Author Archives: Dr John Whitcomb

About Dr John Whitcomb

Dr John Whitcomb is one of Milwaukee's premier functional medicine and Anti-Aging doctors. He is in private practice in Brookfield. He is board certified in Anti-Aging Medicine, Internal Medicine, Emergency Medicine and has a Masters Degree in Nutrition and Metabolic Medicine. He is also now developing Wellness University, an innovative course to teach the fundamentals of nutrition and self care to individuals and companies.

VIP: Very Important Peptide

VIP: Very Important Peptide

References:  WikipediaBiotoxin Journey,

Actually it’s VASOACTIVE INTESTINAL PEPTIDE. That’s where it was discovered, in the gut. Though it was found in the gut and pancreas, it is also made, in abundance, in the hypothalamus. It has a huge library of effects from extra heart contractility to relaxation of capillaries to gut motility, gallbladder and trachea muscle relaxation, increasing water and electrolyte secretion into the gut. All of its effects on the gut are to increase its activity and movement. It also helps prolactin secretion, leading to breast feeding. It’s critical to the daily clock function in your brain. It helps women’s vaginas lubricate. It has a very potent effect on heart pumping and peripheral vascular relaxation. This is a huge portfolio of activity.

Did you know that it does one final good deed? Folks who have mold illness CIRS (Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome) who hurt all over, can’t sleep, can’t lose weight, have no energy and just plain feel miserable, will often have very low VIP levels, which, when replaced, can lead to almost immediate relief. Can you imagine that? Imagine a chronic fatigue patient who has been given pain pills for years, can’t hardly get out of bed, is way overweight and eats like a bird who rises out of their stuporous state to normalcy when they get VIP given to them.
Too good to be true? Well, possibly. For that sort of effect to happen, Shoemaker from SurvivingMold.com has given it to several thousand patients and found it to be the last step of his 11 step program, where it works with great results, if all the prior 10 steps have been followed. He contends that treating with VIP before you have taken the first 10 steps is somewhat akin to painting a burning house. You have to put out the fire first.
Just how is all that happening? CIRS happens in only 25% of the population. 75% of us can get away with being exposed chronically and not get sick to mold toxin. But of that 25%, 2% are wickedly prone to devastating illness. Ironically, their illness is all at the level of cytokines and brain peptides, with typical lab all looking normal. CIRS (Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome) only shows a few clues around the edges, like high CRP, of normally done lab tests. Routine doctors visits end up with, “You look great” and no answer to devastating fatigue, systemic aches, horrible sleep, lousy brain fog, no good memory and inability to exercise.
How do you put out the fire? Shoemaker’s 11 step list is pretty detailed.
1) You must remove ongoing sources of exposure. That’s absolute or everything else is a waste of time 2) Then reduce the body burden of toxin by binding it in the gut and getting it out by the use of cholestyramine 3) Clean up the nose where you likely have MRCoNS (methicillin coag-negative staph), 4) fix MSH, 5) fix MMP-9, 6) fix ADH/osmolality, 7) fix VEGF, 8) fix C4a, 8) fix TGF beta-1, 9) fix CD4+CD25+, 10) Finally, if VIP is low and symptoms still persist, replace it. That’s when the miracle occurs. Steps 4-9 all have clear methodologies to measure and repair their attendant problems. The treatment with VIP needs to be done with great care, following a careful protocol of treatment, monitoring and followup. It is possible to get pancreatitis from using it, so its use is not without risks.
Does this relate to you? It may not. But there folks who are just crippled with symptoms and nowhere else to turn. If you know one, forward this to them!

WWW.What will work for me. I’m deep into my mold certification. I’ve got the lab lined up and the first folks getting tested. There are more than just a few folks for whom this story rings true. Let’s see if we can bring them relief!

 

Pop Quiz

  1. CIRS stands for…?

A: Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome

Standard Lab tests show what in CIRS? A: Nothing. Maybe a high CRP

  1. VIP is a hormone with fantastic ability to improve fatigue, sleep, pain, brain fog, chronic pain, joint aches…. T or F

A: True, if the person has CIRS and has taken all prior 10 steps of the Shoemaker Protocol

  1. VIP is a widely active hormone: Name two of its actions.

A: Makes heart beat stronger, blood vessels relax, gut make more juice, gallbladder relax, vagina lubricate, brain calculate time….(probably more to come)

  1. VIP is very safe to use and has no side effects. T or F

Not true at all. It can cause pancreatic and requires careful lab and physician monitoring.

ProOpioMelanocortin

POMC: The God Protein

References: Wikipedia, Uniprot,

Proopiomelanocortin. Repeat after me. Proopiomelanocortin. Bet you never heard of that before. What is it? It’s the protein that runs you. It’s a large protein that is in your pituitary gland that is made from pre-pro-proopiomelanocortin, a 285 amino acid long peptide that is activated once the 44 amino acid activating fragment is removed. Then it is ready for activation. It’s all in its name, at least part of it. Opio – it has opioid activity in part of it. Melano – it has melatonin activity. Cortin – it has cortisol activity. The devil is in the details. It is the prototype-hormone that can be split in many directions, depending on what enzymes attack it and chop it up into other pieces. It is those other pieces that become the hormones that run your body. ACTH heads off to the adrenal glands, giving you cortisol for energy and stress response. MSH has all sorts of appetite and sexual activity implications. The appetite part works through leptin. Generally it suppresses appetite as does leptin, when you aren’t leptin resistant. Beta-endorphin manages pain perception and immune function.

The devil is in the details. POMC can be chopped up into at least 10 different hormones, depending on where it is chopped. All the regions are overlapping with each other so any one hormone that is created might nix the making of another. It all depends on which chopping enzyme gets activated, and the activation is managed by adding or subtracting marking sugars or acids attached on certain sites.

An example of how it works goes as follows. You go to the gym and exercise like crazy. Imagine a good Cross Fit workout, or a great tennis match, or a hard 5mile run. Your body is demanding more fuel so you put out the call for more cortisol to mobilize more fuel. To make more cortisol, you need ACTH. First you chop the pre-pro-proopiomelanocortin into proopiomelanocortin. From that you then chop it into ACTH. When you make ACTH, you also, by chance make beta-endorphin. That’s your natural opioid. Presto: you feel a warm glow of happy feelings. The runner’s high.

That’s what happens when it works well. Guess what happens when it gets screwed up? The CIRS (Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome) as typified by black mold attacks you right at POMC. By downregulating the natural ebb and flow of POMC, you block beta-endorphin, ACTH and leptin which results in your being utterly unable to lose weight, not sleeping well, hurting all over and having no energy. Sound like anyone you know? We shy away from all those folks because it is to awfully overwhelming. We call people with that “Chronic Fatigue” or “Fibromyalgia” and give them pain pills and usher them out as fast as possible.

It might be kinder to investigate why they are feeling so awful. Ritchie Shoemaker, the author of the web site www.survivingmold.com claims that 80% of folks with chronic fatigue actually have CIRS, and positive markers for mold. They represent as many as 25% of the population when you do genetic testing for those who are susceptible to mold toxins. All they need is repeated exposure. 2% of folks are exquisitely sensitive, and 5 minutes in a sick water damaged building will set them off. If you can fix their POMC and get it back to normal function, their suffering will be over and they will claim you were the dispenser of a real miracle: the God Protein.

WWW.what will work for me. I’m totally fascinated with POMC and have started working on being certified as a Black Mold specialist. It’s a couple hundred articles and pages of reading, but if I come out being able to fix those folks who have been blown off by 8 other physicians and given nothing but symptom relief, I’ll be pleased. I am getting awfully hyper about any water leaks in my house. There are roofers up on our roof right now making sure our house stays dry. Mold will happen anytime you let water leak in your house, and don’t fix it promptly.

Pop Quiz

‪1. POMC is the prohormone that modulates your sex drive. T or F

Well, part of it does. There are implications for sexual function in MSH but more of it’s components go to energy and pain control

‪2. POMC can be chopped up to make how many hormones?

A: At least 10 and maybe more

‪3. Can they all be made at the same time?

No, any given combination will only make 2 or 3 depending on where you cleave the protein. This means there is lots of overlap.

‪4. The toxins of mold do their dirty deed by disrupting POMC. T or F

A: Bingo

‪5. Mold illness is rare. T or F

Are you kidding? Probably as many as 25% of our population has the genetic tendency to be affected. Likely only 2% are exquisitely sensitized, but that is still a huge number. (6-7 million exquisitely sensitive, 90 million partially sensitive.)

IV Vitamin C Stops Sepsis Cold

IV Vitamin C Stops Sepsis in Its Tracks

Reference: NPR, Chest, Managed Care, Barry Fowler, Biofactors,

The number three cause of death in America today is the overwhelming infection that causes blood pressure collapse, kidney shut down and death called sepsis. Three hundred thousand people in America die from it each year. As far is deaths in hospitals, it’s number one. Sepsis is dangerous.

The cause of sepsis is still not exactly known, but it acts like a runaway train. “Cytokine storm” is the term used to describe the same process in severe influenza, where all your hormones of inflammation fire off in a cycle of uncontrolled and dysfunctional activation. One thing in known, there is a leaking of capillaries all over the body while alarmins (danger-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs)) are released. These DAMPs are nuclear, cytoplasmic, or mitochondria structures that acquire new functions outside the cell. Examples of DAMPs have great names like high mobility group box-1 protein HMGB1, S100 proteins, and mitochondrial DNA. And as a result of all that, you get organs shutting down one by one. Kidneys you can dialyze, lungs you can breathe for but once you hit three organ systems, you are done.

So, imagine the surprise when Intensivist Paul Marik from Norfolk, Virginia reported on 47 cases of sepsis in which only four died, but not one not from their sepsis. He compared that to 47 prior patients he had treated, 19 had died from the sepsis. What was the difference? IV Vitamin C. Dr Marik reports on his first case and decided to try the idea of IV vitamin C because he had heard promising case reports from Barry Fowler, and figured nothing else worked. His first patient already had her kidneys and lungs failing when he got to her and he fully expected her to die the first night in the ICU. Instead, after the IV Vitamin C, he came back in the morning to find her smiling, looking well and ready to get out of the ICU. He is now treating all his sepsis patients with IV vitamin C and some extra steroid and thiamine. He has now reached 150 patients with only one death from sepsis, far short of 30%.

Just what does IV Vitamin C do? We now know that something about sepsis depletes Vitamin C, and that depletion may be the tipping point in the accelerating vortex. When you take Vitamin C by mouth, you get a normal level of 3 all the way up to 6. That’s not much. When you take it by IV, you can get to a level of 3-500, depending how much you take. And that in 5 minutes after you stop the infusion. Complications from IV Vitamin C. Zero.

WWW.what will work for me. I’ve seen it myself. I’ve seen IV vitamin C heal severe pain from shingles. I’ve seen it fix cold and flu. And I’ve had dear close friends die from sepsis. This idea needs to get into our local hospitals so that you are protected if you get this wicked, spiraling, lethal vortex of cellular collapse. If you know an ICU doctor who would be amenable to training, have them call my office. I’ll teach them how to do it. One of my faculty had ecamplsia with twins. She was in shock and nothing was working. She chattered through shaking teeth: “Get me some IV C”. They did, and her eclampsia cooled off in under an hour. That’s just an anecdote, but that’s where progress starts.

Pop Quiz

‪1. The number one cause of death in hospitals is? Heart Attach, Cancer, Stroke, Sepsis.

Answer: Sepsis. Remember, I said, “In hospital”. Lots of heart attacks happen at home, on the way, in the nursing home, at sleep…..

‪2. We have about 70% chance of dying when we get sepsis? T or F

A: False. It’s about 30% but of a million cases in the USA every year, that’s a lot.

‪3. A cocktail of IV Vitamin C, steroid, thiamine reduced mortality to 1-2%. T or F

‪A.  One doctor study can’t really be quoted as evidence, but it sure catches your attention.

‪4. You are protected at hospitals in Milwaukee from death by sepsis. T or F

False

‪5. Infusion of IV Vitamin C is dangerous and must be supervised by a doctor. T or F.

Emphatically false unless you are really sloppy and let the IV infiltrate or don’t wash your hands or some other really stupid thing. I’ve done several thousand and have yet to see anything dangerous.

Eat to Optimize Your Connexins

Eat to Optimize Your Connexins

Reference: Holistic Primary Care, Remer and Mainz Jr Aced Nutr Diet, PRAL, Gap Junctions; Cold Spring Harbor,

We defined connexins two weeks ago as the links between cells that allow them to communicate rapidly and fluidly back and forth, leading to organs acting in similar coordinated fashion. Connexins allow multicellular organisms to exist, because individual organs can carry our separate functions. Liver cells act like liver cells, and blood vessel cells act like blood vessel cells, in part because they are connected to the cells next to them by connexins. Last week, we identified that many if not most diseases show reduction in connexin behavior and number. In particular, adult diabetes shows reduction in the ability to secrete insulin. There is evidence for many diseases that connexin disfunction is at the heart of the disease.

Now, can we change our connexins by lifestyle changes? To which the answer is an emphatic YES! What you eat, how you exercise and how you handle stress all have implications for connexins. That means the nature of the food we eat can get to the heart of healthy actions.

What is that nature? What makes the difference? Acid and alkali. What you eat has net acid or alkaline implications. Darrell Tanelian, MD’s book, Molecular Fitness details the implications. When you eat any food, your body digests it and the biological ash left over after you have used the food for what you use it for, is either acid or base. As a general rule, vegetables and fruits have magnesium and potassium salts which make for alkali. Meat and cheese makes for acid. You can see the sum of what you ate in the pH of your urine. As a general rule, Americans eat a lot of meat and cheese, and our urine is pH 5.5, slightly acid. Vegans tend to have less acid in their diet, and have more alkaline urine. Chimpanzees, gorillas, and monkeys are mostly vegetarian, and have quite alkaline urine.

As the acid passes through your body, your don’t change your pH in your blood. At least, not very much. Instead, you breathe differently and change the balance of pH buffers in your blood. Your serum pH doesn’t change but for a tiny bit, but your buffers change a lot as you balance out the acid passing through. And that has a huge impact on connexins. At a healthy pH of 7.4, the connexons, (the name for the link made by six connexin proteins assembled into a coating tube) are wide open. At a pH of 6.9, they are shut and cells aren’t talking to each other. Your body is shutting down. An example of that would be when you run and leg shin splints. Your muscles won’t work because you built up too much lactic acid in your leg muscles. At the molecular level, you have connexons failing. Now, in normal living your pH never ever goes below 7.3 from 7.365, but the trend line is there.

The implications of this are significant. In the long run, optimal health is going to come from a diet of abundant vegetables and fruits that makes you alkaline. Raisins, for example, are premier alkalizing foods. All vegetables have magnesium and potassium salts that participate in “alkalizing” you. That keeps your connexin proteins making open, functioning connexons.

What to do with a ketogenic diet that is higher acid? Losing weight and reducing blood glucose is so critically important that the cost benefit is clearly on the side of losing weight. Once your weight is lost, the more vegetables you eat, the better. Fat is pH neutral, so butter, coconut oil and olive oil are dandy.

www.What Will Work for me. I have diabetic genes, as do most of us. I’m finding lots of recipes that are rich in fat and vegetables. We went to an Indian restaurant this weekend and I had okra curry. Delicious. Hold the rice. I managed to make it through dinner and not mention connexins once to my table mates.

Pop Quiz

‪1. Connexins are the proteins that assemble together to make connexons, the communicating links between cells of similar types. T or F

True. Whew, you get it right, after three weeks.

‪2. Connexin proteins are necessary for animals to have multicellular structure that works in a coordinated fashion. T or F

True

‪3. We haven’t been able to identify changes in connexons with diseases making them an interesting oddity, but not clinically useful. T or F

Pants on fire, false. We don’t don’t know how to test them, but their are dramatically altered in just about every illness of any organ system.

‪4. We don’t know how to alter connexin function? T or F

Pants on fire again. Many supposedly “healthy” behaviors also have beneficial impacts on connexins. Exercise, stress reduction, good sleep, healthy eating all have beneficial impacts on connexins.

‪5. The most significant thing we can do improve connexin function is to eat what?

Answer: More alkalizing foods; rich in potassium and magnesium – fruits and vegetables.

Connexins and Diabetes

Connexins and Diabetes

References: J. Cell Biology, J Biol Chemistry, FEBS Letter,

Connexins. What we learned last week was basic. Connexins are the proteins that make for connections between cells. They exist in every creature with more than a few cells. For multicellular organisms to exist, connexins have to become part of the picture. And the management of fuel for cells in central to an organism that has specialized digestive processes. To have a gut, blood, central nervous system, bones, muscles and everything else means you have to have a centralized control system for fuel allocation. That central traffic cop is the pancreas gland with its beta cells. They produce insulin, and insulin is the key hormone used to signal storage of calories for future use. Traditional medicine calls insulin your blood sugar controlling hormone. A more inclusive vision would be to say that insulin rises in response to rising blood sugars which occurs during the time of year of calorie excess, just before the time of year of calorie deficit. It’s a good time to store calories.

The storing of calories as insurance against future starvation is a key feature of human survival (and all creatures). That’s insulin’s job. How do connexins play a part in all that? These articles this month go right to the heart of that role. When you knock out the ability of pancreas beta cells to make connexins, their ability to make insulin drops proportionately. This means for us to have a sensible, balanced and nuanced control of glucose, we have to have proper connexin function.

What happens in humans when we get overweight, and become diabetic? Our fat cells get bigger and we demand more and more insulin to keep glucose in a tight range. We can produce that extra insulin for a while, but eventually exhaust our ability to produce sufficient insulin to control blood glucose adequately enough. Glucose is a very reactive chemical. Granted, it is fuel to burn, which is why being reactive helps, but high levels of it stick to all sorts of places where it’s not meant to be. And that leads to disease too. Our body doesn’t like high glucose, and we frantically put out more insulin to regulate that. And what happens when we can’t make enough insulin any more? You got it, the first step is connexons between cells dropping off as we produce fewer and fewer connexins. This makes connexin dysfunction the first step in diabetes development. The ability of our beta cells in our pancreas to talk to each other via their connecting connexins is the first step to developing diabetes.

And guess what happens in heart disease, brain disease, muscle disease, kidney disease?…..Name an organ and I can show you references that demonstrate that connexins fall off and connexons (the name for the actual channel between cells) between cells decrease. The level to which all your organ types are connected to each other is the level to which you are healthy. This loss of intracellular connections via these proteins called connexins is the basis of much illness.

The $ 64 k question is, what can we do to alter our connexins? Is that something we have control over? And the answer is yes! Next week.

www.What will work for me. All right. I’ve learned that connexins are the protein channels between cells that allow communications between similar cell types, allowing different cells to act as coordinated organs. Muscles can contract together. Liver cells and digest together. Brains can think… etc. Sounds like this is at the heart of life of multicellular organs. I love getting down to the very basic facts. But I’m eager to know how I can alter it with my own behavior. I guess for that, I have to wait till next week.

 

Pop Quiz:

‪1. Connexins are the key mechanisms of different cell type to function as independent organs. T or F

Right on.

‪2. In diabetes, our pancreas beta cells have more connexins functioning with higher blood glucose. T or F

False.     That’s backwards.

‪3. Virtually every illness with organ dysfunction can demonstrate lousy connexins of the organ that’s not working. T or F

T.  Isn’t that fascinating?

‪4. Earth worms have connexins. T or F

True. They have muscles that work in a coordinated fashion. That wouldn’t happen without those links.

‪5. Our gut has connexins that get discombobulated with gluten. T or F

Bingo. You intuited that and you were right. Gluten disrupts connexins between gut cells.

 

Connexion Connection

Connexin Connection

References: Wikipedia, Molecular Fitness,Cell Science,

Ever heard of Connexins? I hadn’t. Until I read Darrell Tanelian’s book. Here is what they are. They are the proteins that make up the connecting channels between cells. Different organs in your body act together in concert because they know they are the same as their neighbor. A liver cell knows it is a liver cell because it has hundreds of connecting little passageways between itself and it’s neighbor. Those protein bridges are constructed of 6 identical proteins that fit together to make a cohesive channel that connects one cell to another. A brain cell knows it is a brain cell because it’s connections tell it that it is in a brain environment. Same with pancreas, gut, muscle, heart, kidney, bone…..you get the drift.

That channel can relax and open up, letting stuff through, or it can shut down and close off passage of any signaling messages. A healthy cell has a lot of connecting passages/links between itself and its neighbors. And an unhealthy cell has less and less connecting sites.

You will get the drift of the power of connexins with gut cells. Your intestine has a one cell layer between your food (the outside world) and your inner self, your immune system and blood supply. That cell layer is held together with three tiny bridges of connexins. Inflammatory bowel disease appears to be an illness of uncontrolled inflammation, in part because of dysfunctional connexin activity. This appears to be the cutting edge of gut research right now, as the functions of connexins, and their cousins, panexins, appears to be the mechanism behind most gut diseases. There are even some commercial companies selling the agents that pass back and forth between gut cells in their communications through their gap junctions as a means of fixing gluten and glyphosate injury to the gut.

The bottom line of connexins is that they allow multi-cellular organisms to exist. Without different tissues being able to differentiate themselves into organs with separate form and function, we wouldn’t benefit from being anything more than a big algae. The process of cellular evolution from single cell to human beings is founded on connexins. They had to come very early in the game of life on earth. Being that fundamental to human form, the well being of connexins and understanding their role in health for the greater organism might be a critical link to understanding. And that is about as state of the art as we can get.

WWW.What will work for me. I want to know more. I love getting down to the details, especially it it’s something I can change with lifestyle choices. I found the topic getting a sense that being overweight and insulin intolerant starts with dysfunctional connexins. I’m fascinated. More next week.

Pop Quiz

‪1. Connexins are proteins that allow cells to communicate with each other. T or F Bingo

Right on the money.

‪2. The ability of different tissues to act differently from other tissues depends on cells working together in a coordinated fashion, which requires connexins? T or F

Ok, now you are on a roll.

‪3. If I understand it, connexins might then be part of organ tissues repairing themselves, and keeping them selves happy? T or F

You are getting ahead but you got the drift. We are now researching how to repair damaged heart tissue with stem cells. Their ability to develop into new heart cells requires that they get their connexins right.

‪4. Single cell organisms have connexins. T or F Nope.

It’s connexins that define multi cell organisms, up to and including you.

‪5. Every organ in the human body has connexins. T or F True.

And their health depends on their having a good population of them.

 

Click here to access archives of past articles.

Diet Right and Regenerate Your Pancreas

Diet Right and Regenerate Your Pancreas

References: BBC News, Cell,

This is a major story. Type two diabetes is what we all get when we live on a diet of too many carbohydrates and too many calories for too long. The effect to carbs is to make us secrete insulin. Insulin is our storage hormone, not our blood sugar controlling hormone. It instructs our body to make and store fat in an integrated fashion. It is the hormone we need in September and October as we store up calories for January. Our bodies were not designed to have continuous exposure to carbohydrates year around, year after year. As we get fatter, our fat cells get larger, not more numerous. As our fat cells get larger and are continuously bombarded with insulin, the number of insulin receptors on their surface declines. With that, our fat cells become insulin resistant. And in the pancreas gland, our insulin producing cells begin to decline in number and ability to make insulin.

Our bodies show it. In a progressive fashion. We can observe our insulin level rising in response to increasing weight (fat cell size), then our glucose rising, then gradually insulin failing and glucose shooting higher. It’s as though we only have the ability to make a certain amount of insulin in a life time. If we use it up at a rate faster than our pancreas can make, we run out. Our fate is to start on pills, then transition to insulin, all in the vain attempt to forestall organ failure. But organ failure comes inevitably with kidneys failing, arteries plugging, joints stiffening and brains fading. A method to reverse this would be attractive.

That’s what this weeks news is about. In a mouse model of diabetes, the authors demonstrate that the mice progressively lose beta-cells in their pancreas glands as their diabetes progresses and worsens. Just like in humans. But, their intervention was unique. The put the mice on a 4 day diet of just fat with only a tiny trace of protein and carbohydrate. Mostly fat. Fat is insulin neutral. No demand on the pancreas. But it is fuel to work with. Not much. It was the equivalent of 1100 calories in humans. Key, though, is providing some calories in the form of fat instead of carbohydrate. Then, the mice could eat whatever they wanted. Repeat the cycle every week.

What they found was extraordinary. The mice reversed their type two diabetes. They stopped losing beta cells. In fact, they grew them back. By every measure, the fasting turned off what has been thought to be a one way street – a down hill slide into diabetes. Inflammatory cytokines went down, (TNFα and IL-12) and anti-inflammatory cytokines went up (IL-2 and IL-10). Whatever was killing off the beta cells went away.

The authors were so surprised, they then took a known pancreas poison, streptozotocin which is know to kill insulin producing cells. They treated normal mice, not diabetic prone with the streptozotocin. Guess what happened. Yup. The treated mice got diabetic with sugars up to 350 but then recovered within a month with normal insulin production and no diabetes. This suggests they really were inducing brand new beta cells from scratch. Did you get that? Recovered!

The authors warn folks not to do this on their own without supervision from their doctors. They don’t know if the method applies to humans. But they do mention that it would be about the equivalent of 800-1,100 calories a day, mostly in the form of olive oil and a tiny bit of protein and carbohydrate.

WWW.What will work for me. I have a broken foot right now. I’m very anxious for it to heal/heel. I’ve been extremely careful with my diet in the last month and have had most days at 75% fat with a few of them being around 1400 calories. Close to this study. More importantly, my blood sugar has been in the mid 70s all month, my surgical wound is closed and fixed, and I’m on the road to better. I’ve probably rejuvenated some pancreas cells. I’ve had a few days of 1400 calories, not 1100. I’ve been tiptoeing close to reproducing this study in myself. Now, I’m determined to show folks in my practice that they can do it. We can reverse diabetes. This throws open a huge door of opportunity. We should take it. Carefully, of course!

 

Pop Quiz

1. Type Two Diabetes will happen to all of us if we put on too much weight. T or F

Almost true. There are something like 20-30% of folks that can get way overweight and never get diabetic, but it’s a pretty good premise.

‪2. Fat cells get insulin resistant as they get bigger. T or F

That would be true. It’s as though insulin receptors get further apart.

‪3. Starving mice with an insulin neutral high fat diet stimulates the regeneration of pancreas beta cells that make insulin. T or F

Bingo.

‪4. Repeated cycles of the 4 day fast even regenerate poisoned pancreases that have their beta cells killed off. T or F

True.

‪5. If this is that effective, trying it in humans may be risky? T or F True, mostly because if you stay on diabetes medication, your blood sugar may go too low once your own pancreas starts kicking in. You can imagine what the answer to that is. Check your sugar a lot. Like 4-6 times a day and be ready to stop taking as many pills.

How to Make a sdLDL (Small Dense LDL)

How to Make an sdLDL (Small Dense LDL)

References: Lecture by Ron Rosendale, Researchgate, PLOS, JCI,

This is the most common question I get asked: what do I do when my doctor wants to put me on a statin? It gets asked by healthy folks who have all data they need to prove that they don’t need a statin. They are eating optimally and their lipids are, in fact, beautiful. But their doctor thinks they should be on a statin because the rules for cholesterol treatment have been dumbed down to the barest essentials: is your cholesterol over 200? Statin!

Repeatedly, I go through the exercise of explaining that it’s not the total cholesterol that matters, it’s the number and size of particles that matter. If you have big, fluffy LDLs, you are in great shape. If you have small, dense LDLs, you are in big doo-doo. The proper analogy has come down to asking which has more volume, a pick up truck bed or a 5 gallon bucket. (Hint, it’s the truck.) And how many basketballs can you put in a pickup truck? I usually hear “About 50.” And how many golf balls can you put in a five gallon bucket? I hear 400-500. This is as close to your cholesterol as I can get. You don’t need a statin to treat basketballs, they are harmless. They are the equivalent to big, fluffy LDLs. And you don’t need a statin to treat sdLDLs either, unless you can’t change your lifestyle. But your doctor is unlikely to know how you make sdLDLs (golf balls) so they can’t advise you how to do it differently by lifestyle. Besides, a pill is easier and faster and you get to bare the side effects and consequences, but not much benefit from taking a statin.

Ok. The nugget comes down to, “How can I change my small, dense LDLs to big fluffies?” That’s the nugget. And the answer is ….. get rid of insulin. This will save your life. Get rid of insulin. How do I know that? And vice versa: How do I make small dense LDLs? Turn on insulin.

SdLDLs are made in response to insulin. Insulin is made in response to carbohydrates overwhelming your ability to burn glucose. You are signaling your body that you are in the season of carbohydrate excess. That’s fall when plants ripen. You are gorging on carbs. Winter is coming. You need to get fat. You want insulin to make a lot of different actions. You need to increase the production of fat in your liver. Those are called triglycerides. You need to make more transport modules to move the fat from your liver to your fat cells. Those transport modules are called LDLs. But because you have to make oodles of them very quickly, you make small ones just to get them off the production line. And as your fat cells get bigger, they become insulin resistant as the insulin receptors get further apart on the expanding fat cell. Your insulin level rises. You have insulin around all the time, and presto, you have small dense LDLs.

Want to make your LDLs bigger, safer, kinder and gentler? Sure. Then get rid of insulin. Stop eating carbs, and stop eating too much protein. That leaves fat and very low glycemic carbs. (Above ground vegetables) Your LDLs deliver their product, turn into HDLs and you can watch your LDLs drop like a rock and your HDLs climb steadily – about 5-8 points a month. Get your carbs below 20 grams a day and your HDLs will reach 100 in about a year.

WWW. What will work for me. It’s that simple. You can prove it in weeks if you have a lab that will order your HDLs, your sdLDLs and your insulin. Get your insulin below 7, and you will be good. My HDLs were 28 all my life until I lowered my carb intake. I’m now in the 60s, and not quite disciplined enough to get higher. I’ve seen this question so many times, I wanted to put it all in a handout I can show my clients. Here it is. Cut the carbs, eat more butter, make your LDLs get big and harmless. Eat cookies, brownies and ice cream and presto, all the sdLDLs you want. And that’s how to make a sdLDL.

Pop Quiz

‪1. Total cholesterol should be below 200. T or F

True if you are the American Heart Association. It doesn’t matter is you are a scientist and want to know truth. The HUNT study from Norway says women live longer if their cholesterol is over 200.

‪2. If total cholesterol isn’t the measure of trouble, what is?

Probably your Triglyceride/HDL ratio or your Apo-B/Apo A2 ratio – both connected to sdLDLs

‪3. I can raise my HDL be eating bacon and eggs? You’re kidding?

Yup and Nope

‪4. There is consensus in literature review that eating saturated fat is harmless for you. T or F

True. Read the review in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

‪5. sdLDLs are the ones that cause heart disease? T or F

True.

How We Have Been Deceived About Sugar

How We Have Been Deceived About Sugar

References:  New York TimesInt Jr of Health SrvWashington PostGary Taubes in The Case Against Sugar  Huffington Post,

Just about every mammal loves sugar. Of course we do. Through most of human history, it meant ripe fruit becoming available, just before the long dry season of either African drought or Asian/European cold. But in the last 200 years, sugar has become even more bountiful. Sugar was such a hot item, Arabs made a killing transporting it over deserts to Europe by camals. Columbus was all about finding places to grow sugar in the New World, as were all the European colonizers. The Caribbean was hot property, because of sugar. Our biology naturally drives us to seek sugar. Plain and simple.

What we haven’t understood is the power of political money and “lobbying” to undermine our scientific process of enquiry. In America, our politicians carefully guard their re-election money sources, and don’t reveal it, but it is a pay for play game. And this game has been going on for almost 70 years before it has started to come unraveled. And you play a part in it, because you love sugar. You and I both eat more food with sugar in it, and that rewards food companies to add sugar to everything. In fact, Lustig, one of America’s premier sugar adversaries, has documented that 75% of all American foods have sugaradded. And with your consent, the sugar lobby has been focused, nefarious, diligent and successful. It has paid off politician after politician to intercede in just about every guideline every issued about food, to change the conversation with little phrases that shift the truth in a way that just isn’t so. When the World Health Organization, a group outside the USA, tried to issue guidelines limiting sugar to just 10% of calories, the sugar lobby went crazy and got Senators to threaten to pull all funding from the WHO if those guidelines went through.

But it’s worse than that. The shifting of blame to fat was the real win. We have spent decades fighting cholesterol, making a huge artificial industry about statins all because a few key American health leaders, paid off by the sugar industry, pushed us that way. Today, you can still see that effect when you go to the store and buy LOW FAT Yogurt, as though that was a good thing. Please, translate that LOW FAT label in your brain to be HIGH SUGAR, because that is the net effect. And you slurp it down happily. And you can see your waistline, gradually expanding. And all along, it was sugar to blame.

The proof is finally falling together. Metabolic syndrome, the underlying driver of heart disease, cholesterol, hypertension are each and collectively more tightly linked to sugar than anything else. Let me repeat that. Sugar, not fat is the core enemy. You obsess about cholesterol to your peril. It’s sugar.

And what does the sugar industry say to that? Same old play book. Deny, shift blame, “Calorie is a calorie”, “Obesity is all about poor food choices and eating too much”, and other stock phrases are all intended to deceive. And you go down.

The final deceit are all the alternative names for sugar. There are SIXTY ONEcurrent names out there on food labels for sugar. And we are not always as clever as we think when we go for agave, barley malt, cane juice, mannose, maltol, maltodextrin, Desmara sugar and some 50 other names for sugar. You will typically find 3-5 of them on any “healthy” snack bar, which in total makes sugar the number one ingredient in the bar.

Is there an amount of sugar you can safely eat? Well, not really. We are currently around 82 grams a day and close to 10-15 % of our calories from sugar. But many of us are getting more than that, and are sicker to show for it. The American Heart Association says to get down to One Ounce (100 calories) a day for women, for about a 75% reduction. (150 calories for men). If you have high blood pressure, diabetes, are overweight, have elevated bad cholesterol, worried about Alzheimer’s, heart attacks or anything else, less would be better. Generally, any reduction, at any point, is better.

WWW. What will work for me. I’m having fun looking at all the goofy names for sugar on different packaged foods. They are out there. I’ve trained myself to see LOW FAT as HIGH SUGAR. And when I get off sugar and stay there, my HDLs start climbing. I’m back up to over 60 again. You could be there too.

Pop Quiz

1.  Panocha and Muscovado are safe sweeteners. T or F

Sucker


2. Ok, how about Fruit Juice Concentrate? Safe ?
Double sucker

3. The Sugar Industry Lobby group will happily show you their lobbying dollars paid to your congressman. T or F
Wow, you really are trusting. No. But just about every congressman gets some.  Rubio and Sanders.
4. US Senators threatened the WHO with withdrawal of funding if they didn’t change their recommendations on sugar, lowering its use. T or F
You can simply always vote for the worst option. That would be true.
5. I can safely eat sugar and not damage myself. T or F
False. At 15% of calories, you will have metabolic syndrome within a month. Longer at lower levels. How long do you want to stay well?

The Apo-B/Apo A-1 Ratio Predicts Severity of Heart Disease

The Apo-B/Apo A-1 Ratio Predicts Severity of Coronary Artery Disease

References: Lipid Health Dis, Hunt Study,

I get asked all the time about whether folks should be on a statin, or whether their lipid panel is trouble. They tell me their total cholesterol. Their doctor just told them to be on a statin. What should they do? Now, I say, “Let’s look at your lipids and see if you really are at risk. Turns out, your total cholesterol just isn’t the issue at all.” The HUNT Study from Norway has thrown a significant monkey wrench into the whole affair be discovering that women who have cholesterol above 200 live longer than women below 200. So, why are we treating you to lower your level below 200? What are your real risks?

Along comes the Singulex company and starts with a new test I hadn’t seen before, the Apo – B / Apo A-1 ratio. Sounds like a lot of excessive slicing and dicing. So, I did some reading and here is what I found out.

Apo – B is essentially the docking protein of the LDL particle. Got that? It’s the site of binding the LDL particle to a fat cell. Simple. And just what is the LDL particle doing? It is essentially carrying extra fat you have manufactured in your liver, to your fat cell for storage. You make extra fat when you eat too many carbohydrates. Through most of human history, we had extra, easily available carbohydrates only a couple of times a year: most notable at the end of the harvest season when the fruit trees and the grains were ripening, and we could eat like a pig. At that time, you want your LDLs to go up, delivering fat to your fat cells. Easy as pie. What happens when you stop eating carbs? Not quite as easy, but even better than than pie. Your LDLs start to change size and shape, and your HDL’s start to climb. And your triglycerides fall like a rock.

When you stop eating carbohydrates, your liver doesn’t have to manufacture triglycerides. Net effect is that you make fewer and fewer LDL particles, but they get bigger and bigger and fluffier and fluffier. And harmless. This unpacks the lunacy of measuring total cholesterol and using that as criteria for being on a statin. The analogy I make is “having a pickup truck full of basketballs would be, (What, 50 basketballs?) is much safer than having a 5 gallon bucket full of golf balls, (500 golf balls?) Golf balls are deadly, basketballs are harmless. It is only the small, dense, dangerous, LDLs that cause heart disease.

Back to the Apo – B / Apo A-1 ratio. The Apo A-1 protein is the docking protein on the HDL particle. It sucks lipids out of stuffed white cells in the walls of arteries that are trying to clean up the mess of small dense, LDLs. If those white cells die, they turn into a lipid pool that sets off all sorts of inflammation and becomes the basis for plaque. You want HDLs. They are your friend. You want more Apo A-1 Protein. Get it?

What the the ratio do? Turns out, it is the MOST accurate ratio for predicting risk for heart disease. You want less than 0.6. It means your HDL is climbing higher. That’s the bottom number, the denominator. And your LDL is falling, that’s the top number. And it takes into account the size and fluffiness of both particles. That’s it. It’s what you want to know to keep yourself safe.

How can you change it? Simple as pie. Aka, no pie. No sugar, no carbs. More fat and carbs in the form of “above-ground vegetables”. You now have a marker you can demonstrate is getting better and better with your eating.

WWW.What will work for me. I love having data that gets to the “heart of it”. With data, and knowing how to interpret it, I can drive my own metabolism. There is lots of research now showing it is the best. Upshot for me. Eat less carbs, more eggs and spinach.

 

Pop Quiz

‪1. Your Apo B protein is what?

The docking protein on your LDL particle. The more LDLs you have, the more Apo B you will have. In other words, as LDLS get smaller and denser and more numerous, your Apo B goes up.

‪2. You Apo A – 1 is what?

The docking protein on your HDL particle. That’s the good one. You want more HDLs.

‪3. How do you raise your HDLs?

Eat few carbs. Repeat, eat fewer carbs. I’ve raised my HDL’s from 28 to 61 in 4 months by eating 5 eggs a day. The best I could get with Niacin was up to 31.

‪4. So, explain in your words what the Apo B / Apo A-1 ratio is?

It is the bad cholesterol particle count divided by the good particle count. When it gets below 0.6, you’re good. Any lowering is on the path to good.

‪5. I need to keep my cholesterol count below 200. T or F

False, false, false. Read the HUNT study. Look at your ratio. Get a cardiac calcium scan. And if you can’t stop eating ice-cream, well, maybe you should be on a statin.