December 31, 2012

197 Bones & Belly Fat [31 December 2012]

If you were thinking of slimming down as a New Year’s resolution, here is another reason to lose that belly fat. Visceral obesity (fancy name for a big fat gut) is now associated with osteoporosis and increased fracture risk in men.

The Osteoporotic Fractures in Men Study was designed to determine risk factors for osteoporosis in men. Their report in November 2012 to the 98th Scientific Assembly of the Radiological Society of North America included the surprising news that “…obesity in men does not protect against osteoporosis, as previously thought. And visceral fat is detrimental to bone strength.” This is considered surprising because it was believed that obese people would have stronger bones resulting from the additional stress load.

It shouldn’t have come as too big a surprise though. Visceral fat had previously been linked to osteoporosis in women, and another study found that adolescent girls with high visceral fat had reduced bone strength and mineral density. This was the first study looking at men.

Other health risks associated with visceral fat include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and even a higher risk of Alzheimer’s later in life. For more on the health risks of belly fat see my column #192 November 19, 2012.

So if you are carrying around a “spare tire” why not make slimming down your New Year’s resolution? We can help turn your dream weight into reality. The 35 dieters that have been on the Ideal Protein program at the Rosetown clinic to date have lost a total of 801 pounds. Stop in and ask for a free Body Composition Analysis (BCA) reading and discover what your body fat % and risk category are.

Sources: “Visceral Obesity May Increase Risk for Osteoporosis in Men” 30 Nov 2012; and “Belly Fat Bad for Men’s Bones” 15 Dec 2012.

For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.

December 17, 2012

196 Vitamin D and Cancer [17 Dec 2012]

I first wrote on this topic 3 years ago in Column #42, 14 December 2009. In that column I reviewed a study estimating that raising vitamin D levels could prevent 58,000 cases of breast cancer and 49,000 cases of colorectal cancer in the US and Canada each year and prevent 75% of the deaths from these two cancers alone. Another researcher listed 16 different cancers that vitamin D has been shown to reduce including pancreatic, lung, ovarian, prostate and skin cancers, and estimated that 30% of cancer deaths worldwide could be prevented with higher levels of vitamin D.

Professor John White and associates at McGill have recently discovered a possible mechanism for vitamin D’s protective effect on cancer. Vitamin D suppresses cMYC, an RNA protein that causes cell proliferation and is known to be more active in cancer cells (note: estrogens increase cMYC activity). It also enhances the expression of MXD1 a protein that is antagonistic to cMYC.

White was quoted in a report on the study by Nathan Gray in
“Our results show that vitamin D puts the brakes on cMYC function, suggesting that it may slow the progression of cells from premalignant to malignant states and keep their proliferation in check… We hope that our research will encourage people to maintain adequate vitamin D supplementation and will stimulate the development of large, well-controlled cancer chemoprevention trials to test the effects of adequate supplementation.”

So what is adequate supplementation? Some vitamin D researchers consider the optimal range to be 50 – 65 ng/ml with the most protection at the higher end of the range. Cancer treatment would fall in the 65 – 90 range. Levels over 100 are now considered high. To achieve the optimal range, the current recommendation for supplementation is 35 IU per pound of body weight. At 200 lbs I would need 7,000 IU per day. This value would vary with season, sun exposure and skin color.

For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.

December 10, 2012

195 GE Corn – the French Study [10 Dec 2012]

The first long term independent study for safety of a genetically engineered food crop was conducted in France and the results published this September in the peer-reviewed Food and Chemical Toxicology. The study followed rats fed a genetically engineered glyphosate-tolerant corn (NK603) and/or glyphosate at 0.1ppb in water (the amount allowed in US drinking water) over two years. Control animals were fed conventional corn and pure water.

The results proved devastating to the industry’s claim that GE crops are not substantially different so safety tests are not necessary. Compared to the control animals, the rats fed the GE corn and or glyphosate water much more frequently developed massive tumors and kidney and liver damage. Female rats developed large mammary tumors earlier and more often and they died 2-3 times more often and much earlier. The pituitary gland was also frequently disabled. Males developed much higher rates of liver congestion and necrosis. Males also developed 4 times more large tumors and up to 300 days earlier. And by large I mean golf-ball size – in rats! Severe kidney damage occurred in much higher rates in both sexes. The gender differences can be explained by the known endocrine-disrupting effects of glyphosate.

Industry officials countered this by repeating that numerous peer-reviewed scientific studies confirmed the safety of biotech crops. But the longest feeding study prior to this one was stopped after only 3 months. Interestingly in the French study the tumors and liver and kidney damage began to show up at 4 months and peaked at 13 months. And while the biotech industry claims approval by some government regulatory agencies as evidence of safety, they decry governments who remain skeptical of biotech crop safety as pandering to the ignorant hysterical masses.

This study adds to the growing list of studies finding disturbing effects of GE crops and foods. You can see a summary of some of these studies here.

After reading about this study, would you feed GE corn to your livestock? Would you feed it to your children? Your livestock may not be eating it but you and your family are, without your knowledge. And no one is studying the effects it may be having on our health. Without labeling of GE foods and human studies we will never know to what extent they are responsible for the increase in cancer and other health issues in North America over the past decade. See Dr. Mercola's discussion of this topic for more information.

For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.

December 3, 2012

194 Fish Oil & Your Brain [3 December 2012]

The essential fatty acids (EFAs) found in fish oil are essential for brain development and function. Our brains are composed of 65% fat, mostly omega 3 EFAs. DHA, the most important of these for brain structure, makes up 40% of the EFAs in the brain and 60% in the retina of the eye. The ability to convert ALA (an omega 3 EFA from flax oil) to DHA and EPA (abundant in fish oil), is limited in infants and children, so supplementation is essential for optimal brain development.

Pregnancy and early childhood are critical for brain formation as 70% of the brain by weight is developed by birth and the remainder by age 5 or 6. Dr. Maharban Singh in a 2005 article published in the Indian Journal of Pediatrics recommends that pregnant and nursing mothers supplement with at least 2.6g of omega-3 fatty acids and 100-300 mg DHA daily. Infants of mothers supplemented with EFAs and DHA scored higher in mental and visual tests at age 4, had a lower incidence of ADHD, and had enhanced learning capability and academic performance. There are benefits for the mother too – depletion of DHA during pregnancy increases incidence of postpartum depression.

Two recent cases suggest another situation for significant potential benefit from fish oil supplementation – healing from traumatic brain injury. In 2006 Randal McLoy was the sole survivor from a coal mine disaster in W. Virginia. He was in a coma and barely alive, his brain injured from CO and methane poisoning. His medical team used hyperbaric oxygen and high doses of fish oil in their treatment. Randal’s recovery was dramatic and unexpected. In March of 2010 a Virginia high school student, Bobby Ghassemi, was in an auto accident that left him in a coma with little chance for survival. His parents persuaded his doctors to give him high doses of fish oil and he recovered sufficiently in time to attend his high school graduation. These two cases don’t provide conclusive proof, but at this time there is nothing else western medicine can offer to assist recovery from brain injury.

For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.