Friday, April 30, 2010

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Tin Man

An understanding of cellular function based on the Energy and Information cells need, which we get from food and relationships, inevitably leads to “combustion;” much like any engine, which also obey thermodynamic principles, our cells generate Free Radicals, or Oxidants. They need to be eliminated, or neutralized, or else, “Free Radicals Can Kill You: Lavoisier’s Oxygen Revolution.”[1] If we don’t get an optimal amount of Antioxidants in our diet we may end up like the Tin Man.

Every cell in the body will then be affected. Given genetic tendencies and exposure, some cells (organs) may be affected more than others. For example, living in a polluted environment [2] and having “Reduced Circulating Antioxidant Defenses are Associated with Airway Hyper-responsiveness, Poor control and Severe Disease Pattern in Asthma.”[3] In other words, asthma, or any other disease is rooted in poor neutralization of Oxidants, which damage the cell’s organelles, like the brain-like cell membrane and its gonads, the DNA.

The use of energy and information is called “metabolism.” A major breakthrough in modern medicine is the realization that practically all diseases are metabolic problems, including obesity. Overweight people are more oxidized and have higher markers of inflammation, which is virtually the same process as oxidation:

Multiple inflammatory markers are strongly and positively associated with increasing weight status in children, and this relationship starts as young as age 3. Elevated inflammatory markers in very young obese children are particularly concerning, because inflammation may cause long-term, cumulative vascular damage.[4]

Naturally, “An anti-inflammatory Dietary Mix Modulates Inflammation and Oxidative and Metabolic Stress in Overweight Men: a nutrigenomics approach.”[5] Nutrigenomics means that even our DNA needs proper energy and information to replicate normally, a topic we have covered many times in this webstite. The above study documented that resveratrol, green tea extract, {alpha}-tocopherol, vitamin C, n–3 (omega-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids, and tomato extract were helpful in mitigating the metabolic problems obese people encounter.

Will our society adopt these simple principles of health, or will it continue to listen to “the man behind the curtain” disparaging this nutritional approach by claiming that “there is no evidence for ‘alternative medicine?’” Will we see the wizard’s pharmaceutical tricks for what they are, that is, shortcuts that only treat the symptoms of toxicity, oxidation, inflammation and dysmetabolism?

[1] FASEB J. 2010;24: 649

[2] “Exposures to Particulate Matter and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons and Oxidative Stress in Schoolchildren,” J. Environmental Health Perspectives 2010;118:579

[3] British Journal of Nutrition 2010;103:735

[4] “Multiple Markers of Inflammation and Weight Status: Cross-sectional Analyses Throughout Childhood,” J. Pediatrics 2010;125:e801

[5] American J. Clinical Nutrition 2010; 91:1044

Monday, April 12, 2010

Breast Cancer? Take an Aspirin and Call Me in the Morning

I know; a little callous, but an article just came out showing that aspirin reduces the rate of relapse of breast cancer by 50%.[1] If you have not been reading cutting edge medical literature this may seem odd.

Well, you may find this other report even more perplexing: women taking antibiotics for 500 days over a 17 year period double their risk of breast cancer. The authors correctly postulate that antibiotics destroy intestinal flora, where 60% of our immune system is found; this may lead to a chronic inflammatory state in the patient, which has been associated with cancer.[2]

I believe the real callous thing to do is to be satisfied with the present “standard of care” when it comes to breast cancer. To tell women that “prevention” is a mammogram and that treatment is mutilation surgery, radiation and toxic chemotherapy, while beneficial in many cases, is not preventive enough.

Mammograms are “secondary” prevention; they don’t pick up the problem until cancer has developed. It would be far more productive, cheaper, satisfying and humane to strive for primary prevention, that is, find a “tendency” to cancer before it has created a lump in the breast.

The two studies above are pointing in the right direction.

Here are two more articles to complete the picture: The cover issue of the journal Nature, March 4th 2010 and the current issue of TIME magazine, April 12th 2010, page 44. The former tells us that the MICROGENOME, or the genes of our intestinal bacteria, which outnumber our own genes 150:1, has a powerful influence on our own DNA. Mutations of DNA leading to cancer are more likely if we don’t have a healthy gut flora. The new field of NUTRIGENOMICS adds to this concept: food itself, and how it is processed in the intestines, affects genetic expression.

You say breast cancer is a genetic issue? No, it is not. Out of 8 women with breast cancer, only one has a family history. And get this: the 2009 Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to the work that showed that the longer the tale of the chromosome, the telomere, the longer we live, the less chronic diseases and the less cancer we have. And what makes the telomere longer? Antioxidants in food,[3] and exercise.[4]

TIME tells us that chemicals, particularly those in plastics (BPA, phthalates) are triggering breast, uterine, ovarian, cervical, and prostate cancer. If our gut flora is not functioning optimally (antibiotics, acid-blocking pills, chlorinated water, lack of fiber, too much sugar, genetic factors, etc,) we cannot detoxify those ESTROGEN DISRUPTORS as well.

With bad food, toxins and poor relationships, we begin to brew INFLAMMATION in the intestines.[5] Another Nobel Prize award, back in 1908, showed that said inflammation is a defense mechanism from the innate immune system in the gut, which comprises 2/3 of the total immune system we have in our body.

Eventually inflammation leaks out of the gut to disrupt practically every cell in the body, including breast cells.[6] This is why aspirin is helping. Would it not be better to treat the inflammation by reversing the factors that lead to it?

Besides aspirin, fiber, probiotics, or friendly bacteria should be the “standard of care.” Interestingly, it has been predicted that the next wave of pharmaceuticals is “probiotaceuticals.”[7] I have already patented “buggutexx.” Fiber and probiotics help us metabolize and also detoxify. But, the key is to give up processed foods and eat as organic and wholesome as possible (pesticides are also estrogen disruptors.) And don’t forget to eat a lot of cruciferous veggies; they are high in micronutrients (indole-3-carbinol and sulpharanes)[8] that fuel detoxification of those chemicals in the liver.

Do we continue to ignore these basic principles?

Let us take to heart the fact that “One Third of Breast Cancer is Avoidable.”[9]

[1] J. Clinical Oncology 2010;28:1467
[2] J. of the American Medical Association 2004;291:827, 880
[3] “Multivitamin Use and Telomere Length in Women,” Am J. Clinical Nutrition 2009;89:1857 & 2009;90:1402
[4] “Physical Exercise Prevents Cellular Senescence in Circulating Leukocytes and in the Vessel Wall,” J. Circulation. 2009;120:2438
[5] J. Cancer Research 2009;69:4827
[6] “Conmensal Gut Bacteria: mechanisms of immune modulation,” J. Trends in Immunology 2005;26:327
[7] “Gut Microbes: From Bugs to Drugs,” American J. Gastroenterology 2010;105: 275
[8] J. Current Medical Chemistry 1998;5:469
[9] European Breast Cancer Conference, Barcelona, March 2010