April 25, 2016

367 Vitamin D, Cancer & MS [25 April 2016]

Two recent vitamin D studies emphasize the importance of maintaining sufficient levels of this crucial vitamin.

In the most recent study, researchers combined the data from two previous studies – the Lappe cohort from Nebraska and the GrassrotsHealth cohort from San Diego – to examine the risk of cancer at different blood levels of vitamin D. They found that women with Vitamin D concentrations of 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/L) or more had a 67% lower risk of all types of cancer than women with concentrations less than 20 ng/ml (50 nmol/L). As previously reported in these columns, 100 - 150 nmol/L is now considered by many vitamin D researchers to be the optimum level for health. Both these studies looked at white women over 55 years of age, so the results can’t be extrapolated to the general population.

A study published in December 2015 in Neurology compared the effects of standard dose (800 IU) and high dose (10,400 IU) vitamin D in 40 patients with relapsing/remitting MS. The researchers found that the high dose group had lower blood levels of interleukin-17 T cells, which play a role in MS pathogenesis, than did the low dose group. Each 5 ng/ml rise in blood vitamin D levels above 18 ng/ml corresponded with a 1% fall in the percentage of interleukin-17 T cells. There was no reduction in the interleukin-17 T cell percentage in the low dose group.

Although 10,000 IU seems a very high dose, it is the blood level that counts. Previous research has found that MS patients often require extremely high intake of D to maintain normal blood levels. It is critical for people with MS to monitor their blood levels and supplement accordingly. A Rosetown customer told me she has had to take 30,000 IU daily just to maintain her D level at the low end of normal.

Vitamin D likely also plays a significant role in the prevention of MS. A study from Finland published in JAMA Neurology on March 7 of this year found that children of mothers with severe vitamin D deficiency (less than 12 ng/ml) during early pregnancy are at 90% higher risk of later developing MS.

With the rising costs – both financial and in human suffering – of cancer and diseases like MS, we must move swiftly to implement public programs with safe and effective treatments like vitamin D. Every Canadian should be screened for D deficiency and encouraged to supplement (or sunbathe) to achieve optimum levels.

D & Cancer study PLOSOne
D & Cancer study review by Vitamin D Council
High dose D MS treatment Science Daily Review
High dose D MS treatment MDLinx Review
Maternal D & MS EurekAlert Review

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

April 18, 2016

366 A Novel Solution for Allergies [18 April 2016]

Of all the products in my store, the one with the strangest ingredient source has to be a formula I just got in for allergies. It’s made from quail eggs – from Japanese quail to be precise. Here’s the story.

A French doctor in the 1970’s noticed that farmers raising quail (and eating quail eggs) had fewer allergy symptoms than their neighbors. He started prescribing quail eggs to his allergy patients and their symptoms improved. Three human studies have since shown that certain glycoproteins from the eggs significantly reduce symptoms of allergies and is safe, non-drowsy and well tolerated. The quail egg extract worked for a variety of allergens including pollen, dust mites, mold, and pet dander. It also works quickly with results observed in as little as 15 minutes.

Allergens, like pollen grains or pet dander, contain chemicals called tryptases. When someone with a sensitized immune system comes in contact with an allergen, the tryptase activates mast cells to release histamine and other harmful chemicals, including inflammatory cytokines and also more tryptase! The histamines cause the allergy symptoms of allergic rhinitis like stuffy or runny nose; red itchy watery eyes; itchy mouth, throat and face; sneezing; and sore throat.

The quail egg glycoproteins work as a natural tryptase inhibitor, preventing the tryptase from binding with the mast cells before histamines (and the other nasty chemicals) can be released. This is preferable to most over-the-counter anti-histamine allergy drugs which block the activity of the histamines after they have been released.

There are other solutions for reducing air-born allergy symptoms. Avoid the allergens by staying away from fields with pollen and keeping windows closed. Use a dehumidifier to remove excess indoor humidity which encourages mold growth. As much as possible avoid cats and dogs or whatever animals you react to.

I have several other products to help with allergies. One contains seven herbal extracts and quercetin, and comes with a money back guarantee. Quercitin by itself is a natural anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory. Two others contain phytosterols, especially beta sitosterol. Phytosterols reduce basophils, the cells that release histamine, and an inflammation causing chemical, interleukin-6.

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

April 11, 2016

365 Sucralose & Cancer [ 11 April 2016]

In my discussion last week on the health risk from sweetened beverages I may have been too easy on artificial sweeteners as found in diet sodas.

In February of this year the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) downgraded the artificial sweetener sucralose from “Caution” to “Avoid”. It had previously downgraded it from “Safe” in 2013. This change was in response to the January 2016 publication (in Int. J. Occ. Env. Health) of a study from the Ramazzini Institute, a highly respected independent laboratory in Italy.

The study exposed mice to five levels of sucralose to evaluate possible carcinogenic (cancer causing) effects. Previous industry-funded long-term studies on mice and rats had failed to find significant carcinogenicity. This time the researchers found a significant dose-related occurrence of both malignant tumors and hematopoietic neoplasias (malignant and premalignant blood cell growth, including lymphomas and leukemia) in male mice.

This doesn’t prove that sucralose is unsafe for humans or that it is safe for females. What it does mean is that the previous assurances of industry and government that sucralose is safe are called into question. Here is the researchers’ conclusions from the abstract:
These findings do not support previous data that sucralose is biologically inert. More studies are necessary to show the safety of sucralose, including new and more adequate carcinogenic bioassay on rats. Considering that millions of people are likely exposed, follow-up studies are urgent.
CSPI explained that this study found carcinogenic effects when the previous funded studies had not because it tested more animals, started exposure at the fetal rather than adolescent stage, and was longer in duration.

Other known adverse health effects of sucralose include reduction in beneficial colon bacteria, increased colon pH (making it too alkaline), and increased levels of several intestinal membrane transporters which can interfere with oral medications.

CSPI does caution that the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease from excess sugar, as in regular soda, outweighs the risk of cancer from artificial sweeteners, so that diet soda is safer than regular soda. I still maintain that it’s best to avoid both.

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

April 4, 2016

364 Soda Pop [4 April 2016]

“Sugar-sweetened soda consumption is consistently associated with an increased risk of several chronic inflammatory diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases” begins the abstract to a 2014 study on soda consumption and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

This study followed nearly 200,000 women from two Nurses’ Health Studies spanning nearly four decades totaling 3,381,268 person years. Information on soda consumption was obtained from a food-frequency questionnaire at baseline and approximately every four years there-after. During the study period 857 cases of RA were documented. After adjusting for known variables, the researchers found that women who consumed one or more servings of sugar sweetened soda per day had a 63% greater risk of developing seropositive RA than those who drank none. For later onset (after age 55) RA the risk was even greater. No association was found for seronegative RA or for diet soda consumption.

Similarly a 2014 systematic review and meta-analysis of five studies examined the associations of sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened soda with chronic kidney disease (CKD). They found statistically significant increased risks of CKD with sugar-sweetened soda consumption but not with artificially sweetened soda.

But fruit juice and artificially sweetened beverages aren’t much better when it comes to risk of Type II Diabetes (T2D) and weight gain. A 2015 systematic review and meta-analysis concluded that while sugar sweetened beverages increased the risk of T2D (as would be expected), so also did fruit juice and artificially sweetened beverages, although to a lesser extent. Another study found that fruit juice with added sugar, but not 100% fruit juice, was associated with increased risk of T2D. A 2015 U. of Texas study found that seniors who consumed diet soda over 10 years increased their waist size (belly fat) by 70 to 500% more than those who didn’t. Other studies have found an association between diet soda consumption and risk of metabolic syndrome and diabetes.

Consumption of sweetened beverages is a deceptive way to add calories to your diet. A 1 liter bottle of Cola has 108 grams (27 teaspoons) of sugar with 400 calories. It would take 5 large apples to equal that in sugar. Next to quitting smoking, eliminating soda and other sweetened beverages could be the best thing you could do for your health.

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