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.

Don’t Eat Mac and Cheese

The Poison in your Mac and Cheese

References: KleanUpKraft.org, New York Times, CNN,

It was all over CNN, BBC, New York Times this week. “What Chemicals are in your Mac and Cheese?” Mac and Cheese. My kids were raised on it. It’s one of America’s iconic foods. The pinnacle of American comfort food. Here’s the rub. Ten years ago, we banned phthalates because they were found to be “endocrine disruptors” in children and exposure resulted in behavioral and neurodevelopmental issues. All the big retailers withdrew their children’s toys that had phthalates. Kids chewing on their rubber ducky were getting phthalates that soaked out of them.

Phthalates make kids toys soft and pliable. But phthalates are plastic chemicals that have a lot of beneficial applications. Your electrical wiring in your house is coated with phthalate plastics. Your vinyl flooring is resilient and pliable because of phthalates. And now we find in in your kids food. How did it get there? It’s not added to the food, it leaches out of the plastic tubing that is pliable and long lasting because it is made with phthalates. In manufacturing Mac and Cheese, there is plastic tubing that is made with phthalates. Voila. There you have it. The packaged Mac and Cheese had four times the level of regular cheeses, even the processed stuff in slices that comes between two layers of plastic.

What did this study show? Of thirty brands of Mac and Cheese, 29 had at least one phthalate, and some had six. The most common one, DHEP, is the one most commonly found and is the one most widely restricted. Kraft Foods made 9 of the 30 samples tested. There are 2 million packages of it sold every day in America. Hmm. So your kids are still getting it.

Your first response may be, “Give me a break. You can’t get that much out of the tubing from making the stuff.” Wrong, wrong. You get parts per billion. That doesn’t sound like much but it’s as much as four times the level of your own hormones. Therein lies the rub. Phalalates have been particularly linked to the suppression of testosterone.

The good news is that once you stop eating or ingesting them, they flush out pretty quickly.

www.What will work for me. It’s so easy to make your own mac and cheese. Just get some nice sharp cheddar and gorgonzola and make your own. Just don’t squirt it through plastic tubing. In the meantime, I’m not even buying Mac and Cheese any more when I stop at the grocery for food pantry donations. It you want to change the system, let your purchasing habits drive the market. If you want to change your testosterone, don’t buy packaged mac and cheese.

 

Pop Quiz

  1.  Processed foods that come in boxes are made in large, industrial sized factories, where high pressure, high heat manufacturing methods leach phthalates out of plastic tubing, enough to have detectable phthalates in the food being made. T or F Answer: If you followed all that, you got it.
  2. The concentration of phthalates in processed food is not meaningful. T or F Answer: It’s in parts per billion, some four times what your own active hormones are.
  3. Phthalates are known to suppress estrogen. T or F                       Answer: well yes, but the real damage appears to be to testosterone, needed by both men and women.
  4. If I buy organic Mac and Cheese, I can get away from phthalate contamination? T or F                                                            Answer: Nice try. False.
  5. Our kids are particularly susceptible to phthalates, which is why we banned them from kiddie toys. Makes sense to ban it from their food.                          Answer: Not if your food lobby pays your members of Congress enough to keep quiet. But we should. (Pay attention to the language – “We are going to reduce regulations that are job killing.” Might be code for not paying attention to food contamination.)

 

 

Sufficient Vitamin D Improves Vascular Health

Sufficient Vitamin D Improves Vascular Health

References: Indian Jr Endo MetabAmerican Journal of Cardiology,

I was excited last year when it was reported that Vitamin D helped folks with congestive heart failure. When 233 patients with congestive heart failure were randomly given Vitamin D, their 6 minute walk time didn’t improve, but their ejection fraction increased 23% relatively, or 6% absolutely. The dose was 4000 IU a day, with no loading dose. Note, half of us will die of congestive heart failure, so this is a big deal for older folks, particularly those with congestive failure. You may not be able to walk further, but you are still walking. Most folks with an ejection fraction (the percent of blood your heart can pump out with each stroke, where normal is 65 and dead is 18) in the low 20s die within a year or less. So, being around fora year to finish a study is cool. I added Vitamin D to my Congestive Heart Failure protocol.

I’ve been watching for mechanisms of just how it works. Here it is! In this study, 103 folks with Vitamin D deficiency (below 20 ng) were given 60,000 IU a week for 8 weeks. Measurements were taken of vascular function like carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity, brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity, arterial stiffness index and oxidative stress markers like serum malondialdehyde levels and total antioxidant status. They demonstrated about a 10% reduction in pulse wave velocity, (996 cm.sec to 899 cm/sec) and systolic blood pressure from 115 to 106. All were statistically significant. Lowering blood pressure (996 cm.sec to 899 cm/sec) and systolic blood pressure from 115 to 106. All were statistically significant. Lowering blood pressure even 2 points reduces risk for vascular disease 4-6%.
[Now, there are any number of studies that are referenced in this article where Vitamin D didn’t help heart disease. Many of these have been highlighted in the popular press to suggest that vitamin D supplementation doesn’t work.

Cardiologists like to quote them to justify having a cath instead of taking D. Hmmm. Just about every one of those studies gave lower doses of D, in the 2000 iu range, for 6-8 weeks at a time. This is a good example of the utter stupidity of most studies that essentially don’t understand the physiology of Vitamin D. Your bodies fat tissue soaks up D and stores it. It is fat soluble. You are a big tank. If you are overweight, you are a bigger tank. When you start a new dose, it will take your body a full year before a new homeostasis is achieved. In the long run, a dose of 3-4,000 IU a day is sufficient in most folks to get to a level of 50 ng, my definition for replete.

This study effectively gives a loading dose. 60,000 IU a week gets to threshold.   I give 100,000 IU because that has been proven to raise your D level 14 ng a day. If someone is low, < 20 ng, you can give two doses in a row. They will add 14 ng a day and in two days will be at 45-50. Finally, Vitamin D works as your stem cell hormone, telling stems cells to wake up and start maturing into mature cells. Mature cells can do their function. It takes months for a mature cell to grow and start doing its function. If your D level is rising so slowly that you don’t have enough for a year, a study lasting 12 weeks, with an inadequate dose of D will never show an effect.

The final point to make about D is the clear need for it to be accompanied by K2. Weston Price highlighted this in the 1920s because that is what he observed when he documented the lifestyles and diets of “primitive” people. Like every pioneer, Weston Price didn’t get everything right, and his foundation has a few tangents that are off base, but by and large, he opened the door on omega fats, K2 and D, something we didn’t appreciate for another 70 years. When you look at D in isolation, you will often likely miss the beneficial effect if you don’t control for Vitamin K input. Increasing recognition of the complexity of our metabolism can be seen in the interplay of D and K2. They are really part of a biological partnership. Both are fat soluble.

www.What will work for me. I’m getting a better understanding of how D and K work together. Seeing a study where adequate doses of D make an impact when similar inadequately dosed folks didn’t get an impact is an important distinction. The self righteous deniers of this effect can’t explain that. Once they are ensconced in nay-saying, they keep nay-saying. As for me, I cheerfully take my D, 3500 IU a day in the form of 100,000 once a month. And I wear a hat and sun screen. Just one more skin cancer to take off my back.

Pop Quiz

  1. Vitamin D works by……….? Activating many genes, (10% of the human genome) which stimulates stem cells to become mature cells.
  2. It takes Vitamin D how long to change your blood level? Answer: If you don’t take enough, you will never get to an adequate blood level but generally you reach a new homeostasis in about a year after starting a new dose.
  3. To get to an adequate blood level Vitamin D, you need a loading dose of …..? Answer: 100,000 IU for every 14 ng you are deficient. If you want to get to a level of 50, and your level is 8, you need ………….? Answer: 3 doses of 100,000 IU, one day apart each.
  4. Your arterial blood velocity will drop when you take Vitamin D, which means your arteries have gotten stretchier and your blood pressure has dropped. T or F
    Bingo.
  5. To prove that Vitamin D works on heart disease, you likely need to do what in terms of designing a study? Answer: It has to run longer than a year, have a loading dose, and take sufficient D to get to a level of 50. This has never been done. Any study with less, shorter, and no loading dose, no monitoring of blood level and no randomization will not show scientifically meaningful results. Meanwhile, the physiology of benefit sits right here, in this study.

Luteinizing Hormone and the Development of Alzheimer’s

Lutienizing Hormone and the Development of Alzheimer’s

References: Horm Behavior 2015PNASNeurobiolog AgingScience Daily,

Luteinizing hormone rises sharply with menopause. It is the hormonethat stimulates egg production and ovulation in women, and sperm/testosterone production in men. The ovaries no longer respond to the effect of FSH and LH, and their rise marks the definitive marker of menopause. Hormone levels fall. Hot flashes, hair loss, lousy sleep, etc all ensue. Misery. Sorting out the confusion is no mean feat, particularly because there remains widespread confusion over the elevation of breast cancer risk with post menopausal hormone replacement. This confusion stems primarily from not recognizing the adverse affects of non-human estrogen compared to the beneficial effects of bio-identical human estrogen.

There is a legitimate question in there. Is it lack of estrogen that is dangerous, or the rise in the hormones that encourage the secretion of estrogen, namely luteinizing hormone. What effect does long term LH have on the female brain? That’s the question raised here. How is the lack of Estrogen and Progesterone played out? Is it the lack of Estrogen that is the issue, or the damaging effect of too much LH?
That’s what this week’s article is about, the possible role of LH in causing Alzheimer’s. The authors carefully review the animal literature that demonstrates the damaging effect of high levels of HCG on rodent brains. HCG is very similar to LH, differing by only in the beta subunit, and is shown to have the same experimental effects on brains, namely an increase in amyloid beta proteins, neurofibrillatory tangles, and decreased problem solving ability. With menopause, LH rises sharply. With surgical menopause, it happens faster still. Epidemiological studies do link higher levels of LH in elderly women to more Alzheimer’s.

What does it take to suppress LH? You can do it with balanced hormones, which includes testosterone. Estrogen alone doesn’t do it.   It takes estrogen, testosterone and progesterone to fully suppress LH. Progesterone can be shown to do it within 90 minutes of administration, but it’s through an Estrogen dependent receptor.

Now, it’s not total Estrogen that appears to have a protective effect but rather free estrogen. That’s the nuance. There have been conflicting reports about estrogen not being protective for Alzheimer’s, at least when simple total levels are measured. But when Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG) is measured, one gets a reflection of actual free (biologically active) estrogen levels. SHBG binds 99% of estrogen, so its level strongly reflects free estrogen (the remaining 1%). Measuring total Estrogen will not give a sufficiently detailed picture of the actual hormonal milieux of the aging female brain. High SHBG has been correlated with Alzheimer’s. We do know that the use ofbirth control pills raises SHBG in women FOREVER, even after short periods of use. And we know that birth control pills alter women’s brain, changing the nature of women’s memory: emotional impact is improved, memory of details are lost. There are multiple studies showing that cognitive decline is reduced with birth control pills, which seems to suggest they are protective. What has not been done yet is a study looking at the risk of Alzheimer’s disease after using the pill in young adulthood.

So this is a real rat’s nest of conflicting issues. The bottom line appears to be that LH may be the mediating factor in cognitive decline, but that occurs in the absence of adequate normal hormonal levels. If those levels are replaced, perhaps the measurement of LH should be a consideration for proper full replacement therapy, as that is the actual causative agent for damage. The lower, the better. And for men, with low testosterone, is the use of Clomid, an LH agonist, safe? We have no information. As long as it is raising T, it probably is, but this remains an issue to watch closely.

www.What will work for me. This appears to be an issue we have to understand. There is emerging consensus that human estrogen is good for the human female brain, and testosterone for the human male brain. Is the role of that utility come from suppressing LH. Something to be closely monitored. Stay tuned.

 

Pop Quiz

  1. Luteinizing hormone can be shown to make the pathology of Alzheimer’s occur in rat.    T or F                                                                                                                         Answer: Probably true. Most of the rat research has been dose using HCG which is very close to LH, with very similar actions but a much longer half life.
  2. LH levels drop with menopause. T or F                                                    Answer. False, false, false. It’s the high levels of menopause that are the whole problem, and thereafter, Alzheimer’s begins to show up.
  3. This would suggest that women who go through menopause earlier, have the onset of dementia earlier. T or f                                                                                Answer: True
  4. The confusion over risks for hormone replacement therapy are mostly from the confusion over bio-identical hormones versus artificial. T or F                              Answer: repeatedly, true.
  5. Do you want to know you LH levels?                                                         Answer: I think I do.

 

 

 

Biotin Messes with Your Thyroid Testing

Biotin Messes with your Thyroid Testing

References: NCBIEndocrine News

Everyone needs biotin. It’s been known since the 1920s but only understood since the 1970s. It is used in 4 enzymes in the mitochondria of your cell. You can make some biotin deficient by feeding them a diet of pure raw egg white (high protein) and despite that sounding odd, folks getting IV parenteral nutrition had a lot of egg white protein given IV and thus biotin deficiency was found. Skin rashes and hair loss were prominent symptoms. Hence, the connection with hair loss. The Institute of Medicine recommends some 30 micrograms a day and that’s what’s in most OTC vitamin pills.

Now, menopause is strongly associated with hair loss, as is thyroid disease. Considering how many Americans go through menopause (rumor has it that it’s more than half), the hair loss industry was born. And biotin plunked down in the middle of it. BEST PRODUCTS to prevent hair loss! It is widely “known” that you “need” biotin to prevent hair loss. Well, is it? And are there problems with that? If you look at the ingredients in most of the hair loss products, you will find 500 mcg of biotin and above in them. That’s 20 times the Institute of Medicine guidelines.
Considering that hair loss is associated with dysfunctional thyroid, mostly low, and low progesterone, many many women are caught in this conundrum, and want to fix their hair loss. And they find themselves on biotin, in one form or another.

What’s the problem? Biotin has now been found to conflict with thyroid measurements.
This should come as a relief to many folks who can’t understand why their thyroid tests keep fluctuating wildly. The problem comes in that biotin is used as an anchor to capture antibodies. Biotin sticks nicely to streptavidin, a protein reagent on the capture surface of the test device. That makes a lot of natural biotin floating around. When someone starts taking lots of extra biotin, it’s going to interfere with that testing process. With interference, you can have falsely elevated blood tests of total T4 and T3, with normal other tests making for combinations that don’t make sense.

You see the conundrum? You have hair loss and are trying to normalize your thyroid. But you are also taking biotin, in a form you didn’t even know about because the supplement you were taking for hair loss called it something other than biotin (Vitamin H is a common misnomer).

www. What will work for me. If I didn’t know 5 people with this situation, it wouldn’t be so notable. The upshot is that it takes some 3-5 years for hair to run through its natural cycle, and up to 6 months for anyone to notice that a real change has come about. Once it has fallen out, it takes at least 3 months (the telogen phase) before it starts growing again. It’s not that biotin is bad for you. It’s that it is used as a reagent in testing thyroid, and high blood levels mess up the testing. If that leads to dose changes, you have a problem. If you are on biotin, then don’t completely trust any test about your thyroid.

 

Pop Quiz:

  1.  Hair loss is affected most by what two hormones?                        Answer: thyroid and progesterone

2.    Biotin is related to vitamin C? T or F                             Oh, get over it and read it again. It’s a B vitamin, B7 to be exact.

3.    The reason biotin messes up your thyroid is?                                  Answer: it doesn’t. It messes up your thyroid test leading you to look like you are in trouble, when you are just peachy.

4.     If you are worried about your hair, how often should you let yourself make dose changes of your thyroid or progesterone?                                                                 Answer: probably at least 3 months before you change anything.

5.    Your thyroid is easily understood with your thyroid tests? T or F                 Oh, my goodness. You haven’t read much about reverse T3 or de-iodinase yet.

 

 

The Triage Theory by Bruce Ames

The Triage Theory by Bruce Ames

References:  AJCN 2009 AmesPNAS,

This topic is very important. It is how “wellness” and aging intersect.  Bruce Ames, a Professor of Biology and Molecular Biochemistry at Berkeley has been the chief proponent of it and has been articulating its implications since 2006. In essence, the theory maintains that populations of mammals, or creatures, on earth allocate micronutrients on a first-come-first-served basis. This serves the animal in the short term, but creates long term consequences and problems. The body “prioritizes” short term survival over long term health.

There are about 40 critical minerals, fats, vitamins and “micronutrients” that we depend upon for optimal health. Each of them can be “optimal” or play a role in being deficient. It is not until that nutrient is critically deficient that we get a short term “deficiency” disease. But because different organ systems may require different levels of the nutrient, short term disease may not reflect the risk of long term damage that ends up causing premature aging.

One of his examples is Vitamin K. When we take coumadin to make out blood thin, we knock out a bunch of other functions that Vitamin K does. In the short term, our blood being thinner and less clot-prone might be medically life saving because we have had a blood clot in our lungs, but in the long term, we end up with arteries that have calcified and “hardened”. You will see it on X-ray. Folks who have been on Coumadin for years have all their arteries visible in calcified outline.
Another example is Iodine. In severe deficiency, you get mental retardation. Iodine insufficiency is considered the number one cause of mental retardation in the worth by the WHO. It’s terribly important to protect the brain, and heaven knows, our thyroids need iodine. What gives? Breast cancer and fibrocystic breast disease are both strongly linked to lower iodine intake. Optimal iodine intake is probably more on the order of 1-1.2 mg a day, whereas most Americans only get .250-.300 mg a day.
Alkalinity and acid give another example. Very high animal protein diets with excess protein result is “acid” biological ash, needing neutralization. The human body, evolving from plant eating backgrounds, is used to being vegetarian and only recently adopted a habit of eating meat (5 million years) so that we could get a bigger brain. Eat too much animal protein, and you have to sacrifice bone mass to neutralize the acid. American’s get an extremely high level of animal protein between meat, fish, bird and dairy and result in a uniformly acidic environment. One in eight American women breaks a hip, the disease of aging that then does 30% of them in. This raises the spector of the safety of the “Adkins Diet” to which I would suggest that one focus on the fat and not the meat.
The conundrum for wellness comes in the concept of “long term health”. It is easy to precipitate short term illness, and discover the minimal requirement to prevent a particular organ system from failing. In just weeks, you can show that a level of Vitamin D below 32 ngm in the blood results in decreased cathlicidin and lowered immune function as shown by the inability to kill tuberculosis. It takes over 10 years to show that a level of Vitamin D of 50 versus 30 results in 70% less cancer.
The web on nutrient interactions is marvelously complex and nuanced. That’s the fun of it all. We have so much more to learn. Thank you Dr Ames for opening this line of enquire. I want to live long enough to fully appreciate it.

WWW.What will work for me. I’ve referred to the triage theory several times in the past. Our column on zinc was the last one. This theoretical construct should guide our thinking on all 40 micronutrients. What is too much? Too Little? Just right? I take Vitamin D, K2, fish oil, zinc, magnesium all because of this concept. You likely should too.

Pop Quiz

1. The RDA of vitamins and minerals are well known? T or F                                                                       Unfair, trick question. They are well known only for short term disease states, not long term wellness.

 

2. Premature aging is precipitated by missing micronutrients? T or F                                                              True:  And that’s the Triage Theory stated backwards.

 

3. Vitamin B12 deficiency is key for the prevention of pernicious anemia. What else is it also critically important for?                                                                                              Not mentioned in this column, but if you have read anything in this news letter, you would have seen repeated references to its even more important role in………….brain health.

 

4. Taking coumadin to prevent short term blood clots results in………?                                                                       Long term arterial calcification.

 

5. Eating a pure cheese and meat diet (the all American fast food diet) results in what long term stressor effect on the body? Too much acid that has to be neutralized by borrowing calcium from? ……..         Bones.

 

LifeSpan versus HealthSpan

LifeSpan Versus Healthspan

References:  WEForum 2017Compreh Physiology 2012,  Med Sci-Fi Sport Exercise,

We are living longer. But are we living better? In the 20th century, we doubled our life expectancy with the miracle of antibiotics, clean surgical technique, X-rays, immunizations and clean water.  Babies being born today in advanced societies have a 50:50 chance of living to be 100. But living longer isn’t necessarily better. There have been some disturbing trends lately. Obesity has managed to reverse the climb to longer lifespan in some societies, namely the USA.

As we live longer, we have more choices about lifestyle, making research into factors affecting confoundingly complex. It becomes impossible to do “randomized, placebo controlled” studies over decades without limiting free choice and spending more money than could be allocated. This article, from the World Economic Forum this year, offers insight into the laboratory of fitness, namely masters athletes. I have a dozen or so men and women older than 60 in my practice who would qualify as exceptionally fit. And I see their lab results and their vitality. They are aging differently than those of us who are less active.

Sedentary behavior is being increasingly recognized as the driver of many of our modern conditions. Part of this discernment comes from the recognition that athletes, (high end performers) have a disproportionately share of good health. They don’t get in trouble. They still die, but their time of end-of-life disability is markedly compressed, compared to the majority of the sedentary population. They become a unique research cohort, one that we couldn’t duplicate with “randomized research”. In effect, what happens with athletes is that they reach their peak in their 30s, like all of us, but then don’t show much decline until close to the very end. The rest of us show inexorable, linear decline. “Patch, patch patch, after 40!,” we say.

At every age in life, starting exercise of any kind has benefit. And the risk of complications from exercise is far lower than the risk of remaining sedentary. The real risk is sitting. Considering computer games at home, TV, computers at work and cell phones in-between, we are mesmerized by electronic distractions that leave us sedentary. In fact, research in 2009 of 17,000 Canadians of all ages showed a dose relationship of sedentary behavior to all cause mortality, regardless of levels of exercise. That means 30 minutes in the gym does you no good if you are sitting the rest of the day. Bother.

The Author cites four strategies with references on each: 1) Move More (Just get started and move more), 2) Move Slow, (Aim for 10,000 steps a day) 3) Move Fast (Add some high intensity something, even for just 10 minutes) and 4) Move Heavy (Add some weights). Read those hyperlinks. It’s the best of our knowledge.

WWW.What will work for me. Sedentary behavior is the new smoking. If you want to live better, longer, you have to do it. Build it in every day. A day without exercise is as bad as a day of smoking.

Pop Quiz

1. Our grand-kids are likely to live to be 90+. T or F Answer: False if they are sedentary, but true if they get the exercise bug and take care of their diet.
2. Our society is becoming more active. T or F Answer: Mixed picture. But as a general rule, false. Bless those who make the answer slightly true.
3. 30 minutes at the gym has beneficial effects? T or F Answer: Sure, it helps. Its benefit may be completely erased by an 8 hour day of sitting.
4. There is a dose relationship between exercise and good health. T or F Bingo
5. Getting sweaty isn’t necessary. T or F Answer: False, if you want optimal results. Getting sweaty 3-4 times a week is much better for you.

 

Heart Disease is a Sulfate Deficiency Problem

Heart Disease is a Sulfate Deficiency Problem

References:  Theor Biol Med Mod,

Half of us, men and women, die of this scourge. I have spent a career battling heart disease in Emergency Medicine and now Functional Medicine. And I’m still puzzled why it happens. We explain, as best we can, that we think it’s caused by the agglomeration of small, dense LDLs into our arteries. White cells then come along and try to digest those packets of fat, and can’t do it. They die. Cholesterol accumulates. All this is the theoretical foundation of the cause of heart disease. And it falls short.

Stephanie Senneff from MIT, suggests a different consideration that fits all the present criteria better than the cholesterol hypothesis. We may have been barking up the wrong tree. Here is her construct.

It starts with the “structure” of water. In a glass, water flows freely. At the microscopic level, it has a tiny electrical magnetic orientation that adds up, making for slight stickiness at interfaces. This gets to be an issue on the surface of biological entities, like cell walls and the surfaces of arteries. Friction builds up and necessary movement is slowed down. We can’t have that in blood vessels. This is where cholesterol-SULFATE and SULFATED-glycosaminoglycans line the surface of blood vessels, creating a tiny electrical and magnetic charge that leads to what is being called “structured water”.

This is where it gets really interesting. Red blood cells, covered with electrically charged particles, moving through blood vessels lined with “structured water” create a tiny micro voltage. When you have moving voltage, you create a tiny magnetic field that becomes a signaling device – just like a radio, or an electric motor. (EVSP: electrokinetic vascular streaming potential) The lining cells of the capillary repel the red cells, and get the signal to release NO, nitric oxide. The capillary relaxes and the red cells gets pushed through to the other end of the capillary. Blood flows. Oxygen gets delivered. The organism thrives. (A topic for another day is that this magnetic field is then subject to outside low levels of electromagnetic radiation. Hmmm!)

Where does heart disease come in? With insufficient sulfate on the surface of arteries and red cells, a lower you have an alteration of the voltage potential, fixed with elevation of blood pressure. The natural result is a desperate search for sulfate to make the blood vessel and its environment slippery. Sulfated cholesterol, made by sun exposure, provides the sulfate. Cholesterol accumulates. Plaque develops. Eventually, heart attacks occur. The detail is much more elegant but the paper is fascinating. This sounds real, plausible and explains heart disease down to the molecule.

What is the takeaway? Heart disease isn’t caused by LDLs or cholesterol. If all this is true, heart disease is caused by sticky red cells being unable to pass through capillaries with a drop in nitric oxide and a scavenging of sulfated cholesterol as a means to garnish enough sulfate to keep blood flowing. Certainly cholesterol plays a role, but the problem lies in lack of sulfate, not excess of cholesterol. The accumulation of cholesterol is a secondary phenomenon.

To test this hypothesis, one would presume you could fix heart disease if you eased the lack of sulfated compounds. Here we circle back to Lester Morrison and his work in the 50’s and 60’s, reversing vascular disease with SULFATED-chondroitin. Did you get that? It’s been proven clinically already. This hypothesis has legs.

WWW:What will work for me. This is enormously satisfying to me. It feels right. We have the physics of fluid flow match the observation of biological compounds relationship to sulfated compounds, to external electromagnetic forces. It also fits that our diet, which has shifted to more manufactured, carbohydrate laden food, has lost the key food items that supplied us with sulfate: eggs, crucifers, alliums, garlic, animals. Eat the WHOLE animal. It’s cartilage that has sulfate in it.  Bone broth is rich in sulfate. Back to gnawing on chicken bones. I’m in.

Pop Quiz

  1. When you push two magnets against each other, and they push back against each other, you create the same effect as red cells lined with cholesterol sulfate have in capillaries.   T or F                                                    Answer: Bingo. You got it. That’s the key.
  2. Lack of sulfate leads to accumulation of cholesterol as a secondary, dysfunctional way of harvesting sulfate, needed to make an artery lining slippery. T or F                                                                                            Answer. If you answer true, you now have become an A student
  3. Cholesterol plays a role in heart disease. T or F                                            Answer. True. It plays a role but only as a garbage dump after it’s relinquished its sulfate, indicating that it’s the lack of sulfate that really drives the bus.
  4. It makes sense for me to take a statin to reverse my heart disease.   T or F

If you said true, read [the paper](https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4456713/) three more times and then write on the blackboard 100 times: cholesterol is a secondary player. Then report back to the class.

  1. Bone broth has magical properties. T or F                                                       Answer.   No, not magical. Just good old fashioned Grandma’s food chemistry. We need the protein of meat, but also the sulfate of cartilage leached out be gentle simmering of bones all night, ……. or eggs, broccoli, garlic, onion, kale, cabbage.

Sulfate: Maybe it All begins with Sulfate

Sulfate: Maybe it All begins with Sulfate

References:  Holistic Primary Care,  Theor Biol Med Model,

You’ve probably heard the term -sulfate added on to many medical terms. For example: chondroitin sulfate. You might have shrugged it off like it was just an add on salt, and no big deal. In that, you may be very, very wrong. At least, you are if Stephanie Senneff from MIT is right. At last March’s Clinical and Scientific Insights Conference in San Francisco Dr. Senneff had a breakout session on sulfate and it’s importance. In sum, she argues this is one of the foundational causes of most diseases. Whoa! That’s big. How can she claim that?

Here is her logic based on proven experimental literature and known chemical principles. The sulfate anion, a combination of sulfur and oxygen, is the fourth most common anion in out bodies. It plays many critical roles detoxing drugs, digesting food, building our intracellular matrix, preventing blood from coagulating when passing through tiny capillaries. Lots and lots of roles. And where does it start? Ironically, in your skin with exposure to sunlight. A combination of red cells, cholesterol, sunlight and vitamin D are all necessary ingredients to make the sulfate anion. Senneff describes our skin as our solar powered battery because it extracts the energy of sunlight through the enzyme Endothelial Nitric Oxide Synthetase that turns the energy of sunlight into the sulfate anion in your skin.
At this point, sunlight and sulfate make two new and unrecognized molecules, vitamin D sulfate and cholesterol sulfate. The Vitamin D sulfate is water soluble and can travel everywhere. The Vitamin D you take in a pill doesn’t have the sulfate attached, so can’t dissolve in water (blood) so doesn’t have near the effectiveness of the sulfated form. But ditto for the cholesterol. It’s hard to get sufficient Vitamin D from oral supplementation alone, making sunlight a critical link for good health. Hmmm….don’t you just plain feel better when you get sunlight. The principle remains, many hormones, vitamins, fats have to be sulfated to be transported in the blood.

The foundational necessity of sulfate comes down to the physics of fluid flow in your blood and blood vessels. Cholesterol sulfate lines the outside of red blood cells creating a negatively charged field so that red cells repel each other, allowing them not to stick together as they travel through all your tiny capillaries and not rupture. That same negative charge carried by sulfate creates a behavior of water atoms on the surface of blood vessels that make them super slippery, almost like a teflon surface. In fact, that effect of sulfate may be central to the actual biology of how heart disease gets started. That’s for next week.

WWW.What will work for me. If sulfate is important, where can I get it in my diet? Well, ever wondered why garlic is such a potent herb? Loaded with sulfate! And the whole broccoli, kale, cabbage family. Loads of it. Eggs. Ditto. And sunshine? Yeah, I know the dermatologists goes nuts over too much of it. But without it, you don’t make the sulfate ion in your skin. This may be another clue why Vitamin D studies haven’t always panned out. You can’t just take the pure D3. It’s sulfated D3 that’s the portable form. Like cholesterol sulfate, the portable form. That role of sulfate making our blood vessels slippery makes sulfate central to our bodies being able to be multicellular. It allows us to distribute energy and get rid of gunk. After all, glutathione is based on sulfur. On and on and on. Eat more garlic.

Pop Quiz

1. Sulfate ions are key to making water insoluble compounds soluble and that has its impact felt on what crucial vitamin/hormone?                                Answer: Vitamin D

 

2. Humans can live without sunlight? T or F                                    False. We get sick, not just from lack of Vitamin D,but also lack of sulfate creation by sun in our skin.

 

3. Human red cells don’t stick to each other because they have a halo of?                      Answer: Negatively charged sulfate atoms.

 

4. Blood vessels are slippery because they have a surface layer of water atoms set up by…?                    Answer: Negatively charged sulfate atoms

 

5. I can get more sulfate in my diet by eating what foods?                                   Answer: Kale, garlic, eggs, broccoli, Brussel’s sprouts.

 

Bergamot – a Food Answer for Statins

Bergemot – a Food Answer for Statins

References:  International Jr of CardiologyScientific ResearchWikipedia,  BioMed ResearchReggio do Calabria,

Ever heard of Bergamot? Not me! You should. It’s an ancient hybrid of mandarin oranges, pumalo and lemons but is now grown as its own fruit mostly in the Reggio de Calabria region of Italy and a few other isolated Mediterranean locations. It’s not been used much outside of Italy, except perhaps as the flavor of Earl Gray Tea. There is an herb called bergamot but that is in the mint family and completely unrelated. This article is about the orange-like fruit with its unique compounds melitidin and brutieridin which have statin like qualities.

Yes, statin like qualities. We know red yeast rice has statin like effects, but bergamot has not been well known. In one study, bergamot was added to rosuvastatin to see if there was similar or additional effects. There were! The bergamot lowered the LDL fraction all by itself, but additionally lowered markers of oxidative stress. This is the real driver of blood vessel damage. You can measure markers like malondialdehyde, oxyLDL receptor LOX-1 and phosphoPKB, (in research labs, not in practice) which are all biomarkers of oxidative vascular damage, in peripheral polymorphonuclear cells.

Another study from Italy looked at both cholesterol and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease markers against the use of bergamot. These are both independent markers of risk for subsequent heart attacks and strokes. Bergamot had pretty impressive effects. In the group receiving the bergamot extract of 650 mg twice a day, a statistically significant reduction of fasting plasma glucose ( 118 to 98) , serum LDL cholesterol (162 to 101) and triglycerides (232 – 160) alongside with an increase of HDL cholesterol (38 to 49) was found. Liver functions showing fatty liver dropped too. ALT went from 54 to 36 and AST from 54 to 41. Wow!
Now, all of those same changes can be made by eating less high glycemic foods. Cut out all grains and sugar and eat lots of greens, healthy oils and vegetables and you can get much of the same. Or get ketogenic with 20 grams of carbs a day and you will see all the same effects.

WWW. What Will work for me. My eternal struggle to find a sensible role for statins keeps coming up short. And when I find a natural food that nature has made for us, I get great satisfaction. Bergamot has just been released as a supplement you can purchase. I’m adding it to my protocol for heart disease reversal. I am looking for folks who want to try it for three months and see what happens to an otherwise stable situation. I suspect it will have overlap for any condition that benefits from lower blood sugar: Alzheimer’s and cancer to name two.

Pop Quiz

  1. Bergamot is an herb that helps heart disease. T or F
    False. Get the details right. It’s an orange family fruit. The herb smells nice but is unrelated.
  2. Bergamot appears to lower heart disease risk factors more than any other single food. T or F
    That is probably true
  3. We have great research showing that it reduces heart attacks. T or F
    False. And we never will. There is no money behind this. It costs millions to follow people for years. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t. It just hasn’t been clinically proven. These two papers simply show that it has the same chemical effect as statins and lowers the key risk factors. You have to make a leap of faith to assume it would help. Probably reasonable well founded leap, but still not proven.
  4. If you have fatty liver, you should take bergamot. T or FAbsolutely true. Fatty liver is a dangerous marker for both vascular disease, but also for sudden, unexpected liver failure. That’s worse! Getting rid of fatty liver is a big deal.
  5. I need a prescription to get Bergamot. T or FFalse. I have it in my office. MD Custom Pharmacy has it. Amazon has it. Don’t get the essential oil. You want the orange extract. The oil is a mint family extract.

 

ADHD: Zinc and Copper

ADHD: Zinc and Copper

References:  ZRT BlogProgress in NeuropsychopharmacologyActa Paediatrica,

We have been reporting on the roll of Zinc and Copper in cognitive decline in adults. It should come as little surprise that children have cognitive issues when their zinc and copper aren’t properly tuned. With all the recent reporting about lead in Flint, Michigan, increased awareness about the dangers of lead are now common knowledge. But imbedded in the Flint story has also been data showing excess copper in many water systems, including Flint’s.

The human body needs a very fine balance of copper and zinc. Copper is needed to make dopamine. Dopamine is a happy hormone when properly balanced leads to alertness and good motivation. But too much copper makes for too much dopamine, which then turns into norepinephrine, leading to irritability, hyperactivity, impulsivity, agitation and aggressiveness. Hmm. Sounds like ADHD to me. Most ADHD meds work by increasing dopamine. But with excess copper, that won’t happen. In fact, you get the opposite. And excess copper blocks the production of serotonin, another happy hormone resulting in depression and anxiety. A randomized trial of adults with ADHD showed the same thing; those with higher copper levels had worse response to treatment than those with lower copper levels. Conclusion: too much copper isn’t good for you.
What about zinc? Well, zinc and copper behave a bit like a teeter-totter. One goes up when the other goes down. Living in a world of copper pipes that leach copper, just like lead pipes leach lead, we are all getting too much copper. And as a consequence, most of us have too like zinc. What impact does that have on ADHD? Many studies have proven that zinc deficiency plays a strong role in ADHD. A recent study from Egypt showed a direct inverse relationship with zinc levels and hyperactivity. Those with the lowest levels of zinc had the worst problems with conduct, anxiety, hyperactivity. Hence, it’s not hard to show that kids with the lowest levels of zinc have the worst symptoms.
Guess what happens when you resupply zinc back? Your teeter totter balances back. Rising zinc lowers copper. And research in ADHD has shown exactly that. When 400 kids with ADHD were given zinc at 150 mg a day for 12 weeks, those given the zinc had markedly less (statistically significant) hyperactivity, oppositional behavior and improved attention. 150 mg is a whopping big dose of zinc and is safe only in the short term, like 10 weeks. But even 15 mg a day for 10 weeks results in significantly better behavior and attention.
Did you get all that? We know zinc plays a big role in adults but this was news to me, it’s effect on kids with ADHD. Considering that zinc is so critical to a healthy brain, it’s not surprising. Particularly considering the diet of most American kids, not a lot of: oysters, beans, nuts, clams, and whole grains and dairy. Maybe the dairy. But then, there is the issue of A1 milk with dairy, so nix that.
WWW.What will work for me. I’m taking zinc myself to keep my Zinc level above my copper as a function of brain health. Most of the folks I’ve measured it in require 25-50 mg extra a day to increase their zinc above their copper, and even then it takes a year to get there. I have seen so many people with zinc levels in the 50s, when it should be in the 90-100s, I’m not surprised that it has an effect. That low has to be problematic, when hundreds of enzymes use zinc as their focus. Our immune system requires it for proper functioning. I’ve heard of one serious zinc toxicity case, so I do know you can take too much. Get it measured.

Pop Quiz

  1. Zinc supplementation is helpful in ADHD. T or F

Bingo. In a nutshell.

Zinc is common in fruits and vegetables. T or F

Well, more so in sea food like oysters and clams, nuts, whole grains and dairy.

There are studies showing that 150 mg of zinc is safe? T or F

It’s true, if you only take it for 12 weeks, the length of the study here. Otherwise, it can lower copper too far.

4.  Zinc and copper are both in some odd relationship to each other, with copper driving zinc down, and vice versa. Like a teeter totter.

Yup, yup, yup

Too much copper is bad for ADHD. T or F

Again, yes. And that is why you need zinc supplementation to lower your copper level. I suspect we are going to find that too much copper is bad for lots of mental health problems. To follow