|Issue #58 - July 2007|
As of Friday October 6, 2006, my website, is up and running. Here are some pages that are of particular interest:
Store: There are 163 products from Emerson listed on this page. If yours isn't one of them please let me know and I will add it so you can order online. This is particularly convenient after hours or on the weekend. Of course, you can always order by phone from Emerson at 800-654-4432.
Newsletter: Here you will find all 58 issues of my health newsletter, "Naturopathic News". NOTE: If you haven't read the article on Dynamic Disease in May's newsletter, I highly encourage you to do so. This article talks about the nature of disease and how it should be treated.
Optimal Health Points: This is my blog that I update every week. Check out "IS THE HPV VACCINE SAFE" from July 15.
The Center for Food Safety http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org has released a "Pocket Shopper's Guide to Genetically Engineered (GE) Foods." http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/pubs/yrtk_booklet_5_24_071.pdf This guide is for everyone who wants to know what they are buying at the store. It will help you identify and avoid the GE foods at the supermarket. By avoiding GE foods and ingredients you can decrease yours and your family's exposure to this food industry experiment.
There are 3 categories of food related to this issue:
Foods that aren't genetically engineered
Foods derived from animals fed or treated with GE products
Genetically engineered foods and ingredients
I suggest printing this guide out and carrying it with you whenever you go shopping. It's an easy place to start if you want to protect your family from these Frankenfoods.
The True Food Shopping Guide http://www.truefoodnow.org/shoppersguide/guide_printable.html is another great shopping resource.
Avocados are rich in raw, monounsaturated fat which is easily burned for energy and missing from many people's diets. They are also rich in vitamin E. Although the banana is thought of as an exemplary potassium source, the avocado actually supplies 60% more potassium, ounce for ounce. These velvety fruits (no, they are not a vegetable) are high in fiber, and provide substantial amounts of folate (folic acid), vitamin B6, and B5, as well as some iron, copper, and magnesium.
On the phytochemical front, avocados contain glutathione, an antioxidant with anti-carcinogenic potential. They also contain a significant amount of a cholesterol-lowering phytosterol called beta-sitosterol.
My favorite of the over 2 dozen available varieties is the Haas, which comes from California. Usually these weigh up to 1/2 pound and are dark in color when ripe. If the avocado is rock hard, it will need a few days to ripen. If it yields slightly to gentle pressure, it is ripe enough to slice. If pressing the fruit leaves a small dent, it is too ripe to slice, but is suitable for mashing. If pressing leaves a large dent, the fruit is overripe, and the flesh will have darkened and spoiled.
The flesh of cut avocado turns dark within a few minutes when exposed to air. To delay this oxidation, rub slices with lemon or lime juice, and add the juice to mashed avocado when making guacamole or similar dips. Often I cover the unused portion of an avocado with the shell of the scooped out part. This also deters darkening.
This is the prefect time of year for this great food. If you haven't tried avocados before, try them now!
REDUCE YOUR COLON CANCER RISK
As with almost all disease situations, the type and quality of fat that you eat is more important than the amount. Researchers from the UK tried to take some of the mystery out of eating right to help prevent colon cancer. This new study shows that those who consume more omega-3 fatty acids, like those found in oily fish, are less likely to develop colon cancer.
Most colon cancer begins as small benign growths, or polyps, that become cancerous over time. Those people with certain medical or hereditary conditions like inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease) or familial polyposis (a condition in which multiple polyps develop) or are at increased risk for developing the disease.
To investigate the relationship between fat in the diet and colon cancer risk, this Study of Colorectal Cancer in Scotland compared fat intake of 1,455 people with colon cancer with that of the same number of people without the disease. Participants gave information about the type, amount, and frequency of all the foods that they ate, including all oils used in cooking and types of spreads used on breads. They also reported use of dietary supplements such as cod liver oil and evening primrose oil.
This study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, found that people who ate the most omega-3 fatty acids combined, or individually as DHA and EPA, had a 40% lower risk of colon cancer than people who had the lowest amount of these fatty acids in their diet.
"The observed different effects of different types of fatty acids underline the importance of type of fat in the etiology and prevention of colorectal cancer," concluded the researchers.
Am J Epidemiol 2007;doi:10.1093/aje/kwm063
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS:
While your family history can't be modified, research has shown that the following steps may help reduce colon cancer risk.
• Get regular physical exercise-Research has shown that exercise decreases the risk of colon cancer and other cancers.
• Eat more fiber and vegetables-Especially eat those from the cabbage family (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage.
• Eat foods rich in folic acid-This nutrient, often found in green vegetables, helps protect the colon against precancerous changes; this is especially important in people who drink alcohol regularly.
• Maintain a healthy body weight
• Limit or avoid alcohol
• Eat less meat.
REDUCING CANCER RISK IN MEN
In middle-aged men, a relatively high dietary intake of linoleic acid may help lower the risk of prostate cancer and other cancers, according to a Finnish study. The researchers say these findings support recommendations to substitute dietary linoleic acid for saturated fat to prevent cardiovascular disease may have the added benefit of protecting against cancers.
"Dietary and serum fatty acid composition has been implicated in the pathogenesis of prostate and other cancers..." Dr. David E. Laaksonen from the University of Kuopio and colleagues explain in the September 1st, 2004 International Journal of Cancer.
The investigators studied the association between dietary fatty acid composition assessed by food diary and serum and incident prostate cancer or "any" cancer in 2,002 middle-aged men free of cancer at baseline and during the first 4 years of follow up. During 12.6 years of follow up, 46 men developed prostate cancer and 151 any cancer. Data analysis showed that men with serum linoleic acid in the upper 20% were "less than one-third" as likely to develop prostate cancer during follow up as those with levels in the lowest 20%. The association held after adjustment for socioeconomic status, physical activity, obesity, and insulin concentrations.
Dr. Laaksonen and colleagues conclude, "Substitution of linoleic acid for saturated fat in middle-aged men consuming a high saturated-fat diet may decrease the risk of prostate and other cancers.
Int J Cancer 2004;111:444-45
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: Anyone who has done a nutrition consultation with me knows the importance of omega 3 essential fatty acids in the prevention of disease. These last 2 studies show the relationship with colon and prostate cancers.
PREVENT GALLBLADDER DISEASE
Women who eat a lot of vegetables to fulfill the protein requirement of their diet are less likely at risk of having their gallbladder removed. This type of surgery is usually required for removal of gallstones and other similar problems.
The 20-year follow-up on a study of 121,000 women revealed that 7,831 of the women had their gallbladders removed, a surgery known as cholecystectomy. Findings from the data on the women who underwent the cholecystectomy showed that total protein and animal protein intake had no bearing on the potential risk of cholecystectomy. On the other hand, the risk of undergoing a cholecystectomy decreased when there was a high intake of vegetable protein. Based on these results researchers recommended that women boost their consumption of vegetable protein as a protective measure against the likelihood of needing cholecystectomy.
American Journal of Epidemiology July 1, 2004;160(1):11-8
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: Almost 500,000 gallbladders are removed each year in the United States. Usually because of a diagnosis of gallstones. The patient is told that the gallbladder isn't that important and that their symptoms will be relieved if it's removed.
Contrary to what they are told, the gallbladder plays a very important role in the body. The gallbladder stores bile. Without bile it is very difficult for your body to properly emulsify fats to absorb them. Without a gallbladder you won't digest fats properly and you won't assimilate fat-soluble vitamins and other nutrients properly.
I know very few patients whose health is better after removing their gall bladder. Most feel worse. It's a frustrating situation-if I had a chance to council them on proper diet and exercise, and can give a god homeopathic remedy, nearly all of these surgeries could be avoided.
VITAMIN C RICH DIET CUTS RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS RISK
Consumption of foods high in vitamin C appears to protect against inflammatory polyarthritis (IP), a form of rheumatoid arthritis involving two or more joints, according to a report published in the July 2004 issue of the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.
The findings stem from a population-based study of more than 20,000 initially arthritis-free subjects who maintained diet diaries. The analysis focused on 73 subjects who developed IP during follow-up between 1993 and 2001, and 146 matched controls. Dr. Dorothy J. Pattison, from the University of Manchester in the UK, and colleagues found that low intake of fruits, vegetables, and vitamin C raised the risk of IP. For example, subjects who consumed less than 55.7 mg/day of vitamin C were 3.3-times more likely to develop IP than their peers who consumed more than 94.9 mg/day (p = 0.01).
Ann Rheum Dis 2004;63:843-847
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: I mention this story, not to have every arthritis suffer to start taking vitamin C. Rather, I want to underscore the dietary cause behind inflammatory joint disease. Obviously, there are many other nutrients in fresh fruits and vegetables besides Vitamin C-antioxidants, flavonoids, vitamins, minerals, etc.
If you consider fructose a safe, natural sugar, think again. Fructose and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) have been aggressively promoted as natural sugars. We learned in biochemistry that fructose is fruit sugar. The truth is that fructose and HFCS, as large-scale commercial sweeteners, didn't exist 20 years ago. Now, they're more common than white sugar. HFCS is routinely added to processed foods and beverages including Coca-Cola, Snapple, and many health food products.
This kind of fructose is not from fruit; it's a commercial, refined sugar. High fructose consumption has been fingered as a causative factor in heart disease. It raises blood levels of cholesterol and another type of fat, triglyceride. It makes blood cells more prone to clotting, and it may also accelerate the aging process.
Most fructose sneaks into the diet in the forms of sucrose and HFCS. Sucrose breaks down during digestion into equal parts of glucose and fructose. HFCS consists of 55 percent fructose blended with 45 percent glucose. Conventional and "natural" soft drinks almost universally contain 11 percent HFCS by weight, which is 2.2 pounds per case.
These days, our per person intake of refined sugar is more than 150 pounds a year. HFCS accounts for 51.7 pounds of that, and sucrose for 64.5 pounds, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That translates to about 60 pounds of fructose per person.
Sucrose and fructose are still recognized as generally safe by the Food and Drug Administration. Many widely used products, like sucrose, were grandfathered in as a safe product when food and drug regulations were created early in 1938, and the safety of fructose was assumed based on the perceived safety of sucrose. But the research suggests that, in retrospect, the FDA may have assumed too much. For example, fructose has been touted for years as a safe sugar for diabetics because it doesn't trigger a rapid rise in blood sugar. That's true, but the cardiovascular consequences may outweigh the benefits for diabetics, who already face a higher than average risk of developing heart disease. In a recent study, John Bantle, M.D., of the University of Minnesota sequentially placed 18 Type I (insulin-dependent) and Type II (noninsulin-dependent) diabetics on two diets. The only difference between the diets was that one contained carbohydrate as starch, which is digested as glucose, and the other contained carbohydrate as fructose. According to Bantle's report in the Nov. 1992 Diabetes Care, the diabetics' total cholesterol rose an average 7 percent, and their "bad" low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol rose almost 11 percent. The fructose increased their risk of heart disease. But fructose doesn't play havoc with only the hearts of diabetics. Bantle noted the same effects in a study of 14 healthy volunteers who sequentially ate a high-fructose diet and one almost devoid of the sugar. While on the fructose diet, the subjects' total cholesterol levels increased by 9 percent and the LDL fraction increased by 11 percent.
Add fructose to the typical American high-fat diet-as most people do-and the risk of heart disease increases even more. Sheldon Reiser, Ph.D., of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Human Nutrition Research Center in Beltsville, Md., studied 21 men eating two kinds of high-fat diets. The diets were the same except for the carbohydrate. One used simple starch, the other 20% fructose. The cholesterol and triglyceride levels of all the men increased while they consumed the high-fructose/high-fat diet, but not while they ate a high-starch/high-fat diet. Ten of the men began the study with high blood levels of insulin-another risk factor for heart disease-and their cholesterol and triglyceride levels rose a dangerous 30 to 50 percent.
Fructose and other sugars contribute to heart disease in yet another way. Dietary sugars increase what doctors call "spontaneous platelet aggregation,"an unnatural tendency toward blood clotting. But according to a study published in the Aug. 1, 1990, Thrombosis Research, fructose promotes abnormal clotting much more than any other common sugar does.
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: I still run into folks who think that fructose is an ok ingredient. They think it comes from fruit. But fructose accounts for only 5 to 7.7 percent of the wet weight of cherries, pears, bananas, grapes, and apples. That's about 5.5 to 8 teaspoons per pound of fresh fruit. There's even less fructose-2 to 3 percent, or roughly 2 to 3 teaspoons per pound-in strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, oranges, and grapefruit. Honey, refined by bees, contains 40 percent fructose, but its extreme sweetness deters most people from consuming it in large amounts.
I recommend that you completely avoid any product that includes HCFS or crystalline fructose. Your heart and health will thank you.
GLAXOSMITHKLINE WITHHOLDS DRUG FINDINGS
BMJ 2004;328:422 (21 February), doi:10.1136/bmj.328.7437.422-a
The journal of the Canadian Medical Association (CMAJ) has published details of an internal document from the drug company GlaxoSmithKline that advised its staff to withhold the findings of a clinical trial in 1998 showing that the antidepressant paroxetine had no benefit in treating adolescents.
In 2003, the drug, which is marketed as Paxil in North America and Seroxat in the United Kingdom, was banned for pediatric use in several countries because of a perceived increased risk of suicide. The UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency advised doctors in June 2003 that they should not prescribe the drug to patients under the age of 18.
The CMAJ column says the confidential document was prepared by the central medical affairs team, a division of SmithKline Beecham, the company that subsequently merged with GlaxoWellcome to form GlaxoSmithKline. The column says the document gives guidance on two clinical trials, study 329 and 377, whose results were, according to the document, "insufficiently robust" to support application to regulatory authorities for a label change approving Seroxat for use in children and adolescents. The team recommended the firm "effectively manage the dissemination of these data in order to minimize any potential negative commercial impact." Study 329, conducted in the United States from 1993 to 1996, showed paroxetine to be no more effective than a placebo, while study 377 showed that the placebo was "actually more effective than the anti-depressant." The central medical affairs team's document is quoted as saying that "it would be commercially unacceptable to include a statement that efficacy had not been demonstrated, as this would undermine the profile of paroxetine."
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: This is about as blatant as it gets. It's bad enough that they promote these drugs to kids as another 'market'. In the actual trial, placebo was better than Paxil. Remember , this is the category of drugs that has been shown to increase the rate of suicide in teenagers. That's why they are not used for teens in other countries.
I am often asked what supplements I recommend. Many of you have been surprised to discover that I favor food over pills; lifestyle changes over fads. I have been working with nutrition for over 30 years, herbs for over 20 years. Where and when appropriate I recommend them to my patients. I strive to act from knowledge, experience, and research.
Emerson Ecologics (800-654-4432) carries almost all of the nutritional supplements and botanical extracts that I think are useful. Their customer service is excellent and their delivery is reliable (often only 2-3 days to this region). It's a great way to get physician quality products at reasonable prices.
To offset the cost of shipping, reference my name when you establish your account and receive a 10% discount on every order. If you have any questions about these items feel free to email me.
That's it for this issue of Naturopathic News. If you've thought a bit extra or learned something new, then I achieved my goal. As usual, if you have questions or concerns brought up by these subjects, let me know.
Gregory Pais, ND, DHANP