Monthly Archives: January 2013

Seasonal Calorie Dislocation Syndrome

Calorie Seasonal Dislocation Syndrome – The Real Cause of Obesity

Reference:  Personal Hypothesis

Ok, have some fun with this one.  But it is actually serious.  I’m not sure this is the final name we should be calling it but follow this train of logic.  We are all increasingly overweight which leads to disastrous consequences, personally, medically and nationally.  Here is one suggested explanation.

Our historical diet, prior to agriculture, had seasonal cycles to it.  We typically would have 6 months of wet and warm weather followed by 6 months of dry or cold.  During dry or cold, our calories likely came more from animal sources.   At the end of each wet and warm season, we would find calorie rich plant based foods.  Today to call those foods apples, pears, potatoes, corn, wheat, squash.  When we found an apple tree, our job was to eat as many apples as we could in the few days that tree was ripe and before the next band of predators would chase us away.  When you are gorging on apples, you are eating more calories than you need.  The calories you are eating are also mostly carbohydrates.  Now, it makes sense to posit that putting on some weight would be a useful feature for those creatures that are looking at a 6 month cycle of fewer calories that stay still and are easily gathered.  Animals don’t like to be “harvested” and tend to be harder to catch than a pumpkin.

Putting on weight is a great strategy at the beginning of winter.  It helps you survive the 6 months of relative calorie deprivation.  Many mammals do that with fierce determination – polar bears being the most obvious.  Packing on weight in anticipation of that 6 month period would be something for which the human organism would be well served to do.  Hence, insulin plays a very strong role. When we see carbohydrates, we are getting the signal that it is the end of summer, and winter is coming.  Carbohydrates are only going to be around for about 2 months, so pack it on.  You will make it through the winter if you save enough.  Those who avoided the carbs in hunter gatherer days, would have had a much harder time making it through winter.

The conundrum is obvious.  We aren’t hunter gatherers anymore.  Our carbohydrates are available year around. We have “dislocated” the timing of the delivery of foods to our body. That dislocates our endocrine response.  We have carbs available to us year around.  You want apples in February?  No problem.  We get them from Chili.  You want corn in April?  It’s in the freezer.  You want bread in March – we have huge storage silos of wheat.

This underlines the critical role our macronutrients (protein, fat, carbohydrates) play as ENDOCRINE signals, as much as calories and building blocks.  The seasonal pattern of our historical past is now disrupted.  We have carbohydrates year around.  Our endocrine response is thereby to store calories, year around.

WWW. What Will Work for Me.  I’m making an experiment with myself.  One month on Atkins is now done.  I’ve lost 11 pounds.  I was never hungry.  My blood sugar dropped from 112 to 72 in four days.  And has stayed there.  I’m bored to tears with the lack of variety.  But I’m not hungry.  It is winter.  I’m doing what my ancestors did in January.  But, oh, for May when the greens show up.  I think I may start back on greens a bit sooner.  I’m fascinated that my endocrine system changed my blood sugar in just 4 days so dramatically.  And I never felt hungry all month.


Being Overweight Just a Bit Isn’t so Bad

Being Overweight Just a Bit Isn’t so Bad

Reference: Flegal JAMA 2013 Carnethon  JAMA August 2012Reuters Health News

We have always said that your BMI was the easiest way to measure if you are a bit overweight.  The sweet spot of BMI is about 22.  You can calculate your BMI by measuring your weight in pounds divided by your height in inches, squared – then multiply by 703.  (This makes up for the metric system measurement that has weight in kilos divided by height in meters, squared.   A BMI over 25 means you are overweight and over 30 means you are obese.  The term “overweight” suggests that you are not ideal, and there are consequences to this.

Hmmm.  Not so fast, says Dr Flegal in the JAMA study from earlier this month.  She looked at almost 100 studies covering some 3 million people for mortality related to weight.   Over 270,000 deaths occurred during this time period.  It would be hard to duplicate this study and find different results as this study is so massive.  And what she found was that there is a LOWER mortality for those whose weight is in the BMI range of 25-30, and that folks with BMI of 30-35, mortality was about the same as those in the 22-25 range.  This is startling.   This really pulls the rug out from previous assumptions about overweight and what its range should be.

Where does the confusion come from?  The clue may well come from the Carnethon reference above.  Mercedes Carnethon looked at mortality related to having diabetes, whether you are overweight or not.  It appears that this may ferret out some of the confusion.  What Carnethon found was that folks who were normal weight, but with diabetes died at a much higher rate than if they were overweight.  It may not be the weight, per se, but how your body handles it.   There is a pretty clear connection with being overweight and becoming diabetic.  That is known.  So it’s easy to make the inference that being overweight will automatically lead to being diabetic.  But it doesn’t.  Some escape.   And it appears that being diabetic and normal weight is really a problem.  That occurs in folks who are “metabolically obese but normal weight”.    They have little muscle mass and lots of visceral fat.

The good news is that lifestyle changes can modulate all of this.  Folks who are normal weight but metabolically obese can find out how they are doing by getting a body fat measurement, instead of just weighing themselves.  A blood sugar, a blood pressure and cholesterol testing will assemble the whole picture of whether your body handles it or not.  The cure?  Reducing your body fat and increasing your muscle mass makes all the difference in the world.  The key is exercise, better eating, avoiding carbs……you’ve heard all this.

WWW. What Will Work for Me?  You know the answer.  We are now becoming much more aware of glucose changes at even subtle levels.  When I exercise, I can see my blood sugar drop as much as 10 points in a day.  Same when I get off all white bread and sugar.  My BMI is 25.5.  Almost “perfect” but my body fat percentage is 19%, at the very top end of “ok”.  That may be why my blood sugar and tendency to be diabetic is just hovering at the edge of trouble.  I’m at the edge.  I would rather stand back a bit from that edge.

Modified Citrus Pectin: Antidote Extraordinaire

Modified Citrus Pectin: Antidote Extraordinaire

Reference.  Jr National Cancer Institute  (Strum S, Scholz M, McDermed J, McCulloch M, Eliaz I. Modified citrus pectin slows PSA doubling time: a pilot clinical trial. Paper presented at: International Conference on Diet and Prevention of Cancer; May 1999; Tampere, Finland.)

Modified Citrus Pectin (MCP) is derived from the pith of oranges, grapefruits and lemons.  It is long chains of galacturonic acid with neutral sugar side chains on each group.   Regular pectins are much longer and not absorbable at all.  They are abundant in apple peels and citrus fruits.  Pectins help make jam get solid.  When they get gently broken into pieces, carefully preserving the neutral sugars on the side chains, a very interesting chemical emerges: MCP.  MCP is absorbed through your gut and gets into your blood.  From there, it is widely distributed in your body and does some very interesting things.  For one, MCP binds to galectins.

And what do galectins do?  They coat early cancers and protect them from detection by the immune system.  Galectin 3 is also thought to help cancers hook onto and attach to blood vessel attachment sites, thereby helping cancer colonies spread.  That makes galectins a prime target for intervention.  MCP is that intervention.  And it’s a simple food product, not an expensive, patented, toxic pharmaceutical.

What are the effects we have observed so far in cancer with MCP?  In experimental models MCP has been shown to block the aggregation of early cancer colonies.  It has been shown to block the growth of new blood vessels into cancers, and has blocked the docking of spreading cancer cells.  All with no toxicity.  Now those are pretty important steps in the life of a cancer.   What happens with human cancers?  Data is pretty preliminary but early studies suggest a dramatic increase in doubling time of prostate cancer.  This makes MCP active in multiple stages of any cancer: the initiation, angiogenesis (new blood vessels) and metastasis (spreading).

That’s not all MCP does.  Interestingly enough, all those repeating sugar molecules make an effective chemical egg-carton.  They become a natural trap for heavy metals.  Again, evidence is preliminary but this may be the best way to detox someone with heavy metal toxicity.  As much as a 62% reduction in mercury burden has been recorded after one year of taking MCP.

WWW.  What will work for me?  MCP sounds like a very potent food derived supplement.  With no toxicity, it seems to have a dramatic impact on many cancers and heavy metals.  The thought arises, if it is so good on cancer after it emerges, and it blocks cancer spreading and even getting started at the earliest of stages, perhaps it is a candidate of a supplement to be taken more widely by all of us.  Hmmm.  I’m looking into it.  But you might stay tuned.  Chewing on your next orange peel won’t do it.  The miracle seems to be in the gentle processing that makes it active.

Galectin-3, New Super-Marker for Trouble

Galectin-3   New Super Marker for Cancer

Reference:  Cancer Letters, (2111) Newlaczyl  p 123-128

Ever heard of galectins?  You will.  And you got it here first.  They are very interesting little proteins that usually are in the nucleus, mitochondria and inner cell systems of your cell.  They have a region on them that recognizes sugar molecules of various kinds.  They are in the “lectin” family of chemicals.   That little stretch of DNA that codes for that recognition has been incredibly preserved throughout nature from the very highest to the very lowest of organisms.  This means their basic biology is intrinsic to very life itself.   Something changes as we develop cancer.   Galectins start showing up on the surface instead of deep inside the sell.  They play a very important role in cancer cell growth, transformation, apoptosis, angiogenesis, adhesion, invasion and metastasis.   Whoa!  That means they are part of how we get cancer – beginning to end.


When then emerge on the outside, galectins seem to be are the little protective shields on the first tiny cancer colony that surrounds the cancer cells and allows them to escape detection by the immune system.  In effect, they are the trench coat and the fedora hat on the spy.  That way the cancer colony can grow undisturbed by your immune system that comes along and recognizes that little bundle of cells as “self” instead of “non-self”.  But they are even more insidious than that.  They are also the rope and the hook that allow the spy to through their rope over a wall and scale into the inner sanctum.  Galectins also help cancer cells to stick and invade in new places, all the while protecting them from being discovered.   Cancer doesn’t just start overnight.  It starts, very likely, in early childhood.  At least we can trace risks to childhood.  We know that we can find colonies of cells in midlife that do not progress on to disease is we live “healthy” life styles.  Much of what is defined as healthy comes down to what you already know and understand like avoiding sugar, getting good exercise, controlling your weight and your diabetes.

What makes galectins interesting is that they have now been approved as a test.  Labcorp is now running the test and most hospitals have the ability to test it.  Here is where it fits with cancer.   Folks in the top quintile (fifth) of range have triple the mortality of folks in the bottom.  It has been approved for congestive heart failure and diabetes too.  As opposed to CRP, galectin-3 is not an observer, it is the culprit.  When you measure it, you are measuring real, direct, risk.  This is really interesting.

WWW.  What will work for me.  This test will be part of my dashboard of data.  And what makes it even more compelling is that you can alter it and modulate it by what you eat. That will be next week when we talk about orange peels.   That means when you make those “healthy” life style choices, we have the potential to gauge just how effective your efforts are being, other than losing a pound or two of weight.