April 28, 2011

112 A Sabotaged Cancer Study [2 May 2011]

Nutritional programs for treating serious diseases like cancer are often criticized for not having controlled studies published in medical journals. Lack of funding for non-patentable therapies is one reason. Another is the reluctance of medical research organizations and the medical journals to become involved with “unconventional therapies”. Finally, even should a study be carried out, bias against the natural therapy can sabotage the results, as we shall see in the case of Dr Gonzalez.

Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez, a researcher at Sloan-Kettering, became interested in the results of Dr. William Kelley’s work with terminal cancer patients using a nutritional program. Gonzalez wrote a monograph on 22 of Kelley’s advanced pancreatic cancer cases: 10 didn’t follow the program (dissuaded by family or doctors) –average survival 60 days; 7 followed the program partially and incompletely – average survival 300 days; 5 completed the full program – average survival 8.5 years. One of these was still living, cancer-free, 29 years later. Despite, or perhaps because of, these remarkable findings, Gonzalez was unable to find a publisher for his monograph. Even with the help of Dr Robert Good, president of Sloan-Kettering and a very respected author, no journal would publish so much as one case study because the results were “too controversial”.

In 1993 the National Cancer Institute (NCI) supervised a pilot study (funded by NestlĂ© Foods) with Gonzalez of 11 patients with advanced “untreatable” pancreatic cancer. Completed in 1999, the study showed that of the 11, 5 survived 2 years; 4 survived 3 years and 2 survived 5 years. By comparison, a chemo drug was approved for pancreatic cancer based on 18% (of 126 patients) surviving 1 year with none surviving longer than 19 months. Next the NCI funded a large scale clinical trial to test the nutritional program against the best available chemo. Unfortunately a flawed methodology included patients so sick they were unable to eat or died before even starting the program. Gonzalez estimates only 5 or 6 of the 39 patients in his group were able to do the program. The study of course concluded that the nutritional therapy was of little or no benefit. For the complete story including an interview with Dr Gonzalez, search “Gonzalez” on www.mercola.com or go to http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/04/23/dr-nicholas-gonzalez-on-alternative-cancer-treatments.aspx

For information on the Kelley metabolic cancer program see this critique by Melina A. Roberts BSc. (Hons.) University of Waterloo, Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, published in the Townsend Letter June 2003. http://www.townsendletter.com/June2003/kelleycritique0603.htm

This article is intended for educational purposes only; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.

April 25, 2011

111 GE Benefits [25 April 2011]

Last week my column questioned the safety of genetically engineered foods; this week I will look at potential benefits. Promoters list increased yield, herbicide tolerance (reducing tillage), insect resistance, and drought and frost resistance (increasing range). In short, all the traits that conventional breeding has been working on for centuries, only greater and faster. Sounds wonderful, but how have these panned out so far?

Genetic engineering could potentially improve nutrient levels of foods (tomatoes with higher vitamin C for example) but for private companies to carry out the expensive research, the resulting crops have to be profitable either for the farmer or the company itself. Most of the registered GE crops to date have been engineered for herbicide resistance – particularly glyphosate (Roundup). Significant increases in the use of this herbicide is leading to proliferation of glyphosate-resistant “superweeds”, requiring even more herbicide use. A 2006 USDA report showed that with most GE crops yield and farm incomes have increased; with a few they have decreased.[http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/eib11/eib11.pdf] A 2009 report by the Union of Concerned Scientists “Failure to Yield” concludes “Traditional breeding [so far] outperforms genetic engineering hands down” [my insertion – Stan].
I would like to hear from some local canola producers of their experience.

To be fair, the industry is in its infancy and improved technology should eventually make the process cheaper, more accurate (safer) and more beneficial. But in the meantime adequate evaluation of the crops’ safety would increase the cost of production far beyond any added value. Thus the only way the industry can survive this period is to bypass all safety issues. At this, as discussed in last week’s column, they have been too successful. For more on this topic, see the website of The Institute for Responsible Technology [http://www.responsibletechnology.org].

April 18, 2011

110 GE Foods Revisited [18 March 2011]

A column in last week’s Eagle by agriculturalist Kevin Hursh promoted genetically engineered foods as the lowest risk pathway to feed a growing population. He assures us “there is not a single credible health concern [with GE crops]” and that “approval of new traits requires exhaustive research” implying that approval is based solely on sound science. I just wish that was true.

Jeffrey M. Smith in his books “Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies about the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Foods You’re Eating” (2003) and “Genetic Roulette: the Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods” (2007) documents the concerns of many scientists worldwide, and exposes how the biotech corporations managed to get their crops approved.

Smith’s second book, Genetic Roulette, describes 65 different health hazards of GE foods identified by animal studies. The list includes allergies, impaired immune system, infertility, changes in the GI tract and other major organs, accelerated aging, and premature death. I mentioned a few of these in my column on GM Foods a year ago (#53 March 8, 2010).

Genetic Roulette also documents the methods used by biotech corporations to obtain approval in the US and other countries: bribes and threats to government officials; flawed studies (poorly designed, manipulated data, critical omissions); critics silenced (scientists like Arpad Pusztai and Kirk Azevedo fired or threatened); repetition of their mantra “there is no difference” until everyone believes it; and painting of critics as ignorant anti-science crackpots.

For the full story, read these books and study the website of The Institute for Responsible Technology [www.responsibletechnology.org].

This article is intended for educational purposes only; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.

April 15, 2011

109 Diabetes Tips [11 April 2011]

I’m reading a book called “Diabetes without Drugs – the 5-Step Program to control blood sugar naturally and prevent diabetes complications” by Suzy Cohen RPh, 2010. Suzy is a pharmacist with more than 20 years experience and writes a syndicated health column “Dear Pharmacist”.

In Chapter 1 the book explains how chlorine bleaching of wheat flour creates a byproduct called alloxan which is a powerful toxin that kills Beta pancreatic cells (the ones which produce insulin). I always knew that white flour baking was bad for us because of the high glycemic index value, meaning that it quickly converts to sugar spiking our blood glucose levels. But I had no idea that it was actually killing our pancreas cells! Animal studies confirm that alloxan consumption increases the risk of diabetes. Lab animals are deliberately injected with alloxan to make them diabetic, but we do it to ourselves with doughnuts and muffins. Unbleached white flour, or better yet whole grain flour (with more of the original nutrients left in), is a healthier alternative. The author also recommends 400mg of mixed natural Vitamin E to counter oxidative damage by past consumption of bleached flour products.

Step 1 of the program is a green drink. Ideally, you should juice and drink your own organic raw veggies every morning, but if that’s not possible there are many great tasting healthy green products at your health food store. These nutritious tonics are loaded with vitamins, minerals, amino acids, chlorophyll, enzymes and antioxidants such as superoxide dismutase. This should be in addition to your recommended servings of fruit and vegetables (see The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention veggie calculator at www.fruitandveggiesmatter.gov).

Avoiding bleached flour and adding a green drink are only two ideas out of the 5 steps described in Cohen’s book. If you or someone you love has diabetes (or doesn’t want to ever get it), I recommend this book. You can read reviews and excerpts from the book here: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1605296759/optimalwellnessc

This article is intended for educational purposes only; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.

April 4, 2011

108 Bones & Vitamin K [4 April 2011]

My last two columns looked at four bone builders and how our body’s pH affects bone health. Continuing this theme, let’s examine the role of vitamin K in calcium metabolism.

To simplify the amazingly complex physiology of bone formation, vitamin D helps us absorb calcium while vitamin K directs it where we want it - into our bones, not our arteries and joints. Taking high doses of calcium has been associated with increased heart attacks, likely because of arterial calcification due to insufficient vitamin K. Vitamin K activates a bone-forming protein hormone called osteocalcin, allowing it to bind calcium into the bone matrix. At the same time, vitamin K assists vitamin D in promoting the production of Matrix GLA Protein which prevents calcium from attaching to artery walls. Studies have confirmed that increased vitamin K is associated with a lower risk of coronary heart disease.

Vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) goes to the liver where it is used in the blood clotting system. A diet high in raw vegetables should provide all the K1 you need. Vitamin K2 (menaquinone) is the form that helps builds strong bones and protects your arteries. K2 is produced by good bacteria in your colon; however, little is absorbed before being expelled from the body. The liver will convert some K1 to K2. Supplementing K2 will ensure that your bones will benefit from the calcium you ingest. The RDA of 120mcg for men and 90mcg for women is sufficient for blood clotting purposes, but for bone and heart health Dr. Mercola recommends 150 - 300mcg. There is no known toxicity with high levels of K1 and K2. The synthetic form, Vitamin K3, is toxic and should be avoided. Note: if you are taking a blood thinner like warfarin, you should consult your doctor before taking vitamin K.

For more information on Vitamin K see my column #76 from August 17, 2010 and Dr Mercola’s article of March 26, 2011 “The Missing Nutrient…” at http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/03/26/the-delicate-dance-between-vitamins-d-and-k.aspx

This article is intended for educational purposes only; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.