Thursday, September 23, 2010

“I Need Oxygen!”

That is what test pilots would say before passing out due to hypoxia as they pushed their new toys up into the upper layers of the atmosphere in the dawn of aviation.

Yeah, I need oxygen, too.

As an integrative doctor I continue to be appalled and sometimes angered by the arrogance and cheating ways of Big Pharma. It relentlessly brainwashes the public and practitioners into believing that chemicals that treat only symptoms are the only choice to restore and maintain health while denigrating, and even planting misinformation about nutrition and supplements. Oh, never mind that a significant number of their drugs are marketed despite clear research showing that they increase mortality. They hide the negative evidence, hoping they will make a few millions before the truth leaks out, never mind the dead patients along the way.

It turns out that the Air Force commissioned medical doctors to come up with a solution to pilots’ hypoxia. Being “educated” a certain way, doctors back then spent months trying to come up with a pill to treat low oxygen. After months of fruitless research, the AF got fed up and called in engineers to look into the problem:

“Why don’t you just give the pilots oxygen masks?”

Yeah, I need one, too; it also stinks here…..

Monday, September 13, 2010

“Doctor, why can’t I lose weight?"

That is a question I hear every day; it is always followed by “I eat a good diet and I exercise.”

What is going on with them? How is it that counting calories and working out does not help them shed unwanted pounds? If you scroll down previous blogs, you will see many emerging reasons for this. For example, research is demonstrating that some of us are colonized by toxic microbes in the gut that mess up our metabolism, thereby messing up the brain-gut connection that drives our thermostat.

Another problem is that many cannot come to terms with their addiction to sugar. Unfortunately, this concept is not being readily accepted by mainstream dieticians, even though the research involves sound science; I often hear that the addiction is “behavioral,” not “chemical.” In other words, many of my colleagues feel food itself is not addictive; people “behave” as if it were. Granted, the science of addiction is not straight forward, a fact widely recognized by psychologists and doctors. Yet, it seems that the pharmaceutical industry has escaped such controversy; their pharmaceutical approach to addiction is never questioned the way food addictions are.

Fortunately, “early adapters” are already helping many patients by pointing out the science behind food addiction. But, no sooner open minded practitioners embrace a new concept that another one comes along to challenge them.

The concept that toxins like pesticides and chemicals used in plastics are a factor in obesity, diabetes and their common denominator, insulin resistance, is the new challenge facing the medical and paramedical professions. It sounds hard to believe, but don’t shoot the messenger. Let me get out of the way and give you the raw data:

J. Obesity (2010) doi:10.1038/oby.2010.133

Obesity and Persistent Organic Pollutants: Possible Obesogenic Effect of Organochlorine Pesticides and Polychlorinated Biphenyls
Published online 17 June 2010.

Abstract:

“Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are endocrine-disrupting chemicals associated with the development of the metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. In humans, little is known about their role in the potential origin of obesity. This study aims to assess the associations between serum levels of POPs and the prevalence of obesity in a cohort of obese and lean adult men and women. POP serum samples were investigated cross- sectionally in 98 obese and 47 lean participants, aged ≥18 years. Serum samples were analyzed for the presence of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congeners 153, 138, 180, and 170 and for the organochlorine pesticides, dichloro-diphenyl-dichloroethylene (pp-DDE), and β-hexachlorocyclohexane (βHCH). We established a significant negative correlation between BMI, waist, fat mass percentage, total and subcutaneous abdominal adipose tissue, and serum levels of PCB 153, 180, 170, and the sumPCBs. For βHCH, we demonstrated a positive correlation with BMI, waist, fat mass percentage, and total and subcutaneous abdominal adipose tissue. PCBs 180, 170, and the sum of PCBs correlated significantly negative with homeostasis model assessment for insulin resistance (HOMAIR). βHCH correlated significantly positively with HOMAIR. A strong correlation was established between all POP serum levels and age. We established a positive relationship between high serum levels of βHCH and BMI and HOMAIR, whereas serum PCB levels were inversely correlated with BMI and HOMAIR. Combined, these results suggest that the diabetogenic effect of low-dose exposure to POPs might be more complicated than a simple obesogenic effect.”

“Minireview: The Case for Obesogens,” J. Molecular Endocrinology 2009;23:1127

“Obesity and obesity-related disorders, such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease, are epidemic in Western countries, particularly the United States. The conventional wisdom holds that obesity is primarily the result of a positive energy balance, i.e. too many calories in and too few calories burned. Although it is self-evident that fat cannot be accumulated without a higher caloric intake than expenditure, recent research in a number of laboratories suggests the existence of chemicals that alter regulation of energy balance to favor weight gain and obesity. These obesogens derail the homeostatic mechanisms important for weight control, such that exposed individuals are predisposed to weight gain, despite normal diet and exercise. This review considers the evidence for obesogens, how they might act, and where future research is needed to clarify their relative contribution to the obesity epidemic.”

So, what can you do?

You could continue the pharmaceutical approach at your own risk. The New England J. of Medicine just published an article showing that Sibutramine increases the risk of “non fatal” heart attacks.”1 Oh, good, “non fatal;” well that should makes us feel better….

Instead, try to avoid chemicals as much as possible. Eat a good diet full of antioxidants to maximize detoxification pathways in your body. Eat lots of fiber to optimize bowel function. Take probiotics, the amino acid N-acetyl Cysteine, the B vitamin derivative SAMe, and supplement whey protein: they all raise your levels of glutathione, the master antioxidant that works best to detoxify. You need more of it for sure if your liver enzyme GGT is elevated.

Also sweat a lot (sauna, exercise,) and get massages.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Birds and the Bees and the Brain

We all know that sex relieves stress; we also know that stress hormones cause damage when they remain elevated for prolonged periods of time. What we didn’t know was that sex helps brain cells grow.

According to a recent study done at Princeton University and published in the Journal PLoS One, rats who had sex every day for 2 weeks had better brain cell regeneration than those who got lucky only once in that period of time. I know, we are not rats, but wouldn’t you like to be, at least like the ones in the first group?

I cry at romantic movies. I view love with a romantic partner as one of several ways to become enlightened. And, like you, I have suffered from the pain of loneliness, which, according to the J. Science, is as real as physical pain. This is why I am writing these lines, hoping that you are not lonely and that you are getting lucky in a respectful, honest and responsible relationship. A significant number of people are not so lucky; their chronic health issues are often magnified when this is the case.

Sadly, many in our society have placed roadblocks in their lives that hinder their emotional and sexual fulfillment. No doubt some do so because of religious ideals; I respect that, but only when those ideals are there to emphasize true love. What “true love” is and when it may be given wings is debatable. Safe to say that one’s peace of mind with this issue is the most important factor.

Others are scarred for life by sexual abuse and other emotional issues as children. They need help to recover and so do the offenders. The latter have a much harder time changing their toxic behavior, often the result of sex abuse in their own childhood.

Whatever the reason is keeping your brain cells from growing, I hope you get lucky and start a new life today by forgetting and forgiving.