Monthly Archives: October 2010

Fructose is Cancer Food

Fructose is Cancer Food

Reference:  Heaney, UCLA,  Cancer Res; 70(15); 6368–76, August 2

Competency: Sugars

We have increased their intake of high fructose corn syrup 10 fold in the last 40 years.  It’s been added to everything, and subconsciously we just love it.  We eat more peanut butter, because it is sweet and our taste buds tell us to slurp up some more.  Fructose, in fruit comes with its natural antidote, fiber.  But in barbeque sauce, ketchup, peanut butter, orange juice, soda it comes straight up.  What happens when it comes that way?

This is what Heaney and his team from UCLA report in this journal article.  They took pancreatic cancer cells into a petri dish in a lab and added precise amounts of radioactive labeled fructose or glucose, and then “followed the money”.  They traced what happened to the cancer cells as they sorted the difference between glucose and fructose.   Your tongue thinks they are both sugars, and the sugar and beverage industry loudly and aggressively maintain that they are both interchangeable.  This study proves that just isn’t so.

The cancer cells can easily distinguish glucose from fructose.  With the fructose, the cells turn on a transketolase-driven non-oxidative pentose phosphate pathway to build the nucleic acids that DNA and RNA are made from. (Can you say all that in one breath?)  Save it for the Holiday party when you really want to bore somebody)  Simply stated: That allows the cells to multiple and proliferate faster.   Let me repeat that in real simple language.  Fructose is cancer food.  Instead of just being turned into energy molecules, the fructose preferentially goes into the pathway the cancer cells use to multiply and divide.  Cancer cells aren’t interested in doing the function of the cells they came from.  That would be normal activity that required energy.  A pancreas cell is meant to use its energy to make digestive enzymes to help you digest food.  But a cancer cell is interested in only one thing.  Making more cancer cells.  And the rate-limiting step is making more DNA so it can multiple.  And fructose is the food.

Each and every day you have thousands of cancer cells develop in your body that you have to ferret out and control.  And you do, for many years.  We know, for example, that as many as 30-40% of women have DCIS somewhere in their breasts by age 50, and most of those women will not develop cancer.  Same goes for men with their prostates.  We will likely find the same phenomenon in all our organs as we study them.  The key is finding the trigger that sets off the forest fire of uncontrolled proliferation and spreading.  Sounds like fructose is on the short list of likely candidates.

WWW.  What will work for me.  Oh dear.  I love sugar.  The only way I can change is to scare the pants off myself.  I’m really trying to find other flavors I like and that I have available when I get neurotic, or hungry, or just need to eat.  With the Holidays approaching the sugar comes out.  I’m going to focus on the nuts.

The Trouble with Wheat Part V, or “The Closer – Food Allergy Wise”

The Trouble with Wheat Part V, or “The Closer – Food Allergy Wise”

Reference: Your Hidden Food Allergies are Making You Fat, Rudy Rivera 2002

Date:  Oct 19th, 2010

Food allergies, huh!  Is that it?  Food allergies?  How on earth did they develop? Looking back at human evolution, it’s actually pretty easy to see how this slipped by.  We only started drinking cow’s milk and eating wheat 10,000 years ago.  Long ago, we only lived till age 28-35.  We didn’t have time to develop allergies.  We were dodging spears and arrows, or fangs and claws.  It’s only been the last 150 years in which our bodies have had another whole layer of inflammatory insults thrown at them.  We ground up flour into talcum powder, making fine white bread and losing all the precious fiber.  We added trans-fats to our food because they were so creamy and made food last without spoiling.  We learned how to grow cheap vegetable oils, not knowing that they were the precursors to inflammatory signaling hormones.  We ate sugar and fructose with wild enthusiasm.  Add feedlot animals with their saturated fats, and you have a perfect culinary storm of inflammation.  This comes on top of the mild, persistent gnawing away in your gut your intolerance to wheat causes.  Add to that our penchant for taking antibiotics that kill many of our beneficial bacteria and injure our guts a little more.  No wonder we are in trouble.

So, how to escape? The Four R’s.  Most of our immune trouble starts in our guts, where we have 70% of our immune system.  The Four R’s stand for “Remove, Repair, Restore and Replace”.  Without much ado, this is something anyone can do.   It’s how to fix the allergic vicious cycle in your gut.  The most common food allergies by far are wheat, dairy and soy.   Don’t eat those at all.  If you are going to that much trouble, throw in caffeine, sugar and alcohol too.  REMOVE those.  Then, start your REPAIR by adding back some foods that guts like for healing.  Good fish oil, turmeric, quercetin and GLA (gamma-linoleic acid) are good gut healing supplements to bathe your irritated GI tract with.  And while you are at it, RESTORE at the same time by buying some probiotics.  Every drug store has them. Go for the good quality ones that have 30 billion or so per capsule of their bacteria mix.  Take two capsules three times a day for a month.  I really mean a month.  Get good healthy bacteria like lactobacillus and bifidobacteria back in your gut.  Finally, REPLACE with good food, and maybe some bile acids or digestive enzymes.   Try not to take antiacids, antibiotics or anti-inflammatories like NSAIDS.  But do all that, and your gut will heal.  What will freak you out is that your asthma and your thyroid will too.

The real challenge is learning new foods.  Discover how to make delicious sweet potato recipes.  Find gluten-free pizza dough and bread.  Have quinoa for breakfast instead of wheat cereals.  The first two or three recipes are hard, but it doesn’t take long to find yummy new foods.  Focus on whole foods, lots of color, fiber and flavor.

WWW. What will work for me?  I make my own turmeric capsules.  We have found delicious red rice as a new grain that’s yummy.  I’m using almond milk on cooked quinoa.   Next week: three delicious recipes with no wheat, no milk and really delicious.

The Trouble with Wheat Part IV, or “CSI Gastrointestinal Tract”

The Trouble with Wheat Part IV, or “CSI Gastrointestinal Tract”

Reference: Your Hidden Food Allergies are Making You Fat, Rudy Rivera 2002

Date:  Oct 12th, 2010

Being fat may not be simply eating too much.  It may be more complicated.  To review our prior message: the premise is out there that inflammation caused by allergies in our gut makes for an insulin response, and then we force ourselves to make new fat cells as a means of soaking up excess arachadonic acid.  Those fat cells become little factories putting out more and more inflammation.  That becomes physiological stress on your body.  And eventually, you can’t maintain the burning of candles at both ends, no matter how “young” you claim to be.  When you become ill at age 62, you look back and say, “Where did I go wrong?”

Here is the logic.  This is the best I understand the scientific data that our research labs are pulling together.  One of our key physiological processes is digestion.  To make it work right, our bodies pack 70% of our immune system into our GI tract to help decide what’s friend and what’s foe.  Many of us have allergies and antibodies to some foods.  Not the Ig-E antibodies that make for immediate hives and mouth swelling.  Not that at all.  They are in the Ig-G family. They may not make any symptoms that you can identify as being from the food because they take days to develop after you eat.  The symptoms might be things like headaches, GERD, sleeplessness, rashes, joint aches and pains.  Or, they might just be a slightly elevated blood sugar  (that’s me).  You go to see your doctor who checks a traditional simple blood test and says, “You look pretty good.” and prescribes you a drug for acid reduction in your stomach.

Those antibodies persist for years.   Some 40% of American women carry an antibody to some part of their system.  Autoimmune disease takes years to develop.  We have such magnificent physiology and reserve, we can go for many years, getting away with the low levels of stress and inflammation.  The typical autoimmune disease takes 15 years of inflammation before it makes symptoms.  Your first symptom might be fatigue from your thyroid giving out.  You might go through a huge stress in your life, like a divorce or a family illness that puts added stress on your system.  But now your body is diverting a huge percentage of its energy and capacity to calming your inflamed gut, and can no longer juggle your multiple stressors.  The extra stress event tips you over the edge and your thyroid gland starts to be unable to keep up and develops Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.  Or your asthma comes back, after being gone for years.  Your ankle starts to hurt.  Your hip aches. You get an infection, and take some antibiotics.  The antibiotics clear up your infection, but also further damage your gut by killing off all the normal healthy bacteria in your gut.

The key problem was your gut.  The “core imbalance” was a food allergy.  Then, 15 years of low level inflammation ground away at you.  The obvious criminal wasn’t the real perpetrator.  It wasn’t your hip, your thyroid, your bronchial tubes.  It was the bread you ate at the restaurant with olive oil and spicy vinegar, again and again and again.   CSI Intestinal Tract uncovers the real criminal.  The bread!

WWW.  What will work for me.  The growing science of food sensitivities is getting more sophisticated.  I just did my food sensitivity testing from a company called ALCAT.  I, like 40% of us, have wheat antibodies.  Oh dear.  I’ve been trying to eat no wheat and rather failing as I discover all the places I get wheat without even thinking.  But, even with those poor efforts, my morning glucose dropped from 101 to 86-93.  I can’t easily measure my inflammation, but sugar sensitivity is a second hand way of discovering inflammation.   Next week.  The GI Closer finishes off the season with “How to eat to avoid inflammation”.

You Are What You Wheat

The Trouble with Wheat Part III, or “How You Got Fat Silently”

Reference: Your Hidden Food Allergies are Making You Fat, Rudy Rivera 2002

Date:  Oct 5th, 2010

Our last letter was about how wheat has a protein called gliadin in it that is hard to digest (11 steps) and can sneak into your gut.  How exactly it gets through your intestinal wall is a bit of a mystery, but get through it does, in part because you have sampling cells that are constantly nibbling at what’s out in the gut to see if it’s “friend or foe”.  But the gliadin sets up a brisk response, and loosens the tight junctions.  Now, you have “leaky gut” syndrome.  More gliadin floods in and your body starts to make antibodies against any more gluten/gliadin that might show up.

Remember, you have 70% of your immune system around your intestines.  Think about having a sensitivity reaction to a very common food, like wheat.  What percentage of your immune output is going to be directed to battling wheat?  It’s meant to be good for you, and instead, you are finding that it’s something against which you react and do battle.  What symptoms do you have?  Inflammation, on your skin, looks like a sunburn with redness, pain and swelling,  In your gut it takes on other forms.

To set off inflammation, you have to first release a lot of inflammatory eicosinoids made from omega six fatty acids.  We get those from vegetable oils which we have been eating in abundance for the last hundred years.  So, we have lots of them floating around.  The strongest inflammatory eicosinoid is arachadonic acid, and it’s a doozer.  It’s so toxic, your body fires of the PPAR gamma gene and turns on the genesis of new fat cells.   And because of the inflammation, you surge with a bit of insulin too because inflammation and metabolism are cross covered through the JNK 1 gene.  Oh this gets messy and confusing.

Wait a minute.  What just happened there?  We were talking about a bit of wheat coming on down our guts after chomping on the hot bread with garlic butter we got at the restaurant.  The gluten in the wheat fired up our immune cells in our guts that were all hyped up from prior wheat exposures, like the Total Cereal we had for breakfast that day and the sub sandwich we had at lunch.  But then what happened was a cascade of inflammation that ended up turning on the production of insulin and new fat cells.

What does insulin do, besides show up because of the inflammation.? Insulin is your storage hormone.  It pushes calories into fat cells.  But in this hypothesis, the inflammation came first, the fat cells came second and the calories came last.  You got inflamed first, put out insulin second, and gained weight, third.  That’s backwards!

I thought you gained weight because you were slothful, lazy, over-indulgent and ate too much.  You ate food like a maniac and it piled on.  Your fault!   But this explanation is the other way around.  You ate a food to which you have an immune response.   You developed inflammation as a means to control the foreign invader (bread on a sub sandwich).  Arachadonic acid forced you to grow fat cells to protect the rest of the body from the runaway inflammation.  The macrophages infiltrated into the fat tissue and made you insulin resistant.  Presto, chango: diabetes.  The inflammation came first.  Then, the other food you ate got forced into the new fat cells by insulin and you were hungry.  So you ate a little more.  And gained weight.

WWW.  What will work for me?  This suggests we may have had it backwards.  Inflammation may be the first step to getting fat, not the last.  That leaves the premise dangling that if we figure out your inflammation, and reduce it, you might lose weight naturally.  Perhaps you are maintaining your weight because you continue to be inflamed, regardless of how much you eat.  Tune in….I love double double double crosses in good mystery stories.  Next week.  The GI Closer.  CSI Intestinal Tract makes its seasonal debut.

The Trouble with Wheat Part II, or “How You Got Fat Silently”

The Trouble with Wheat Part II, or “How You Got Fat Silently”

Reference: Your Hidden Food Allergies are Making You Fat, Rudy Rivera 2002

Date:  Oct 3th, 2010

Last week we learned about long latency diseases that take decades to show up.   The core problem is inflammation.  We have talked about inflammation since the Romans and Greeks, Hindus and Chinese, who have all had various descriptions for “hot, painful, swollen and limited”.  Like a sunburn, inflammation is the swelling, tenderness and redness that surrounds acute injury, be it thermal, chemical, infectious or intrinsic.  We understand it when it hurts.  Pain makes us go to the doctor.  But what is the connection to long latency disease?

Here’s the connection.  Your body has several ways of protecting us from the outside world.  Our skin is almost impervious with 20 layers of dry skin cells that shed themselves at 300,000 an hour, leaving behind anything left on the surface.  What gets in our mouths is a different matter.  Food in our stomach isn’t just all churned up and digested into fuel.  In fact, our guts are incredibly complicated arenas in which there is a constant interplay between what we have eaten and what our bodies are doing with it.  It comes down to a very thin barrier called the “tight junction” between gut cells that is the fence between the outside world, and the inside world.  We have a one cell layer barrier between our intestines and our blood stream.  One cell layer is it.  And it is held together by “tight junctions”.  And those tight junctions can get loosened up when they are exposed to certain chemicals or stimulants, at which point whole foreign proteins, germs, chemicals can leak in and get into our blood supply.

It’s no wonder our bodies pack 70% of the immune system around our intestines.  Every inch of the way from our tonsils to our rectums, we have patches of white blood cells, sampling cells, sensing cells, antibody secreting cells, all watching what’s going by, constantly signaling to the “interior” and the waiting reserve cells behind them.  “This is friend.  This is foe.”  We secrete enzymes to digest what’s food, what’s edible, what’s nutritious.  And with thousands of different kinds of foods, we have to figure out what’s nutritious and valuable, and what’s dangerous and invasive.  Now, all proteins are made from 20 amino acids and every protein can be broken down to those amino acids.  Or can they?

This is where wheat comes in.  Turns out that wheat, and other grains like oats and rye have gluten in them.  Gluten helps make dough sticky and stick together when you are making bread.  But it’s a tough one to digest.  It takes 11 separate enzymatic steps to break it down to digestible components.  One of those components is gliadin.  Gliadin is a potent stimulator of an internal signaling compound called zonulin.  Zonulin goes to our tight junctions, and loosens them.  Suddenly, the barrier between the inside world and safety and the dangerous outside world is opened up, and in comes the foreigner invaders unchecked.  Our immune system has to reply with frantic abandon, not the ordered and safe methods of before.

WWW. What Will Work for me?  The future of medicine is in education.  We all have to learn new ideas.  I’m learning this stuff.  You need to as well.  As many as 40% of us are wheat intolerant because of zonulin, gliadin and gluten, and the disruption they cause in our guts.  So, if you are that proverbial forty, and want to stay healthy and looking 29 …    One of the most successful strategies to reduce long term, internal, silent inflammation is to figure out this wheat connection for you and for me.  So, next week, another step in the story in part 3.  In the meantime, think about everywhere you find wheat every day.  Vegan restaurant?  You get French bread with olive oil as a snack.