Thursday, May 30, 2013

Omega-3 Fats Lower the Risk of Macular Degeneration

Reposted from Life Extension

By Michael A. Smith, MD
Age-related macular degeneration is the number one cause of blindness in the Unites States for people over 60.

In fact, as many as 11 million people in the United States have some form of age-related macular degeneration. This number is expected to double to nearly 22 million by 2050.1
And not to state the obvious here, but this can have devastating and life-altering consequences.

That’s why it’s refreshing to see that something as simple as fish oil may be able to help reduce your risk.

What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

The macula or macula lutea (from Latin macula, "spot" + lutea, "yellow") is a highly pigmented yellow spot near the center of the retina of the human eye, providing the clearest, most distinct vision needed in reading, driving, seeing fine detail, and recognizing facial features.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a devastating condition characterized by the deterioration of the macula in which central vision becomes severely impaired. There are two forms of macular degeneration: atrophic (dry) and neovascular (wet). Both forms of the disease may affect both eyes simultaneously.

Age-related declines in retinal carotenoid antioxidants, coupled with photo damage induced by harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, give rise to this debilitating condition. The progression and severity of macular degeneration, as with all age-related diseases, are exacerbated by factors such as oxidative stress, inflammation, high blood sugar, and poor vascular health.

What are the Risks for Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

At the top of the list of risk factors is low carotenoid intake. Low levels oflutein, zeaxanthin, and meso-zeaxanthin are linked to AMD. All three are carotenoids present in the retina and positively affect central vision and the pigment density in the macula.2

Lutein and zeaxanthin help to prevent AMD by supporting the macular density, resulting in less retinal tearing or degeneration. The therapeutic effect of lutein and zeaxanthin in AMD is significant, according to the Lutein Antioxidant Supplementation Trial (LAST), which showed improvement in several symptoms accompanying AMD.3
The next risk factor is a high fat diet. Higher intake of specific types of fat, rather than total fat, may be associated with a greater risk of advanced AMD. A French study found that high total fat, saturated fat, and monounsaturated fat intake were all associated with an increased risk of developing AMD.4
Eating red meat 10 or more times per week appears to increase risk for developing early AMD, while eating chicken more than 3.5 times per week may confer protection against the disease.5
Lastly, high blood pressure appears to increase your risk. A study of 5,875 Latino men and women identified a pronounced risk for wet AMD if diastolic blood pressure was high, or if individuals had uncontrolled diastolic hypertension.6
Besides replacing carotenoids, eating less fat and maintaining healthy blood pressure, let’s take a look at how omega-3 fats can help reduce your risk.

Omega-3 Fats Reduce Age-Related Macular Degeneration Risk

An article published in The Journal of Nutrition reports an association between high omega-3 levels and a reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration in older men and women.7
The investigation included 963 participants, aged 73 and older. Blood samples collected between 1999 and 2001 were analyzed for plasma alpha-linolenic acid and the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosapentaenoic acid (DPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

The subjects underwent initial eye examinations during 2006–2008 and were followed for an average of 31 months. Having a higher level of total omega-3 fatty acids was associated with a decreased adjusted risk of late macular degeneration in this age group in comparison with lower omega-3 levels.7

So there you have it — a really simple strategy for reducing your risk of age-related macular degeneration: Eat more fish and supplement daily with omega-3 fats. Think you can swing it?


  2. Surv Ophthalmol. 2005 Mar-Apr;50(2):183-93. Review.
  3. Optometry. 2004 Apr;75(4):216-30.
  4. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2007 Nov;61(11):1341-4. Epub 2007 Feb 14.
  5. Am J Epidemiol. 2009 Apr 1;169(7):867-76.
  6. Am J Ophthalmol. 2008Feb;145(2):308-16. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2007.10.007.
  7. J Nutr. April 2013 143: 505-511; first published online February 13, 2013. doi:10.3945/jn.112.171033

How Sugar Leads To Toxic Glycation

Reposted from Life Extension

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.


  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, May 29, 2013

Can Probiotics Help Reduce Anxiety?

Reposted from Life Extension

Maylin Rodriguez-Paez, RN

Normally, we think of probiotics as digestive supplements. However, more and more research is showing that they could do much more than help your gut.

In fact, a double-blind placebo controlled study found that two probiotic strains, Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 and Bifidobacterium longum R0175, actually alleviated symptoms of anxiety.

The French researchers also found those treated had lower levels of cortisol, a hormone which elevates due to stress.1

This research is actually pretty interesting. It’s beginning to paint a clearer picture of how our gut can influence our minds and emotions. This might explain why stressful situations may cause “butterflies” in our stomachs and wreak havoc on our digestive system.

But just how is it that probiotics influence our mood? The science isn’t 100% clear, but we’ll explore some ideas below.

Probiotics Boost Neurotransmitters and Lower Inflammation

Scientists have referred to the gut as the “second brain.” Why? Because it contains a vast network of neurons. In fact, it contains over 100 million neurons, which is more that what’s found in your spinal cord.2
Just like the neurons in your brain, the neurons in your gut communicate with neurotransmitters. One particular nerve, called the vagus nerve, communicates directly to your brain. This is why your digestive system responds to stress and outside stimuli.

Rat studies show probiotics increase the number of GABA receptors3 in the brain and the production of GABA4, a neurotransmitter which supports rest and relaxation. The anti-anxiety class of meds called benzodiazepines work by modulating GABA levels.

Probiotics also lessen gut inflammation.5 The French scientists think this is one possible mechanism behind its mood enhancing effects. Studies indicate that inflammation is tied to mental health problems like anxiety.6

How to Get More Probiotics Into your System

Yes — yogurt does contain probiotics. However, they only supply a small dose of beneficial bacteria. For more therapeutic effects, we suggest a high quality probiotic supplement.

And not all probiotics are created equal — there are many strains and preparations on the market. It’s important that you actually get the clinically effective strains in whatever product you choose. Remember, the French study used Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacterium longum.

The amount of live bacteria is important as well. Look for products that contain several billion CFUs per serving. That way you’ll increase the odds of the probiotic colonizing your gut. It’s also important that you take your probiotics frequently so that the dying bacteria are replaced.

What You Need to Know

Can probiotics help you feel less anxious? Possibly. As is often the case, more research needs to be done to come to a solid conclusion.

What we do know is that scientists are uncovering new ways that your mind is connected to your gut. Specifically, science is now suggesting that mental health is not just about your brain; it’s about your gut too.

What do you think?


  1. Br J Nutr. 2011 Mar;105(5):755-64. Epub 2010 Oct 26.
  2. Available at: Accessed October 8th 2012.
  3. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Sep 20;108(38):16050-5. Epub 2011 Aug 29.
  4. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2008 Feb;72(2):278-85. Epub 2008 Feb 7.
  5. Gut Microbes. 2012 Jan-Feb;3(1):25-8. Epub 2012 Jan 1.
  6. Gastroenterology. 2010 Dec;139(6):2102-2112.e1. Epub 2010 Jun 27.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Can Coconut Oil Treat Alzheimer's Disease?

Reposted from Life Extension

By Maylin Rodriguez-Paez, RN

Coconut oil has been brought up a lot as a potential cure for Alzheimer’s disease lately.

In fact, if you do an internet search, you’ll probably find many accounts of people who claim coconut oil has reversed Alzheimer’s in their loved ones. But is there any science behind this? Let’s dig into the facts.

Coconut oil has actually been making a serious comeback in the health food world lately. For years, many health enthusiasts shied away from it for one reason or another.

However, these days, it’s gaining in popularity for several reasons. One of which is the fact that coconut oil contains a rich supply of medium chain triglycerides or MCTs, which are fats that the body can use as an energy source.

But how can this impact brain disorders like Alzheimer’s? Below we’ll take a closer look.

Alzheimer’s is “Diabetes of the Brain”

Alzheimer’s disease may be tied to a situation in which the brain can’t use glucose, its preferred source of energy. That’s why some researchers have labeled Alzheimer’s as “diabetes of the brain.” And there’s evidence for this too.

Scientists have discovered that people with Alzheimer’s disease may have defective brain insulin signaling.1 This is not a good thing.

The brain, like other cells in the body, needs insulin in order to use glucose. Insulin transports the glucose into your brain’s cells — kind of like a gatekeeper of sorts.

When brain cells lack glucose, they die. This in turn could lead to brain damage and neurological diseases, like Alzheimer’s.

Here’s where coconut oil may come into play. The medium chain triglycerides found abundantly in coconut oil can be readily used by brain cells as a fuel source.

The liver transforms these triglycerides into ketones, which in turn are used as energy to support brain cell structure, function, and connections — all of which are important factors in treating Alzheimer’s disease.2 Unlike sugar, these ketones act independently of insulin.

Medium Chain Triglycerides Improve Memory

All of this information about coconut oil and medium chain triglycerides sounds great, but is there any scientific support? Well, research shows that they do, in fact, improve cognitive function in both animals and humans.

Aged dogs, for instance, performed better on cognitive tests after receiving medium chain triglycerides.3 Not only that, the dogs that received these high-energy fats also had reduced amounts of amyloid beta plaque precursors, which are commonly seen in early Alzheimer’s disease.4
People taking MCTs also did better on cognitive tests as well. In a study involving type I diabetics, the participants were split into two groups. One group was given a placebo, while the other was given a drink rich in medium chain triglycerides.

Both groups were given insulin to lower their blood sugar which would impair the ability to think. They were then asked to complete cognitive tests. The medium chain triglycerides group performed better than placebo on the tests.5 Can we expect the same results in Alzheimer’s patients? Perhaps.

Remember, medium chain triglycerides produce ketones. Ketones are used as an insulin-independent energy source. This is important because, as stated above, Alzheimer’s patients may have problems with using insulin in their brains.

In a different study, Alzheimer’s patients were given ketones for 90 days. Researchers used a tool called the AD Assessment Scale-Cognitive Subscale to assess the cognitive function of the participants.

The results of the study turned out to be positive, with the Alzheimer’s patients showing significant improvement in cognitive function.6

Is Coconut Oil a Potential Treatment for Alzheimer’s?

The truth is that there’s no clear answer yet. However, according to studies, medium chain triglycerides certainly seem to protect brain cells and improve cognitive function. Of course, more research is needed.

What do you think? Do you see coconut oil as becoming a viable treatment for Alzheimer’s disease? Please share your thoughts in the comments!


  1. J Clin Invest. 2012;122(4):1339–1353.
  2. Neurotherapeutics. 2008 Jul;5(3):470-80.
  3. Br J Nutr. 2010 Jun;103(12):1746-54.
  4. Brain Res. 2008 Aug 21;1226:209-17.
  5. Diabetes. 2009 May;58(5):1237-44.
  6. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2009 Aug 10;6:31.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Dietary Saturated Fat Has Undeserved Bad Reputation, Says Review

Reposted from Medscape Today

By Steve Stiles

"The influence of dietary fats on serum cholesterol has been overstated," concludes a review in an American Society for Nutrition publication that, in its words, "calls for a rational reevaluation of existing dietary recommendations that focus on minimizing dietary SFAs [saturated fatty acids], for which mechanisms for adverse health effects are lacking" [1].
Indeed, argues the author, Dr Glen D Lawrence (Long Island University, Brooklyn, NY), it is likely other factors, such as oxidized polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) or preservatives in processed meats, that are also present in high-SFA foods that lead to adverse health effects typically associated with high SFA intake.
"The meager effect that saturated fats have on serum cholesterol levels when modest but adequate amounts of polyunsaturated oils are included in the diet, and the lack of any clear evidence that saturated fats are promoting any of the conditions that can be attributed to PUFA, makes one wonder how saturated fats got such a bad reputation in the health literature," Lawrence writes in the review published May 1, 2013 in the journal Advances in Nutrition.
The article's case is built on interpretations of research from the biochemistry, epidemiologic, and clinical literature but which, nonetheless, does not reference a tremendous body of research supporting alternative views. Still, Lawrence describes:
  • The role of lipid peroxidation in promoting atherogenesis, arguing that its effects are more pronounced on PUFA than on SFAs or monosaturated fatty acids.
  • An arguably protective effect of omega-3 PUFAs against proinflammatory effects of omega-6 and other PUFAs.
  • Evidence that potentially carcinogenic preservatives in processed meats as well as high-heat cooking methods have influenced perceptions that red meat per se has adverse health effects.
  • How "the preparation and cooking methods used for foods that are traditionally classified as saturated fat foods may be producing substances from PUFAs and carbohydrates in those foods that are promoting disease."
  • Studies suggesting positive health effects from dairy fat and tropical oils, both high in SFAs and therefore discredited as unhealthy.
  • The hazards of diets with increased carbohydrates as a result of being lower in fat, in low-fat diets followed to improve health, especially cardiovascular health.
"The adverse health effects that have been associated with saturated fats in the past are most likely due to factors other than SFAs," the article concludes. "Consequently, the dietary recommendations to restrict saturated fats in the diet should be revised to reflect differences in handling before consumption . . . It is time to reevaluate the dietary recommendations that focus on lowering serum cholesterol and to use a more holistic approach to dietary policy."
Lawrence had no disclosures.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

CoQ10: The Longevity Factor

Reposted from Life Extension

By Lina Buchanan
Would you like to potentially add 9 years to your life expectancy? That's what research on the nutrient coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) implies is possible.1
CoQ10 is well known for its heart and vascular health benefits.2 By helping the cellular powerhouses known as mitochondria burn fuel more effectively, CoQ10 is able to protect not only the heart but every cell in your body.3
That's why scientists are growing increasingly fascinated with the role of CoQ10 in tissues beyond the cardiovascular system.2 There is evidence for CoQ10's protective effects in the brain and nervous system, in asthma and chronic lung disease, in diabetes and the metabolic syndrome, on ocular health, and even on the aging immune system.
Most excitingly, there's early support for the idea that CoQ10 supplementation can extend the life span of both primitive animals and mammals, laying the groundwork for a similar pro-longevity effect in humans.

CoQ10 Extends Life Span

Healthy Skin
According to the mitochondrial theory of aging, oxidant damage to the mitochondria is at the root of aging itself.4 Simply put, the more oxidative damage to mitochondria, the shorter the life span of the individual.5,6
Therefore, if we can make mitochondria burn energy more cleanly and efficiently, we can decelerate the aging process. That would mean not only longer life, but a healthier one.
CoQ10 is an essential component of the mitochondrial energy transfer system. When CoQ10 levels fall, mitochondrial dysfunction skyrockets, and aging is accelerated.5
However, when CoQ10 is added back to ailing or aging mitochondria, their function rebounds. Studies show that when supplemented with CoQ10, older worms in the species C. elegans experience a slowing down of the aging process and an extended life span.7
Even studies that don't show life span extension demonstrate a return to youthful behaviors and functions in response to CoQ10 supplementation.8
These benefits aren't restricted to primitive invertebrates, however. Research demonstrates that mice supplemented with CoQ10 live longer. In one case, supplemented animals experienced an 11.7% increase in mean life span, and a 24% increase in maximum life span.1 That increase translates into the equivalent of humans gaining over 9 years, based on today's life expectancy of 78.5 years.9
The benefits of CoQ10 supplementation in mice aren't restricted solely to extending the quantity of life, however. Lifelong dietary supplementation with CoQ10 decreased objective measures of aging even in middle-aged animals.10
CoQ10 appears to achieve these exceptional effects through a multi-targeted set of mechanisms.
It is now evident that CoQ10 directly influences the expression of multiple genes involved in aging, especially those regulating inflammation.11-13 This so-called "epigenetic" effect is at the very forefront of scientific attempts to understand how environmental factors such as nutrition influence our genetic load.
Taken all together, CoQ10's antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and epigenetic mechanisms combine to offer remarkable protection for a host of body systems, especially those hit hardest by mitochondrial aging.

CoQ10 Preserves Brain Structure, Slows Neurodegeneration

Mitochondrial dysfunction from chronic oxidation and the resulting chronic inflammation are a root cause of neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Huntington's, and ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease).6,14-18
CoQ10 is attracting ever-increasing attention as scientists look for a way to prevent these diseases and treat their causes, rather than simply treating symptoms, which is the best that current medicine can offer.17,19
Alzheimer's disease is the largest cause of dementia among Americans, estimated to affect more than 5 million people; it is the sixth leading cause of death.20 While many factors contribute to risk for Alzheimer's, age and oxidant stress in the brain are major contributors to this disease.15,16,21 Accumulated oxidant stress leads to production and deposition of an abnormal protein called amyloid β-peptide, which is itself a trigger for more oxidation and inflammation.21
Eventually, brain cells overwhelmed by amyloid β-peptide lose their function and die, producing the loss of memory, cognition, and physical function we associate with the disease.
CoQ10 shows great promise in laboratory and animal studies of Alzheimer's disease. By slowing oxidant damage, CoQ10 is proven to reduce deposition of destructive amyloid β-peptide proteins in brain cells.22 It reduces the amyloid β-peptide-induced oxidation that contributes to the vicious cycle of oxidation-inflammation-oxidation that accelerates the disease process.23 Finally, and perhaps most importantly, CoQ10 added to amyloid β-peptide-afflicted brain cells causes the destructive protein to become destabilized and weakened even after it is formed.24 This unique CoQ10 mechanism has the potential for reversing Alzheimer's disease at the molecular level.
Neurons in the Brain
Animal studies demonstrate reduced oxidative stress and amyloid β-peptide deposition when CoQ10 is added to feed.22,25-27 CoQ10 supplementation in such animals improves cognitive performance and memory both with CoQ10 alone and when vitamin E is added.28,29 These studies provide a useful model of what recovery from Alzheimer's disease might look like in humans.
Human patients with Alzheimer's disease are known to have lower levels of reduced CoQ10 in their spinal fluid, an indication of the intense oxidant stress in their brains.30

CoQ10 and Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's disease is the second most common aging-related disorder in the world.31 Like Alzheimer's, it is the result of oxidant stress triggering production of an abnormal, inflammatory protein.32-34 In Parkinson's the protein is called alpha-synuclein, which damages neurons in regions of the brain that control motor function as well as cognition.33,34 Symptoms include slowed movements, weakness, cognitive impairment, and eventually dementia.31
CoQ10 is showing real promise in human studies of Parkinson's disease.18 Unlike current treatments, which improve symptoms without changing disease progression, CoQ10 may fundamentally alter and slow the otherwise inevitable decline of patients with Parkinson's.33
For example, animal studies have shown that CoQ10 significantly reduces damage to neurons in the brain areas affected by Parkinson's disease after the animals were exposed to a pesticide that has been associated with Parkinson's development in humans.33,35
CoQ10 at doses of 300 to 1,200 mg/day have been used in clinical research, though up to 2,400 mg/day is well tolerated.36 In studies using the higher doses, improvements on several Parkinson's disease rating scales have been observed.32,37 In one important study, 1,200 mg/day produced substantial slowing of disease progression compared with placebo.37
A 2011 meta-analysis (a large study combining data from smaller trials) concluded that 1,200 mg/day of CoQ10 was well-tolerated by Parkinson's disease patients, and provided significant improvement on numerous measures of disease severity and progression.38
What You Need to Know
CoQ10 supplementation
Combat Mitochondrial Decline with CoQ10
  • Your mitochondria need to burn fuel cleanly and efficiently to assure their own integrity and your own longevity.
  • CoQ10 is an essential coenzyme that, when added to the diet, acts as a fuel additive to optimize mitochondrial performance, extracting the most energy with the least damage.
  • Animals from primitive worms to laboratory mice enjoy dramatic extension of their life spans when supplemented with mitochondrial-protecting CoQ10.
  • Additional benefits from CoQ10's mitochondrial energy-boosting effects include protection from neurodegenerative diseases and mental health disorders, enhanced lung function, and protection from the effects of elevated glucose in diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
  • New findings are adding to the already impressive list of cardiovascular benefits ascribed to CoQ10 supplementation.

CoQ10 Preserves Brain Function, Fights Migraine, Mental Illness

CoQ10 Preserves Brain Function, Fights Migraine, Mental Illness
CoQ10 is essential not only in preventing brain structural deterioration, but in maintaining normal function at all ages. Studies are revealing some startling associations in two areas of brain function in particular: migraine headaches and common mental health problems such as depression and schizophrenia.
Migraine headaches occur in an estimated 8.7 million women and 2.6 million men in the United States producing moderate to severe disability. More than 3 million women and 1 million men are estimated to suffer 1 or more attacks/month.39,40
The exact chain of events leading up to a migraine is unclear, but it may be related to brain energy levels, as indicated by low CoQ10 levels in people with migraines (almost 33% of a population with migraine had levels below the standard in one study).41 Studies of CoQ10 supplementation in children, adolescents, and adults show substantial decreases in the frequency of migraine episodes, number of days with migraine symptoms, headache disability, and frequency of nausea, a common feature of migraines.41-43
CoQ10 is so effective in managing migraine headaches that it is now listed among the 11 most effective "drugs" for preventing migraines by the Canadian Headache Society.44
Major depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia, long considered separate entities, are now recognized as having common roots in mitochondrial dysfunction and elevated brain oxidative stress levels.45,46 People with these conditions have higher markers of oxidant damage and lower cellular antioxidant levels than do healthy controls, and CoQ10 is typically lower than normal.45,47 In one study, 51.4% of depressed patients' CoQ10 levels fell below the lowest values in control subjects.48
CoQ10 deficiency is particularly marked in people whose depression responds poorly to medication, a possible indication that the deficiency needs to be corrected in order for prescription meds to work.48
A major breakthrough in our understanding of the causes of mental illness came in 2011 and 2012, when researchers discovered that oxidative and other related stresses in the brain were capable of creating new molecular configurations that triggered an autoimmune response in the brains of people with depression and schizophrenia.45,49,50
Restoring natural levels of antioxidants such as CoQ10 is therefore an attractive approach in these conditions. One study of depression in older adults with bipolar disorder found a significant reduction in symptom severity during treatment with CoQ10 at 1,200 mg/day.51
The ubiquinol form of CoQ10 is far better absorbed, so a much lower dose, perhaps around 400 mg/day of ubiquinol should provide benefits seen when much higher doses of the more common ubiquinone form of CoQ10 is used.
Finally, some medications in common use against depression, such as amitryptiline, are capable of lowering CoQ10 levels in the blood, further reducing available energy in the brain. Thus, people taking such drugs are especially likely to benefit from CoQ10 supplementation.52

CoQ10 Protects Lung Function

Your lungs face the most immediate threat of oxidant damage because they interact directly with the 21% oxygen in air you breathe.53 It's not surprising, therefore, that the major diseases of the lung, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), involve a severe imbalance of oxidation and the body's natural preventive measures, including CoQ10.54
Levels of CoQ10 are markedly lower in both asthmatics and patients with COPD.55-57 Conversely, supplementing with CoQ10 offers substantial benefits. In one study, asthmatic patients on chronic steroid treatment to reduce inflammation were able to significantly reduce the amount of steroids they had to give themselves each day.58 And a study of COPD patients showed improvements in exercise performance, tissue oxygenation, and heart rate on CoQ10 supplementation at 90 mg/day.59

CoQ10 Fights Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes

In both metabolic syndrome and diabetes, tissue levels of oxidant stress are markedly elevated.60,61 Not surprisingly, levels of the antioxidant CoQ10 are reduced in humans and lab animals with these conditions.60,62,63
Low CoQ10 levels are now recognized as being closely correlated with problematic long-term blood sugar control and many of the complications of diabetes, including diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage), nephropathy (kidney damage), and of course endothelial dysfunction and the resulting cardiovascular damage.61,64
Fortunately, supplementation with CoQ10 is a remarkably simple way to restore deficient levels and get better long-term control of blood sugar. Human studies show that adding CoQ10 to the already healthful Mediterranean diet further reduces oxidant stress and fat oxidation in the period immediately following a meal, when your body is especially vulnerable to damage.65
Statin Drugs Drastically Deplete CoQ10
Human Studies
Drugs in the so-called "statin" category are an effective pharmaceutical means of lowering blood lipids, and they may play a role in protecting against Alzheimer's disease.79
But statins, like all prescription medicines, have concerning side effects. One important effect of statin treatment is a reduction in blood levels of CoQ10, which may account for some of the muscle pain and other side effects experienced by many people on these drugs.2
New evidence suggests that low CoQ10 levels in the brain may be related to cognitive dysfunction in animals treated with the statin drug atorvastatin (Lipitor®).79
Those taking a statin drug are strongly urged to ensure adequate supplementation with CoQ10.
This has beneficial effects on long-term blood sugar control. Supplementation with 200 mg/day of CoQ10 (in the ubiquinol form) reduced levels of hemoglobin A1c, a marker of blood sugar control over time, to less than 7%, the upper limit of normal.66,67 In both human and animal studies, the supplemented groups had significant decreases in elevated blood pressure and improvements in endothelial function.61,68,69
Animal studies demonstrate improved nerve conduction velocity, a measure of nerve function, in diabetic animals supplemented with CoQ10.64 Human studies show improvement in endothelial function in diabetics taking 200 mg/day of CoQ10.70 CoQ10 supplements mitigate glucose and oxidant stress-induced damage to kidney tissue in diabetic animal models, restoring kidney function to near-normal levels.71,72

New Developments in CoQ10 and Cardiovascular Health

New Developments in CoQ10 and Cardiovascular Health
It's not only people with the metabolic syndrome and diabetes, however, who can benefit from CoQ10 supplementation with regard to cardiovascular disease. The heart and blood vessels are rich with mitochondria, and that requires highly effective and efficient use of energy in those tissues. That's what led the earliest researchers to study CoQ10 as a way of improving heart and blood vessel health.
In less than a decade, we've seen the emergence of remarkable new findings about CoQ10 and its cardiovascular benefits. Here are some highlights:
CoQ10 supplements improve the function of the heart's dominant left ventricle during the vital diastolic, or relaxation phase. This is critical because the diastolic phase is when the heart receives its own surge of blood flow, and statin drugs impair diastolic function.73
Eight weeks of CoQ10 supplementation at 300 mg/day improved heart muscle function during the systolic, or pumping phase, by enhancing mitochondrial performance and endothelial function.74
The addition of CoQ10 to enalapril, a blood pressure drug, promoted normalization of endothelial function and enhanced blood pressure control in patients with "essential hypertension."75
The combination of CoQ10 with selenium, another important coenzyme with antioxidant powers, cut the death rate from cardiovascular disease by more than half (to 5.9% from 12.6%) in a group of older adults.76
CoQ10 plus aged garlic extract, another supplement known to improve endothelial function and slow atherosclerosis, reduced blood vessel stiffness and slowed arterial calcium accumulation in a group of firefighters.77,78

Friday, May 17, 2013

No Benefit Seen in Sharp Limits on Salt in Diet

Reposted from The New York Times

In a report that undercuts years of public health warnings, a prestigious group convened by the government says there is no good reason based on health outcomes for many Americans to drive their sodium consumption down to the very low levels recommended in national dietary guidelines.
Tony Cenicola/The New York Times


Those levels, 1,500 milligrams of sodium a day, or a little more than half a teaspoon of salt, were supposed to prevent heart attacks and strokes in people at risk, including anyone older than 50, blacks and people with high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease — groups that make up more than half of the American population.
Some influential organizations, including the American Heart Association, have said that everyone, not just those at risk, should aim for that very low sodium level. The heart association reaffirmed that position in an interview with its spokesman on Monday, even in light of the new report.
But the new expert committee, commissioned by the Institute of Medicine at the behest of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said there was no rationale for anyone to aim for sodium levels below 2,300 milligrams a day. The group examined new evidence that had emerged since the last such report was issued, in 2005.
“As you go below the 2,300 mark, there is an absence of data in terms of benefit and there begin to be suggestions in subgroup populations about potential harms,” said Dr. Brian L. Strom, chairman of the committee and a professor of public health at the University of Pennsylvania. He explained that the possible harms included increased rates of heart attacks and an increased risk of death.
The committee was not asked to specify an optimal amount of sodium and did not make any recommendations about how much people should consume. Dr. Strom said people should not eat too much salt, but he also said that the data on the health effects of sodium were too inconsistent for the committee to say what the upper limit of sodium consumption should be.
Until about 2006, almost all studies on salt and health outcomes relied on the well-known fact that blood pressure can drop slightly when people eat less salt. From that, and from other studies linking blood pressure to risks of heart attacks and strokes, researchers created models showing how many lives could be saved if people ate less salt.
The United States dietary guidelines, based on the 2005 Institute of Medicine report, recommend that the general population aim for sodium levels of 1,500 to 2,300 milligrams a day because those levels will not raise blood pressure. The average sodium consumption in the United States, and around the world, is about 3,400 milligrams a day, according to the Institute of Medicine — an amount that has not changed in decades.
But more recently, researchers began looking at the actual consequences of various levels of salt consumption, as found in rates of heart attacks, strokes and death, not just blood pressure readings. Some of what they found was troubling.
One 2008 study the committee examined, for example, randomly assigned 232 Italian patients with aggressively treated moderate to severe congestive heart failure to consume either 2,760 or 1,840 milligrams of sodium a day, but otherwise to consume the same diet. Those consuming the lower level of sodium had more than three times the number of hospital readmissions — 30 as compared with 9 in the higher-salt group — and more than twice as many deaths — 15 as compared with 6 in the higher-salt group.
Another study, published in 2011, followed 28,800 subjects with high blood pressure ages 55 and older for 4.7 years and analyzed their sodium consumption by urinalysis. The researchers reported that the risks of heart attacks, strokes, congestive heart failure and death from heart disease increased significantly for those consuming more than 7,000 milligrams of sodium a day and for those consuming fewer than 3,000 milligrams of sodium a day.
There are physiological consequences of consuming little sodium, said Dr. Michael H. Alderman, a dietary sodium expert at Albert Einstein College of Medicine who was not a member of the committee. As sodium levels plunge, triglyceride levels increase, insulin resistance increases, and the activity of the sympathetic nervous system increases. Each of these factors can increase the risk of heart disease.
“Those are all bad things,” Dr. Alderman said. “A health effect can’t be predicted by looking at one physiological consequence. There has to be a net effect.”
Medical and public health experts responded to the new assessment of the evidence with elation or concern, depending on where they stand in the salt debates.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Is Red Meat Delicious or Dangerous?

Reposted from Dr. Kaayla T. Daniel

Is Red Meat Delicious but Dangerous? If the Cholesterol and Saturated Fat Won’t Get Us, Will the Carnitine Kill Us Dead?

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Red meat has a reputation of being both delicious and dangerous.   And the mainstream media tries its darndest to make us afraid .  .  .  really afraid.
Yet red meat’s a red hot source of zinc, the number one mineral needed to fire up the libido.  It’s high in the B vitamins needed for stress reduction, mental balance and physical energy.   What’s more, red meat comes pumped with carnitine, the amino acid that stokes the mitochondrial furnaces in our cells.   We need carnitine to maintain our perfect weight, increase immune function, enhance brain function and promote heart health.    Lamb is the very best source; beef has plenty; chicken, turkey, fish and dairy have some; and plant foods nearly none.
Indeed the copious amount of carnitine found in red meat alone is reason enough to eat it.  It was therefore  probably inevitable that carnitine would come under attack, and it happened April 7, when researchers who’d published in Nature Medicine announced  l-carnitine could increase the blood levels of trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO), a compound that may alter the metabolism of cholesterol and slow the removal of  accumulated cholesterol from arterial walls.
Given that numerous studies, including randomized trials, have suggested carnitine will help patients with heart disease, this struck me as highly unlikely.   My friend and colleague, the late Robert Crayhon, author of The Carnitine Miracle, must be rolling in his grave.   But now that even Dr. Oz has allowed that cholesterol and saturated fat might not be so bad after all, a new demon needed to be found.  Carnitine — a key component of red meat and a popular nutritional supplement — must have seemed a good candidate.
Fortunately, Chris Masterjohn PhD quickly exposed the study’s flawed conclusions in a long and brilliant blog posted at the Weston A. Price Foundation’s website.  His detailed analysis is well worth reading, and the link can be found below.    For readers who’d prefer a quickie  that’s fun to read with a takeaway that’s easy to remember, I bring you the words of the incomparable Dr. William Campbell Douglass II, MD.
“If you ever had even the slightest doubt that the mainstream media was pushing a radical anti-meat agenda, just take a look at how news outlets covered two recent studies.  
“Actually, a more accurate way to put it is to take a look at how they covered one study — and ignored the other.  
“Study #1 claims L-carnitine, an amino acid found in red meat, can cause heart disease. Study #2 finds that same compound can help protect the heart — especially in heart attack patients.  
“Do I even need to tell you which one was covered and which was ignored? 
“Study #1 made headlines around the world, from the New York Times (“Culprit in Heart Disease Goes Beyond Meat’s Fat”) to London’s Daily Mail (“Red meat nutrient used in weight-loss and muscle-building supplements could cause heart disease”). 
“Study #2, on the other hand, came from the prestigious Mayo Clinic — yet it was virtually ignored by the mainstream media. 
“So allow me to do their job for them — again — and give you the REAL scoop on this ‘tale of two studies.’
“Study #1 didn’t find a direct link between meat and heart problems. Not even close. In fact, it had more steps between meat and heart disease than a Rube Goldberg contraption.  
“Experiments on mice found that gut bacteria convert L-carnitine into a compound called trimethylamine N-oxide, which has been linked to hardened arteries (at least in mice).  
“Then, they gave steak to just six humans — including a vegan — and found that meat eaters got a boost in trimethylamine N-oxide after eating. The vegan didn’t.  
“Is your head spinning yet?  The study proves exactly nothing — especially when you consider that it didn’t involve a single case of actual heart disease in humans.  .  .  .  
“Study #2, on the other hand, is a look at data from 13 HUMAN controlled clinical trials.  
“This is REAL data and it confirms that very same carnitine actually reduces the risk of death in heart patients. And if that’s not enough, this healthy amino acid can also slash the risk of heart failure, repeat heart attacks, ventricular arrhythmias, angina, and more in heart patients.  
“In other words, keep eating your steak.  It’s good for you — just be sure to eat the RIGHT stuff.”  
That sums it up.   Couldn’t have said it better.    Eat your steak.  Grass-fed and not factory-farmed, of course.   And when you read about red meat in the mainstream media, take it, as Yogi Berra would say,  “with a grin of salt.”

GMOs, Roundup and a host of common diseases - VIDEO

Reposted from Weston A Price
Perhaps one of the most important videos of our day.

Dr. Stephanie Seneff explains how the RoundUp on our food & in the air causes leaky gut, obesity, Alzheimer's, autism, heart disease, depression, infertility, cancer and diabetes! You can bet this won't get out in mainstream media, unless we take it VIRAL! So it's up to us! Let's see how far and wide we can spread this message!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Vaccine Rights Lawyer Speaks Out: There Is *Extensive* Corruption

Reposted from Kelly the Kitchen Kop

In my past posts lamenting our lack of rights in this country to deny vaccines we believe to be harmful (for us or our children), some of us have said how much we’d love to have a vaccine rights attorney on our side, helping us to fight the fight.  Well he has found us!  Attorney Alan Phillips commented on one of these posts and then agreed to answer some questions for us…

First, though, did you see these previous posts?

Q & A with Alan Phillips, vaccine rights lawyer:

1.  How did you get involved in vaccine rights and what got you passionate about the topic?
>>>When my first child was born, a friend said another friend’s child had been permanently disabled by a vaccine, so I might want to look into it before vaccinating my own child. I was stunned–had never heard of that. I began researching and never looked back. I was moved to go to law school, after being out of school 17 years, by this issue. I’m now the only attorney in the U.S. whose practice is focused on vaccine rights issues–exemptions, waivers, and legislative activism.
2.  What are some of the more memorable cases you’ve worked on?
>>>I work with clients and attorneys around the U.S. in a consulting practice that involves over a dozen different vaccine exemption and waiver contexts–schools (public, private, military, college, college healthcare that require clinical work in local hospitals), military (members, families, civilian contractors), immigration (includes foreign adoptions), employment (concerns fed civil rights law–most state exemption laws apply only to students), vaccine custody disputes (where parents separate or divorce and disagree about vaxing the kids), foreign travel–each of these areas concern or involve different law, and laws vary from state to state with state law exemption and waiver matters.  Most of my clients are successful, and that’s most memorable, of course.
But the insight I’ve gotten into the medical, legal and political worlds has been most disturbing.
While I have great faith in humanity generally, there is extensive corruption in each of these arenas where health (among other areas) is concerned, and with vaccines in particular. E.g., state legislatures have been passing unconstitutional laws restricting access to exemptions and actually granting consent authority to children for vaccines (the latter is just plain bizarre); hospitals around the U.S. are requiring employees who don’t want flu shots to get them to get or keep their jobs (it’s disconcerting to see healthcare policy dictated to healthcare professionals against their will instead of being guided by their professional expertise!), most states have laws that remove routine vaccine exemptions if the state declares an emergency, doctors are increasingly refusing to treat any unvaccinated children regardless of the reason (violates parents’ Constitutional rights in many cases), etc.
3.  What do you see is the biggest obstacle in retaining and/or regaining parental rights to deny vaccines and/or an employee’s rights to deny mandatory workplace vaccines?
>>>Vaccine policy is driven by a corrupt industry that controls the system. E.g., pharmaceutical companies get billions of criminal and civil fines every year, increasingly in recent years. Glaxo: $1 billion *criminal* fine in 2012; Pfiser: $1 billion *criminal* fine in 2009 (4th time they were caught since 2002 doing the same criminal behavior); criminal (and civil) fines in the $100′s of millions are common. This is an industry that routinely engages in criminal behavior (but no one ever goes to jail, and it’s profitable to do it, so they keep doing it). A lot of this is verifiable at the Justice Department’s website. Anyway, this industry “partners” with government to control policy, lobbies for more vaccines and fewer exemption rights (with disturbing effectiveness), “buys” or otherwise persuades state and federal legislatures.
Look: The federal government subsidizes vaccines research and development ($billions/year); has passed laws making vax manufacturers immune from liability; state and federal governments mandate vaccines (increasingly for more and more people, and more and more vaccines for each person); and the Federal government compensates vaccine victims and their families. It’s the ultimate dream to maximize profit a business could ever hope for, except that people are unnecessarily disabled and killed in the process. There are other means of addressing infectious disease concerns that work better, cost profoundly less, and don’t injure and kill people.
Vaccine policy is not about health, it’s about profit, and possibly population control.
In any event, vaccines introduce widespread chronic disease into the population, which produces a huge market for more pharmaceutical drugs. Pharmaceutical drugs focus on managing symptoms; if they actually healed, they’d be cutting off a market. Most of us wouldn’t make decisions like this, but there are people who would and do, and some of them run pharmaceutical companies and occupy important decision-making positions in state and federal government.
4.  Is there a way that groups, such as health care workers for example, could band together, with you at the helm, to fight the growing push toward mandatory workplace vaccines?
>>>I’m not sure that the “helm” is the place for me, but I have worked closely with legislative activists around the U.S. and am available to continue doing so as long as the system remains corrupt and I’m still breathing. While being informed is a critical first step, that alone does nothing. We have to organize and become legislatively active to oppose laws furthering the destructive pro-vaccine agenda while supporting freedom of choice. This is not a decision we have the luxury of taking lightly. Laws are changing as we speak; our rights are going away; and the industry and government have plans to vaccinate *all* of us.
If you’re not confronted with a vaccine requirement right at this moment, you will be!
So, it’s better to become active now to prevent ever being in that situation in the first place if at all possible. However, many of us are already in that situation. So, it’s critical to learn what your rights are right now, so you can exercise them effectively; and then become legislatively active so you can expand your right to choose, and prevent that right from being taken away as is happening all over the country.
A healthcare worker client of mine reported that the system she worked for received over 1,000 exemptions, and the system allowed *4*.
This, and any other exemption situation where you have to state religious beliefs opposed to vaccines, are difficult arenas to manage on your own. On the one hand, anyone who is not an atheist can potentially qualify for a religious exemption (in the employment context, there’s even a narrow category of beliefs one could hold as an atheist that are protected ‘religious’ beliefs!), when it comes to writing a statement of beliefs, most people who do that on their own wander into one or more “legal pitfalls” that can cost them the exemption. The law in this area is just not consistent with most people’s common sense approach. In the employment arena, a further complication is that the vast majority of hospitals (in my experience with over 150 healthcare workers in 26 states just this past fall and early winter) implement unlawful exemption policies that are overly restrictive–they reject qualifying exemption requests. So, having an attorney’s help can be critical.
5.  What can the average person do to FIGHT back on the invasion of their rights like this?
>>>To repeat, become legislatively active. If you also take steps to learn more about your rights, you’ll understand better where we are right now, and what needs to change to fix that. With humble but great respect, anti-vaccine websites are not a good place for exemption advice. They mean well but they don’t understand the law, and often have a mixture of accurate and inaccurate information, or make recommendations that can backfire. Some people have lost exemption rights by relying on them. So, get your information from an authoritative source–the state or local health department, your state’s statutes and regulations from the web or your local library, or a knowledgeable attorney. My site has lots of free information, an e-book that goes into depth, and I’m willing to help individuals or groups with vaccine rights issues. Most of what I do is volunteer–radio shows, articles, and legislative activism.
A complete explanation of all of the important points would take many hours to document, and the issue is constantly evolving, so “complete” is constantly growing.
Meanwhile, I co-host 2 weekly radio shows and am a regular guest on two others, and am an intermittent guest from time to time on still others. Anyone can call in with questions, or email me and have their questions answered on the air (if I can get to it!):
1. The Know Your Rights Hour, Monday nights, 9 pm ET:
2. Vaccines and Your Rights in the U.S., Thursdays at 1pm ET:, or
Also:  Here is documentation of my assertions in my articles:
6.  One confirmation/clarifying question:  How SPECIFICALLY should someone get involved with changing the laws?!!!  Or is that something that is only known on a case by case basis, depending on the specific issue?
>>>The National Vaccine Information Center’s Advocacy Portal is a website dedicated to vaccine legislative awareness and activism. I *highly* recommend that people go to that site and join: It’s free, enables participants to easily monitor vaccine legislation (pending bills) in their state and around the U.S. (it’s an eye-opening experience to see the trends–pharmacists to give vaccines, children being allowed to consent to vaccines, more vaccines being required, etc.), and makes it very easy for people to participate in the legislative process, tells you who your representatives are and how to contact them, and lets you know when that’s needed. It’s a work in progress, but a brilliant project.
Beyond that, if someone wants to initiate a piece of legislation, they need to put together a concise, well documented/supported written concern, and then make an appointment with their representatives to sit down face-to-face to request their help (letters and emails get lost in the shuffle in my experience). There are people, including me, who can also provide support along the way. But at minimum, we should all be on the Portal so we know when there’s a bill to support or object to in our state.
Alan, we are very grateful to you for your help, thank you!!!
If you have any questions, he said he’d try to answer in the comments, or also be sure to visit the links above.