March 26, 2018

464 Heart Health Protocol [26 March 2018]

A recent webinar by Dr. Philip Rouchotas, a naturopathic doctor practicing in Bolton, Ontario, described his protocol for heart health. This would be particularly beneficial for someone who has had a heart attack or been diagnosed with heart disease.

The base of the protocol is the Mediterranean Diet, with minor modifications. The landmark study published in 1999 found an amazing 56% reduction in all-cause mortality over 4 years compared to the diet recommended at the time by the American Heart Association. It contains plenty of vegetables and fruit, plus olive oil (2 tablespoons per day), and nuts (¼ to ½ cup per day of almonds, walnuts, pistachios). For meat it recommends fish frequently, poultry in moderation, and red meat occasionally.

Exercise: at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise (like walking) 5 times per week. A meta-analysis found that for people with heart disease, exercise reduced all-cause mortality by 24%, along with many other benefits.

Fish oil: 1,000 to 2,000 mg of omega 3 (EPA + DHA) daily. A large study from Italy published in Lancet in 1999 found that in heart attack survivors, 850 mg of omega 3 reduced sudden coronary death by 45% and all-cause mortality by 25%. A 2006 Japanese study found that 1800 mg worked even better.

CoQ10: 200 – 300 mg daily, divided. CoQ10 supports the mitochondria which create the energy which powers our muscles (and the heart is our most important muscle!). A large study in 2014 found that over 2 years 300mg of CoQ10 reduced cardiovascular deaths by 43% and all-cause mortality by 42%. A 2007 meta-analysis found that CoQ10 lowered systolic blood pressure by 16.6 and diastolic by 8.2, making CoQ10 the single most important supplement for blood pressure.

N-Acetyl-Carnitine: 1500-2000 mg daily, divided. This form of the amino acid carnitine also supports our mitochondria. Many human trials show benefits for cardiovascular health including faster healing from a heart attack and improved heart function.

Plant sterols: 1500-2000 mg daily, divided. A meta-analysis found that plant sterols reduced LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) by 10-14%, almost half of the 30% reduction expected from prescription statin drugs.

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

March 19, 2018

463 Quercetin [19 March 2018]

Quercetin is a plant pigment (which give color to plants) in the flavonoid family. As a food ingredient, and as a supplement, quercetin has many benefits for our health.

An important benefit of quercetin is its antiviral properties. Animal and clinical studies have shown that quercetin inhibits many viruses, including rhino-viruses, influenza A and B, herpes simplex type 1, hepatitis B and C, and others, preventing replication and transmission. When used with antiviral drugs, quercetin increased the drugs’ effectiveness. Quercetin also lowered the risk of secondary bacterial infections (the primary cause of influenza deaths) and has shown antibacterial effects on Staph infections. There is some concern however that quercetin may reduce the effectiveness of some anti-bacterial antibiotics.

Another important benefit is quercetin’s anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine effects which reduce symptoms in allergic conditions like rhinitis and bronchial asthma. Quercetin decreases production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, thus reducing inflammation in conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.

In addition, quercetin is a potent antioxidant, protecting cell membranes and DNA from free radical damage, especially important for smokers. Quercetin protects the liver from toxic stress by increasing glutathione production.

Good food sources of quercetin include: onions, broccoli, green tea, berries, pomegranates, and red wine. It also occurs in some medicinal herbs: ginkgo biloba, St. John’s Wort, and especially in elderberries (which have known anti-viral properties).

Some cautions – quercetin may slow the breakdown of certain medications in the liver, effectively increasing the dose. If you are taking antibiotics or any prescription drugs, talk to your doctor or pharmacist first before taking quercetin supplements. There is also a possibility of kidney damage with very high doses of quercetin. Quercetin may affect thyroid function. For these reasons it is advised to avoid high doses for a prolonged time.

In summary, consider taking quercetin for allergies, colds and flu (prevention and treatment), arthritic pain and inflammation, and for cell protection from smoking and environmental toxins. Follow directions on the bottle.

Mercola: Quercetin - a Far Better Flu Remedy than Tamiflu - Feb 26, 2018
Learn About Quercetin's Possible Benefits for Your Health - undated
Self-Hacked: 22 Scientifically Proven Health Benefits of Quercetin - updated January 18, 2018
WebMD: Quercetin
Quercetin and Its Anti-Allergic Immune Response, Molecules, May 2016

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

March 12, 2018

462 Upstream [12 March 2018]

Now that Ryan Meili is the new Leader of the Opposition in Saskatchewan, let’s take another look at his 2018 book “A Healthy Society”. I briefly discussed the social determinants of health on which the book is based in my Feb 5 column [#457 Determinants of Health”].

To illustrate the idea of looking deeper for root causes of poor health, Meilli quotes the parable of the river:
A flailing, drowning child comes floating down toward you. Brave soul that you are, you dive in and rescue it. Before you can dry off and recover, another child appears, so you dive in again and bring her safely to shore. A curious crowd has gathered by now. Another child bobs into sight, and another, and another. People take turns fishing them out. Eventually, someone will ask the pertinent question: Who keeps chucking these kids into the water? And hopefully, someone will head upstream to find out.
The analogy to health care is clear. While we must continue to treat people with cancer, diabetes, and other chronic and infectious diseases, some resources must be allocated to learning and at least slowing their causes or we’ll never catch up. Educational campaigns asking people to stop smoking, reduce sugar, or exercise more aren’t enough. The root cause is much deeper.

In the natural health field we like to think we deal with the causes of disease rather than just treat the symptoms. We look at nutritional deficiencies; genetic differences (called polymorphisms) which may require increased intake or a special form of a nutrient; inadequate exercise; specific food allergies or sensitivities; excess intake of certain food groups; exposure to unhealthy chemicals in our food, water, air and home & beauty products; exposure to electromagnetic fields; unhealthy gut bacteria; and so on. But fixing most of these are beyond the budget (or time or expertise) of many Rosetown residents (and some are beyond mine).

As Meili argues in his book, the root cause of most disease is poverty. And until we muster the public will to tackle that, we will have to keep on fishing the kids out of the river as best we can.

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

March 5, 2018

461 Hemp Extract [5 March 2018]

When I wrote about hemp oil last May [#418 Hemp Oil] I was not aware of any hemp product with an appreciable amount of cannabinoids available without a prescription. I have now found one.

Cannabinoids are members of the terpene phytochemical family. Cannabidiol (CBD), mentioned in the May 2017 article, is only one of this family. Beta-caryophyllene is another one that is very beneficial for human health. These cannabinoids activate special CB2 receptor sites found in our brain, heart, endocrine glands, and many other organs. This benefits our health in many ways:

• Modulates inflammation
• Boosts immune function
• Improves circulation
• Supports the nervous system
• Relieves stress and anxiety
• Improves neurological function – repairs nerve damage
• Promotes detoxification

This brand is manufactured in the USA. The extract is made from the stalk of hemp plants grown specifically for this purpose (not as a byproduct of the textile industry). Their raw “supercritical CO2” extraction process is solvent-free and uses low temperatures to obtain the highest variety and quality of compounds from the hemp plant, including some 80 different cannabinoids and significant amounts of beta-caryophyllene.

The company makes several different formulas with their hemp extract. The pure hemp extract, in addition to the benefits listed above, has pain-relieving, calming, and cognitive–enhancing (helps you focus and think more clearly) properties. Another formula combines the hemp extract with a turmeric extract to lower inflammation and to support the nervous system, joints and muscles. A third formula is a sleep aid with added extracts of hops, blue chamomile, cinnamon and oregano, which promotes REM sleep. All three are available as drops or capsules.

I can’t wait to try these myself and will share my experience with you.

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