Archive for the ‘Cancer’ Category

Getting the Optimal Levels of Vitamin D

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

Measuring Your Vitamin D Status

The only true way to know your vitamin D status, and therefore your proper daily dose, is with a blood test, in which the metabolically-active form of vitamin D, 25-hydroxvitamin D (25-OH-D, or calcidiol) is measured. Relatively recently (over the past 5 to 7 years) when vitamin D’s role in the prevention of degenerative diseases beyond prevention of osteoporosis was recognized, the medical experts recommended a minimum target blood level of 30 ng/ml of 25-hydroxyvitamin D. (I emphasize that “minimum target level” means just that, “minimum!” It does not mean “optimal.”) Therefore, the reference lab ranges was raised to 32 – 100 ng/ml. Most experts in the field of researching and treating vitamin D deficiencies have recommended that “optimal” serum 25-OH-D levels begin at 42 ng/ml, with the ideal target range being achieved between 50 – 80 ng/ml.

What Dose of Vitamin D is Optimal?

The vitamin D dose required to attain a serum level range of 50 – 80 ng/ml will vary from person to person, mostly based upon body mass (weight) and sun exposure. Although this will vary considerably, a 150 lb person who supplements with 2000 IU of vitamin D per day may attain blood level range of 25-OH-D between 30 and 45 ng/ml, depending upon sun exposure. To attain the optimal levels between 50 and 80 ng/ml that same person may need to supplement with 4000 IU per day or more.

On the other hand, a person who weighs 225 lbs. may require 10,000 IU/day to maintain 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood serum levels between 50 and 80 ng/ml. In all instances, the only way to accurately know the “true daily dosage” for a particular person would be to first estimate a starting vitamin D dose, get a serum 25-OH vitamin D test; adjust the dose accordingly, and get re-tested several weeks later.


For more information, read my full article on vitamin D, “D Day: An All-Out Assault on Chronic Disease with Vitamin D” on www.laddmcnamara.com under the “In the News” section.

Resveratrol, a “Drug” for the Pharmaceutical Companies?

Friday, January 30th, 2009

Last Sunday, CBS’s “60 Minutes” program ran a story about the incredible benefits of the antioxidant RESVERATROL, obtained from the skin of red grapes.  There are numerous medical studies showing the myriad benefits that resveratrol provides.  Like GRAPE SEED EXTRACT, resveratrol helps reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), can benefit those with autoimmune diseases, reduces the risk of age-onset dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, etc., etc., ….and appears to slow the aging process itself! 

These benefits were extolled in the TV story about resveratrol.  All of it true, and known for at least a decade or more.

Now, this is what REALLY BOTHERED ME:  Not once during this story did they mention the words, “nutritional supplement” or “antioxidant.”  Instead, they kept referring to resveratrol as a “drug.”  As I watched, I couldn’t figure out why they kept saying “the drug,” rather than “the supplement,” or “the antioxidant.”  Then it became crystal clear what was happening.

The researchers in this story (and they are not the only researchers studying resveratrol) had formed a corporation and sold their lab (and souls) to a pharmaceutical company!  Ah-ha!  Furthermore, the sell-out researchers said how they are working on formulating a SYNTHETIC FORM of resveratrol that then can be distributed (sold for massive profit after a patent is obtained) by a pharmaceutical company.  You see, pharmaceutical companies cannot patent a naturally-occurring nutrient, and therefore cannot make huge profits.  That’s why they are always trying to come up with a synthetic form of an effective naturally-occurring substance.  

It’s not about giving people real information so we all can benefit now, it’s obviously about twisting or hiding the information so that they can make an insane profit.  Are they in it for TRUE HEALTH, or solely for the profit?  Certainly there is nothing wrong with making a profit, …the thing that bothers me is holding back what already works very well (and making a reasonable profit off of such sales), and making people believe that our salvation lies with the synthetic formulations that can only be provided from the pharmaceutical industry ….labled as “drugs” so that they can make crushing profits ….at our expense.

This is exactly what happened with the hormone drug Provera.  Decades ago progresterone was discovered from a plant source, and would work just fine in the human body, and would be the identical structure as that found in the human body (known as “bio-identical hormones”).  However, the pharmaceutical company could not make big profits off of the natural form, and therefore tinkered with the molecule until they got it to work (partially), and then could sell it as “Provera.”  However, it does not have all the benefits of progesterone, and there are suggestions that it may increase the risk for heart disease and breast cancer.  But, to the pharmaceutical companies the profit is worth the risk.

Now we have pharmaceutical companies trying to take powerful, effective, safe, and available antioxidant nutrients like resveratrol, and make them into a synthetic form so that they can claim they have a “miracle drug” that provides so many benefits.  On “60 Minutes” the scientists said that the “drug would be ready in about 5 years or so.”

Well, the antioxidant nutrient ALREADY EXISTS!  You can get the benefits of resveratrol (and grape seed extract, and turmeric extract, and others) NOW!  Unfortunately, the pharmacuetical companies know that doctors, the media, and most people only accept such news to as “real” when a pharmaceutical company announces its findings.  Unfortunatley, too few of people realize that there are amazing benefits that they can be enjoying now from many antioxidant nutrients, including resveratrol. 

Don’t be a victim to pharmaceutical company greed.  Don’t wait to obtain the benefits “5 years from now.” Start enjoying the benefits of resveratrol, grape seed extract, turmeric extract now.  (See some of the ”In the News” updates here on my website about turmeric extract, co-enzyme Q10, vitamin D, etc.)

Grape Seed Extract Prevents and Arrests Cancer

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

In past and recent studies, grape seed extract was shown to stop the growth of human colorectal cancer cells AND cause colorectal cancer cells to undergo apoptosis, …self destruction. Furthermore, recent studies have given further evidence that grape seed extract also inhibits breast cancer, oral cancer, and prostate cancer.  It has been shown to inhibit angiogenesis (growth of blood vessels feeding cancer cells) in breast cancer cells, and most likely works similarly in all types of cancers. Research continues to show evidence that grape seed extract is both safe and effective in the prevention of many types of cancers, induce self-induced destruction (apoptosis) of cancer once present, reduce the risk of arterial plaque formation, maintain heart health, reduce inflammation in all areas of the body (including helping arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraine headaches, asthma and allergies, and provide numerous other health benefits, including crossing the blood-brain barrier and reduce damage and aging of brain cells (which would then may slow or prevent dementia). The extent of the benefits of grape seed extract alone is absolutely astounding.

Since 1995, in my medical practice I recommended grape seed extract (in addition to a broad spectrum multi-antioxidant, chelated mineral formulation, and fish oil) to my patients as a way to boost the immune system, and decrease the risk of heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, inflammatory diseases, multiple sclerosis, autoimmune diseases, and many other medical maladies. The results I personally witnessed was so impressive that I learned to recommend even higher doses of grape seed extract, on the order of 360 to 720 mg per day (for more severe cases).

Recent References (scores more are available): 

Kaur M, Mandair R, Agarwal R, Agarwal C.   Grape seed extract induces cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in human colon carcinoma cells.   Nutr Cancer. 2008;60 Suppl 1:2-11.

Leifert WR, Abeywardena MY.   Grape seed and red wine polyphenol extracts inhibit cellular cholesterol uptake, cell proliferation, and 5-lipoxygenase activity.  Nutr Res. 2008 Dec;28(12):842-50. Epub 2008 Nov 8.

Engelbrecht AM, Mattheyse M, Ellis B, Loos B, Thomas M, Smith R, Peters S, Smith C, Myburgh K.   Proanthocyanidin from grape seeds inactivates the PI3-kinase/PKB pathway and induces apoptosis in a colon cancer cell line.   Cancer Lett. 2007 Dec 8;258(1):144-53. Epub 2007 Oct 17.

Lu J, Zhang K, Chen S, Wen W.  Grape seed extract inhibits VEGF expression via reducing HIF-1{alpha} protein expression.  Carcinogenesis. 2009 Jan 8. [Epub ahead of print]

Wen W, Lu J, Zhang K, Chen S.  Grape seed extract inhibits angiogenesis via suppression of the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor signaling pathway.  Cancer Prev Res (Phila Pa). 2008 Dec;1(7):554-61.

Ramchandani AG, Karibasappa GS, Pakhale SS.  Antitumor-promoting effects of polyphenolic extracts from seedless and seeded Indian grapes.  J Environ Pathol Toxicol Oncol. 2008;27(4):321-31.

Huang TT, Shang XJ, Yao GH, Ge JP, Teng WH, Sun Y, Huang YF.  [Grape seed extract inhibits the growth of prostate cancer PC-3 cells]  Zhonghua Nan Ke Xue. 2008 Apr;14(4):331-3.

Chatelain K, Phippen S, McCabe J, Teeters CA, O’Malley S, Kingsley K.  Cranberry and Grape Seed Extracts Inhibit the Proliferative Phenotype of Oral Squamous Cell Carcinomas.  Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2008 Jul 23. [Epub ahead of print]

Soy vs. Whey Protein: Confused Over Which One is Better?

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

Although I get asked, “Which is better, soy or whey protein?” …my question back is, “Better for what?” Each one is an excellent sources of protein, and each one has its own benefits.  I suggest to use at least both sources of protein in order to obtain the benefits each provide.  We need to consume protein in order to make and replace protein; and athletes and body-builders are very familiar with whey protein as an excellent source of “bio-available” protein.

Protein is essential for producing antibodies, hormones, new muscle tissue, and the oxygen-carrying protein in blood, hemoglobin. All protein lost or destroyed within the body must be replaced by bio-available protein in order for new tissue to be constructed.

Our bodies are able to manufacture many of the amino acids that are used to produce protein; however, there are nine “essential” amino acids that we cannot manufacture, but must obtain from the protein in our food. Not all protein sources provide these essential amino acids. For example, whey is an excellent source of glutathione and the branched chain essential amino acids L-leucine, L-valine and L-isoleucine.

The protein in most beans and vegetables may contain all the essential amino acids, but they are not naturally concentrated in foods, and thus vegans often do not readily obtain adequate amounts of protein, particularly the branch-chained amino acids. However, this can be compensated for by consuming concentrated protein sources, such as found within quality meal-replacement drinks.

Almost daily, I drink one or two nutritious meal-replacement drinks. These drinks not only contain a blend of both soy and whey proteins, they also contain protein from two additional sources, that of rice and pea. By obtaining a blend of proteins from these four sources one is obtaining all the essential amino acids and the benefits that each provide.

Soybeans contain high amounts of protein. Soy protein and soy isoflavones have been found to help reduce the symptoms of menopause, help reduce the risk of osteoporosis, and to help prevent a number of hormone-related diseases, such as endometrial cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer. (Neither soy nor soy isoflavones increase the risk of breast cancer; in fact quite the opposite, they help maintain breast health.)

In addition, soy has been observed to help maintain heart health. Even the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated 25 grams of soy protein per day can reduce the chances of developing heart disease.

Soy protein has also been shown to help the thyroid, which can help with obtaining a leaner body. In the case of a soy allergy, the opposite would be true …reduced metabolism and weight gain.

If you are not allergic to soy, there are very few side effects to including soy in your diet. The most common side-effect of soy is the production of intestinal gas. Flatulence is a common side-effect of all beans (including soy), due to the bowel bacteria’s fermenting effect on the indigestible sugars contained within beans. Humans do not have the enzyme alpha-galactosidase necessary to break down the sugars that the bowel bacteria feast upon and produce gas.

Beano, purchased over-the-counter, contains alpha galactosidase, and regular use may be able to reduce gas production by breaking down the oligosaccharides (bean sugars) before the bacteria in the large bowel has a chance to ferment the sugar.

For those who are allergic to soy, gas would not be the only problem present, but significant diarrhea and abdominal bloating, hives, skin rash, and worst case, breathing problems. Soy isoflavones are not the same as pure soy protein; and even if one is allergic to soy it wound not mean they were allergic to soy isoflavones, as soy protein (the allergen of the allergy) is not found in soy isoflavones.

Whey protein is used by athletes and body builders because of the higher level of essential amino acids, particularly the branched chain amino acids that are metabolized in the muscle not the liver. Protein is critical in repairing not only muscle, but many other body tissues. Whey is helpful for weight loss and building muscle in those who work out, but will do little to help build muscle in those with sedentary lifestyles.

Whey protein affects the digestive tract in much the same way as yogurt. Therefore, it is considered to be a natural remedy for many intestinal issues. In fact, it is often used in Sweden to help prevent bowel problems, gas, and constipation. However, since whey is obtained from a dairy source (it is the liquid by-product of curdled milk … the solid becomes cheese, and the liquid protein part is dried as a source for whey). Therefore, those who are lactose intolerant should avoid whey protein, and steer towards soy protein only, as gas, constipation, and bloating can be significant. Over-the-counter Lactaid is available to help provide the enzyme necessary to break down dairy-derived lactose sugar found in whey products.

Since both soy and whey protein may lead to constipation, it is important to find a meal-replacement drink that provides adequate fiber to overcome this side-effect.

Whey protein makes a good alternative to those who are allergic to soy, and vice-versa, but the blend of soy and whey will render the user with the benefits of each, particularly if blended with adequate fiber, as mentioned. While companies selling protein supplements tout the benefits of whatever they’re selling as “the best,” whether it is soy, whey, or a combination of rice and pea protein, which together the last two alone hit numbers between 85 to 90% bioavailable protein, it is good to know that at least one company was wise enough to combine all four protein sources in their meal-replacement drinks, along with fiber, low-glycemic sugar, and vitamins and minerals.  The balance is its greatest strength as a perfect meal replacement.

A summary of the benefits of Soy and Whey Proteins, and that you can have BOTH:

Soy Protein

  • Soy protein has been found to be higher in non-essential amino
  • The consumption of 25-50 grams of soy protein daily may enhance production of thyroid stimulation hormones that regulate the metabolic rate, thereby making it easier for us to lose both body weight and fat and create a leaner body.
  • Soy is good for athletes: in a study from Romania endurance athletes experienced lean body mass, increased strength, and decrease fatigue while training. (Revue Roumaine de Physiologie 29, 3-4:63-70, 1992)
  • It contains more protein by weight than beef, fish or chicken, and contains less fat (especially saturated fat than meat).
  • The FDA has approved the following statement: ”Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol that include 25 grams of soy protein a day may reduce the risk of heart disease.”
  • Other studies show that soy protein isolate has the ability to effectively lower LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood
  • Soy may improve kidney functioning
  •  
    Whey Protein

  • Whey protein assists in losing excess weight and maintaining optimal weight
  • Whey protein, combined with resistance training, even those who have immunosuppressive disorders (AIDS) can increase body cell mass, muscle mass and muscle strength, according to a study in AIDS (15, 18:2431-40, 2001).
  • Whey protein is superior to other proteins when it comes to anabolic response. It has consistently been shown to stimulate the anabolic hormones after a workout. In other words, whey protein improves athletic performance.
  • It mixes well and is low in fat and lactose, and has a superior amino acid profile
  • Whey protein lacks no essential amino acids. It needs no fortification or additive to make it complete. It is complete in its natural form
  • Whey enhances the immune system because it raises glutathione levels. Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that helps our immune cells stay charged to help ward off cancer, bacterial infection and viruses. In other words, it helps improve the immune system.
  • Whey is also very high in glutamine and the branch chain amino acids L-leucine, L-valine and L-isoleucine, important aminos for repairing muscle
  • Whey acts as a natural antibacterial or anti-viral
  • Whey reduces the symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Whey reduces liver damage
  • Whey improves blood pressure
  • Whey improves the function of the digestive system
  • Whey reduces gastric mucosal injury seen in ulcerative colitis
  • How Much Vitamin D is Too Much?

    Thursday, December 4th, 2008

    I get this question all the time, because vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin.  If you have not already done so, please go to the “In the News” section of this website and please read my article on vitamin D.   That should answer this question adequately. 

    Although vitamin D is fat soluble the level that has been shown to be very effective in maintaining health (decreasing the risk of heart disease and cancer) is between 1000 and 10,000 IU.   Vitamin D also helps with many other health situations as well.  As I mentioned in my article, vitamin D does not seem to approach toxic levels until you consume 50,000 IU per day or more.  That is why I suggest one does not supplement with more than 10,000 IU of vitamin D per day …unless instructed by their own physician.

    Personally, I take 5000 IU of vitamin D per day, and I advocate that every adult consider taking at least 1000 to 2000 IU per day.  (Children can safely take 400 to 1000 IU per day; however, one needs to discuss supplementation with their physician …a physician who is keenly aware of the benefits and high safety level of vitamin D.)