Is Calcium off the hook?
- Created on Sunday, 17 February 2013 21:31
The Life Extension Foundation recently reported on a study that found no increased risk of heart disease in those taking calcium supplements. Some previous studies had claimed to find for that. '
It was a big relief to the LEF people and I suppose to all who take calcium. But, I still think it warrants being cautious with calcium. I take very little in supplement form- just the little bit that is in my multivitamin, and no calcium tablets, per se.
We have known all along that if your Vitamin D and hormone levels are in balance, that your blood calcium is going to be in the normal range no matter how much or how little calcium you consume. If necessary, the body will extract calcium from the bones in order to maintain the blood calcium- it being so crucial to so many vital functions, including the pumping of the heart itself.
But, we also know that from the blood, even with normal saturation, calcium can wind up in lots of other places besides bone. It is a pathological process, and it is also to some extent universal. Do you think there is anyone my age, 62, who doesn't have some pathologic calcinosis? I doubt it. I'm sure there is a wide range of severity, but I'll bet you that everybody has some, at least a little.
Does the amount of calcium coming in feed the process, that is, towards the pathological depositions? That is where the controversy lies, but I have to think that it weighs down on it to some degree. After all, every milligram of calcium you ingest has to go somewhere. Of course, some of it is excreted, since your urine contains calcium. But, whatever tendency you have to lay down calcium in soft tissues could only be increased by taking more calcium. How could it decrease it when it provides more of the substance being deposited?
But, there are several things you can do to inhibit pathological calcifications- besides not going overboard on calcium.
First, go light on sodium. There is a connection. The more salt you use, the more calcium is going to be misdirected.
Two, maintain optimum levels of Vitamin D3 and Vitamin K2. Both help in the proper metabolizing of calcium. Vitamin D3 helps you to absorb calcium effectively from the gut to maintain the blood level, and Vitamin K2 helps to send it to bone and keep it out of arteries and other soft tissues. There are a lot of people who are walking around with deficient levels of Vitamin D3 and Vitamin K2, and I'm sure that includes a lot of vegetarians too.
Three, keep up your magnesium intake. Magnesium seems to inhibit pathologic calcinosis. And there is no pathologic magnesiosis.
But, what about calcium in relation to osteoporosis? You have to realize that osteoporosis is a much bigger problem than just too little calcium. Osteoporosis is the equivalent of sarcopenia, which is age-related muscle wasting.
I recently had a visit from an older man who has been a father figure to me. He's 88 now, and I hadn' t seen him in years. And I noticed right way his significant muscle wasting. Of course, 88 is getting up there. But, I had heard that osteoporosis is one the problems that he has. Well, the thinning of his bones is just an extension of the thinning of his muscles. They go together. It's all one continuous degenerative process- the unity of disease, as Shelton used to say. How much is taking calcium going to slow it down? Not much. You wouldn't expect it do anything for the muscles, although calcium is involved in muscle contraction. And by itself, is it really likely to inhibit the bone wasting? All I can say is: not much.
I believe the current recommendation is for elderly women to take 1500 mgs of calcium a day, and that I oppose. That is more calcium than the human race has gotten throughout its long history on Earth. And remember that there's also calcium in food. Even a crumby diet provides a few hundred milligrams, and if a person makes a point of eating calcium-rich foods in addition, it could put them well over 2000 mgs/ day, and that's just unnessary and wrong.
So, I think that people should eat healthy, and that doesn't mean dairy products. It means lots of calcium-rich plant foods, such as raw salad greens, steamed green vegetables such as broccoli and kale, almonds, figs, and all kinds of beans.
Then, I'm getting 150 mgs calcium from my Extend Core multi, which I feel is plenty for me. But, if it was woman with low weight and slight features- the classic candidate for osteoporosis since her reserves of bone are low to begin with- I would be entirely OK with her doubling that to 300 mgs of supplemental calcium. But, I would not be inclined to go higher.
And make sure you have a fair chance to absorb your calcium. For instance, don't eat an ultra-low fat diet- unless you want to give your minerals to the fish, if you catch my drift. Low-fat/high-fiber = poor mineral absorption.
Of course, getting good hard exercise and regular sun exposure is highly recommended- although the latter depends on where you live and your circumstances. The period of effective sunlight is very short in a lot of places.
And last but not least, and of very great importance to me, consider taking anti-aging hormones. For instance, I take 25 mgs of DHEA every morning and have for years. I usually recommend 10 mgs to women. I use my HGH spray morning and night and have for years. I also take pregnenolone 30 mgs. If you want to do something good for your bones, to prevent osteoporosis and sarcopenia, keep your hormones high. If you are concerned about the safety of it, then have your blood levels checked once a year as I do. I do it every Spring, so I'll be doing it soon. The Life Extension Foundation offers a great sale on blood tests every Spring, and I take advantage of it.
A little bit of sunshine- is it enough to make Vitamin D?
- Created on Wednesday, 30 January 2013 14:37
The Vitamin D naysayers, including some so-called "experts", like to say that a little brief sun exposure is all it takes to supply the body's need for Vitamin D. However, that claim has never been put to the test- until recently.
Recently, Dr. John Cannell of the Vitamin D Institute reported on a study out of Korea. Dr. Sang-Hoon Lee and colleagues from the Ajou University School of Medicine in South Korea studied the effect of brief sun exposure on vitamin D levels in 20 young women for four weeks.
The study was conducted between October and November at latitude 37 degrees north, which is about the same latitude as Washington DC. Initial mean levels of Vitamin D were low: just 11 ng/ml, and no woman had levels greater than 20 ng/ml to begin the study. The women were told to get 20 minutes of midday sun exposure on their hands, forearms and face every weekday for four weeks.
Guess how much serum Vitamin D levels increased after a month of daily sun exposure? Nada. Vitamin D levels did not increase at all; in fact, they were a little lower than when the study began!
Why did it fail? Dr. Cannell thinks there are several possible reasons. Perhaps the women didn't comply as well as they reported. Perhaps the amount of UVB in mid-day sunlight in October and November at that lattitude is insufficient to make Vitamin D. Perhaps the area of the body exposed was not large enough to make Vitamin D. And finally, maybe the time of exposure wasn't long enough.
Dr. Cannell points out that human beings were originally equatorial animals. And living on the equator in primordial times, they didn't wear a whole lot clothes, and maybe not any. He estimates a Vitamin D input of 5,000 to 10,000 IUs per day for our primordial ancestors and an average blood level of 50 ng/ml.
I take 5,000 IUs of Vitamin D3 daily. It's the tiniest little capsule you can imagine, but it is a powerhouse of health support. And, I think that just about everybody ought to be doing it, although less for small children.
Alcohol for health: an insane notion
- Created on Tuesday, 15 January 2013 01:14
Should doctors be advocating wine or other alcoholic beverages as a haelth beverage? First, realize that ethyl alcohol is ethyl alcohol. It doesn't matter if it's beer, wine, spirits, or whatever. And ethyl alchol is a cytoplasmic poison, meaning that it is poisonous to every cell in your body. And, of course, it's no secret that the impairing effects of ethyl alcohol reach the mind as well as the body.
In fact, in some ways, alchohol is worse than some of the other recreational and social drugs. For instance, as you can see below, alcohol induces violence. We put people in prison in this country for smoking marijuana, but I've never seen any reports that marijuana induces violence the way alcohol does. And that's violence against men, women, children, and self.
Remember that the resveratrol and other beneficial polyphenols in red wine come from the grape. So, instead of drinking wine, eat grapes. And if you want to do more than that, take a resveratrol supplement. But, don't put alcohol in your body just to get resveratrol. It's not the right means to that end.
Below is another article about alcohol-fueled destruction of human lives. Doctors should know better than to recommend alcohol for health. Alcohol is for death- not life.
"The Jackson County (Mo.) Medical Examiner's office has released autopsy results for Jovan Belcher and Kasandra Perkins, marking some of the final elements of the murder-suicide in Kansas City last December. Belcher murdered Perkins at their shared home, then drove to Arrowhead Stadium and killed himself in front of several Chiefs executives.
The most significant finding of the report was that Belcher had a blood-alcohol content of 0.17 at the time of his death, more than twice the legal limit for intoxication in Missouri. The significance of this is obvious in the impairment of judgment. However, it also indicates Belcher almost certainly was intoxicated when police awoke him as he was sleeping in his car outside the apartment of Brittni Glass, about four hours before the time of the murder. Police roused him and sent him to Glass' apartment to sleep it off; clearly, unless he consumed other alcohol at some point later in the morning, he was highly intoxicated.
The report indicates that Perkins was shot in the neck, chest (twice), abdomen, hip, back, both legs and the right hand, for a total of nine gunshot wounds."
Antidepressants and Gun Violence
- Created on Sunday, 13 January 2013 14:23
Here is a link which presents 4800+ stories about people on antidepressants who went ballistic and started killing. As you know, the killings have been very much in the news lately. But even the link to antidepressants has been getting some coverage.
Last night, I was watching Geraldo, and he included a segment which featured a debate between a man who has started a new 2nd Amendment group and a woman who is involved in a group advocating gun controls. And to account for the recent wave of murderous gun violence, the man listed several causes, and one of them, which he kept saying over and over, was "pharmaceuticals."
I'm sure the execs at Fox News didn't like that. As you know, pharmaceutical companies are big sponsors of television, and particularly, news programs. Every night on the evening news- whichever channel- at least a third of the ads are for drugs, and it may be closer to half. And many of them are for prescription drugs. They are spending billions of dollars a year to advertise prescription drugs to the general public. Does that mean that in medical practice, it's common for patients to call the shots? To some extent, yes, but don't forget: doctors watch tv too. And today, more than ever before, Medicine is all about conformity.
But, here is what Dr. Peter Breggin says, a non-conforming psychiatrist.
"First, there is no evidence that antidepressants prevent violence and a great deal of evidence that they cause it.
Second, antidepressants almost never cure depression and instead they frequently worsen depression.
Third, antidepressants never cure biochemical imbalances. Instead, they always cause them. There are no known biochemical imbalances in the brains of depressed people until they start taking toxic psychiatric drugs and every person who takes one of these drugs end up with a significant biochemical disturbance in the brain. That's how the drugs work--by disrupting normal biochemical processes in the brain.
Fourth, when all antidepressant studies are examined as a group, rather than cherry-picked by the drug companies, antidepressants are no better than placebo.
FDA approval for an antidepressant requires that the drug companies produce only two positive clinical trials showing that the drug performs better than a sugar pill. So the drug companies carry out numerous studies using their more reliable paid hacks. Back at company headquarters, they then manipulate the data until they can make two studies look positive. Meanwhile, when all the studies are examined in what's called a meta-analysis, the antidepressants are no better than a sugar pill. And of course, they are extraordinarily more dangerous.
Conclusion? Antidepressants are a hoax--in this case, a hoax that is getting people killed."
Here is the link, and I thank Linda Hadley for sending it to me.
Marijuana and Health
- Created on Monday, 24 December 2012 04:56
I have been asked by a reader to address the health effects of Marijuana. Several states are close to passing laws decriminalizing marijuana, including not just for medical marijuana but also for recreational marijuana, and it is certain to lead to a showdown with the federal government. States rights died in the USA a long time ago.
But, in any case, I wish these states all the luck. I fervently support legalized marijuana. After all, why not? People can smoke tobacco, and that's bad. They can drink alcohol in many forms, and that's bad. Look how many fatal road accidents occur because of alcohol. It's a lot more than for marijuana. And look how much violence, including violence to women and children, occurs because of alcohol. You don't hear about pot smokers going on rampages.
So, I want there to be legalized pot. And that's because I am a libertarian, and I believe that every person has dominion over their own body and should be able to decide what goes into it.
However, on a personal level, I am not the least bit interested in smoking marijuana, and I would not do it even it were legal. It is not a healthy thing to do- legally or otherwise.
First, you have to realize that all forms of smoke are bad for you. The only gas that was ever meant to enter human lungs is pure, fresh air. Smoke- of any kind- is toxic. Even burning incense is toxic.
Smoke is a collection of particles that are emitted in the process of burning, where the particles are suspended in the air. Some of the particles are solid, while others are in a gaseous state. These particles include carcinogenic hydrocarbons- and that's true of all kinds of smoke. But, it varies in quantity, and it so happens that marijuana smoke contains more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than tobacco smoke. And, because marijuana smokers typically inhale deeper and hold the smoke in their lungs longer than tobacco smokers, their lungs are exposed to those carcinogenic hydrocarbons longer,
Overall, marijuana smoke contains 50% more carcinogens than tobacco smoke. However, marijuana smoke contains a whopping 3X more tar than tobacco smoke. And there are no low-tar reefers the way there are low-tar cigarattes.
Everything I've mentioned so far pertains to the simple burning of the hemp plant and not to the active ingredient of marijuana, which tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. Notwithstanding any pleasurable buzz people get from THC, we know that it impairs the immune system, increasing the risk of infection and cancer. And the effects on the brain include hallucinations, delusions, disorientation, and impaired memory- and it hardly needs stating that none of that can be considered wholesome or healthy.
THC increases the heart rate- typically about 20 beats per minute but as high as 50! And that's bad for you. You don't want a fast heart rate. Guess what the heart does between beats? It feeds itself. It also clears away its own waste products. Nutrition and Drainage: that is what the heart accomplishes during its resting phase. But when the heart rate speeds up, guess what gets reduced? The resting phase- the interval between beats. Therefore, marijuana is no friend to the heart.
We know that to the lungs, marijuana is every bit as bad as tobacco, increasing the risk of infections, abcesses, and lung cancer.
The bottom line is: unless you're dying, you've got no good reason to smoke marijuana. If you're dying of cancer, and you find that smoking marijuana relieves your nausea and improves your appetite, then far be it from me to want to deny it to you. And I say the same for those who are in the final stages of AIDS.
But, if you've got some life ahead of you, you'd be a damn fool to smoke marijuana, and an even bigger fool to think that it's good for you.
But hey, I defend the rights of people to be damn fools if they so choose. As long as they don't smoke their weed around me, I could care less. Like Ralph Kramden said, "Do I mind if you smoke? I don't care if you burn. Just don't do it around me."
But yes, I would rather that there be potheads galore than for all of us to have live in a Gestapo state. And that is what the War on Drugs is really all about: turning the USA into a Gestapo state.
Statin drug lies and propaganda continue
- Created on Monday, 17 December 2012 19:53
I would like to share this latest edition of Dr. Uffe Ravnskov's newsletter. Dr. Ravnskov is a Swedish clinician, professor, and researcher with vast knowledge and experience, and he is also a true medical hero for standing up to the medical establishment. Here, he discusses the phony claim that statin drugs protect against cancer. If anything, they increase the risk of cancer, which multiple studies have shown. The demonization of cholesterol is surely one of the biggest rackets the medical establishment has ever engaged in for the sake of selling billions of dollars worth of cholesterol-lowering drugs, and nobody has called them on it better than Dr. Uffe Ravsnkov.
Does statin treatment prevent cancer?
Of course not. In my October newsletter I told you how it is possible to manipulate our minds to think that statins protect against almost everything. Here is another example.
Last month Danish researchers published a paper in New England Journal of Medicine entitled Statin use and reduced cancer-related mortality. They had studied how many people who had got cancer in Denmark between 1995 and 2007, how many who had died from cancer and how many of them who had been treated with statins before the cancer was discovered. What they found was that fewer had died among those who had got a statin prescription some time during this period. Therefore they concluded that statin treatment protects against cancer.
What they have ignored is, that at least four studies have shown that people with low cholesterol had a greater risk of getting cancer 20-30 years later, and that people with familial hypercholesterolemia has a lower risk of cancer.
What they also have ignored is that three statin experiment resulted in more cancer in the treatment group an with statistical significance.
What they also have ignored is that several studies of cancer patients and patients without cancer have shown that the cancer patients had been treated much more often with statins than the control individuals.
What they also have ignored is the Japanese study the authors of which treated more than 40,000 patients with a low dose simvastatin. Seven years later three tomes more among those whose cholesterol had been lowered the most had died from cancer compared with those whose cholesterol was unchanged.
Those who advocate statin treatment deny the cancer risk by referring to reviews of the statin trials, which have found no increase of cancer. There is a serious error in these reviews because they have excluded skin cancer from the calculations, although skin cancer is the first cancer type we should expect to see, if statin treatment is carcinogenic, because it is easy to diagnose at an early stage. Indeed, in the two first simvastatin trials 4S and HPS skin cancer was seen more often in the treatment groups, and if the figures from the two trials are calculated together the increase was statistically significant. Since then the number of skin cancer has not been recorded in any statin trial.
The reason why cancer was seen less often among statin-treated people is probably because they have lived most of their life with high cholesterol, which, as I mentioned, protects against cancer, whereas the untreated have lived most of their life with normal or low cholesterol, and low cholesterol is, as I mentioned, a risk factor for cancer. Furthermore, nobody knows how many of the statin-treated patients who really took the drug. A Canadian study found for example that most people who have been prescribed statin treatment have stopped the treatment after two years.
That the lowest cancer mortality among the statin-treated patients was seen among those who had been prescribed the lowest dose is another argument against a cancer-protecting effect. It should of course have been the opposite.
Texas Ruby Reds are in!
- Created on Sunday, 25 November 2012 02:14
I hope that, like me, you are going to take advantage of the new crop of Texas Ruby Red grapefruit that have started. I've been buying mine at Costco, and the quality has been excellent. There is no doubt in my mind that Texas Ruby Red grapefruit is the best grapefruit in the world, and I have eaten grapefruit from California, Arizona, Florida, and several foreign countries including Dominican Republic, Cuba, and Australia. None of them compare to Texas Ruby Reds.
Actually, there are two varities of Texs red grapefruit: Ruby Reds and Star Rubys. The latter are actually redder than the former. They're about as red as red can be- and oh so juicy and sweet. Both were developed at and by Texas A&M University for production in the Texas Rio Grande Valley. Why this grapefruit grows so much better there than anywhere else, I just don't know, but it does. And the red color is due to lycopene. So, it provides the same carotenoid as tomatoes and watermelon. Bear in minds that not all red foods contain lycopene. For instance, neither beets nor strawberries contain lycopene; it's some other red pigment in those foods. And lycopene is a very good thing to get. It's very protective to the lungs, and it has a specific effect to deter prostate cancer. That's why they put it in prostate protection formulas, including ours.
The interesting thing is that grapefruit, itself, is a mutant fruit, an accident of Nature. It's believed to be an accidental cross between an orange and a pomelo, which is the largest citrus fruit. And it reportedly happened in the Bahamas in the 1800s. They noticed that, unlike other citrus fruits, grapefruits grew in clusters- like a bunch of grapes. And that's why they named it grapefruit. The citrus family originated in Southeast Asia.
It's a popular notion that grapefruit is slenderizing, and I think there is some truth to it. Nobody ever got fat eating grapefruit- that is for sure. And it's interesting that grapefruit has the tendency to interfere with the metabolism of certain drugs, either to slow down their breakdown or to speed it up. More often to slow it down, so the idea is that grapefruit increases the concentration of drugs, with possible dangerous effects. For instance, it applies to statin drugs. But from my outlook, and keep in mind that I am only speaking generally and not offering specific advice to anyone, I am inclined to think that most people would be better off keeping the grapefruit and ditching the drugs, rather than vice-versa.
We need to celebrate the simple joys of life, and for me, at this time of year, it means enjoying Texas red grapefruit. So, keep it in mind when you shop, and as far as I'm concerned: the redder the better.
Prescriptoin sleep drugs deadly
- Created on Wednesday, 31 October 2012 16:16
A new study shows prescription sleeping pills increase the risk of early death—and of getting cancer. 60 million prescriptions for sleeping pills—technically called hypnotic drugs—were filled in 2011, up from 47 million in 2006.
It is well known that lack of sleep causes all kinds of havoc, including raising the risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, and even obesity. But, this new study published in the British Medical Journal says that people taking a prescription sleeping pill—even when taking fewer than eighteen pills per year—have nearly four times the mortality rate of those who don’t take the drugs. And patients who take higher doses of sleeping pills have a 35% increased cancer risk.
This study was prompted by earlier studies showing that hypnotic drugs are often deadly when mixed with alcohol or other drugs, are linked to an increased risk of car accidents and falls, may raise risk of suicide, and may damage chromosomes in cells which could lead to cancer.
What was significant about this study is that it was long-term, keeping track of 10,529 people who had at least one prescription for a sleeping pill between 2002 and 2007, compared with a control group. While the study doesn’t demonstrate causation, it did adjust for confounding factors such as age, smoking, weight, and other health conditions.
So why is FDA approving such dangerous drugs? First, the clinical trials required for FDA approval are grossly inadequate when it comes to hypnotic drugs. Many people take prescription sleeping pills for years, even though most are approved for only short-term use and their safety and effectiveness were only studied for several weeks in clinical trials. The longest tested one is Lunesta, which was tested for up to six months, and its list of known side effects is terrifying.
Let's compare it to the FDA’s standard for supplements: the NDI draft guidance requires "25 years of widespread use" in order to meet the "history of safe use" standard, which must be met even for grandfathered supplements. As the Life Extension Foundation points out, the safety testing required by FDA is wildly inappropriate for supplements, and is unnecessary for natural products with years of documented safe use. Yet despite their superb track record for safety, FDA and the media have cultivated an environment of fear around nutritional supplements—while maintaining a casual attitude toward dangerous prescription drugs.
If you are wrestling with a sleep problem, then wrestle with it! But, do not take prescription sleeping pills. There isn't one that is safe or any good. Do all the natural things to improve your sleep, such as eating well, exercising, getting sun, and reducing stress. Then, if you are going to take something, stick to safe natural supplements such as low-dose melatonin, theanine (the calming amino acid from green tea), taurine (another amino acid with calming effects) lemon balm (which I consider to be the best of the relaxing herbs) and magnesium. We now know that trying to secure sleep through prescription drugs is deadly.