Thursday, January 31, 2013

170 Scientific Reasons to Lose the Soy in Your Diet

Reposted from The Healthy Home Economist

by Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist on September 29, 2012

With all the loads of scientific data available that soy is not a healthy part of anyone’s diet, it shocks me how many folks are still on the “soy is good for you” bandwagon – even people who should know better like your doctor!
I just got an email from a reader the other day who had been to multiple doctors, both holistic and conventional, and all but one of them were telling her that plenty of soy in her diet would help her menopause symptoms.
Be careful folks. It’s dangerous out there! You really need to do your research and be on your toes at all times when it comes to nutritional advice even from someone in a white coat!
For those of you who just sat down because you are so taken aback by the notion that soy is not actually the healthfood you thought it was, here are 170 scientific reasons to back up this assertion.

Please note that fermented soy in small, condimental amounts as practiced in traditional Asian cultures is fine for those who have healthy thyroid function. Only miso, tempeh, natto and soy sauce (IF traditionally brewed) fall under this category. In addition, if you want to sprinkle a few edamame on your salad or have a few small cubes of tofu in your miso soup from time to time, that is fine too. Just don’t make it a regular part of your diet!
If you have any sort of thyroid issues going on, however, it is really the best policy to avoid all soy all the time as soy is a potent goitrogen (thyroid suppressor) even if fermented.
Soy Wake Up Call #1
A 1991 study found that eating only 2 TBL/day of roasted and pickled soybeans for 3 months to healthy adults who were receiving adequate iodine in their diet caused thyroid suppression with symptoms of malaise, constipation, sleepiness, and goiters (Nippon Naibunpi Gakkai Zasshi 1991, 767: 622-629)!
Still think munching on edamame instead of popcorn is a healthy habit?
Soy Wake Up Call #2
Six premenopausal women with normal menstrual cycles were given 45 mg of soy isoflavones per day. This is equivalent to only 1-2 cups of soy milk or 1/2 cup of soy flour! After only one month, all of the women experienced delayed menstruation with the effects similar to tamoxifen, the anti-estrogen drug given to women with breast cancer (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1994 Sep;60(3):333-340).
Soy Wake Up Call #3
Dietary estrogens in the form of soy foods were found to have the potential to disrupt the endocrine system with the effects in women similar to taking the breast cancer drug tamoxifen (Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine 1995 Jan;208(1):51-9).
Soy Wake Up Call #4
Estrogens consumed in the diet at low concentrations were found to stimulate breast cells much like DDT to increase enzymatic activity which leads to breast cancer (Environmental Health Perspectives 1997 Apr;105 (Suppl 3):633-636).
Soy Wake Up Call #5
The soy isoflavones genistein and daidzein appear to stimulate existing breast cancer growth indicating risk in consuming soy products if a woman has breast cancer. (Annals of Pharmacotherapy 2001 Sep;35(9):118-21).
Soy Wake Up Call #6
Direct evidence that soy isoflavones genistein and daidzein suppress the pituitary-thyroid axis in middle-aged rats fed 10 mg soy isoflavones per kilo after only 3 weeks as compared with rats eating regular rat chow (Experimental Biology and Medicine 2010 May;235(5):590-8).
Soy Wake Up Call #7
Don’t eat soy when you are pregnant ladies! Scientific research has shown that the developing male fetus which is exposed to soy phytoestrogens may suffer from higher susceptibility to prostate cancer later in life (Prostate 1994;24(2):67-78).
Soy Wake Up Call #8
Keep that soy away from your daughters! Dietary genistein (soy phytoestrogen) in developing female rats had the effect of significantly accelerated puberty (Toxicol Sci 1999 Oct;51(2):236-44).
Soy Wake Up Call #9
Hey guys! Soy protein powder strips your masculinity! A study of 12 men aged 18 years and older experienced a 19% drop in serum testosterone in only 28 days when supplemented with 56 grams of soy protein powder over that same time period (Prev 2007;16:829–33).
Soy Wake Up Call #10
Do NOT feed soy formula to your babies! Female newborns who are orally exposed to genisin, the glycosylated form of genistein (soy phytoestrogen) experienced harm to the reproductive system in the form of “delayed vaginal opening… abnormal estrous cycles, decreased fertility, and delayed parturition.” (Environmental Health Perspective 2009 Dec;117(12):1883-9).
Convinced yet? I don’t know about you, but ten reasons is plenty for me! Still interested to see the remaining 160 reasons? My friend Dr. Kaayla Daniel, author of the must read The Whole Soy Story, has compiled the rest of the list for you if you click here.

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Uncovered: The Toxic Gene in Genetically Modified Foods

Reposted from MailOnline

  • EU watchdog reveals approval for GM foods fails to identify poisonous gene
  • 54 of the 86 GM plants approved contain the dangerous gene
  • Gene found in food for farm animals producing meat, milk and eggs
  • Biotech supporters argue there is no evidence that GM foods are harmful
By Sean Poulter, Consumer Affairs Editor
A virus gene that could be poisonous to humans has been missed when GM food crops have been assessed for safety.

GM crops such as corn and soya, which are being grown around the world for both human and farm animal consumption, include the gene.

A new study by the EU's official food watchdog, the European Food Safety Authority(EFSA), has revealed that the international approval process for GM crops failed to identify the gene.

A new study conducted by the EU has shown that standard test for GM foods may be missing a potentially poisonous gene for humans
A new study conducted by the EU has shown that standard tests for GM foods may be missing a potentially poisonous gene for humans
As a result, watchdogs have not investigated its impact on human health and the plants themselves when assessing whether they were safe.

The findings are particularly powerful because the work was carried out by independent experts, rather than GM critics.
It was led by Nancy Podevin, who was employed by EFSA, and Patrick du Jardin, of the Plant Biology Unit at the University of Liege in Belgium.

They discovered that 54 of the 86 GM plants approved for commercial growing and food in the US, including corn and soya, contain the viral gene, which is known as 'Gene VI'.

In this country, these crops are typically fed to farm animals producing meat, milk and eggs.
Significantly, the EFSA researchers concluded that the presence of segments of Gene VI 'might result in unintended phenotypic changes'.

Such changes include the creation of proteins that are toxic to humans. They could also trigger changes in the plants themselves, making them more vulnerable to pests.

Critics say the revelations make clear that the GM approvals process, which has been in place for 20 years, is fatally flawed.
They argue the only correct response is to recall all of the crops and food products involved. Director of the campaigning group, GM Freeze, Pete Riley, said the discovery of the gene, 'totally undermines claims that GM technology is safe, precise and predictable'.
He said: 'This is a clear warning the GM is not sufficiently understood to be considered safe. 'Authorisation for these crops must be suspended immediately, and they should be withdrawn from sale, until a full and extended review of their safety has been carried out.'

Typically, GM crops are modified in the laboratory to give them resistance to being sprayed with powerful weed killers such as Monsanto's Round-up.

This means that, in theory, fields can be doused with the chemical, so wiping out the weeds and allowing the food plants to thrive.

It was previously assumed that virus genes are not present in plants once they are grown in the field and reach consumers, however it is now clear that this is not the case
It was previously assumed that virus genes are not present in plants once they are grown in the field and reach consumers, however it is now clear that this is not the case
The modification process involves inserting genes into the plants using a technique that allows them to piggyback on viruses that are commonly found in the soil and plants.
It has been assumed that virus genes are not present in the plant once it is grown in the field and reaches consumers, however it is now clear that this is not the case.

A review of the EFSA research in Independent Science News said the presence of the viral gene appears to have been missed by biotech companies, universities and government regulators.
'This situation represents a complete and catastrophic system failure,' it said. 'There are clear indications that this viral gene might not be safe for human consumption. It also may disturb the normal functioning of crops, including their natural pest resistance.

'A reasonable concern is that the protein produced by Gene VI might be a human toxin. This is a question that can only be answered by future experiments.'

Biotech supporters argue that there is no evidence from countries such as the USA that eating GM food causes any harm.
However, the reality is that no health monitoring has taken place to establish this. The findings will embarrass the government and the food and farming Secretary, Owen Patterson, who has embarked on a pro-GM propaganda exercise designed to win over sceptical consumers.
Mr Patterson recently rejected public concerns as 'humbug' and 'complete nonsense'. Policy director at the Soil Association, Peter Melchett said: 'For years, GM companies have made a deliberate and chilling effort to stop independent scientists from looking at their products.

'This is what happens when there is a complete absence of independent scrutiny of their GM crops.' Biotech firms are represented by the Agricultural Biotechnology Council(ABC).
Its chairman, Dr Julian Little, said the EFSA study was one small part of a strict and complex scrutiny process.
He said: 'Over the past 25 years, the European Commission has funded more than 130 research projects involving 500 independent research groups which have found no higher risks to the environment or food chain from GM crops than from conventional plants and organisms.
'Furthermore, nearly three trillion meals containing GM ingredients have been eaten without a single substantiated case of ill-health. The combination of these two facts can give consumers a huge amount of confidence in the safety of GM crops.'
GM critics and EFSA are at odds over the implications of the research paper, which was written by the deputy chairman of the organisation’s advisory panel on the issue and a former senior member of staff.
EFSA insists that the research highlighting the presence of Gene VI does not represent a new discovery of a viral gene and does not indicate a safety concern about GM crops already approved.
It said the viral gene ‘cannot infect animals or humans and therefore presents no threat to human or animal health’. This is challenged by GM critics who say there is no research evidence to justify this statement.

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Restoring Cellular Energy Metabolism

Reposted from Life Extension

By Kirk Stokel
Restoring Cellular Energy Metabolism
Energy is our most precious resource. With age, both our physical and cellular energy levels decline.1 Not only do we feel tired, but our cells become fatigued and fail to optimally function.

Additionally, our heart muscle weakens and does not contract as fully, often leading to congestive heart failure.2 D-ribose can help replenish the metabolic energy needed by all our cells, including those in major organs such as our heart and brain.3-5 The result? Increased vitality, along with improved cardiac and neurological function.

Ribose serves a number of other key processes in the body. Long chains of d-ribose are strung together to form ribonucleic acid or RNA, the DNA-like structures essential to copying our genes and translating them into functioning proteins.6 D-ribose provides antioxidant protection for body tissues.7 Even the immune system needs d-ribose to power its response to infection.8
In this article, you'll learn how d-ribose supplementation can assure that vital body processes aren't starved of essential energy molecules.

Broad Cardiovascular Support

Cardiovascular disease has multiple and interlinked causes.9 That's why no single drug or therapy can ever fully prevent or repair, cardiovascular damage.

It's also the reason that, generally, heart patients are on multiple medications—to deal with the complexity of their disease.

Supplemental d-ribose is an excellent candidate as a cardioprotectant, because it serves multiple targets. It provides defense against heart disease along the entire continuum of events that can lead to cardiac catastrophe.

D-ribose powerfully protects heart tissue against ischemia-reperfusion injury. This is the serious damage that occurs in the minutes to hours following a heart attack or stroke, when oxygen-starved (ischemic) tissue is suddenly flooded with oxygen-rich blood as circulation is restored (reperfusion).10 The sudden availability of oxygen in already-damaged tissue sets off a deadly chain of events, culminating in release of free oxygen radicals and harmful inflammatory responses.

But if high levels of ribose are made available before and immediately after the reperfusion occurs, most of those dangerous changes can be prevented, largely through ribose's actions on inflammatory blood cells.11 This effect is so potent that some forward-looking anesthesiologists and surgeons have suggested using IV infusions of ribose during surgical procedures in which ischemia-reperfusion injury is common.12
Broad Cardiovascular Support
Ischemia, however, is not always an acute event with immediate consequences. Much more commonly, low-level ischemia occurs on a continuing basis in people with advancing coronary artery disease, gradually producing symptoms such as angina (chest pain) with exertion. As ischemia worsens, the pain can occur even while the patient is at rest.

Each episode of angina represents steady depletion of cellular energy levels, with loss of the energy molecule, ATP from heart muscle cells.13,14 This uses up the heart's normal supply of d-ribose. Under these circumstances, d-ribose becomes a conditionally essential nutrient.15
Continued long enough, this cellular energy starvation is a major contributor to congestive heart failure (CHF), in which heart muscle can't "squeeze" hard enough to move blood efficiently.16 The result is that fluid accumulates in tissues throughout the body as a result of poor cardiac "squeeze" (technically called contractility). The end result is progressive exercise intolerance, increasing difficulty breathing, and fluid retention. In the extreme, congestive heart failure can result in the deadly accumulation of fluid in the lungs—known as pulmonary edema—that is the ultimate cause of death for many victims of heart disease.
Many people with congestive heart failure find themselves on multiple medications aimed at reducing fluid accumulation or chemically increasing the heart's contractility. While these drugs can have some success, none are curative, and most have substantial side effects that can limit their utility.
Fortunately, congestive heart failure can be partially reversed, more readily if it is detected and treated early.

Potent Cardioprotectant

Increasingly, scientists are investigating the ischemia-energy relationship that links the severity of heart muscle damage to the supply of energy-mediating nutrients such as d-ribose.17-19

A noted cardiologist and author Stephen T. Sinatra, MD, who has written extensively on the cardiac benefits of d-ribose, recently stated, "Many physicians are not trained to look at heart disease in terms of cellular biochemistry…."19 But the growing interest in this field over the past decade opens the door to safer and much more effective therapy with cardiac energy preparations based on d-ribose, providing metabolic support for ailing heart muscle.13
The benefits of d-ribose began to interest researchers in the early 1990s. Those early studies were mainly focused on d-ribose as an aid in radiology techniques such as thallium scanning, which indicate areas of ischemia in the heart. Researchers found that by infusing d-ribose intravenously during the scan, they could see many more areas of heart muscle—because much more blood was permeating those tissues!6,20
Too often, individuals with coronary disease have limited mobility or are unable to engage in moderate exercise due to such limitations as lack of energy. German researchers found that they could use d-ribose to increase exercise tolerance in people with severe coronary artery disease and chronic ischemia.10 They gave patients an oral dose of 60 grams daily in four divided doses for just 3 days to achieve gains in endurance.

More recently, a different German group showed that d-ribose could improve heart function, as seen on echocardiograms, while also improving quality of life in patients with congestive heart failure.21
Through the recovery of ATP energy molecules and an increase in the heart muscle's energy levels, d-ribose improves heart muscle contractility—the "squeeze" needed to pump blood efficiently to the lungs and the body in general.22,23

When d-ribose was given intravenously to patients who have suffered one or more heart attacks, scientists found that the d-ribose increased the number of heart segments with good contractility, a visible marker of improved function.24

D-ribose's replenishment of heart muscle energy levels has additional benefits, as was shown in a recent study of patients with advanced congestive heart failure and extreme exercise intolerance.25 Researchers gave these patients d-ribose at 15 grams a day in three doses. The patients all had impressive improvement in their ability to breathe and ventilate their lungs, and a 44% improvement in their heart failure classification! These changes were significant, because they meant that this group of severely impaired patients could move about more freely and with increased comfort.


D-ribose has unique protective effects specific to brain cells.
In a recent study, cardiologists revealed that d-ribose not only improves heart function and blood flow—but also has a profound impact on brain tissue during the period of low blood pressure that can follow a heart attack.23 D-ribose reduced expression of a protein that triggers cell death in brain cells deprived of blood flow. This can also be a life-saving defense in the case of a stroke.23

The neuroprotective effect of d-ribose has major implications, because heart attacks and strokes contribute enormously to the age-related cognitive decline that is so prevalent today.

The neuroprotective benefits of ribose may spring partly from the antioxidant effects it provides throughout the body.7,26 But it is ribose's remarkable ability to restore energy-depleted tissues back to near-normal that is generating enthusiasm among scientists.

Supplementation with d-ribose increases the available amounts of ATP in brain tissue, just as it does in heart muscle.27 This is important, because the brain uses an enormous proportion of our total energy resources.
What You Need to Know
D-Ribose: Increasing Cellular Energy
D-Ribose: Increasing Cellular Energy
  • Cellular energy management is of increasing interest to physicians caring for patients with cardiovascular disease and many other age-related conditions. Reduction in cells' ability to use available energy exposes tissues to increased risk of damage by oxidants and inflammatory reactions, and reduces organs' efficiency.
  • D-ribose is central to energy metabolism, forming the backbone of the vital ATP molecule that cells use to transfer energy. Cellular damage by oxidants, inflammation, and ischemia/reperfusion injury causes loss of ATP and increased vulnerability to disease.
  • Supplementing with d-ribose restores cellular ATP to normal levels, providing powerful protective benefit in cardiovascular disease, even following a heart attack, congestive heart failure, or stroke.
  • Supplemental d-ribose also holds promise for management of kidney disease, and even frustrating conditions such as fibromyalgia and restless leg syndrome.
  • New discoveries about d-ribose make it one of today's hottest topics in the context of how we understand the relationship of energy management and chronic illness.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Congestive Heart Failure and Cardiomyopathy

Reposted from Dr. Dean Silver

by Dr. Dean Silver

Congestive heart failure is a chronic, usually progressive myocardial disease characterized by the inability of the heart to pump enough blood to meet the body’s demands. Symptoms include fatigue, dyspnea, shortness of breath, dependent edema, palpitations, and in severe cases, life-threatening pulmonary edema develops with arrhythmias.
Congestive heart failure can be subdivided into systolic and diastolic dysfunction. Systolic dysfunction is characterized by impaired contractility of the left ventricle and decreased left ventricular ejection fraction. This is the amount of blood that is pumped out of the left ventricle with each contraction. In contrast, diastolic dysfunction is characterized by impaired left ventricular filling in association with normal left ventricular contractility. Diastolic dysfunction has also been called heart failure with a preserved ejection fraction. While systolic heart failure is more widely recognized than diastolic heart failure, and has been the sub-type of congestive heart failure studies, in most clinical trials, diastolic heart failure appears to be much more common than previously recognized, occurring in as many as 55% of congestive heart failure patients in one study.
Coronary artery disease, hypertension, and previous heart attack are among the most common causes of heart failure. When heart failure is not caused by these conditions, it is often called dilated cardiomyopathy. Known causes of dilated cardiomyopathy include infections like viral myocarditis, metabolic disorders, ischemia, and exposure to toxins such as alcohol or mercury. However, many cases are idiopathic, such as postpartum cardiomyopathy. Conventional treatments of heart failure may include sodium and fluid restriction, diuretics, ACE and ARB medications, beta blockers such as lopressor or Tenormin, and digoxin. Advances in treatment have improved the prognosis of patients with heart failure, but mortality remains high with a five-year survivor rate of about 50%. Common causes of death are progressive heart failure and in particular arrhythmias.
Conventional treatments of heart failure is aimed mainly at minimizing the effects of disease, for example, by dilating blood vessels and decreasing the workload of the failing heart. Unlike conventional treatments, nutritional therapies may improve the health and functioning of the diseased myocardium. Therefore, the best results may be achieved by appropriately combining conventional and nutritional therapies.
General Considerations
Patients with congestive heart failure have increased energy requirements because increased energy is utilized by the heart and lungs. Heart failure patients may also be deficient in protein and essential fatty acids as well as a wide range of micronutrients. Factors that lead to malnutrition include poor appetite, increased nutritional requirements, malabsorption and drug-induced nutritional deficiencies such as the diuretics that deplete magnesium, potassium and thiamine. A nutrient-dense diet combined with a broad-spectrum micronutrient supplement may improve cardiac function and enhance overall health.
Sodium Restriction
Limiting sodium intake to no more than 1000 to 2000-mg is generally recommended for heart failure patients. There is also evidence that increasing salt intake can promote the development of acute congestive heart failure. High salt intake results in hypertension, which is an independent risk factor for congestive heart failure.
Chronic alcohol is one of the most common causes of cardiomyopathy. It is a direct toxin to the heart, and also leads to deficiency of various nutrients that are important for the heart function such as magnesium and thiamine.
Magnesium is a co-factor for synthesis of ATP, which provides the energy needed for myocardial contraction. Animals fed a magnesium-deficient diet develop myocardial lesions that resemble those seen in alcohol cardiomyopathies. Low magnesium is common in congestive heart failure patients. Causes include the use of certain diuretics, digoxin, anorexia, and hormonal changes. Even when serum magnesium concentrations are normal, patients with congestive heart failure are likely to have low magnesium levels in the heart tissue. These levels have been found to be 24 to 65% lower in heart failure patients. In patients with heart failure, it was found that intravenous administration of magnesium was effective for short-term control of several ventricular arrhythmias in patients hospitalized with congestive heart failure. The benefits were even seen in patients with normal serum magnesium levels. It has also been reported to decrease the frequency of other arrhythmias.
Co-enzyme Q10
As a component of the electron-transport chain, Co-Q10 plays a key role in the energy production, and therefore it is essential for all energy-dependent processes including myocardial contraction. The mean blood level of Q10 was significantly lower in patients with dilated cardiomyopathy than controls. In addition, myocardial concentrations of Q10 in patients with cardiomyopathy decreased with increasing disease severity. In numerous uncontrolled and double-blind trials, supplementation with Q10 produced clinical improvements in patients with congestive heart failure or dilated cardiomyopathy; some patients’ benefits were profound. Improvements included increase in functional capacity and reduction in frequency of hospitalizations, and apparent increase in survival time. The dose is extremely important. There are conflicting studies on Q10, which in part, is explained by differences in patient population, the type of Q10, and the administration.
Q10, ‘Statin Drugs and Heart Function
It is important to note that the ‘statins lower Q10 levels and there have been reported cases of dilated cardiomyopathy who improve with Q10 supplementation on a ‘statin drug. In one study, administration of Lipitor to patients without history of heart failure resulted in a worsening of left ventricular diastolic dysfunction. This diverse effect was partially reversed by Q10. Based on these findings, combined with the evidence that Q10 may improve ‘statin-induced myalgia in some patients, Q10 supplementation should be considered for all patients taking ‘statin drugs.
Carnitine plays a role in myocardial energy production by facilitating the transport of fatty acids in the mitochondria. Administration of Q10 has improved dilated cardiomyopathy in some studies.
Severe thiamine deficiencies are a well-known, recognized cause of heart failure, beriberi heart disease. Patients with heart failure may be at increased risk for thiamine deficiency as a result of diuretic-induced urinary thiamine excretion, malabsorption and advanced age. Laboratory evidence of thiamine deficiency have been found in 12 to 98% of patients with congestive heart failure in various studies, depending on the assays. In several studies there has been increase in heart function after thiamine administration.
Potassium plays a role in myocardial contraction, relaxation and the cardiac electrical system. In all forms of heart failure, heart cells lose potassium and magnesium and take-up sodium. This may increase and exacerbate heart failure leading to arrhythmias and increase in sudden death. Potassium depletion in congestive heart failure may be exacerbated by use of diuretics.
The importance of taurine for cardiac function is suggested by the fact that it is actually transported in the myocardium to achieve concentrations several hundred times those in plasma. Taurine has been shown to stabilize cell membranes and increase the contractility of the heart, and has antiarrhythmic effects. It also improves cardiac function, and in some studies have been shown to decrease mortality.
Arginine is a precursor to nitric oxide, which acts as a vasodilator. In a double-blind trial, supplementation with arginine for six weeks resulted in clinical improvement of congestive heart failure. In high doses, it should be supplemented with gamma-tocopherol and the two should be used together.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Fatty acids improve endothelial function and should be used in all heart failure patients.
Animals fed on a diet deficient in selenium and vitamin E develop areas of myocardial death and heart failure.
Riboflavin, B6, Folic Acid and Copper
Various studies have shown depletion of these are increased in congestive heart failure.
Vitamin D
Low vitamin D status is common in people with congestive heart failure, and it has been suggested that vitamin D deficiency can contribute to development of heart failure by increasing levels of parathyroid hormone. There is also an angiotension-reduction seen with vitamin D administration.
D-ribose, which is a component of ATP is synthesized from glucose-6-phosphate. Patients in heart failure or with coronary artery disease have depleted ATP reserves and this can be repleted by ribose. In a three-week double-blind trial, administration of D-ribose 5-g three times a day significantly improved diastolic function in patients with congestive heart failure.
This supplement is essential for cardiac health.
Amino Acids
In double-blind sutures, supplementation of 8-g per day of mixed essential amino acids improved exercise capacity in patients with congestive heart failure.
Numerous clinical studies have shown that used an adjunct with conventional therapy, it significantly improves dyspnea, fatigue, and exercise capacity. There is a positive increase in contractility of the heart muscle.
Combined hormone therapy with growth hormone, testosterone, progesterone, and estrogen used in a Bio-identical administration has been shown to increase contractility and preserve heart function in patients with congestive heart failure and cardiomyopathy[], and thyroid, low T3 syndrome in heart failure patients.
Approximately 10 years ago my father developed a mild heart attack and had some decreased heart function on a cardiac ultrasound. After administration of amino acids, growth hormone, testosterone, progesterone as well as antioxidant therapy and nutritionals described above, my father markedly improved and his heart function improved 20%. New therapies include hyperbaric oxygen as well as stem cell administration.
As is often the case with nutritional therapies, patient’s with congestive heart failure may experience greater improvement with a combination of nutrients than with individual nutrients. In addition, when using combinations of nutrients, as well as natural hormones, hyperbaric oxygen, and stem cells, it may be possible to achieve successful results with lower doses, than those used in clinical trials. Based on the available evidence including my clinical experience, my first treatment would include that which I gave my dad: Magnesium, Q10, carnitine, B vitamins, taurine, selenium, potassium, hawthorn omega-3, ribose as well as growth hormone, testosterone and thyroid. Extensive laboratory testing is performed prior to the administration of any of these nutritionals or natural hormones, and then levels are checked and titrated appropriately.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Traditional Western Medicine Versus Homeopathy - a True Story

Reposted from Weston A Price

How do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? PDFPrintE-mail
Written by Joette Calabrese
Tuesday, 11 December 2012 14:17
No one could blame Angie and Arnold for their parental strictness. In fact most wished they’d kick it up a notch. To say that one of their offspring was hyper stimulated is a turn of phrase reserved for gracious company. Neighbors, teachers and relatives used more graphic terms to describe the Reynes’ fourteen-year-old Maria.Maria kicked at the boundaries of convention. She was primal and plucky. She was gutsy and experimental. Her personality was nothing the Reynes had ever witnessed.
Maria’s worn out mother soothed her maternal heart with the thought that her daughter’s “spirited” disposition might eventually serve her well in the harsh world of adulthood. Her father knew better, however. So did the neighbors.
Maria’s behavior was never quite right. Well, perhaps she had actually been a rather normal child before that first ear infection at age four. Yes, thought her mother, she started having temper tantrums shortly after those illnesses. What was it about those infections that would make her daughter turn into such a…? But she couldn’t say the word. After all, Maria is her child.
But it was easy for others to say. Maria was a brat. She was demanding, embarrassing, overtly rude and even promiscuous, if one could say that about a fourteen-year-old. The way she dressed reminded the neighbors of women from a different part of town. Maria’s father had to police her clothing and whereabouts daily. Sometimes he was successful. Sometimes not. When he was not attentive, Maria would wear a bustier under her sweater that later became her outer wear and other shenanigans would ensue.
To say that the Reynes were heartbroken and exhausted is underreporting the effect this child had on the family. Maria was an alarming problem.
Once, a cousin who is a psychiatrist suggested that Maria might have a chemical imbalance and that a drug could be prescribed. The thought of resorting to drugs rang like a distant bell that warned the Reynes of danger. Mr. Reyne had been suspicious of drugs used to alter behavior after reading The Myth of Mental Illness by Thomas Szasz, MD.
Besides, the Reynes shunned drugs of commerce in general, ever since Mr. Reyne suffered persistent leg cramps and loss of libido as a result of taking prescribed statins a few years earlier. And their nineteen-year-old son developed asthma after steroid use for fatigue from exams. Their youngest was left with diarrhea from an antibiotic about the same time. They were especially suspicious of drugs that could alter behavior, although that certainly would’ve been welcome about now, but not at the cost of worsening Maria’s symptoms in the future.
The Reynes investigated the side effects of Wellbutrin on to appease their relative and found this gruesome listing: “Bizarre behavior; confusion; decreased concentration and coordination; exaggerated reflexes; fainting; hallucinations; memory loss; new or worsening agitation, panic attacks, aggressiveness, impulsiveness, irritability, hostility.”
The same site showed the makers of Cymbalta reporting that “new or worsening mental or mood changes including concentration problems, depression, panic attacks, aggressiveness, agitation and anxiety” were reported as side effects of their product.
Besides the fact that conventional medicine often leaves a wake of long-term side effects and homeopathy does not, modern medicine places behavioral problems into diagnostic categories. That is, a large number of people are placed into the same small diagnostic class. For example, if Maria was considered manic depressive, she would share this diagnosis with children who were inactive or suicidal. That didn’t fit. If instead she was analyzed as ADD, she would have been bundled in with restless children who bite, but Maria wasn’t a restless biter. Regardless of the differences between the personalities within the diagnostic categories, all of those in it would be given the same drugs, often in the same frequency. Despite the diagnosis, the prognosis would have been the same: psychotropic drugs for many months, maybe years.
Even more important, conventional medicine has little or no interest in the etiology of an illness. "Idiopathic" is a common term in allopathy. It means “we have no idea how you got sick.” Homeopathy considers the exciting cause to be a critical factor. In light of these factors, Maria’s family sought the aid of a homeopath. True to form, the appointment with the homeopath had to be rescheduled twice before Maria was ready to cooperate without a tantrum. When they finally met, the interview was comforting. Even Maria seemed less agitated.
They learned that homeopathy is a distinctive treatment for distinctive people. The homeopath was interested in what made Maria tick. Her fears, pleasures, food interests and aversions. Even her sleep positions would be useful to a homeopath sniffing out the cause and remedy choice for such an individual. The homeopath appeared curious, like a detective seeking clues, in spite of Maria’s spicy language, as she looked for pieces of the puzzle as to what may have sparked the original changes in Maria. That’s when her mother relayed the string of ear infections “treated” by antibiotics. The homeopath was interested in this information and focused in on which antibiotics were administered.
One antibiotic had been used for the first and second ear infections. By the time the fifth infection presented, Maria was put on a daily dose of another, more powerful antibiotic for close to a year. What followed was a series of stomach pains, alternating diarrhea and constipation, and impressive temper tantrums. Maria’s parents relayed how she would slam her legs against the wall sometimes for hours, when she was supposed to be sleeping. They also awkwardly confessed that Maria began using curse words, even though they couldn’t figure out where she had learned them; particularly the pungent, sexually explicit ones she spewed when she entered kindergarten.
One of the more disturbing symptoms was that at the age of ten Maria became fearful of dying. This was no run of the mill fear, but sometimes terrorizing panic. She blamed her parents for bringing her into this wretched world; words that seared Mrs. Reyne’s heart.
Based on this symptom portrait, the remedy chosen for Maria was Nitric acidum, a remedy shown to antidote the ill effects in certain people who have chronic ailments from antibiotic use, even as long as decades ago. It also matched her nihilist attitude, her proclivity for cursing, and an appetite for flagrant behavior.
Maria took the remedy one day every two weeks for a period of two months.Within a few weeks herpetic eruptions returned to the corner of her mouth, as she had had a few years previous. Mrs. Reyne knew that this could be a good sign in that it was something that had been suppressed by an over-the-counter medication numerous times. The cold sores lasted a few weeks and then obligingly departed. What also vanished were the nightly arguments in the Reyne household. Maria even started to dress more modestly and the pierced earrings in multiple orifices began to disappear.
Others noticed the changes in Maria, too. Her grandparents beamed when they saw Maria engaged in making the family Sunday dinner. And her parents? Well, you can imagine their delight when she walked into church with her brothers and sisters, sitting together like close-set stones of a building foundation. Their family had a structure and calm for the first time in many years.


Liars Don 't Play Chess

No one can lie to us and get away with it if we’re not disposed to being vulnerable. I caution my student-clients that stepping into the conventional medical arena needs to be played like a game of chess. You wouldn’t place your precious queen on the middle of the board, pull your hands away, and simply hope for the best. A seasoned chess player would imagine what the other player may do with his bishop or knight. Then he’d visualize his next set of options based on those potential moves.

Maria was the Reynes' queen. Initially, they unwittingly relied on that first antibiotic to remove the early ear infections. Now they know they should have done their homework and asked what the long term effects of antibiotics could represent. They also agree that they should have asked what would happen if they had refused antibiotics. Now they wish they had known of the later manifestations of suppressed ear infections and the dangers of the drugs used to treat them. Today the Reynes admit that they had not learned to play the game well enough. This doesn’t mean that a doctor is necessarily an opponent. Yet it must be acknowledged that no one will consider our queen as valuable as we do. And unfortunately in our litigious world, doctors are required to practice defensive medicine. That is, superfluous drugs and tests are often ordered because the attending doctor could be legally responsible for not having followed the standard of practice, regardless of his private opinion.

Equally important, pediatricians and family practitioners are not educated as to the long-term effects of drugs because there are no double blind tests done on children, nor are they tested on adults for more than a few months. The only way for a doctor to recognize future issues is to have stepped outside the box and observed it clinically. He’d have to be aware of the time line and connect the dots on his own. This often doesn’t happen unless some adverse effects happen to members of his own family.

Interestingly, in England, childhood otitis media is usually treated with nothing but a good dose of rest and perhaps an analgesic ( If and when the ear drum ruptures, as it is allowed to do, the pediatrician expects that it will subsequently heal satisfactorily on its own, often allowing the events to end permanently.

As parents, it is up to us to learn the moves to make on the chess board. If we don’t do our homework, we’re easy prey to an alliance that has already memorized a sequence of moves designed to direct the parent seamlessly onto their side of the chess board. If we’ve done our groundwork, we will recognize the patterns and block the offense.


Does a pharmaceutical company have the right to sell its products? Certainly! But we’re not obliged to buy them. Now Maria’s mother has made a point of learning enough homeopathy to treat her children herself, so that she is not subject to a paradigm that doesn’t suit her family’s needs. She recognizes now that the remedy that would have met Maria’s otitis media without side effects and in relatively short order was probably Chamomilla 30. The remedy would have cost about twelve dollars, and certainly less than a co-pay.

Sometimes when Mrs. Reyne thinks of this, it unnerves her. Yet Mr. Reyne reminds her that it is because of their mistakes that the family was put on the path of using homeopathy for their acute problems―and that this has enabled them to avoid superfluous medical visits for their brood for the last several years. Well, except for the time when their son broke his arm. They were grateful for the x-rays and re-setting of the bone. That’s the kind of medicine they’ve become comfortable with.

Are your drugs telling you the truth? In Maria’s case, her parents trusted that the antibiotics given to their baby daughter were “indicated.” But for what? To cure the problem of ear infections? Were the ear infections cured? Not if the drug had to be repeated for years. It simply thrust the pathology to a later date only to be approached again by another antibiotic. Furthermore, Maria was left with a more sobering illness. To the Reynes, it originally appeared that each ear infection was an isolated incident. Not until many months into the third or fourth antibiotic did they begin to question whether it was the same infection knocked down to a lower level, only to return with a vengeance. At that time, it certainly would not have occurred to them that they were trading the short-term and manageable pain of an ear infection for years of overwhelming behavior problems.

It’s not as a result of double blind tests that we learn of behavior problems in children after antibiotic use. It’s not our family doctors who warn of the seriousness of using such products. Instead we learn through a neighbor, WAPF, or a GAPS practitioners. We learn by doing our homework and eschewing the advice of drug enthusiasts.

Any substance that annihilates microorganisms in the digestive factory of the body (the stomach and intestines), including the beneficial ones, can only result in a chronic gut disorder and even a personality lobotomy of sorts. The Reynes certainly would not have acquiesced to such tinkerings had they been able to consider all of the facts.

The bank has to advise us that our interest rate could go up in a few months. The fabric store warns that silk draperies will fade in the sun. It’s good business to tell the truth, to warn customers, to protect them simply because it’s the right thing to do. Yet when it comes to the long-term dangers of drugs (not merely the side effects, which are bad enough, but of effects to come years later) conventional medical fundamentalists skirt the discussion.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Fall 2012.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Soy, Seizures, ADD, ADHD and Autism

Reposted from Psychology Today

Naughty Nutrition
Feeding your libido and fueling your lust for life.

Soy and Seizures

Risks for People with Alzheimer's, Down Syndrome, Fragile X and Autism
Excess soy consumption has long been associated with ADD/ADHD, depression, anxiety, dementia and other mental health issues.1 Now it appears it can aggravate seizures as well. Cara J. Westmark, PhD, and her team at the Waisman Center for Developmental Disabilities at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, pull no punches when they title an article in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease “Soy Exacerbates Seizures in Mouse Models of Neurological Disease” and warn, “These results have important implications for individuals on soy-based diets.”2
The average American, of course, would not describe his or her diet as “soy based,” but soy ingredients are found in more than 60 percent of packaged and processed foods and nearly 100 percent of fast foods.3 The plant-based diet fad has furthermore encouraged many health-conscious Americans to substitute soy products for both meat and dairy. Although animal products would appear to be “soy free,” most commercial and health-food store eggs, milk and flesh foods contain residual isoflavones from soy-based feeds.4

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Infants on soy formula—currently about 25 percent of bottled fed babies according to the American Academy of Pediatrics—are on soy-based diets because they rarely receive anything else to eat, a fact that has led the Israeli Health Ministry, French Food Agency, German Institute of Risk Assessment and British Dietetic Association to warn parents and pediatricians that soy formula could jeopardize brain and body development and should be used only as a last resort.5,6
Another captive population is prisoners. The Weston A. Price Foundation is currently suing the state of Illinois on behalf of prisoners who have suffered devastating damage to their digestive tracts and thyroids due to a high soy diet averaging 100g of soy products per day, with a phytoestrogen content of around 100mg.7
The level of seizures occur among today’s Illinois prison population is unknown. However, a 1978 study in JAMA reported seizure disorders at 1.9 percent among prisoners in Illinois, three times the level found in the general population.8 Although prisoners in the 1970s may have been spared the extremely high 100 grams of soy protein served up today, they most likely endured economy fare such as hamburger and other rations extended with soy grits, textured soy protein and soy flour. Whether soy on the menu might have caused such a high percentage of seizures is unknown. Prisoners, after all, may well have suffered for years from neurological damage that led to violent tendencies, crime and incarceration. Whether they were already seizure-prone individuals or not, the research of Westmark et al suggests their high soy diet could only have made matters worse.
Those who think seizures are rare and only happen to other people, need to think again. According to Dr. Westmark, one out of ten Americans will experience a seizure during their lifetimes.9 According to the Mayo Clinic, seizures may result from many disorders affecting the brain. Best known is epilepsy, a disease characterized by seizures, but seizures can signify metabolic disturbances such as hypoglycemia or dangerously high or low levels of sodium, calcium, magnesium or water. Seizures can also be triggered by brain injury, infections such as meningitis, tumors, lupus, stroke and high fevers.10 In many cases, the cause of seizures is unknown, and the underlying molecular mechanism(s) that initiate and propagate seizures are not well understood.”11
Patients with Alzheimer’s disease, Fragile X syndrome, Down syndrome, and autism are particularly susceptible to seizures,12 and the focus of much research at the Waisman Center of Developmental Disabilities has been on the myriad ways drugs, diet and genetic manipulation can affect amyloid beta levels, seizure threshold and behavioral phenotypes.13 In an editorial entitled “Concocting the Right Diet for Brain Health” published last December in Translational Medicine, Dr. Westmark expressed concern about the risks of soy: “The prevailing view is soy is healthy, but much remains to be learned regarding its effects on brain development and function.” She furthermore warned:
“There is a paucity of studies on the effects of phytoestrogens on fetal and early childhood development; yet, twenty-five percent of infant formulas are based on soy protein. Considering body weight, these infants are getting 6-11 times the dose of phytoestrogens necessary to exert hormone-like effects in adults. There are epigenetic changes associated with a soy-based diet in monkeys suggesting the potential to greatly alter gene expression. We have observed significantly elevated seizure rates in mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease, Fragile X syndrome and Down syndrome when juvenile mice are fed a soy- based diet. Our data suggests that soy-based infant formulas may lower seizure threshold particularly in babies genetically predisposed to developmental disorders. Thus, understanding the negative effects of soy phytoestrogens and modulating intake during pregnancy and infancy could prevent neurological damage during critical periods of sensory development.”14
What’s most surprising about this research is that the mice fed a casein-based refined diet showed “decreased amyloid beta and attenuated seizure rates.” Casein is a fractionated milk protein that is high in the amino acid methionine and seriously deficient in cysteine. It has such a poor nutritional profile that the soy industry has found it a reliable “control” to use in studies where the intent is to make soy look good. Indeed Japanese research at the Faculty of Agriculture, Shizuoka University in Japan, has shown that casein will significantly raise total cholesterol levels and lower HDL levels compared to other proteins.15,16 Consequently most studies used to support the FDA’s 1999 soy/heart disease health claim are deeply flawed because of the routine use of casein as the control.17 In the case of the research done at the Waisman Center, the rats fed a chow comprised of casein, sugar and cornstarch came out on top, and the data clearly indicated “soy isoflavones are associated with decreased seizure threshold.” Indeed soy-restricted diets reduced seizures in multiple lines of mice bred for diseases in which they would be prone to seizures.
To test the hypothesis that soy isoflavones promoted the seizures, the researchers determined to feed some of the mice chows that were supplemented with genistein and/or daidzein, the two isoflavones found in the highest quantity in soy.
After just three days of treatment with the standard soy protein chow, the group of specially bred “Alzheimer’s disease” mice responded with “wild running” and audiogenic seizures. 18
In plain English, audiogenic seizures are seizures brought on by the sound of an alarm. “Wild running” refers to an out-of-control style of running that progresses to loss of the righting reflex, tonic hind limb extension and other signs of seizure, often followed by death. “Righting reflexes” bring the body into a normal position in space and resist forces acting to displace it. They allow the animal to orient itself and regain its balance. Mice that do not die from the seizures regain the righting reflex and appear normal within a few minutes.
The researchers identified daidzein as a component of soy protein that elicited a strong wild running phenotype in wild type mice -- i.e. normal mice as found in nature. Three days of eating chow spiked with daidzein induced plenty of wild running, but no statistically significant increase in seizures. As yet, the researchers have not identified other components found in soy protein that work in tandem with the daidzein to trigger the progression into seizures and death. As for the Alzheimer’s mice, soy protein increased seizures but daidzein did not, though there was a strong trend for increased wild running in the females.19

Friday, January 25, 2013

Help for Fibromyalgia Sufferers

Reposted from Dr. Whitaker

Help for Fibromyalgia

by Dr. Julian Whitaker
Filed Under:General Health
Last Reviewed 01/24/2013
Fibromyalgia is characterized by chronic, diffuse pain and tender points, often accompanied by extreme fatigue and other complaints. Beyond that, there’s a lot we don’t know about it. There are no definitive blood tests for diagnosing fibromyalgia and no consistently effective conventional treatments—symptoms rarely respond to the usual pain meds.

Some doctors don’t think fibromyalgia is a real disease, and others believe it’s merely a physical reaction to stress, depression, or anxiety, which explains why antidepressants and other psychotropic drugs are often prescribed.

I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I have no doubt that one reason we have good success at the Whitaker Wellness Institute treating fibromyalgia is because we don’t make patients feel like it’s “all in their heads.”

There are three primary components to my fibromyalgia treatment protocol: looking for other underlying conditions that may be causing symptoms, a comprehensive nutritional supplement program, and clinical therapies. More specifically, when treating patients who report fibromyalgia symptoms, I do the following:
  1. Check for vitamin D deficiencies. People with diffuse pain often have low levels of vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiencies can cause a bone disorder called osteomalacia, which mimics fibromyalgia’s aches and pains. Low levels of this vitamin are also associated with depression and weight gain, other common coexisting conditions.
  2. Test for heavy metals. Middle-aged women, the group most likely to suffer with fibromyalgia, may have a high body burden of lead or other toxins. In some cases, a course of chelation dramatically improves symptoms.
  3. Measure hormone levels. Women of pre- and postmenopausal age are low not only in estrogen and progesterone but oftentimes in thyroid and adrenal hormones. Addressing hormonal deficiencies has profound effects on a wide range of symptoms.
  4. Reenergize patients with coenzyme Q10, L-carnitine, magnesium, and ribose. People with fibromyalgia (and its common sidekick, chronic fatigue syndrome) often have below-normal levels of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy that fuels your cells. They also typically have a reduced ability to manufacture ATP in muscle cells.

    To improve cellular energy, I prescribe 200 mg of coenzyme Q10, 500–1,000 mg of L-carnitine, 500–1,000 mg of magnesium, and 10–15 g of ribose, all of which should be taken daily in divided doses.

    Though all of these nutrients are involved in cellular energy, ribose may be the most important. In one study, researchers gave 41 patients with fibromyalgia and/or chronic fatigue syndrome 5 grams of ribose three times a day. After four weeks, nearly 70 percent of the participants had significant improvements in symptoms and quality of life.
  5. Recommend melatonin for addressing poor sleep and pain. Many patients with fibromyalgia have sleep issues, and for them I recommend 1–3 mg of supplemental melatonin at bedtime. Known as the “sleep hormone,” melatonin has also been shown to reduce pain associated with fibromyalgia.
  6. Prescribe a course of clinical therapies. Patients with fibromyalgia respond well to several alternative therapies, including neurofeedback and microcurrent therapy. K.S., a nurse whose longstanding fibromyalgia limited the number of hours she was able to work, tried virtually every therapy under the sun. She’d get relief for a while, but her pain and fatigue always returned—until she discovered microcurrent therapy.

    Low-dose naltrexone (LDN) has also been demonstrated in clinical trials to be an effective treatment for fibromyalgia. The suggested dose of LDN (which has to be obtained through a compounding pharmacy) is 1.5–4.5 mg at bedtime.
Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment for fibromyalgia, and I can’t say exactly what might work for you. I can promise, however, that all of the therapies discussed above are safe and will likely have a net positive benefit on your overall health.

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