macronutrient that most kids’ diets are seriously lacking. It is a building block for the entire body and the amino acids that comprise protein play roles in hormone regulation, enzyme reactions, and nutrient transportation. Research has found that children with diets low in protein are more likely to have aggression, hyperactivity, and conduct problems.[2] Chronic protein deficiency also contributes to poor academic performance, poor memory, and cognitive deficiencies in children. [3] Organ meat is an excellent source of high-quality protein to meet your growing child’s needs.

3. Vitamin D. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that plays an important role in the body. It regulates calcium in the blood, promotes bone health, assists in the production of serotonin (an important neurotransmitter), protects against depression, improves muscle tone, contributes to insulin regulation, and more.[4] Children with ADHD[5], autism[6], and depression have been found to have lower blood levels of vitamin D than their typically developing peers. Studies on rats have found that developmental deprivation of vitamin D leads to impaired attention and impulsivity.[7]

4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Organ meat is the best source of DHA and EPA (the types of omega-3 fatty acids from animals) aside from seafood. DHA is one of the primary cells found in the human brain, so consuming it (obviously) has beneficial impacts on brain function and development. One study demonstrated that children who take a DHA supplement have increased brain activity in areas of the brain necessary to attend to tasks.[8] Children who consume higher levels of DHA demonstrate better short-term memory, increased ability to attend to tasks, better academic skills, and fewer problem behaviors.[9]  They have fewer respiratory illnesses (who doesn’t want that), decreased risk for type 1 diabetes, and fewer incidents of eczema and asthma.

5. Vitamin A. Organ meat is the best source retinol (vitamin A derived from animal), without a doubt. (Liver holds the title for the organ meat with the most vitamin A). Vitamin A contributes to hormone production, thyroid function, digestion, vision, bone development, and healthy blood. Carrots and other orange veggies are a great source of carotene (pre-form vitamin A), which has great antioxidant properties. However, the body does not efficiently convert carotene in to retinol, meaning that eating meat is necessary in order to provide the body with sufficient vitamin A.

Other nutrients found in organ meat include: minerals (such as iron, zinc, selenium), coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), vitamin E, purines, vitamin C (and I used to think that only came from plants!), vitamin K, and amino acids. Check out some good organ meat recipes to start with here and make a commitment to serve it one time per week!

… What’s your favorite offal recipe?


[1] Herbison, C.E., Hickling, S., et al. (2012). Low intake of B-vitamins is associated with poor adolescent mental health and behavior. Preventive Medicine. 55(6).

[2] Lui, J. & Raine, A. (2006). The effect of childhood malnutrition on externalizing behavior. Current Opinion in Pediatrics. 18(5).

[3] Kar, B.R.., Rao, S.L., & Chandramouli, B.A. (2008). Cognitive development in children with chronic protein energy malnourishment. Behavioral Brain Function: 4(31).

[5] Kamal, M. , Bener, A. & Ehlayel, M.L. (2014) Is high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency a correlate of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder? Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: 6(2)

[7] Turner, et al. (2013). Cognitive performance and response inhibition in developmentally vitamin D deficient rats. Behavioral Brain Research. 242

[9] www.plefa.com/article/S0952-3278%2810%2900051-7/fulltext

Is He Joking?

By: Dr. Al Sears, MDSupplements

It’s hard to believe in 2014. But it’s still going on.

Every so often I’ll read or hear a doctor or professional organization say there’s no evidence that a vitamin supplement does anything for anybody.

Eliseo Guallar and his colleagues at The American College of Physicians wrote an entire paper entitled, “Enough is enough: Stop wasting money on vitamin and mineral supplements.”(1)

And this kind of thing keeps getting repeated.

Just listen to Dr. Benjamin Caballero, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: “The evidence for supplementing with any vitamin … is just not there.”(2)

Or Jaakko Mursu, Ph.D. and colleagues on the Iowa Women’s Health Study: “Based on existing evidence, we see little justification for the general and widespread use of dietary supplements.”(3)

And Steven Nissen, chairman of cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic: “The concept of multivitamins was sold to Americans by an eager nutraceutical industry to generate profits. There was never any scientific data supporting their usage.”(4)

Chart
But the evidence that we do need to supplement our nutrient-poor diet continues to mount, until we could fill entire libraries with the evidence. So people see and hear this stuff and they become confused.

They come to me from all over the world as if there’s this great controversy about whether they should take a supplement or not.

I want to tell you what I always tell them. In my mind, there is no controversy. It is virtually impossible to get optimal nutrients for optimum health and aging from our diet.

And you’ll really be chronically deficient if you follow the RDI guidelines. Those were only designed to prevent illness, not to get you to your best health. If you follow them, you’ll be deprived.

What’s more, as the chart shows, most people don’t even get the RDI for nutrients… So people are not even meeting what would keep them nutritionally deprived even if they met the guidelines!

Even young people, who have a higher metabolism and can eat more food than the average 50 or 70-year-old, with all the extra food they eat, only 1% of them are getting the nutrients they need.(5)

Part of the reason is that our produce doesn’t have enough minerals. They’re grown on mineral and nutrient-depleted soils. Many of them have been genetically altered to grow faster which lessens their nutrients…

For every generation for the past century the nutrient content has gone down. And it’s going down faster in this century with the speed at which crops are being modified.

Did you know you would have to eat 26 of today’s apples to equal just one apple from 1914?(6)

Even the U.S. Department of Agriculture admits that vitamin and mineral levels have fallen by as much as 81 percent over the last 30 years.(7)

So it’s a brave new world. I’m not saying I have every solution to every nutritional problem, but I can tell you there is a problem there. And you need to be informed by someone so you can do something about it. Doctors burying their heads in the sand and saying there is no evidence of a problem is ignorance.

So what to do? It’s simple: Give your body back what you’ve been deprived of so you can get your nutrients, minerals and antioxidants for healthy aging and optimal health. Here’s how:

1) Increase your mineral intake. Magnesium, selenium, and the other essential minerals are mostly missing from the Western diet. Take chromium for example. Our food animals don’t eat their native diet of chromium-rich grass anymore, and there’s less chromium in produce.

It’s a crisis because chromium is a co-factor for insulin. Insulin uses chromium to transport sugar out of your blood and into your cells where it’s burned as energy. Without chromium, it leads to weight gain and diabetes. Even mild insulin dysfunction will make you have low energy levels, produce more fat, make you crave sweet foods, and gain pounds.(8)

But chromium can reverse this. One study took commercial pigs and fed them chromium and measured significant fat reduction. They changed nothing else about the pigs … all they did was give them chromium and they got lean.(9) They had an increase in muscle, as well.

An Austrian study gave one group of people a calorie-restricted diet and another group chromium for 26 weeks. The people in the chromium group lost just as much weight as the people eating almost nothing. The people taking chromium had increased lean muscle mass.(10)

You can get lots of chromium from grass-fed beef, ripe organic tomatoes and a source that may surprise you: red wine. Grilled steak, tomatoes and a glass of wine sounds like a tasty summer meal to me.

But you’ll still have to supplement. Because you need 400 mcg a day for optimal health, and even that delicious meal will only give you around 50 mcg.

2) Power and protect with CoQ10. Another supplement I recommend is one that I don’t know how you could get enough of without going through a lot of trouble, unless you take a supplement.

You’d have to hunt wild animals and eat their internal organs fresh … but I wouldn’t even recommend that today. Yet that’s where CoQ10 concentrates. You need it because it powers every single cell in your body. It’s so important that revealing how CoQ10 works won Peter Mitchell the Nobel Prize in 1978.

The best source of CoQ10 is the closest thing you’re going to get to a wild animal – grass-fed meat. I was lucky to grow up eating grass-fed beef, and I still do today. Grass-fed beef contains more CoQ10 than any other meat on the planet.

You can take a CoQ10 supplement, but many of the powder and tablet forms are worthless. They won’t get absorbed into your cells.

That’s why I recommend the ubiquinol form of CoQ10. It’s already in the form your body uses. Take 50 mg of ubiquinol each day (to increase its effectiveness, combine CoQ10 with PQQ).

What I do is take a good multivitamin, multi-mineral, and a multi-antioxidant. I figure I’m getting a lot of the bases covered to get me back to optimal nutrient status. In fact we’ve gone to great length to formulate our own supplements according to what I believe is deficient in our environment.

To Your Health,
Al Sears, MD

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Sources:

1. Guallar E, Stranges S, Mulrow C, Appel L, Miller E. “Enough is enough: Stop wasting money on vitamin and mineral supplements.” Ann Intern Med. 2013;159(12):850-1.
2. Caballero B. “Should healthy people take a multivitamin?’ Clev Clin J Med. 2010;77(10):656-7.
3. Mursu J, Robien K, Harnack L, Park K, Jacobs D, “Dietary Supplements and Mortality Rate in Older Women.” Arch Intern Med. 2011;171(18):1625-1633.
4. Klein E, et. al. “Vitamin E and the risk of prostate cancer: the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT).” JAMA. 2011;306(14):1549-56.
5. Shay C, et. al. “Status of Cardiovascular Health in US Adolescents: Prevalence Estimates From the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) 2005–2010.” Circulation. 2013; 127: 1369-1376.
6. Lindlahr, 1914: USDA 1963 and 1997
7. “Vegetables without Vitamins,” Life Extension Magazine March 2001
8. Tsai, Chung-Jyi, Leitzmann, Michael F., Willett, Walter C., et al, “Macronutrients and Insulin Resistance in Cholesterol Gallstone Disease,” Am. J. of Gastroenterology, 2008;103:2932-2939
9. Lindemann, M. D., Wood, C. M., Harper, A. F., et al, “Dietary chromium picolinate additions improve gain: feed and carcass characteristics in growing-finishing pigs,” J. Anim. Sci. 1995; 73:457-465
10. Bahadori, B., Wallner, S., Schneider, H., et al, “Effect of chromium yeast and chromium picolinate…” Acta. Med. Austriaca 1997; 24(5):185-7

Are Antioxidant Supplements Really Killing People?

By: Kelley Herring, Healing GourmetVeggies

If you’ve been a student of health and nutrition for any length of time, you’ve probably seen your share of confusing (and downright misleading) headlines in the mainstream media that cast doubt on the benefits of organic foods and nutritional supplements.

It seems that the media is eager – even gleeful – to report any negative findings that pour cold water on growing public enthusiasm for natural and organically-grown foods and nutritional supplements. Here are just a few headlines that have run over the past few years:

•    Organic Food Hardly Healthier, Study Suggests (CBS)
•    Organic Food Adds No Vitamins for Extra Cost, Research Finds (The Washington Post)
•    Multivitamin Researchers Say “Case Closed” After Studies Find No Health Benefits (CBS)
•    Men Who Take Omega-3 Supplements at 71% Higher Risk of Prostate Cancer (NY Daily News)
•    Hold the Salmon: Omega-3 Fatty Acids Linked to Higher Risk of Cancer (Time Magazine)

Even the medical journals have gotten in on the act. At the end of last year, the Annals of Internal Medicine published an editorial, with the title, “Enough Is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements,” dismissing the results of hundreds of studies that have proven the benefits of intelligent supplementation with vitamins and minerals.

It should come as no surprise that in the cases listed above the studies were either poorly conducted or clearly biased. In many cases they show a very weak association – with no proof of causation.

But that doesn’t stop the media from blaring the most sensational headlines, delving no deeper than a titillating sound bite and failing to provide even the most basic critical analysis of the research or conclusions drawn from it.

Regarding the fear mongering headlines about omega-3s and prostate cancer cited above – a study which did not even look at omega-3 supplementation – Jonny Bowden, PhD, wrote that the media’s portrayal of the findings was “disgraceful, incompetent, and scientifically illiterate.”

Conspiracy… or Just Bad Science and Sloppy Journalism?

It would be easy to conclude that the clear pattern of one-sidedness is the result of some conspiracy.

According to a study in the journal PLOS Medicine, pharmaceutical companies spent $57.5 billion on marketing and promotion in 2008.  This was almost double what they spent on research and development ($31.5 billion)!

You don’t have to be a diehard cynic to assume that these companies are getting what they pay for – not just from mainstream newspapers, broadcast networks and websites – but also from the research institutions and scientists themselves (which also benefit handsomely from pharmaceutical largesse).

US consumers now spend more than $28 billion annually on nutritional supplements. More than 50 percent of Americans take some form of nutritional support. And tens of millions of people are waking up to the shortcomings of conventional medicine, the dangers of many pharmaceutical drugs…and the health risks associated with processed foods and chemically intensive agricultural methods.

It should be no surprise that Big Food and Big Pharma would want to put a lid on this growing rebellion any way they know how…and exerting some form of control over the information that is released is certainly one way to do that.

But it’s also clear that many of the studies that get the most press are flawed in major ways… while the media fails to question or analyze their findings in any meaningful way.

Do Antioxidants Make Cancer Worse?

Just last week, I saw that a prominent science blog had posted an article with the title, “Antioxidants Can Make Cancers Worse.”  And they included a bowl of blueberries as the main corresponding image – as if cancer patients should strive to avoid blueberries, perhaps opting for a jelly donut instead!

I also noticed that more than 41,000 people had shared this article on Facebook – many of them no doubt attempting to rub it in the face of their more health conscious friends.

So, let’s look beyond the kneejerk headlines and examine the studies that this article was based on with a bit more critical analysis and common sense. Are there any flaws in the original research? It turns out there are…

The most recent study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.  The researchers reviewed previous studies which appeared to show that antioxidant supplements can make certain cancers worse… or increase your risk. They wanted to understand the possible cause.

Two of the studies they referred to were The Beta-Carotene and Retinol Efficacy Trial (CARET) and The Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT).

The CARET Trial set out to show that high-dose beta carotene and vitamin A supplements could prevent lung cancer. The results were disappointing – to say the least. According to WebMD, “Lung cancer, heart disease, and death from all causes shot up in those who took high-dose beta-carotene.”

The media jumped on the story en masse – with fear inducing headlines emblazoned on every major paper. The medical journal The Lancet ran a quote on its first page, stating: “The prospect that vitamin pills may not only do no good but can also kill their consumers is a scary speculation given the vast quantities that are used in certain communities.”

I won’t bother to compare the actual numbers of people killed by pharmaceutical drugs each year to those who died from taking supplements. I’m sure you’ve seen the decidedly one-sided statistics.

Unfortunately, for those who participated in the CARET study, the researchers did not use a natural or food-based form of beta-carotene. They used high doses of a chemically synthesized version that contains only one molecule (all trans beta-carotene) rather than the TWO synergistic and complimentary molecules that are found in natural beta-carotene.

While it is beyond the scope of this article, experts have cited numerous reasons and reams of peer-reviewed research to explain why the synthetic form of beta-carotene could increase cancer risk – rather than reduce it. One of the most compelling is that the synthetic form alone is actually a “pro-oxidant,” meaning that it can damage cells and lead to mutations.

As you can imagine, virtually no media outlets reported these facts. If they did, they might have run a more honest and accurate headline. Something along the lines of: “Taking High Doses of Synthetic Beta-Carotene (a Drug) is of No Benefit and May be Harmful (Especially for Smokers).”

Several years later, the SELECT Trial provided more fodder for the anti-supplement bandwagon. In this trial, the researchers wanted to determine whether taking high doses of vitamin E and/or selenium may reduce the risk of prostate cancer. They embarked on this study, in part, due to the volumes of research which had already showed the potent anti-cancer benefits of selenium in particular.

Unexpectedly, however, follow up research on the male participants showed that selenium and vitamin E (alone or in combination) actually increased the risk of prostate cancer. As you can imagine, the media had another field day, with some headlines claiming that “antioxidants promote cancer.”

You have probably already guessed that this study was also flawed in several ways. First of all, participants only took one form of selenium – when there are actually three that have been well proven to exhibit benefits and which have complimentary properties.

More importantly, the substance that the researchers referred to as “Vitamin E” was actually the isolated compound alpha-tocopherol. This compound is never found on its own in nature. In fact, naturally occurring full spectrum vitamin E consists of a synergistic combination of four tocopherols and four tocotrienols.

There is also research, published by the National Academy of Sciences, which shows that isolated alpha-tocopherol (the so-called “vitamin E” that was used in the SELECT study) actually displaces gamma-tocopherol in tissues and blocks its antioxidant effects.  The Life Extension Foundation, known for their superior nutritional research, believes that this could be directly responsible for the increases in cancer risk.

Of course, all you will hear about this study in the news is that “antioxidants can increase the risk of cancer.” But now you know better… and hopefully you are armed with a more common sense way to look at the frequent “scientific” nonsense that is reported in the media.

Arm Yourself with Knowledge (and a Whole Foods Diet!)

So, what can we take away from these reports and the studies they are based on?

1.    The first point is that you should always view alarmist headlines with a skeptical eye – and look deeper before drawing any kneejerk conclusions.

2.    You should also know as much as possible about the supplements you are taking. Are there studies proving that the dosage you’re taking is safe and effective? More importantly, are you taking a natural and complete form of the nutrient? There are plenty of supplements on the shelves of even the best health food stores that are made from synthetic ingredients – or which contain only fractions of the naturally occurring nutrient. These products could be a waste of money (at best) or possibly harmful (at worst).

3.    As much as possible, the vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and micronutrients you consume should come from a widely varied diet of whole, natural foods.

Time and again, it is shown that Mother Nature provides the best medicine. Enjoy a few Brazil nuts each week (the most potent food source of selenium on the planet)… get the full family of vitamin E by enjoying almonds, avocados, egg yolks and dark leafy greens… dig into liver - the full-spectrum “multivitamin food” - several times a month… grind beef heart into your meat sauces (for a superior source of CoQ10)… and serve cooked carrots, winter squash and sweet potatoes for a bounty of beta-carotene.

Let food be your supplements, and supplements be your food. Not only will you get all of the benefits of nutrients as they exist in nature, you’ll eliminate the risk of harm from synthetic supplements and drugs that is often not discovered for decades to come.  

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ED NOTE: Kelley Herring is author of more than a dozen books on nutrition and natural healing. She is also the co-founder of Wellness Bakeries, which has just released their newest product - Better Bread - a 100% Paleo bread mix you can whip up in 5 minutes flat.

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REFERENCES

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/multivitamin-researchers-say-case-is-closed-supplements-dont-boost-health/
http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/evidence-prostate-cancer-omega-3-link-article-1.1395853
http://healthland.time.com/2013/07/11/hold-the-salmon-omega-3-fatty-acids-linked-to-higher-risk-of-cancer/
http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=1789253
http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pmed.0050001
http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/antioxidants-can-make-cancers-worse
http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMcibr1405701
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9096373
http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2012/ss2012_Selenium-Protect-Against-Cancer_01.htm

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