Saturday, March 30, 2013

Shield Yourself from Environmental Cancer Risks

Reposted from Life Extension
http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2013/apr2013_Shield-Yourself-from-Environmental-Cancer-Risks_01.htm

By Steve Frankel
man using microscope
Shampoos, pesticides, drinking water, plastics, and vehicle emissions contain cancer-causing toxins that we are exposed to on a daily basis.
These chemicals can ultimately lead to cancer by damaging our DNA and impeding our detoxification pathways.1-4 In a cruel twist, some of these toxins even activate cancer-causing genes that could otherwise have remained dormant.5,6
Today, it is impossible to avoid the constant onslaught of environmental toxins. But what is possible is to equip your body with the tools it needs to identify toxins and remove them from your system before they can cause any damage.
Cruciferous vegetables do just that. They optimize your body’s detoxification system in order to neutralize many of these chemical threats—and maintain the integrity of your DNA in the process.7-9
Decades of research have shown that ingesting cruciferous vegetables can slash risk of cancer by up to 54%.10-18 These findings show reduced risk of virtually every major type of cancer.19-29
In this article, you’ll learn about the specific components of cruciferous vegetables that fight cancer—and, more importantly, you’ll discover how to harness the powers of cruciferous vegetables to maximize their cancer-fighting benefits.

Reducing the Effect of Environmental Toxins

Cruciferous vegetables (cabbage family, broccoli, cauliflower, mustard greens, and Brussels sprouts) are some of the most powerful cancer-fighters nature has to offer. Numerous studies have shown that consuming cruciferous vegetables can sharply reduce your risk of cancer.10-18
They’ve been found to be effective against a vast array of cancers including breast, prostate, colon, lung, bladder, ovarian, kidney, and more. Compounds in cruciferous vegetables also have been found to provide long-term anticancer protection even after they’ve been cleared from the body!30,31
No other food group can boast such powerful, broad-reaching anti-cancer benefits. We’ve known for years that people with the highest overall intake of cruciferous vegetables experience a substantial reduction in the risk of many kinds of cancer—now we’re starting to understand why.
Research has shown that the compounds in cruciferous vegetables have the ability to control cancer’s on/off switch.32-35 Essentially, they help fight against cancer either by activating genes that prevent cancer, or by suppressing genes that cause cancer.36,37
Environmental toxins affect the growth and spread of cancer. Pollutants found in air, water, soil, and a large number of industrial products (especially plastics) contain toxins with cancer-causing potential.1-4
Our bodies are equipped with enzyme systems to fight off toxic threats.3,38 Unfortunately, if your enzyme systems aren’t functioning properly, they can have the opposite effect: They can activate those toxins, causing them to become even more lethally carcinogenic. Making matters worse, some toxins suppress protective enzymes, impairing their ability to protect us from cancer.2,7,38-41
That’s where cruciferous compounds come in. Cruciferous compounds help support the key enzyme systems that are so vital for detoxifying your body of harmful, cancer-causing environmental toxins.9,42,43 The result is unprecedented protection from many of the unavoidable cancer-causing toxins we face on a daily basis.
The Most Common Cruciferous Vegetables
The Most Common Cruciferous Vegetables
  • Arugula
  • Black and brown mustard
  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Collard greens
  • Horseradish
  • Japanese radishes
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Parsnips
  • Radishes
  • Rape
  • Rutabaga
  • Turnips
  • Watercress
  • Wasabi

Glucosinolates: Powerful Chemoprevention

Among cruciferous vegetables’ many powerful components, one group stands out. They’re called glucosinolates, which are found in broccoli and broccoli sprouts. They are converted within the body to a number of active constituents that fight cancer through multi-targeted mechanisms.44-47
For example:
  • Glucosinolates reduce the carcinogenicity of many environmental toxins by boosting the genetic expression of important detoxifying enzymes.8,48
  • They protect DNA from oxidative damage caused by toxins (up to 28% reduction in human research), thereby preventing the initial changes that can lead to cancer.49
  • Glucosinolate derivatives encourage cancer cells to commit suicide, and they suppress genes that create the new blood vessels that support rapid growth of tumors.50
  • Finally, there’s evidence that glucosinolate derivatives can turn off genes that promote the spread of cancer.50
Because glucosinolates directly affect the function and expression of genes (the epigenetic effect), experts point out that their protective effects are both wide-ranging and long-lasting.50
Human research reveals that higher dietary intakes of glucosinolates are associated with a reduction in prostate cancer risk by 32%.45 Derivatives of the glucosinolates abundant in broccoli sprouts help prevent stomach cancer by killing the H. pylori bacterium. They also reduce symptoms and biomarkers of inflammation in infected individuals.51
It’s important to note that cooking cruciferous vegetables reduces the rate of glucosinolate conversion to active molecules by about 300%, which is one good reason why supplementation may offer a better alternative.52-54
What You Need to Know
dirt smoke form the coal plant

Slash Your Cancer Risk with Cruciferous Vegetables

  • Environmental toxins are a growing problem, threatening to raise already high rates of preventable cancers.
  • While our bodies contain systems capable of detoxifying harmful chemicals, some enzyme systems in fact activate potential carcinogens, making them more, not less, likely to produce malignancy.
  • Toxins, radiation, and other forces exert negative epigenetic effects on our chromosomes, potentially revealing cancer-causing genes for activation.
  • Phytochemicals from cruciferous vegetables can attack these natural cancer-promoting processes at their root.
  • Cruciferous components work together to inhibit toxin-activating enzymes, boost detoxifying enzymes, and reverse negative epigenetic changes in our chromosomes.
  • Because many such compounds are inactivated by cooking, consider using a concentrated supplement containing extracts from multiple types of beneficial cruciferous plants.

Indole-3 Carbinol (I3C)

Indole-3-carbinol (I3C) is one of the most widely-studied components of cruciferous vegetables. Studies have shown that it helps fight cancers of the breast, prostate, and reproductive tract, as well as colon and blood cancers.55
In cancers of the reproductive tract, I3C helps prevent the development of tumors by benefitting important ratios of estrogen metabolites such as the 2-hydroxyestrone:16a-hydroxyestrone ratio and 2-hydroxyestrone:estriol ratios.56-58 Note that 2-hydroxyestrone is an estrogen metabolite that seems to protect against cancer, whereas 16-hydroxyestrone may promote cancer.
Treatment with I3C has also been shown to have a positive effect on recurrent respiratory papillomatosis, a precancerous condition that produces growths in the throat and voice-box. Studies show that treatment with I3C completely stops the growth of papilloma in about 33% of patients and reduces the growth rate and need for surgery in another 33% of patients.59,60
I3C is also beneficial in early cervical cancers known as carcinoma in situ. In one study, 50% of the patients receiving 200 mg/day of I3C had complete regression of carcinoma in situ, while none of the patients in the placebo group were found to be free of carcinoma in situ after 12 weeks.61 And in women with a potentially pre-cancerous condition known as vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia, treatment with 200 or 400 mg/day of I3C reduced the size and severity of lesions on the vaginal labia.62
Animal studies of I3C show a reduction in tumor number and size in experimental models of cancers of the breast, lung, and prostate.63-65
Beneficial Anticancer Hormone Effects of Cruciferous Vegetables
Many cancers, especially those of the reproductive tissues, depend on the presence of sex hormones (primarily estrogen and testosterone) to sustain their growth. Therefore, many treatment approaches rely on blocking or reducing levels of sex hormones in cancer victims. The problem is, conventional drugs can cause side effects and may harm reproductive potential. That’s where cruciferous vegetables come in.
Some components of cruciferous vegetables act more gently and by multiple mechanisms to impede the growth of such hormone-dependent cancers, making them an important part of chemoprevention strategies.
Phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC), a natural metabolite of glucosinolates from watercress, has been found, for example, to down-regulate androgen receptors, minimizing stimulation of prostate cancer by testosterone.94 3,3’-Diindolylmethane (DIM), another glucosinolate metabolic product, prevents stimulation of prostate cancer cells by both androgens and estrogen.69,95,96
Breast cancers are commonly estrogen-dependent; sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol (I3C), still other glucosinolate products, decrease the amounts of cancer-stimulating estrogen receptor-alpha molecules present on cells, inhibiting their proliferation.97,98 This effect has been shown to be active in thyroid cancers as well, which are much more common in women than in men.66,99 DIM has a complementary effect, stimulating cancer-suppressing estrogen receptor-beta molecules.100
Finally, a late 2012 study revealed that I3C also induces degradation of the pro-cancer estrogen receptor alpha, and at the same time reduces expression of tumor-promoting insulin-like growth factor receptor-1 in breast cancer cells.101
Thus, a single serving of a complete cruciferous vegetable supplement can protect reproductive tissues from a whole array of harmful hormonal influences, potentially making you much less likely to develop these devastating malignancies.

Di-indolyl-methane (DIM)

Chemist at work
The compound DIM is produced in the body following ingestion of glucosinolates derived from cruciferous vegetables. Animal models, basic lab studies, and limited phase 1 clinical trials show that DIM prevents tumors of the prostate, ovary, cervix, and thyroid, as well as several types of leukemia.66-73 DIM also appears to suppress cancer stem cells, the lingering, super-potent cells that can cause a cancer to recur even years after apparently successful treatment.74,75
Like the other components of cruciferous vegetables, DIM induces cancer cell death by apoptosis, inhibits cancer cell growth, slows or stops new blood vessel development in tumors, and can inhibit factors allowing cancer cells to invade healthy tissue.69
Like I3C, DIM helps prevent the growth of estrogen-dependent tumors, such as those of the female breast and reproductive tract, by boosting the ratio of 2-hydroxyestrone:16a-hydroxyestrone.66,76
Studies in mice demonstrate that DIM can completely prevent the progression of pre-cancerous lesions of the cervix, caused by human papilloma virus (HPV), to full-blown cancer.77 In fact, researchers now theorize that DIM could possibly make the human papilloma virus vaccine more effective, so that it could be given to women already infected with the virus. (Currently it is only effective prior to infection.)77 DIM also increases levels of protective interferon gamma in mouse models of cervical cancer.68

Watercress Extract

One particular cruciferous vegetable, watercress, brings together the very best actions of the other cruciferous vegetables and their components we’ve discussed so far. Studies have shown that watercress has a positive effect on lung, colorectal, and prostate cancers.
Watercress is especially rich in another glucosinolate derivative, called phenethyl-isothiocyanate (PEITC).78 PEITC inhibits carcinogen-activating enzymes, induces cancer detoxification enzymes, and protects against DNA damage.78,79 PEITC is also a remarkably specific epigenetic modulator that turns on genes that suppress cancer.80,81
These effects make watercress extracts particularly appealing in the case of some of our most potent environmental carcinogens, such as those found in tobacco smoke.82-84 Watercress and PEITC are also showing promise in other malignancies caused by activated carcinogens, such as colorectal and prostate cancers.85-87
Look for supplements that contain watercress extract, rather than purified PEITC, because the watercress extracts also contain small amounts of other detoxifying enzyme inducers with even greater potency.78 These substances help prevent cancer growth by reducing inflammatory stimuli such as nitric oxide.88
Cancer Risk Reduction by Cruciferous Vegetables
Cancer Cells

Cancer Type

Risk Reduction

Colorectal
49%13
Melanoma Skin Cancer
46%17
Prostate
42%20
Pancreas
34%19
Kidney
32%15
Bladder
31%11
Esophagus
28%12
Ovary
24%18
Lung
22%16
Breast
17%12
Mouth and Throat
17%12
This table shows the reduction in risk for various cancer types, for those consuming the highest versus the lowest amounts of cruciferous vegetables.

How to Get the Most Benefit from Cruciferous Vegetables

In order to get the maximum health benefits from cruciferous vegetables, make sure you’re consuming a variety of them. Every member of the cruciferous family contains a different set of the glucosinolates that help fight cancer.
For example, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage are good sources of a glucosinolate called glucoraphanin, the precursor of sulforaphane. Watercress is an excellent source of the glucosinolate gluconasturtiin, the precursor of PEITC. And garden cress, cabbage, and Indian cress are top sources of a glucosinolate known as glucotropaeolin, the precursor of benzyl isothiocyanate (BITC).
Next, make sure they’re not overcooked. Boiling, steaming, and microwaving at high power substantially decreases the bioavailability of cruciferous vegetables’ cancer-fighting compounds.89-92As beneficial for you as cruciferous vegetables are, there are some things you need to be aware of: The glucosinolate content varies greatly even among individual plants of the same type—and even among parts of the same plant. Even these relative concentrations change during the course of a single plant’s growth cycle.93
That’s why, in addition to eating a variety of cruciferous vegetables, it’s important to take a standardized cruciferous compound supplement. A good cruciferous vegetable supplement should contain I3C, DIM, and PEITC—and for even greater impact, should also include extracts of raw broccoli, cabbage, watercress, and other plant compounds such as apigenin.

Get Off Your Thyroid Medication And Start Consuming Coconut Oil

Reposted from Prevent Disease dot com
http://preventdisease.com/news/13/032113_Get-Off-Your-Thyroid-Medication-And-Start-Consuming-Coconut-Oil.shtml?utm_source=032113&utm_campaign=032113&utm_medium=email

There are many published studies on the relationship between coconut oil, metabolism and weight loss. Research shows that coconut oil contains unique fatty acids that stimulate metabolism, supply the body with tremendous energy, and promote weight loss. Most people are unaware that hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disease and this is one of the main reasons why conventional pharmaceutical treatments are ineffective for more than 80 percent of patients with sluggish thyroids.



Why Thyroid Medication Does Not Work


Taking replacement thyroid hormones without addressing the underlying immune imbalance is like trying to change the type of oil in your engine with the hope that your transmission will stop failing...useless.

The ultimate effect of hypothyroidism, whether it’s caused by iodine deficiency or autoimmunity, is to decrease the amount of thyroid hormone available to the body. The conventional approach is to simply replace these hormones with either synthetic or bio-identical forms.

Patient doesn’t have enough hormones? Give more hormones. Simple, right? Not.

Once again the conventional approach falls short because it ignores the underlying cause of the problem.

Even the best thyroid treatment may not work if underlying adrenal and hormonal problems are not dealt with effectively. If your doctor is not looking at your adrenal and hormonal situation, then an important part of your health is being overlooked.
In autoimmune disease the body attacks itself. It does this the same way it attacks foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses: with T-cells, B-cells, natural killer cells, and cytotoxic T cells. The immune response also involves proteins called cytokines, chemical messengers that pass messages between cells.

A team of scientists from Yale University recently reported that junk food diets and processed foods could be partly to blame for autoimmune diseases.

Thyroid Hormones
The production and use of thyroid hormones is a complex and important process:

  • An understanding of the complex thyroid hormone process begins with iodide, a salt that is extracted from the blood and trapped by the thyroid gland.
  • Iodide is converted to iodine in the thyroid gland. (Here, 80% of the body's iodine supply is then stored.) Iodine, in turn, is the raw material used in the manufacturing of thyroxine (T4), the key thyroid hormone.
  • Thyroxine itself is converted into triiodothyronine (T3) , which is the more biologically active thyroid hormone. (Only about 20% of triiodothyronine is actually formed in the thyroid gland, however. The rest is manufactured from circulating thyroxine in tissues outside the thyroid, such as those in the liver and kidney.)
  • Two other important hormones in the process are thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH or thyrotropin) and thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH).
  • TSH directly influences the whole process of iodine trapping and thyroid hormone production.
  • This hormone is secreted by the pituitary gland and monitored by TRH, which is produced in the hypothalamus gland. (Both the pituitary and hypothalamus glands are located in the brain.)
  • When thyroxine levels drop even slightly, the pituitary gland goes into action to pump up secretion of TSH so that it can stimulate thyroxine production.

Any abnormality in this intricate system of glands and hormone synthesis and production can have far-reaching consequences.

To Address The Thyroid You MUST Understand Inflammation

This self-attack by the immune system increases inflammation. And inflammation has a profound effect on all aspects of thyroid metabolism and physiology.

First, inflammation suppresses the hypothalamus-pituitary-thyroid (HPT) axis. One study showed a single injection of the inflammatory cytokine TNF-alpha reduced blood levels of TSH, T3, free T4, free T3 and TRH for 5 days. This shows inflammation disrupts the production and regulatory mechanisms of thyroid hormones. Thyroid medication will increase the levels of T4 (and possibly T3), but it doesn’t address the other effects of HPT axis suppression.
Second, inflammation decreases both the number and sensitivity of thyroid hormone receptors. If there aren’t enough receptors, or they aren’t sensitive enough, it doesn’t matter how much thyroid medication we take. The cells won’t be able to use it. It’s like when my grandpa used to turn down his hearing aids while he was watching the football game. It didn’t matter how much my grandma yelled at him -- he couldn’t hear a word she said.
Third, inflammation decreases the conversion of T4 to T3. T4 is the inactive form of thyroid hormone. The body has to convert it to the active T3 form before it can be used. Most synthetic hormone medications on the market are T4. If you give a T4 medication (like Synthroid, Levoxyl, Unithroid, etc.) to someone with inflammation, it’s not going to work because they can’t convert the T4 to T3.

A TSH test is just one part of the overall picture. You can have a TSH that falls in the "normal range," or is in the higher or lower end of normal, but you can actually have a thyroid problem or autoimmune thyroid disease. A good practitioner doesn't rule out a thyroid condition solely on the basis of a TSH, but instead, runs additional tests, such as Free T4, Free T3. Thyroid antibodies can diagnose autoimmune conditions long before other blood values become abnormal. AND, treatment for people with antibodies can actually help forestall full-scale development of thyroid disease in some people!

Long-term suppression of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) causes cardiac side-effects and contributes to decreases in bone mineral density (high TSH levels are also well known to contributes to osteoporosis.) It may also cause elevated blood glucose levels, heart failure, coma and adrenal insufficiency. TSH directly influences the whole process of iodine trapping and thyroid hormone production so use of synthroid directly affects how the body metabolizes iodine.
The only way to do that is to address the problem at its root by regulating the immune system and decreasing inflammation.

Other Causes of an Unbalanced Thyroid?

A sluggish thyroid may be triggered by many unseen causes, including...
  • MSG and bad fatty acids, so common in our diet, can weaken your thyroid.
  • A deficiency of iodine is on the rise, and without enough iodine, your thyroid won't produce the hormones you need.
  • As you age, your risk of an unbalanced thyroid dramatically increases.
  • Popular prescription drugs for your heart, bones and blood sugar can lead to a sluggish thyroid.
  • Exposure to too much fluoride or chlorine in drinking water can interfere with normal thyroid function.
  • Menopause or pregnancy and treatments such as Estrogen Replacement Therapy can throw the thyroid out of whack.
  • A family history of thyroid concerns may cause thyroid dysfunction.
  • Autoimmune health problems can cause your thyroid to go haywire.

Coconut Oil Regulates The Immune System and Decreases Inflammation

Coconut oil has always received a criticism because a group of scientists had incorrectly promoted that it increased LDL cholesterol. However, it never did increase LDL cholesterol, but it did increase HDL or good cholesterol. That distinction was never corrected in the mainstream press and the misconception still continues to this day.

"Why the mainstream persists in this delusion of criticizing coconut oil is beyond the understanding of many in the natural food industry," said raw food expert and retailer Ian Macdonald.

"You know you're on to something healthy when national and international health agencies are advising AGAINST it," Macdonald stated. "This is typically due to influences from pharmaceutical and high profile corporations who strive on keeping the population sick and diseased," he added.

For example the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), World Health Organization (WHO), International College of Nutrition, the United States Department of Health and Human Services, American Dietetic Association (ADA), American Heart Association (AHA), British National Health Service (NHS), and Dietitians of Canada all simultaneously recommend AGAINST the consumption of coconut oil. Unfortunately, and against the better interest of the public, none of the above organizations have a track record of recommending healthy solutions for the public, so Macdonald suggests that when these organizations recommend against something, "that is your cue to incorporate it into your diet, with proper research of course." Coconut oil may be the perfect example.

50 percent of the fat content in coconut oil is a fat rarely found in nature called lauric acid. Your body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-protozoa properties. Lauric acid is a powerful virus and gram-negative bacteria destroyer, and coconut oil contains the most lauric acid of any substance on earth!

Nigel Turner and Jiming Ye from Sydney's Garvan Institute of Medical Research compared fat metabolism and insulin resistance in mice fed coconut oil and lard based diets.

"The medium chain fatty acids like those found in coconut oil are interesting to us because they behave very differently to the fats normally found in our diets," said study leader Turner.

"Unlike the long chain fatty acids contained in animal fats, medium chain fatty acids are small enough to enter mitochondria - the cells' energy burning powerhouses - directly where they can then be converted to energy."


Coconut oil has a direct effect in suppressing inflammation and repairing tissue, and it may also contribute by inhibiting harmful intestinal microorganisms that cause chronic inflammation.

Many people who have suffered with inflammatory conditions of the intestines like Crohn’s disease have successfully used coconut oil for its anti-inflammatory and soothing properties.

The medium-chain fatty acids and monoglycerides found in coconut oil are the same as those in human mother's milk, and they have extraordinary anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. By disrupting the lipid structures of microbes, they inactivate them. Lauric acid, its metabolite monolaurin and other fatty acids in coconut oil are known to protect against infection from bacteria, viruses, yeast, fungi and parasites. While not having any negative effect on beneficial gut bacteria, coconut oil inactivates undesirable microbes.

An excellent study that reviewed many previous studies on this topic was published in the Journal of Nutrition (Vol. 132, pages 329-332). This study was conducted by researchers at McGill University. They reported that several different studies have shown weight loss equivalent to 12 - 36 pounds a year simply by changing the types of oils used in everyday cooking and food preparation.

Most of the oils that we use to cook food and those used in commercially-prepared foods also have a negative affect on the thyroid. These are known as polyunsaturated or vegetable oils. They may in fact be the worst villains in the spread of thyroid diseases.

The thyroid, though small otherwise, is one of the largest glands in the endocrine system. Diseases of the endocrine system are mostly caused due to production disorders that lead to inadequacy or excess of hormones or inappropriate response to hormones by tissues.

Dr. Bruce Fife's book Eat Fat, Look Thin explains how he discovered the relationship between coconut oil and improved thyroid health. It explains how to use coconut oil and incorporate it into a sensible diet.

Another book by Dr. Fife is The Healing Miracles of Coconut Oil and Eat Fat, Look Thin which contains references to numerous studies.

Is coconut oil a thyroid cure? Not by itself. Can it help people with low thyroid function? Yes, because it stimulates metabolism and boosts energy. For this reason, coconut oil has been a blessing to many people who have been able to abandon their medications with the right combination of exercise, removal of processed foods, and a balanced diet.

Other Nutrients To Maintain and Boost Thyroid Function:
  • Iodine: the chief component of thyroid hormones
    Iodine is a potent trace mineral that's vital for thyroid function. Amazingly, 75 percent of your body's iodine is stored in your thyroid gland. Iodine is vital for your body's metabolic processes. Incorporate foods such as seaweed, kelp, radish, parsley, fish, seafood, eggs, bananas, cranberries, strawberries, himalayan crystal salt.
  • Irish moss: a wonderful source from the sea
    This beneficial seaweed is an excellent source of naturally
    occurring trace minerals and life-enhancing nutrients.
  • Vitamin B-2: the "fat metabolizer"
    This vitamin is essential because it keeps your thyroid humming
    along. It ignites your fat-burning metabolism so you stay slim and trim and releases energy from carbs, proteins and fats so you lose more weight.
  • Magnesium: the "fat releaser"
    Magnesium is vital because it supports many of the processes closely associated with a healthy thyroid. The problem is, 80 percent of Americans are deficient in magnesium. A magnesium deficiency can affect the ability of your cells to properly use glucose for energy and metabolism, so it's harder to lose weight.
  • Manganese: nature's slim down mineral
    A number of manganese-activated enzymes play a key role in
    the metabolism of carbs, amino acids and cholesterol...three things you must address if you want to be slimmer and trimmer.
  • Selenium: a critical mineral for thyroid function
    Selenium helps convert the thyroid hormone T4 into the active form of T3 your body needs for strong metabolism and more energy.
  • Vitamin B3: the "energy stimulator"
    This vitamin aids in the production of enzymes that convert carbs, glucose and fats into usable energy.
  • Vitamin B12: the fatigue fighter
    This energy-boosting, fatigue-fighting vitamin fires up your
    metabolism. Also helps improve blood flow, which is vital for increased energy.
  • Vitamin B1: the metabolism booster
    Vitamin B1 is important for energy and for certain metabolic processes, especially the conversion of carbs.
  • Zinc Picolinate: Crucial for healthy thyroid function.
  • Copper: Combines with certain proteins to help a number of body functions, including energy
  • L-Tyrosine: This amino acid is beneficial for the production of thyroid hormones and helps boost mental and physical stamina.
  • Vitamin B6: This key vitamin helps convert iodine to the thyroid hormone and helps your body better absorb zinc, which you need for a healthy thyroid.

Sources:
garvan.org.au
chriskresser.com
preventdisease.com

nativeremedies.com
reuters.com
drbenkim.com

Natasha Longo has a master's degree in nutrition and is a certified fitness and nutritional counselor. She has consulted on public health policy and procurement in Canada, Australia, Spain, Ireland, England and Germany.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

New Study: Lowfat and Skim Milk Drinking Kids Are Fattest

Reposted from The Healthy Home Economist
http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/new-study-lowfat-and-skim-milk-drinking-kids-are-fattest/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheHealthyHomeEconomist+%28The+Healthy+Home+Economist%29

A new study published online March 18, 2013 in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, a sister publication of the British Medical Journal, reports that lowfat milk is associated with higher weight in preschoolers.
You read that right.
Kids drinking lowfat milk tend to be heavier than those drinking whole milk. Skim milk drinking kids were found to be the fattest of all.
The findings call into serious question the long held recommendation of pediatricians that parents switch children to lowfat milk at age 2 in order to reduce the risk of weight problems.

It seems this misguided pediatric advice is producing the exact opposite of what was intended.
This large study of 10,700 preschoolers involved interviewing the parents when the children were 2 years old and again at 4 years old. The researchers took direct measurements of each child’s height and weight in order to accurately calculate BMI (body mass index) at both ages.
Researchers found that the children who drank skim (1%) milk were the fattest of all regardless of of race, ethnicity or socioeconomic status.
The 2% milk drinking children had the next highest BMI (body mass index) followed by the whole milk drinking children who were the leanest of all.
Dr Mark DeBoer said in an email to NPR that he and his co-author Dr. Rebecca Scharf, both of the University of Virginia, were “quite surpised” by the findings as they had hypothesized just the opposite.
Dr. DeBoer added that the data also indicates that use of lowfat milk did not restrain weight gain in preschoolers over time. He speculated that if you feel fuller after drinking full fat milk, “it may be protective if the other food options are high in calories.”
In other words, drinking a glass of whole milk for dinner instead of lowfat or skim milk may prevent a child from eating an extra cookie or two later.

Two Other Studies Indicate Lowfat and Skim Milk Make Kids Fatter

This is not the first study indicating that lowfat and skim milk lead to heavier children.
In 2005, a study published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine concluded that skim and 1% milk were associated with weight gain in children aged 9-14, but dairy fat was not.
A more recent study in 2010 published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that switching from whole milk to reduced-fat milk at age 2 years did not appear to prevent overweight in early childhood.
Take home lesson for parents? Give your kids whole milk like Grandma and Grandpa did. Taking the fat out of milk doesn’t help one iota in reducing a child’s chances of overweight and obesity. On the other hand, giving a child whole milk appears to be protective of a healthy weight in childhood!

Learn More About Healthy Fats to Stay Slim

Want to learn more about what fats to eat and what fats to avoid to stay slim and healthy? Check out my eBook Get Your Fats Straight – Why Skim Milk is Making You Fat and Giving You Heart Disease and Other Surprising Facts About Fats.
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
Sources: Whole Milk or Skim? Study Links Fattier Milk to Slimmer Kids
Longitudinal evaluation of milk type consumed and weight status in preschoolers
Milk, dairy fat, dietary calcium, and weight gain: a longitudinal study of adolescents
Prospective association between milk intake and adiposity in preschool-aged children
Picture Credit

How Sugar Leads to Toxic Glycation

Reposted from Life Extension
http://blog.lef.org/2013/03/sugar-leads-to-toxic-glycation.html

By Michael A. Smith, MDWe’ve all heard it many times by now - the consumption of refined sugar is killing people.

And it’s true. As a matter of fact, I often refer to sugar as the “American diet culprit” — a statement that I stand behind 100%.

But how exactly is sugar killing us? Or let me ask it this way: What is sugar really doing to our cells and tissues that is so very harmful?

Below, we’ll answer this by investigating the pathological reaction involving sugar. We’ll also explain how you can prevent it from happening to you, naturally.

Sugar Reacts to Cause Dangerous Glycation

First off, sugar is very reactive … chemically speaking. It readily combines, or reacts, with cell-surface proteins and fats. This reaction is called glycation and it’s not a good thing at all.

Every molecule of protein and fat in your body has a distinct structure and form. If the structure or form is changed, even just slightly, the result can be complete dysfunction of the protein or fat.

We call this the “structure-function” relationship of molecules. The need for a specific structure to perform a function can easily be envisioned if we think about the way a key has to fit into a lock.

In fact, the “lock and key” model in biochemistry is used to describe the need for a perfect match between a protein enzyme and its binding site. In another example, think about it on a more grand scale.

Look at your hand. It has a very detailed and specific structure to it. Crushing your hand in an industrial accident and breaking all of your fingers, changes your hand’s structure.

In a “crushed” form, your hand cannot function as a hand. Your hand has lost its “structure-function” relationship.

Sugar Destroys Structure-Function Relationships

The same is true for proteins and fats on the surface of your cells. When sugar reacts with a surface protein, say a receptor for a hormone, it changes the receptor’s structure and ultimately its function as a specific hormone receptor.

What does this mean to the cell? Well, the hormone, which carries a specific message for the cell, can no longer pass on its message. And keep in mind that the hormonal message could very well be essential for the cell’s function and survival. And that’s just one example.

Destroying the structure of a cell-surface protein or fat through glycation will destroy its function. The cell membrane becomes damaged and the cell dysfunctions. This inevitably is followed by tissue damage, organ failure, and organism death.

Bottom-line: Too much sugar undergoes a dangerous reaction called glycation. So let’s take a look at some ways of preventing it.

Carnosine Sacrifices Itself to Protect Your Cells

Carnosine is a unique small protein, called a dipeptide, which can interfere with the glycation process.1,2 It probably protects against glycation in two ways.

First, it may, in a sense, “sacrifice itself.” Instead of sugar reacting to critical cell proteins, it will attack supplemented carnosine instead. I like to call it the glycation martyr.

Secondly, carnosine seems to have an ability to help “unfold” (return to normal) the structure of glycated proteins. In a laboratory study, researchers showed that glycated alpha-crystallin (a protein) unfolded and returned to normal structure after carnosine was added.1

Supplementing with 1 gram a day of carnosine may help people with sugar issues reduce the amount of glycation their cells and tissues experience.

Benfotiamine Manages Normal Sugar Reactions

Another way to prevent glycation is to make sure sugar undergoes normal metabolism — meaning it’s used properly for energy or safely stored away for later use. This is where benfotiamine comes into play — a fat soluble form of vitamin B1. It can help ensure sugar is correctly metabolized.3
Benfotiamine is a co-factor for the enzyme transketolase — which is critical to blood sugar metabolism. In a landmark study, it boosted healthy transketolase activity in cell cultures. The result was activated glucose metabolism, resulting in healthy blood sugar levels and less sugar available for glycation reactions.3

The researchers concluded that benfotiamine could help inhibit advanced glycation reactions, maintain healthy endothelial, retinal, kidney and nerve cell function.

Special Forms of B6 Inhibit Glycation

Sub-forms of vitamin B6, like pyridoxamine and pyridoxal-5’-phosphate, have been shown to protect critical cellular fats and proteins against glycation reactions.4
They probably work similar to benfotiamine by helping our cells manage sugar better and stopping glycation early on, before too much damage occurs. In any case, research has clearly shown that supplementing with them can minimize glycation reactions.

A team of biochemists at the University of South Carolina, for instance, were able to show that these sub-forms of B6 trap reactive metabolites formed during the initiation of glycation. They then chaperone them harmlessly into the urine before too much damage occurs.5

Sugar – How Sweet It Isn’t

So here’s the takeaway: Sugar is not a sweet, innocent compound. It’s highly reactive and can cause great structural damage to critical proteins and fats. Once structurally damaged, these proteins and fats cannot function properly.

So what can you do to protect yourself? First, start off by eating less sugar. Then, also consider supplementing with the triad of anti-glycation nutrients mentioned above — carnosine, benfotiamine and special forms of vitamin B6.

References:

  1. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2004 Jul 1;427(1):110-5.
  2. Exp Gerontol. 2009 Apr;44(4):237-42.
  3. Nature Med. 2003 Mar;9(3):294-9.
  4. J Lipid Res. 2006 May; 47(5): 964-74.
  5. J Biol Chem. 2003 Oct 24;278(43):42012-9.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

How Resveratrol Can Help Prevent Disease

Reposted from Life Extension

http://blog.lef.org/2012/03/resveratrol-can-prevent-disease.html

By Michael A. Smith, MD

We like resveratrol, especially the early research showing that it favorably expresses anti-aging genes and prevents cancer — at least in mice. But there’s so much more to what my dad calls, the “red wine” supplement. New research highlights several mechanisms of action by which resveratrol can help prevent and even treat disease.

The table below comes from a systematic review of resveratrol research.1 We added the section on synergistic nutrients that could be taken with resveratrol for added benefit. Although the investigators concluded that more human research is needed, they believe that resveratrol looks promising for preventing cancer, heart disease and even diabetes.

Resveratrol’s Mechanisms of Action
Mechanism of Action
Disease Affected
Synergistic Nutrients
Reduces Oxidative StressAll age-related diseasesAntioxidants from dark berries
Ubiquinol CoQ10
Eases InflammationAll age-related diseasesOmega-3 Fats
Curcumin (turmeric spice)
Boswellia serrata extract
Suppresses fat cell formation
Stimulates fat cell breakdown
Obesity, heart disease, diabetesMangosteen & S. Indicus
Fucoxanthin (brown seaweed)
Conjugated linoleic acid
Enhances cell energy production
Protects mitochondrial decay
Obesity, heart disease, diabetesUbiquinol CoQ10
D-ribose
PQQ (Pyrroloquinoline quinone)
Promotes healthy cell growth
Controls programmed cell death
CancerCruciferous vegetable extract
Coriolus mushroom extract
Inhibition of metastasis CancerCurcumin
Controls of angiogenesis
(blood vessel formation)
CancerGreen tea extract (EGCG)
Milk thistle (silibinin)
Prevents DNA damage CancerChlorophyllin
Improves toxin metabolismCancerModified citrus pectin
Reduce levels of glutamate Brain and nerve disordersBlueberry extracts
Vinpocetine
Promotes bone formationOsteoporosisDried plum extract
Strontium


What You Need to Know

Resveratrol, a natural polyphenol antioxidant, has several key mechanisms of action, each of which contributes to the reduction of disease and even premature death. Five of the leading causes of death may be prevented or mitigated by resveratrol supplementation, including heart disease, cancer, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes. All of this put together, makes resveratrol an important part of every wellness program.

Want to dig even deeper? Check out the entire article, How Resveratrol Combats Leading Causes of Death, from the March issue of Life Extension Magazine®.

References

  1. PLoS One. 2011;6(6):e19881.