Q You seem to have reservations about the use of the new megadose vitamin D supplements. Why? March 2011
Yes I certainly do. For the last 8 months I have intensely researched this issue. Too many questions keep appearing that point out the "professionals" might be guilty of tunnel vision when they recommend getting 25 OHD levels of 60 to 80 ng/mL for best cancer protection. They may be missing some of the small effects while concentrating on the major diseases such as cancer prevention.
Here is one example. A cancer study that reported a postive outcome for vitamin D was further analyzed by dividing the people taking the vitamin D between those who began the study with low levels compared to those who were already high at the beginning. The low level people benefited while the high actually had a slight negative result, greater cancer risk. Since the number of people low at the start was greater than high, the negative results from the higher starting level was not enough to change the overall positive effect. This type of result is typical of many vitamin nutrients. There is a small window of dosages that are most beneficial with adverse effects at both lower and higher amounts.
The Hawaiian surfer study of natural levels generated from many hours in the sun added to the mortality results from the NHANES STUDY reveal to me that the beneficial range for 25OHD is between 25 - 35 ng/mL, with 30 the average reached by the Hawaiians in 2-3 hours of sun per day and also the level with the lowest overall mortality from the NHANES STUDY.
A senior fragility study found that about 20-25 was the amount with the least fragility symptoms in seniors. Other studies have found more of certain types of cancers at amounts over 35 and under 20 as well. And autoimmune conditions may prove to be found at both ends of the spectrum, look at the LL-37 work. LL-37, produced by vitamin D, has benefits at certain amounts by creating just the right amount of necessary inflammatory conditions to properly deal with injuries, but has negative effects at both too high and too low. ref (scroll down to Sept 2009 LL-37 Friend or Foe?) ref This reference also points out why everyone needs some exposure to sunlight for proper innate immune system control. You should not just take a vitamin D supplement without also getting some sun exposure.
And I haven't even touched on the effects of vitamin D on mineral uptake. Not only is calcium affected, but if present, lead too. The situation is a can of worms. The best approach is precautionary. Get your levels checked first, then supplement to get up to 30-35 ng/mL and hold.
Q Are there Nutritional protocols for breast cancer? Dec 2010 (Caution: Do not take nutrients in disease states wtihout discussing with your medical team. There can be contra-indications in certain conditions, reactions with drugs, or even nutrient quality and vital dosage issues. Vitamins may only be an adjunct to other treatments at this time, with greater preventative properties rather than curative. Tumors may highjack extra vitamins and use them to actually grow faster.)
Personal story. This topic is quite an emotional one for me. I am changing to first person here to share the experiences of my sister's cancer journey in the hope that her story will be of benefit for others. When she told the family she had cancer, my mother offered to do whatever my sister wanted in the way of support for treatments, even taking her to clinics in Mexico. My mother and I had both been using vitamins and learning about alternative health protocols for some time. Unfortunately, my sister still ate at fast food restaurants. She finally opted to go the traditional mainstream medicine route. She had surgery and 23 out of 26 lump nodes cut out were cancerous. She underwent chemotherapy with all its side effects. I researched all I could discover on breast cancer (BC) and offered what I thought was the easiest plus the most effective approach my sister might handle at that time.
The first item was Sun Chlorella. An Oncologist in Irvine, Dr. David Steenblock, wrote a book on chlorella after using it in his practice. He discovered that giving chlorella during chemo treatments not only reduced the severity of adverse side effects, but also allowed him to use lower dosages of chemo and still get the same results. Chlorella is a single cell green algae that grows in ponds or lakes. High in chlorophyll and other valuable phyto (plant) nutrients, it seemed to help the liver function, often a weak point in cancer patients.
Next, a Doctor in Japan researched using the mineral germanium combined with oxygen to actually kill cancer cells in test tube studies. Human experiments showed this action also happened inside the body as well. GE-132 was named such as it was his 132th formula that was finally successful. Other forms of germanium were toxic in the body, but this form was toxic evidently only to cancer cells. Many healing foods like garlic and ginseng contain germanium. My sister used a powder form added to her drinking water.
Before starting these two items she had more or less gone into a holding pattern while continuing the chemo.
She was now ready to start taking the two items after her MD said it was OK. I had her take in the book to show him.
She also slowly changed giving up fast foods and started making healthier food choices.
She complained of a stiff neck and went to her chiropractor for adjustments. After a few treatments, the chiropractor suggested she go back to her oncology doctor and get an x-ray of her neck and brain. Her Doctor said she didn't need one and just to continue getting adjustments. A couple of more adjustments and her chiropractor insisted this condition was related to her cancer and she should go back and get an x-ray. The x-ray discovered 3 brain tumors were the cause of her stiff necks.
She started radiation therapy and was given a year's supply in just 3 months. Her doctor told her she had about 6 months to live. The radiation reduced the brain tumors to just shadows.
She continued taking the two supplements and feeling well enough, decided to join her husband in Australia. There she planted a garden and continued eating healthy foods. She enjoyed another five years of life.
NOTE: A new supplement is available now that may have helped my sister. There is a product called "BroccoMax" that is an extract of a special kind of broccoli containing much higher concentrations than supermarket broccoli of an ingredient called SGS, Sulforaphane glucosinolate. SGS is a phase 2 detoxicant useful for healthy cell replication. This ingredient has almost twenty years of chemo-preventative research by the pharmacological industry, but since they could not make it synthetically into a drug with a patent or settle contra-indications with drugs, they abandoned it. The book of studies is an inch thick. ref
CAUTION: The isolation of just one ingredient out of a food can upset nature's balance usually mitigated by diet variety. In this case, SGS in such high dosages does not have the balance effect to control another of it's functions, phase 1 induction. While this may only be an issue if SGS is taken for a longer period, Phase I enzymes can activate biohazards found in cigarette smoke, or barbecued meats, etc, which of course can induce cancers. Another group of vegetables, apiaceous, including carrots and celery, help limit this phase I activation process.
Another nutrient showing promise is CoQ10, for Co-enzyme Q10. CoQ10 has two useful functions. First, it exhibits antioxidant properties in the blood plasma as the ubiquinol form called QH, and second and most importantly, it functions as an energy producer for cells. In early cancer studies, CoQ10 at about 390 mg per day, apparently turns off the bcl-2 gene that reduces cell death rates. Thus, cancer cells exhibit higher expression of bcl-2 gene activity than normal cells and at the same time, lower CoQ10 levels. Supplementing CoQ10 may help control cancer's rapid growth rate. At least, early preliminary small studies show some very positive results without any side effects. Hopefully, larger research is underway. This topic is far too critical not to pursue all possible avenues.
Another supplement with properties to help stop cancer is Resveratrol, from red vine. Resveratrol shows benefit by again deactivating an enzyme that protects cancer cells. One of the studies is mentioned here.
Vitamin C activity to halt cancer cells has finally been discovered. This will have to be tested for BC. click here. (scroll down to July 2010 How vitamin C stops cancers)
OF INTEREST: Cancerous tumors are acidic in nature while
the blood of many cancer patients becomes slightly more alkaline. It is believed that the body is attempting a compensatory move by doing this. This would use up the alkaline minerals very quickly. There are two completely different spectrum treatments tried for cancers. One is to acidfy the blood, the other is to over alkalize the blood. Both appeared to have some successes. More research is vitally needed on pH effects over cancer.
Q What helps Rheumatoid arthritis? Sept 2009
In Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), compared to the other arthritis form called osteoarthritis, the body's own immune system attacks healthy tissue in the joints without seemingly any provocation. Certain immune system white blood cells (macrophages) produce messengers (cytokines) that increase the inflammation response. There is always inflammation involved, but it is currently unknown which comes first, the immune system malfunction or inflammation to trigger rheumatoid arthritis. When inflammation goes away, RA joint pain conditions improve.
Autoimmune diseases seem to be increasing and do not generally have very good causation understanding. Dietary sources might involve lectins, proteins that combine with sugars and can increase inflammatory processes, especially in the digestive area.
Drugs to quiet or decrease immune response are given to control the RA inflammation, plus / or anti-folate medicines are used to inhibit enzymes involved in purine production. One might assume from this that folic acid should not be supplemented. What does help?
The following is an excerpt from the referenced review reference: "There have been a number of clinical trials assessing the benefits of dietary supplementation with fish oils in several inflammatory and autoimmune diseases in humans, including rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, psoriasis, lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis and migraine headaches. Many of the placebo-controlled trials of fish oil in chronic inflammatory diseases reveal significant benefit, including decreased disease activity and a lowered use of anti-inflammatory drugs."
Talking about RA, a particular element called TNF alpha (Tumor necrosis factor) is a prime instigator. TNF is increased in RA. Many RA drugs are designed to lower TNF activity. Increased levels of vitamin A reduce the severity of body infections but increase RA symptoms since vitamin A stimulates immune response, increasing TNF activity. Omega-3 fish oils are associated with decreased TNF levels. Lowering TNF levels leaves the body more at risk for infections. And low levels of TNF reduces the cytotoxic (destroying) effect it processes for certain cancer tumor cells. Normal cells are not affected by this TNF effect. The problem with using NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) is that while they reduce pain and swelling, they provide no help in aiding the joints to maintain or build up cartilage and prevent further damage.
Here is another valuable reference: www.hopkins-arthritis.org/
Chew on the following:
Rheumatoid arthritis treated with vegetarian diets1,2
1 From the Department of Immunology and Transfusion Medicine, Ullevaal University Hospital, Oslo.
"The notion that dietary factors may influence rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has been a part of the folklore of the disease, but scientific support for this has been sparse. In a controlled, single-blind trial we tested the effect of fasting for 7–10 d, then consuming an individually adjusted, gluten-free, vegan diet for 3.5 mo, and then consuming an individually adjusted lactovegetarian diet for 9 mo on patients with RA. For all clinical variables and most laboratory variables measured, the 27 patients in the fasting and vegetarian diet groups improved significantly compared with the 26 patients in the control group who followed their usual omnivorous diet throughout the study period. One year after the patients completed the trial, they were reexamined. Compared with baseline, the improvements measured were significantly greater in the vegetarians who previously benefited from the diet (diet responders) than in diet nonresponders and omnivores. The beneficial effect could not be explained by patients' psychologic characteristics, antibody activity against food antigens, or changes in concentrations of prostaglandin and leukotriene precursors. However, the fecal flora differed significantly between samples collected at time points at which there was substantial clinical improvement and time points at which there were no or only minor improvements. In summary, the results show that some patients with RA can benefit from a fasting period followed by a vegetarian diet. Thus, dietary treatment may be a valuable adjunct to the ordinary therapeutic armamentarium for RA. "
Quick wrap up. Research reveals Omega -3 fish oils EPA and DHA totaling 3000 mg per day produce beneficial effects. Slowly build up to this level. Since omega 3 oils are polyunsaturated and highly perishable, they need antioxidant protection from a little extra vitamins C & E (families). To lessen any potential allergy effect from lectins, limit wheat flour products, dairy, peanuts, and soybeans using a rotational approach to analyze how body reacts. Consume Plant proteins over too many animal proteins. Use anti-inflammatory foods like ginger and turmeric (curcumin).
Trial and error experimentation is almost the only way to see if you can find food triggers. Unfortunately, many genetic factors may influence as well. Do not stop physical activity and social interactions. Discuss these protocols with your Doctor.
Q Why does the new eye health formula look so much like heart formulas? May 2009
Coming out of Italy, a new study challenges some of the eye health concepts and adds another factor. It is looking like low cellular energy is also at the root of many eye conditions the same as in heart health.
New Italian study showing EARLY Macula protection
l Rome, Italy studied 106 patients in the early stages of AMD.
l 51 patients on combination of 3 nutrients ( Coenzyme Q10, Omega-3 fat in the form of EPA & DHA fish oil supplements and acetyl-L-carnitine)
l Other 55 patients were given a placebo.
l Monitored the patients over 12 months using 4 objective measurements of visual function.
l The results revealed a clear benefit for those who took the supplement twice a day. Only 2 % of patients who took the supplement experienced worsening of their vision while 17 % of the untreated patients.
l Drusen decreased between 15 % ( in affected eye) and 23% (in the least affected eye) compared to Drusen actually increasing between 11% and 13 % in the untreated patients.
l The biological plausibility - improve the function of the mitochondria ( specialized structures that serve as the source of energy for each cell) and the ability to dampen inflammation
Dosages used in Italy Study- Taken twice a day.
l 1) Coenzyme Q10 20 mg
l 2) Omega 3, EPA plus DHA, 1000 mg,
l 3) Acetyl-L-Carnitine 200 mg.
The antioxidant vitamins with zinc AREDS study showed benefits only in moderate to advanced AMD. This Italian study showed AMD improvements in early stages. The cataract portion of the AREDS study did not find any influence, although one was expected. The AREDS2 study under way now will answer many questions raised by the AREDS original study. AREDS2 includes lutein, omeag-3, one half the zinc amount, with and without beta carotene, and zinc or no zinc. Part of the study includes watching how omega-3 effects dementia.
The lack of the original AREDS to influence cataracts is a mystery. The Italy formula and the AREDS2 study may prove beneficial since they help lower inflammation and help control oxidation. CoQ10 aids cellular energy production and at the same time helps control oxidation this increased energy creates. Both of these processes appear to be involved in cataract development. ref ref
This abstract at bottom of page> Orv Hetil. 2007 Dec 2;148(48):2259-68. [Metabolic therapy for early treatment of age-related macular degeneration]
CAUTION: One type of Drug used for Cardiovascular Disease and Breast Cancer inhibits the action of the Sodium Potassium Pump. In CVD, stopping this pump results in more action of the calcium pumps and thus increased calcium caused heart muscle contraction. In breast cancer, tumors cells that break away (metastasize) are usually killed by immune cells. Sometimes these cells become resistant to the attack of our immune system. Inhibiting the sodium potassium pump in these cells makes them more vulnerable to die off.
Can you spot the potential catch 22 in taking supplements to protect eye health if you have tumors?
Q How does strontium protect against bone fractures? May 2008
Bone fractures are a life and death situation as Americans age. In Europe, a new drug uses a natural mineral, strontium, to increase bone density and prevent fractures. Due to the importance of this topic and the significance of using a natural mineral for a drug like effect, this topic deserves an in depth answer. The answer is located here.
Q Do I really need to take vitamin supplements? February 2007
Scientifically, this issue should not really be that complicated, but it may never be completely settled. There are aspects to human vitamin research influence on health and disease that may take at least two generations to reveal. If you live in the United States, the government has decided this question for you and everyone has been consuming vitamins for at least the last 50 years. About half will say they don't take supplements, but when they find out that white flour, white rice, degermed cornmeal, milk, and many orange juices have added supplemental vitamins or minerals, they get the picture.
Early research in nutrition found that the diseases beriberi and pellagra were caused by the lack of certain B vitamins removed in milling flour, corn, and rice. The B vitamins responsible for causing these diseases (but not all that are removed) were required to be added back in an "enrichment" program. Milk was required to have added vitamin D after rickets was discovered to be connected. These are the same vitamins you find in supplements, just with a little different delivery system. Supplemental vitamins have been preventing diseases for many years. And in these cases, synthetic vitamins.
These three diseases and their nutritional links were quickly discovered since they have a relatively short time span between the introduction of the processed deficient food and the appearance of the disease. A TV news format show recently told about a case of a mysterious disease a lady exhibited. It turned out to just be scurvy, a condition not usually seen in modern times. She didn't eat any fresh foods to get vitamin C.
The following link from the Mayo Clinic Proceedings highlights the fact that not all nutritional deficiencies may have a short time span disease connection or even a single causation nutrient making them quite difficult to discover. Only until the American population radically changes food choices plus food processors dramatically improve growing and processing techniques, supplements will remain a necessity and not an option. Thus anyone, regardless of their professional status, who says that Americans don't need to take vitamins is simply exposing their ignorance. Everyone takes vitamins in one form or another. Even a Harvard reseach study by two doctors recommended that every adult should take a multiple vitamin mineral supplement.
The following linked reference, a Medical Doctor's editorial, mentions how deficiencies could be limiting newly discovered functions for Vitamin D, calcium, and folic acid. The scope of nutritional knowledge is growing so rapidly in the last few years that much of the past accepted doctrines will have to be updated, such as the role vitamins play in disease prevention. ref
Many of the articles in this website will highlight more factors as to why it is necessary to take supplements, which nutrients, what dosage ranges, and even some preferred forms. The reality is that dietary surveys reveal far too many large deficiencies of certain nutrients present in the Standard American Diet (SAD). ref
Q Why are you against mega dosage vitamins, especially B complex? January 2008
If a block wall needs 300 bricks to build, would having 2000 be of any extra help? In fact wouldn't the extra bricks really be more of a hindance. So too it is the increased energy expediture of eliminating the excess that is wasteful and troubling. Another troubling part is also that extra vitamins sometimes get into mischief while they are in the body. For one, they may block the absorption sites of other needed nutrients or use up carrier elements. Or they may accummulate and build up to a toxic level. This is especially true for the fat soluble viamins A, D, E, and K, but can happen for a few B vitamins as well. It it not necessary to take all the fat soluble vitamins everyday as some are stored by the body for future use. People exhibit vast differences in tolerance levels.
Perhaps the best analysis is that supplementation helps if you are deficient, but if you have adequate levels many nutrients show no further benefits for increased supplemented amounts. Some nutrients even reveal detrimental effects at higher dosages. The beneficial ranges has not yet been established for all nutrients.
Since you mentioned vitamin B complex, this may be a special issue for you. Could it be homocysteine levels and cardivascular disease? Unfortunately, recent studies have failed to show benefits on cardiovascular outcomes even though levels are lowered by high dosage B vitamins. This brings up a very important concept. It has been assumed, quite incorrectly, that since B vitamins are water-soluble, any excess would just be flushed from the body without harm. But this is not always the case, at least for vitamins B6 and Folic Acid.
Why you need supplemental B vitamins is really a interesting story. It has everything to do with what foods you eat and how B vitamins function. Simply, one function of B vitamins is to form part of enzymes needed to process calories from foods into energy for the body. Sugar and alcohol are completely void of B vitamins, and white flour bakery products are lacking in some B vitamins, even though white flour is enriched with a few but not all of the B vitamins removed by the milling process. Sugar and alcohol have lots of calories needing processing into energy, but most excess usually goes into FAT. They use up what little B vitamins are in the other foods you consume and the result is a negative balance of B vitamins. Can anyone say fatigue? If this was the only function of B vitamins, fatigue might be the only symptom. But B vitamins also function in brain metabolism, digestive health, and the health of the skin. Can anyone say skin cracks, dementia, and pass the tums?
SIDEBAR: 1. Only in the last ten years has this information surfaced. Carrier systems have been found in the intestinal tract for the assimilation of bacteria produced B vitamins as well as food source B vitamins. Some of these carriers work with two or more B vitamins. The intake of megadosages creates the possibility of overwhelming and unbalancing the uptake between these competing vitamins.
2. The overuse of stomach acid reducing medicines create a low acid condition in the first few feet of the small intestine. This allows the overgrowth of certain bacteria that would not normally locate here when higher acid levels prevail. These bacteria start the production of B vitamins sooner than normal and actually influence the body to absorb higher than normal levels as measured in blood tests. Certain interstinal diseases exhibit these higher levels. Taking extra vitamins is obviouly contraindicated. NOTE: A popular acid reducer consists of just calcium carbonate.
Q Since cardiovascular disease is the most prevalent condition in the United States, could you discuss possible causal dynamics? And would you discuss the statement you made on the home page about cholesterol levels and mortality? January 2007
Sure! The answer to this question will cover five factors. Some may be new but this is the direction research is taking.
1. **Increased inflammation. (Injures artery wall cells leading to fatty streaks and later plaque formation, includes free radical damage) 2. Increased plasma fibrinogen. (higher levels associated with Heart Disease, fibrinogen is involved in forming blood clots) ref ref 3. Increased vascular calcification. (similar to bone forming process only in artery wall cells) 4. Lack of aerobic Exercise. (causes heart muscle to shrink and lessens artery elasticity) 5. Miscues in diet, such as wrong Fats. (Yes, cholesterol does come into play, but a few new twists are in store)
Simple stated, the arteries are aging at an increasing rate. As people age, artery integrity naturally slowly decreases. But under adverse conditions caused by excess stress and/or dietary transgressions, the artery wall cells' natural immunity factors collapse and leave the cells defenseless against cholesterol oxidation or inflammatory processes. The injured site forms a fatty streak which later develops into a plaque of layered cholesterol and calcium. Calcium in this form should only be found in bone. This unfortunately is a normal process resulting from dietary and lifestyle errors. Healthy choices dramatically eliminate or slow down this process.
SIDEBAR: It is interesting to note that oxidized LDL cholesterol may not be the only initiating element involved and that cholesterol mostly plays a role later in the development of the plaque stage. There is even some question as to the role it is playing here too. It could simply be attempting to seal off the diseased area and was found guilty just by its presence at the scene.
The cholesterol story you are being told is one of omission. Vital facts are left out. One would hope it is due to a calculated risk benefit accessment and not out of ignorance and or a deliberate oversight. Here is a quick summary. Cholesterol is absolutely essential for life. One major function is to build certain hormones. It is mostly made in the liver. Dietary sources contribute only a small percentage. Low cholesterol levels suppress the immune system.
There are two basic types of cholesterol blood transporters, LDL (low density lipoproteins) and HDL (high density lipoproteins). There may be four classes (LDL, HDL, IDL, or intermediate density, and VLDL, very low density lipoproteins) referred to in scientific writings. Within each group are subclasses depending upon particle size. Research is showing that the smaller and slightly denser subclasses are more dangerous. Quite a few studies point to the small size pattern B LDLs as having a strong positive association with cardiovascular disease. The other positive factor is the ratio between LDL and HDL. Higher HDLs are almost always protective. The total cholesterol or just the LDL numbers do not always show a direct association with CVD.
About 30% of people are genetically programmed to produce this smaller size LDL. Exercise and some dietary factors can influence the amounts produced. Trans fats increase amounts. This small LDL subclass called pattern B oxidizes more readily and being smaller, can pass into cells with greater ease. It is associated with insulin resistance and is more common in type 2 diabetics. ref ref ref This last reference from Sweden calls into question the cholesterol - statin protocol. Following is the conclusion from this referenced article:
"The more LDL there is in the blood, the more rapidly atherosclerosis develops." This 1984 statement by the Nobel Award winners Michael Brown and Joseph Goldstein1 has dominated research on atherosclerosis since then. As shown here, this hypothesis appears to be falsified by the fact that degree of atherosclerosis, and atherosclerotic growth, were independent on the concentration or the change of LDL-cholesterol in almost all studies. The role of LDL-cholesterol for atherosclerosis growth has been exaggerated, a finding with consequences for the prevention of cardiovascular disease. For instance, as the statins exert their beneficial influence on the cardiovascular system by several mechanisms, it may be wiser to search for the lowest effective dose instead of the dose with maximal effect on LDL-cholesterol. Neither should an elevated LDL-cholesterol be the primary target in cardiovascular prevention, as recently claimed by the American National Cholesterol Education Program, and researchers should direct more attention to other hypotheses.
I may have overlooked studies that have found an association between changes of LDL-cholesterol or other lipid fractions, and atherosclerotic progression. However, although the presence of exposure-response is not sufficient proof in itself of causality, it is difficult to explain its absence."
The MORTALITY FACTOR
Here is a little revealed fact between cholesterol and mortality. This is from a somewhat large Korean men's study. The men were divided into three groups by cholesterol levels. Below 160, middle, and over 250. They were followed for eight years. Can you guess which group had the lowest mortality (death) rate? If you guessed the lower group, you would be wrong. They actually had the highest all cause death rate. Remember low cholesterol suppresses immunity. The over 250 level group was next, yes mostly from cardiovascular deaths. The middle group, especially from 211 to 250, had the lowest overall mortality rate. It appears cancers and other diseases may be increased at low cholesterol levels. Have you heard this before? I read this over twenty years ago. Scientists know this fact. The cholesterol lowering drug manufacturers know this fact. You may be the last to discover this scenario. ref ref ref
Why is this significant today? Since 1972, thirty five years ago, the cardiovascular disease (CVD) rate in men has been slowly decreasing. While generally, cancers have been maintaining even though the death rates from the top four cancers have been dropping; lung, colon, breast, and prostate. The reduction in the number of male smokers is largely responsible for the lung cancer rate lowering while earlier diagnosis and better treatments are responsible for the others. The CVD rate lowering trend started long before the cholesterol lowering statin drugs were introduced in 1987. Food for Thought! The very latest statin research is shifting the focus of statins from lowering cholesterol to lowering the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein.
NOTE: There is a small contributing low cholesterol factor from a sudden drop in cholesterol near the end of life in some diseased conditions. It is interesting to note that people whose cholesterol drops are the ones showing the highest (30%) increase in mortality, not the individuals with long term naturally low cholesterol. ref ref
See Hearts of Fire for the rest of the story.
Q What is the best multiple vitamin
supplement for me to take? Aug 2006
Standing in front of a multi-vitamin section can be quite bewildering. Your choices are very similar to buying a car. If you have a family, a two-seater sports car might not be appropriate unless you always plan to leave the kids at home. As tempting as this may sometimes appear, it isn't practical. So, the question should be, which supplement is most appropriate for my hereditary genes (body type and size, family health history, and nerve disposition), diet, and lifestyle (occupation, living environment, and activity level)? It you live up North, your needs for the sunshine vitamin D would be greater. Now, this brings up another question. Where would you go to find someone to evaluate this information and translate it into an appropriate supplement? Then, how would you know which supplement brands to buy?
I searched for the last five years to find just such a place or person. If you have money to burn, perhaps there are two or three different places you could eventually find this out. Without some basic knowledge, you could still fall prey to biased information. Many books and websites that offer a somewhat similar approach really just want to sell you their vitamins.
Many "professional or authoritarian" vitamin voices often end up endorsing vitamins. Dr Andrew Weil recently put his name on a line of vitamins; an analysis is presented here. This lack of available, reasonable, and unbiased truthful information is the driving force behind the development of RightWay Vitamins. From this website you will learn enough facts to begin questioning and evaluating the information presented on other sites or vitamin flyers.
So, the answer to your question will be found throughout the pages of the website. Reading Before You Take... another vitamin will help narrow your choices. This will be an ongoing endeavor. Eventually, a short survey questionnaire will be developed to help with the hereditary gene evaluation. Articles will delve into the lifestyle and diet factors. Company comparisons and label evaluations will help gather the quality brand information.
Until that information becomes available, here is one multiple that fits many of the new Vitamin Criteria: KAL's Enhanced Energy-S Multiple, No Iron (fast acting tablets). While the label is for 5 a day, taking just one (or two) in morning and one with dinner should suffice. An evaluation of this formula will be presented soon. Remember, you add the amount of supplemented nutrients to the amounts from foods to get your daily totals.
Sorry, but a shorter answer at this time may be counter-productive to your health. Remember this phase: Biological Individuality.
VALUABLE LINK: For taking vitamins, here is a must read website click here that is simply written in a delightfully educational style by a clinical nutritionist. Yes, there are a few gaps from current research that have not been updated into this site yet, but on the whole, this is one of the best I have found (October 5, 2006). BUT this site does recommend a brand of vitamins that fails many of the new vitamin criteria. Synthetic beta carotene and a bone formula that contains ipriflavone (while it does increase bone density, a small study showed that it lowers immunity that might not be wise.) Be sure to check out the nutrition 101 section, and also under the FOCUS tab go to blood pressure, cholesterol, and osteoporosis. The STRESS and COPING part of the site ring bells. So valuable and true. The few errors on this linked site you will find corrected in various articles here at RightWay Vitamins, empowering healthy choices.
Q What in your opinion is the best weight loss
diet? July 2006
Generally, I do not like weight loss diets at all. As you know, over 95% of people on diets establish a yo-yo pattern of loss and gain back. Here are three of the primary reasons this is so hard on the body. First, weight loss comes from both muscle and fat unless you are exercising. When the weight comes back, usually only fat is added. This muscle loss puts added stress on the now smaller heart muscle to pump blood throughout the again larger body. Second, restricted calorie diets usually result in fewer nutrients supplied than needed since lower nutrient density foods are often chosen. The value of weight watchers or other diet programs should be in recommending high nutrient, low calorie foods. Unfortunately, they seem to concentrate on sugar free low calorie foods without much thought to high nutrient or high fiber foods. Some progress is being made in this area. And third, restricted calorie diets cause the body to shut down the metabolism rate and more of the limited calories get saved as fat. This is of course counter-productive as well.
One more thing about dieting, the fist 8 to 10 pounds of any weight loss calorie reduced diet is only water loss. The body uses water to hold calories and once they are burned, the holding water is eliminated. This is a false weight loss. Diet programs use this first week water loss as a hook to get you excited and into their programs. As soon as the calories are added back, the water and weight return.
OF CRITICAL IMPORTANCE: Any weight loss program that does not address increased exercise is not worth your time. Heart muscle and bone are too important to shrink. A healthy diet and active lifestyle will normalize your weight over time.
TIP: When exercising to reduce weight, taking vitamin C helps increase fat burning by 25% and reduces fatigue. Ref
Q Trans-fats are now listed on food labels.
Just what are they and why are the new
recommendations to limit their consumption? June 2006
The simple answer is that trans fats are polyunsaturated fats like corn oil that are altered to become more saturated, or solid at room temperature. This makes them easier to use in bakery products. A small amount of trans fat does naturally exist. Unfortunately, one of the functions of polyunsaturated fats, which is to take up positions in cell membranes, is hindered when trans fats take these positions instead. The trans fats do not perform the same functions as polyunsaturated fats and they have a different shape. This decreases an important aspect of cell membranes which is to remain fluid and flexible. The health of the cell suffers. ref ref Notice the date (1990) they found out that trans fats were not better than saturated fats for cholesterol levels.
A recent British study found that the cells of breast cancer patients contained higher amounts of trans fats. One reason promoted for using trans fats, to lower the cardiovascular disease risk, has now been found to not be valid. While vegetable oils with trans fats do lower total cholesterol, they also lower the "good" HDL, so the net effect is actually a greater increase in risk than using butter. Trans fats have been linked to both cardiovascular disease and cancers. Research is also looking at other diseases such as Alzheimer's.
SIDEBAR: It is true that cardiovascular disease peaked in men around 1972 and has been slowly decreasing. So, something changed just before then to account for this change. It may have been lowering cholesterol, saturated fats, or other dietary changes coupled with more exercise. This will take more research to figure out. Even though the heart attack rate in men has been going down, it is still the number one cause of death and, unfortunately, the rate has been increasing in women.
To help picture the function of fats, imagine a wall around a castle. This wall lets the needed goods and services enter and exit while keeping out the unwelcome entities, such as foreign invaders. As trans fats crowd out the healthy polyunsaturated fats, it is just like an accident closing lanes on a freeway at rush hour. This is especially damaging to communication between brain cells.
Additionally, GOOD FATS are a great source of energy and body temperature regulation and supply the building blocks for hormones. They are vital to our well being. Yes, this includes cholesterol, too. Trans fats do not perform these functions. ref (Scroll down to trans fat section)
Factual Intrigue: The death rate is higher in people with low cholesterol than with high. ref
Q If you had to pick just one study to show the
connection between diet and health, which would it
be? April 2006
The Adventist Mortality Study of 1958 (30 year follow up) or along these same lines, the Adventist Health Study of 1974. Loma Linda University conducted these studies to prove the health beliefs of their church had substance. ref The Seventh-day Adventists represent a rather large group of similar lifestyle and dietary practices that could be compared to a similar American Cancer Society study of the general population. "Overall cancer mortality, comparing Adventists to their American Cancer Society counterparts, was 60 percent for Adventist men and 76 percent for Adventist women."
The diet of the Adventists included more fiber from vegetables and fruits, more whole grain breads, less meat, fowl, and fish, and more nuts. Obviously, more non-smokers, and 40% more exercising. The patterns did not deviate from the general population, just much greater reductions in risk of diseases. Strict vegetarians showed improvement in every disease of study concern. The gender differences are significant to note.
Q I saw an article recommending L-carnitine
for weight loss. Does it work? Sept 2006
This is a great question to show how theory and function do not always go hand in hand. The function of L-carnitine is to carry fats into the body's cellular energy plants to be burned as fuel. This should mean that it would help reduce fat levels by not letting as much become stored fat. Unfortunately, studies do not show a benefit to obese women from L-carnitine usage. ref It appears the body may have a limiting control on how much L-carnitine it produces or allows into muscles where it functions and any excess is not used. Some studies are showing at many grams an increase in muscle levels, especially after exercise. It could be that taking L-carnitine and exercising might help reduce fat but not necessarily weight from the small muscle gain exercise could induce.
Also, healthy athletes show very little performance benefits from L-carnitine as the theory predicts. Many articles are written on the theory as if they are indeed body facts. One possibility is that healthy athletes might not show enough improvement to be termed significant. ref Does this mean that L-carnitine doesn't have value? Far from it. When it is low, or during disease states, supplementing shows immense value, especially in muscle wasting conditions where it is an accepted medical protocol. Since the heart is a large user of fats for fuel, cardiovascular conditions might be improved by L-carnitine usage.
Perhaps the form of carnitine can make a difference. The highly researched propionyl L-carnitine form has been used in medicine and is protected by a patent and only available by prescription. The health industry attached glycine to it which has made this form now available over the counter. While performance and fat loss aspects are awaiting further study, one new application has been found for reducing a cancer marker, malondialdehyde (MDA). This marker is showing up in cancers of breast, colon, and prostate. Cancer research is looking into finding the relation between MDA and damage to cellular DNA, the coding information for proper cell division.
Diet factors that also reduce this marker are legumes, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while meat, beer, and high total fat can increase. ref Propionyl L-carnitine must influence the oxidation of fats in order to reduce MDA which is formed by lipid (fat) peroxidation. Antioxidants like vitamin E work in this area too. A new form of L-carnitine called GPLC for Glycine Propionyl L-Carnitine might also offer improved benefits from the additional attached Glycine. Dr Richard Bloomer is working on research right now and is showing among other results, a reduction of MDA levels.
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Currently, age-related macular degeneration is one of the most common eye diseases causing severe and permanent loss of vision. This disease is estimated to affect approximately 300-500 thousand Hungarians. While earlier no treatment was available, in the recent decade an antioxidant therapy became very popular using combinations of high dosage antioxidant vitamins C, E, beta carotene and zinc. Based on theoretical concepts and mostly in vitro experiences, this combination was thought to be effective through neutralizing reactive oxygen species. According to a large clinical trial (AREDS) it reduced progression of intermediate state disease to advanced state, but did not influence early disease. This original combination, due to potential severe side effects, is not on the market anymore ( Too much zinc at 80 mg.). However, the efficacy of modified formulas has not been proved yet(ADREDS2 ongoing now) Recently, the metabolic therapy, a combination of omega-3 fatty acids, coenzyme Q10 and acetyl-L-carnitine has been introduced for treating early age-related macular degeneration through improving mitochondrial dysfunction, specifically improving lipid metabolism and ATP production in the retinal pigment epithelium, improving photoreceptor turnover and reducing generation of reactive oxygen species. According to a pilot study and a randomized, placebo-controlled, double blind clinical trial, both central visual field and visual acuity slightly improved after 3-6 months of treatment and they remained unchanged by the end of the study. The difference was statistically significant as compared to the base line or to controls. These functional changes were accompanied by an improvement in fundus alterations: drusen covered area decreased significantly as compared to the base line or to control. Characteristically, all these changes were more marked in less affected eyes. A prospective case study on long-term treatment confirmed these observations. With an exception that after slight improvement, visual functions remained stable, drusen regression continued for years. Sometimes significant regression of drusen was found even in intermediate and advanced cases. All these findings strongly suggested that the metabolic therapy may be the first choice for treating age-related macular degeneration. Currently, this is the only combination of ingredients corresponding to the recommended daily allowance, and at the same time, which showed clinically proved efficacy.
PMID: 18039616 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]