Monthly Archives: April 2013

Is Saturated Fat Bad for You? #1

Is Saturated Fat Bad for You? #1

Reference: F. de Meester.  World Review of Nutrition 2009

We obsess about our cholesterol levels.  Our employers check our cholesterol at work.  Our grocery stores hawk “LOW FAT” on every product we look at.  And we keep getting fatter.  Our heart disease isn’t going away, although it is declining due to many factors.  But is cholesterol bad for you?  Should it be used in the conversation you have with your doctor?  Let’s look at this topic with the above mentioned study from Japan.

Researchers took a meta-analysis (combination of many studies) that were conducted after 1995 that included mortality data as well as cholesterol data.  They wanted to go beyond just heart disease to total mortality.  They found 9 studies but had to exclude 5 because the data was not rigorous enough. They ended up with a population base of 150,000 people followed for about five years.  They split them up into five groups that mirrored the American Heart Association guidelines:  less than 160, 160-199, 200-239, 240 and above.  The AHA says under 200 is desirable, 200-240 is bad and over 240 is awful.  So, you tell me.  Which group died the most, and which did the best.   Come on, commit yourself and demonstrate the bias we have all been programmed to believe.  Wouldn’t you say the group over 240?

Well, it’s the opposite. The highest mortality came in the group under 160.  The folks at 200-240 did significantly better than lower folks and the over 240 folks did even better.  That’s backwards, isn’t it?

This is a conundrum!  It turns everything we know about heart disease up side down.  So what is the real story?  Is this research meaningful?  Actually, this article is a sentinel idea that we will explore over the next few weeks.  Our focus on cholesterol has been directed because we thought cholesterol caused heart disease.  The true causes of heart disease turn out to be different.  Inflammation caused by fructose, sugar and high glycemic foods with subsequent insulin resistance is a much better candidate for causing heart disease.  But the real underlying 30,000 foot explanation is that our food causes hormonal responses far more powerful than any drug we take.  Eating inflammation causing foods like fructose ends up making fats in our blood, but those fats didn’t come from eating fat. They came from eating fructose.  Having high LDLs don’t come from eating meat, they come from eating high glycemic foods.  The irony is that avoiding fat encourages us to eat more sugar and more carbohydrates, and that ends up with more heart disease.  That’s what we will demonstrate over the next several weeks.  Hang on.  It’s a fun ride.

WWW. What will work for me.  To lose fat (weight), you have to eat fat. But you can’t eat fructose, sugar or white carbohydrates.  They are the real sources of fat.  That means your bacon might be better for you than your toast.  Yup.  Next week.  Bacon.

 

Pop Quiz

1.   The Meta-analysis from Japan reported here followed 150,000 people for 5 years after combining 9 studies for all their data.  T or F

That’s what they did.  Good summary.

2.    The findings of the study were that folks with the very lowest cholesterol, under 160, lived the longest.  T or F

False.  Read it again.  You have it backwards.

3.   The American Heart Association says a cholesterol level over 200 is problematic and over 240 is dangerous.  T or F

That would be true.

4.   There is a big disconnect between our national guidelines from a national organization and the science presented here.  T or F

True

5.  Who do you believe more, 7 older men from the American Heart Association, most with labs funded by statin-making pharmaceutical companies, sitting on a committee or good science published in a peer reviewed journal.

You make the call.

Watch this on YouTube!

Reference: F. de Meester.  World Review of Nutrition 2009

We obsess about our cholesterol levels.  Our employers check our cholesterol at work.  Our grocery stores hawk “LOW FAT” on every product we look at.  And we keep getting fatter.  Our heart disease isn’t going away, although it is declining due to many factors.  But is cholesterol bad for you?  Should it be used in the conversation you have with your doctor?  Let’s look at this topic with the above mentioned study from Japan.

Researchers took a meta-analysis (combination of many studies) that were conducted after 1995 that included mortality data as well as cholesterol data.  They wanted to go beyond just heart disease to total mortality.  They found 9 studies but had to exclude 5 because the data was not rigorous enough. They ended up with a population base of 150,000 people followed for about five years.  They split them up into five groups that mirrored the American Heart Association guidelines:  less than 160, 160-199, 200-239, 240 and above.  The AHA says under 200 is desirable, 200-240 is bad and over 240 is awful.  So, you tell me.  Which group died the most, and which did the best.   Come on, commit yourself and demonstrate the bias we have all been programmed to believe.  Wouldn’t you say the group over 240?

Well, it’s the opposite. The highest mortality came in the group under 160.  The folks at 200-240 did significantly better than lower folks and the over 240 folks did even better.  That’s backwards, isn’t it?

This is a conundrum!  It turns everything we know about heart disease up side down.  So what is the real story?  Is this research meaningful?  Actually, this article is a sentinel idea that we will explore over the next few weeks.  Our focus on cholesterol has been directed because we thought cholesterol caused heart disease.  The true causes of heart disease turn out to be different.  Inflammation caused by fructose, sugar and high glycemic foods with subsequent insulin resistance is a much better candidate for causing heart disease.  But the real underlying 30,000 foot explanation is that our food causes hormonal responses far more powerful than any drug we take.  Eating inflammation causing foods like fructose ends up making fats in our blood, but those fats didn’t come from eating fat. They came from eating fructose.  Having high LDLs don’t come from eating meat, they come from eating high glycemic foods.  The irony is that avoiding fat encourages us to eat more sugar and more carbohydrates, and that ends up with more heart disease.  That’s what we will demonstrate over the next several weeks.  Hang on.  It’s a fun ride.

WWW. What will work for me.  To lose fat (weight), you have to eat fat. But you can’t eat fructose, sugar or white carbohydrates.  They are the real sources of fat.  That means your bacon might be better for you than your toast.  Yup.  Next week.  Bacon.

Pop Quiz

1.   The Meta-analysis from Japan reported here followed 150,000 people for 5 years after combining 9 studies for all their data.  T or F

That’s what they did.  Good summary.

2.    The findings of the study were that folks with the very lowest cholesterol, under 160, lived the longest.  T or F

False.  Read it again.  You have it backwards.

3.   The American Heart Association says a cholesterol level over 200 is problematic and over 240 is dangerous.  T or F

That would be true.

4.   There is a big disconnect between our national guidelines from a national organization and the science presented here.  T or F

True

5.  Who do you believe more, 7 older men from the American Heart Association, most with labs funded by statin-making pharmaceutical companies, sitting on a committee or good science published in a peer reviewed journal.

You make the call.

Watch this on YouTube!

Vitamin K2 and Beautiful People

Vitamin K2 and Beautiful People

Reference:  Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox  By Dr. Kate Rheaume-Bleue

Weston Price, the Cleveland Dentist called the Charles Darwin of nutrition, travelled the world to find indigenous people who weren’t eating western food and didn’t have dental problems.  He found them.  And time and again he noted that they had broad, symmetrical faces with no cavities.  They didn’t need to have their wisdom teeth pulled. They had straight teeth.  They looked handsome/beautiful.  When he came back to America, he gave his Activator X mixture (grass raised milk and cod liver oil: Vitamins K2, A and D) to mothers and children.  He noted again and again that this resulted in faces with broader arches, room for teeth to grow into, and a more full jaw.  He reversed cavities with his Activator X, something no one else has done since.  The symbol of the Weston Price Foundation is a narrow map of North America surrounded by two wide maps of Asia and Africa, to symbolize that difference in facial shape between societies that get K2 and those that don’t.  And time and time again, he noted that indigenous societies gave organ meat to their children and pregnant women: grass raised organ meat is very high in K2.

Since Weston Price observed these findings, the science had gradually caught up, and confirmed them.  For example, as a small trivia aside, you can show that the oft observed lack of wrinkles on elderly “aboriginal folks” is correlated exactly with their K2 blood level.  Yes, that’s it.  More K2, less wrinkles.   That same finding has been confirmed in Japan.  Fewer varicose veins too.

But wait.  It gets more fun.  For our faces to develop their full shape, we need K2 when our mothers are pregnant with us.  That gives the cartilage chance to grow to its full size and our dental arch to be adequately sized.  Now, when you have a symmetrical face, you look “handsome” or “Beautiful”.  Your face follows nature’s natural mathematical formula, the Fibronacci Sequence.   That is the math sequence that flowers are based on, the chambered nautilus sea shell is based on.  It is the forumal for the Parthenon…. And all things beautiful.  First born children tend to have more symmetrical faces than second born.  Look at the picture ofDiana’s sons.  William is older (on the right) and has a broader face.  Harry has a narrower face.  Diana didn’t have as much K2 left when she was pregnant with Harry.   Could this be related?  Could this all be because of Vitamin K2?

The implications of this are far reaching.  Vitamin K2 is an important lifelong need. It comes to us from grass-raised animals. We don’t die of its lack very quickly.  Without K1, we die of bleeding in weeks, so our body pays attention to bleeding first. We make K1 in our gut. But we used to have enough K2 in our diet and just got out of the business of making K2 way, way back.  And then, 100 years ago we took our cows off the pasture and off green grass and fed them corn and beans.  And we stopped sucking the marrow out of our bones.  As a consequence, you and I have cavities, and wrinkles, and varicose veins and heart attacks, and thin bones and diabetes…and and and.

WWW. What Will Work for Me.  Well, if we haven’t convinced you by now to take K2, we might not ever.   So, your alternative is to start eating grass raised butter, bone marrow and pancreas glands. That will also do it.  And should you kids get it?  Yes, before you.  Just like your ancestors used to do, 3,000 years ago.

Pop Quiz

1.  Weston Price observed that symmetrical faces correlated with diets rich in grass raised animal products.  T or F

True

2.  He came back to America and proceeded to make Activator X out of spring grass butter and cod liver oil, and thereby cured children of cavities and dental arch problems. T or F

Bingo. Exactly what he did. So profound, no one really believed it.

3.  Do you think pregnant mothers should take K2 while Pregnant?

Is the earth round or flat?

4.    K2 allows the human body to develop along nature’s natural mathematical formula of beauty, the Fibronacci Sequence?  T or F

True.

5.  Having enough K2 is correlated with lower wrinkle and varicose vein counts?  T or F

True

6.  The K2 discovery might be more important than Vitamin D.  T or F

True.  Well, the complement each other. Vit D stimulates the production of the protein that K activates.  Primitive societies typically consumed 4-10 times the amount of these vitamins compared to what we eat today.  And they had Vitamin A too. It is also an important player.

Vitamin K2 Pulls Calcium OUT of Arteries

Vitamin K2 Activates MGP – and Pulls Calcium OUT of Arteries

Reference.  Shurgers U of Maastricht

Could this be the cure for coronary artery disease?  We’ve learned all about Vitamin K2 activating proteins that put calcium into bone (osteocalcin) and reduce insulin in the pancreas.  Now we have another role for K2.   It appears that activating MGP (Matrix GLA Protein) is another role that Vitamin K2 does.  Virtually every narrowing and plaque in arteries has about 20% calcium in it.  In fact, the artery wall starts to look a lot like bone tissue.  Vascular calcification is particularly hard on kidney dialysis patients.

Vitamin K2 activates MGP just like it activates osteocalcin.  It “carboxylates” the protein, adding extra carbonic acid structures to the end of glutamic acids in the protein.  That allows MGP to tightly bind calcium and literally suck the calcium out of the artery wall.   That suggests that the lack of activated MGP allowed the calcium to accumulate in the artery wall.  Once MGP is activated, that accumulating process ceases and then starts to reverse.  If calcium goes away, can the rest of the plaque heal.  We’ll have to stay tuned to see.  I’m betting it does.  Here’s why.

This is really interesting!   We have had a progression of heart disease in the last 100 years that has led to dozens of hypotheses as to its origin.  Many of those ideas may be partially right. But in the middle of it all is the French paradox.  How can those French, who smoke like chimneys and eat a menu that starts with the word butter?  Their food is much richer.  And they love goose live pate.  Aha!  Butter and pate.  The French like their butter.  Butter comes from cows.   Cows that eat grass have K2 in them.  Do you think the reason the French have so much less heart disease is that they have a constant intake of K2, whereas in America, we have cheerfully gone our way, stopped eating butter and switched to margarine and trans fats?  The last time an American cow ate a blade of grass was back in 1920.  We tend to feed our cows corn and beans.  Certainly they get a bit of pasture time, but the majority of their calories come from grains.  Considering that K2 is made in cow udders from K1, and K1 comes from the chloroplast in green plants.  And pate has some 300 mg of K2 in it, one of the highest sources of it naturally.

This completes a very interesting cycle of mutual collaboration.  Vitamin D has been shown to have many salutary effects on heart disease, but has had a bit of tarnished reputation because too much D and calcium accumulates in arteries.  But we have studied D in insolation.  It is becoming increasingly apparent that we need a complex web of synergistic nutrients.  Last week’s COMB study on bone showed that too.  Vitamin D stimulates the production of MGP protein.  Vitamin K activates it.  Vitamin D stimulates the absorption of calcium from the colon.  Vitamin K2 activates osteocalcin and puts it into bone, where it should be, and out of coronary arteries.

WWW.  What will work for me.  If you have any risks for coronary disease, you must be on K2.  If you are taking Vitamin D for all its beneficial reasons, you are only getting half the story.  I’m going to predict that we will see many, many more stories about K2 in the coming years.  All of them good.  So next week, we will have some more fun with the good stuff K2 does.   Stay tuned for wrinkles and faces.

Pop Quiz

1.   The French Paradox refers to the fact that the French seem to have a diet that should make them have more heart disease because they eat fat from butter and pate, but don’t. They have less.  T or F

True.  And grass raised butter and pate are both very rich sources of K2.

2.  Vitamin K2 is the activator for the protein Matrix GLA protein that, when activated, binds calcium that has been deposited in blood vessel walls.  T or F

True

3.  Vit K2 and Vitamin D are partners in that they seem to collaborate in making calcium be properly handled, putting it into bone and out of arteries.  T or F

True

4.   American dairy cows tend to not have much grass exposure compared to historical norms.  T or F

Can’t argue that.  True

5.   Vitamin K2 has been proven to reduce coronary artery disease. T or F

False.  Not yet.  All the mechanisms and basic science is lined up.  It’s tantalizingly interesting.  It makes sense.  Not proven.  But not toxic.  It’s just food. And should be there.  If it’s missing, it should be replaced.  No reason to wait.

 

The COMB Study and Vitamin K2 for Bone Health

The Comb Study: Combination of Micronutrients and Bone Density

Reference: Journal of Environmental and Public Health, Volume 2012

Ok, now we get serious about some implications with K2 and its effectiveness.  Let’s teach you how to CURE osteoporosis.  I said cure, and I mean it.   No drugs.  Here goes.  The COMB study comes out of Edmonton, Canada and published last year.  It’s the first study that looks at K2 and bone density that I could find. The authors found some 77 folks who didn’t want to take bisphonates and wanted a natural treatment of their bone density problems.  Some had failed bisphonate therapy.  They were followed for a year.   Those who didn’t take the supplements on a daily basis were excluded if they dropped below 50%.   It was not randomized, placebo controlled.  Hence that makes it an observational study and not quite to the standard of modern science.  We probably need a randomized trial to see if this is duplicated.  But the results are pretty impressive nevertheless.  And I can still argue that we have yet to do a randomized placebo controlled trial of the effectiveness of parachutes on people jumping out of planes.

Their protocol was:   Vitamin D3 2,000 IU a day,  Fish Oil (DHA) 250 mg a day,  Strontium citrate 680 mg a day,  magnesium 25 mg a day, and Vitamin K2 100 mcg a day.  In addition, they encouraged dietary sources of calcium and daily exercise.

Sounds easy!  You can buy the strontium cheaply on the internet or at health food stores.  It is below calcium on the periodic table and is known to increase bone density.   Each of the ingredients listed are literature based as improving bone density individually.  You could add some others. Boron, copper, manganese, silica, B6, B12, folate are all other useful micronutrients that weren’t included in this study.  But K2 is the new player in town. I would probably add a bit more Vitamin A too.

What happened in this observational study?  Well, the folks who took it every day had a 4% increase in the femoral neck, an 8% increase in the lowest spine site…read the study and look at tables 3-5 and look at the Figures.  The data is just very powerful.  Folks who had not improved with bisphonates show 3-8% improvement in just one year with this combination of micronutrients.   And no side effects.  Can I repeat that?  No side effects.  Cost is also minimal.  Total cost of all these supplements will be on the order of $ 200 a year if you find the expensive stuff.   This improvement is double the usual rate of improvement from bisphonates, and you don’t need to get a prescription.

This should be a clarion call.  The more we publicize this study, the more the PR departments of major pharma will be gearing up to try and downplay the significance.  The best way to attack is to claim that we need a randomized, controlled trial to prove that it works.  My response to that is “Hogwash”.  You need RCTS when you are giving dangerous drugs that have toxicity.  This stuff is all food.  Don’t need an RCT for food.  You just need a caring mother and a natural table.  Lacking that, you need some supplements and persistence.

WWW.  What will work for me?  I will be using this protocol with every patient I see now.  It will be the standard of care in my practice and in my personal life.  I will be taking K2 the rest of my life, along with my D.   And until we see big pharma fund an RCT on parachutes, you need your own parachute to protect you from the free fall of osteoporosis.  It’s called K2.  100 mcg-200 mcg a day.  This observational study is just plain common sense.  Listen to it and enjoy the triumph of reason.

Pop Quiz

1.  COMB stands for the C-ombination O-f M-icronutrients for B-one density.  T or F

True

2.  Each of the ingredients are natural food products:  K2, D3, DHA, strontium, Magnesium and calcium  T or F

False.  It’s actually hard to get strontium in food.  It’s a natural element that acts like calcium, but that’s all it is.  And you only get D from sunshine or from supplemented foods.

3.  There are other supplements you could add.  Name two or three.

Boron, copper, Vitamin A, manganese, B12, folate, ….

4.   Bone density in compliant volunteers improved at double the rate of bisphonates with no side effects in 12 months.

Yup.  That’s it in a nutshell.

5.  The beneficial effect is not proven, this is an observational study.   T or F

Yes again.  Most of medicine is based on empiric observations.  Something this obvious just needs to be done.

Vitamin K2 and Diabetes

Vitamin K2 and Diabetes

Reference:  AJCN Oct 12, 2012, (Ibarrola),  Life Extension News, Clin Nutrition 2000

Ok, this wasn’t expected but may be just as big as our prior discussions.  We have heard about K2 helping teeth, and being the key vitamin to helping build stronger bones.  Now we have diabetes too?

Well, yes.  Turns out that the pancreas has as much K2 in it as virtually any other part of the body.   Your saliva does too.   In fact, K2 may help teeth to a great degree because it reduces the bacteria in your saliva by a huge percentage.  But back to the pancreas.  You will hear more about the role of K2 in the pancreas in the future. For now we are just coming up on epidemiological studies.  In Ibarrola’s article, they followed 1925 men and women in Spain who didn’t have diabetes for 5.5 years.  For every 100 mcg of K2 more in their diet, the likelihood of developing diabetes dropped 17%.  The highest group of K2 consumption had 51% reduced risk of developing diabetes.    That is a huge reduction.   Considering that the development of diabetes is the cornerstone of our health journey in prevention of heart disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer, the consumption of K2 should be something all of us are considering.  This article was from a year ago.

Now this week, Life Extension news brings another report from Spain and the University of Nararra.   Over the course of a year the study looked at all the inflammatory cytokines associated with the development of diabetes.  Names like ghrelin  down -15.0%, glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide  down -12.9%, glucagon-like peptide-1, down -17.6%, IL-6 (-27.9%), leptin (-10.3%), TNF (-26.9%) and visfatin (-24.9%).   Get the drift?  Before your eyes glaze over…. Virtually every signaling message in our bodies that push our body towards diabetes and create an environment of inflammation gets lowered with even modest increases in K2 consumption.   I’m personally fond of the name “visfatin”.  Down 24%!   Our bodies are incredibly delicate, nuanced hormonal environments and this study demonstrates the core of the matter.  Diabetes and insulin resistance is central to most of our diseases of modern society.  And here we find K2 mediating a push in virtually every single last inflammation marker we know of in a beneficial direction.

So take 12 obese young men, and put them on a metabolic ward.  Measure their insulin production and then put them on 90 mcg of MK-7.  In one week, their insulin production drops some 50%.  Insulin is your storage hormone.  It pushes calories into storage.  When it drops, you can use those calories for other things.   Anyone on a diet, or diabetic, or pre diabetic, – (this is now all of us), should be on MK-7, or Vitamin K2

WWW.      What Will Work for Me?  Vit K2 is Vitamin Ds’ partner in its metabolic effects.  With diabetes we discover a picture even bigger and more pervasive than osteoporosis, cavities or heart disease.  As if they weren’t enough.  If you are trying to lose weight, improve your risks of heart disease….if you are taking Vit D….then you need to be taking MK-7.  Or eating grass raised butter.  We just found grass raised butter from Denmark at Trader Joes.  I bought four packages quick before I wrote this email.  We should all be there.

Pop Quiz

1.   If you have a diet in the top quartile of K2 your chance of developing diabetes compared to those with little K2 in their diet drops about 50%?   T or F

That’s it. True

2.  If you take 90 mcg of K2 for a week, and you are overweight, your insulin use drops about 50% compared to those who didn’t take any?   T or F

Again, true.  Isn’t this amazing?  We have to diet on Atkins for a month to get that type of reduction.

3.   Your inflammatory markers rise quite dramatically when you take K2 making you less inflamed.  T or F

When you take K2, you lower your inflammatory markers, many of them quite dramatically.

4.  To blow the mind of your boring friends at a party, you can claim that your  _______ dropped 24% because you are on K2.

Visfatin, One of 7 inflammatory markers the University of Nararro showed drop across the board when you take K2.  (You could substitute TNF, leptin, IL-6 too)

Vitamin K2: A New Interpretation of an Old Vitamin

Vitamin K2: A New Interpretation of an Old Vitamin

Reference:  Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox by Kate Rheaume-Bleue

We’ve known about Vitamin K since the 1930s when it was first characterized in Denmark by Henrik Dam for making chickens on a pure cholesterol diet bleed to death.  It was called Vitamin K because Koagulation in German starts with a K.  American Edward Doisy characterized it and clarified that it was actually two molecules that was called K1 and K2. For those discoveries, those two men were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1943.   And that was it.   It was all wrapped up.

What we didn’t realize was that three critical errors were made in that early time.  First of all, Vitamin K2 had already been discovered.   A dentist from Cleveland was curing dental cavities with it.  His name was Weston Price, the “Darwin of Nutrition”. We’ll tell his story next week.   (And who would pay attention to a dentist, let alone from Cleveland?)

Secondly, though both K1 and K2 acted similarly in their chemical activation by “carboxylation” (adding a carbon dioxide molecule to a glutamine amino acid), only K1 was involved in coagulation.  It would not be for another 60 years that we discovered that K2 was not about coagulation but rather calcium metabolism.  I’ll explain a couple of weeks from now how critical that calcium metabolism is but we’ll summarize by asking the question, “Have you ever had cavities? Or have you been diagnosed with osteoporosis?  Or do you have calcium in your arteries?”  If so, this applies to you.  To reiterate, we thought K2 was about coagulation, just like K1.  It’s not.  They are not variants of each other.  It’s a whole separate universe of calcium metabolism that K2 controls.  Considering that the metabolism of calcium affects just about every organ system in the body, you might have a hunch K2 has a very broad reach.  We’ll prove that.  And we will also make the Vitamin D and K2 connection.  If you have heard about Vitamin D not being all its cracked up to be, you have heard research findings that didn’t take K2 into account.  When you understand and layer in Vit K2 to D research, you have a synergistic story that will help you understand how to cure osteoporosis in ways we never could do before.  And also how to impact heart disease, diabetes, fertility, cancer, Alzheimer’s facial shape…the reach of Vitamin K2 is very broad.

The third error was that we didn’t need to worry about K2 because we made it in our gut and got plenty from vegetables.  Wrong and wrong.  It would not be until the 2005 that the frequency of K2 would be hinted it.  K1is common and hard to limit.  We take coumadin to suppress the abundance of K1 in our bodies.  But K2 is not common.  In fact, we are all in a critical K2 shortage.  To our severe detriment.

WWW. What will work for me.  I’m completely taken off balance by the reach of K2.  I want you to understand it too so please hang in there with me for the next few weeks.  If you want to read the original material, but the book!  If not, you might just want to poke around and find yourself some K2.  We have it in the office!

 

Pop Quiz

1.  Vitamin K1 and K2 both have the same chemical effect on glutamine.  T or F

This is actually true. They both carboxylate the glutamine amino acid, activating the protein that it is on. This is a trick question because they activate completely different proteins.

2.  The key role of K2 is in calcium metabolism.  T or F

True.  K1 is all about blood clotting but K2 is a distinct and separate metabolic effect.

3.  K2 was actually discovered by a dentist from Sacramento in the 1920s.   T or F

Cleveland, Cleveland.  He was from Cleveland.  He was a dentist.  But Weston Price traveled the whole world taking pictures of people’s teeth and recording exactly what they ate, and how that influenced their cavities and teeth.  He has been called the “Charles Darwin of Nutrition” for the insights he discovered.  He spend the last 10 years of his career proving that you could fix cavities with his “Activator X” which in retrospect was Vit K2 and A.

4.   The K Vitamins are common so deficiency is rare.  T or F

False. K1 is common and you make plenty in your gut. But K2 is not made in your gut and its deficiency is very wide spread.  We didn’t find that out till just a few years ago, which is why you are only hearing about this now.

Omega Fats Linked to Lower Cardiovascular Mortality

Omega Fats Linked to Lower Cardiovascular Mortality

Reference:  Annals of Internal Medicine April 2013

First up, then down, then up!  Omega fats get the thumbs up, then the thumbs done. What’s a fish to do?  Here is another up, and my read of what the consensus shows should be our foundation of good common sense.

This study followed 2692 adults, average age of 74 (+/- 5) for a total of 30,829 human years in which 1625 deaths including 570 cardiovascular deaths.  This is a prospective study and the participants were chosen as those with no prior cardiovascular disease.  This study was unique in that they authors studied the precise blood levels of omega fatty acids including DHA and EPA and total fatty acids prior to starting.  With that information in hand, they linked those findings to mortality.  Now, the original data was collected in 1992, long before omega fats became “hip”.

The findings are pretty strong.  Higher fatty acids resulted in folks living 2.2 years longer in the highest 20% of blood level omega fatty acids compared to those in the bottom 20%. The highest DHA was associated with 40% less heart attack risk and the highest DPA was associated with 47% less stroke risk.   (For those of you who don’t know what DPA is, it is an intermediate between EPA and DHA and is found only in seal oil and mothers’ milk.  It is about 33% of the omega fats circulating in human blood so it is a critical player in human health.  Inuit have a lot of it in their diet because they eat seals.)

This study is another in the continued series that show the benefit of omega fats to human diets.  In America we have generally lost our omega fats because our animals don’t eat grass, the ultimate source of omega fats.  As an apparent consequence, cardiovascular disease is our number one killer.  The weaknesses of this study are also significant.  One reading of omega fats does not a life time blood level make.  It infers a lifestyle that include regular intake of those fats.  But there is quite a lot of literature that shows that fats change quite dramatically quite quickly.  Eating lousy fats changes the flow of blood in arms dramatically.  Single meal studies show it too.  This study could have reflected the results of single meals within the last day or two.  But a person who eats a single meal of salmon, is likely to eat another, so the correlation stands.  What the study doesn’t show is the benefit of maintaining a blood level of omega fats in the range of the Inuit (far higher than these participants), who have virtually no heart disease.  It simply implies a direction, and suggests that eating more omega fats is good for us.  It doesn’t really give us guidance about dose, just that the top 20% lived two years longer.  What would happen if there was a large enough group that ate three times or ten times as much, all the time?  Not answered. The Inuit eat 10-20 times as much, and have no heart disease (until they start eating white bread, chips and “Western” food)

WWW. What will work for me.  I’m totally intrigued by this topic as I have now seen folks reduce their cardiac calcium burden with a formula that includes fish oil, implying that they are reversing their coronary artery disease.  We don’t have large studies yet, and doing so would require huge funding – something not likely to happen on a topic that reduces the income of our health economy.  Our hospitals, pharmaceutical industry and insurance companies all make money when you are sick, not when you are well.  It’s up to me to keep me well.  I’m taking two grams a day of DHA and EPA (one tablespoon of liquid) most days and 5 grams some days.  If I could find DPA I’d buy it, but it’s a bit hard to go seal hunting in Milwaukee.  I could still die of cardiovascular disease, but I’d like to give a shot at dodging it.

 

Pop Quiz

1.  Omega three fatty acids correlate in this study with 20-40% less cardiovascular mortality.  T or F

True. That’s it in a nutshell.

2.  DPA is a rarely talked about omega fat that is also strongly linked to lower mortality.  T or F

True, but you can only get it in seal oil and mothers’ milk.

3.  We have good research proving that taking fish oil will reverse coronary artery disease.  T or F

False.  Slow it down, reduce it, prevent it yes.  Reverse it?  Not yet.  Only hints and skepticism it will ever be studies any time soon.

4.  One meal can have a dramatic impact on the fats in your blood?  T or F

True.  We have good studies showing the eating of lousy fats immediately impacts the blood flow in your arm, to the worse.  We don’t have as many of the opposite studies.

5.  In light of recent up and down news about fish oil, it makes sense to keep taking some.  T or F

True.  We used to have it in our diet, and don’t now because our animals are not grass raised.  Eat grass raised meat if you can.  One serving of salmon (6 oz) has about 5 grams of omega 3 fats.