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Without our heart, we die, so why do people insult our heart with poor nutrition?
Reproduced from original article:
- Iron is essential for life as it transfers oxygen to your tissues. Hemoglobin, the protein in your red blood cells, contains iron at its core, which reversibly binds to oxygen and supplies your tissues with it
- Without proper oxygenation, your cells quickly start dying. However, excess iron can also cause severe problems by encouraging oxidation and tissue damage
- Common health problems associated with elevated iron levels include cirrhosis, cancer, hepatitis C, gouty arthritis, arrhythmia, cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s and more
- Recent research shows excessive iron damages mitochondrial function and impairs your heart function by inducing the death of muscle cells in your heart
- Your iron level can be easily determined with a serum ferritin test. I believe this is one of the most important tests that everyone should have done on a regular basis as part of a preventive, proactive health screen
Iron is necessary for life as it essential to transfer oxygen into your tissues. Hemoglobin, the protein in your red blood cells that contains iron at its core, reversibly binds to oxygen and supplies your tissues with it. Without proper oxygenation, your cells quickly start dying.
Iron is also a key component of various proteins and enzymes, and is involved in energy production, immune function, metabolism and endocrine function. For these reasons, low iron (anemia) can cause significant health problems.
However, what many don’t realize is that excess iron is actually more common than too little, and iron overload can be even more problematic, as detailed in “Why Managing Your Iron Level Is Crucial to Your Health,” which features my interview with Gerry Koenig, former chairman of the Iron Disorders Institute and the Hemochromatosis Foundation.
Because your body has a limited capacity to excrete iron, it can easily build up in organs like your liver, heart and pancreas. This is dangerous because iron is a potent oxidizer that can damage your tissues and contribute to a variety of health problems, including but not limited to:
|Cirrhosis1||Cancer, including bowel,2 liver3 and lung cancer4 — Elevated ferritin is associated with a 2.9 times higher risk of death from cancer5 and blood donors have been shown to have a lower likelihood of developing certain cancers than nondonors6,7|
|Hepatitis C8 — As noted in a 2007 paper,9 even “mild or moderate increase of iron stores appears to have significant clinical relevance” in this and other conditions||Gouty arthritis10|
|Cardiac arrhythmia11||Cardiovascular disease12|
|Type 2 diabetes13 and metabolic syndrome — Elevated ferritin has been linked to dysfunctional glucose metabolism,14 raising the risk of diabetes fivefold in men and fourfold in women, a magnitude of correlation similar to that of obesity.15
High ferritin also doubles your risk of metabolic syndrome,16 a condition associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure, liver disease and heart disease
Iron Overload Impairs Mitochondrial Function
Iron causes significant harm primarily by catalyzing a reaction within the inner mitochondrial membrane. When iron reacts with hydrogen peroxide, hydroxyl free radicals are formed.
These are among the most damaging free radicals known, causing severe mitochondrial dysfunction, which in turn is at the heart of most chronic degenerative diseases. The hydroxyl free radicals are an oxidative stress that will also damage your cell membranes, stem cells, protein and DNA.
In addition to all this damage, recent research18 shows excessive iron also promotes apoptosis and ferroptosis in cardiomyocytes. Apoptosis is the programmed cell death of diseased and worn-out cells, and as the name implies, ferroptosis refers to cell death that is dependent on and regulated by iron specifically.19
Cardiomyocytes are muscle cells in your heart that generate and control the rhythmic contractions in your heart, thus allowing it to maintain a healthy rhythm.20 In short, this tells us that excess iron has the ability to impair your heart function by inducing mitochondrial abnormalities and the death of muscle cells in your heart.
How Iron Overload Affects Your Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease
Aside from raising your risk of heart-related problems, iron overload is also of particular concern in Alzheimer’s disease,21,22,23 the prevalence of which has dramatically risen in recent decades.
According to research24,25 published in 2018, buildup of iron — which increases oxidative stress and has a type of “rusting effect” in your brain — is common in most Alzheimer’s patients. As noted by the authors:26
“In the presence of the pathological hallmarks of [Alzheimer’s disease], iron is accumulated within and around the amyloid-beta plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, mostly as ferrihydrite inside ferritin, hemosiderin and magnetite.
The co-localization of iron with amyloid-beta has been proposed to constitute a major source of toxicity. Indeed, in vitro, amyloid-beta has been shown to convert ferric iron to ferrous iron, which can act as a catalyst for the Fenton reaction to generate toxic free radicals, which in turn result in oxidative stress.”
Other research 27 suggests elevated cerebrospinal fluid iron levels are strongly correlated with the presence of the Alzheimer’s risk allele APOE-e4, and that elevated levels of iron in your brain may actually be the mechanism that makes APOE-e4 a major genetic risk factor for the disease.
A primary focus of conventional treatment so far has been to clear amyloid proteins, but while that approach seems logical, such attempts have met with limited success.
Researchers now suggest clearing out excess iron may be a more effective way to reduce damage and slow or prevent the Alzheimer’s disease process. You can learn more about this in “How Excess Iron Raises Your Risk for Alzheimer’s.”
Iron Dysregulation Is Surprisingly Common
It’s easy to get too much iron as it’s commonly added to most multivitamins. Many processed foods are also fortified with iron. Two servings of fortified breakfast cereal may provide as much as 44 milligrams (mg) of iron in some cases,28 bringing you dangerously close to the upper tolerance limit of 45 mg for adults, and well over the recommended daily allowance, which is a mere 8 mg for men and 18 mg for premenopausal women (i.e., women who still get their monthly period).29
Unfortunately, many doctors don’t understand or appreciate the importance of checking for iron overload. One of the greatest risk factors for iron overload is having a condition called hemochromatosis30 — one of the most prevalent genetic diseases in the U.S. — which impairs your body’s iron regulation, causing you to absorb higher than normal amounts.
The C282Y gene mutation is thought to be responsible for the majority of hemochromatosis cases. It takes two inherited copies of the mutation (one from your mother and one from your father) to cause the disease (and even then, only some people will actually get sick).
More than 30% of Americans are thought to have two copies of this defective gene31 and, according to one study,32 an estimated 40% to 70% of those with two defective C282Y genes will develop clinical evidence of iron overload.
If you have just one copy, you won’t become ill but you will still absorb slightly more iron than the rest of the population,33,34 thus placing you at increased risk for overload and the complications associated with it.
Common Factors That Increase Your Risk of Iron Overload
Virtually all adult men and postmenopausal women are also at risk for iron overload since they do not lose blood on a regular basis. Blood loss is the primary way to lower excess iron, as the body has no active excretion mechanisms. Other potential contributors to high iron levels include:
- Cooking in iron pots or pans — Cooking acidic foods in these types of pots or pans will elevate iron absorption.
- Eating processed food products like cereals and white breads fortified with iron — The iron used in these products is inorganic iron, not much different from rust, and it is far more dangerous than the iron in meat.
- Drinking well water that is high in iron — The key here is to make sure you have some type of iron precipitator and/or a reverse osmosis water filter.
- Taking multiple vitamins and mineral supplements, as both of these frequently have iron in them.
- Regularly consuming alcohol, as this will increase the absorption of iron in your diet.
How to Check for and Address Iron Overload
Checking your iron levels is easy and can be done with a simple blood test called a serum ferritin test. I believe this is one of the most important tests that everyone should have done on a regular basis as part of a preventive, proactive health screen. The test measures the carrier molecule of iron, a protein found inside cells called ferritin, which stores the iron. If your ferritin levels are low, it means your iron levels are also low.
The healthy range of serum ferritin lies between 20 and 80 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml). Below 20 ng/ml is a strong indicator that you are iron deficient, and above 80 ng/ml suggests you have an iron surplus. An ideal range is between 40 and 60 ng/ml.
Please note that many health sites will tell you that “normal” can be much higher than that, but as I discuss with Koenig in the earlier referenced article, levels over 300 ng/ml are particularly toxic and will eventually cause serious damage.
If you have hemochromatosis, or if a serum ferritin blood test reveals elevated iron levels, donating your blood two or three times a year is the safest, most effective and inexpensive remedy. If you have severe overload you may need to do more regular phlebotomies.
If, for some reason, a blood donor center is unable to accept your blood for donation, you can obtain a prescription for therapeutic phlebotomy. At the same time, you’ll also want to avoid consuming excess iron in the form of supplements, in your drinking water (well water), from iron cookware or fortified processed foods.
You can also limit iron absorption by not eating iron-rich foods in combination with vitamin C-rich foods or beverages, as the vitamin C boosts iron absorption. If needed, you could also take a curcumin supplement. Curcumin acts as a potent chelator of iron and can be a useful supplement if your iron is elevated.
GGT Test Is Also Advisable to Rule Out Iron Toxicity
Aside from a serum ferritin test, a gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT) test can also be used as a screening marker for excess free iron and is a great indicator of your risk for sudden cardiac death, insulin resistance, cardiometabolic disease35 and chronic kidney disease36 as well.
In recent years, scientists have discovered GGT is highly interactive with iron. Low GGT tends to be protective against higher ferritin, so if your GGT is low, you’re largely protected even if your ferritin is a bit higher than ideal.
When both your serum ferritin and GGT are high, you are at significantly increased risk of chronic health problems and early death,37,38 because then you have a combination of free iron (which is highly toxic), and the iron storage to keep that toxicity going.39 That said, even if your ferritin is low, having elevated GGT levels is cause for concern and needs to be addressed.
For this reason, getting a GGT test in addition to a serum ferritin test is advisable to rule out iron toxicity. The ideal level of GGT is below 16 units per liter (U/L) for men and below 9 U/L for women. Above 25 U/L for men and 18 U/L for women, your risk of chronic disease increases significantly.
To lower your GGT level you’ll need to implement strategies that boost glutathione, a potent antioxidant produced in your body, as GGT is inversely related to glutathione. As your GGT level rises, your glutathione goes down. This is in fact part of the equation explaining how elevated GGT harms your health. By elevating your glutathione level, you will lower your GGT.
The amino acid cysteine, found in whey protein, poultry and eggs, plays an important role in your body’s production of glutathione. Red meat, which does not contain cysteine, will tend to raise GGT, as will alcohol, so both should be avoided.40
Certain medications can also raise your GGT. If this is the case, please confer with your doctor to determine whether you might be able to stop the medication or switch to something else. General detoxification is another important component if your GGT is high, as your liver’s job is to remove toxins from your body. The fact that your GGT is elevated means your liver is under stress.
Annual Ferritin Test Is an Important Health Screen
For adults, I strongly recommend getting an annual serum ferritin test to confirm you’re neither too high nor too low. When it comes to iron overload, I believe it can be every bit as dangerous to your health as vitamin D deficiency, and checking your iron status is far more important than your cholesterol.
While a full iron panel that checks serum iron, iron-binding capacity and ferritin can be helpful, you really only need the serum ferritin test, plus the GGT test. Your doctor can write you a prescription for these tests, or you can order them from HealtheIron.com.
Again, if your ferritin is high, the easiest way to lower it is to donate blood two or three times a year. U.S. legislation allows all blood banks to perform therapeutic phlebotomy for hemochromatosis or iron overload. All you need is a doctor’s order.
Also, unless you have a lab-documented iron deficiency, avoid iron-containing multivitamins, iron supplements and mineral supplements that contain iron if your levels are already high.
- 1 Medical Science Monitor 2016; 22: 2144–2151
- 2 Cell Reports 2012 Aug 30;2(2):270-82
- 3 Hopkinsmedicine.org, Hemachromatosis (PDF)
- 4 Int J Cancer. 1994 Feb 1;56(3):379-82
- 5 J Natl Cancer Inst. 1986 Apr;76(4):605-10.
- 6 Int J Epidemiol. 1990 Sep;19(3):505-9
- 7 J Natl Cancer Inst. 2008 Apr 16;100(8):572-9
- 8, 9 American Journal of Hematology 2007; 82:1142–1146 (PDF)
- 10 Renal and Urology News, September 3, 2018.
- 11 Archives of Medical Science 2018 Apr; 14(3): 560–568
- 12, 13 Diabetes Care 2007 Jul; 30(7): 1926-193
- 14 Diabetes Care 1997 Mar;20(3):426-8
- 15 Diabetes Care 1999 Dec;22(12):1978-83
- 16 Diabetes Care 2004 Oct;27(10):2422-8
- 17 Frontiers in Neuroscience 2018; 12: 632
- 18 Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics February 15, 2020; 680: 108241
- 19 Journal of Hematology & Oncology 2019; 12: 34
- 20 Microscopemaster.com, Cardiomyocytes
- 21 Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease 2012;30(1):167-82
- 22 Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease 2013;37(1):127-36
- 23 JAMA Neurology 2017;74(1):122-125
- 24 Scientific Reports 2018; 8: 6898
- 25 Pursuit, Rusty Brains Linked to Alzheimer’s
- 26 Scientific Reports 2018; 8: 6898, Introduction
- 27 Nature Communications May 19, 2015
- 28, 30, 31 Nautilus December 20, 2018
- 29 National Institutes of Health, Iron Fact Sheet
- 32 American Journal of Epidemiology 2001 Aug 1;154(3):193-206
- 33 Lancet 2002 Jan 19;359(9302):211-8
- 34 Clinical Chemistry 2001 Feb;47(2):202-8
- 35 European Journal of Preventive Cardiology 2014 Dec;21(12):1541-8
- 36 Disease Markers 2017; 2017:9765259
- 37 Leading Contributors to Mortality Risk in Life Insurance Applicants
- 38 Journal of Insurance Medicine 2012;43(3):162-8
- 39 Disease Markers 2015; 2015: 818570
- 40 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition April 2004; 79(4): 600-605
Investigation Finds Serious Flaws in Study That Served as Basis for Guideline Suspected of Killing Nearly a Million Europeans
Reproduced from original article:
August 13, 2014
- European doctors may have caused as many as 800,000 deaths in five years by following the “standard of care” to use beta-blockers in non-cardiac surgery patients—a guideline based largely on discredited science
- The discredited researcher, who was fired for scientific misconduct in 2011, was also the chairman of the committee that drafted the European treatment guideline
- An investigation into the flawed study has now been completed, and while the full extent of the researcher’s scientific misconduct is almost impossible to ascertain, it appears to be extensive
- Investigations assessing the prevalence of scientific fraud and/or its impact show that the problem is widespread and serious
By Dr. Mercola
Investigations assessing the prevalence of scientific fraud and/or its impact show that the problem is widespread and serious—to the point of making most of “science-based” medicine a genuine joke.
Conflict of interest is another pervasive problem that threatens the integrity and believability of most studies. We’ve been repeatedly faced with study findings that are clearly tainted with industry bias.
The soda industry’s study1, 2 finding that drinking diet soda makes you lose more weight than drinking no soda at all is just one of the most recent examples. It blatantly contradicts a massive body of research demonstrating that artificial sweeteners disrupt your body’s metabolism and lead to greater weight gain than regular sugar.
Earlier this year, I reviewed findings that a flawed research paper may have led to the death of as many as 800,000 Europeans. The discredited paper served as the basis for a guideline3 that helped establish the “standard of care” to use beta-blockers in non-cardiac surgery patients.
The study’s author, Dr. Poldermans, was also the chairman of the committee that drafted the guideline (he has since resigned from his position with the task force4).
Physicians who failed to follow this guideline were at risk of medical reprimands. This case is a sobering example demonstrating the need for maintaining strict scientific integrity, and why the issue of conflicts of interest really needs to be more widely understood and addressed.
Scientific misconduct can have a very real impact on your health, or someone you love, as doctors routinely use published research to implement or alter treatment protocols.
Investigation Finds Serious Flaws in Prestigious NEJM Study
An investigation into Dr. Poldermans beta-blocker study has now been concluded, and as reported by Forbes,5 the full extent of the misconduct is almost impossible to ascertain, although it appears to be extensive:
“Erasmus Medical Center says it has wrapped up its investigation of Don Poldermans, the disgraced cardiology researcher who was fired for research misconduct…
One major finding… is that the most prestigious and influential publication from the Poldermans’ group, the 1999 publication of the DECREASE 1 study in the New England Journal of Medicine6– appears to be riddled with serious problems…
The Dutch investigators found a number of important discrepancies between the trial conduct and the written protocol found in the archive of the Medical Ethics Committee. Poldermans told the investigators that there was an updated version of the protocol but this document has not been found.”
Another major problem is that while Dr. Poldermans claimed adverse events were evaluated by two cardiologists who allegedly made up the trial’s safety committee – both of them deny having any involvement in the study.
Only one of them could remember having been asked to participate, but claims he never actually did any evaluations. According to Dr. Poldermans, the two cardiologists had reviewed all patient data. He also claims that it was this two-man safety committee’s decision to end the trial early. According to the featured article:7
“One member said that he had given some advice to Poldermans by telephone about ‘stopping rules.’ Poldermans told the investigators that, contrary to the published report, the decision to stop the trial had been made by ‘the steering committee.’
Perhaps surprisingly, the report does not conclude that the trial is invalid. Instead, it concludes that doubts about the scientific integrity can neither be confirmed nor denied.”
The investigators also reviewed Dr. Poldermans extensive body of work, some 495 studies in all, trying to ascertain whether the studies actually took place. Lack of documentation and missing records hampered the investigation, suggesting Dr. Poldermans contribution to the field of medicine may indeed have been based on large-scale misconduct.
Most Misconduct Occurs in Drug Research
Previous investigations8 have revealed that the vast majority of scientific misconduct occurs in the drug literature, compared to the biomedical literature. Three guesses as to why that might be, and the first two don’t count… Of course the answer is massive drug company conflict of interest and manipulation.
Two years ago, researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Center for Pharmacoeconomic Research found that nearly 75 percent of retracted drug studies were attributed to scientific misconduct, which includes data falsification, data fabrication, questionable veracity, and plagiarism.
Tragically, since these are the types of studies that many health care professionals rely on to make treatment recommendations, large numbers of patients can be affected when false findings are published.
This certainly appears to be the case here—nearly one million surgical patients losing their lives over a five-year span as a result of a hazardous drug guideline is pretty significant.
Vioxx is another example of what canhappen when a drug is manufactured and marketed under false pretenses. It killed more than 60,000 people in just a few years’ time, before it was removed from the market.
To this day there are lingering questions about the soundness of the research backing Vioxx. In 2008, Dr. Joseph S. Ross of New York’s Mount Sinai School of Medicine came across ghostwritten research concocted by the company’s marketing department,9 while reviewing documents related to lawsuits filed against Merck…
It’s important to understand that our current medical system has been masterfully orchestrated by the drug companies to create a system that gives the perception of science while in fact being a heavily manipulated process designed to sell expensive and potentially toxic drugs. The drug companies that make them benefit, while your health suffers.
Understanding the Potential Risks and Benefits of Beta-Blockers
Beta-blockers are drugs commonly used in the treatment of high blood pressure and congestive heart failure. They dilate your blood vessels, which reduces your heart rate and blood pressure.
Until recently, the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) recommended using beta-blockers in patients undergoing non-cardiac surgery as well, regardless of whether the patient had a heart condition.
The medical literature and media articles reflect ongoing concern and confusion about whether or not to use beta-blockers in non-cardiac surgeries. What the media are missing is that there are two different classes of patients, and the studies typically involve either one or the other—but rarely do they compare both.
When viewed in total, the research suggests that giving beta-blockers to non-cardiac surgery patients can have lethal consequences in people who do not have a pre-existing, serious, life-threatening heart condition.
In one study,10 perioperative use of beta-blockers showed that people who had the highest risk of dying from them were the ones with the lowest cardiac risk. In effect, they found that perioperative beta blockers may have helped those with the most serious pre-existing heart conditions, while harming those with little or no prior heart risks.11
Anytime drugs are involved, it’s important to understand and weigh the risks and benefits. In this case, in order for non-cardiac perioperative beta blockers to be of potential benefit, the risks associated with heart disease must outweigh the heavy risk and side effects of the drug itself, which covers a very limited target population. The moral of this story is that patients should push back to ensure the physician sees a definite need before prescribing this, or any other, drug. In this case, it appears that nearly a million Europeans with little or no need were given the drug as part of a routine guideline, and paid with their lives.
How Many Americans May Have Been Harmed by Similar Guidelines?
If the claim that beta-blockers may be killing some surgical patients — those who don’t already have serious risks for cardiac conditions, and who are not already on beta-blockers – what is the potential number of deaths in the US? Fortunately, according to a previous Forbes article12 published in July 2013, US guidelines are less aggressive in their support of perioperative beta blockers. Researchers say more than 30 million non-cardiac surgeries occur in the US each year,13 so if you divide 30 million by the 25 percent that European researchers claim may be harmed by this one-size-fits-all practice, you end up with a number of 7.5 million American surgery patients POTENTIALLY harmed by beta blockers each year. The numbers could be higher, or lower.
According to the CDC,14 the total number of surgical procedures performed in the US is 51.4 million, of which 4.7 million are cardiac-related. Using this statistic, the number of Americans potentially affected by dangerous beta-blockers is 46.7 million, giving us a potential number of more than 11.6 million who could die from this drug every year in the US. On the other hand, we don’t know how many already had a life-threatening heart condition prior to going in for non-cardiac surgery and might have benefited from the drug, opposed to patients whose risk of death is increased by the absence of prior heart disease…
Tragic Fact: Most Research Claims Cannot Be Trusted
In 2005, Dr. John Ioannidis, an epidemiologist at Ioannina School of Medicine in Greece, showed that there is less than a 50 percent chance that the results of any randomly chosen scientific paper will be true.15 So just think about this for a moment. You have a far better chance of tossing a coin and guessing correctly than you do for any random “scientific” paper is valid. This is extraordinary, especially since skeptics who regularly ridicule natural medicine use these studies as a justification for the vilifications.
Additionally, a large number of investigations have revealed that when industry funds the research, it’s virtually guaranteed to be favorable to their product. Other conflicts of interest play a significant role in the outcome as well. Did the fact that Dr. Poldermans was the chairman of the committee that drafted the beta-blocker guideline influence his research conduct? We don’t know, but there’s always a risk that hidden incentives can come into play with this kind of conflict of interest.
In recent years, a number of individuals have taken it upon themselves to prove just how easily the system can be fooled by fake science. A previous article in Slate Magazine16 headlined: “How Gobbledygook Ended Up in Respected Scientific Journals,” reveals how a group of MIT graduate students created a program that randomly generates computer-written research papers. Shockingly, these fake papers have been routinely published in various scientific journals over the past several years.17
No one knows exactly how many have been published as the creators of the program, called SCIgen, made it available for free download. An unknown number of people have used it18 besides its creators. Cyril Labbé, a French computer scientist developed a way to detect SCIgen generated manuscripts,19 and have alerted publishers about 205 of them so far. Confounding the problem further, highly paid PR firms disguised as scientific organizations have been created for the specific purpose of controlling how the media reports new science and portrays industry. Two examples are Science Media Centre (SMC) and the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH), both of which are heavily funded by the industries they represent.
Exercising Good Judgment in an Era of Conflicting Interests
Ultimately, the take-home message here is that even if a drug or treatment is “backed by science,” this does not guarantee that it’s safe or effective. Likewise, if an alternative treatment has not been published in a medical journal, it does not mean it is unsafe or ineffective. This is why it’s crucial to have a philosophical framework to assist you in evaluating all these studies. First, always consider the source of the information… Who funded the study and where it was published? Also, do not accept the findings of any single paper, as scientific results are only reliable after replication and the building of consensus through time. Look for corroboration.
Anytime you’re trying to address a health issue, make full use of all the resources available to you, including your own common sense and reason. Since it is well established that most drugs do absolutely nothing to treat the cause of disease, it would be prudent to exercise the precautionary principle when evaluating a new drug claim, as it will more than likely be seriously flawed, biased, or worse.
If you value your health and life, remember that prescription drugs kill more people than illegal drugs or motor vehicle accidents. Hypertension is dangerous if uncontrolled, increasing your risk for heart attack and stroke. But using drugs like beta-blockers to lower your blood pressure may shorten your lifespan instead of extending it. For recommendations on lowering your blood pressure without the use of drugs, please see my previous article, “Foundational Lifestyle Strategies to Maintain Healthy Blood Pressure.”
If you’re facing a health challenge, it is best to identify a qualified natural health consultant—someone who really understands health at a foundational level and has had extensive experience in helping others resolve their health care challenges. Just make sure to see a competent regular physician to make certain any serious conditions like cancer are ruled out as well.
- 1 CNN May 27, 2014
- 2 NPR May 28, 2014
- 3 European Heart Journal (2009) 30, 2769–2812
- 4 Forbes November 23, 2011
- 5 Forbes July 30, 2014
- 6 New England Journal of Medicine December 9, 1999; 341:1789-1794
- 7 Forbes July 30, 2014
- 8 Newswise May 29, 2012
- 9 Medheadlines April 16, 2008
- 10 Am Coll Cardiol. 2008;52(18):1482-1489
- 11 BMC Cardiovascular Disorders 2013, 13:52
- 12 Forbes July 31, 2013
- 13 Science Daily November 2, 2009
- 14 CDC.gov, Inpatient Surgery
- 15 PLOS Medicine August 30, 2005
- 16 Slate February 27, 2014
- 17 Nature February 24, 2014
- 18 The Guardian February 26, 2014
- 19 SCIgen Detection
Reproduced from original article:
- Recommendations for once-a-day aspirin were pulled by the FDA when the risks of major bleeding far outweighed the benefits of preventing a heart attack. Salicylic acid, the active ingredient, is found in high concentrations in cumin
- Eating one teaspoon of cumin in well-spiced foods spikes blood levels of salicylic acid as if you took a baby aspirin. Data show those eating foods high in salicylic acid may help lower their risk of developing certain cancers
- Consider stimulating the vagus nerve, or 10th cranial nerve, to activate the parasympathetic nervous system and protect your heart
- Nattokinase and lumbrokinase are two aspirin alternatives without high side effect profiles, which demonstrate the ability to improve circulation and reduce the risk of serious clotting
Aspirin has a long history, dating back nearly 4,000 years when Sumerians wrote of using willow bark for pain relief.1 The ancient Egyptians used willow bark to reduce body temperature and inflammation, and the Greek physician Hippocrates used it to help relieve pain and fever. By the early 1800s Europeans were researching the effects of salicylic acid and how to determine a correct dosage of it.2
In 1899, Bayer begin distributing the powder, and it was sold as tablets over the counter in 1915. Doctors gave aspirin to Alexi Nicholaevich Romanov of Russia, who had hemophilia. The aspirin likely made the bleeding worse. When the family’s mystic Grigori Rasputin advised the family to stop modern treatments and rely on spiritual healing, the bleeding improved.
In an article published in 2010 in CNN, one physician from Harvard Medical School recommended reducing the risk of stomach bleeding associated with aspirin by taking a second medication — Prilosec.
By 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reversed their recommendation, concluding data did not support aspirin as a preventive medication for those who had not had a heart attack, stroke or cardiovascular problems.3 In this population, not only had benefit not been established, but “dangerous bleeding into the brain or stomach” was a significant risk.
Salicylates Found Naturally in Some Foods
In the same year the FDA withdrew their recommendation for daily aspirin intake to reduce cardiovascular risk, one meta-analysis was published showing a reduction and cancer mortality in those taking daily low-dose aspirin.4 The researchers hypothesized the effect was the result of inhibition “of cox-2 in preneoplastic lesions.”
Their results were supported by a second meta-analysis5 published in the same year finding a reduction in nonvascular deaths and cancer with low dose aspirin. In another study published in 2018,6 researchers found data suggesting aspirin is associated with a lower risk of developing several types of cancer, including colorectal, esophageal, pancreatic, ovarian and endometrial.
As New York Times best seller author and nutrition expert Dr. Michael Greger writes,7 animal products made up 5% or less of their diet before Japanese citizens began adopting a Western diet.8 During the same period, there was a vast difference in cancer deaths between the U.S. and Japan.
The age-adjusted death rates for colon, breast, ovary and prostate were five to 10 times lower in Japan, and leukemia, lymphoma and pancreatic cancer death rates were three to four times lower. In part, this protection may have been the result of phytonutrients found in the plant-based diet, including salicylic acid, the active ingredient in aspirin.
The highest concentrations in plants is found in herbs and spices with the greatest amount in cumin. Researchers have found eating a teaspoon of cumin will spike your blood levels of salicylic acid to the same degree that taking a baby aspirin does. Greger9 quotes one study describing the lower incidence of colorectal cancer in areas where people eat diets rich in salicylic acid:10
“The population of rural India, with an incidence of colorectal cancer which is one of the lowest in the world, has a diet that could be extremely rich in salicylic acid. It contains substantial amounts of fruits, vegetables, and cereals flavored with large quantities of herbs and spices.”
In another analysis11 comparing organic versus nonorganic vegetables, scientists found soup made with organic vegetables contained more salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is produced by plants in response to stress, such as when they’re being bitten by bugs. Plants treated with pesticides do not undergo this type of stress, and studies show they contain six times less salicylic acid than those grown organically.
Is Aspirin Overrated?
Evidence supports the assertion that a plant-rich diet offers protection against certain cancers. Aspirin used to be recommended to reduce clotting time and the risk of heart attack and ischemic stroke, triggered by a clot to the brain. However, long-term use of aspirin has been associated with harmful effects, including hemorrhagic stroke, or bleeding in the brain when a clot doesn’t form.
In addition to aspirin side effects, results from a trio of studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine demonstrated daily low-dose aspirin had no measurably significant health benefits for healthy older adults. Instead, the data demonstrated it did not prolong disability-free survival and contributed to the risk of major bleeding.
In one study the authors found those with helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection who used low dose aspirin had a higher risk of upper gastrointestinal bleeding then those who took aspirin without the infection.
In another study12 researchers found those who used aspirin regularly, which they defined as at least once a week for one year, experienced an increased risk of neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Results from a separate study13 also point to a connection between frequent aspirin use and AMD, linking increasing frequency of use to higher risk.
Nattokinase: Aspirin Alternative Without the Side-Effects
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death14 in people of most racial and ethnic groups in America. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports one person dies every 37 seconds from heart disease and cardiovascular deaths account for 25% of all deaths reported.
Using aspirin to reduce the risk of clot formation comes with significant risk. A better alternative is nattokinase, produced by the bacteria bacillus subtilis when soybeans are being fermented to produce natto. This is a fermented soybean product that has been a traditional food in Japan for thousands of years.
Without using conventional drugs, nattokinase has demonstrated the ability to reduce chronic rhinosinusitis and dissolve excess fibrin in blood vessels, which improves circulation and reduces the risk of serious clotting. Another benefit is the ability to decrease blood viscosity and improve flow, which consequently lowers blood pressure.
Data also showed consuming nattokinase decreased systolic and diastolic blood pressure and demonstrated effectiveness in reducing deep vein thrombosis in those who were on long-haul flights or vehicle travel. Studies have demonstrated administration of a single-dose can enhance clot breakdown and anticoagulation.
Each of these factors affects your long-term cardiovascular health and risk for heart disease. In one study,15 researchers wrote nattokinase is a “unique natural compound that possesses several key cardiovascular beneficial effects for patients with CVD and is therefore an ideal drug candidate for the prevention and treatment of CVD.”
Could Earthworms Hold One Key to Heart Health?
One of the drawbacks of pharmaceutical interventions, including thrombolytics, antiplatelets and anticoagulants, is that they interfere with the anticoagulation system and carry a risk of major bleeding.16 Lumbrokinase is a secondary option that works as a fibrinolytic enzyme, activating the plasminogen system and direct fibrinolysis.
The compound also indirectly achieves anticoagulation through inhibition of platelet function. Additionally, lumbrokinase has an enzyme opposing the coagulation system. Research has demonstrated it promotes fibrinolysis but also fibrinogenesis, meaning it may have a built-in balance system that contributes to the safety record.
Interestingly, this complex enzyme is extracted from earthworms and is sometimes referred to as earthworm powder enzymes. Eastern medicine has used earthworms for thousands of years, and Chinese medicine practitioners believe they possess properties to “invigorate blood, resolve stasis and unblock the body’s meridians and channels.”
They are commonly found in a traditional herbal formula used to treat ischemic or thromboembolic conditions. To date, those producing lumbrokinase cannot make any therapeutic claims. Available studies have demonstrated safety and effectiveness in the treatment of acute ischemic stroke and impressive results in the treatment of coronary arterial disease including those with unstable angina.
Lumbrokinase has also been evaluated as an antimetastatic and antitumor agent, with evidence demonstrating a potential use in anticoagulation to limit cancer growth and metastasis. The authors of two review papers found adverse rates to be 0.7% to 3% with most symptoms being a mild headache, nausea, dizziness and constipation, which resolved when the enzyme was discontinued.
Neither of the reviews found the enzyme triggered bleeding or adverse effects in the kidney or liver. Both nattokinase and lumbrokinase have a lower side effect profile than aspirin and provide much of the same benefits to the cardiovascular system. While aspirin is no longer universally recommended, consider speaking with your physician to include nattokinase or lumbrokinase in your heart health regimen.
- 1 Smithsonian Magazine, August 10, 2017
- 2 CNN, December 22, 2010
- 3 U.S. Food and Drug Administration, May 5, 2014
- 4 Medical Hypothesis, 2012;78(1)
- 5 American Journal of Medicine, 2012;125(6):560
- 6 BMC Cancer, 2019;18(288)
- 7, 9 Nutrition Facts, December 26, 2019
- 8 Annals of NY Academy of Science, 2007;1114:434
- 10 Food and Function, 2011;2(9):515
- 11 European Journal of Nutrition, 2001;40(6)
- 12 JAMA Internal Medicine, 2013;173(4): 258
- 13 Ophthalmology, 2012;119(1)
- 14 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- 15 Biomarker Insights, 2018
- 16 Townsend Letter, May 2018
Reproduced from original article:
January 20, 2020
- Magnesium insufficiency has been linked to a higher risk for high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, arrhythmias, stroke and sudden cardiac death
- Research has shown people drinking soft water on a regular basis are more susceptible to lethal arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat) than those drinking hard water. One hypothesis that can account for this is magnesium deficiency, as hard water contains higher levels of magnesium than soft water
- Magnesium supports heart health by combating inflammation (which helps prevent high blood pressure and hardening of your arteries) and improving blood flow by relaxing your arteries and preventing your blood from thickening
- Magnesium also plays a role in the creation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy currency of your body. Being a heavy energy user, your heart needs sufficient amounts of ATP to function properly
- Magnesium also affects your mitochondrial function and health, as it’s required both for increasing the number of mitochondria in your cells and increasing mitochondrial efficiency
When it comes to heart health, one of the most influential nutrients is magnesium. While required for the healthy function of most cells in your body, magnesium is particularly important for your heart, kidneys and muscles.
As far back as 1937, researchers warned that low magnesium levels pose serious risks to the heart, and that it may actually be the most significant predictor of heart disease.1 More recent research suggests even subclinical magnesium deficiency can compromise your cardiovascular health.2
Importantly, your mitochondria require magnesium to produce ATP. It’s also required for the metabolic function of your cells and the activation of vitamin D.3,4 All of these are important for healthy heart function.
It also supports heart health by relaxing your blood vessels, normalizing blood pressure, lowering inflammation and supporting endothelial function (the cells’ lining the interior of your blood vessels).5
Hard Water Linked to Better Heart Health
To celebrate its 175th anniversary, Scientific American recently took a look back into its archives, publishing a short summary of research presented in its June 1969 issue:6
“Several studies in the past decade have suggested that the death rate from coronary disease is inversely correlated with the hardness of the local water supply: the harder the water, the lower the coronary rate.
A study7 recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine reports evidence that the excess coronary deaths in soft-water areas are almost entirely sudden deaths …”
By reviewing the death certificates of 55,000 individuals who died from heart-related issues in Ontario during 1967, and then correlating the deaths according to the hardness of the local water supply, the Canadian researchers were able to conclude that people drinking soft water on a regular basis were more susceptible to lethal arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat). What might explain this curious correlation?
One theory has focused on the magnesium level found in the water.8 Soft water is lower in magnesium than hard water, thus making you more prone to magnesium deficiency. (The very definition of hard water is that it contains a high concentration of dissolved metals — calcium and magnesium in particular.9,10)
According to a 2002 study,11 magnesium-rich mineral water can contribute between 6% and 17% of your total daily magnesium intake. That said, a 2013 paper12 in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine points out that the exact mechanisms responsible for the relationship often found between harder water and lower cardiovascular risk has yet to be ascertained.
The higher magnesium level in hard water appears to be a promising hypothesis, though, and several studies point to magnesium-rich water being an important factor. As noted in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine, which cites a number of such studies (as well as some in which this relationship was not found):13
“In a Swedish study, the skeletal muscle magnesium levels were a significantly higher in persons living in an area with a higher water magnesium.”
Even Subclinical Magnesium Deficiency Can Be Problematic
As mentioned, magnesium supports heart health through a number of different mechanisms.14 For starters, it combats inflammation, which helps prevent high blood pressure and hardening of your arteries. It also improves blood flow by relaxing your arteries and preventing your blood from thickening.
Magnesium also plays a role in the creation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy currency of your body.15,16 Needless to say, without sufficient energy, cellular functions throughout your body will suffer, creating a cascade of dysfunction. Your heart in particular, being a very heavy energy user, needs sufficient amounts of ATP to function properly.
Magnesium also affects your mitochondrial function and health, as it’s required both for increasing the number of mitochondria in your cells and for increasing mitochondrial efficiency.
Basic effects such as these can account for why magnesium insufficiency has been linked to a higher risk for high blood pressure,17 cardiovascular disease, arrhythmias, stroke18 and sudden cardiac death.19
A 2018 paper20 in the Open Heart journal also warns that even subclinical deficiency can result in heart problems, and that most people need at least 300 milligrams more magnesium per day than the current recommended dietary allowance prescribes. According to the authors:
“… While the recommended … dietary allowance for magnesium (between 300 and 420 mg /day for most people) may prevent frank magnesium deficiency, it is unlikely to provide optimal health and longevity, which should be the ultimate goal.”
The theory that we may need more magnesium than is currently recognized is also supported by a 2016 meta-analysis,21 in which all-cause mortality was lowered by 10% simply by increasing magnesium intake by 100 mg per day.
Magnesium Is Important for Brain Health Too
Magnesium is also important for brain health and the prevention of dementia. Memory impairment occurs when the connections (synapses) between brain cells diminish. While many factors can come into play, magnesium is an important one. As noted by Dr. David Perlmutter, a neurologist and fellow of the American College of Nutrition:22
“It has now been discovered that magnesium is a critical player in the activation of nerve channels that are involved in synaptic plasticity. That means that magnesium is critical for the physiological events that are fundamental to the processes of learning and memory.
As it turns out, one form of magnesium, magnesium threonate, has the unique ability to permeate the brain and enhance the receptors that are involved in this process.”
The specific brain benefits of magnesium threonate were demonstrated in a 2010 study23 published in the journal Neuron, which found this form of magnesium enhanced “learning abilities, working memory, and short- and long-term memory in rats.” According to the authors:24
“Our findings suggest that an increase in brain magnesium enhances both short-term synaptic facilitation and long-term potentiation and improves learning and memory functions.”
Magnesium is also a well-recognized stress reliever,25 and by catalyzing mood-regulating neurotransmitters like serotonin, it helps prevent anxiety and depression.26
Research27 published in 2015 found a significant association between very low magnesium intake and depression, especially in younger adults. A study28 published in PLOS ONE demonstrated magnesium supplementation improved mild-to-moderate depression in adults, with beneficial effects occurring within two weeks of treatment.
How to Assess Your Magnesium Status
When it comes to measuring your magnesium level, your best bet is an RBC magnesium test, which measures the amount of magnesium in your red blood cells. Tracking any symptoms of magnesium deficiency is also recommended, as your need may be higher or lower depending on your lifestyle and health status.
Common signs and symptoms of magnesium insufficiency include but are not limited to the following.29,30 A more exhaustive symptom’s list can be found in Dr. Carolyn Dean’s blog post, “Gauging Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms.”31
- Seizures, muscle spasms (especially “charley horses” or spasms in your calf muscle that happen when you stretch your leg), eye twitches and or numbness or tingling in your extremities
- Insulin resistance
- High blood pressure, heart arrhythmias and/or coronary spasms
- Increased number of headaches and/or migraines
- Low energy, fatigue and/or loss of appetite
The “Trousseau sign”32 can also be used to assess your magnesium status. To check for this sign, a blood pressure cuff is inflated around your arm. The pressure should be greater than your systolic blood pressure and maintained for three minutes.
By occluding the brachial artery in your arm, spasms in your hand and forearm muscles are induced. If you are magnesium deficient, the lack of blood flow will cause your wrist and metacarpophalangeal joint to flex and your fingers to adduct. For a picture of this hand/wrist position, see Figure 1 in the paper “Trousseau Sign in Hypocalcemia.”33
Would You Benefit From Magnesium Supplementation?
A number of studies suggest magnesium insufficiency or deficiency are extremely common, both among adults34 and teens,35 in part due to the fact that most people eat a plant-deficient diet. Magnesium is actually part of the chlorophyll molecule responsible for the plant’s green color.
However, even if you eat plenty of greens, you may still not get enough, thanks to most soils being so depleted of minerals. Your body’s ability to absorb magnesium is also dependent on having sufficient amounts of selenium, parathyroid hormone and vitamins B6 and D.
Absorption is further hindered by excess ethanol, salt, coffee and phosphoric acid in soda, and things like sweating, stress, lack of sleep, excessive menstruation, certain drugs (especially diuretics and proton-pump inhibitors), insulin resistance and intense exercise can deplete your body of magnesium.36,37
Research shows just six to 12 weeks of strenuous physical activity can result in magnesium deficiency,38 likely due to increased magnesium demand in your skeletal muscle.
For all of these reasons, most people probably need to take supplemental magnesium. The RDA for magnesium is around 310 to 420 mg per day depending on your age and sex,39 but many experts believe you may need a minimum of 600 mg per day.40
I suspect many may benefit from amounts as high as 1 to 2 grams (1,000 to 2,000 mg) of elemental magnesium per day, as the extra magnesium may also help mitigate unavoidable exposures to electromagnetic fields (thanks to its calcium channel blocking effect). To learn more about this, see my previous article on how to reduce EMF exposure.
You can easily improve your magnesium status with an oral magnesium supplement. My personal preference is magnesium threonate, as it appears to be the most efficient at penetrating cell membranes, including your mitochondria and blood-brain barrier. You can learn more about this in “Cognitive Benefits of Magnesium L-Threonate.”
Magnesium Testing Is a Valuable Health Screen
Considering the importance of magnesium for good health — including cognition and heart health — it’s a good idea to measure your level. GrassrootsHealth Nutrient Research Institute, which has spearheaded research into vitamin D and omega-3, now also offers low-cost testing for magnesium.
Like its vitamin D and omega-3 projects, the Magnesium*PLUS Focus Project41 aims to identify the ideal dosage and level, the specific health outcomes associated with magnesium deficiency and sufficiency, the dose-response relationships and much more. As noted by GrassrootsHealth:42
“Measuring your nutrient status, adjusting intake as needed, and re-testing is the only way to tell if your nutrient intake is helping you achieve sufficient or desired nutrient status which is tied to particular health outcomes.
We will analyze the collected data and give participants feedback on how the magnesium could be working for them; we will publish scientific papers on key results, the first after meeting an enrollment target of 1,000 participants. There will be preliminary analyses and interim newsletters available for all during the enrollment phase.”
Adding the “Plus Elements” test to this magnesium test will also measure your selenium, zinc and copper levels, important trace elements that interact with magnesium, as well as three toxic heavy metals (lead, cadmium and mercury) that can interfere with and block availability of these essential elements.
- 1 New Hope Network January 31, 2013
- 2, 20, 30, 32, 38, 40 Open Heart 2018:e000668 (PDF)
- 3 The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, March 2018; 118: 181-189
- 4 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition December 1, 2018; 108(6): 1249-1258
- 5 Biomedicine 2016 Dec; 6(4): 20
- 6 Scientific American January 7, 2020
- 7 New England Journal of Medicine 1969; 280: 805-807
- 8, 10, 12, 13 International Journal of Preventive Medicine August 2013; 4(8): 866-875, Cardiovascular Disease
- 9 Encyclopedia Britannica, Hard Water Chemistry
- 11 J Am Diet Assoc. 2002 Nov;102(11):1658-62
- 14 Thyroidmom.com February 1, 2018
- 15 Journal of Biological Chemistry 1999 Oct 8;274(41):28853-6
- 16 Magnesium 1987;6(1):28-33
- 17 Medical News Today July 12, 2016
- 18, 19, 21 BMC Medicine, December 8, 2016; 14: 210
- 22 drperlmutter.com, Magnesium and Your Brain
- 23, 24 Neuron January 27, 2010; 65(2): 165-177
- 25 The Hearty Soul, Magnesium
- 26, 27 Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine 2015; 28(2):249-256
- 28 PLOS ONE June 27, 2017
- 29 Great Falls Tribune December 22, 2014
- 31 Carolyn Dean, Gauging Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms
- 33 Canadian Medical Association Journal May 17, 2011; 183(8): E498
- 34 Journal of Nutrition 2011 Oct;141(10):1847-54
- 35 Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics July 2014; 114(7): 1009-1022.e8
- 36 Medical Hypotheses 2001 Feb;56(2):163-70
- 37 Dr. Stephen Sinatra, Benefits of Magnesium Supplements for Heart Health
- 39 National Institutes of Health, Magnesium
- 41, 42 GrassrootsHealth Nutrient Research Institute, Magnesium*PLUS Focus Project
Reproduced from original article:
(NaturalHealth365) If asked about one of the very best foods to consume in order to lower cholesterol, reduce abdominal fat and decrease the risk of heart disease … it’s unlikely that most people would say: healthy fats. But, if you did say it, you would be correct … despite the “wisdom” of conventional thinking.
In truth, there is a lot of scientific research which demonstrates that there is no link between the consumption of “healthy fats” and the risk of developing serious conditions such as cardiovascular disease or cancer. Generally speaking, to avoid disease, the smarter choice is to focus on reducing our toxic burden and improve the quality of our diet – in every way imaginable.
The truth behind healthy fats
Conventionally-trained nutritionists tend to warn us that saturated fats and trans fats are unhealthy, and can raise levels of harmful LDL cholesterol. Of course, trans fats, or highly-processed (heated) vegetable oils should be avoided at all costs. But, are we being told the whole truth about healthy (saturated) fats?
The truth is: we can find healthy fats from flaxseed, coconut, hemp and olive oil. These oils contain varying amounts of the omega-6 polyunsaturated acid known as linoleic acid – which has been shown to have health-promoting qualities. And, yes, in moderate amounts, grass-fed meats or organic eggs are also a good source of healthy fats.
Wait a minute! What do the “experts” say about fat?
While past studies have indeed linked linoleic acid-rich diets with inflammation in animals, some researchers are beginning to state that these results don’t hold true for humans, who respond to fats differently. Of course, quality (and quantity) does matter – whenever talking about the risk of disease, as it relates to your diet.
So, do the “experts” advise against eating fat?
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Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health points out, “rather than adopting a low-fat diet, it’s more important to focus on eating beneficial “good” fats and avoiding harmful “bad” fats. Fat is an important part of a healthy diet.”
And, the Mayo Clinic says, “you don’t need to eliminate all fat from your diet. In fact, some fats actually help promote good health. But it’s wise to choose the healthier types of dietary fat and then enjoy them as part of a balanced diet.”
Bottom line, although it’s taking a long time to clear up, fat is not “bad” for you. But, toxic (highly processed) fats like, vegetable oils found in cookies are no good! I think you get the idea. Like we stated before, quality and quantity matters when it comes to food and your health.
Considered the “queen” of healthy oils: Is it really o.k. to consume olive oil?
A staple of the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet, olive oil has generous amounts of both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids – both of which are beneficial. Monounsaturated fatty acids lower LDL cholesterol while raising levels of healthy HDL cholesterol.
In addition, they help to regulate blood clotting and stabilize blood sugar levels.
Olive oil is also rich in vitamin E, an important antioxidant vitamin that can scavenge destructive free radicals and decrease disease-causing oxidative stress. In addition, it contains powerful anti-inflammatory polyphenols such as oleuropein and oleocanthal.
In a randomized controlled trial published just this week in Canadian Medical Association Journal, researchers found that extra-virgin olive oil – when used as part of the Mediterranean diet – can help reverse metabolic syndrome, a collection of unhealthy conditions that raises risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
Metabolic syndrome is indicated by excessive belly fat, low levels of beneficial HDL cholesterol, high blood pressure, and high levels of blood sugar and triglycerides.
Controlling your body weight: “Healthy” fat diets are better than “low-fat” diets
Participants in the olive oil group decreased their obesity and blood sugar levels at a much greater rate than those in the control group, which was counseled to eat a low-fat diet. In fact, close to a third of the olive oil group completely reversed their condition, and could no longer be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome by the end of the 4.8 year follow time period.
With roughly 33 percent of all Americans currently affected by metabolic syndrome, the good news about olive oil is particularly significant.
When it comes to oils that feature polyunsaturated fatty acids, it is the balance between the omega-3 and omega-6 acids that helps to determine their healthiness. Natural health experts tell us that both flaxseed oil and hemp oil contain optimal balances of PUFAs. Both of them feature an omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA, which has been shown to decrease inflammation.
The University of Maryland Medical Center notes that research shows a lower incidence of fatal heart attacks in people who eat a diet rich in ALA, and adds that ALA may even reduce the risk of heart arrhythmias, and – by decreasing the adhesiveness of blood platelets – cut the risk of a stroke as well.
For maximum health benefits, look for organic hemp and flaxseed oils that are labeled “high oleic.”
Coconut oil and the surprising effects on your health
Don’t forget the coconut oil, which imparts a light, delicious coconut flavor to recipes when used as a cooking or salad oil. This healthy oil boosts immunity, promotes good digestion, supports healthy thyroid function and fights abdominal fat.
It also increases levels of healthy HDL cholesterol, and helps to spur the conversion of cholesterol to pregnenolone – which in turn assists in the creation of important hormones. In a double-blind clinical study published in 2009 in Lipids, researchers found two tablespoons of coconut oil daily for 12 weeks promoted significant loss of abdominal fat in the study participants.
Isn’t coconut oil high in harmful saturated fat?
Although most of coconut oil’s fat is indeed of the saturated variety, many natural health experts point out that much of this fat consists of medium-chain fatty acids, which have not been implicated in chronic diseases in the same way longer-chain fatty acids have been.
Coconut oil proponents also point out that this tasty tropical oil is good for use in cooking, as it withstands relatively high temperatures without breaking down – up to about 350 degrees.
Are there any vegetable oils I should avoid?
Yes. Canola, soy and corn oils, despite their otherwise beneficial content of linoleic acid, are notorious for their content of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Unless you want to up your intake of genetically manipulated ingredients, these oils should be avoided.
So, how much fat is enough?
Of course, the recent research doesn’t suggest that you should guzzle down vegetable oils in unlimited quantities. Even with “healthy fats” … moderation is the key.
Experts say that consuming between two and four tablespoons of fat per day should be sufficient to achieve adequate linoleic acid levels in the body. In other words, a couple spoonfuls of coconut oil is good … but, a 24 oz. steak would be too much!
On a more serious note: according to the American Heart Association, fats – which universally contain nine calories a gram – should make up no more than 20 to 35 percent of your total calories. Although, some people may require more – depending on personal lifestyle habits and medical health profile.
And, it is not just cooking and salad oils that offer up healthy fat. You can also snack on whole organic foods that are rich in these good fats, and treat your body to healthy quantities of dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants galore.
For example, try eating organic avocados, some olives, and crunchy, satisfying sprouted nuts such as walnuts or almonds. And, don’t forget the health benefits of seeds like, sesame or pumpkin.
To sum up, we need to stop demonizing all fats. Our body needs healthy fats to help absorb fat-soluble nutrients. Naturally, if you’re concerned about your health (and need help with your diet) – seek the advise of a trusted, integrative healthcare provider and keep reading NaturalHealth365.
Sources for this article include:
Reproduced from original article:
January 18, 2020
- Sauna bathing can be used as an exercise mimetic (i.e., an exercise-mimicking tool) to increase your longevity and health span. Men using Finnish-style, dry heat sauna seven times per week cut their risk of death from fatal heart problems in half, compared to those who used it only once a week
- Compared to once-a-week sauna use, those who have four to seven sessions per week have a 61% lower risk for stroke. Heat stress from sauna bathing has also been shown to lower your risk of high blood pressure
- Heat stresses your heart and body similar to that of exercise, and produces many of the same results. As your body is subjected to heat stress, it gradually becomes acclimated to the heat, prompting a number of beneficial changes and adaptations
- Recent research has demonstrated that sauna bathing also helps modulate your autonomic nervous system, which governs your stress responses
- Many of the life extending benefits of sauna bathing are related to the workings of heat shock proteins, which protect protein structures and prevent protein aggregation
When it comes to improving your health, some of the simplest strategies can have a tremendous impact. Sweating in a sauna, for example, has many great health benefits, including expelling of toxins, improving blood circulation, killing disease-causing microbes and improving mitochondrial function.
The key word here is sweating. Just because you are in the sauna doesn’t mean you get the benefits. The sauna has to heat your core temperature up a few degrees, your heart rate needs to increase and you need to have a river of sweat, otherwise you simply will not get these benefits. This is important as many infrared saunas fail to heat you sufficiently to achieve these benefits.
Research has even shown that regular sauna use correlates with a reduced risk of death from any cause, including lethal cardiovascular events, and may help stave off Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
For example, researchers in Finland — a country where most homes come equipped with a sauna — found that men who used a sauna four to seven times a week for an average of 15 minutes had a 66% lower risk of developing dementia, and 65% lower risk of Alzheimer’s, compared to men who used the sauna just once a week.1,2
How Sauna Bathing Promotes Good Heart Health
Another long-term study3,4 by the same Finnish research team, published in JAMA Internal Medicine in 2015, revealed that men who used the Finnish-style, dry heat sauna seven times per week also cut their risk of death from fatal heart problems in half, compared to those who used it only once a week.
This held true even after confounding factors such as smoking, blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels were factored in. In regard to time, the greatest benefits were found among those who sweated it out for 19 minutes or more each session.
Both the duration and the frequency had dose dependent effects, so the longer the exposure time of each session and the more frequent the sessions, the better the outcome.
One mechanism for this effect is thought to be related to the fact that heat stresses your heart and body similar to that of exercise, thus prompting similar effects. This includes increased blood flow to your heart and muscles (which increases athletic endurance) and increased muscle mass due to greater levels of heat-shock proteins and human growth hormone (HGH).
In the video lecture5,6 above, Rhonda Patrick, Ph.D., reviews how sauna bathing can be used as an exercise mimetic (i.e., an exercise-mimicking tool) to increase your longevity and health span. As noted by Patrick:7
“Several studies have shown that frequent sauna bathing (4-7 times per week, 174°F for 20 min.) is associated with a 50% lower risk for fatal heart disease, 60% lower risk for sudden cardiac death, 51% lower risk for stroke, and 46% lower risk for hypertension.
Just a single sauna session has been shown to lower blood pressure, improve heart rate variability, and improve arterial compliance. Some of the positive benefits of the sauna on heart health may have to do with similar physiological changes that also occur during physical exercise.
For example, there is a 50-70% redistribution of blood flow away from the core to the skin to facilitate sweating. You start to sweat. Heart rate increases up to 150 beats per minute which correspond to moderate-intensity physical exercise.
Cardiac output (which is a measure of the amount of work the heart performs in response to the body’s need for oxygen) increases by 60-70%. Immediately after sauna use, blood pressure and resting heart rate are lower than baseline similar to physical activity.”
What Studies Show
Patrick reviews several studies in her lecture. In addition to those already mentioned, a study8 published in 2018, using the same Finnish cohort, looked specifically at stroke risk over a follow-up period of 14.9 years. As in previous studies, benefits were dose dependent.
Compared to once-a-week sauna use, those who had four to seven sessions per week had a 61% lower risk for stroke. A similar association was found for ischemic stroke but not for hemorrhagic stroke. As noted by the authors:
“This long-term follow-up study shows that middle-aged to elderly men and women who take frequent sauna baths have a substantially reduced risk of new-onset stroke.”
Heat stress from sauna bathing has also been shown to lower your risk of high blood pressure. In one such study,9 which had a median follow-up of 24.7 years, the hazard ratio for high blood pressure in those using the sauna two to three times a week was 0.76, compared to 0.54 for those using it four to seven times a week.
In other words, using it two to three times a week may lower your risk of high blood pressure by 24%, while using it four to seven times a week can push your risk down by 46%, and this is likely one of the mechanisms by which sauna bathing helps lower your cardiovascular mortality risk.
Even a single sauna session has been shown to reduce pulse wave velocity, blood pressure, mean arterial pressure and left ventricular ejection time.10 Here, systolic blood pressure decreased from an average of 137 mm Hg before sauna bathing to 130 mm Hg afterward. Diastolic blood pressure decreased from 82 to 75 mm Hg, mean arterial pressure from 99.4 to 93.6 mm Hg and left ventricular ejection time from 307 to 278 m/s.
Different Types of Saunas
Most studies on sauna use involve wet Finnish saunas. Traditionally, rocks are heated to a temperature of about 174 degrees Fahrenheit in a wood burning stove, and water is then poured on the rocks to create steam.
But there are several other types of saunas to choose from as well, including far-infrared saunas and near-infrared emitters and lamps.11 Most sauna makers would have you believe that the difference between an infrared sauna and the traditional Finnish-style saunas (whether wet or dry) is that the Finnish-style sauna heats you up from the outside in, like an oven.
But this is simply untrue. The wavelengths of a far-infrared sauna only penetrate a few millimeters, so if you have a far-infrared sauna, unless the temperature in the sauna is around 170 degrees F, it is unlikely you will be getting many benefits.
That said, near-infrared saunas have several additional benefits over other types of saunas, including far-infrared saunas. For starters, it penetrates your tissue more effectively than far-infrared because wavelengths under 900 nanometers (nm) in the near-infrared are not absorbed by water like the higher wavelengths in mid- and far-infrared, and thus can penetrate tissues more deeply.
When you look at the rainbow spectrum, the visible part of light ends in red. Infrared-A (near-infrared) is the beginning of the invisible light spectrum following red. This in turn is followed by infrared-B (mid-infrared) and infrared-C (far-infrared).
While they cannot be seen, the mid- and far-infrared range can be felt as heat. This does not apply to near-infrared, however, which has a wavelength between 700 and 1,400 nm. To learn more about this, see my interview with Dr. Alexander Wunsch, a world class expert on photobiology.
Near-Infrared Radiation Is Important for Optimal Health
My personal sauna preference is the near-infrared, as this range affects your health in a number of important ways,12 primarily through its interaction with chromophores in your body.
Chromophores are molecules that absorb light, found in your mitochondria and in water molecules. (To make sure the near-infrared rays can penetrate your skin, avoid wearing clothing when using a near-infrared sauna.)
In your mitochondria, there’s a specific light-absorbing molecule called cytochrome c oxidase (CCO), which is part of the mitochondrial electron transport chain and absorbs near-infrared light around 830 nm.
CCO is involved in the energy production within the mitochondria. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) — cellular energy — is the end product. ATP is the fuel your cells need for all of their varied functions, including ion transport, synthesizing and metabolism.
Most people don’t realize that light is an important and necessary fuel just like food. When your bare skin is exposed to near-infrared light, CCO will increase ATP production.
Near-infrared light is also healing and repairing, and helps optimize many other biological functions. (Its absence in artificial light sources like LEDs and fluorescents is what makes these light sources do dangerous to your health.)
We now know that mitochondrial dysfunction is at the heart of most health problems and chronic diseases, including many signs of aging. For these reasons, I strongly recommend using a sauna that offers a full spectrum of infrared radiation, not just far-infrared.
Just keep in mind that most infrared saunas emit dangerous electromagnetic fields (EMFs), so look for one that emits low or no non-native EMFs. You need to look beyond their claim and measure them, as many state they have no EMF but have only addressed magnetic fields and still generate off the chart electric fields. Ultimately, you need to independently validate any claims, as some of the biggest names in the business are doing this.
Far-Infrared Sauna Benefits Chronic Heart Conditions
All of that said, in her lecture, Patrick discusses the benefits of Waon Therapy or far-infrared dry sauna, which has been used in some studies. Far-infrared saunas typically have a max temperature of about 140 degrees F (60 degrees Celsius). Because it’s not as hot, the recommended duration is typically around 45 minutes, and the frequency is daily. Two studies looking at Waon Therapy for heart health include:
•A 2016 study13 that found Waon therapy was helpful for the management of chronic heart failure, improving endurance, heart size and overall status in hospitalized patients with advanced heart failure.
Patients used the far-infrared dry sauna, set at 140 degrees F., for 15 minutes a day for 10 days. Each session was followed by bed rest for 30 minutes, covered with a blanket.
•An earlier study,14 published in 2013, found Waon therapy improved myocardial perfusion in patients with chronically occluded coronary artery-related ischemia. Patients used the far-infrared dry sauna, set at 140 degrees F., for 15 minutes a day for three weeks. Each session was followed by bed rest for 30 minutes, covered with a blanket.
The best results were seen in patients with the highest summed stress score and summed difference score at baseline. The improvements were attributed to improved vascular endothelial function, and according to the authors, Waon therapy “could be a complementary and alternative tool in patients with severe coronary lesions not suitable for coronary intervention.”
How Your Body Responds to Heat
As mentioned, one of the reasons sauna bathing improves health has to do with the fact that it mimics the stress your body undergoes during exercise. While “stress” is typically perceived as a bad thing, intermittent stressors such as exercise and temporary heat stress actually produces beneficial physiological changes.
As explained by Patrick, once your core temperature reaches 102.2 degrees F. (39 degrees C), blood is redistributed away from your core toward the surface of your skin to facilitate sweating. You can easily get an inexpensive ear thermometer to measure and confirm that your temperature is reaching this level.
Your heart rate increases from about 60 beats per minute to about 150, equivalent to moderate intensity exercise, and your cardiac output increases by 60% to 70%. This process is the same whether your core temperature is raised by exercise or sitting still in a sauna.
As demonstrated in a June 2019 study,15,16 spending 25 relaxing minutes in a sauna has the same physical effects as bicycling on a stationary bike with a load of 100 watts for 25 minutes. Heart rate and blood pressure were found to be identical for both activities, with blood pressure and heart rate increasing during the sessions, followed by a drop below baseline levels afterward.
This prompted the researchers to conclude that “The acute heat exposure in the sauna is a burden comparable to moderate physical exercise,” and that “The sustained decrease in blood pressure after heat exposure suggests that the sauna bath will have a beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system.”17
Sauna Bathing Improves Autonomic Nervous System Balance
Recent research18 has also demonstrated that sauna bathing helps modulate your autonomic nervous system, which governs your stress responses.19 To examine the acute effects of a sauna session, the researchers looked at the participants’ heart rate variability (HRV), which is an indicator of your body’s capacity to respond to stress.
Your autonomic nervous system has two branches: the parasympathetic branch (“rest and digest”) and the sympathetic branch (“fight or flight”). HRV is an indicator for how these two branches are functioning. Higher HRV means your body is better equipped to handle stress. As reported in the abstract:
“A total of 93 participants … with cardiovascular risk factors were exposed to a single sauna session (duration: 30 min; temperature: 73 °C; humidity: 10-20%) and data on HRV variables were collected before, during and after sauna.
Time and frequency-domain HRV variables were significantly modified by the single sauna session, with most of HRV variables tending to return near to baseline values after 30 min recovery. Resting HR [heart rate] was lower at the end of recovery (68/min) compared to pre-sauna (77/min).
A sauna session transiently diminished the vagal component, whereas the cooling down period after sauna decreased low frequency power and increased high frequency power in HRV, favorably modulating the autonomic nervous system balance.
This study demonstrates that a session of sauna bathing induces an increase in HR. During the cooling down period from sauna bathing, HRV increased which indicates the dominant role of parasympathetic activity and decreased sympathetic activity of cardiac autonomic nervous system.
Future randomized controlled studies are needed to show if HR and HRV changes underpins the long-term cardiovascular effects induced by regular sauna bathing.”
Sauna Bathing Improves Longevity
Seeing how sauna bathing protects and improves heart and vascular health and lowers your risk of Alzheimer’s, it’s no major surprise to find that it also increases longevity. In fact, it’s precisely what you’d expect.
The 2015 JAMA Internal Medicine study20 mentioned earlier in this article also looked at all-cause mortality, in addition to sudden cardiac death, fatal coronary heart disease and fatal CVD.
Sauna bathing four to seven times a week lowered all-cause mortality by 40% after taking into account confounding factors such as age, blood pressure, smoking and other variables, while two to three sessions per week lowered it by 24%.
How Sauna Bathing Increases Longevity
As explained by Patrick, the life extending benefits of sauna bathing are related to the workings of heat shock proteins, which respond to stress (be it heat stress, exercise or fasting) by:
- Protecting protein structures, i.e., maintaining their proper three-dimensional properties inside your cells, which is crucial for their proper function
- Preventing protein aggregation (which is a hallmark of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s)
- Slowing muscular atrophy
Heat shock proteins have also been shown to play an important role in human longevity. Patrick cites a 2010 study21 showing the heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) gene plays a functional role in human survival and life extension.
This makes sense considering Hsp70 is an anti-inflammatory protein involved in cellular maintenance and repair mechanisms. So, whether you have one copy, two copies or are a non-carrier can influence your longevity.
If you are not one of the lucky carriers of this allele, you can boost your survival range by taking regular saunas, as it increases your heat shock proteins regardless. According to Patrick, heat shock proteins stay elevated for up to 48 hours after you’ve finished your sauna.
Another way by which sauna bathing increases longevity (and health span) is by lowering systemic inflammation, which not only plays a significant role in the aging process but also underpins virtually all chronic diseases that ultimately take a toll on life span. Sauna use has also been shown to increase anti-inflammatory biomarkers, such as IL-10.22
In one 2018 study,23 people who reported more frequent sauna use had lower C-reactive protein levels, which is a blood marker for inflammation. Sauna frequency of use and mean C-reactive protein levels were as follows:
- Once a week: 2.41 mmol/L
- Two to three times a week: 2.00 mmol/L
- Four to seven times a week: 1.65 mmol/L
A Sauna Can Be a Great Health Investment
As you can see, sauna bathing can go a long way toward improving your health and increasing your life span. Here, I’ve focused primarily on heart and cardiovascular health, but there are many other health benefits as well, including improved mood, pain reduction, increased metabolism, detoxification, skin rejuvenation, stress reduction and immune support, just to name a few.
To learn more, listen to Patrick’s lecture. You can also find more information in my previous articles, “Sauna Therapy May Reduce Risk of Dementia and Boost Brain Health,” “How to Achieve Superior Detoxification with Near-Infrared Light,” and “Are Saunas the Next Big Performance-Enhancing Drug?”
- 1 Age and Ageing March 2017; 46(2): 245-249
- 2 Reuters January 19, 2017
- 3, 20 JAMA Internal Medicine 2015;175(4):542-548
- 4 Reuters February 23, 2015
- 5 Youtube, Sauna Use as an Exercise Mimetic for Heart and Healthspan
- 6, 7 Youtube, Sauna Use as an Exercise Mimetic for Heart and Healthspan show notes
- 8 Neurology May 29, 2018; 90(22)
- 9 American Journal of Hypertension 2017 Nov 1;30(11):1120-1125
- 10 Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2018 Jan;25(2):130-138
- 11 Dr. Lawrence Wilson, Sauna Therapy
- 12 Dr. Lawrence Wilson, Benefits of Near Infrared Energy
- 13 Circulation Journal 2016;80(4):827-34
- 14 International Journal of Cardiology 2013 Jul 15;167(1):237-43
- 15, 17 Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 2019; 44: 218
- 16 Science Daily June 12, 2019
- 18 Complement Ther Med. 2019 Aug;45:190-197
- 19 Harvard Health Publishing March 2011, Updated May 1, 2018
- 21 Curr Pharm Des. 2010;16(7):796-801
- 22 Biomed Res Int. 2018 Feb 28;2018:1685368
- 23 European Journal of Epidemiology 2018 Mar;33(3):351-353
Written by Brenton Wight, researcher and LeanMachine
Copyright © Brenton Wight, LeanMachine
Doctors say there is no cure for Alzheimer’s Disease, in spite of over 80 billion dollars in research over the last few decades.
This is partly true, as there is no drug, no “magic bullet” to slow or stop this dreadful condition.
Hundreds of studies with new drugs have shown most of the time that those on a placebo did BETTER than those on the drug!
In rare cases, those on the drug did very slightly better, but any improvement was not enough to justify bringing the drug to market.
However, we CAN identify risk factors, and we CAN in most cases prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s, and we CAN in most cases reverse the disease, or at least ease the symptoms to give the patient and the carers a better quality of life.
If the intervention is soon enough, it CAN be CURED in some, but not all cases.
There is no miracle one-shot treatment, but a combination of many factors.
The time to start treatment is not when we are 60 and forget where the keys are, but from birth!
The lifetime changes we need to prevent Alzheimer’s will also prevent heart disease, diabetes, cancer and many other diseases, and give our lives vitality.
How many people are at risk?
In the USA, over 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, and around 14% of the population will eventually get Alzheimer’s, or around 45 million people.
Results in Australia are similar. Over 10% of the population over 65 have Alzheimer’s, and 30% of those over 85 have Alzheimer’s. In the decade from 2010 to 2020, deaths from Alzheimer’s has risen 20% and looks set to replace Cardiovascular disease as the Number 1 cause of death.
Many people now suffer from Early Onset Alzheimer’s, showing signs as young as 30 years of age.
In the USA, it is now the third leading cause of death, but these figures are understated. People do not actually die from Alzheimer’s – they die because the parts of the brain that control bodily functions shut down, so they die when their organs shut down.
The patient may die from pneumonia because the lungs now cannot function or some other organ fails to work and the Doctor or Coroner has to determine which organ failed.
This is a problem in every country, but some countries have very much reduced rates of Alzheimer’s, mainly due to better diets and reduced toxins.
Originally, there was no firm diagnosis without examining the brains of patients after death.
Researchers found that most patients had Amyloid Plaques in the brain, and also high levels of aluminium.
PET scans (Positron Emission Tomography) are used with a radioactive tracer (which binds to amyloid plaques) to determine the amount and location of amyloid plaques in the brain.
However, this diagnosis is still not conclusive, as many people have amyloid plaques, but no sign of any dementia even into old age, although these people have a higher risk. Often symptoms do not appear for decades after the start of amyloid plaque deposits. Other patients have no sign of Amyloid plaques but still have Alzheimer’s, so drugs developed to reduce Amyloid plaques have proven unsuccessful in prevention and treatment.
Standard blood tests for glucose level, triglycerides, kidney and liver function can help determine the risk. However, those with less than optimum blood results may die of Cardiovascular, Cancer or some other disease before Alzheimer’s sets in.
So the PET scan is used with other tests for cognitive performance to arrive at a diagnosis.
Who is at risk?
Genetics plays an important part, and so does diet, exercise, lifestyle and supplements.
Here are some risk factors, in no particular order:
- Age is the greatest risk factor. Dementia can affect about 10% of those over the age of 65, but 33% of those over 80
- Gender – Women represent over 60% of Alzheimer’s patients, but part of this may be due to their longer lifespans
- Gluten – Celiacs often have “Wheat Brain” causing disturbances, anxiety, depression and Alzheimer’s. Many dementia patients recover fully on a gluten free diet
- Prescription medications such as many sedatives, hypnotics, blood pressure, hay fever, insomnia, depression and arthritis medications are linked to higher risk of Alzheimer’s
- Anaesthetics are linked to Alzheimer’s. The more operations people have, the higher the risk
- High Blood Pressure (systolic over 140 in mid-life) doubles the risk of Alzheimer’s and increases vascular dementia by 600%, but blood pressure medications can be just as bad, so reduce it naturally without medication
- Sleep Apnea starves the brain of vital oxygen and increases risk of Alzheimer’s
- B-12 deficiency increases Alzheimer’s risk. Gastric Bypass Surgery, Celiac disease, vegan/vegetarian diets, antacids (like Nexium) and many medications all reduce availability and/or absorption of B-12
- Diabetes doubles the risk of Alzheimer’s (often called “Diabetes of the Brain” or “Type 3 Diabetes”)
- Vision problems increase Alzheimer’s risk. Opthalmologists can detect abnormal widths of blood vessels in the retina which can indicate early Alzheimer’s
- Tobacco – Smokers have double the risk for Alzheimer’s. Family and others breathing second-hand smoke also have higher risk
- Living alone after a partner’s death means we have six times the risk of Alzheimer’s, and those who divorce and live alone have three times the risk.
- Isolation is a significant risk factor for depression and dementia. Find a friend!
- Obesity is a risk. The lower the BMI (Body Mass Index) the lower the risk. Obesity raises risk by around 75%
- Family history increases the risk. See the Genetics section below, but environmental factors, diet and lifestyle choices can be passed on to children
- Education improves outcome, and lack of education increases Alzheimer’s risk. Studies suggest higher education increases “cognitive reserve” which may offset dementia symptoms
- Concussion or head trauma increases Alzheimer’s risk exponentially with the number and severity of head injuries
- Quality sleep is essential for the ability of the body to repair itself by flushing toxins from the brain
- Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to alcoholic dementia and higher risk of Alzheimer’s as well as many other health risks
- Mental activities improves the brain, physically and psychologically. Learn new things strengthens and develops new nerve cells
- Sedentary lifestyles are a large risk for the brain as well as the body. Exercise is a must for the brain and the body
- Chronic bladder disease increases risk
- Chronic Candida infections increase risk
Overcoming risk factors:
- Change the diet – see below
- Get regular, uninterrupted sleep
- Socialising, visiting friends, joining a group
- Crosswords, puzzles, new experiences, learning a musical instrument or another language
- Exercise helps control blood glucose levels, keeps excess weight down, increases oxygen and circulation, and joining a gym can also help with socialisation
- Use the many supplements available
There is a strong genetic predisposition to Alzheimer’s, but also there is a strong contribution of environment, diet and lifestyle.
Rates of Alzheimer’s disease have increased much faster than any genetic changes could have occurred.
This means that much is under our control, because even with a genetic predisposition, we can reduce risk with epigenetic (non-genetic influences on gene expression) changes.
Example: The most important genetic risk factor is the ApoE epsilon 4 allele (ApoE4), and 14% to 18% of the population has this gene.
Everyone carries two copies of the APOE gene, which makes the protein ApoE (apolipoprotein E).
There are three different types (alleles) of the APOE gene: E2, E3 and E4, and because we all have two copies of the gene, the combination determines our APOE “genotype” which can be any combination of the 2 copies: E2/E2, E2/E3, E2/E4, E3/E3, E3/E4, or E4/E4.
The majority of people have two E3 alleles (E3/E3) so this is defined as the “average risk”.
The E2 allele is the least common form, and if we have two E2 alleles (E2/E2) or one E2 and one E3 (E2/E3) we have about 40% REDUCED risk of Alzheimer’s.
The E4 allele, present in 14% to 20% of the population, increases the risk for Alzheimer’s, especially late-onset Alzheimer’s, but this does NOT mean that we will get Alzheimer’s disease if we have one or two copies of E4, as about one third of Alzheimer’s patients do not have even a single E4.
All it means is that our risk is increased, also increased is the risk of potential Alzheimer’s at a younger age.
To quantify the risk:
If we have no copies of E4, we still have around 9% risk of Alzheimer’s.
If we have a single copy of E4, our risk increases to around 30%.
If we have two copies of E4, risk is between 50% to 90% but in all cases, we CAN REDUCE the risk.
Many people are horrified to learn that they have up to a 90% risk of Alzheimer’s, but they need not be.
With some dietary, lifestyle and supplement changes, those at greatest risk can easily fall into the 10% who do NOT get Alzheimer’s.
SAD (Standard American Diet)
Genetic statistics above apply only to average people, typically Caucasians living in the Western World and consuming a typical Western diet of processed food, sugar, MSG, hydrogenated oils, chemicals, heavy metals, pesticides, insecticides and other toxic substances.
These statistics do NOT apply to those with a healthy diet of natural, organic food living in a low-toxin environment.
In fact, many people already down the cognitive decline have recovered on a healthy diet and sustained the improvement for several years, according to Dr Dale Bredesen who has been running a program for years now.
Dr Bredesen does not know how many more years it will be, but does know that patients on the program have removed the biochemical drivers which can be measured in blood tests, so so is very optimistic about their future health for many years to come.
Should we get genetic testing?
This is up to the individual. Some people would prefer not to know. Others want to know.
My father died from Alzheimer’s at about age 72 after many years in a Nursing Home, existing but without knowing who his family members were. So did my Grandmother on my Mother’s side, so I assume I may well have inherited a high genetic risk. I am now 73 as I revise this article. For me, testing is irrelevant, because I changed to a Paleo-style diet at age 63, which turned my life around.
From obese to lean, from grey hair to brown, from allergies to everything to allergies to nothing, from high blood pressure and triglycerides to normal, from poor physical strength to strong, fit and full of energy, from frequent headaches to none, from always getting sick to never getting sick.
If I had the genetic test and it was the worst result, I would only continue to do what I am doing now, using dietary and lifestyle modifications.
Have I halted Alzheimers? I hope so, but I often cannot remember some of the thousands of medical terms I have come across in my 10 years of research. Come back here in 27 years as I approach 100 and I will let you know how I have done.
Amyloid Plaques vs Tangles
Amyloid is a protein, normally found throughout the body. In Alzheimer’s, this protein divides improperly, creating beta amyloid which is toxic to brain neurons.
Amyloid is actually antimicrobial and has benefits for the body, but some people, especially those with the E4/E4 alleles cannot naturally break down these plaques, but there are dietary methods which can.
Not all Alzheimer’s patients have beta Amyloid plaques. About 10% of patients have neurofibrillary tangles which cause similar symptoms, but are also inclined to have more aggressive behavior.
Three Kinds of Alzheimer’s
Humans liberate amyloid as a protective response in the body to three different fundamental metabolic and toxic perturbations:
- Type 1: Characterized by systemic inflammation. Blood tests typically reveal high hs-CRP (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein), low albumin:globulin ratio,
and high cytokine levels such as interleukin-1 and interleukin-6. Imaging reveals temporoparietal reductions in glucose utilization.
Those at risk include people with chronic infections or inflammation from other causes, and the normal antimicrobial protective response liberates amyloids
- Type 2: Characterized by normal inflammation, but an atrophic (wasting away) profile, with reduced support from estradiol, progesterone, testosterone, insulin, and vitamin D, often with high homocysteine and insulin resistance. Imaging reveals temporoparietal reductions in glucose utilization. As NGF (Nerve Growth Factor) diminishes, amyloid production increases.
Type 2 in particular can be CAUSED by LOW cholesterol, resulting in atrophy (brain shrinkage), reduced hormone production, poor health and eventually Alzheimer’s.
All because we are taking statins that lower cholesterol, or we are not eating enough healthy fats.
We prevent our cells from doing what they are supposed to do, so we end up with a shrunken brain without the lipid (fat) content we need. A fat-free diet means atrophy of the brain.
See the Cholesterol Fraud and the Big Fat Lie sections below.
- Type 3: Different from types 1 and 2. Still β-amyloid positive and phospho-tau positive), but a younger onset (late 40s to early 60s).
Genotype ApoE is usually E3/E3 instead of E4/E4 or E3/E4 with little or no family history.
Onset usually follows a period of stress, depression, sleep loss, anesthesia, or menopause/andropause.
Memory loss is not a main symptom, instead there are cortical issues: dyscalculia (trouble with arithmetic), aphasia (trouble speaking or understanding speech – damage to the left side of the brain),
executive dysfunction (emotional or behavioural problems from frontal lobe issues).
Imaging studies often reveal extra-hippocampal disease, greater general cerebral atrophy and frontal-temporal-parietal abnormalities.
Lab results often reveal hypozincemia (low zinc) and/or a high copper:zinc ratio, and can indictate adrenal fatigue
(low pregnenolone, DHEA-S (dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate), and/or AM cortisol. Chronic infections like mycotoxins, Lyme, viral infections, HSV-1 (a herpes simplex virus) are all risk factors
Some patients have “Alzheimer’s type 1.5” where a combination of symptoms of both type 1 and 2 Alzheimer’s occurs.
Glycotoxicity (too much sugar in the brain) causes an insulin resistant brain. Combine this with AGEs (Advanced Glycation End products), and we have both inflammation from AGEs, plus atrophic withdrawal response because we are now resistant to insulin.
So we have a double condition of type 1 and type 2.
Type 3 patients often have MARCoNS (Multiple Antibiotic-Resistant Coagulase-Negative Staph), a colonisation of antibiotic-resistant staphylococcus in the nasal cavity.
Also high blood levels of TGF-beta-1 (Transforming Growth Factor beta-1), high C4A (a protein that in humans is encoded by the C4A gene), and low MSH (Melanocyte-Stimulating Hormone) is very common, typically with HLA-DR/DQ haplotypes shown by Dr Ritchie Shoemaker to be associated with CIRS.
Alzheimer’s from nose infections?
We have known for years that our healthy gut bacteria is essential to prevent almost every disease, and now research is looking at the rhinosinal microbiome, the healthy bacteria in our nose.
This is now becoming known as Inhalational Alzheimer’s.
The nose is the most direct route to the brain, and bad bacteria in the mucous lining of the airways can damage the brain.
Pathologists now believe there are unknown pathogens in the rhinencephalon, the “nose-smell” (olfacation) system.
Many Alzheimer’s patients start losing their sense of smell as one of the early signs of the disease, and this is probably why.
I am confident that my nasal bacteria is back to normal after having very bad allergies and taking antihistamines from when I was about 16 to when I was 63.
Allergies stopped when the bad diet stopped.
Dr. Susan Lynch at UCSF has found that the nose problem is not so much an unknown pathogen, but a lack of microbial diversity.
Beneficial microorganisms in the nose protect against many pathogens, and one of the best seems to be Lactobacillus sakei, used to make sake and kimchi.
This could explain why Japanese people have comparatively low rates of Alzheimer’s, although rates are rising in Japan because of the Western influence, with meat and dairy replacing rice as a staple food.
When Japanese people migrate to Western countries and adopt a Western diet, they have the same risk as anyone else.
So for the Japanese, it is not a genetic problem, but a diet problem, and this applies to everyone.
AGEs – Advanced Glycation End products
AGEs are formed when food cooked at high temperatures (over 120 degrees C) combines with sugar. AGEs are very damaging to the body, accelerating the ageing process and chronic disease.
AGEs worsen diabetes, kidney disease, Alzheimer’s, inflammation, atherosclerosis (stiffening of the arteries), cardiovascular disease and stroke.
AGEs cause glycation of LDL cholesterol, promoting oxidation, and oxidized LDL is a major factor in atherosclerosis.
AGEs form photosensitizers in the eye lens, leading to cataract development.
To reduce AGEs, never cook at high temperatures (steaming is best, always at 100 degrees C), eat plenty of raw food (salads, and small amounts of fruit), and eliminate all sugar and processed foods.
Drug companies have been trying for years to get rid of Amyloid plaques, thinking they are the cause of Alzheimer’s.
However, the body needs amyloid to protect the brain, so we need to look at what is causing the plaques instead of trying to get rid of them. Latest research shows that Amyloid plaques are antimicrobial, so can be both damaging and protecting!
Alzheimer’s – “Diabetes Type 3”
Some researchers are now labeling Alzheimer’s as “Diabetes Type 3” because sugar causes Alzheimer’s.
Sugar also causes diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and many more diseases, mainly due to processed foods.
As with diabetes, where sugar causes insulin resistance, we have insulin resistance in the brain, causing degeneration.
When the brain becomes insulin resistant, it means that glucose cannot enter the brain cells, so those cells die.
However, all is not lost. If we switch to a Ketonegic diet, we can feed our brain with fat instead of sugar. More on this diet below.
Diagnosing the type of Alzheimer’s
Unlike cancer, where we can biopsy a tumour, we must look at historical, biochemical, genetic, imaging, and function information to determine the type of Alzheimer’s.
Of course this rarely happens except in research applications. The doctor simply says the patient has Alzheimer’s and may give a drug which in the long term will not make much difference.
This is a shame, because about half of all cases can be halted, and in some cases substantially improved, by reverting to the correct diet.
Even better would be to eat a correct diet from birth, reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s to near zero, as well as preventing cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other modern diseases.
Physical exercise is extremely important to keep the brain and body healthy.
Researchers are not sure why, but LeanMachine says it is obvious:
Exercise burns off the high glucose levels that cause “Diabetes of the Brain” and exercise boosts oxygen levels and circulation in the brain.
Any type of exercise is beneficial, such as:
- Walking, jogging or running
- Push-ups, chin-ups
Exercises have the added benefit of socialisation in a group, such as:
- Join a gym
- Tai-Chi or Yoga classes
- Athletics clubs
- Dancing classes
Exercising the Brain
The body has a disturbing property: Anything not used for a while gets broken down to be used somewhere else.
If we do not use a muscle for a week, the body starts breaking it down.
But if we exercise regularly, we stop muscles wasting, and we actually build up our muscles.
If we do not use parts of the brain, the body starts breaking it down.
But if we exercise our brain, we can hang on to the parts we use, and develop new pathways to replace parts we have lost. Exercises such as:
- Learning a new language
- Playing a musical instrument
- Crossword or other puzzles
- Socialising in groups or clubs
Meditation is not normally seen as exercise for the brain, but sitting in a quiet, dark room away from all daily distractions not only promotes a calming effect, but increases various brain-saving hormones.
Meditation, like dreaming, helps the brain sort out the junk memories and recent problems by concentrating on things that have made us feel good in the past.
We may have pleasant memories like sitting on a sandy beach listening to the waves rolling in on a beautiful sunny day. By concentrating on peaceful and pleasant memories, we forget problems with out hectic daily life.
The modern diet is lacking in vitamins, minerals, amino acids and other nutrients, mainly because of:
- Over-farming – growing the same food in the same ground year after year, depleting these vital elements
- Over-processing – hydrogenation, adding sugar, adding chemicals, overheating
- Toxins from farming chemicals contaminates the environment
- Water is contaminated by fluoride and chlorine
The supplements everyone over 50 should take are:
Organic Coconut Oil, taken several times a day, a tablespoon at a time.
LeanMachine considers this one of the best prevention and treatment methods available for Alzheimer’s.
This encourages the body to burn healthy fats instead of sugar, called the Ketogenic Diet which burns ketones, which is what our ancestors did in their natural low-carb diets. See the Ketogenic Diet below.
Coconut oil appears to break down the amyloid plaque buildup in the brain. Perhaps the plaques are no longer required when the brain is fed by healthy fats instead of glucose.
Coconut oil is also the absolute best for cooking, replacing any other fat, because coconut oil remains stable at high temperatures, and is full of MCT (Medium Chain Triglycerides) which go straight to the liver to be burned as fuel, and cannot be stored as fat in the body.
Coconut oil also contains Lauric Acid, which keeps our skin wrinkle-free and healthy.
– PS (Phosphatidylserene) is a component of the cerebral cortex’s neuronal membrane, and can improve memory and mood, reduce stress, improve learning and more.
It does this by controlling input and production of choline, acetylcholine, norepinephrine, dopamine and glucose.
– Vitamin B-12 because as we age, our stomach acid levels drop, preventing the high-acid conditions required for B-12 absorption from food. Even more essential for vegans and vegetarians as B-12 mainly comes from animal products.
– B-group vitamins because these are vitally important for nerves and brain health.
– ALA (Alpha Lipoic Acid) as an antioxidant to help remove heavy metals from the brain, reduce inflammation, and improve the effectiveness of votamins C and E.
– Vitamin D3 because over half the ageing population are taking statin medication (which they should NOT) and statins halt production of 7-dehydrocholesterol, the first step in the manufacture of vitamin D3. Worse, many of these seniors are in Aged Care facilities and never see the light of day, so cannot make vitamin D3 from sunlight. If they are ever taken outside, it is only early morning or late afternoon when they cannot get vitamin D3 anyway. More info in my Vitamin D3 article.
– Ginkgo Biloba is highly recommended to improve blood flow in the brain. Should not be used in conjunction with prescription blood thinners.
– TMG (Trimethylglycine) is an effective methyl donor for the facilitation of methylation processes. Supports a healthy homocysteine level, which in turn supports healthy cardiovascular function and helps prevent Alzheimer’s. Homocysteine, a damaging amino acid, with the aid of TMG, is turned into methionine, a safe and beneficial amino acid. Methylation is essential for DNA repair and production of SAMe, which helps joints, lifts mood, fights depression and protects brain cells from amyloid plaques. Read more in my TMG article.
– SAMe (S-Adenosyl Methionine) can help protect the brain and also help treat depression, anger, anxiety which are common symptoms in some Alzheimer’s patients.
– Vinpocetine has shown mixed results but mostly beneficial in limited human trials using 10mg 3 times daily.
– Vitamin E is recommended to improve the healthy fats in the brain and increase antioxidants.
– Benfotiamine with Leucine can help remove glucose and improve insulin resistance.
Many other supplements can help, including:
In addition, many supplements primarily used to treat diabetes will also help prevent Alzheimer’s.
The Cholesterol Fraud
Previous research indicated that high cholesterol was a risk factor for Alzheimer’s.
Again, this was wrong. Doctors started prescribing statin drugs for those people with high cholesterol, or those with signs of dementia with normal cholesterol.
What happened? They got Alzheimer’s WORSE and got it FASTER than patients who did NOT take statins.
Researchers only looked at total cholesterol which is a complete waste of time.
25% of the cholesterol in the body is in the brain, mainly in the myelin sheath.
Around 60% of our brain is fat, mainly in the form of cholesterol.
The myelin sheath (oligodendroglia) that surrounds and protects our neurons are 70% cholesterol, 30% protein.
Starve the brain of healthy fat, and we get Alzheimer’s. Almost guaranteed.
Reduce cholesterol and what happens? The protective myelin sheaths break down as they are starved of cholesterol, allowing the brain cells to be damaged. Damage them enough, and they die. Then we have dementia. Damage enough cells, and the brain can no longer support our basic functions, like breathing. Then we die.
This is why statin drugs are BAD.
Sure, in some cases, they can slightly reduce risk of heart attacks, but they INCREASE death from all other causes, including Alzheimer’s.
The net result is that on average, we will not live a day longer on statin medication.
Statins will give us lousy final years with muscle breakdown, osteoporosis, more sickness and dementia.
We need plenty of healthy fats like coconut oil, walnuts, avocados, fish, eggs, butter from grass-fed cows, unheated olive oil.
We must NOT consume bad fats: Canola oil, margarine, anything hydrogenated, anything heated over 120 degrees C.
Cholesterol is NOT the enemy.
We NEED cholesterol, especially HDL (High Density Lipoprotein) cholesterol which reduces inflammation, and helps clean up the body (like a garbage collector). Without HDL Cholesterol, we die within 24 hours.
We also need LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein), still incorrectly called “bad” cholesterol, as we die without it.
LDL has antimicrobial effects, so the idea that we should drive it down to zero is ludicrous. LDL is essential to transport nutrients around the body (and into the brain) as well as helping the body manufacture hormones and other important products. LDL was essential for our evolutionary ancestors millions of years ago, and we still need it.
The brain is mostly fat, and 40% of the brain is CHOLESTEROL.
Many things that were protective in our native environment are problems in our modern environment, but if we go back to our ancestral diet, problems are resolved.
Studies show time after time that people with low cholesterol die young, while people with normal to high cholesterol live longest.
These studies are ignored by the big drug companies. Because statin sales make them billions of dollars, of course they continue the Big Cholesterol Lie, one of the biggest frauds in medical history. Their own study showed increased deaths and terrible side effects so they stopped the study short at that time, supposedly to “save patient’s lives” when the opposite was true.
The dangerous cholesterol is VLDL (Very Low Density Lipoprotein) which cannot easily be tested.
Because triglycerides contain some VLDL, labs estimate VLDL value by simply taking a percentage of triglycerides.
High triglycerides are much more of a danger signal than high cholesterol, and are almost always related to obesity, poor diet of processed foods, especially dangerous fats.
The Big Fat Lie
We have been told for decades that fat is bad for us.
Forget about “low fat” or “fat free” diets.
Another big fat lie, coming from a scientist who plucked figures out of a study to suit an argument he was proposing.
When the data was analysed completely, many decades later, it showed the complete opposite.
The largest and longest study in the world was the Framingham study which showed that those who ate the most fat lived longer than those who ate the least.
Fat is not unhealthy in general, in fact it is essential for health.
The UNHEALTHY fats are man-made artificial fats (margarine, Canola oil) and other processed fats that are hydrogenated to improve shelf life and heated to extremes during manufacture, often going rancid in the process, causing oxidised VLDL (Very Low Density Lipoprotein), the REAL dangerous “food”.
What is REALLY bad is carbohydrates, and when manufacturers remove fats from food, they replace them with carbohydrates, causing most “modern” diseases including Alzheimer’s and Diabetes.
The Ketogenic Diet
For the first two million years of human life on Earth, carbohydrate consumption was very low.
Carbohydrates were uncommon, with the majority of food being nuts, seeds, eggs, fish, fruit and vegetables. Meat was eaten very rarely when an animal was killed.
These people did not burn carbohydrates for energy, they burned FAT. In particular, ketones, the basis of the ketogenic diet.
A ketogenic diet means maintaining a fasting state of ketosis. Ketones are produced when the body is in a state of ketosis.
Ketones fuel cells using a different pathway from glucose.
Glucose has to have insulin to allow glucose into cells, but as we all should know, our typical modern diet is loaded with carbohydrates, forcing the pancreas into overdrive making enough insulin.
Eventually our cells become insulin resistant, so the pancreas produces even more insulin to force glucose into the cells, creating even more insulin resistance.
We are now a full-blown diabetic, and when the pancreas starts shutting down, we need insulin injections for the rest of our life.
However, when we feed the cells with ketones, they simply enter the cell naturally, and do NOT require insulin or anything else to do so.
This is critically important for five of our modern diseases: Obesity, Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular and Alzheimer’s, all caused or aggravated by high blood glucose, bad fats and inflammation.
Ketones are also signaling molecules as well.
Benefits of the ketogenic diet include:
- Helps the body express new restorative and healing genes
- Reduces inflammation (underlying cause of nearly every disease)
- Stimulates the immune system
- Aids weight loss
- Stops or slows degenerative disease
- Reduces risk of Alzheimer’s, Cancer, Cardiovascular, Diabetes and Obesity
The Anti-Alzheimer’s diet
Add these spices to every meal possible.
Of course they will spice up any meal, but also help clear the brain of problems and reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and many more modern illnesses.
- Sage – one of the best brain-saving spices
- Cloves – one of the most potent antioxidants
- Curry – a blend of other great spices
- Ginger – reduces inflammation and improves immunity
- Turmeric – for colour, flavour and Curcumin
- Ceylon Cinnamon – Better and safer than regular cinnamon
Ketogenic Diet – Healthy fats, intermittent fasting.
Read How Cyclical Ketosis can help combat Chronic Fatigue
Avoid Trans Fats
Read Trans Fats Linked to Increased Risk for Alzheimers
Avoid Processed Foods
Only shop in the greengrocer department at the Supermarket, preferably the organic section. Buy or grow your own real food. Nothing in a bag, box, tin because toxic ingredients are sure to be added.
Forget fried foods. Steaming is the best way to cook. Never Microwave. Eat raw salads daily.
This section often updated. Please come back soon (if you remember!)
Updated 20th January 2020, Copyright © 1999-2020 Brenton Wight and BJ&HJ Wight trading as Lean Machine abn 55293601285
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition, typically very painful, especially in response to pressure, and sometimes patients have symptoms like stiff muscles, joints and connective tissues.
Other symptoms often include depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance, difficulty swallowing, bowel and bladder problems, numbness and tingling, muscle spasms or twitching, weakness, nerve pain, palpitations,
cognitive dysfunction (“foggy thinking”).
Around 2% of the population are affected, usually between the ages of 20 and 50, although not all patients have all symptoms.
Women are nine times more likely than men to suffer from the condition, giving weight to the theory that hormones play a big part in the cause and treatment.
Diagnosis is difficult because there is no formal test. Symptoms are vague and similar to many other conditions.
Often patients with celiac disease are mistakenly diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, and do better on a gluten-free diet.
In fact, nearly everyone will do better on a gluten-free diet, or even better, a diet free from all grains, flour and any other product of grains, regardless of refined, wholemeal or any other form.
Some medical specialists say it is “all in the head” but few patients would agree with this!
Although there is no formal testing for fibromyalgia, the following tests should be arranged by the doctor to eliminate some factors that may indicate or aggravate Fibromyalgia:
- Ferritin (Iron Study) – A serum ferritin level under 50 ng/ml means a 650% increased risk for Fibromyalgia
- Thyroid Function – If autoimmune hypothyroidism is present, it should be treated first to see if Fibromyalgia symptoms subside
- Other autoimmune conditions – Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis and others can resemble Fibromyalgia symptoms and should be treated first
- CRP (C-Reactive Protein) – An inflammation marker. Source of any inflammation should be treated first
- The FM/a blood test (plasma and PBMC (Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells) – Tests cytokine concentration. Low cytokines may indicate Fibromyalgia
Doctors say there is no known cause or cure. However, some approaches can be very effective in reducing symptoms, including:
- Prescription medications may help, including DHEA (“mother of all hormones”), Pregabalin, duloxetine, thyroxine, and milnacipran (most effective), however many patients found zero benefit from any medications
- Acetyl L-carnitine
- DIM (diindolylmethane)
- Magnesium Glycinate
Fibromyalgia patients typically have lower magnesium levels than others
- Zinc with Copper
- D-Ribose. Studies show a 66% benefit for patients of Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome
- Coconut oil
- Active Folate
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D3 deficiency is common in fibromyalgia patients, especially those with anxiety and depression
- B-group vitamins
- Astaxanthin (powerful antioxidant, 500 times better than vitamin E)
- CoQ10 (Co-Enzyme Q10) 40% lower levels of Coenzyme Q10 are found in fibromyalgia patients, indicating probable benefit by supplementation, plus discontinuance of any statin medication
- Glutathione or
NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine) precursor to glutathione
- Digestive enzymes
- Baking soda
- Krill Oil
- Fish Oil
- MSM – Methylsulfonyl Methane reduces pain as well as improving tolerance to pain
- Apple cider vinegar
- Dark Chocolate (with at least 70% cocoa)
- Black Pepper
- Cayenne pepper
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Acupuncture – Acupressure or a TENS machine can help on the “hot spots” which can help de-sensitise those areas
- Physical Therapy. Often a Physiotherapist or even a Massage Therapist can help de-sensitise nerves and reduce tight muscles. Some Physiotherapists are aslo Acupuncturists
- Exercise will usually help relieve symptoms, even though this is the last thing that sufferers want to do
- Weight loss often helps, as the condition is more prevalent in overweight people
- Deep breathing – increases oxygen, decreasing inflammation and pain
- Mindfulness Training reduces psychological distress and depression
- Yoga, Tai-Chi and other stretching exercises are helpful as they stimulate the lymph glands, increasing our HDL (good cholesterol), improving waste product and toxin removal, also reducing pain, fatigue, mood, cortisol levels and improves coping ability
- Raw Food has been shown in studies to significantly improve the majority of fibromyalgia patients
- Vitamin C and Broccoli consumption in a study found that the combination of 100mg of vitamin C from food, plus a 400mg broccoli supplement reduced pain by 20% and decreased 17% in Fibromyalgia impact scores
Things to avoid
Exposures to toxins definitely increase fibromyalgia risk:
- Breast Implants have been linked to cancer, autoimmune disease, fibromyalgia and chronic pain
- Aspartame (an artificial sweetener) should be eliminated from the diet, as it turns into formaldehyde in the body, which can aggravate fibromyalgia.
Natural sweeteners such as Erythritol, Xylitol and pure Stevia are healthy alternatives
- MSG (MonoSodium Glutamate) should be eliminated from the diet. Known to cause headaches and fibromyalgia
- Vaccine Adjuvants containing mercury or aluminium have been shown to cause musculoskeletal pain conditions like fibromyalgia
- Fluoride comes from fluoridated tap water, foods irrigated with fluoridated water, toothpaste, dental treatments and antibiotics, and must be avoided. A fluoridated water supply should be switched to rainwater and/or install a Reverse Osmosis water system for all drinking and cooking. Ordinary water filters do not remove fluoride, and even boiling water makes little difference
Prescription Medications increase risk
Many prescription medications increase risk of fibromyalgia, or actually cause it.
- Statin Drugs reduce CoQ10 and vitamin D3, causing hundreds of health problems, including fibromyalgia and muscle pain, vastly outweighing any benefit in many cases
- Prescription antidepressants like Celexa (Citalopram), Paxil (Paroxetine) and Prozac (Fluoxetine) include fluoride which makes fibromyalgia even worse, and causes weight gain.
Antidepressants increase risk of cancer by over 40%, and most of the time do not work any better than a placebo
- Many drugs contain bromide, which is even worse than fluoride, and more easily displaces iodine from the thyroid gland
- Antibiotics destroy many bad bacteria, but also much of the good bacteria as well, compromising our immune system, which can take up to two years to rebuild
- Paracetamol, Panadol, Tylenol and other names for acetaminophen should be avoided as studies show them to start causing liver issues even at the recommended dose two 500 mg tablets four times a day (4000 mg) for a few days. Unfortunately, patients who experience a lot of pain invariably over-dose, and just a 50% increase starts causing severe liver damage. The advertising slogan “safe and effective” is one of the biggest lies of the drug industry, and the most common cause of liver poisoning in the Western world. The majority of all patients on the liver transplant waiting list are there because of Panadol overdose. Panadol also reacts with an enzyme in the body to destroy our natural glutathione, which is one of the body’s main defenses against pathogens, often called the “master antioxidant”. Less glutathione means more Fibromyalgia
Here is a list of some drugs commonly prescribed that contain Fluoride or Bromide, two halogens that displace iodine from the thyroid and cause hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s disease, depression, weight gain, hair loss, cancer, and will aggravate Fibromyalgia:
- Advair (fluticasone) – fluoride
- Alphagen (brimonidine) – bromide
- Atrovent (Ipratropium) – bromide
- Avelox (moxifloxacin) – fluoride
- Adovart (dulasteride) – fluoride
- Celebrex (celecoxib) – fluoride
- Celexa (citalopram) – fluoride and bromide
- Cipro (ciprofloxacin) – fluoride
- Clinoril (sulindac) – fluoride
- Combivent (from the ipratropium) – bromide
- Crestor (rosuvastatin) – fluoride
- Diflucan (fluconazole) – fluoride
- DuoNeb (nebulized Combivent) – fluoride
- Enablex (darifenacin) – bromide
- Flonase (fluticasone) – fluoride
- Flovent (fluticasone) – fluoride
- Guaifenex DM (dextromethorphan) – bromide
- Lescol (fluvastatin) – fluoride
- Levaquin (levofloxacin) – fluoride
- Lexapro (escitalopram) – fluoride
- Lipitor (atorvastatin) – fluoride
- Lotrisone topical cream – fluoride
- Paxil (paroxetine) – fluoride
- Prevacid (lansoprazole) – fluoride
- Protonix (pantoprazole) – fluoride
- Prozac (fluoxetine) – fluoride
- Pulmicort (budesonide) – fluoride
- Razadyne (galantamine) – bromide
- Risperdal (risperidone) – fluoride
- Spiriva (tiotropium) – bromide
- Tobra Dex (from dexamethasone) – fluoride
- Travatan (travoprost) – fluoride
- Triamcinolone – fluoride
- Vigamox (moxifloxacin) – fluoride
- Vytorin (from eztimibe) – fluoride
- Zetia (eztimibe) – fluoride
An immune response to intestinal bacteria may cause some symptoms, so an alkaline diet with plenty of enzyme-rich raw vegetables and fresh fruit may help, along with a little cheese, yogurt, whey, fermented vegetables such as Sauerkraut, and/or supplemental probiotics such as Acidophilus
to build up beneficial intestinal bacteria. 75% of our immune system is in the gut, and this is where the immune system often first breaks down.
MSG (monosodium glutamate) has been shown to aggravate symptoms, so most processed food, which contains MSG, often hidden in the ingredients list by being called other names or chemicals, should be eliminated.
Eliminating yeast from the diet may also help. Yeast is a raising agent found in most breads and other flour-based baked foods, also Vegemite. Changing to a fresh food diet of vegetables and fruit can eliminate yeast, lose excess weight, build immunity and improve general health.
Casein from milk and other milk products may also help, although some people are sensitive to dairy products and do better with no milk or other dairy products.
Food allergies can be a problem and I would start by eliminating wheat, flour, bread, cakes, anything made from flour, sugar, soy, milk, corn, eggs and nuts for at least a week or two.
If that helps, introduce them back into the diet one at a time (except sugar, which should be omitted forever, and all flour products), until the culprit is found.
If that is not enough, see my Vaccinations article and read about the relationship between Panadol, Vaccinations, Glutathione and Autism.
Many Fibromyalgia patients also suffer from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) and SLE or Lupus (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus), but the above treatments can improve all of these conditions.
While these natural alternatives may not work for everyone, nearly all patients report improvement in their condition, and of course, these are all good for weight loss, fighting diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, better sleep, improved mood, reduced pain, better pain tolerance, building muscle and reduced cancer risk. Many patients are deficient in GH (growth hormone) so high-intensity exercise and weight loss will help by increasing natural production of Growth Hormone.
Updated 24th January 2020, Copyright © 1999-2020 Brenton Wight and BJ&HJ Wight trading as Lean Machine abn 55293601285
Reproduced from original article:
(NaturalHealth365) It’s hard to find a reason not to eat garlic. Aside from the wonderful depth of taste, the long list of garlic health benefits offer plenty of incentive to add it to dishes of all types. No wonder it’s one of the world’s most popular herbs! But, as many consumers are learning, Chinese garlic is definitely something to avoid – as you’ll soon see.
The reason? Garlic imported from this country is contaminated with potentially toxic chemicals – and the nation’s industry standards for cultivating garlic is leaving a really bad taste in people’s mouths.
Warning: Chinese garlic is contaminated with chemicals
Garlic is native to Asia and the Middle East and is a close relative to other vegetables from the onion family, including onions, leeks, chives, and shallots. And, although within the U.S., Gilroy, California has been nicknamed the “Garlic Capital of the World” – world trade practices have changed quite a bit over the years.
Botanically speaking, garlic is a veggie because it comes from an edible plant with leaves and a bulb, although most people consider garlic to be one of the most popular herbs in the world.
Proven garlic health benefits include improved blood pressure, decreased cholesterol, strengthened immune system, and a deceased risk of blood clots. Garlic has also been shown to be an effective antimicrobial and can help naturally treat conditions like asthma, bronchitis, and upper respiratory infections.
Do NOT ignore the health dangers linked to toxic indoor air. These chemicals – the ‘off-gassing’ of paints, mattresses, carpets and other home/office building materials – increase your risk of headaches, dementia, heart disease and cancer.
Get the BEST indoor air purification system – at the LOWEST price, exclusively for NaturalHealth365 readers. I, personally use this system in my home AND office. Click HERE to order now – before the sale ends.
But here’s the problem we as consumers are facing:
According to many health-related resources, about 80% of the world’s supply of organic garlic – yes, organic garlic – is shipped from China. And natural health watchdogs are finding that the standards and methods of “organic certification” in China is iffy at best.
For one thing, China is able to produce such cheap garlic because of the way its cultivated. Many Chinese farmers use bleach (yes, bleach!) to whiten their “organic” garlic and kill bugs on the harvest.
Chinese garlic also tends to be exposed to cold temperatures, treated with compounds that will control or inhibit its growth after harvest, and over-stored – all of which will decrease the amount of allicin found in garlic, which is a natural compound that’s a major factor in garlic health benefits.
Also, consider the serious pollution problem that China is facing right now. High levels of air pollution throughout the nation is directly linked to hundreds of thousands of deaths each year, and investigations indicate that Chinese soil and water are both loaded with heavy metals like cadmium and arsenic as well as high concentrations of fertilizers and pesticides.
Some Chinese garlic farmers are even believed to use pesticides and herbicides that contain illegal and powerful neurochemicals like parathion and phorate. There’s just no way that these harmful compounds aren’t getting into the food that the Chinese industry is shipping out to the rest of the world.
Really makes you wonder what’s on your plate, right?
Consuming garlic regularly will boost your health – here’s how to avoid low quality Chinese garlic
For what it’s worth, our team here at NaturalHealth365 uses organic garlic – grown locally. But, if that’s not possible – you may want to look at buying your garlic from Christopher Ranch or McFadden Farms. And, no, we are not being paid to suggest these companies!
Bottom line: no matter what garlic you go with, it’s clear that you should avoid garlic imported from China.
To help you avoid the troublesome herbs, here are a few tips:
- Chinese garlic tends to be lighter and less bulbous (an ingenious if not disingenuous hack used to save on shipping costs)
- Chinese garlic doesn’t taste as rich or bold as American organic garlic
- Chinese garlic typically has its roots removed, whereas American garlic does not
- Do your research on companies selling organic garlic powder – it’s possible that they are using imported garlic from China!
Lastly, for the ultimate peace of mind, buy your garlic from your local farmer’s market or consider growing it yourself.
Sources for this article include:
Reproduced from original article:
Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola
January 10, 2020
- Heart disease and cancer are the two top reasons people die in the U.S.; data show women who can exercise vigorously have a reduced risk of mortality from heart disease, cancer and other causes
- Women who have high cardiovascular fitness also enjoy a reduced risk of dementia, which may be related to higher levels of a protein responsible for improving mitochondrial biogenesis
- Combining intermittent fasting with the ketogenic diet plan may boost the health benefits and improve mitochondrial health. This includes not eating within three hours of going to bed to reduce free radical damage
- Lack of exercise is globally responsible for nearly 5 million deaths each year; the more you move and exercise the lower the potential rate of death. Aim to sit as little as possible during the day
Heart disease and cancer are the top two reasons people die in the U.S. The term heart disease is used to identify several types of conditions, including cardiovascular disease, coronary artery disease and heart attack. While many think of this as a man’s disease, the CDC1 reports almost as many women will die each year from it.
The most common type, coronary heart disease, affects 6.2% of women 20 and older. Many women report having no symptoms before experiencing a heart attack, but others may have symptoms of angina, nausea or fatigue. Diabetes, obesity, an unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity are all lifestyle choices that increase your risk for heart disease.
Each of these same factors increase your risk of cancer. Some of the types of cancer that more frequently affect women include breast, cervical, lung, colorectal and skin.2 Most cancers strike women after menopause, but gynecological cancers may happen at any time.
Every year 90,000 women are diagnosed with one form of gynecological cancer and 242,000 with breast cancer. The signs of gynecological cancers may be vague and mimic symptoms of other conditions, such as unexplained weight loss, constant fatigue, loss of appetite or feeling full, pain in the pelvis or a change in bowel habits.
Fitness Protects Women Against Risk of Premature Death
New data recently presented at the European Society of Cardiology3 strongly suggest that women who can exercise vigorously experience a significantly lower risk of mortality from heart disease, cancer and other causes. Although there have been multiple studies using male participants or mixed groups, the researchers proposed that information specific to women was scarce.
The study used data from 4,714 adult females who had undergone echocardiograms for known or suspected coronary artery disease. Treadmill stress tests were used with increasing intensity to measure fitness, which the researchers defined as a maximum workload of 10 metabolic equivalents (METs).
Women who were able to achieve 10 METs or more were compared to those who achieved less. A measurement of 10 METs is equivalent to walking up four flights of stairs fast without stopping or going up three flights quickly.
The researchers followed the participants for a median 4.6 years and found there were 345 deaths from cardiovascular disease, 164 from cancer and 203 from other causes. After adjusting for influencing factors, the findings revealed that women in the higher MET group had a lower risk of death from all measured causes.
By comparison, women in the lower fitness group experienced an annual rate of death nearly four times higher and the annual cancer death rate doubled. One researcher, Dr. Jesus Peteiro, noted the average age of participants was 64 years and 80% were from 50 to 75 years. He went on to comment:4
“Good exercise capacity predicted lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other causes. Looking at both examinations together, women whose heart works normally during exercise are unlikely to have a cardiovascular event.
But if their exercise capacity is poor, they are still at risk of death from cancer or other causes. The best situation is to have normal heart performance during exercise and good exercise capacity.”
The women underwent imaging of their heart during the treadmill test to assess function. Those with poor function during the test were more likely to succumb to cardiovascular disease during the follow-up period, but it was not predictive of death from other causes.5 Peteiro said: “The results were the same for women over 60 and less than 60, although the group under 50 was small.”
Cardiovascular Fitness Also Reduces Risk of Dementia
Staying fit is key to reducing your potential risk for many chronic diseases, including those affecting the central nervous system. Across the world there are 47 million who are living with dementia, and this is expected to increase to 75 million by 2030. You may be able to significantly slash this risk by taking simple steps to improve your cardiovascular fitness.
A study from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden showed women with the highest cardiovascular fitness had an 88% reduced risk of dementia as compared to those with moderate fitness. Even maintaining some fitness proved to have benefit as those with the lowest level experienced a 41% greater risk of dementia than those with average fitness.
The researchers did not assess how much exercise the participants engaged in but used an ergometer cycling test during which additional resistance was added as the women continued to cycle until they were exhausted. The authors wrote:
“These results suggest that cardiovascular fitness is associated with the sparing of brain tissue in aging humans. Furthermore, these results suggest a strong biological basis for the role of aerobic fitness in maintaining and enhancing central nervous system health and cognitive functioning in older adults.”
A second way fitness may protect neurological health is by increasing levels of PGC-1alpha responsible for improving mitochondrial biogenesis. Data reveal that those with Alzheimer’s have less PGC-1alpha in their brain. Cells containing more produce less of the toxic amyloid protein associated with the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Participants diagnosed with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s were enrolled in a four-month supervised exercise program. The results demonstrated they had fewer neuropsychiatric symptoms from the disease than the control group who did not exercise.
A progressive walking program in those with early Alzheimer’s disease led to improvements in cardiovascular fitness and functional ability. This in turn led to improved memory and increases in the size of the brain’s hippocampus.
Mitochondrial Function Linked to Reducing Risk of Disease
Your mitochondria are minute powerhouses in your cells producing a majority of the energy your body generates, as well as coordinating apoptosis, or programmed cell death, important in the prevention of malfunctioning cells that may turn into cancer.
Your brain is the most energy-dependent organ and therefore is particularly susceptible to impaired energy production. This process may then make the brain more susceptible to age-related disease.
As you age, the genes controlling mitochondrial energy generation may be turned down, and mitochondria are noted to be less dense and more fragmented. With insufficient energy and dysfunctional mitochondria, defective cells can survive and multiply.
There are several ways your mitochondria may be damaged, but much of it may result from superoxide free radicals. Although the production of superoxide is part of a normal process, when produced at higher than normal levels it damages the DNA in your mitochondria. This damage increases when you are not metabolically flexible.
That means you burn a higher percentage of carbohydrates for fuel than you do fat. The process of burning carbs leaks more electrons that combine with oxygen to form superoxide. High-carbohydrate processed foods prevent you from burning fat efficiently, which produces less oxidative stress than carbs. Your nutrition is also foundational to protecting your mitochondrial health.
Combining Nutritional Plan With Fitness Boosts Benefits
When you combine a strong nutritional plan to boost metabolic flexibility with cardiovascular fitness you build on the health benefits of both. For many years the standard dietary recommendations were three square meals a day with small snacks in between.
The most obvious risk of this eating plan is the potential of overeating. But, the less obvious risk is metabolic dysfunction, raising your risk of cancer, heart disease and dementia.
For a number of years, I have strongly advised against eating within three hours of going to bed. The authors of one study found that eating an early dinner, or skipping it entirely, changes the way the body metabolizes fat and carbohydrates. This improves fat burning and reduces hunger. The key in the study was eating the last meal of the day by the middle of the afternoon.
The only changes made to the participants’ meals was timing. The total number and types of calories remained the same. Results showed the participants were less hungry and experienced increased fat burning during the evening hours, along with improved metabolic flexibility. It appears that late night eating will boost free radical damage, negatively impacting mitochondrial function.
By taking advantage of your circadian rhythm you optimize your metabolism. During sleep your body requires less energy. Thus, if you eat right before bed, mitochondria produce excessive amounts of free radicals. In one study of 1,800 people with prostate and breast cancer, researchers found that meal timing reduced the risk of cancer.
They also found that those who awakened early had a higher risk of cancer when they ate dinner late in the evening compared to those who were more energetic at night. A very effective option is to combine intermittent fasting, extend the amount of time you go without food and follow a ketogenic diet.
Fasting upregulates autophagy and mitochondrial health, activating stem cells and stimulating mitochondrial biosynthesis. What many don’t realize is that many of these benefits happen during the refeeding phase, making what you eat foods that are essential to your optimal health.
In one study participants lost 3% of their body weight while practicing time restricted eating even though they didn’t change their nutritional choices. While they lost weight, they did not improve important disease parameters, including visceral fat, diastolic blood pressure, triglycerides, fasting glucose or fasting insulin.
When intermittent fasting is combined with a ketogenic diet it provides many of the same benefits of fasting, in addition to improvements in health such as increased muscle mass, improved insulin sensitivity, reduced inflammation, reduced risk of cancer and increased longevity.
Lack of Exercise May Be Worse Than Smoking
Exercise and nutrition are two of the best preventive strategies against many common health conditions. In one study scientists found that the lack of physical activity came with a global price tag of $67.5 billion in 2013 and that it causes more than 5 million deaths each year, while smoking kills 6 million.
Another group of researchers analyzed data on more than 120,000 people and found that cardiovascular fitness had a greater impact on risk of death than smoking, diabetes or heart disease. However, as important as cardiovascular fitness is, you’ll find you can’t out-exercise the number of hours you sit down.
The average U.S. adult will sit nine to 12 hours each day. While sitting is not inherently dangerous, the cumulative effects on your cardiovascular and musculoskeletal system can seriously impact your health and shorten your life.
In a four-year evaluation of 8,000 Americans over the age of 45, researchers found that those who moved more were healthier. There was also a correlation between death rate and the number of hours the participants spent sitting each day. The bare minimum of movement is 10 minutes for every hour of sitting. However, it is wiser to strive to sit as little as possible.
Sitting correctly requires greater muscle activation and will reduce your potential risk of lower back pain and strain. For specific instructions on how to sit right and for a list of some of the negative side effects of sitting for long periods, see “The Importance of Standing More, Sitting Less.”