Monthly Archives: June 2014

Kamut Wheat: Pharaoh, Irritable Bowels and Hardened Hearts

Kamut Wheat:  God’s Wheat for IBS, Heart Disease and Whatever Else Ails You!

Reference:  Sofi Br J Nutrition 2014, Suligoj, Sofi Eur J Clin Nutr

Wheat likely evolved somewhere around the Black Sea.  Ballard, the guy who found the Titanic, explored the Black sea and found evidence of a sudden vast deluge as the Mediterranean overran the isthmus of land that is now Istanbul, and suddenly raised the Black Sea by some 500 feet in one year some 5000 years ago.  Those early flooded people took their wheat with them, as well as both cows, pigs and goats they had as domesticated animals and escaped the flooding waters rising about one foot a day.

Now the story goes of a US airman in Cairo in 1949 found ancient wheat in an old stone box in an antiquities store.  He sent it back to Montana where his uncle tried raising it but couldn’t find a buyer for the huge, very tough grain.  He kept a jar or two for decades until a grandson decided to patent it and call it Kamut (the Biblical name for wheat).  The Egyptians went nuts that someone might be patenting a grain that was from their heritage, so they had it genetically sequenced.  Goodness, it was the wheat of the Pharaoh and the Bible!  Or at least, that’s how the story goes.  Kamut wheat is a very ancient grain, from Iran, Syria, Egypt and the Pharaoh.

Kamut, kamoot, or Khorasan wheat that hasn’t been genetically modified.  Dr. Sofi decided to try and see what happens in a randomized, placebo controlled crossover trial of Kamut versus modern wheat with folks suffering from irritable bowel syndrome.   They took 20 people with moderate symptoms of IBS (13 women and 7 men) and had them eat bread, pasta, etc. from either modern Durum wheat for 6 weeks.    After 6 weeks, they had a washout 6 week interval then switched to the other.  Results?   The folks on Durum wheat had statistically significantly more symptoms of bloating, fatigue, stool consistency, abdominal pain.  Symptoms remained or returned to baseline when switching back to Kamut wheat.

That’s not all they did.  They measured markers of internal inflammation like IL-6 and IL-17, interferon-Υ, monocyte chemotactic protein-1 and vascular endothelial growth factor.

Just this study alone would be nifty but Dr Sofi is on a roll.  This is his second major study.  His first was in the Eur Journal of Clinical Nutrition in which he studied the same inflammatory markers in folks with cardiovascular disease.   In that study, over 8 weeks they showed reductions in cholesterol and all the same markers as above.  This is the underpinnings for why Bill Davis’s book, Wheat Belly, is right!  Wheat causes inflammation, in all diseases.

Is Kamut wheat safe for someone with heart disease or IBS?   Well, we just don’t know for sure, but Suligoj at King’s College in London published a lab study showing that in petri dishes you can elicit very strong T-cell activation with from Kamut and any other wheat you want when you use the T-cells from folks with celiac disease.   Their advice for folks with celiac – don’t!   No wheat of any kind.  The Bible said Pharaoh had a hardened heartEgyptian mummies had heart disease too!

WWW.  What Will Work for Me.  We are accumulating the molecular evidence that Bill Davis was right.  Wheat, unique among human foods, causes intense inflammatory responses.  Our most vulnerable get a terrible disease, celiac.  But just about all of us (or very many) still get some inflammation.  Wheat is 9% of our calories.   Do you want to get rid of inflammation?  Maybe it’s time to switch.

Pop Quiz

  1. If I have IBS, I will likely make my symptoms better is I switch off modern wheat to flour made from Kamut wheat.   T or F

True

  1. If I have cardiovascular disease, I can lower my cholesterol and inflammatory cytokines if I switch to Kamut?   T or F

True

  1. If I have cardiovascular disease, I’m probably safe with Kamut?  T or F

False

  1. Pharaoh, as told in the Bible had a hardened heart.  Too bad he couldn’t get an angioplasty.  Instead of letting the Israelites go, he should have switched to quinoa.  T or F

True

  1. Bill Davis, in his book Wheat Belly, suggests that wheat can cause a lot of grief for many people.  He must be some sort of fringe crackpot.  T or F

Categorically false!  He might be one of our century’s geniuses!

Vitamin D and Survival of Breast Cancer and Colon Cancer

Vitamin D and Survival with Breast Cancer and Colon Cancer

Reference:  European Cancer Journal Feb 2014

That’s the summary.  It’s all in the title.  Folks with higher D levels and breast or colon cancer live longer.

What was the D level they were seeking?  Pretty easy to achieve.   75 nmoles is 30 ng.  (how we measure it in America).   Most Caucasians achieve that in the summer, in Wisconsin if they get outside.   African Americans and Asians have more skin pigment and need more sunlight, and have lower levels.  Milwaukee African Americans have D levels of about 14-16 ng year around (personal data).   That would be expected because pigment protects from sunlight, but also deters Vitamin D production.   I had an indoor job, and had a D level of 7 ng when I first measured mine.

The study quoted here took a combination of 5 studies and pooled all their data.  They were looking for studies of those two cancers, breast and colon.  The studies had to include D levels.   They compared those folks with the highest D levels with those folks with the lowest.   Some of the studies had 5 categories of D levels and some only two but combining all made for more powerful statistical effect.  The reduction for breast cancer was 42%.   Did you get that?   But with colon cancer, it was only 35%.  (Only?!!!)  Those are both huge!   That effect might rival almost any chemotherapy that we currently use.   This was an association, not causal proof.

I haven’t done a D article for a while so the question has to be answered.  Why is D so potent?  The answer lies in D’s fundamental role as a hormone throughout all nature.  From plankton to humans, D nudges cells to mature.  A mature cell stops dividing, does its function and then goes through natural cell death.  Cancer cells don’t do any of those things.  Particularly, not dying.  Cancer cells arrive in all stages of maturity.  If we can nudge it back towards maturity, it slows down its speed of doubling.   A marble sized cancer contains about a billion cells, which represents 60 doublings.  If we can get a doubling to occur in 6 months, that cancer is going to show up as a marble in 30 years.  If it doubles every two weeks, it will be there in two years.   Which do your prefer?

In Wisconsin, we dip below 30 ng every winter.  There is abundant literature that shows our immune system goes into hibernation when we drop below 30 ng.  Appears that level shuts down cancer fighting too.  It may be our immune system happening in its fight against cancer as well as the cancer cells themselves responding.  Either way, you live longer.

Now note, this was not a level of 60-80 ng.   Just 30.   Isn’t that interesting?

WWW.  What will work for me?  I take D every day.  It’s summer.  I’m older.  My skin makes about 20% of what it used to make because I’m over 60.  I’m still taking 5 K a day because I have a lousy D gene and a dermatologist who gets cross with me because of prior sun exposure..  Most of us need about 3000 IU a day or 20,000 a week to have a level of about 40-50.  That seems to be the sweet spot for prevention.

 

Pop Quiz

1.  Having a Vitamin D level of 32 or above might be very helpful with breast and colon cancer?   T or F

Yup!

2.  I naturally have a blood level of 45 in the winter living in Wisconsin?  T or F

That would be living in S. Africa in our winter.  Caucasians in Wisconsin get to 45 in the summer, but bottom at abut 10-15 in the winter.  African Americans stay at 12-16 year around.

3.   This study is proof of the D concept?  T or F

Decidedly false.  It’s an association that they detected.  D may be low because aggressive cancer lowers it.  It may be a result of the disease.  We don’t have a prospective study that shows taking D will lower your cancer rate.

4.  If I have cancer, I will lower my mortality by starting taking D.  T or F

Again, we just don’t really know.  We have data from prostate cancer that the rate of rise of PSA drops by half with D, but no other cancer data to match that.   More likely, taking D for your lifetime will affect the initiation phase of cancer which occurs as much as 20 years before the clinical disease starts.  But I would most assuredly take it!  Remember, it takes a loading dose to get to effective levels quickly.  100,000 IU all at once will raise your level by 14 ng in one day.  Otherwise, it takes a year to reach a new homeostasis.   If you have a new diagnosis of cancer and a low D level (below 32 ng), take 100,000 IU TODAY!  If your level is below 10, take 100,000 IU two days in a row.

5.  The best advice for D and cancer is to keep by D level above 32 for my whole life.

Bingo!

Written by Dr. John Whitcomb at Brookfield Longevity and Healthy Living Clinic

Zinc, My Second Favorite Mineral

Zinc Deficiency, Common or Not?

Reference: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

What do you know about zinc? Pretty mundane stuff and sort of boring.   Until you are deficient. You may have used a zinc supplement to help cool off a cold. Probably a bit successfully as many of us are a bit deficient.   Intake in the US is in the range of 11-14 mg, and most of the time supposedly meets our needs.

I first heard about it in reference to Bruce Ame’s Triage Theory and the likelihood of developing cancer. Zinc is on his list of micronutrients that are often missing if we don’t have at least 5 servings a day of vegetables and fruit.   His interest and research was about how the body develops disease based on the missing micronutrients.   He felt there was both a minimal, and an optimal level to which zinc should be supplied.   Unfortunately, we focus on the minimal RDA. As our soils are stressed by high intensity farming, zinc deficiency is becoming more prevalent.

The first miracle I heard about with zinc was in regard to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation sponsoring of zinc supplementation to mothers in sub-Sahara Africa who have children with diarrhea. Those children have a very high mortality from simple viruses like Noro or Rota viruses that might give you a day or two of vomiting and diarrhea, but give malnourished African babies a stress they can’t deal with. The B and M Gates Foundation has given out millions of zinc supplement packets, along with oral rehydration therapy and Vitamin A with the net effect of many millions of babies being saved. Not thousands, millions. This is one of the untold miracles being done quietly behind the scenes in small villages all over the world.   Good work Bill and Melinda.

But I keep hearing about zinc. One professor touted it as his second favorite mineral after magnesium because so many enzymes in the body depend on it. Clear zinc deficiency has been linked to mental retardation and growth retardation. What about subclinical? Just a little bit short?   We know for certain that some of our cornerstone defenses against infections are proteins called superoxide dismutases. Zinc and copper are part of their structure. Without adequate zinc, your immune system can’t function as well as it’s meant to. Our body’s ability to disarm free radicals of oxygen declines with age, so we can’t afford to be deficient in the enzyme that deactivates those oxidizing chemicals. So, it’s not just fighting infections, but also fighting oxidizing chemicals and aging.   So then the corker comes when I learn that zinc is critical for maturation of sexual function and hormone production. Without adequate zinc, you can’t make enough testosterone. Women need testosterone too.   Did I catch your attention?

WWW. What will work for me. It’s a pretty dull topic, but the travel season is upon us. If you are going overseas where you might get an infectious diarrhea, I would advise you take zinc along. How about 25 mg a day? That’s what I did the last time I travelled overseas, and was one of a tiny few who didn’t get the “trots”. And if you are worried about your energy and testosterone production, you might even want a bit more. If you take 50 mg a day, make sure you get some copper because by itself, you will become copper depleted.   Zinc, it’s not just for batteries or change in your pocket. And one more time, Good Job, Bill and Melinda.

 

Pop Quiz

  1. Zinc is a common trace mineral we get plenty of in our diet. T or F

According to the FDA guidelines, we should have about enough to meet minimal dietary requirements. The issue is whether minimal is optimal, or really even enough.

  1. The Bill and Medinda Gates Foundation has given doses of 1 mg to third world country villages, helping saving millions of children from simple diarrhea. T or F

True

  1. Zinc turns on your immune system to fight infection better. T or F

True

  1. Zinc is a critical component of superoxide dismutase, a protein that disarms free oxygen radicals.   T or F

True

  1. Zinc helps men make testosterone.   T or F

True

  1. Zinc deficiency may contribute to developing cancer. T or F

True

  1. Our soils have plenty of zinc in them. T or F

False (Actually, the zinc may be there but not in a form that plants can absorb. )