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October 2011 Vitamin Supplements increase MORTALITY

An analysis from the Iowa's Womens Health Study showed certain vitamins and minerals (folic acid, vitamin B6, iron, magnesium, zinc, copper) increased mortality by 2.3 to 15% over 20 years, with multiple vitamin users increasing 2.4%. ref

Another report from a follow up of the SELECT study testing vitamin E and selenium on prostate health said that even on follow up after the vitamin E users stopped taking vitamin E, their prostate cancer risk was still elevated.

One needs to, of course, put things in perspective. NOT mentioned in the Iowa's study was that motrality was reduced by some of the other nutrients in multiples not listed in these studies. Lots of number juggling here to arrive at these conclusions as well. There are far too many positive studies of supplements that prove the opposite. One study mentioned above used a less that reliable scientific method of just having people report what supplements they took and this recall without any given specifics was then used to link with mortality rates. The mortality (death) causes are necessary to know to establish a plausible link to vitamin actions. 

Back to these studies, no explanations could be offered by the study authors as to the mechanisms driving these findings. If you have already read the Vitamin Criteria on this website, you would have some of the knowledge that will most likely be the future findings of scientific research. These include NO IRON, unless anemic and under MD's care, prevents free radical negative oxidizing effects of iron. Limit Folic acid to 200 mcg for Seniors since folic acid could increase tumor growth rates, and high folic with low B12 also has contra-indications in Seniors for dementia and anemia. Obviously there are some exceptions due to genetics, lifestyle, and environmental influences. Then there is higher vitamin E acting as a blood thinner linking with strokes.

The Women's study has at least 2 assumptions that need to be examined. Remember the Women's results are just associations and not cause and effects. First, the causes of death need to be mentioned to see if there is a possibility of a vitamin or mineral connection. At the Start of the study only about 60% of women took one supplement, while at the end it was 85%. Did they start taking vitamins after a health condition developed? This alone could be responsible for a significant part of the results. 

Next, it is important to know what vitamins and the dosages and forms they took to gain insight to increase future safety. This website's precautionary principles for vitamin supplement consumption could prevent or significantly reduce most of these known vitamin adverse effects, even though the scientific community doesn't officially recognize them yet. There are certain beneficial windows of dosages as well as forms that are involved.

December 2010 Vitamin mineral supplements on Breast Cancer Risk

A very interesting finding discovered that multiple vitamins without minerals did not show the same lowered breast cancer benefit as multiple vitamins with minerals. One might rush to believe that it is minerals and not vitamins that lowers risk, but a more scientific protocol would arrive at the following deductions:

  • Only Minerals are deficient and not Vitamins (not supported by statistics)
  • Deficiencies in vitamins need minerals in order to function in enzyme systems (true for many enzymes)
  • There are deficiencies in both vitamins and minerals that might affect risk (most likely true)
  • Anti-oxidant functions of vitamins to neutralize radicals may not be the only or most important factor
  • Added vitamins may increase anti-oxidant properties too much unless minerals are included for balancing processes
  • Mineral balance could be a factor especially in anti-inflammatory and natural cell death pathways
  • There are many different processes that affect breast cancer risk and both vitamins and minerals are needed for effectiveness 


November 2010  Selenium, Diabetes, & Heart disease

Two recent studies reveal a very important concept used in the development of this new Vitamin Criteria. First, a report out of the SELECT study found that men taking 200 mcg of selenium slightly increased their rick for diabetes. And second, people measuring higher blood plasma levels of selenium from foods and supplements had lower levels of some of the markers for heart disease. Studies coming soon. 

July 2010   How
Vitamin C stops Cancer?

New findings (2007) from researcher Chi Dang, M.D., Ph.D, at the John Hopkins Cancer Center have revealed the method of action for Vitamin C stopping cancer cells. Scientists have long held the belief that it was the antioxidant inhibitory action of neutralizing oxygen free radicals before they cause cellular DNA damage that was responsible for vitamin C's anticancer action.

Because tumors grow so fast, they use up all the available respiratory (from oxygen) energy in the area. To continue their rapid growth, they need a different source of energy. Sugar fermentation becomes this new energy provider. In order for this process to develop, a protein, called NIF-1, hypoxia-induced factor, built in cells is needed so that these cells can continue functioning under low oxygen conditions. Vitamin C inhibits the building of NIF-1. Thus, the energy source is cut off and the tumor growth rate slows possibly giving more time for conventional therapies to work.

NIF-1 production needs free radical actions. Vitamin C, by reducing free radical generation, slows down the productrion of NIF-1. Doctor Dang discovered this process because he could not find DNA damage to explain how Vitamin C was stopping cancer.

Research now needs to find the dosage of vitamin C to maximize this effect. It might vary due to the degree of affected tissues, the cancer stage, and /or the type of cancer.

Below is a copy of study from Cellular Metabolism showing similar actions:

"While the discovery is a fundamental one, the researchers say it could point to new ways to tackle diseases, including cancer and cardiovascular disease.

"The Pasteur effect is really best defined as the way by which cells adapt to low oxygen concentrations," said Joseph Loscalzo of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Cells do that by switching from mitochondrial metabolism to glycolysis.

Normally, cells produce high-energy molecules such as ATP through components known as mitochondria, he explained. Loscalzo likens mitochondria to little factories that churn out ATP under normal oxygen conditions. If mitochondria continue to operate when oxygen becomes limited, they do so inefficiently, he said, spewing out toxic derivatives of oxygen (including superoxide and hydrogen peroxide) in the process.

"When cells encounter that situation, they need to direct their energy program from one with mitochondria to one that uses less oxygen," Loscalzo continued. That secondary program, called glycolysis, doesn't produce as much cellular fuel, but it does so without toxic byproducts.

In the new study, the researchers first went in search of microRNA that rise when cells become hypoxic, meaning that they are deprived of sufficient oxygen. That screen done in many types of cells landed them miR-210 as a key player. Using several methods, they were able to predict that miR-210 would influence activity of iron-sulfur cluster assembly proteins (ISCU1/2). Those proteins act as scaffolds that assist in the assembly of iron-sulfur clusters, important ingredients for mitochondria to function.

The team shows that miR-210 does in fact directly target ISCU1/2, which disrupts the integrity of iron-sulfur clusters. As a result, mitochondrial respiration and associated functions get shut down.

The basic findings may have clinical implications, Loscalzo said, noting that scientists have devised increasingly interesting ways to selectively inhibit microRNAs. For instance, cancer cells typically operate under Pasteur effect conditions (a phenomenon known as the Warburg effect.) The ability allows tumors to grow even when they outstrip their blood supplies and prevents the generation of toxic oxygen derivatives within them.

You could imagine that treatments designed to block miR-210 might hobble tumors by manipulating their usual metabolic profile, Loscalzo said. In other settings, you may want to increase miR-210, he added. Such a therapy may have potential in patients with blocked coronary arteries, for instance.

"The transition of heart muscle to miR-210-dependent glycolysis might be enhanced by administering [the miRNA]," he said. By helping that transition along, physicians might be able to help minimize the production of toxic byproducts by mitochondria in their patients, and ultimately preserve more heart tissue, Loscalzo adds.

The researchers include Stephen Y. Chan, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; Ying-Yi Zhang, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; Craig Hemann, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH; Christopher E. Mahoney, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; Jay L. Zweier, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH; and Joseph Loscalzo, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA."

December 2010 Another viewpoint: Vitamin C protecting cancer cells

The Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University has some informative articles on Vitamin C and cancer. Some studies show that vitamin C might increase in some cancer cells and protect them from immune forces or drugs working to destroy them. Another that vitamin C does not cause cancer.
You can just go to lpi.oregonstate.edu and look through news and research newsletter archives of past issue topics for all the vitamin C articles to find these. ref  
ref

December 2009       IGF-1, friend or foe?

IGF-1, for Insuin-like Growth Factor, is a necessary protein needed for proper growth during youth and for anabolic pathways in adults. Most IGF-1 is produced in the body but diet can add extra, especially high in milk from cows treated with rBGH, the extra milk stimulating hormone. 

Researchers at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, reported that they have found a way to slow down Alzheimer's dementia in mice that paves the way for human trials. The drug slows down the IGF-1 pathway. 

The researchers proposed a new theory that the observed increase in beta-amyloid plaque in brain cells is not the casuse of dementia but merely an attempt by the body to seal off toxic proteins. And that testing people living to 100 years and still mentally sharp revealed that they exhibited a mutated IGF-1 pathway that lessens the influence of IGF-1. One pathway for IGF-1 is to increase the growth rate of tumors. Which pathway an element in the body takes is often controlled by circumstances and related nutrient levels. 

It appears IGF-1 can be both friend or foe. Lower protein and lower calorie diets tend to be lower in IGF-1. In the animal studies, lowering IGF-1 pathways increased the life span of mice.

IGF-1 is linked to insulin since it has a similar molecular shape. Could the influence of high insulin levels from loads of sugar have similar results on dementia?

October 2009

Coming soon: TMP, how much influence on CVD?

September 2009     LL-37, Friend and Foe?

While you probably have not heard of peptide LL-37 yet, it plays a really important role in our immune protection system. It is responsible for the destruction of infectious agents like bacteria and viruses that cause periodontal disease to swine flu. Produced by the action of vitamin D on cell receptors, it is stored in white blood cells called neutrophils in an inactive form until it is called into action to fight invading bacteria and viruses, like the N1H1. Yes, vitamin D is needed for building immune defenses. Why does the flu die out in summer?

Inflammation plays a large part in infectious diseases and LL-37 helps control the proinflammatory casade created by body messengers called cytokines. Inflammation is a necessary step in the healing process, such as at injury sites. This should be a limited response. When this inflammatory creation continues for a long time or occurs without infections being present, degenerative or autoimmune conditions may arise. 

How LL-37 can appear to have two faces is puzzling to scientists and reveals how little they actually understand about what makes the body tick. The antioxidant story is very similar. Here, free radicals naturally generated by body processes need to be neutralized by antioxidants before the radicals can harm cells. But, the body uses some of these radicals to perform necessary vital body functions. Thus, it is critical not to upset the antioxdiant /radical ratio balance since too many antioxidants could destroy the positive radicals before they have performed their necessary functions. 

LL37 peptide provides a new potential target for autoimmune disease

17. September 2007 06:39

"A human peptide that acts as a natural antibiotic against invading microbes can also bind to the body's own DNA and trigger an immune response in the absence of an infection, a research team led by scientists at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center reports in an early online publication in Nature.

“This combination of the peptide and self-DNA activates the same immune response pathway as a virus does,” says senior author Michel Gilliet, M.D., assistant professor in M. D. Anderson's Departments of Immunology and Melanoma Medical Oncology.

Researchers believe this response is both a likely key driver of autoimmune disease and an integral part of an early warning system that flags tissue damage to launch a protective inflammatory response to injury.

“We show that this pathway may drive autoimmunity in psoriasis, a chronic inflammatory skin disease,” Gilliet says. But the key peptide, called both LL37 and CAMP, is also heavily expressed in other autoimmune diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

LL37 provides a new potential target to block in the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases and a possible component for vaccines against infectious diseases and cancers, the authors note.

The team tracked down this new pathway by studying the activation of important immune defense cells in psoriasis. Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) are highly specialized to recognize viral and other microbial infections. They engulf a virus and set off an immune system cascade to fight the infection by producing interferons.

Gilliet and colleagues previously showed that pDC activation in psoriatic skin drives the development of human psoriasis

“These dendritic cells normally do not respond to self-DNA,” Gilliet explains. This unresponsiveness prevents the cells from launching an attack on the body's own tissue. However, researchers had accumulated evidence of a connection between skin damage with release of self-DNA and pDC activation in psoriatic skin leading to disease formation. They lacked a molecular mechanism connecting these factors.

In a series of lab experiments, they identified LL37 as the key ingredient in psoriatic tissue that activates the dendritic cells. The peptide is a member of a family of antimicrobial peptides long known to defend against infection through their ability to directly destroy bacteria and viruses.

The team then demonstrated that LL37 activates the dendritic cells by binding to the self-DNA to form a structure that allows it into the dendritic cells, as if it were an invading microbe.

The complex is taken up inside a walled-off chamber in the pDCs called an endosome, where it connects to a sensitive internal receptor that launches production of interferon-alpha, setting off the immune response.

“We think LL37's normal job is to alert the immune system to tissue damage and stimulate a temporary inflammatory response that enhances resistance to infection and initiates wound healing,” Gilliet says.

“When tissue is injured, cells are destroyed and they spill DNA into the areas surrounding the cells. LL37, released by epithelial cells, binds this extracellular DNA, which is then taken up by the pDCs to launch the protective inflammatory immune response,” Gilliet says.

But in the case of autoimmune disease, LL-37 remains persistently produced, well beyond the temporary jolt needed to dampen infection and promote healing.

Gilliet says follow-up research to better understand the pathway and to exploit it to treat autoimmune disease and cancer is under way.---"

NOTE: LL37 is built from a vitamin D activation process. Are any professionals looking at this metabolic pathway's influence at different levels of vitamin D supplementation? Luckily, LL37 body levels are NOT related to passive vitamin D levels. Almost all patients with certain immune response bacterial or viral diseases show elevated LL37 and lower passive D levels. The active hormone Vitamin D is probably related to LL37 levels. You will soon learn that passive D levels and active hormone D levels are NOT always directly correlated. Why this beneficial LL37 effect turns adverse and ends up promoting chronic autoimmune conditions is the question researchers are now looking to discover?  Is this another piece of the pro-inflammatory response of the American diet in generating chronic degenerative conditions. 

August 2009   Folic Acid overflow

Hot off the press: "unmetabolised" folic acid shows up in newborns. Mothers who did not take supplemenetal folic acid but just consumed fortified wheat flour items such as bread and breakfast cereals passed on this "unmetabolised" folic acid to their newborn infants. This "unmetabolised" folic acid was not supposed to happen at these lower consumption levels. The liver usually processes the "unmetabolised" synthetic folic acid into the natural form folate up to about 600 mcg. One servings of fortified wheat flour contains 140 mcg. of "unmetabolised" folic acid. If the mothers were consuming more than 4 servings (560 mcg.) this could explain it. Or, it might be that the fetuses were able to absorb the "unmetabolised" before the Mother's liver converted it. While the long term effects are not known, studies have shown that "unmetabolised" folic acid supresses natural killer cell immunity actions. Watch for more news soon.

June 2009   Nanotechnology?

Very soon, if not already, you will see nano vitamins enter the marketplace. Simply, this term means very, very small particle sizes. While this increases absorption, there remain questions as to how these particle sizes behave once inside the body. Nanotechnology has delivered drugs to previously unavailable areas. The drug industry is excited about the opportunities this may present. But, this new nano technology could have unknown consequences. Absorption is not the only aspect to consider.

Areas of concern include immune suppression, inflammatory response, and allergic reactions in certain subsets of sensitive individuals. What would be the effect of nutrients entering into areas usually off-limits? The FDA and other government agencies have not developed technologies to test or even monitor for any possible consequences. The prudent approach at this time is to wait for research to catch up with technology.

By way of examples for reduced sizes, although no where near the nano size reductions, here are two examples to consider. First, dietary factors can influence the size of LDL cholesterol particles produced by the body. Egg yolk cholesterol makes large LDL particles while trans-fats make small size particles. It is the small size LDL that create problems in artery walls.

Next, to prevent the separation of cream in milk, the milk is homogenized to reduce the size of fat particles. The milk is put through a small size screen under very high pressure which reduces the fat particle size 15 times. The small fat particles do not stay quite this small by taking in proteins which protects the proteins from the normal digestive process. Unfortunately, improperly digested proteins can lead to adverse reactions such as allergies once inside the body.

Smaller with better absorption may not always be better or even wise until research proves benefits without harm.  

May 2009   Parasympathetic Vibrations

A recent conversation wtih a health store customer opened up a whole new avenue of 21th Century disease possibilities.  This one is called parasympathetic internal vibrations. The condition creates a general sensation that the body is vibrating.  

The autonomic, not directly under our control,  nervous system has two parts. The sympathetic or action side and the parasympathetic or calming and restoration side. Balance between the two is vital for a healthy body. Has any health care professional ever mentioned this? This is widely discussed in Eastern medicine while in Western medicine it gets little attention. 

A quick survey surprisingly found many references on this condition. Since the nervous system generates electromagnetic fields similar to those needed to run wireless phones, computer systems, and numerous other appliances,  a question arises as to the possibility that these extra fields might influence body functions.

Scientists have looked to see if these fields ae associated with major diseases such as tumors from DNA damage without finding any obvious connections. But smaller, more subtle conditions might be harder to detect. If nervous system disorders are increasing parallel to the poliferation of wireless computer systems and cell phone towers, a caution flag should be raised and more research is needed. 

So far, for now, it is just a possibility. Perhaps these extra fields mgiht act as a trigger that needs to be coupled with say a mineral or vitamin deficiney to create detrimental effects, or with maybe a certain gene pattern.  Vitamin C has quieted these vibrations in some people. Neurologists have had success giving Paxil, an anti-depression drug that blocks the re-uptake of seratonin, a brain neurotransmitter, or messenger. The exact cause still remains a mystery.

Return for a more thorough research report soon on this novel topic and the nutrients that could play a role. Is the glucose / insulin resistence process involved? 

January 2009   Links to Memory Decline  

In the December 23 Annals of Neurology, researchers have finally found one of the causes of cognitive decline. They have known that changes to the hippocampus were observed in Alzheimer's Disease. The scientists compared the differences between stroke and diabetes damage to the hippocampus, involved in memory function, and discovered different areas were effected. Using MRI's, they found that blood glucose or blood sugar levels contributed to the damaged area (dentate gynus) in diabetes and confirmed this in animal studies.

Thus, the elevation of blood sugar as one ages is at least partly responsible for memory decline. Exercise helps the body control blood sugar levels and is known to slow down memory lapses. Diet also helps the body more efficiently deal with sugar metabolism. First and foremost would be to simply reduce simple sugars and refined carbohydrates which rapidly spike blood glucose levels.  ref                                                                                    

December 2008   Longevity and IGF-1

This quote from a recent study on longevity and IGF-1:

"...our data provide evidence that protein intake is a key determinant of circulating IGF-1 levels in humans, and suggest that reduced protein intake may become an important component of anticancer and anti-aging dietary interventions."

This topic will be detailed more in some of the articles on this website. Interestingly, the use of the hormone to stimulate more milk from cows increases the IGF-1 LEVELS. Animal proteins with soy protein are mostly responible for dietary sources of IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1).  ref

November 2008 Vitamin D and Prostate Cancer

Early research looking at vitamin D blood levels and prostate cancer has found some inconsistencies, although most were favorable. The following study reference makes the case for no association with a slight increase observed for aggressive cancers at high vitamin D levels. But this did not reach a significant affect. ref  It is looking like low levels are not healthy but too much may have some unwanted side effects too. Almost all cells have vitamin D receptors and are influenced by it. ref This reference has the history of vitamin D research which gives more validity than just the one study mentioned above.

High calcium shows adverse links to prostate health and could be related to the fact that high calcium turns off vitamin D activity. (There is new speculation that it may be the phosphate in dairy that is actually responsible for the adverse effects on prostate and not the calcium since calcium supplements quite often without any phosphate do not show the calcium prostate link. Nov 2010) Also, Scientist are now looking into how they could target cancer cells to uptake more calcium after they discovered that calcium participates in the natural cell death process. The trick to make this work is to find a way to just get cancer cells to take in extra calcium and not touch normal cells.

Sideline on Prostate Cancer Research   

While on the subject of Prostate cancer, the SELECT study looking into the effects of vitamin E (400 iu as dl-alpha tocopherol) and selenium (200 mcg) was halted early due to a lack of showing any benefit with a slight chance of some negative developments. A few more people developed cancer in the vitamin E group, and in the selenium group, there was a sight elevation of diabetes. Even though the official results are that vitamin E and selenium didn't protect against cancer, an explanation of the slight negative observations is warranted.

For prostate tissue protection, cells have both gamma tocopherol (part of vitamin E family that cannot be called vitamin E) and alpha tocopherol (vitamin E) in cell membranes to guard against free radical damage. But when supplementing high amounts of just alpha tocopherol, it displaces gamma out of these membranes and this leaves the cells unprotected against the type of free radical that only gamma attacks and destroys.

For selenium, which functions as an anti-oxidant, it appears that the body uses some free radicals which are destroyed by selenium containing compounds to facilitate positive body processes. In this case, it uses a free radical to switch on an insulin uptake function in cells. Insulin takes glucose into cells. When insulin doesn't do this function, diabetes with high blood sugar results. The supplemented selenium amounts in this study added to the dietary level from food may have proved to be slightly too high for some people. And at this level, acted to destroy the radicals before they could finish switching on insulin uptake. ref   ref  Indeed, statistics from this study showed that those with the highest beginning baseline level of selenium were the ones exhibiting this slightly higher diabetes rate. Now, if you are supplementing selenium, did you know your plasma beginning level? This is one reason for the lower recommended level in this vitamin criteria.

October 2008   Animal Food Source Allergens 

Neu5Ac or Neu5Gc. Is this the missing link that sets humans apart from other mammals?  These letters and number represent sialic acid, a monosaccharide, that may have profound significance in disease conditions. Humans only build Neu5Ac and all the other mammals also build Neu5Gc. Evidently humans may have lost an enzyme necessary to make Neu5Gc from Neu5Ac. Sometime long ago this change may have protected humans from some disease or environmental situation. 

Now, the problem that can develop from this difference is that when humans eat other mammal parts, such as meat or milk, they ingest some of this now foreign sialic acid. How the human body responds is a potential cause for concern. The Neu5Gc from animals is looked upon as a foreign invader and the immune system attacks it. This sets up chronic inflammation which can precitate disease states after a period of time. While small amounts are found throughout the body, the Neu5Gc tends to attach at higher amounts in tumors.

This is very new science and will require alot more research to verify before any speculations should be made. But, it does give fuel to the fire by offering an explanation for quite a few of the observed associations between meat, dairy, and disease. Ongoing research will give more insight over time. It is entirely possible that another issue may also need to be manifested before this immune attack leads to any disease.  ref ref

July 2008    Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth

SIBO. Put this in an internet search box and see what comes up. This topic is currently under research. Digestive health is big business. Check out drugstore shelves. This should shock you if you take antacids. Return soon for analysis.

April 2008       Vitamins are Killers?

The Cochrane Library - Report on Antioxidant Supplements Increasing Mortality

This report was a review of selected research studies from the past. Only studies that recorded deaths during or on follow up after the research were included. The analysis showed that there was a slight increase in deaths in the groups of mostly diseased people taking antioxidants (vitamins A, beta carotene, E, C, and the mineral selenium). There were no differences in healthy people, and vitamin C and selenium did not exhibit any negative responses. If all nutrients were taken together there were no differencs, but if taken in high dosages and by themselves, a rather significant increase in mortality surfaced.

Here are some points expressed by the authors as to possible explanations:

 "There are several possible explanations for the potential negative effect of antioxidant supplements. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) in moderate concentrations are essential mediators by which the body gets rid of unwanted cells. Thus, if administration of antioxidant supplements decreases free radicals, it may interfere with essential defensive mechanisms for ridding the organism of damaged cells, including those that are precancerous and cancerous (12). Thus, antioxidant supplements may actually cause some harm (711,13). Our diets typically contain safe levels of vitamins, but high-level antioxidant supplements could potentially upset an important physiologic balance (711,13).

The amounts of antioxidants that may afford protection are not known and may differ among individuals. People exposed to increased oxidative stress may have elevated antioxidant requirements. Furthermore, antioxidants could be beneficial in people with innate or acquired high baseline levels of reactive oxygen species but be harmful in people with lower innate levels (12). It is important to keep in mind that antioxidant supplements are synthetic  and possess prooxidant properties as well (14). These factors could explain a possible increase in the risk of cancer (8,9,13) and cardiovascular diseases (7). Meta-analyses of randomized clinical trials have not shown that antioxidant supplements reduce cancer incidence (8,9,13,15)."

The important points to consider here include the following:

Rightway's analysis:

  1. When criteria to pick studies is so restrictive that up to 80% are eliminated, the potential for bias is increased.
  2. Many of the studies used isolated synthetic forms of the vitamins, or if natural, they did not include any other related family members.
  3. The wrong vitamin forms or family members may have been studied.      
  4. As dosages increased, so did the death rates. The dosages used in some of the studies were many times higher than those found in over the counter supplements.

THESE DEDUCTIONS ARE ALSO POSSIBILITIES                                            

  1. Vitamins may have more preventative influence rather than any curative power. 
  2. Scientific knowledge may have gaps as to the exact relationships and balance of vitamins and minerals needed for body homeostasis.                                             
  3. High dosages of antioxidant isolated vitamins (whether natural or synthetic) may work against certain body defense processes by upsetting synergisms.
  4. Antioxidant vitamins often work synergistically with other nutrients which also need to be present in given amounts.                                                                            
  5. No mention of the cause of deaths are included to see if there is even any possibility that vitamin functions were in some way involved. Thus, this could just be an association and not a cause and effect.

BUT, a logical explanation is still needed to explain these negative findings. The above points offer logical possibilites that need addressing, esprecially since the authors acknowledged two out of them.

A crucial fact to begin searching for answers goes back to the 1970's and the early food only studies showing benefits from consuming higher amounts of antioxidant foods. Since then research studying just solated antioxidant vitamin supplements has not always found the same level of benefits, and in this Cochrane Library report a small negative finding. The above points are central to the themes addressed on this website. (Dosage, form, synergisms, and functions) 

The following reference is quite revealing of two facts. One, antioxidant vitamins do indeed work, and two, high dosages may limiit the effectiveness of cancer treatment drugs. This would help explain why in the studies selected for the Cochrane Library review, a slightly higher death rate was found in those taking antioxidants, especially at higher levels.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/12/991214072746.htm  

SIDEBAR: Vitamins most likely have an effective dosage range where too little or too much are both less than ideal. This concept needs to be further developed especially in light of all the synergisms nutrients exhibit. New vitamin synergisms are still being discovered. You will soon learn that these gaps in vitamin knowledge can have detrimental effects. See folic acid below.

February 2008   Vitamin K, Calcium, and Arteries

Calcium supplements must have vitamin K

"Bollard and colleages reported that intake of supplemental calcium resulted in improved bone strength but that the increased calcium consumption was paralleled by an over 2-fold increase of adverse cardiovascular events." Leon J Schurgers, Senior Scientist University Maastricht, the Netherlands. YOU MUST READ THIS REPORT.   

The mechanisms involved here are three proteins activated by vitamin K. One that inhibits calcification of artery wall cells and another that helps calcium bind to bone cells. Could a deficiency of Vitamin K be a factor in both Osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease? Animal studies show a very direct positive association, while human studies have a few inconsistencies. Vitamin K1 from green leafy foods has a relatively short shelf life in the body while one form of K2 (MK-7), lasts up to 9 times longer, 3 days verses 8 hours. K2 appears to have a stronger action in bone and cardio health than K1. Friendly bacteria in the gut help convert some K1 into K2. A synthetic form of vitamin K2 as MK-4 is used in much higher amounts since it has a very low activity level and is rapidly eliminated from the body in just a few hours. These facts could influence study results.  

http://blogs.webmd.com/integrative-medicine-wellness/2007/11/vitamin-k-keeping-calcium-in-your-bones.html

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/62759.php   Important Tuft's researcher findings on vitamin K status and related conditions. April 2008.

CAUTION: Researchers are examining vitamin K levels in breast cancer since some of the symptoms found with breast cancer are very similar to those of high vitamin K actions. Tumors are associated with a high tendency for blood clots. Vitamin K's involvement in blood clots runs in both directions, activating proteins to both increase coagulation and decrease it. How vitamin K levels affect this balance has yet to be determined. Balance between nutrients such as vitamin E, D, calcium, and K could be critcal to this body system function. HIGH vitamin E supplementation in animal studies interferes with proper vitamin K actions. This might explain some of the negative findings from current research. These concepts need to be verified in the future.  

January 2008   Iodized Salt, a high wire act!

Like so many other nutrients, iodine is proving to be an enigma. Too low and you develop goiter, too high and autoimmune thyroid conditions increase such as Graves' disease. Just as balance is crtical to the life of a high wire performer, balance and proper levels of nutrients are critical to health, especially for some susceptible people.

These facts came to light after the introduction of iodized salt in Switzerland, which had very high levels of goiter before with almost no Graves' disease. Consuming iodized salt dramatically reduced goit conditions, but Graves' disease increased.

What is causing this hyperthyroidism? Is it the form of the iodine used in fortification or the amounts? Is it the combination and overall levels from the many foods sources which either have iodized salt added or just high iodine levels from animal feed sources. Whatever the cause, the result is that some people are getting too much in iodized salt Countries, especially in areas where soils have an abundance. The proper amount is a fine line best determined by measuring how much is excreted in urine. From these high levels, thyroid swelling is observed, but the long term effects are not yet known.

A recent large study in China reached the conclusion that the ideal fortification of salt with iodine should be determined for each territory rather than just using a blanket countrywide average. The amounts in water sources have to be determined for its contribution to overall amounts.  

Yes, high iodine only triggers hyperthyroidism in genetically susceptible individuals. But if you are one, don't you think it is advisable that you know about this connection and that iodine is hiding in many foods. Very few suffering from hyperthyroidism are even tested, and if they are and the doctor says to avoid iodized salt, it is almost impossible to limit overall iodine due to its pervasiveness into so many foods. Food labels do not always tell if the salt used is iodized or not, most is.

It is very difficult not to get enough iodine in the U.S.  But it can happen. Non-iodized salt is sold in stores, and salt intake has reduced by about 65% largely do to the information on hypertension and sodium. 

Now, the question that has to be asked is...How do high iodine levels affect healthy individuals? And what are the percentages of genetically susceptible people in the general population? 

If it is 10%, is it fair to make them suffer for the other 90% not to have to worry about goiter?

SIDEBAR: It should also be pointed out the a few alternative Medical Doctors are experimenting with megadose iodine at 10 to 50 mg. One condition responding to this level being studied is fibrocystic breast disease. The FDA at first declined to OK studies because iodine is a natural element and not a drug. But now the FDA has changed and trials are getting underway to test this theory. 

Iodine has been used in large doses for a very long time. It is a very good antiseptic to put around wounds. At the turn of the century, high dosages were used, and still are in some areas, for treating dermatoses, skin conditions. Iodine compounds were also used to mitigate some syphilis conditions.

One of the most compeling resasons for high dose iodine comes from the Japanese diet which has been determined to yield up to 10 grams of natural iodine from seaweed sources. They don't appear to have higher hyperthyroidism symptoms from this high level, something today's thyroid experts would expect to see. The past breast cancer rate was 1 in 20 when the average iodine intake was twice what it is today, now the rate is 1 in 7. Could iodine levels be a factor? One interesting connection is from the world of bread making. In the past, the dough conditioner contained iodine, today bromated dough conditioners have replaced the iodine. Of note here is that bromide is an antagonist of iodine. 

Try adding some seaweed to your salads. Yes it is higher in sodium, but it has many other inportant and beneficial minerals. 

 

October 2007  (revised April 2008)

Folic Acid - Dual Edged Sword

The 1998 US fortification of white flour with synthetic folic acid has reaped a significant reduction in birth defects. Folic acid is an important supplement for women of child-bearing years. 400 mcg is ample for the majority of women to benefit from this function. 

The body has the ability to convert synthetic folic acid into natural folate in the liver. But it appears there is a rate limiting factor that over about 300 mcg at one time and about 600 mcg per day, the liver spills some of the synthetic form into the blood stream as an "unmetabolized" form. One study showed a reduction in immune killer cell activity for this form. Another reveals that this form could get acted upon by UVA light and participate in cellular DNA breaks.

And, there is another possible dilemma with fortification. Long known as a factor that could hide the neurological symptoms of pernicious anemia from a vitamin B12 deficiency, it now appears that synthetic folic acid may also be a factor in dementia. Seniors with high folic acid and low B12 (the majority of seniors) exhibited greater cognitive decline. If both B12 and folic acid are high they protect against dementia. Not all studies show this association. It also now appears that high folic acid and low B12 increase homocysteine levels.

If this wasn't enough, since folic acid influences DNA synthesis and repair, it might also participate through either too low or too high dosages in stimulating the growth of cancer markers. At just the right levels, folate prevents cancer marker formation. ref Scientists are measuring for DNA breaks in cells by looking for micronucleus formation. Once a person has cancer, high folic acid might accelerate its growth rate. A matter of timing and dosage amounts. Vitamin B12 levels influence this action. More research is needed in this area. A strange increase in colon cancers right after fortification began prompted this association.  ref  Read this report.

***The prudent approach right now appears to be to limit supplementation to no more than 400 mcg, an amount the liver should be able to handle. Better to split it into two doses over the day. Adding a serving or two or fortified foods would mean an extra 140 to 280 mcg, for a daily intake of synthetic folic acid at 540 to 680. Foods of course add some natrual folate to this amount. Studies show a protective influence from high food source levels but not any extra with high supplement levels and possibly a negative one. Some supplementation appears wise but not too much. ref

Many multiples have increased the folic acid level to 800 mcg in view of recent positive cancer suppression and decreasing homocysteine levels to lower cardiovascular risk. This dosage level appears unwise until future research can determine just who is at risk from high synthetic "unmetabolized" folic acid and what to do about it. Early safety studies used a premise that synthetic folic acid was metabolized in the gut which would be able to handle any quanity, but it has now been found that it is only metabolized in the liver. Since the liver is often overworked, it spills "unmetabolized" folic acid into the blood stream. Very little is actually known concerning the long term effects. ref  ref  ref  ref  ref  ref  ref 

http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/cgi/content/full/15/2/189

http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/full/85/1/3

http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/full/80/5/1123

And the most recent: http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/abstract/87/3/517

DO NOT TAKE MULTIPLES WITH 800 MCG OF FOLIC ACID.

September 2007

A connection between selenium and diabetes?

A seven year study just released results that show people taking selenium supplements or consuming selenium foods at high levels developed diabetes at a greater rate. This is significant since quite a few people are taking selenium in hopes of cancer prevention. There may be other factors that are needed to control selenium's effect on insulin resistance. More reserach is needed. The prudent approach may be to limit selenium supplementation amounts if you have a family history of diabetes or are on a high sugar diet with many risk factors. ref  ref This is one issue that is not related to the form of selenium but simply to the fact that selenium increases production level of glutathione peroxidase (GP) and it's action of destroying radicals. It appears that the body uses some of these radicals for necessary glucose functions before they are destroyed, but with higher GP amounts, the radicals are destroyed too quickly. ref  Author's Note: This referenced study is the first to show this relationship. Even so, this direct influence on so many of the parameters leading to diabetic symptoms warrants a little more caution in taking antioxidant vitamins until more results on humans can verify. The vitamin industry usually points to the hundred positive studies and discounts the negative one while the anti-vitamin groups use the one negative to show how damaging vitamin supplements can be. The truth is somewhere inbetween.

 

August 2007

Are sugar-free diet soft drinks a free pass?

Researchers are puzzled by results from a soft drink study on symptioms of metabolic syndrome. Sugared soft drinks are directly related to obesity, diabetes type II symptoms, and heart disease. But what researchers were not quite prepared to find, consumers of diet soft drinks developed the same risk factors as consumers of the sugared versions. HOW could this be? It appears that since they are just as sweet, they might stimulate the appetite to increase the amount of food consumed during the day. Another theory is that the carmel coloring chemicals in soft drinks cause an inflammatory response in the body. This would mean that the diet drinks would also have this effect. While this is just an association so far, it is some kind of food ( or non-food) for thought. LIMIT ALL SOFT DRINKS. ref  ref

September 2007

Has the missing link of HFCS sweetened sodas been discovered?

New research this year has found a high level of reactive carbonyls in sodas that are sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. This element is also found in diabetics. Could this be the missing link associating sodas to insulin type II diabetes?  ref

August 2007 

This is a critical mass issue in health today.  

 

HEALTH EFFECTS OF OXIDIZED HEATED OILS1

  • 2Department of Diabetes and Metabolic Medicine St. Bartholomew's and the Royal London Hospital's School of Medicine and Dentistry London E1 1BB3Department of Food Science and Nutrition University of Minnesota St. Paul, Minnesota 551084Facultad de Ciencias Experimentales y Técnicas Universidad de San Pablo Ceu Madrid, Spain

ABSTRACT 

"The purpose of this report is to alert the foodservice industry, particularly the fast-food industry, of an emerging health issue. Considerable evidence has accumulated over the past two decades that heated cooking oils, especially polyunsaturated oils, may pose several types of health risks to consumers of fried foods and even people working near deep fat fryers. Heat degrades polyunsaturated fatty acids to toxic compounds; saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids are resistant to heat-induced degradation. Several types of diseases may be related to the exposure of humans to food- or air-borne breakdown products of heated oils including atherosclerosis, the forerunner to cardiovascular disease; inflammatory joint disease, including rheumatoid arthritis; pathogenic conditions of the digestive tract; mutagenicity and genotoxicity, properties that often signal carcinogenesis; and teratogenicity, the property of chemicals that leads to the development of birth defects. Factors that can contribute to improved oil stability, and therefore fewer health concerns, are briefly discussed. The literature reviewed raises serious questions concerning the willful addition of large amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids into the human diet without accompanying measures to ensure the protection of these fatty acids against heat- and oxidative-degradation. It is hoped that this review will stimulate interest in the foodservice industry in this important area of potential health concern, and also foster the research and development activities necessary to reduce the exposure of humans to lipid oxidation products."

http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1745-4506.2001.tb00028.x

July 2007

Fatty Liver, the next disease frontier?

 While the liver puts up a gallant effort to hold back the dietary tribulations of Americans, it is now showing signs of distress. A new condition being observed reveals that our livers are getting filled up with fat. While it used to only be seen in the very obese or in alcoholics, it is now turning up in large numbers in just regular people. The basic prudent diet and lifestyle should reverse this condition. Another reason to dramatically lower the sugar content of the diet as well as limit animal fats. This topic will be pursued in more detail soon. ref

July 2007

The diet cure book, another infomercial myth. Wu-Long tea for Weight Loss?

The infomercials are up to their old tricks to see how many suckers will part with their hard earned money to buy a book that promises the moon in weight loss by just drinking tea. It helps to believe in miracles, because that is what this is all about. The miracle of loss of common sense. One small study showed about a 12% higher fat burning rate a couple of hours after drinking Wu-Long tea compared to drinking the same amount of caffeine in water. Another study revealed that this would amount to about an extra 67 calories burned per day. Go back to FAQ and read the diet question and answer again right now.  

Of course it won't hurt to drink some tea as long as you don't add sugar. it might be calming as it slows down the pace of life which also creates time for some uplifting conversation. That's the real power of tea. ref 

Note: the 12% increase in fat buring mentioned in the study is really quite a small increase to base such astronomical weight loss suggestions of 20 to 30 pounds per month. Let's put it another way: If the group drinking the tea had 50% fat burning, the non tea group would still have 45% fat burning, that's 12% less. Yes, every little bit helps, but just don't expect weight loss miracles from tea water.

April 2007

Heavy Green Foods

Concentrated organic green vegetable and sprouted cereal grain powders have become a very popular category in health food stores. The names of these greens hint that they are "perfect" foods and abundant in antioxidant properties. Promoted as a convienent way to increase vegetable and fruit servings, these foods often concentrate more than just the nutritional elements, they also concentrate heavy metals, such as lead. It turns out many brands are testing high in LEAD. ref ref ref

Lead goes along with calcium into bones and some even gets into the brain. California passed propositon 65 in 1986 which sets more stringent levels than even the federal government established. These standards require all consumed products to measure less than .5 mcg per serving. Is your favorite brand compliant? Be sure to find out before you buy another bottle. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. Some brands have tested many times higher. It's not just one food, but the accumulation over time that is the problem. Jarrow Formulas has three products that comply with California's low lead levels, Green Defense, Daily 5, and Berry High.

Blood Lead Level Suggested Actions
0-9 mcg/dL No further action, the levels are in the normal range
10-14 mcg/dL Rescreen every 3-4 months. Take notice of possible sources of lead in the child’s environment, and practice safety tips.
20-44 mcg/dL Complete medical evaluation. Find and get rid of lead hazards in the child’s environment.
45-69 mcg/dL Medical treatment and inspection of the child’s environment within 48 hours.
70 mcg/dL or above Medical emergency. Seek immediate medical treatment and inspection of the child’s environment.

February 2007

*Apple Juice on Memory  

Research is showing that apple juice concentrate protects brain cells against oxidative stress from beta amyloid, a major component in Alzheimer's disease. Numerous studies on animals established this connection and now human trials have confirmed these findings. Vegetables and fruits have activity in this area, but juice concentrates enhance this anti-oxidant process. ref ref pages 287-291

In one study on mice, apple juice concentrate was able to overcome the negative effects of a vitamin E and folic acid deficient diet. One advantage from the apple juice is that it helped maintain acetylcholine levels in the brain. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter element involved in recall memory. Oxidative stress enhanced by a deficiency of vitamin E and folic acid normally reduce acetylcholine levels. ref

Another area of influence for apple juice was in protecting glutathione levels, which are also reduced in oxidative stress conditions, especially from iron pro-oxidation.

SIDEBAR: Anti-oxidant vitamin formulas are not as effective as fruits and vegetables at producing this anti-oxidant action. FOOD FIRST.

 

* The H. pylori Ulcer & Cancer connection

This is about a year old but still unknown in the public arena of scientific awareness about the world of Bacteria and Cancer. 

When Scientists discovered that the bacteria H. pylori was linked to ulcers, they immediately jumped into "kill the germ" mode. The peptic ulcer and stomach cancer rates plummeted. Unfortunately, another kind of cancer, esophageal, and GERD symptoms started increasing dramatically. Were they related? A connection has now been found between the presence of H. pylori bacteria in the stomach, GERD, and protection against esophageal cancers. Is this a win-lose situation? Kill H. pylori to prevent stomach cancer only to die from esophageal cancer. Once it develops, esophageal cancer has only a 10% survival rate. This web site link tells the story. It is an important one about the synergisms of body functions, bacteria, and feedback mechanisms. ref

December 2006

* "Reversing Trend, Big Drop Is Seen in Breast Cancer"  New York Times

How heart-warming is it that the July 2002 scientific warning  about the dangers of  Hormone Replacement Therapy have now been turned into life-saving behaviors. For the first time, there has been a significant drop in breast cancer rates in the first two years after the HRT shattering news. Breast cancers that are hormone sensitive have dropped by 11% from an average of a 2% per year increase over the ten years preceding the change.

Sidebar:

 

* Food-borne bacterial illnesses continue to headline. E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria are some of the culprits. It is a sanitation issue, often from animal wastes contaminating drinking, irrigation, or processing  waters. Bacteria are becoming more resistant to antibiotics. A strong immune response may be your best defense.

 

Studies are looking at Probiotics to see if positive bacteria such as in Dannon Activa yogurt could protect. Some help seen in diarrhea prevention, but not much difference in number of colds. Some studies do find a reduction in cold duration averaging one and a half days. It appears so far that probiotics do not have much influence in healthy people, but some in immune compromised individuals especially after antibiotics or other illnesses. Children respond more to diarrhea prevention. More studies with Saccharomyces boulardii yeast than with Lactobacillus Acidophilus on prevention of diarrhea from antibiotics.

Hardly any studies have directly tested against bacterial contaminations as no one wants to deliberately expose test people to such a fate.  Whole grain and legume fibers may play a significant role in colon health and feed beneficial pre- and pro-biotics. See CSPI, Centers for Disease Control, usprobiotics.org/basics/

What's in the News!

The media loves sensationalism, and the health industry doesn't disappoint. "Vitamin E will Kill You." read a recent title. This section will attempt to put these headlines into perspective for you. In the case of the meta-analysis study on Vitamin E put out by John Hopkins U., I read all nineteen studies referenced and then wrote a special edition for our newsletter, NUTRITION PIE. Anyone reading that article learned more about that study and vitamin E than even most health professionals know. I was surprised to discover that natural vitamin E was even manipulated into something not quite natural in the lab. Vitamin Criteria  Vitamin Support

*SPINACH E. Coli Contamination Message

The first line of defense against invading food-born bacteria is a healthy gut full of the body's own beneficial friendly bacteria, called PROBIOTICS. Many Doctor's have been recommending probiotics for some time now when children have to take antibiotics. Antibiotics indiscriminately destroy all the bacteria in the intestinal tract, good and bad. Probiotics are often the same bacteria that are used to make yogurt but only many times stronger, except that the new Dannontm "Activa" yogurt is actually very strong.

It isn't so much that this bacteria remains in the gut, rather that it creates a favorable climate to regrow the native bacteria before the disease causing bacteria can regroup. There is a native form of E Coli bacteria that lives in the human gut, but it is not the one that makes people sick. 

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