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LMU 17 – Lifestyle Change Shown to Reverse Aging of our Cells

LMU-17

LMU 17 – Lifestyle Change Shown to Reverse Aging of our Cells

Source: The Lancet, 2013

Lifestyle Medicine Update (July 30, 2016)

A really eye-opening article was published in the journal, Lancet, in 2013. It showed that basic lifestyle changes can reverse aging of our cells. By that I mean that lifestyle change can lengthen our telomeres.

So what are telomeres? If the DNA of our cells is compared to a shoelace, then the telomeres would be the shoelace tips at the end of the DNA strand. Every time a cell undergoes replication, the telomeres shorten a bit. Once the telomeres get to a critical level of shortening, really bad things start to happen to our health such as the cell stops functioning, resulting in a decline in organ function, or the cell gets transformed into a cancer cell. Shorter telomeres in human beings is associated with more rapid aging, diseases such as cancer, and premature morbidity – a state of being unhealthy from various causes. Shorter telomeres are not a good thing, let’s put it that way.

In the Lancet study, researchers showed that men with low-grade prostate cancer who successfully used diet and lifestyle change to help manage their their disease, also showed a 10% lengthening of telomeres in their immune system cells. Re-lengthening telomeres is equal to reversing the aging process on a cellular level.This is one of the first human studies to ever show that it is possible to reverse aging, and the method used to do it was simple lifestyle changes.

Dr. Dean Ornish, the head researcher of the study, in a follow-up interview made some key points:

“Fun, freedom, pleasure & love ultimately makes sustainable changes,” he said. The lifestyle changes he advocates have people feeling better and feeling better quickly, and compliance is excellent. With respect to his successful dietary plan it includes:

  •  Eating mostly plants: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and soy products in their natural forms. What you include in your diet is as important as what you exclude (this means eliminating the bad fats and refined sugars, but also being sure to include the plant foods shown to reduce risk of cancer and other disease).
  • Eat as close as possible to its natural form, which helps you get the fiber contained in the food.
  •  Reduce the intake of hydrogenated fats, saturated fats, and trans fats. (He said there’s a study coming out in a few months that shows that saturated fats actually shorten your telomeres.)
  • Reduce intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates.
  • Consume 4 grams of fish oil or equivalent per day (that’s a significant amount, actually). Other studies show that just getting 500 mg per day of EPA/DHA from fish oil is enough to be very helpful. EPA and DHA are the omega-3 fats in fish and fish oil supplements that provide the health benefits.

His take-a-way message is as follows: Eat well, stress less, move more, and love more. These four simple principles of lifestyle changes have been shown to have significant benefits in managing chronic disease risk, influencing aging and reducing health care costs. And that’s why lifestyle medicine is the right idea at the right time.

I think Dr. Ornish has it right. The Meschino Wellness Platform is designed to help facilitate the healthy eating, physical activity and stress management aspects of lifestyle change that are very consistent with Dr. Ornish’s proven method of reversing aging and decreasing disease risk. So, stay engaged in the process and have fun with it. As for loving more, I’ll have to leave that up to you to figure out. I’ve included a link to the research article and interview in the text below

References:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24051140

http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Research/Lifestyle-medicine-is-the-right-idea-at-the-right-time-Dean-Ornish-MD

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great.

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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LMU 16 – Lipids Management, European Style: EAS (European Atherosclerosis Study) President Interviewed

LMU-16

LMU 16 – Lipids Management, European Style: EAS (European Atherosclerosis Study) President Interviewed

Source: Medscape Article: July 14, 2016

Lifestyle Medicine Update (July 21, 2016)

Our research article today features an interview with the President of the European Atherosclerosis Study, Dr. Catapano. A key point in the interview dealt with the subject of bad cholesterol (LDL-cholesterol). We’ve known for a long time that higher blood levels of LDL-cholesterol increases risk of heart disease and cardiovascular death. We know it’s the LDL-cholesterol that deposits cholesterol in the wall of the artery that ultimately leads to narrowing of the arteries or atherosclerosis. The more you narrow your arteries, the greater is the risk of total blockage of blood flow as occurs in a heart attack and ischemic stroke.

Narrowed arteries in diabetics leads to decreased blood flow to the feet and toes allowing gangrene to set in, increasing risk of lower limb amputation to treat the disease in such cases.

Dr. Catapano re-emphasized that a high blood level of LDL-cholesterol is a main culprit in risk of heart and cardiovascular disease – the leading killer in our society. He makes the point that all randomized studies conducted to date show that the safest value for LDL-cholesterol is under 70 mg/dl (American) or 1.8 mmol/L (Canadian). He also makes the point that for people who have not had a heart attack yet, but have high LDL-cholesterol, that “Lifestyle therapy comes first”. He states, “Physicians should insist that patients make all efforts to improve their lifestyle, even if they are on drug therapy to lower cholesterol”.

The proven ways to lower your LDL-cholesterol through lifestyle is to:

  • Avoid beef and pork products.
  • Avoid high fat dairy products (no milk of yogurt over 1% MF) and avoid butter, cheese, cream, ice cream etc.
  • Avoid deep fried foods and foods with a lot of transfats.
  • Eat more beans, peas, artichokes and soy products, which lower cholesterol.
  • And consider supplementing your diet with psyllium husk fiber, ground flaxseed and/or oat fiber, as they also lower cholesterol.
  • Of course, doing endurance exercise regularly and achieving your ideal weight is also helpful.

The “take away” message here is, know your fasting LDL-cholesterol level (make sure it is under 70 mg/dl or 1.8 mmol/L.  If it’s higher than that, get more aggressive about your diet and lifestyle and speak to your physician to see if cholesterol-lowering drugs are appropriate in your case. But don’t minimize the importance of diet and lifestyle, as in the majority of cases, diet and lifestyle alone can optimize your LDL-cholesterol level in the primary prevention of heart and cardiovascular disease.

Of course, other things affect your heart disease risk such as age, gender, smoking, family history, total cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, triglyceride levels, homocysteine levels etc. But LDL-cholesterol is the transport vehicle that delivers cholesterol into the artery wall causing progressive narrowing. It’s a main driver of heart and vascular disease. As such, it deserves a great deal of focus in preventing heart attack, stroke and other vascular problems.

Remember that in many cases the first sign of cardiovascular disease is sudden cardiac death – a heart attack. In many cases you don’t feel your arteries being plugged up with cholesterol until its too late – where the first symptom is Sudden Cardiac Death.

The most recent 2016 findings from the Framingham Heart Study show that men are more than twice as likely to die from Sudden Cardiac Death than women. Men ages 45- 70 roughly have a 10% increased risk of dying from Sudden Cardiac Death, whereas for women the risk is 3-3.5%.  But those with cardiovascular risk factors like high LDL-cholesterol have a higher risk. And if one of the risk factors is high blood pressure then the risk becomes much higher – it’s a biggie.

So know your cholesterol numbers, and of course, your blood pressure. Throughout your lifetime, use diet and lifestyle to help optimize your values. There’s a lot riding it.

I’ve included a link to the cited articles below.

References:

1.Dr. Catapano’s Medscape Interview: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/866069?nlid=108316_1842&src=WNL_mdplsfeat_160719_mscpedit_wir&uac=62515BJ&spon=17&impID=1159644&faf=1#vp_2 \

 

2. Sudden Cardiac Death Stats from Framingham Study, Update 2016: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/865714

Eat smart, live well, look great.

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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LMU 15 – Green Tea Extract Reverses Precancerous Prostate Lesions and Improves Biomarkers in Prostate Cancer Patients

LMU-15

LMU 15 – Green Tea Extract Reverses Precancerous Prostate Lesions and Improves Biomarkers in Prostate Cancer Patients

Source: Journal Cancer Research, 2006, and Journal Cancer Prevention and Research, 2009

Lifestyle Medicine Update (July 16, 2016)

A 2006 study (J Cancer Research) was the first human study to show that green tea catechins (GTCs) were highly effective in stabilizing and reversing precancerous prostate lesions (high grade prostate intra-epithelial neoplasia), an established precursor to prostate cancer. In this study, the treatment group ingested daily GTCs supplements consisting of three GTCs capsules, 200 mg each (total 600 mg/d). After 1 year, only one tumor was diagnosed among the 30 GTCs-treated men whereas nine cancers were found among the 30 placebo-treated men (3% vs 30% prostate cancer incidence).

Men in the GTCs treated group also had PSA levels that were constantly lower than the placebo-treated group throughout the study period.  Supplementation with GTC’s also improved symptoms of prostate enlargement (benign prostatic hyperplasia) and reduced lower urinary tract symptoms. No significant side effects or adverse effects were reported by the men supplementing with GTCs (1).

Men with Localized Prostate Cancer

Based on the success of the 2006 study described above, a second study using GTCs was published in 2009 (J Cancer Prevention Research). In this case GTCs were provided to men with established localized prostate cancer who were awaiting surgical treatment involving radical prostatectomy.

In this study, twenty-six men with positive prostate biopsies ingested a supplement containing 800 mg per day GTCs, until time of radical prostatectomy (median dosing period was 34.5 days). Serum was collected before initiation of the study and on the day of prostatectomy. The study showed that GTCs supplementation in these men produced a decrease in many prostate cancer biomarkers, including:

 

  • Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) – Prostate cancer cells secrete PSA. The higher the blood PSA level, the greater is the number of active prostate cancer cells. High PSA signifies more advanced prostate cancer disease.
  • Hepatocyte Growth Factor (HGF) – The stromal tissue around cancer cells is known to secrete this growth factor, promoting cancer cell division and increased tumor vascularization in order to promote metastasis. High HGF signifies higher risk for metastasis.
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor – This growth factor promotes the growth of new blood vessels to feed the tumor and promote metastasis. High VEGF levels signified higher risk for metastasis
  • Insulin-like Growth Factor and its Binding Proteins (IGF-I, IGFBP-3, and the IGF-I/IGFBP-3) – Higher IGF-1 and lower IGF – 1 Binding Protein levels encourage more rapid cell division of cancer cells. In this study the IGF-I/IGFBP-3 ratio decreased significantly during the study.
  • Liver Function Tests – In this study, all of the liver function tests also decreased, five of them significantly: total protein, albumin, aspartate aminotransferase, alkaline phosphatase, and amylase.

The researchers commented that their results show a significant reduction in serum levels of PSA, HGF, and VEGF in men with prostate cancer after brief treatment with a GTCs supplement, with no elevation of liver enzymes. They further suggest that GTCs supplementation may play a potential role in the treatment or prevention of prostate cancer.

Proposed Mechanism of Action

Various experimental studies have shown that certain green tea catechins (EGCG and ECG) can inhibit the HGF/c-Met signaling pathway in both breast and prostate carcinoma cells. Hepatocyte Growth Factor (HGF) is normally secreted by mesenchymal cells and acts primarily upon epithelial cells and endothelial cells, but also acts on haemopoietic progenitor cells. It has been shown to have a major role in embryonic organ development, specifically in myogenesis, in adult organ regeneration and in wound healing. The C-Met receptor is normally expressed by cells of epithelial origin. HGF normally stimulates the c-Met receptor on target tissues, which prompts them to replicate via up-regulation of the tyrosine kinase pathway, thus playing an important role in embryonic growth and wound healing.

In prostate cancer, the transmembrane receptor c-Met is often over-expressed (a greater number of c-Met receptors than is considered normal) in primary tumors and metastases. High levels of c-Met are directly correlated with a higher Gleason score and associated with poorly differentiated tumors. Additionally, high serum levels of the c-Met ligand, HGF, have been found to be associated with metastatic disease and decreased overall survival. Often the overproduction of HGF occurs in cancer-associated fibroblasts located in the stromal tissue surrounding the tumor. Many studies have now shown that the tumor stroma plays a very important role in cancer progression. A number of cells associated with the stroma, including macrophages, endothelial cells and fibroblasts provide factors that facilitate proliferation, survival, and invasion of tumor cells. As such, studies show that dysregulation of the HGF/c-Met pathway leads to increased proliferation, motility, and invasion of cancer cells.

Other in vitro experiments show that GTCs also block the production of VEGF and HGF in at least two different prostate cancer–associated fibroblast cell lines (2).

Summary

Overall, the data suggests that supplementation with green tea catechins could be useful as an adjuvant therapy in men with prostate cancer by lowering the levels of cytokines (HGF, VEGF) that contribute to prostate cancer progression (2). In light of this evidence, I suggest that men consider ingesting 3-5 cups of green tea daily to help support prostate health, and/or ingest a supplement containing green tea catechins (possibly in the range of 200-600 mg per day).

 

References:

  1. Bettuzzi S., Brausi M., Rizzi F., et al. Chemoprevention of Human Prostate Cancer by Oral Administration of Green Tea Catechins in Volunteers with High-Grade Prostate Intraepithelial Neoplasia: A Preliminary Report from a One-Year Proof-of-Principle Study. Cancer Res., January 15, 2006, 66; 123
  2.  McLarty J., Bigelow R., Smith M., et al. Tea Polyphenols Decrease Serum Levels of Prostate-Specific Antigen, Hepatocyte Growth Factor, and Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor in Prostate Cancer Patients and Inhibit Production of Hepatocyte Growth Factor and Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor In vitro. Cancer Prev. Res. July, 2009, 2; 673

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great.

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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LMU 14 – The skinny on green tea: Good for Weight Loss, Blood Pressure, Blood Sugar, Cholesterol, Inflammation and more…

LMU-14

LMU 14 – The skinny on green tea: Good for Weight Loss, Blood Pressure, Blood Sugar, Cholesterol, Inflammation and more…

Source:

Lifestyle Medicine Update (July 9, 2016)

Most people have heard that green tea is good for you. More good news about green tea catechins was published in June 2012 in Journal – Nutrition Research. Green tea contains high amounts of a medicinal ingredient called catechins; much more even than black tea. Evidence over the years suggested that green tea catechins could help people burn fat, improve blood pressure and blood sugar control, reduce cholesterol and reduce inflammation in the body.

In this study, researchers followed 56 obese, hypertensive (high blood pressure) men and women for three months. Half the group received a daily supplement containing either 379 mg of GT extract (high in catechin content) or a placebo. The results showed that compared to the group receiving the placebo, the group ingesting the green tea extract supplement each day saw:

  • A reduction in high blood pressure.
  • Improvement in insulin function and blood sugar regulation.
  • A decline in the bad cholesterol – LDL-cholesterol.
  • A rise in the good cholesterol – HDL-cholesterol.
  • A reduction in inflammation in the body as expressed by a decline in blood CRP levels (C- reactive protein).

The study authors concluded that: “daily supplementation [of green tea extract] favorably influences blood pressure, insulin resistance, inflammation and oxidative stress, and lipid profile in patients with obesity-related hypertension.” Other studies have shown that supplementation with green tea catechins have blocked the progression of precancerous cells in the prostate gland to full blown prostate cancer and have improved important markers of tumor growth and metastasis in patients with existing prostate cancer and women with breast cancer. I will comment more on these cancer studies next week.

For general health benefits you should try to shoot for at least 150 mg of green tea catechins per day. One cup of steeped green tea has between 50-70 mg of catechins. Actually Lipton’s Green tea has 71 mg per cup (http://www.womenshealthmag.com/food/how-many-antioxidants-are-in-your-green-tea) So, having 2-3 cups per day makes good sense. If you are over weight, a type 2 diabetic, and or have high cholesterol, you may want to supplement green tea ingestion by taking a supplement containing 200-300 mg of green tea extract, standardized to 50% catechin content or ECGC as it may be listed. Catechins from supplements have actually been shown to be absorbed better than ingested from steeped green tea, actually.

However you want to consume it, green tea and its catechin content provides some impressive health attributes.

Reference

Pawel Bogdanski, Joanna Suliburska, Monika Szulinska, Marta Stepien, Danuta Pupek-Musialik, Anna Jablecka.  “Green tea extract reduces blood pressure, inflammatory biomarkers, and oxidative stress and improves par receive a daily supplement of 1 capsule that contained either 379 mg of GT extract (GTE) or a matching placebo, for 3 months. ameters associated with insulin resistance in obese, hypertensive patients.” Nutrition Research, 20 June 2012 http://www.nrjournal.com/article/S0271-5317(12)00106-6/abstract

Good luck with your wellness goals.

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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LMU 13 – Health Benefits of Ground Flaxseeds

LMU-13

LMU 13 – Health Benefits of Ground Flaxseeds

Source: Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, 2010

Lifestyle Medicine Update (June 29, 2016)

Ground flaxseed is unique in various ways: it contains an omega-3 fat known as alpha-linolenic acid, notwithstanding the fact that consuming flaxseed oil provides a much higher content of this important omega-3 fat. However, flaxseed also contains a unique lignan known as SLD (secoisolariciresinol diglycoside). Upon ingestion of ground flaxseed, the SLD gets metabolized by gut bacteria and converted into Enterolactone and Enteridiol which are estrogen look-a-like compounds, classified as phytoestrogens. Once formed in the lower intestine tract, enterolactone and enterodiol get absorbed into the bloodstream. Enterolactone and enterdiol have been shown to have anti-cancer effects, especially with respect to breast and prostate cancer. For example, women excreting higher amounts of Enterolactone in their urine have been shown to have a lower breast cancer incidence compared to women excreting very low amounts. The same is true for isoflavones derived from the ingestion of soy products and soy-based supplements. Higher urinary excretion of isoflavones is also linked to lower breast cancer incidence in population studies.

Enterolactone and enterodiol also decrease the form of estrogen that is shown to be very carcinogenic, which is known as 16-hydroxyestrone, and they increase the form of estrogen shown to reduce breast and endometrial cancer risk, known as 2-hydroxyestrone. Animal studies also show that ground flaxseed inhibits breast cancer incidence in various studies. In a woman’s body, the effect of ground flaxseed depends on the women’s present estrogen state. In premenopausal women, ground flaxseed supplementation tones down the effect of a high estrogen state and thus, can be helpful in combating PMS symptoms, fibrocystic breast disease, uterine fibroids and possibly endometriosis, which are all made worse by high levels of circulating estrogen. In menopausal women, when estrogen levels are very low, ground flaxseed supplementation has been shown to help reduce menopausal symptoms by providing some mild estrogen stimulation to target tissues.

Regarding prostate health in men, ground flaxseed supplementation has been shown to inhibit the cell division rate of prostate cancer cells in experimental studies, and in men with existing localized prostate cancer, men ingesting 30 gm of ground flaxseed daily showed that tumor cell division slowed down, and some tumor cells committed suicide (apoptosis or programmed cell death) while the men were awaiting surgery. These men were also put on a low fat diet which may also have been helpful in slowing tumor growth. Another human study showed that ground flaxseed and a low fat diet lowered the PSA (prostate specific antigen) blood level in men who followed the program. The lower the PSA, the less chance of cancer being present in the prostate gland.

Experimental studies have shown that flaxseed can also inhibit colon and skin cancers in cell cultures and in animal studies. Ground flaxseed also provides antioxidant effects and has been shown to block chromosomal damage of DNA linked to cancer in general. The key thing to know is that ground flaxseed contains 800 times more of the types of lignans that generate enterolactone and enterodiol than any other food known to man. There is no substitute. You might want to know that other plant foods also contain lignans that are also important to human health, but only ground flaxseed contains SLD, which leads to increased blood levels of enterolactone and enterodiol. However, other types of lignans have additional anti-cancer properties, and so the ingestion of certain grains (wheat, barley, oats), as well as beans, lentils and soybeans and other legumes, and certain vegetables such as garlic, asparagus, broccoli and carrots, are important sources of other types of cancer-fighting lignans to be aware of.

With respect to ground flaxseed, you should also know that it contains both types of fiber: fiber that lowers cholesterol and fiber that improves regularity of the intestinal tract, which is also associated with decreased diverticular disease and colon cancer. Ground flaxseed has also been shown to lower blood sugar, including in diabetic subjects. In this regard it has been shown to reduce insulin resistance, and has been shown to lower the glycemic response to food by 28% compared to the control group who did not ingest ground flaxseed.

To get the benefits of ground flaxseed, a person typically takes 1 to 2 tablespoons per day. Make sure the seeds are ground up, as the outer husk of flaxseeds is too hard for your digestive enzymes to break apart. Thus, the only way to get access to the medicinal ingredients in flaxseeds is to ingest them only after they have been ground. I suggest you think about having a large, heaping tablespoon of ground flaxseed each day, or 2 level tablespoons, as an additional part of your wellness program.

I have included the reference to the review article in the text below if you wish to read the review first hand..

Reference:

Flaxseed Lignans: Source, Biosynthesis, Metabolism, Antioxidant Activity, Bio-Active Components, and Health Benefits.

Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety. Vol 9, 2010:261-269

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1541-4337.2009.00105.x/abstract

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great.

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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LMU 12 – Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity

LMU-12

LMU 12 – Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity

Source: Journal of Clinical Nutrition, April, 2015 (Vol. 34, Issue 2, pages: 189-194)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (June, 16, 2016)

Let’s talk about the Gluten-Free Movement that’s so popular. Gluten is a combination of two proteins found in wheat and some other grains called:

  • Gliadin
  • Glutenin

It’s the Gliadin protein that causes the problem in Celiac Disease. Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disorder, whereby the gliadin fraction of gluten causes an abnormal immune response in the small intestine producing an inflammatory reaction, damaging the lining of the gut, which, in turn, interferes with absorption of various nutrients. Any combination of abdominal symptoms, such as chronic diarrhea and abdominal distension after meals, weight loss, growth failure in children and anemia, are common manifestations. Testing for Celiac Disease involves a simple blood test, but requires confirmation via intestinal biopsy. Blood tests recommended by the Canadian Celiac Association include:

  • tTG – IgA class test – Tissue transglutaminase antibody (tTG, IgA class
  • IgA test
  • EMA – Anti-endomysial antibodies

First-degree relatives of Celiac patients should be screened using these blood tests as Celiac disease can be present without and symptoms in biological siblings, parents and children of Celiac patients, who have a 10-15% chance of also having Celiac Disease. This is important because unmanaged Celiac disease significantly increases the risk of a cancer known as lymphoma (arising in the small intestine) as well as cancers of the liver, oral cavity, and large intestine.

The primary management of Celiac disease is to avoid all food sources of gluten, which include:

  • Wheat
  • barley
  • bulgur
  • oats (oats themselves don’t contain gluten, but are often processed in plants that produce gluten-containing grains and may be contaminated)
  • rye
  • seitan
  • triticale and Mir (a cross between wheat and rye)

Gluten may also show up as ingredients in barley malt, chicken broth, malt vinegar, some salad dressings, veggie burgers (if not specified gluten-free), and soy sauce. It may even hide in many common seasonings and spice mixes So what percentage of the population has Celiac disease? – only 1% of the population, actually. And another 1% of population have a wheat allergy. They can’t eat wheat, but can eat other gluten-containing foods. These people typically have atopic symptoms like:

  • Hayfever
  • Hives
  • Eczema
  • Asthma

And these conditions are made worse from eating wheat. There is a simple blood test for wheat allergy that is often included in the Celiac testing profile to help distinguish simple wheat allergy from the intestinal autoimmune disease caused by gluten known as Celiac disease. However in 2012, a new health condition was recognized and published. It’s called Gluten Sensitivity or Intolerance. It’s a condition that mimics the symptoms of Celiac disease, but blood tests and biopsy tests do not show presence of antibodies or celiac damage to the intestinal tract. Researchers estimate that about 6% of the population have gluten sensitivity. In these case avoidance of gluten containing foods improves intestinal symptoms, such as:

  • Post meal bloating
  • Frequent diarrhea
  • Cramping pain or discomfort
  • Associated joint pain and fatigue

Gluten Sensitivity is very common in people who also have irritable Bowel Syndrome, and avoidance of gluten in these cases helps to reduce IBS symptoms. But not all IBS is linked to gluten sensitivity. People with IBS should create a trial for themselves where they avoid all gluten-containing foods and see if their symptoms improve. Some evidence also suggests that gluten sensitivity may trigger symptoms in some patients with schizophrenia or Autism Spectrum Disorder. It might be only a small percentage of patients who benefit, but it’s worth a simple trial to see if avoiding gluten enhances the treatment of schizophrenia and/or improves the symptoms of autism. For everyone else, if you have the abdominal symptoms I have mentioned above and your doctor has run all the battery of tests and can’t find anything, then you may have gluten-sensitivity. In these cases it would make sense to avoid gluten-containing foods to see if it helps. But remember that between Celiac disease, wheat allergy and gluten sensitive subjects, together they account for less than 10% of the entire population. So for most of us, gluten is not a problem it would appear. Spending your efforts on locating gluten-free foods is really not necessary unless there is a clear problem. And know that to make gluten-free foods, they often have to add extra fat and carbohydrate calories to replace the gluten so the foods won’t crumble and fall apart. Those extra fat and sugary calories may do more harm than gluten, if you’re truly not gluten sensitive or have Celiac disease.

So there is a lot of hype about gluten these days, as being a food toxin that destroys health. This appears to be true for less than 10% of the population. For the rest of it doesn’t seem to be a problem. If you are interested in going glute-free I have provided a list of gluten-free foods you can include in your diet in the text below.

I also included links to the recent published data on gluten sensitivity and other helpful resources

References:

Primary Reference: Clinical Nutrition April 2015. http://www.clinicalnutritionjournal.com/article/S0261-5614(14)00218-0/fulltext

Gluten-free Foods: http://www.healthline.com/health/allergies/gluten-food-list#Overview1

Other Gluten Reference and Resource: http://www.livescience.com/53265-what-is-gluten.html

Wheat Allergy Information: http://acaai.org/allergies/types/food-allergies/types-food-allergy/wheat-gluten-allergy

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great

Dr Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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LMU 11 – Vitamin B12 May Slow Brain Aging/Dementia

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LMU 11 – Vitamin B12 May Slow Brain Aging/Dementia

Source: Journal of the American Medical Association (June, 2016)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (June 4, 2016)

No one wants their brain to shrink as they get older, but this is exactly what happens in the aging process – and the faster it shrinks, the greater the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive impairment. As such, I think you’ll find this Lifestyle Medicine Update really fascinating.

An important study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association – Psychiatry, in June of 2016. It provided additional evidence that high blood levels of vitamin B12 can slow the shrinking of the brain that commonly occurs after age 60. Previous studies have shown that vitamin B12 and other B-vitamins (folic acid and vitamin B6) can slow the shrinking of the brain in older subjects with mild cognitive impairment and decreased risk of progression to Alzheimer’s disease. Overall, the emerging evidence suggests that if you can slow or prevent the shrinking of the brain, which is common after age 60, then you may decrease your risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease quite substantially.

In this latest study published in JAMA-Psychiatry, data from the Swedish National Study on Aging and Care was presented. The study followed 501 subjects, aged 60 years and older, from 2001 – 2009, who were free from dementia at the beginning of study. MRI imaging of their brains was conducted in 299 of the subjects routinely during the 6-year follow-up period. Results showed that individuals with higher blood levels of vitamin B12 showed a significant decrease in the rate of total brain tissue volume loss (shrinking) than individuals with lower blood levels of vitamin B12.

Vitamin B12 has been shown to have neuroprotective effects which may directly slow brain shrinking, but it also lowers a chemical in the blood known as homocysteine. High Homocysteine is very damaging to the brain and high blood levels are strongly correlated with brain shrinkage and risk of Alzheimer’s disease in many studies. In this study, higher homocysteine was also linked to more rapid brain volume shrinking. So there are at least two ways in which vitamin B12 may slow brain shrinking – by directly preventing loss of brain cells and by lowering homoscysteine blood levels.

As well, in the 2016 JAMA-Psychiatry study, individuals with lower vitamin B12 levels and/or high homocysteine levels also showed increased White Matter Hyperinstensity (WMI) on their MRI scans, which is strongly tied to increased risk for cognitive decline and other mental health disorders.These studies are important because we know that mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is the step that proceeds development of Alzheimer’s disease.

We also know this: people over 60 yrs without MCI, still have a brain shrinkage rate of 0.5 % a year. People with MCI have a brain shrinkage rate of 1% – double that of someone with no cognitive decline. Alzheimer’s patients show an average brain shrinkage of 2.5% per year, so anything that slows brain shrinkage is considered to be an invaluable way to preserve cognition as we age.

This brings us to the Oxford Project to Investigate Memory and Aging (OPTIMA study and VITACOG study). They took 172 individuals older than 70 years old, who already had MCI. They gave half of them folic acid – 800 mcg; vitamin B12 – 500 mcg, and vitamin B6 – 20 mg per day for two years. The other half got the placebo pill. The study showed that B-vitamin supplementation slowed brain shrinking (atrophy) by 30% on average, and in some cases up to 53%. Cognitive tests showed that the greater the rate of brain shrinkage, the more rapid the decline in cognitive function.

Everyone agrees that slowing brain shrinkage or atrophy is an important feature of maintaining cognitive function with aging. So far, only B-vitamin supplementation has been able to show this effect in human clinical intervention studies. There are no drugs yet that can do this, at least not this dramatically. I think that preventing total brain atrophy as we age is a fascinating area that is strongly linked to your healthy life expectancy and quality of life, so I wanted to bring this information to your attention. It is wise to know your blood level of homocysteine, vitamin B12 and your red blood cell folic acid level. These are proving to be important markers of brain health, and these levels can be optimized using a simple B-vitamin supplementation regiment.

See links to research papers below:

References:

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/863157 (Medscape, May 11, 2016)

http://archpsyc.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2517517 (JAMA-Psychiatry, June, 2016)

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0012244 (VITACOG study, Sept., 2010)

 

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great.

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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LMU 10 – Lifestyle Changes Can Dramatically Cut Cancer Incidence

LMU-10

LMU 10 – Lifestyle Changes Can Dramatically Cut Cancer Incidence

Source: Journal Source JAMA, May 19, 2016

Lifestyle Medicine Update (June 1, 2016)

This study was published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association on May 19, 2016, and it showed once again that modest lifestyle changes can cut cancer deaths by about 50%. The study combined data from the long-running Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professional Follow-up Study, as well as US national cancer statistics. The Nurses’ Health Study has been following 89,571 female nurses in the United States for many years, and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study has been following 46,339 male health professionals also for many years.

The men and women who followed all four of the following lifestyle patterns showed up to a 40% reduction in cancer risk and about a 50% reduced risk of cancer deaths. These are the four lifestyle patterns that provided protection:

  • Non-smokers or smoked only at some point in the past, but not in the recent past.
  • Not drinking alcohol or drinking only modestly (i.e. for women, having one or fewer drinks a day, and for men, having two or fewer drinks a day).
  • Maintained a Body Mass Index of 18.5 – 27.5 (Consult your BMI results on the Meschino Wellness Platform in Body Composition Section in My Wellness Report).
  • Exercised regularly with aerobic activity for at least 75 vigorous-intensity minutes per week or 150 minutes of moderate-intensity minutes per week.

There are, of course, other things one can do to reduce cancer risk, but the data from this large population study sheds light on how important it is:

  • Not to smoke.
  • To avoid alcohol or have only limited quantities.
  • To stay at or near your ideal weight (not exceeding a BMI of 27.5).
  • Do at least 150 minutes per week of moderate endurance exercise or 75 minutes of high-intensity aerobic exercise.

Remember, death from cancer was cut in half in those individuals who adhered to all 4 of these practices, so if you’re missing one or two in your own health management, it may be time to “kick it up a notch”. Studies tell us that only about 15% of cancer cases are caused by inherited gene mutations that are severe, so most of us can prevent cancer through prudent lifestyle practices. This study really reinforces this point and gives us all a starting point to reduce our risk dramatically as the journal title implies.

Here is the link to the journal article review: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/863616

 

Thanks for watching, and I’ll see you next time.

Dr. James Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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LMU 09 – Dr. Dean Ornish’s Update on Heart Disease

LMU-09

LMU 09 – Dr. Dean Ornish’s Update on Heart Disease

Source: Medscape, May 12, 2016

Lifestyle Medicine Update (May 23, 2016)

Dr. Ornish is the author of several books, including the Dr. Dean Ornish Program for Reversing Heart Disease. Dr. Ornish is a personal hero of mine, as his diet and lifestyle program is the only one that has ever been shown to reverse plaque build-up in the walls of arteries in the heart. In the interview, Dr. Ornish re-emphasizes that his diet and lifestyle program is the only one ever shown to reverse coronary heart disease and improve heart function in patients with advanced narrowing of their arteries, and/or those who have significant heart disease problems.

His program opens up the heart’s blood vessels, improves oxygen supply to the heart muscle and improves the pumping ability of the heart in patients with serious arterial plaque development and weakened heart muscles. And he does it all without drugs or surgery in patients who are candidates for his program. This has all been proven using advanced imaging techniques like Cardiac PET scans, angiography and ventriculography studies.

I have patterned much of the dietary program on the Meschino Wellness Program around Dean Ornish’s research. His program is for people with advanced stage heart disease and so it is a bit more restrictive than many of the general recommendations I make for non-high risk people. He precludes not only no beef, pork, high fat dairy products and vegetable oils, but also allows no chicken, turkey, and even fish.  So, its basically a vegan or plant-based diet, with a bit of non-fat dairy products and egg whites, and some nuts and avocado.  And like me, he includes soy products as a source of protein, and to help prevent cancer and heart disease.

But remember, his program is for patients with advanced coronary disease. To prevent narrowing of arteries in the first place it appears that for most of us, we don’t have to be quite as strict. His program also includes exercise, stress reduction, and social group support, all of which are equally important to the outcomes he has achieved with patients.

A key thing he mentions is that his program is the only one that has stood up to scientific scrutiny, whereas other popular diets have not shown objective evidence that they actually reverse heart disease. Diets like the Mediterranean Diet, Atkins Diet, Paleo Diet, Wheat Belly Diet and so on, at this point, offer no objective proof they actually reverse heart disease, which is the leading killer in our society. They’re popular, but actually untested in this regard.

As well, The Ornish Diet has been shown to help stabilize mild to moderate degree localized prostate cancer in a clinical trial with men, and it’s shown to improve glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure in high-risk patients, including diabetics, and it also helps to reduce body fat in overweight patients. It’s the best of all worlds, and studies show that Dean Ornish has given us the blueprint for the healthiest diet and lifestyle program to strive for.

His interview is quite fascinating and is likely very eye-opening for many people. Here is the link to the interview on Medscape:

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/862903

 

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great.

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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LMU – 08 Vitamin C Supplementation (1,000 mg per day) Reduces Blood Lead Levels in Adult Male Smokers

LMU-08

LMU 08 - Vitamin C Supplementation (1,000 mg per day) Reduces Blood Lead Levels in Adult Male Smokers

Source: Journal of the American College of Nutrition (2013)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (May 3, 2016)

This study showed that taking 1,000 mg per day of vitamin C reduced blood lead levels by 81%. The study involved 75 adult men (20 to 30 years of age), who smoked one pack of cigarettes per day (minimum) and had no clinical signs of vitamin C deficiency or lead toxicity. Although we know that cigarette smoke contains a fair bit of lead, none of these men had blood a lead level below 1.45 μmol/L, the minimum blood level associated with lead toxicity symptoms. The men were randomly assigned to three study groups of 25. One group took 1,000 mg per day of vitamin C as a supplement. One group took 200 mg per day of vitamin C as a supplement, and one group took the placebo (no vitamin C at all). Researchers measured blood and urine vitamin C and lead levels at the beginning of the study and each week for 4 consecutive weeks.

The group supplementing with 1,000 mg of vitamin C showed an increase in blood vitamin C levels and an 81% decrease in blood lead levels. In fact the 81% reduction occurred after the just the first week of vitamin C supplementation – very impressive. The group supplementing with 200 mg of vitamin C showed no change in blood vitamin C or lead levels. The placebo group also showed no change in blood vitamin C or lead levels.

The Global Lead Advice and Support Service has published data showing that the key nutrients that appear to reduce blood lead levels in the body are:

  • Vitamin C,
  • Calcium,
  • Iron,
  • And, to a lesser degree, zinc and phosphorus.

These nutrients reduce lead absorption by competing with lead for absorption into the body. But vitamin C also increases lead excretion from the body, which may explain why it was able to reduce blood levels by 81% in just the first week of supplementation.

To reduce blood lead levels:

  • Vitamin C,
  • Vitamin E,
  • Thiamine (B1),
  • Folate Acid (B9),
  • And iron – have the strongest and most consistent effects.

Lead in the body is distributed to the brain, liver, kidney, bones and teeth. Human exposure is usually assessed through the measurement of blood lead levels. No one is walking around with a blood lead level of zero and no level of lead is completely safe, so the lower the blood lead level the better.

Lifetime accumulation of lead in the body can cause:

  • Decline in kidney function.
  • Anemia.
  • High Blood Pressure.
  • Low Sperm Count in men and decreased fertility.
  • It may contribute to development of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s Disease and Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Of course, high lead exposure in children can have devastating effects on brain development and the nervous system, in general. But today we’re talking only about reducing lead levels in adults.

I have included the scientific references in the text below.

References:

Main Research Article:

1. Dawson, E.B., Evans, D.R., Harris, W.A., Teter, M.C., and McGuinty, W.J. The effect of ascorbic acid supplementation on the blood lead levels of smokers. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Vol. 18, issue 2. Published online, June 7, 2013. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10204833

Negative Health Effects of Lead

2. http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/csem/csem.asp?csem=7&po=10

Global Lead Advice Support Service:

3. https://www.lead.org.au/fs/Fact_sheet-Nutrients_that_reduce_lead_poisoning_June_2010.pdf

Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease:

4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3567843

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great!

Dr. James Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.