Category Archives: 8. Bone Health

Vitamin K2 Builds Stronger Bones

Vitamin K2 Builds Stronger Bones

Reference: European Jr of Endocrinology    Published Nov 21, 2016

Vitamin K2 is going to be the story of the decade when it comes to bone health. Why? Well, hip fracture is currently happening at a rate of 17% of elderly Caucasian women and 6% of Caucasian men. African Americans are lucky, breaking their hips much less frequently than Caucasian women. But the incidence of osteoporosis is increasing around the world with rates dramatically rising in countries where doubling and tripling of rates of fracture in the last few decades is not uncommon. And hip fracture is not safe for you! It dramatically increases your mortality in the following 12 months with as many as a third of folks never escaping hospitals or chronic care facilities after their fractures.

Kids need K2 also. You reach maximum bone density around age 20-25 and that predicts what will happen to you over your remaining 60 years. Did you know that the rate of forearm fracture in kids has increased from 262 / 100,000 in 1969 to 399.8 in 1999? And lots of evidence aligns that with the loss of K2 in our diet, and our kids’ diets.

What’s happening? My interpretation is that around the world we are industrializing our food supply, raising our animals on feedlots. In that context, they are losing grass as a food source, and consequently losing their source of Vitamin K which they change into K2. When we humans eat those animals, or their milk products, we don’t get K2.

And that’s why I believe this article this week ought to raise eyebrows. In this study, 148 postmenopausal women who already had osteopenia were given Vitamin K2. It was randomized, placebo controlled in methodology, so should be valid. And the results were simple and significant. K2 prevented the loss of trabecular bone compared to the placebo group. This is the first study I’ve seen in which Uncarboxylated Osteocalcin was measured and was proven to decrease (that’s good) by 65%. You want your osteocalcin to be carboxylated as then it is able to bind calcium into bone. This validates the COMB study in which 77 volunteers increased bone density in just one year by 2-4 times the amount of those taking bisphonates. The COMB study wasn’t randomized. They were volunteers. So, it’s been questioned.

I’ve had a tricky time finding what happens to food when animals are moved from pasture to feedlot. I remember one reference that compared Gouda cheese from America to Dutch gouda and saw a 90% difference. But I can’t provide that reference. There is lots of evidencethat the bacteria that make gouda actually make K2 themselves. This makes gouda a very good source of K2.

Can you get enough K2 in your diet today? Well, no. To get 45 mcg, the minimum you should have a day, you would need to eat 5 Liters of yogurt, 8 eggs, 5 liters of milk and 8 pounds of beef. Not practical. If your meat is grass raised, well, better. We just don’t know how much.

If you look at guidelines for preventing hip fracture and osteoporosis, you don’t see mention of K2 yet. It should be there. If you know it, you are ahead of national guidelines. Now that we can measure uncarboxylated osteocalcin, it will soon become apparent and it will become part of our annual examination.

www.What Will Work for Me. I think K2 is a critical nutrient that every human should be on. We used to get it when we ate grass raised animals. Back when we were hunter gatherers, or primitive farmers, that was easy. It isn’t easy now. But one in six of us breaking a hip should give us pause and passion. Use that passion to buy some gouda cheese, and take K2 for the rest of your life. Think of the investment in you that makes. Ask your doctor to order your uncarboxylated osteocalcin. (Have a sense of humor…..they will look at you like you were a little daft.)

Pop Quiz

‪1. My risk of breaking a hip is?

‪Women 17%, Men 6%, African American Less, Asian in Asia, Less

‪2. If I take K2 I can expect my osteocalcin to become decarboxylated. T or F

False. It becomes carboxylated, and that is what actives it. Simple put, it completes the basket that holds calcium tightly. Without K2, you can’t hold calcium tightly.

‪3. This weeks study has validity because? It was a randomized, placebo controlled study. Nice work

‪4. The COMB study showed that folks decreased their risk of hip fracture? T or F

False. That wasn’t proven. But their bone density increased up to 8% within one year. And in my practice, I’ve seen several folks hit 7% with a year.

‪5. K2 is widely appreciated in national guidelines. T or F

Not yet. Hardly made a peep.

Lead’s Effect May Last LIFETIMES (plural)

Lead’s Effect May Last Lifetimes

Published:  March 21, 2016

Reference: Science News 2016, Translational Psychiatry

The recent controversy about lead in Flint, Michigan has raised the topic of lead poisoning again. Lead removal from America has been one of the public health victories of the last century.   We have gotten it out of our lead pipes, our house paint, our gasoline. It was only 1996 that lead was finally banned from gasoline. But did you know that it persists still in chocolate? In Nigeria, gasoline still has lead in it, and chocolate from Nigeria has up to 460 times the lead in it compared to the cocoa bean. Hence, eating many chocolate products gives children more lead than California says is safe.

Now, we are beginning to understand just how lead does its dirty work. It’s half life in blood is only about 30 days, but in your bone and teeth, where most goes, it hangs around for 25 years. Guilarte, in a study published last year in Translational Psychiatry, showed that baby rats fed tiny amounts of lead lost critical neurons in their brains that are essential for attention and memory, and gained dopamine receptors, in a pattern that fits with schizophrenia. They hypothesize that lead does its damage by replacing zinc. Zinc’s role in the cell is to help switch-proteins fold properly to turn on and turn off DNA.   Lead replaces zinc but doesn’t let the switches happen. Jacqueline Ordemann of Bates College proposed in the Journal Metallomics this year, that lead affects the switches in our brains that affect our sensitivity to schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinsons, three brain diseases that have increased dramatically in the last century. Another author, Ruden, published a report in Scientific Reports in January this year showing that lead affects methyl groups on DNA in an atypical fashion. Methyl groups on DNA are how we turn off and on DNA replications. That is the means by which lead poisoning can be passed on to subsequent generations, through abnormal methylation of DNA, and subsequent altered copying of the DNA code.   Ruden compares our DNA to being the hardware of life, but methylation is the software that teaches the cell how to utilize the messages on the DNA. If lead messes that up, it is possible that the effect will last generations. To prove that, one would have to get a population exposed, and not exposed and follow it for generations. That is isn’t going to happen.

It is possible to pull lead out of the body, but not easily from the brain. Lead is not water soluble, so it gets soaked up into fat tissue. That’s what the brain is. And each cell in the brain is shrink wrapped with other cells, called glia, that make an added barrier to removing lead.   So little lead equalizes across that extra barrier that once lead is in you, it’s there to stay, at least in your brain. We may be able to remove it from your body fat, your bone marrow, or other body tissues, but your brain seems to be quite resistant.

Now that we understand some of the mechanisms of lead toxicity, it is incumbent on us to avoid the stuff rather than wait for more convincing research.

WWW.What will work for me? I’m helpless with chocolate. I love the stuff. Knowing what I know about lead, now, gives me resolve to avoid it until I see better evidence that the lead has been cleaned up.   Consumerlabs rates different chocolate sources for lead levels. I have chelated about 100 people in my practice for lead exposure and find that removing it improves thyroid function, white counts, concentration. And looking around my house, I found lead pellets for my air rifle, sitting on a shelf. I haven’t used them for years, but there they were, sitting on my shelf.

 

Pop Quiz

  1. Lead is a normal micronutrient needed for human metabolism. T or F

False. Go back to square one and read the article. It’s a toxin, through and through.

  1. We have banned most sources of lead in America over a hundred years ago. T or F

False. We got it out of gasoline only as of 1996, and many houses still have an undercoat of lead paint and our nations’ water supply comes through many pipes with lead, even though lead pipes were banned years ago.

  1. Lead alters the DNA in our cells, making for abnormal interpretation of the message on the DNA. T or F

Yup

  1. Lead lingers a long time in bones and teeth. T or F

True. Maybe as long as 25 years, or longer in brains.

  1. Chocolate has lead in it. T or F

True. I weep, I mourn, I deny, but it’s true. I’ve heard rumor that Lindt chocolate doesn’t. Nigeria has leaded gasoline, and that may be the source.

Quercetin – A Novel Super-Antioxidant

Quercetin for Cancer, Bones and Allergies

References:  Tsuji J Bone and Min Metab 2013, Mei JCAM 2013Kaur JNCI

What’s Quercetin?  You probably haven’t heard of it.  It if a flavone antioxidant that is present in lots of vegetables.  Onions and apples are always cited and there have been off and on news articles about quercetin helping reduce prostate cancer and breast cancer.  But Quercetin is in lots of other foods that you may not eat as often like capers, cilantro, kale, watercress, cranberries and plums.  In fact, many of the cancer reducing effects of vegetables may be attributable to the beneficial effects of quercetin.

So, just how does that work?  There appear to be a variety of pathways in which quercetin inhibits cancer cells.  Slowing down the rapid cell cycle of cancer cells and inducing them to die when they are meant to (apoptosis) be one of quercitin’s strong points.  It also binds to the estrogen receptors found in breast cancer and also in other solid tumors.   One study showed that it binds just as tightly as tamoxifen.  Because of that effect, it slows the multiplication and spreading of breast cancer cells.   When you combine quercetin and curcumin (sounds like a recipe for curry) there is evidence that you can slow the development of polyps in family’s that make multiple colonic polyps.  So, it slows the cell cycle in cancer and seems to increase the rate at which cancer cells initiate their auto-destruct cycle, something normal cells do on schedule.  That should make quercetin a must for all cancer patients.

What does it do for bone health?   Just about every woman in America should be concerned about keeping her bones healthy, and just about every woman is slightly on the low side.   We have a whole class of drugs that inhibit the natural resorption of bone (alendronate and friends) that have not lived up to promises – too many horrible side effects.   This is where quercetin shines.  It promotes the stimulation of new bone.   Taking drugs like prednisone (sometimes necessary for some illnesses) really thins out bone.   Compared to alendronate, quercetin is better at preventing that.   Just 150 mg a day and you can protect your bones!

There are other effects of quercetin that make it a valuable supplement.   It has been shown to tune up mitochondria.   Does that means better sports performance?  In one study of young swimmers, there was no measured effect.  But another study showed a clear beneficial effect based on measuring oxygen consumption.   And it’s mentioned in many sources for helping congestive heart failure.   It is also a great allergy medication and has been shown to reduce allergic rhinitis in folks with seasonal allergies.

What’s happened to the quercetin content of our foods?  As farmers develop foods to taste sweeter, look prettier, produce bigger yields; they have also reduced the quercetin content.   “Wilder” more original plants have higher levels of all anti-oxidants in them compared to the modern version.  For example, crab apples have more antioxidants and quercetin than modern grocery store apples.

WWW.   What will work for me?   I’m fascinated about the concept of our wilder foods having more cancer reducing effects in them compared to our modern, sweeter and prettier looking versions.   Our modern diet has less quercetin in it because of the genetic engineering of our foods, and our penchant for sugar and packaged convenient foods.   Quercetin may be one of those “pivot – point” foods that provide a bunch of benefits that are loosely ascribed to eating more vegetables.  I’ve tried it now for sneezing and I think I sneezed less this weekend.   I took 500 mg two days in a row.  But ragweed is almost over.  But I’m going to be talking about quercetin to my cancer clients.  Beat me to the punch and get on 500 mg a day.

(Want to read a great review article with lots of References: Check out Life Extension Magazine, Oct 2114)

Pop Quiz

  1. Quercetin is an antioxidant found in most meats and cheeses.  T or F

False.  In many fruits and vegetables (none in meat), but not all.  Apples and onions get mentioned a lot.  Cilantro and capers are superstars.

  1. Cancer cells don’t multiply as fast when exposed to quercetin.  T or F

Right!

  1. Cancer cells get prompted to die on time instead of hanging around when exposed to quercetin.  T or F

Right again.

  1. Quercetin might be as good as many modern bone density drugs for those with osteopenia.  T or F

True, particularly if you have to take oral steroids.

  1. Quercetin may be a great allergy pill substitute.  T or F

Yes.