Monthly Archives: August 2018

Ramen Spectroscopy Can Measure Whether You Have Eaten Your Vegetables

References: Nobel PrizeJ Acad Nutr Diet,

“Did you finish your vegetables?” said your mother when you were three. You twisted and squirmed and didn’t show her the peas on the floor. Now, she could tell. The application is called Ramen spectroscopy and it was discovered by an Indian physicist back in the 1920s, earning him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1930. That Nobel Prize has come to fruition with an application in modern medicine.

Add that scattering effect to the invention of lasers and you can make a machine that can detect the amount of carotenoids in your blood, aka, whether you finished your vegetables and ate enough of them. (Want the basic science: click here)
Even Dr. Oz has gotten on the bandwagon with a show on antioxidants.

This ability to measure the adequacy of antioxidants is no trivial matter. We all think we eat enough vegetables. In Dr. Oz’s Youtube video, there are only a few blue T-shirts (adequate) compared to red t-shirts (deficient). On the machine that can measure this, I came out at 29,000 when adequate is over 40,000. I would have gotten a yellow T-shirt.
Antioxidants play a huge role in protecting your body from damage, particularly cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s. Well, that’s the Trifecta of modern illness. As we age we make fewer of our own antioxidants and willingly expose ourselves to many oxidizing foods and chemicals: sugar for one. Cigarettes, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, lectins, on and on…..and finally, just plain aging. Part of aging is the loss of ability to make your own “antioxidants”, notably glutathione and CoQ10. A diet rich in anti-oxidants helps forestall all that. But are you really getting enough? How can you tell? This is where lists about what are the best foods with antioxidants comes to bear. We all cheer when chocolate is high on that list. Berries, vegetables, vegetables, vegetables…. less sugar, less sugar, less sugar. Avoid weed killer, glyphosate, smoking, preservatives….and on and on.
But now we can measure it! A company called Pharmanex has taken the technology of Raman Photon scattering and made a simple device that you grab with your hand. In 30 seconds, no pain, no blood, just 30 seconds of laser light on your palm and you and you get a reading back about the sufficiency of antioxidants in your blood. Plain and simple. Should it be in every doctor’s office?   Pretty shady company!  Multilevel marketing and all that.   But I do want the scanner as a motivator.

www.what will work for me. I eat tons of veges. At least I thought I did. Then I measured my own on the Ramen device. Measly one notch above inadequate. Considering that the average consumption of veges in America is 1/2 serving a day, and only if you count French fries as a vegetable. Data always helps.

Pop Quiz

  1. What is Ramen spectroscopy?                                 Answer: the scattering of light based on the inherent qualities of a molecule. (Or, as Wikipedia says, “The Raman effect is based on the interaction between the electron cloud of a sample and the external electrical field of the monochromatic light, which can create an induced dipole moment within the molecule based on its polarizability.) Did you get that?
  2. How can it measure your vegetable intake?         Answer:  Many beneficial chemicals in plants have characteristic “vibrational” frequencies when exposed to laser light, and that is what a ramen spectroscope reads.
  3. How long does it take?                                              Answer: about 30 seconds
  4. What’s the likelihood that I am eating enough veges? Answer: On the Dr Oz show on Youtube, there were only a few blue T-shirts, most were red or yellow
  5. Is this just a gimmicky sort of deal?                        Answer: what does it take you to be motivated? Some of us need data. Is this data accurate? As good as what we have got.  Do carotenoids matter?   I’m not sure.

Avoiding Lectins Reverses Endothelial Dysfunction – The Proof

References: ATVBBill Davis of Wheat Belly,

Gundry has got his smoking gun! A poster presentation at the AHA meetings with an abstract is now on the books. This is bigger than you may think. It certainly is the first step. This is exactly along the same line as Bill Davis, of Wheat Belly fame. 
Endothelial dysfunction is code word for the first step to vascular disease. Vascular disease is the process that ends up with a heart attack or stroke. Half of us are dying from it, so this is getting right to the “heart” of the matter. But Gundry has now collected and published the data that proves how you eat can reverse the first steps, and reverse the driving dynamic behind heart disease. 
What Gundry is reporting here is not the strongest of evidence because of the design of the study he has done. He took 200 folks in sequence who presented to his clinic. Higher quality studies get subjects at multiple sites with multiple varied doctors reviewing them, and randomize them with a placebo group. This study involved subjects ages 51-86, M:F ratio 3/2, with known vascular risk factors of high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, prior heart attack, a stent or heart surgery. They were enrolled in a dietary program which emphasized large amounts of leafy green vegetables, olive oil, radical reduction of grain products, legumes, nightshades, and fruits; and generous amounts of grass-fed animal proteins, emphasizing shellfish and avoiding commercial poultry. All patients were instructed to take 2-4,000 mg of high DHA fish oil, 200mg of grape seed extract, and 50 mg of Pycnogenol per day. All patients had endothelial reactivity testing before and after a 5-minute arm occlusion using the EndoPAT 2000 machine (Itamar, Israel) at baseline and at 6 months.

Their Endothelial Reactivity went from 1.88+/-0.7 to 2.25+/-0.5 (range 1.2-3.6) (p<0.01) over 6 months. Only 40/200 (20%) remained with ED, but all had increased ER numbers. Ten patients stopped the polyphenols after a normal PAT; all redeveloped Endothelial Dysfunction all over again on repeat PAT. Put simply, eating the supplements with the diet made the patients arteries get stretchier, and stopping the program made them worse again.

That’s what you want to see. A stretchy artery helps carry the pulse wave forward. A rigid, stiff artery pushes back against the heart and cuts down on the blood flow in the heart as it shortens the time between heart beats during which blood flows into cardiac vessels. Our elders called it “hardening of the arteries” and it was. The endothelium (think “the lining”) of your artery does much more. 
Your vascular tree of blood vessels is huge and the lining of it, called the “endothelium” is the largest organ in the body, considering that we have about 100,000 miles of blood vessels in our bodies. Its ability to function properly is right at the nexus of what we eat and what our cells see. Many chemicals flood into the blood from your gut and the endothelium of blood vessels is the last barrier between the outside world and your precious, vulnerable cells. A proper working endothelium is critical for many functions; filtering out dangerous chemicals, carrying the pulse wave along, watching for invading bacteria. And Gundry just proved that taking care of it is the first step in the right direction. It can be reversed. Plain and simple. 
To reiterate: Supplement with pycnogenol, fish oil, and grape seed extract. Avoid lectin-rich foods: wheat, legumes, nightshades, grains and animals fed those foods like poultry and cattle. Eat lots of green, leafy vegetables and not so many roots. And lose the sugar. In all its forms. Your arteries will heal. 
WWW.what will work for me. I already was taking the fish oil and the pycnogenol but I will start with the grape seed extract. I have an ED machine in my office and have a baseline. If I had calcium in my arteries, I would be doing this all the more passionately. I also want to start measuring the reactivity of my blood to adequate carotenoids. That’s next week. Stay tuned.

Pop Quiz

  1. What is the largest organ in the body?                                  Answer: Ok, ok, we can fight about it. The liver is the biggest of the traditional internal organs and the skin gets the prize for size. Recently the “interstitium” which is all the additional connective tissue has been touted as the biggest. But if you get down to that detail, the lining of your blood vessels wins – the endothelium.
  2. High endothelial reactivity demonstrates out of control blood pressure? T or F Answer: FALSE. No, you want a stretchy, flexible endothelium. The stiff, rigid low score means you are stiff and rigid. Getting old. Gundry showed an increase of 1.88 to 2.25 in just 6 months with his program.
  3. How does all this improvement work?                                 Answer: Stay tuned. We don’t know all the details but Gundry’s books make the arguments that the lectins in plants that set off inflammation collectively damage our endothelium. Our bodies have not had enough time to adapt to them after we came out of Africa. Avoiding bad foods is the first step. Then, providing the tools to calm down inflammation is the next layer
  4. Why fish oil on the list?                                                          Answer: Fish oil is a rich mix of omega three fats which are the precursors to building anti-inflammatory messengers. Giving more precursors pushes the balance of inflammation towards being calmed down instead of amped up which regular fats do.
  5. Why is grape seed extract included?                                   Answer: Proanthocyanidins and catechins are the potent antioxidants in grape seeds that are believed to be 20 times greater than vitamin E and 50 times greater than vitamin C

Low Histamine Diet

Low Histamine Diet

References: AJCNInter J of ImmunopathFactvfitness.comMarion Institute,

Ok, the source I started with was a bit odd. She knocked on our office door after we were closed and had the front lights turned off. She was a teacher with CIRS (Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome) who had been flying to California to see a CIRS doctor and wanted to know if we could pick up her care. When I asked her what she did that made the biggest difference, she said, “When I followed a histamine-free diet, I got better.” Histamine Free! What’s that?
Histamine is easily made in your body. It is a neurotransmitter used in your brain. It is widely present in your gut but most of it shows up in mast cells that set off allergic reactions. You block those reactions when you take an antihistamine. When you get hives, your immune system is blasting off, releasing histamine all over the place. Once it has been released, it is meant to be degraded promptly by degradation enzymes, notable Diamine Oxidase.
Here is this week’s study. If you take 14 folks who present to an allergy clinic but have negative skin testing for allergies, don’t have celiac disease but get better when placed on a low histamine diet and test them Diamine Oxidase deficiency, you find something very interesting. Those folks have a diamine oxidase activity of 7, whereas 34 normal folks without the symptoms have levels of 39. That’s a big difference. Diamine oxidase deficiency is a real entity. It’s a “condition” that leads you to being vulnerable to too much histamine.

Here is the rub. In CIRS, your innate immune system (the primitive, reactive, non-specific part) fires off constantly and without proper supervision and control by the adaptive system (precise, targeted, controlled). And it sets off histamine-like crazy. Some folks have all sorts of reactions to histamine with the least provocation. This is often matched with very high C4a, and you can see it by taking a blunt object to their backs and drawing a tic-tac-toe board – you make wheals from all the histamine release. That’s called dermatographism.
Where do you get histamine from in your diet? Fermented food is the most common source. Anything fermented. Wine, sauerkraut, eggplant, spinach, avocado, any old stale food out of the fridge, the list is very long. In fact, there is a risk of malnutrition if you take the list too seriously for too long. The goal is to cut back dramatically on any food that may be setting off symptoms and then sit tight for a few weeks. Fresh food, prepared at home with minimum spices and eaten immediately is the first step to cure. For example, fish you catch and eat promptly is ok but once it’s in the grocery store, the tiny bit of spoilage involved in shipping, packaging, and selling is enough to generate sufficient histamine to get you sick. Normal folks with enough DO activity can tolerate it. It has to be a journey of self-discovery.

What is the most common clinical symptom? Gastrointestinal distress is probably the biggest problem. Cramps and diarrhea 15 minutes after eating leftovers out of the fridge would be a pretty common clue. Reflux, urinary frequency, itching, hives, nausea and vomiting and just about everything else coming on after eating all point to the syndrome. Symptoms are so diverse, it’s easy to not consider because no two people are quite alike.

We don’t have a test for it, yet. The Diamine Oxidase test isn’t commercially available. But you can draw on your back. C4a is hard to get an accurate result but worth the try.

WWW.what will work for me. I’m trying to eat fresh vegetables as much as possible anyways. But fermented foods have many fine qualities to them. The probiotic effect of fermentation is profound and in most circumstances beneficial. And what’s not to like about promptly prepared free meat. I must say, when I was fishing last month, the fresh fish was wonderful. But I don’t have CIRS.

 

Pop Quiz

 

  1. Where does histamine come from?                                             Answer: Fermented and stale foods and some particular foods like alcohol, soy, chickpeas, peanuts, cashews…..
  2. Where is histamine concentrated in your body?                       Answer: in MAST cells in your gut and skin.
  3. Eating high histamine foods will do what?                                  Answer: Frequently set off all sorts of gut issues like cramping and diarrhea, hives, asthma….all histamine chemical effects
  4. What’s the histame free diet? Answer: Simple:                          Avoiding those foods, discovered by eating freshly made foods not on the list, and seeing how you react.
  5. What’s the cure?                                                                              Answer: Go upstream to the cause. It’s frequently CIRS brought on by mold sensitivity in a person with a vulnerable HLA type. Fix the mold and clean them up with Cholestyramine and you are on the way.

 

 

The Alkaline Diet IS the Keto Diet of Choice

The Alkaline Diet IS the Keto Diet of Choice

References: Pure WowDr AxeBook of DanielSaddleback ChurchU of BCJournal of Nutrition,

There has been a recent flurry of articles in the media about the alkaline diet with a few “expert dieticians” poo-pooing it and suggesting you should just follow the Mediterranean diet instead. What’s the confusion for? Let me straighten this out for your so that you get the gist of it.

First of all, the alkaline diet isn’t anything new. The Book of Daniel in the Bible talks about it with the first recorded RCT (Randomized, Placebo-Controlled) experiment in history. That was from 3,000 years ago. Daniel and his fellow observant Jews ate vegetables, (alkaline) and the members of Nebuchadnezzar’s court ate meat. Daniel’s crowd did better. Even got published in a reputable journal that is still read avidly (Bible). And as best I can tell, is still helping people lose weight.
What is the Daniel Diet? Or the Alkaline Diet? Vegetables. Vegetables are filled with potassium and magnesium salts which participate in making your urine pH positive, or greater than seven, which is neutral. Your blood doesn’t change its pH in any measurable fashion, but just that tiny amount enough to switch buffers. You have a complex system of buffers in your blood that helps balance your pH very precisely and exquisitely. You breathe every breath as part of that balance, so it is virtually impossible to measure the changes on a second by second basis in your blood. But you can see it in blood samples of folks eating an alkaline diet. Their red cells are coated with alkaline salts and flow separately from one another. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. And your kidneys just pump out the acid or alkali as fast as they can. In meat/animal based America, everyone’s urinary pH is quite low, around 5.5 We have kidney stones, osteoporosis, vascular disease, cancer all as possible resulting outcomes. Very very few of us eat an alkaline diet. The guy who invented, Robert Young, got way ahead of the curve and ended up in prison for practicing medicine without a license. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t right, just not licensed.

Why is this so valuable? For most of mammalian/hominid history, we were vegans and our kidneys (which control your acid-base flow, and eliminate acid or base) were designed to rid you of alkaline salts, most notably potassium or magnesium. That’s because we ate massive amounts of alkaline foods. All hominids except humans eat mostly raw plants. Gorillas eat 15 pounds of leaves a day. Orangutans, 20 pounds of green leaves (except in fruit season). Their urine is alkaline. Your kidneys can still excrete massive amounts of potassium and sodium. But not acid. With acid, we struggle a little. Humans living a hunter-gatherer lifestyle today (Hazda in Africa) still eat mostly alkaline foods. They know some 250 edible plants in the forest, which they eat. But our brains require more calories to support their energy needs, and animals became more important. About 5 million years ago, we started adding animal to our diet. We like animal. We thrived with more of it.
But animal-based foods have more sulfur salts in them, which are acid. The more animal we eat, the more acid we become. That includes cheese, milk, eggs, fish, and yes, meat. Cheese is the most acid of all because it also has lots of salt added to it. And grains are also acidic, altho a little less so.
All that acid has to flow through you, in your blood. Your blood pH can’t change and doesn’t. But your buffers do. The balance of buffers is read with exquisite sensitivity by your bone cells and every membrane in your body. You start giving up calcium carbonate to balance the buffers, which is the slippery slope of beginning osteoporosis.
What about fat? Fat is neutral. Neither acid or base. Just pH neutral. It has some baggage though. Saturated fat, when from animals, comes with animal protein, which is acidic. Unsaturated fat, from seeds, is high in omega six fats which start inflammation.
And here is the kicker. Remember, gorillas digest green leaves into short chain fatty acids. So do we. A diet rich in green vegetables is a high-fat diet. Then add olive oil and you are even better off. A green salad diet smothered with olive oil is an alkaline, healthy, Daniel diet. Get that? A vegetable-based diet is a keto diet, provided you avoid the roots and the grains. Eating spinach is actually getting fat. Keto redux. You lose weight. You have less cancer. You have less heart disease. You have fewer autoimmune diseases. Your body can heal.
That leaves you with an alkaline diet rich in leafy, green vegetables with lots of safe fats as the diet of choice. The alkaline diet is the purest form of the keto diet. The only question is whether you can be so pure. Ah, there is the rub!

www.What Will Work for me. I’m shifting my animal proportions to more vegetable. Instead of two eggs for breakfast, one egg in spinach. For lunch on the plane, I took an avocado, cut in half at home. Made a great lunch. And I’m fascinated by the Fast Mimicking diet. It’s vegan with nut oils. It’s a keto diet too. In time, we will let Robert Young out of prison and say sorry. (There’s a lot of Robert Young’s work that is pure quackery, but the alkaline part is not.)

 

Pop Quiz

  1. A diet of mostly vegetables, olive oil and a tiny bit of fish is currently called? Answer: The Mediterranean Diet (whatever that is, as all the countries around the Mediterranean have different cuisines, except for their abundant use of olive oil and vegetables)
  2. To be on an alkaline diet, you have to do what? Answer: Eat enough vegetables and little enough meat and cheese to shift your urinary pH to something greater than 7. Very hard to do. Almost no meat.
  3. How does your body balance acid flowing through the system to be excreted by your kidneys? Answer: by a system of buffers, by giving up a tiny bit of Calcium Carbonate from your bones, and by breathing a little more deeply.
  4. The first advocate for the alkaline diet has been elevated to hero status in the annals of medicine. T or F Answer: Are you kidding, he is in prison for reaching way beyond the core truth of his alkaline diet idea.
  5. What is the most recent evidence-based diet, beyond the Mediterranean Diet, that is taking the literature by storm? Answer: The Fast Mimicking Diet that adds fasting to the mix