Friday, January 29, 2010

The Iodine Weight Issue

Are you having trouble losing weight, even though you are following optimal diet, lifestyle, and exercise protocols? New data shows that a deficiency in the mineral iodine may be a culprit.

You may already be aware that iodine is vital for your thyroid. When your thyroid is not functioning properly, it is very difficult to lose weight. It is becoming more difficult to get the amount of iodine you need. Why?
  1. Soil is now very iodine-poor. Unless you are eating iron-rich foods such as kelp, seaweed, shellfish, and eggs (lots of them), or drinking a lot of Perrier Sparkling Water, you are not getting much iodine from your diet.
  2. Many salt companies have stopped adding iodine to table salt and most sea salt is very low in iodine.
  3. Food manufacturers now use bromine instead of iodine for baked goods. The problem with this is that they are both halogens so they complete with each other in the cell. The more bromine you consume, the more iodine-deficient you become.
  4. Our water supply contains chlorine and fluoride, both of which are halogens, which further deplete our iodine stores. Even if you drink filtered water, you still shower, bathe and swim in chlorine and fluoride.
  5. Iodine deficiency is something that is never tested for because most physicians believe that testing for thyroid function is a sufficient indicator. However, TSH levels cannot tell the difference between active thyroid with iodine and de-activated thyroid hormone with bromine or chlorine or fluoride.
Besides breaking through the dreaded "weight plateau," iodine can also help with energy, hormone balance, and digestion. A recent study found that mildly iodine-deficient children may have trouble reaching their full intellectual potential.

How do you know if you are iodine deficient?
  1. If you consume less than one teaspoon of iodized table salt.
  2. If you consume non-iodized table or sea salt (refer to the nutritional facts on the package).
  3. Go beyond testing thyroid TSH marker by testing for:
    • Urine Halides and Urine Iodine (pre and post loading ideal)
    • Plasma iodine (second choice if urine not an option)
  4. Speak with Bonnie and have her review your file.
How do you get more iodine in your diet?
For adults and teens, we recommend a daily intake of 150 micrograms (mcg.). For children, daily intake is 70 micrograms. Most of us can get this in a teaspoon of iodized salt. However, many of us do not consume iodized salt (most iodized salt also contains the corn sugar, dextrose, which is why many of our clients do not consume it).
  1. Take with a high quality, pure, iodine supplement or check your multivitamin/mineral supplement to see if it contains iodine.
  2. If you have a deficiency, you may need a short-term loading dose that would need to be overseen by Bonnie or a licensed health professional.

Recipe du Jour - Sunchoke Pilaf

Sunchokes, chickpeas, green peas, onion, and quinoa make a healthy vegetarian grain dish. This is a delightful change from rice as a side dish. You may substitute chicken broth for vegetable broth for a richer flavor if you are not vegetarian. Ingredients:

-1/2 cup quinoa
-2 Tablespoons extra virgin, organic canola oil
-1/2 cup chopped onion
-1-1/4 cup vegetable (or chicken) broth
-3/4 cup chickpeas, cooked or canned, (drained and rinsed)
-1 cup peeled, chopped sunchokes
-1/2 cup peas, fresh or frozen
-1/4 teaspoon pepper (optional)

Preparation: Place the quinoa in a large bowl; fill with cold water. Pour into a strainer, then return the quinoa to the bowl and rinse 4 times more. Drain well.

Heat the oil in a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the rinsed quinoa and cook, stirring, until it cracks and pops, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until the onion is soft.

Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the chickpeas, sunchokes, peas, and pepper (optional), and return to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Preventing Diabetes With Lifestyle Interventions and Medication

The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), a randomized clinical trial published in The Lancet, demonstrated that intensive lifestyle intervention or metformin prevented or delayed development of type 2 diabetes in high-risk adults compared with placebo. The current article is the first report of the Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study (DPPOS), a ten year follow-up designed to determine whether the delay in diabetes seen during the DPP can be sustained.

After being informed of the main DPP results, patients in the metformin and placebo groups entered a 1- to 2-week drug washout phase. All participants were offered a group-administered version of the 16-session lifestyle curriculum as a bridge protocol. Once the DPPOS follow-up began, all participants were offered a lifestyle session every 3 months. The DPP lifestyle group participants were also offered 4 group sessions per year. Those in the metformin group continued to receive metformin (850 mg twice daily). As in the DPP, the primary outcome was development of diabetes. Median follow-up from original DPP randomization was 10 years.

In the original DPP, diabetes incidence was reduced by 58% with intensive lifestyle and by 31% with metformin compared with placebo. During the follow-up, the incidence was decreased by 34% in the lifestyle group and by 18% in the metformin group compared with placebo.

The main finding of this study -- that the prevention or delay of diabetes with lifestyle intervention or metformin can persist for at least 10 years -- is indeed good news. In fact, the incidence rate in the lifestyle group was remarkably stable.

It is also important to note that the metformin group experienced a lower incidence rate during the DPPOS than the DPP. This finding suggests that adding modest lifestyle change (even if poorly attended) to metformin may enhance the drug’s effect.

What remains to be seen is whether lifestyle or metformin intervention reduces the debilitating (and costly) microvascular and macrovascular complications associated with diabetes. Until that is known, there remains little doubt that patients who can make positive lifestyle changes should do so.

L-Carnitine Improves Liver Function in Fatty Liver Disease

L-carnitine supplements can improve liver function, liver histology and other manifestations of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). "L-carnitine supplementation induces regression of NASH even if both plasma and hepatic carnitine levels have been shown to be normal," the investigators report in the American Journal of Gastroenterology. Overall, 35 of the 36 patients (97%) in the intervention group had a histological response, and the NASH activity score - a 12-point scale assessing steatosis, parenchymal inflammation, and hepatocellular injury - fell by at least 2 points in every patient, according to the double-blind study.

All patients were put on a 1600-calorie/day diet that met requirements of the National Cholesterol Education Program, as well as a whole-body stretching routine performed 3 times a week. At the end of the study, the NASH activity score improved significantly more in the L- carnitine group. Similarly, L-carnitine was associated with greater reductions in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. Only the L-carnitine group had a significant reduction in mean plasma glucose, and the change in insulin resistance also favored L-carnitine treatment. Finally, levels of C-reactive protein and tumor necrosis factor-alpha declined significantly more in the carnitine group.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Vitamin D deficiency contributes to Crohn's disease

A new study has found that Vitamin D, readily available in supplements or cod liver oil, can counter the effects of Crohn's disease. John White, an endocrinologist at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, present his findings about the inflammatory bowel disease in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. "Our data suggests, for the first time, that Vitamin D deficiency can contribute to Crohn's disease," says Dr. White, noting that people from northern countries, which receive less sunlight that is necessary for the fabrication of Vitamin D by the human body, are particularly vulnerable to Crohn's disease.

Because his results kept pointing to Vitamin D's effects on the immune system, specifically the innate immune system that acts as the body's first defense against microbial invaders, he investigated Crohn's disease. What's most promising about this discovery, says Dr. White, is how it can be quickly put to the test. "Siblings of patients with Crohn's disease that haven't yet developed the disease might be well advised to make sure they're vitamin D sufficient. It's something that's easy to do, because they can simply buy Vitamin D supplements. The vast majority of people would be candidates for Vitamin D treatment." "This discovery is exciting, since it shows how an over-the-counter supplement such as Vitamin D could help people defend themselves against Crohn's disease," says Marc J. Servant, a professor at the Université de Montréal's Faculty of Pharmacy and study collaborator. "We have identified a new treatment avenue for people with Crohn's disease or other inflammatory bowel diseases."

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

How Eating Grass-Fed Beef Could Save the Planet

In this Time Magazine Article

Calories listed on fast food helpful

The amount of calories selected by parents for their child's hypothetical meal at McDonald's restaurants were reduced when the menus clearly showed the calories for each item. This is the first study to suggest that labeled menus may lead to significantly reduced calorie intake in fast food restaurant meals purchased for children.

Led by researchers from Seattle Children's Research Institute, the findings published in Pediatrics support nutritional menu labeling and show that when parents have access to this information they may make smarter meal choices for their children.

Parents who were given the calorie information chose 102 fewer calories on average for their children, compared with the group who did not have access to calorie information on their menus. This reflects a calorie reduction of approximately 20%. Notably, there was no difference in calories between the two groups for items the parents would have chosen for themselves. "Just an extra 100 calories per day may equate to about ten pounds of weight gain per year. Our national childhood obesity epidemic has grown right alongside our fast food consumption. Anything we can do to help families make more positive choices could make a difference. Interestingly, by simply providing parents the caloric information they chose lower calorie items.

Bonnie - what a novel idea: nutritional information on menus. Why is this not mandatory? Because it is one of Big Food's dirtiest little secrets. If customers knew how many awful calories were in the dishes they frequently consume, they would be incredulous.

10 restaurant tips for parents and caregivers when selecting menu items for young children:
  1. Eat at restaurants less often: they are not for frequent dining.
  2. Model healthy ordering: children learn from you.
  3. Read menus. Make informed choices together.
  4. Sizes: choose smallest portions available.
  5. Sides: choose salads, veggies, apple slices, and mixed fruit.
  6. Beverages: choose water.
  7. Load up veggies: lettuce, tomato, onion, cucumber, pickles and salsa add flavor, crunch and fiber for few calories.
  8. Avoid deep-fried, "crispy" or breaded items. (Choose "grilled" instead).
  9. Avoid add-ons: extra cheeses, meats, bacon, butter, sauces and toppings add up fast.
  10. Avoid: sauces, breads/buns/tortillas, desserts. Dip into sauces on the side; remove part of the bun.
Moderation is key. If your family eats out for a meal, eat extra healthy the rest of the day.

Do Men Feel Less Guilt?

A new study says yes. In the West, guilt is "significantly higher" among women. The main problem, according to the experts, is not that women feel a lot of guilt (which they do), but rather that many males feel "too little."

The research, published in the Spanish Journal of Psychology, was carried out using a sample from three age groups (156 teenagers, 96 young people and 108 adults) equally divided between males and females. The team of psychologists asked them what situations most often caused them to feel guilt. They also carried out interpersonal sensitivity tests -- the Davis Empathetic Concern Scale, and a questionnaire on Interpersonal Guilt, created purposely for this study.

When it came to comparing the measurements of intensity of habitual guilt of these groups, the researchers saw that this score was significantly higher for women, in all three age groups. "This difference is particularly stark in the 40-50-year-old age group," points out researchers. The data also suggest that female teenagers and young women have higher scores than males of the same age.

The interpersonal sensitivity of men (especially those aged between 25-33) is "comparatively low." The experts say a lack of sensitivity could lead to absence or excessive weakness of certain kinds of guilt, such as empathetic guilt, which could be beneficial for interpersonal relationships and for the individual.

"Educational practices and a whole range of socializing agents must be used to reduce the trend towards anxious-aggressive guilt among women and to strengthen interpersonal sensitivity among men," concludes researchers.

Bonnie - no comment :)

More folate may mean less depression in men

Men with the highest blood levels of folate were 50 per cent less likely to have symptoms of depression, compared to men with the lowest levels, according to findings in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Led by researchers from the International Medical Center of Japan in Tokyo, the study also reports that increased levels of the amino acid homocysteine were associated with increased risk of depressive symptoms in men.

The research adds to a growing body of research linking folate and folic acid intake to improved mood, and follows a review by scientists at the University of York and Hull York Medical School of 11 studies and involving 15,315 participants that reported low folate levels were linked to increased depression (Journal of Epidemology and Community Health).

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Low carb beats diet pill in study

A low-carbohydrate diet is better at cutting blood pressure than weight-loss pills.Twice as many people on a low-carb diet lowered their blood pressure compared to those taking the drug, orlistat (Alli). The study, in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found the two approaches achieved equal weight loss and those who received counseling lost the most. Nearly half (47%) of those in the low-carbohydrate group were able to reduce or cut out their blood pressure medication, compared with around one fifth (21%) of those on orlistat plus a low-fat diet. It's important to know you can try a diet instead of medication and get the same weight loss results with fewer costs and potentially fewer side effects.

According to researchers: "The findings send an important message to people with high blood pressure who are trying to lose weight. "While weight loss typically induces improvements in blood pressure, it may be that the low-carbohydrate diet has an additional effect." "It's important to know you can try a diet instead of medication and get the same weight loss results with fewer costs and potentially fewer side effects."

The participants were offered regular group weight loss counseling throughout the study. Those who attended 15 or more sessions over the course of the year lost significantly more weight than the rest, shedding almost 15% of their body weight.

Bonnie - the results of this study presents no surprises for me.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Antioxidants, Omega-3 reduce colon cancer risk

Scientists at the National Institute for Cancer Research in Genoa, Italy conducted a long term study that shows the risk of pre-cancerous polyps (dubbed colorectal metachronous adenomas) coming back after they've been removed can be greatly reduced. The key? Taking specific antioxidants, including a selenium-based compound.

The research team studied volunteers between the ages of 25 and 75 who had already had one or more colorectal adenomas removed. None of the participants were diagnosed with any additional colorectal disease, cancer or other life-threatening illness and none were taking vitamins or mineral supplements when the study began. The scientists randomly divided the 411 participants into two groups: those in one group received an inactive placebo and those in the second group took a daily antioxidant supplement containing a selenium compound (selenomethionnine 200 ug), zinc 30 mg, vitamin A 6,000 IU, vitamin C 180 mg and vitamin E 30 mg.

"Our results indicated that individuals who consumed antioxidants had a 40% reduction in the incidence of metachronous adenomas of the large bowel," said researchers. "It is noteworthy that the benefit observed after the conclusion of the trial persisted through 13 years of follow up."

Another study just released at the Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research Conference -- this one from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina -- found that omega-3 fatty acids may be able to prevent colorectal cancer.

The scientists recruited 1,509 Caucasian participants (716 cancer cases and 787 controls) and 369 African-American participants (213 cancer cases and 156 controls). Those who ate more long-chain omega-3 fatty acids had a significantly reduced risk of large bowel cancer. In fact, the highest intake was linked to an almost 40% decreased cancer risk. Unfortunately, the greatly reduced risk was only seen in white research subjects and the scientists are trying to figure out what might account for the racial disparity.

Bonnie - researchers may want to look at vitamin D levels to discern why there was a racial disparity. African-Americans usually have lower vitamin D levels than other races.

Bacterial overgrowth common among long-term PPI users

In patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), long-term use of proton pump inhibitors (PPI) contributes to bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine, in which the small bowel is colonized by large numbers of bacteria ordinarily found in the colon, produces bloating, diarrhea and other symptoms. The investigators used glucose hydrogen breath tests to look for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth in 450 consecutive patients enrolled in three groups: -- 200 GERD patients treated with PPIs for a median of 36 months; -- 200 patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) who had not used PPIs for at least 3 years; and -- 50 healthy controls who had not used PPIs for at least 10 years.

According to their article published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, they found small intestinal bacterial overgrowth in 50% of the PPI users with GERD, 24.5% of the IBS patients, and 6% of the healthy controls.

All subjects with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth were given high-dose rifaximin for 2 weeks. Treatment was successful in 87% of cases in the PPI group and in 91% of cases in the IBS group. The authors suggest that PPI-related small intestinal bacterial overgrowth may be under-diagnosed because the symptoms overlap with those of other gastrointestinal disorders.

Steve - maybe infusing these subjects with some healthy bacteria (probiotics) would help. Obviously, not relying on the PPIs is the best scenario.

Friday, January 22, 2010

EU recommends Meridia be suspended

European regulatory authorities said an Abbott Laboratories (ABT) diet pill should be suspended from the market because the risks of stroke and heart attack are too great with the medicine. The European Medicines Agency said sibutramine weight-loss products should be suspended from the market in the European Union after a study of 10,000 patients suggested it put them at a higher risk for heart disease. These medicines are sold in Europe under the brand-names Reductil, Reduxade, Zelium and other names; and as Meridia in the U.S. The agency said "the risks of these medicines are greater than their benefits." Abbott sells Meridia in the U.S. and Reductil, Sibutral, Raductil and Ectiva outside the U.S

Bonnie - considering the benefits are minimal at best from what I've seen, the EU was being nice in their statement.

Vitamin D's link to MS, colorectal cancer

Multiple Sclerosis
Low vitamin D blood levels are associated with a significantly higher risk of relapse attacks in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) who develop the disease during childhood, according to a study from the Annals of Neurology. Researchers demonstrate that an increase in vitamin D levels by 10 nanograms per milliliter of blood (ng/mL) corresponds with a 34 percent decrease in the rate of subsequent relapses. In other words, raising the vitamin D level of a person with MS by 15 ng/mL, which requires about 2,000 international units of vitamin D supplementation a day, could theoretically cut a patient's relapse rate in half.

Colorectal Cancer
Increased blood levels of vitamin D may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer by as much as 40 per cent, says a British Medical Journal study with people from 10 European countries, the largest of its kind to date The EPIC data showed that blood levels of vitamin D below a mid-level of 50 to 75 nanomoles per litre were associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer, while blood levels above this were not associated with any additional benefits, said the researchers.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Gluten: What You Know Might Kill You

by Mark Hyman, MD (article was on the Huffington Post)

Something you're eating may be killing you, and you probably don't even know it! If you eat cheeseburgers or French fries all the time or drink six sodas a day, you likely know you are shortening your life. But eating a nice dark, crunchy slice of whole wheat bread--how could that be bad for you? Well, bread contains gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, spelt, kamut, and oats. It is hidden in pizza, pasta, bread, wraps, rolls, and most processed foods. Clearly, gluten is a staple of the American diet. What most people don't know is that gluten can cause serious health complications for many. You may be at risk even if you don't have full blown celiac disease. In today's blog I want to reveal the truth about gluten, explain the dangers, and provide you with a simple system that will help you determine whether or not gluten is a problem for you.

The Dangers of Gluten
A recent large study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people with diagnosed, undiagnosed, and "latent" celiac disease or gluten sensitivity had a higher risk of death, mostly from heart disease and cancer. (i) This study looked at almost 30,00 patients from 1969 to 2008 and examined deaths in three groups: Those with full-blown celiac disease, those with inflammation of their intestine but not full-blown celiac disease, and those with latent celiac disease or gluten sensitivity (elevated gluten antibodies but negative intestinal biopsy). The findings were dramatic. There was a 39 percent increased risk of death in those with celiac disease, 72 percent increased risk in those with gut inflammation related to gluten, and 35 percent increased risk in those with gluten sensitivity but no celiac disease. This is ground-breaking research that proves you don't have to have full-blown celiac disease with a positive intestinal biopsy (which is what conventional thinking tells us) to have serious health problems and complications--even death--from eating gluten. Yet an estimated 99 percent of people who have a problem with eating gluten don't even know it. They ascribe their ill health or symptoms to something else--not gluten sensitivity, which is 100 percent curable.

And here's some more shocking news ... Another study comparing the blood of 10,000 people from 50 years ago to 10,000 people today found that the incidences of full-blown celiac disease increased by 400 percent (elevated TTG antibodies) during that time period. (ii) If we saw a 400 percent increase in heart disease or cancer, this would be headline news. But we hear almost nothing about this. I will explain why I think that increase has occurred in a moment.

First, let's explore the economic cost of this hidden epidemic. Undiagnosed gluten problems cost the American healthcare system oodles of money. Dr. Peter Green, Professor of Clinical Medicine for the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University studied all 10 million subscribers to CIGNA and found those who were correctly diagnosed with celiac disease used fewer medical services and reduced their healthcare costs by more than 30 perecnt. (iii) The problem is that only one percent of those with the problem were actually diagnosed. That means 99 percent are walking around suffering without knowing it, costing the healthcare system millions of dollars. And it's not just a few who suffer, but millions.

Far more people have gluten sensitivity than you think--especially those who are chronically ill. The most serious form of allergy to gluten, celiac disease, affects one in 100 people, or three million Americans, most of who don't know they have it. But milder forms of gluten sensitivity are even more common and may affect up to one-third of the American population. Why haven't you heard much about this? Well, actually you have, but you just don't realize it. Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity masquerade as dozens and dozens of other diseases with different names.

Gluten Sensitivity: One Cause, Many Diseases
A review paper in The New England Journal of Medicine listed 55 "diseases" that can be caused by eating gluten. (iv) These include osteoporosis, irritable bowel disease, inflammatory bowel disease, anemia, cancer, fatigue, canker sores, (v) and rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and almost all other autoimmune diseases. Gluten is also linked to many psychiatric (vi) and neurological diseases, including anxiety, depression, (vii) schizophrenia, (viii) dementia, (ix) migraines, epilepsy, and neuropathy (nerve damage). (x) It has also been linked to autism.(ix) We used to think that gluten problems or celiac disease were confined to children who had diarrhea, weight loss, and failure to thrive. Now we know you can be old, fat, and constipated and still have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Gluten sensitivity is actually an autoimmune disease that creates inflammation throughout the body, with wide-ranging effects across all organ systems including your brain, heart, joints, digestive tract, and more. It can be the single cause behind many different "diseases."

To correct these diseases, you need to treat the cause--which is often gluten sensitivity--not just the symptoms. Of course, that doesn't mean that ALL cases of depression or autoimmune disease or any of these other problems are caused by gluten in everyone--but it is important to look for it if you have any chronic illness. By failing to identify gluten sensitivity and celiac disease, we create needless suffering and death for millions of Americans. Health problems caused by gluten sensitivity cannot be treated with better medication. They can only be resolved by eliminating 100 percent of the gluten from your diet.

The question that remains is: Why are we so sensitive to this "staff of life," the staple of our diet? There are many reasons ... They include our lack of genetic adaptation to grasses, and particularly gluten, in our diet. Wheat was introduced into Europe during the Middle Ages, and 30 percent of people of European descent carry the gene for celiac disease (HLA DQ2 or HLA DQ8), (xii) which increases susceptibility to health problems from eating gluten. American strains of wheat have a much higher gluten content (which is needed to make light, fluffy Wonder Bread and giant bagels) than those traditionally found in Europe. This super-gluten was recently introduced into our agricultural food supply and now has "infected" nearly all wheat strains in America.

While testing can help identify gluten sensivity, the only way you will know if this is really a problem for you is to eliminate all gluten for a short period of time (4 to 8 weeks) and see how you feel. For this test to work you MUST eliminate 100 percent of the gluten from your diet--no exceptions, no hidden gluten, and not a single crumb of bread. Bonnie - this is why you should always work with a licensed health professional while doing this. You can create nutrient deficiencies and other unwarranted side effects if you self-medicate. Then eat it again and see what happens. If you feel bad at all, you need to stay off gluten permanently. This will teach you better than any test about the impact gluten has on your body. But if you are still interested in testing, here are some things to keep in mind.

Testing for Gluten Sensitivity or Celiac Disease
There are gluten allergy/celiac disease tests available. All these tests help identify various forms of allergy or sensitivity to gluten or wheat. They will look for:
• IgA anti-gliadin antibodies
• IgG anti-gliadin antibodies
• IgA anti-endomysial antibodies
• Tissue transglutaminase antibody (IgA and IgG in questionable cases)
• Total IgA antibodies
• HLA DQ2 and DQ8 genotyping for celiac disease (used occasionally to detect genetic suspectibility).
• Intestinal biopsy (rarely needed if gluten antibodies are positive--based on my interpretation of the recent study)

When you get these tests, there are a few things to keep in mind. In light of the new research on the dangers of gluten sensitivity without full blown celiac disease, I consider any elevation of antibodies significant and worthy of a trial of gluten elimination. Many doctors consider elevated anti-gliadin antibodies in the absence of a positive intestinal biopsy showing damage to be "false positives." That means the test looks positive but really isn't significant. We can no longer say that. Positive is positive and, as with all illness, there is a continuum of disease, from mild gluten sensitivity to full-blown celiac disease. If your antibodies are elevated, you should go off gluten and test to see if it is leading to your health problems.

(i) Ludvigsson JF, Montgomery SM, Ekbom A, Brandt L, Granath F. Small-intestinal histopathology and mortality risk in celiac disease. JAMA. 2009 Sep 16;302(11):1171-8.
(ii) Rubio-Tapia A, Kyle RA, Kaplan EL, Johnson DR, Page W, Erdtmann F, Brantner TL, Kim WR, Phelps TK, Lahr BD, Zinsmeister AR, Melton LJ 3rd, Murray JA. Increased prevalence and mortality in undiagnosed celiac disease. Gastroenterology. 2009 Jul;137(1):88-93
(iii) Green PH, Neugut AI, Naiyer AJ, Edwards ZC, Gabinelle S, Chinburapa V. Economic benefits of increased diagnosis of celiac disease in a national managed care population in the United States. J Insur Med. 2008;40(3-4):218-28.
(iv) Farrell RJ, Kelly CP. Celiac sprue. N Engl J Med. 2002 Jan 17;346(3):180-8. Review.
(v) Sedghizadeh PP, Shuler CF, Allen CM, Beck FM, Kalmar JR. Celiac disease and recurrent aphthous stomatitis: a report and review of the literature. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod. 2002;94(4):474-478.
(vi) Margutti P, Delunardo F, Ortona E. Autoantibodies associated with psychiatric disorders. Curr Neurovasc Res. 2006 May;3(2):149-57. Review. (vii) Ludvigsson JF, Reutfors J, Osby U, Ekbom A, Montgomery SM. Coeliac disease and risk of mood disorders--a general population-based cohort study. J Affect Disord. 2007 Apr;99(1-3):117-26. Epub 2006 Oct 6.
(viii) Ludvigsson JF, Osby U, Ekbom A, Montgomery SM. Coeliac disease and risk of schizophrenia and other psychosis: a general population cohort study. Scand J Gastroenterol. 2007 Feb;42(2):179-85.
(ix) Hu WT, Murray JA, Greenaway MC, Parisi JE, Josephs KA. Cognitive impairment and celiac disease. Arch Neurol. 2006 Oct;63(10):1440-6.
(x) Bushara KO. Neurologic presentation of celiac disease. Gastroenterology. 2005 Apr;128(4 Suppl 1):S92-7. Review. (xi) Millward C, Ferriter M, Calver S, Connell-Jones G. Gluten- and casein-free diets for autistic spectrum disorder. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2004;(2):CD003498. Review.
(xii) Green PH, Jabri B. Coeliac disease. Lancet. 2003 Aug 2;362(9381):383-91. Review.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Fish Oil linked to longevity, better hospital outcomes

New research suggests the fatty acids may possess a fundamental benefit: heart patients with high omega-3 intake had relatively longer "telomeres," which are stretches of DNA whose length correlates with longevity.

Cardiologists from the University of California, San Francisco, and other hospitals measured telomere length over five years in 608 patients who had coronary-artery blockage and previous heart attacks. Researchers found that people with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their white blood cells experienced significantly less shortening of telomeres over five years, as compared with patients with lower omega-3 levels.

"What we're demonstrating is a potentially new link between omega-3 fatty acids and the aging process," said Ramin Farzaneh-Far, a clinical cardiologist and assistant medical professor at UCSF and San Francisco General Hospital who is the lead author of the research. Published in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association, the study focused only on "marine" omega-3 found in fish, not the type found in vegetable sources like flaxseed, walnuts, canola oil or soybean oil.

There is "very little good evidence for the omega-3s from flax and walnuts," said Dr. LaPuma, author of "ChefMD's Big Book of Culinary Medicine." But these foods have other benefits, he said. For instance, "flax meal, by itself, is an important part of lowering LDL," or bad cholesterol, Dr. LaPuma said.

Researchers in the new study said they observed "baseline levels of marine omega-3 fatty acids were associated with decelerated telomere attrition over 5 years." Additionally, Dr. Farzaneh-Far said, "in multiple studies, short telomere length [in white blood cells] has been shown to predict death and cardiovascular events and heart failure." He cautioned that "it's an open question as to whether telomere length is causal or just a marker" of cell death. But he referred to telomere shortening as "a key part of cellular aging."

Bonnie - while it does not take a rocket scientist to come to this conclusion, the fact that it appeared in JAMA will muzzle all those practitioners who called their patients crazy for taking fish oil after I recommended it to them years ago.

Once again, this study confirms that there is no substitute for fish oil, because it is pure EPA/DHA. Flax, walnuts, and other plant omega-3s are extremely healthful, but contain mainly ALA, which needs to be broken down and converted into EPA/DHA. One quarter of the human population are poor converters.

Fish oil given intravenously to patients in intensive care improves gas exchange, reduces inflammatory chemicals and results in a shorter length of hospital stay. Researchers writing in journal Critical Care investigated the effects of including fish oil in the normal nutrient solution for patients with sepsis, finding a significant series of benefits. Researchers state: "recently there has been increased interest in the fat and oil component of vein-delivered nutrition, with the realization that it not only supplies energy and essential building blocks, but may also provide bioactive fatty acids. Traditional solutions use soybean oil, which does not contain the omega-3 fatty acids contained in fish oil that act to reduce inflammatory responses. In fact, soybean oil is rich in omega-6 acids that may actually promote inflammation in an excessive or unbalanced supply."

Bonnie - once again, researchers are just discovering this? How can they think they will get better outcomes when feeding them mostly corn-derived sugar solutions. One reason my daughter had such a great recovery is that we insisted on adding intravenous protein and fat to the carbohydrates.

Hopefully, this won't cause another blitz of physicians being brainwashed by drug reps into thinking that the prescription fish oil is the only game in town. Not only is it more expensive than OTC fish oils, but it contains partially hydrogenated fat. Anyone who has ever been counseled by me knows that there is no safe level of trans fat, which partially hydrogenated fat. The fish oil brands that have never shown to be contaminated by mercury or other harmful substances, according to fish oil researchers, are: Metagenics, Carlson, and Nordic Naturals.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Fruits, veggies reduce non-hodgkins lymphoma risk

Increased intakes of antioxidant-rich vegetables may reduce the risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma by about 30 per cent. Increased dietary intakes of specific antioxidant nutrients, like vitamin C, alpha-carotene, and proanthocyanidins were also individually associated with significant reductions in risks for the cancer, according to results published from the Iowa Women's Health Study in the International Journal of Cancer.

A reduction in the risk was also recorded for dietary manganese, the first time such a link has been reported, “and thus this will require replication”, said the researchers. “These results support a role for vegetables, and perhaps fruits and associated antioxidants from food sources, as protective factors against the development of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and follicular lymphoma in particular,” said the researchers.

Led by James Cerhan, from the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, the researchers analyzed dietary intakes for 35,159 Iowa women aged between 55 and 69. During the course of the study 415 cases of non-Hodgkin lymphoma were documented. Dietary vitamin C intakes were associated with a 22 per cent reduction in lymphoma risk, while alpha-carotene, proanthocyanidins, and manganese were associated with 29, 30, and 38 per cent reductions in risk.

Increased intakes of fruits and vegetables were associated with a 31 per cent reduction in risk, while yellow/orange and cruciferous vegetables were linked to a 28 and 18 per cent reduction.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Reversing itself, FDA expresses concerns over health risks from BPA

The Food and Drug Administration has reversed its position on the safety of Bisphenol A, a chemical found in plastic bottles, soda cans, food containers and thousands of consumer goods, saying it now has concerns about health risks. Growing scientific evidence has linked the chemical to a host of problems, including cancer, sexual dysfunction and heart disease. Federal officials said they are particularly concerned about BPA's effect on the development of fetuses, infants and young children. "We have some concern, which leads us to recommend reasonable steps the public can take to reduce exposure to BPA," said Joshua Sharfstein, FDA's deputy commissioner. Regulators stopped short of banning the compound or even requiring manufacturers to label products containing BPA, saying that current data are not clear enough to support a legal crackdown. FDA officials also said they were hamstrung from dealing quickly with BPA by an outdated regulatory framework.

Bonnie - this should not come as a surprise. The FDA is just giving manufacturers time to remove BPA from their products. I anticipate a ban will be next step.

European Governments Cancel Vaccine Orders

Just months after rushing to order enough swine-flu vaccine to protect their citizens, European governments are canceling orders and trying to sell or give away extra doses as they sit on a glut of the vaccine. European health officials decided that only one shot per person was needed, instead of the two originally planned. Low demand is also to blame. Many Europeans believe the pandemic has turned out to be fairly mild, and don't see a reason to get vaccinated. Some are also concerned that they will suffer side effects from the shots.

Steve - yet we keep buying more and are pushing it even more.

Diet may ward of depression and anxiety

A traditional diet characterized by vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and high-quality meat and fish may help prevent mental illness — specifically, depression and anxiety. Conversely, a Western diet high in refined or processed foods and saturated fats may increase the risk of depression, according to a study in in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

A large, cross-sectional study conducted by investigators at the University of Melbourne in Australia shows that women who regularly consume a so-called traditional diet were more than 30% less likely to have major depression, dysthymia, and anxiety disorders compared with their counterparts who consume a Western diet. In addition, the Western diet was associated with a 50% increased likelihood of depression. "Simply put, if you habitually eat a healthy diet that includes fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and high-quality lean meat, then you may cut your risk of depression and anxiety," principal investigator Felice Jacka, PhD.

But one caveat here, said Dr. Jacka, is high-quality meat, which is difficult to come by in the United States. This is because most of the cattle in North America are raised — from birth to death — in feed lots, where they are fed a corn-based diet. This method of raising cattle may have a "profound impact" on the quality of the meat, said Dr. Jacka. "It increases saturated fat and decreases very important good fatty acids. Whereas in Australia, red meat, such as beef and lamb, comes from pasture-raised animals, so it has a much healthier fatty acid profile," she said. One of the findings that was not published in the article is that people who consumed more beef or lamb within Australia's recommended dietary guidelines (not more than 4 times per week) were less likely to have depression and anxiety. According to Dr. Jacka, recent Australian studies show that a good proportion of individuals' dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids actually comes from red meat. "We've traditionally thought of omega-3s as only coming from fatty fish, but actually good-quality red meat, that is, naturally raised, has very good levels of omega-3 fatty acids, whereas red meat that comes from feedlots tends to be higher in omega-6 fatty acids — a fatty acid profile that is far less healthy and may in fact be associated with more mental health problems," she said.

Steve - what a joy to see the red meat issue in a peer reviewed journal! As we have been saying incessantly, red meat can be healthful! here is proof.

Task Force sees benefits in youth obesity counseling

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has found benefits from pediatric obesity programs. While treatment is costly, hard to find and hard to follow, the good news is, "you don't have to throw your arms up and say you can't do anything," said task force chairman Dr. Ned Calonge. "This is a recommendation that says there are things that work."

Calonge said the panel recognizes that most pediatricians are not equipped to offer the necessary kind of treatment. The recommendations merely highlight scientific evidence showing what type of programs work. The new advice, published online in the journal Pediatrics.

The most effective treatment often involves counseling parents along with kids, group therapy and other programs that some insurers won't cover. But adequate reimbursement "would be critical" to implementing these programs. Dr. Helen Binns, who runs a nutrition clinic at Chicago's Children's Memorial Hospital, says such programs are scarce partly because they're so costly. Her own hospital — a large institution in one of Chicago's wealthiest neighborhoods — doesn't have one. Many families with obese or overweight children can't afford that type of treatment. And it's not just cost. Many aren't willing to make the necessary lifestyle changes, she said. "It requires a big commitment factor on the part of the parent, because they need to want to change themselves, and change family behavior," Binns said.

Bonnie - another reason why current health reform will most likely fall short. They do not provided reimbursement for services such as mine in either the senate or house bills. As research shows, counseling works. But without reimbursement, services like mine will continue to be scarce.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Calcium, Vitamin D reduce fracture risk

Taking both calcium and vitamin D supplements on a daily basis reduces the risk of bone fractures, regardless of whether a person is young or old, male or female, or has had fractures in the past, a large study of nearly 70,000 patients from throughout the United States and Europe has found.

The study included data published in 2006 from clinical trials conducted at UC Davis in Sacramento as part of the Women's Health Initiative (WHI). It appears online in this week's edition of the British Medical Journal.

"What is important about this very large study is that goes a long way toward resolving conflicting evidence about the role of vitamin D, either alone or in combination with calcium, in reducing fractures," said John Robbins, professor of internal medicine at UC Davis and a co-author of the journal article.

Bonnie - obviously, this is not a surprise to us. What's nice is that the study was 15 years long, which is a good amount of time to look at preventative health effects.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Pneumococcal Vaccine Linked to Increase in Serious Lung Complication

The heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) is associated with an increase in hospitalizations for empyema, according to an article published in the January issue of Pediatrics. Empyema is linked to 3% of all pneumonia hospitalizations and up to one third of pneumococcal pneumonia hospitalizations. The United States licensed PCV7 in February 2000.

To determine whether the rise in empyema associated with PCV7 was present on a national level, researchers used figures from the Kids' Inpatient Database to estimate the number of pediatric patients hospitalized with empyema in 1997, 2000, 2003, and 2006. These estimates were figured as annual incidence rates per 100,000 children using US Census information. After comparing these rates for the time periods studied, researchers found that approximately 2898 children younger than 18 years (95% confidence interval [CI], 2532 - 3264) were hospitalized with empyema in 2006 — a calculated hospitalization rate of 3.7 per 100,000 (95% CI, 3.3 - 4.2). That demonstrates a nearly 70% increase over the 1997 rate of 2.2 per 100,000 (95% CI, 1.9 - 2.5). A 44% increase, to 5.5 per 100,000 (95% CI, 4.8 - 6.1), was seen in the rate of all pneumonia complications including empyema, pleural effusion, or bacterial pneumonia that necessitated a chest tube or decortications.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Calorie Counts Aren't Always Accurate

By Amina Khan, LA Times
January 11, 2010

Dieters, beware: Food and restaurant labels might be sabotaging your calorie-counting efforts.

So found a study published in the current edition of the Journal of the American Dietetic Assn. Researchers from Tufts University took commercially prepared foods -- both prepackaged and from restaurants -- and analyzed them using a bomb calorimeter. The measured energy values of 10 frozen meals purchased from supermarkets averaged 8% more than originally stated, and foods from 29 restaurants (both fast-food and sit-down venues) were on average 18% more than reported.

That hidden -- and unwelcome -- extra can fool dieters who don't have the time to cook their own meals into thinking they're cutting their caloric intake.

It certainly undermined the efforts of Susan B. Roberts, lead author on the study. The Energy Metabolism Laboratory director said she originally conceived of the idea for the experiment after designing two diets -- one that required home-cooked meals and another that did not. Roberts tested the diets out on herself, and her frustration quickly began to mount. In her home-cooked meal diet, she had lost weight consistently and on target. The no-cook regimen, however, was another matter.

"I wasn't losing any weight," Roberts said in an interview. "This was ridiculous. I came into the lab one day and thought, something's not adding up -- I think there's more calories in these foods than there should be."

Roberts put her theory to the test. The results?

A Lean Cuisine shrimp and angel hair pasta label says it's 220 calories (which works out to 250 calories of gross energy, the study calculates). The Tufts team pegged gross energy at 319. Denny's dry toast lists 92 calories. Instead, it let off a whopping 283 calories.

The discrepancies were a little less extreme than those in the Pirate's Booty scandal back in 2002, when a suspicious Good Housekeeping employee tested the apparently low-fat snack (label: 2.5 grams of fat) and found it had 8.5 grams, more than three times the stated amount. And to be fair, some foods came in under caloric value (a serving of Domino's thin crust cheese pizza had 141 calories, 33% less than expected).

But why did most foods seem to err in excess? Roberts said it was likely because "package manufacturers are just playing it safe."

"The FDA regulations are much more punitive, much more stringent on underproviding than overproviding," the scientist said. "It's an old-style mentality: 'People need to be given what they pay for.' "

Roberts' advice to dieters? Don't starve yourself -- just know what you put into your body. "If you want to lose 10 pounds, you can do it with food. Food is the best way. But by eating at home, you'll have a much easier time."

In any case, if you're eating at a place where "dry toast" earns you 283 calories, you're probably not on the low-calorie bandwagon to begin with.

Parents Misled by Food Labels

Nine out of 10 mothers questioned in a British Heart Foundation (BHF) survey misunderstood the nutrition information on children's foods.The BHF says mothers believe claims such as "a source of calcium, iron and six vitamins" mean a product is likely to be healthy.

A "mish mash" of different food labeling styles is fueling confusion among shoppers, it added. But manufacturers insisted their nutritional labeling was clear. The research was carried out on 1454 parents aged between 16-64 years old with kids aged 15 or under through an online survey. It found that 76% of mothers questioned believed that "wholegrain" means the product is likely to be healthy. However, the BHF said that - for example - Nestle's Honey Shreddies, which claim to be wholegrain and to "keep your heart healthy and maintain a healthy body", contain more sugar [13.6g] than a ring doughnut [9.2g] in an average serving. Kellogg's Coco Pops cereal and milk bars are labeled as "a source of calcium, iron and six vitamins" and 63% of mothers in the survey thought they were healthy.

The BHF said that for every 100g they were higher in saturated fat and sugar than the average chocolate cake. The Natural Confectionery Company Jelly Snakes which are made by Cadbury's contain more calories gram for gram than black treacle, the BHF said.

Almost three in five respondents believed that the phrase "no artificial flavorings, no artificial colorings" indicated a healthy treat. The questionnaire found that 84% of them wanted a single, front-of-pack food labeling scheme. Peter Hollins, BHF chief executive, said: "Mums are having the wool pulled over their eyes by food manufacturers. "Smoke and mirror tactics means that foods targeted at children and high in fat, salt and sugar are being disguised with partial health claims suggesting they are a healthy choice. "Regularly eating these types of foods could have serious implications for kids' future health."

A single unified labeling system for food is needed because it the "mish mash" of the different systems serves only to confuse shoppers, he added. "It's time for food companies to stop making excuses, support one system and ensure shoppers are given 'at a glance' information about the foods they're giving their kids." A spokesman for the Natural Confectionery Company said: "All we claim is that the sweets contain no artificial colors and flavors - which is true - so we're not sure why this should confuse anybody. "All nutritional information is clearly labeled on the bag." And a spokesman for Kellogg's responded: "A Kellogg's Coco Pops Cereal and Milk bar actually contains less than two teaspoons of sugar per bar and has half the calories (84) and far less fat than a chocolate bar. "Parents understand this because we give them the information they need, through our front-of-pack labelling, to make similar comparisons." Julian Hunt, of the Food and Drink Federation, has complained that the BHF did not share its research with them: "The truth is that the food industry takes its responsibilities seriously. "That's why our members are leading the world when it comes to ensuring that food recipes meet the demands of mums and their families - whether that's through the use of natural ingredients; reducing the amount of salt, fat or sugar used; or fortifying products with nutritionally-vital vitamins, minerals and micro-nutrients. "The nutrition claims identified by BHF are not 'partial health claims' - they are approved under the EU Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation, which is setting a strict legal framework for all claims on food packs. "To claim otherwise is being completely disingenuous - or shows that the BHF is deliberately trying to mislead both mums and journalists at what is a very busy time for all of us."

Steve - that is exactly what we we are claiming Mr Hunt. And the same thing happens in the U.S.

Meditation Tips

Steve - meditation can be such an important part of your overall wellness regimen. Here are some easy-to-implement tips to get you started.

Breathe naturally, without forcing anything. Notice the sensation at your nostrils, and the rise and fall of your chest and belly as you breathe. When your mind wanders, gently bring it back to your breath.

Posture: Feel free to sit cross-legged, kneel, sit on a chair or lie down — whatever's most comfortable. The most important thing is posture: Your back should be straight but not rigid, so imagine that you're being pulled toward the sky with a string attached to the crown of your head. Try not to fidget or squirm; instead of immediately reacting to discomfort, be aware of how it affects you.

Eyes and tongue: Close your eyes, keep them open or leave them half open, but pick one way and stick with it throughout the meditation. To stabilize your tongue, rest it lightly on the roof of your mouth. This Zen technique is believed to cut down on subvocalization, which is when your tongue moves slightly with the thoughts that pass through your head.

Routine: You're more likely to incorporate meditation into your daily routine if you have a designated time and spot for it. Pick a quiet corner in your home, and turn off electronics. Mornings are good, before you drink any coffee so you're not wired. Try not to meditate after a heavy meal or just before bed because you tend to be sleepy. Set a timer to alert you to the end of your session to frame the meditation and give it a ritualistic quality. Aim to meditate at least five days a week; there's not much benefit if you do it once a week or every now and then.

Time: Meditating 20 to 30 minutes daily is ideal, but if you only have five or 10 minutes, go for it. There is no "right" way to meditate, so let go of goal orientation, and don't try to track your progress.

Monsanto, once again, revealed.

Confidential contracts detailing Monsanto Co.'s business practices reveal how the world's biggest seed developer is squeezing competitors, controlling smaller seed companies and protecting its dominance over the multibillion-dollar market for genetically altered crops, an Associated Press investigation has found.

With Monsanto's patented genes being inserted into roughly 95 percent of all soybeans and 80 percent of all corn grown in the U.S., the company also is using its wide reach to control the ability of new biotech firms to get wide distribution for their products, according to a review of several Monsanto licensing agreements and dozens of interviews with seed industry participants, agriculture and legal experts.

The complete article can be found here.

In another development, Genetically Modified crops (or GM) are genetically modified organisms (GMO) that have been altered to meet a specific profile. They have also been the subject of controversy almost since their introduction two decades ago. A new study pinpoints three variations of GM corn (maize) as being linked to organ damage in mammals.

The three varieties in question are Mon 810, Mon 863, and NK 603. The "Mon" is for, you guessed it, Monsanto and the NK is also a Monsanto product, being engineered for herbicide tolerance. The study was conducted by the Committee of Research and Information on Genetic Engineering (CRIIGEN) and the Universities of Caen and Rouen in France.1

The study used the same data that was used by Monsanto to gain approval in several parts of the world. The data was released publicly in 2005 by European authorities when the three GM strains were approved for human consumption in both the U.S. and Europe.

Gilles-Eric Seralini, a molecular biologist at the University of Caen and one of the principals in the study, says that the data "clearly underlines adverse impacts on kidneys and liver, the dietary detoxifying organs, as well as different levels of damages to heart, adrenal glands, spleen and haematopoietic system."

Each of the three strains produced differing amounts of adverse impact, but the impact on vital organs was universal for all three GM crops.

The study was completed in December 2009 and appears in the International Journal of Biological Sciences1 (IJBS). It conforms with and substantiates an earlier study done by CRIIGEN in 2007 on Mon 863.2 The results of that study were rejected by Monsanto.3

One controversy many point to when criticizing Monsanto's counter-analysis as well as the governmental acceptance of the GM crops is in the way Monsanto's studies were carried out. Traditionally, when testing drug, pesticide, or other human-ingested items' safety, the standard protocol is to use three different mammalian species.

Monsanto used only rats for their studies, but still managed to win GMO approval in at least a dozen countries. Further, the studies were carried out in only 90 day spans, which is not long enough to find most chronic problems.

Other problems with Monsanto's studies should have raised more red flags, but they were ignored by the governmental panels put in charge of making the decision to allow the company's genetically modified crops into wide distribution in their countries.

The new CRIIGEN study concludes that the raw data makes it clear that all three GMO crops have real problems and should be put under "an immediate ban on the import and export of these GMOs." The study also strongly recommends additional long-term, multi-generational animal feeding studies be done on at least three species to provide truly scientific "data on the acute and chronic toxic effects of GM crops, feed and foods."

Multivitamins may cut lung cancer risk in smokers

Multivitamins, folate, and green leafy vegetables may reduce the risk of developing lung cancer in current and former smokers. Higher intakes of certain micronutrients may reduce a process called methylation which affects gene signaling. Many genes involved in critical cell functions, including cell division, are methylated in lung tumors, showing the potential of the micronutrients to reduce the risk of lung cancer, according to findings in Cancer Research and supported by the US National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health.

It impressively shows, for example, that supplements containing beta-carotene, conceivably increasing the risk of lung cancer in heavy smokers when taken in extremely high doses over years, have the potential to reduce cancer risk even in smokers,” said researchers. "Additionally, the study is further evidence that nature-identical, synthetic micronutrients in multivitamins can be effective in disease risk reduction as micronutrients from vegetables and fruits.”

In the study, people who ate at least 12 servings of green leafy vegetables per month had a 17 per cent lower risk of methylation, while a daily folate intake of at least 750 micrograms was associated with a 16 per cent lower risk. Current multivitamin users had a 43 per cent lower risk of gene methylation.

Low selenium tied to throat, stomach cancers

Getting enough selenium in your diet could help protect you from cancer of the esophagus. People with the highest levels of this antioxidant mineral were at the lowest risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus, according to a study in the journal Gastroenterology. The incidences of these cancers have risen in the US and Europe during the past decades. The researchers looked at data from the Netherlands Cohort Study, which followed 120,852 men and women 55 to 69 years old for 16 years. They compared selenium levels in 64 patients who developed ESCC during follow-up; 112 EAC patients; 114 GCA patients; and 2,072 cancer-free controls. All had provided toenail clippings at the study's outset; the selenium content of a person's nails is considered to be an accurate measurement of their levels of the mineral over the previous year. The higher a person's selenium levels, the researchers found, the lower their likelihood of developing ESCC. There was also a relationship between selenium intake and EAC risk in people with lower intakes of several antioxidant nutrients.

Bonnie - selenium is a very important trace nutrient, however, it should never be taken as a supplement without the supervision of a licensed health professional.

Monday, January 11, 2010

False positives with PSA

One in eight men screened for prostate cancer will test positive when they do not have the disease. A positive result can mean undergoing invasive tests such as biopsy as well as potentially unnecessary treatment. A European study of those screened with prostate specific antigen (PSA) who tested positive but were later found not to have cancer were twice as likely not to agree to screening in the future even though they were at risk of developing the disease later, the British Journal of Cancer reported. Study leader, Dr Tuomas Kilpelainen, said: "I don't think routine screening should be advised until more is known on the adverse effects and costs of screening."

Friday, January 08, 2010

Oldies but Goodies: Bonnie's Recipes Spanning 25 Years

1 c. unbleached flour, amaranth, oat, or rice flour
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
6-8 oz. container organic plain or Greek yogurt
1 c. milk or milk substitute of your choice
1 organic large egg, well-beaten
1 c. fresh or frozen fruit (strawberries and blueberries work well)

Blend all ingredients well, but don’t overmix. The fresh or frozen fruit should be added last. Spray oil or use 1 T. butter/butter substitute onto a hot griddle. Ladle or pour the batter for whatever size pancake is desired. Heat until thoroughly cooked throughout (these pancakes are thicker than the average pancake, so may take longer to cook). Eat plain or top with cinnamon, all natural fruit conserves, or a small amount of pure maple syrup.

½ c. green onion, chopped
½ c. white onions, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
1 T. avocado or canola oil
1 can (16 oz.) pumpkin
1 tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. allspice
dash of tamari
4 c. chicken broth
2 tsp. dried or fresh parsley
1 c. milk or milk substitute

Sauté onions and carrots in a 4-quart pot and bring to a boil. Add other ingredients, except milk, reduce heat to simmer and cook 25 min. Puree soup in blender, if desired. Add milk, heat just until serving temp. for hot soup. Can be served cold, if desired.

1 lb. cooked salmon filet (flaked ) or 1 large can pink or red salmon (rinsed)
1 whole egg or 2 egg whites (lightly beaten)
½ c. oats
½ c. minced fresh onion or 1 T. dried onion
½ tsp. garlic powder
1 T. tamari
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp. dried mustard
2 T. finely chopped red pepper
1 tsp. dried parsley, optional

Mix all ingredients. Form into patties. Brown in pan with oil spray until lightly browned on both sides OR bake in a 350 degree oven in a lightly greased glass dish for 20 minutes. Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley

3 lb. organic chicken
1 clove garlic
dash of sea salt and pepper
1 medium peeled onion
1 T. olive oil
1 lemon (juice only)

Rinse chicken, stuff with garlic, oregano, salt, olive oil with juice of a lemon. Rub pepper over chicken with dried oregano. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 50-55 min. Carve chicken and serve with onion. potatoes, baby carrots, and onions.

1 good cooking apple
½ tsp. whipped butter or Earth Balance
1 tsp. unsulphured molasses, agave syrup, or pure maple syrup
sprinkle of ground cinnamon

Core the apple. Mix the next 3 ingredients and microwave for 30 seconds. Place the apple in a microwave safe bowl and pour mixture into cored apple. Cover with paper towel and microwave another 2 ½ minutes.

1 banana
¾ c. berries
1 ½ T. agave or pure maple syrup
¼ c. Greek yogurt
½ c. ice cubes

Peel banana, cut into chunks, and place into blender or food processor. Add remaining ingredients. Process until the fruit is pureed and the mixture is frothy. Serve immediately as drink or freeze for one hour and serve as a frozen dessert.

Nutrocon's 25 Healthy Life Tips

Nutritional supplements, planned by a health professional to meet your individual needs, should be taken daily.
Use your brain to its fullest extent with crossword puzzles, sudoku, and/or solving problems in difficult life situations.
Test your Vitamin D3 blood level, and increase your dosage if your number is lower than 50. Also, make sure to get 15 minutes of sunlight whenever possible.
Rest with restorative REM sleep, which means falling asleep by 11:00 P.M.
Older people benefit from exercise, just as much as do younger people. Tai Chi is the perfect activity for stretching, focusing, and healing.
Chemicals in food, air, and water that are harmful to you should be completely avoided. If they cannot be avoided, detoxify safely with nutritional oral agents and infrared treatments.
Organic foods that are antibiotic and hormone-free should make up most of your diet. Some toxins can be removed by rinsing or soaking fruits and vegetables in filtered water mixed with a little baking soda.
Nutritious meals that are primarily prepared at home will nurture both your body and soul.
Sugar and Sugar Substitutes (except Stevia) should be removed from your vocabulary and from your diet.

Healthy eating, particularly a well-balanced Mediterranean style plan, will give you physical, mental, and emotional energy.
Eliminate taking any unnecessary medication and educate yourself regarding the benefits and side effects of each medication prescribed for you.
Avoid food allergens and foods to which you notice an intolerance.
Laugh heartily and often. "Laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry and you cry alone.
Take at least 16 deep breaths daily, one breath for each waking hour.
Have a positive outlook.
There are very few wrongs that can't be righted.
Your main drinks should be filtered water, unsweetened tea, and coffee, if tolerated.

Load up on probiotics to promote healthy gut flora and to prevent food-borne illness. Washing your hands thoroughly while preparing food and before eating will also help prevent illness in your digestive tract.
Ingest your food slowly and in a calming environment. Chew well to digest well.
Fruits and vegetables should be the mainstays of your carbohydrate choices to promote nutritional balance.
Eat a hearty breakfast every day, balanced with protein, carbohydrate, and fat.

Take at least 2000 steps daily to start. Gradually increase it to 6000 steps. A pedometer can give you an incentive and encouragement to make it happen.
I is important. It's great to concentrate on helping others, but if you don't take care of yourself, you won't be able to do it as well.
Pace yourself with regular times for meals and snacks. Try not to eat any food within 2-3 hours of bedtime.
Stress reduction is a necessity for total wellness. The best tools are meditating, relaxing, pursuing hobbies that are personally gratifying and smelling the roses along the way.

Copyright 2010, Nutritional Concepts

Free radicals damage mitochondria

If you're an aging baby boomer hoping for a buffer physique, there's hope. A team of American scientists from Texas and Michigan have made a significant discovery about the cause of age-related muscle atrophy that could lead to new drugs to halt this natural process.

This research, available online the FASEB Journal, shows that free radicals, such as reactive oxygen species, damage mitochondria in muscle cells, leading to cell death and muscle atrophy. Now that scientists understand the cause of age-related muscle loss, they can begin to develop new drugs to halt the process.

"Age-related muscle atrophy in skeletal muscle is inevitable. However, we know it can be slowed down or delayed," said Holly Van Remmen, Ph.D., co-author of the study, from the Sam and Ann Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. "Our goal is to increase our understanding of the basic mechanisms underlying sarcopenia to gain insight that will help us to discover therapeutic interventions to slow or limit this process."

"I don't expect to see baby boomers gracing the pages of body building magazines tomorrow. But this research is important because it identifies molecules responsible for the aging of our muscles: free radicals," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of the FASEB Journal. "Stop these from acting and we'll all look younger, stronger and fit at any age.

Bonnie - scientists do not have to come up with new drugs for mitochondrial damage because there is already a safe, natural substance that can protect against free radical damage. It is called Co-Enzyme Q10!

Celiac Disease Increases Risk of Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders

Migraine and carpal tunnel syndrome are common among celiac patients. After screening a cohort of 72 patients with biopsy-proven celiac disease, researchers also report that many experience psychiatric problems, with 35% of celiac patients reporting a history of depression, personality changes, or psychosis.

In all, 26% of patients experienced afferent ataxia. About a third of patients had stance and gait problems, and many experienced deep sensory loss and reduced ankle reflexes. The study is published in Movement Disorders.

About a third of celiac patients (28%) reported a history of migraine. In many cases, there was a decrease in the frequency and intensity of migraine attacks after the introduction of a gluten-free diet. About 20% of patients experienced carpal tunnel syndrome. In celiac disease, the mechanisms leading to neurological disease are not yet understood. Deficiencies in folic acid, vitamin E, and biopterin have been implicated in the pathogenesis.

What an Event!

Wow - on a day where the weather could not be much worse, 72 of you braved the streets to join us in celebrating our 25th Anniversary. We would like to deeply thank our sponsors for providing wonderful food, drinks, raffle prizes, and stuffers for our goodie bags. We could not have done it without you.

Once again, we would like to say thanks to all of our clients for their continued support over the years.

Bonnie, Steve, and the staff at Nutritional Concepts

Thank You to Our Sponsors
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Thursday, January 07, 2010

Safety of Beef Processing Method Is Questioned

Courtesy of NY Times

Eight years ago, federal officials were struggling to remove potentially deadly E. coli from hamburgers when an entrepreneurial company from South Dakota came up with a novel idea: injecting beef with ammonia. The company, Beef Products Inc., had been looking to expand into the hamburger business with a product made from beef that included fatty trimmings the industry once relegated to pet food and cooking oil. The trimmings were particularly susceptible to contamination, but a study commissioned by the company showed that the ammonia process would kill E. coli as well as salmonella. Officials at the United States Department of Agriculture endorsed the company’s ammonia treatment, and have said it destroys E. coli “to an undetectable level.” They decided it was so effective that in 2007, when the department began routine testing of meat used in hamburger sold to the general public, they exempted Beef Products.

With the U.S.D.A.’s stamp of approval, the company’s processed beef has become a mainstay in America’s hamburgers. McDonald’s, Burger King and other fast-food giants use it as a component in ground beef, as do grocery chains. The federal school lunch program used an estimated 5.5 million pounds of the processed beef last year alone. But government and industry records obtained by The New York Times show that in testing for the school lunch program, E. coli and salmonella pathogens have been found dozens of times in Beef Products meat, challenging claims by the company and the U.S.D.A. about the effectiveness of the treatment.

Since 2005, E. coli has been found 3 times and salmonella 48 times, including back-to-back incidents in August in which two 27,000-pound batches were found to be contaminated. The meat was caught before reaching lunch-rooms trays. In July, school lunch officials temporarily banned their hamburger makers from using meat from a Beef Products facility in Kansas because of salmonella — the third suspension in three years, records show. Yet the facility remained approved by the U.S.D.A. for other customers. Presented by The Times with the school lunch test results, top department officials said they were not aware of what their colleagues in the lunch program had been finding for years. In response, the agriculture department said it was revoking Beef Products’ exemption from routine testing and conducting a review of the company’s operations and research. The department said it was also reversing its policy for handling Beef Products during pathogen outbreaks.

The article continues at

Steve - we reported on this several years. Aside from the fact that we knew it would not work, we thought it was unconscionable at the time to use a harmful chemical like ammonia in meat processing. This is yet another reason why you should choose meat products that do not use these type of conventional methods.

Further incentive to keep the weight off

According the a study in the American College of Clinical Nutrition, people who have lost weight and kept it off for three years or longer have brains that respond differently to images of foods than those of people who are overweight, according to an analysis of MRI brain scans. Future research will focus on determining what came first, the brain patterns or the weight loss.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Quercetin may block Hep C infection

Researchers showed that the natural compound Quercetin inhibits the synthesis of the proteins that perpetuate Hepatitis C, significantly inhibiting viral infection in tissue culture. "This is an important finding because we can block these proteins with the idea of reducing the level of the virus in people and, ideally, completely eliminate it," said researchers at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. The study appeared in the most recent issue of the journal Hepatology. Since Quercetin has been shown to inhibit hepatitis C infection, a Phase I clinical trial will be launched at UCLA to determine if the compound is safe and effective. Quercetin is a plant-derived bioflavonoid, and is used by some people as a nutritional supplement.

"Because Quercetin targets cellular proteins rather than viral proteins, there is less likelihood of developing viral resistance," researchers said. "Cellular proteins cannot change like viral proteins can. Quercetin may allow for the dissection of the viral life cycle and has potential therapeutic use to reduce virus production with low associated toxicity," the study states. The UCLA clinical trial will most likely target those with type 1 hepatitis C, which is the non-responsive type prevalent in this country. Only about 50 percent of those with type 1 hepatitis C respond to treatment. Quercetin has resulted in no significant side effects. "A non-toxic treatment for chronic hepatitis C would be great because our current therapies have significant side effects and only a certain percentage of the patient population responds," researchers said. The three-year study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Cure Digestive Diseases Research Center and the Stein Oppenheimer Endowment Award.

Steve - what a novel idea? Quercetin has cellular proteins which would be unlikely for the virus to develop a resistance. This was a very prestigious study. These results are unbelievably exciting.

Vitamins and minerals may reduce bladder cancer risk

Increased intakes of vitamin E may reduce the risk of bladder cancer by about 35 per cent, says a new study from an international team of researchers published in Cancer Causes and Control. The study also showed that carotenoids, niacin, thiamine, and vitamin D may reduce the risk of bladder cancer in older people. “Future studies should focus on optimal doses and combinations of these micronutrients particularly for high risk groups such as heavy smokers and older individuals,” researchers state.

Dietary data from 322 people with bladder cancer and 239 healthy controls showed that, in general, people with the highest average intakes of vitamin E (at least 193.4 milligrams per day) were 34 per cent less likely to develop bladder cancer. When the researchers focused their analysis on smokers, they found that the highest intakes of vitamin E, carotenoids (18 milligrams), and niacin (46.5 milligrams), were associated with a 42, 38, and 34 per cent reduction in bladder cancer risk in heavy smokers. In older individuals, the highest average intakes of carotenoids, vitamin D (641 International Units), thiamin (3.35 milligrams), niacin, and vitamin E were all associated with a reduced bladder cancer risk.

The study was supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Cancer Institute at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Pomegranates may help fight MRSA

Stopping the superbug methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has researchers looking for new antibacterial agents in all corners of the globe. Scientists at the University of Kingston, Surrey in the UK have found there is promise in pomegranates.

Pomegranates have long been known for their antibacterial and therapeutic health benefits, especially in Brazil. While most of us think of pomegranates as being chock-full of antioxidants, they may fight more than free radicals. A study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that when the fruit's rind is combined with metal salts and vitamin C, they hold promise in killing MRSA.

"It was the mix that fantastically increased the activity -- there was synergy, where the combined effects were much greater than those exhibited by individual components," study author Declan Naughton told the Daily Mail. "It shows nature still has a few tricks up its sleeve."

Drug-resistant staph infections such as MRSA are a growing problem, primarily in hospital settings. MRSA infections accounted for two percent of staph infections in U.S. hospitals in1974, but that figure jumped to 63 percent in 2004, according to the CDC.

The research was done in a lab setting, and the research is still in the preliminary stages.

Californian trans fat ban takes effect

California has become the first state to ban the use of trans fat-containing cooking oils, as a law signed by Governor Schwarzenegger in 2008 came into effect on January 1. The new Californian law means that all oils, margarines and shortenings used in frying must contain less than 0.5 percent trans fat per serving. Food manufacturers and restaurants that violate the legislation face fines of up to $1,000. The ban was signed into law in July 2008, but was not put into practice until the beginning of this year in order to allow manufacturers time to reformulate with alternative fats and oils. Exceptions to the state-wide ban include baked and deep-fried items, with manufacturers having until 2011 to switch from artificial trans fats. Bans have also been implemented in several cities, including New York City and Philadelphia, as well as parts of Maryland.