Heart of the Matter – Dietary Villains

Is the role of cholesterol in heart disease really one of the biggest myths in the history of medicine? For the last four decades we’ve been told that saturated fat clogs our arteries and high cholesterol causes heart disease. It has spawned a multi-billion dollar drug and food industry of “cholesterol free” products promising to lower our cholesterol and decrease our risk of heart disease.

But what if it all isn’t true? What if it’s never been proven that saturated fat causes heart disease?

http://youtu.be/rDVf-00w5gk

Top heart doctor: Unprocessed fatty foods may actually be good for you

ButterFour decades of medical wisdom that cutting down on saturated fats reduces our risk of heart disease may be wrong, a top cardiologist has said. Fatty foods that have not been processed – such as butter, cheese, eggs and yoghurt – can even be good for the heart, and repeated advice that we should cut our fat intake may have actually increased risks of heart disease, said Dr Aseem Malhotra.

Writing in the British Medical Journal, he argues that saturated fats have been “demonised” since a major study in 1970 linked increased levels of heart disease with high cholesterol and high saturated fat intake.

The NHS currently recommends that the average man should eat no more than 30g of saturated fat a day and women no more than 20g. However, Dr Malhotra, a specialist at Croydon University Hospital, said that cutting sugar out of our diets should be a far greater priority.

He told The Independent: “From the analysis of the independent evidence that I have done, saturated fat from non-processed food is not harmful and probably beneficial. Butter, cheese, yoghurt and eggs are generally healthy and not detrimental. The food industry has profited from the low-fat mantra for decades because foods that are marketed as low-fat are often loaded with sugar. We are now learning that added sugar in food is driving the obesity epidemic and the rise in diabetes and cardiovascular disease.”

A recent study indicated that 75 per cent of acute heart attack patients have normal cholesterol concentrations, suggesting that cholesterol levels are not the real problem, Dr Malhotra argued.

He also pointed to figures suggesting the amount of fat consumed in the US has gone down in the past 30 years while obesity rates have risen.

Bad diet advice has also led to millions of patients being prescribed statins to control their blood pressure, he argues, when simply adopting a Mediterranean diet might be more effective.

However, Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said: “Studies on the link between diet and disease frequently produce conflicting results because, unlike drug trials, it’s very difficult to undertake a properly controlled, randomised study. However, people with highest cholesterol levels are at highest risk of a heart attack.

Ketogenic Diets and Bipolar Disorder: New Case Studies

Researching the viability of ketogenic diets for therapeutic usage was one of the original interests that launched this blog. And while there is growing data for brain cancers and even a Cochran review for the use of ketogenic diets in epilepsy, the bipolar story has always been theoretical.

Ketogenic (very low carbohydrate and low protein) diets should work a bit like the mood stabilizer depakote in regulating unstable moods in bipolar disorder, making them an interesting option, should the research pan out. I explore the research and details in this post:

A Dietary Treatment for Bipolar Disorder?

But, as I stated in that article, there were no randomized controlled trials, not even a pilot trial, and the only two case studies I had unearthed had one guy getting psychotic on Atkins induction and another one where a hospitalized bipolar woman showed no benefit (but despite reported enthusiasm and being in an inpatient unit where her food was supposedly entirely controlled, she never achieved ketosis).

But the other day PubMed emailed me a new paper with links to the following article: The ketogenic diet for type II bipolar disorder. Thanks to the good Dr. Eades I was able to see the full text without getting a librarian to request it for me.

And here we have not one, but two rather well documented cases of bipolar II disorder in women, beginning in youth with some hypomania, in one person predictable seasonal depressions in the summer and a bit of mania in the spring. Both women had bad responses (such as suicide attempts and suicidal thoughts) to antidepressant trials and one gained weight on quetiapine. They were tried on lamotrigine, an anticonvulsant and mood stabilizer, with okay results (one woman was finally able to maintain a job and be functional). One tried a ketogenic diet to help with some irritable bowel symptoms, the other just wanted to try the diet. One woman ate raw cream, grassfed beef, organic pork, free range chicken, and seafood. The other ate mostly chicken, fish, and coconut oil with 2-3 cups of vegetables a day. Both monitored their urine with ketostix or Ketone Care Test Strips most days for several months, achieving mild to moderate ketosis on most days. Both women eventually discontinued the lamotrigine and reported better symptom control with the diet than with medication.

One woman described her irritability going away and a sense of calm. Also “having my head screwed on straight–well, it’s definitely worth giving up pie.” She said her symptoms seemed better with a ketone level of 15mg/dl vs 5 mg/dl in the urine. The other woman noted that if she remained gluten-free, she felt much better, even though she had never been diagnosed with celiac disease.

Neither woman had any adverse consequences and they remained stable on the diet for 2-3 years at the time the paper was published.

The paper details how a slight acidosis achieved with a ketogenic diet results in decreased intracellular sodium accumulation, which is the mechanism by which all anticonvulsants which are also mood stabilizers appear to work. In addition, the paper details some possible pitfalls of a ketogenic diet, such as difficulty maintaining it in a world of twinkies and coca-cola, and the risk of kidney stones. The author recommends >2.5 liters a day of fluids and a potassium citrate supplement to alkinilize the urine, which is done routinely in pediatric clinics where ketogenic diets are used for seizures, but may not be be necessary in adults. There is a long-term review of the ketogenic diets in kids (though I’m not a fan of the ingredients in some of the formulas used for tube-feeding some of these kids – soybean oil, soybean oil and more soybean oil) talking about complications over 6 years. Since these kids were often very ill with many other debilitating conditions, it is hard to attribute the complications (sepsis, cardiomyopathy, lipid pneumonia) to the diet itself.

Lipids were measured in one woman from a vegetarian to an omnivorous to a ketogenic diet. As is expected her trigs dropped and her LDL and HDL went up on the ketogenic diet. Total cholesterol to HDL ratio (the best cheap test I know of relating to total LDL particle number, with a lower ratio being better) on the vegetarian diet was 4.47, 3.78 on the omnivorous diet, and 3.74 on the ketogenic diet.

All in all, the paper is a nice illustration of two motivated patients achieving remission of their bipolar symptoms (which they had dealt with for decades) with a free-living ketogenic diet (and some other supplements, though each woman took different ones, for example, probiotics and omega 3). Two anecdotes isn’t a huge amount of data, but it is intriguing, and I would say the time for a randomized controlled trial of ketogenic diets in bipolar disorder is way overdue.

(Final note as I was in a bit of a hurry when I wrote the post at first… I did want to say there is a *lot* about these case study diets that could be therapeutic. No processed food, no sugar, lots of nutrients, lots of omega 3, low in gluten or gluten-free, likely low in histamine. The tracking of the ketones and one women’s experience that the 15mg/dl ketone level felt more calming to her along with the sensible biologic mechanism makes the ketosis part plausible, but it is important to note these other possible factors).

Source: primal docs

Grapeseed Extract Better than Chemo at Halting Advanced Cancer

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Thanks to research coming out of the University of Colorado Cancer Center, and published in the medical journal Cancer Letters, those suffering from colon and rectal cancers might soon be able to ditch the cancer-causing ‘medicine’ called chemotherapy, and instead utilize a simple herbal extract with better success. Grapeseed extract (GSE) has recently been proven to prohibit cancerous cell growth and to instigate cancer cell death.

The bioactive compounds in grapeseed extract are what make chemotherapy seem like an archaic form of treatment, especially considering that chemo and radiation treatments can backfire and cause cancer to come back from remission 10 times stronger than when it was first detected. These treatments kill healthy cells, but GSE compounds including curcumin and resveratrol leave healthy cells in tact while demolishing cancerous ones.

GSE is so effective that it treats stage IV cancers with astonishing success. One of the doctors involved with the study stated, “It required less than half the concentration of GSE to suppress cell growth and kill 50 percent of stage IV cells than it did to achieve similar results in the stage II cells.” They go on to explain that GSE targets multiple mutations in cells to eliminate them and stop their proliferation in the body.

Just 150 to 250 mg per day of GSE can help to prevent colon and rectal cancers while also preventing numerous other ailments.

Curcumin and Resveratrol – More Cancer Fighter

A bio-active compound in GSE and popular supplement, resveratrol has been found to help with everything from diabetes to anti-aging; from heart disease to cancer. Chinese medicine practitioners have long known that resveratrol (found in Hu Zhang or Japanese Knotwood) can even help repair cracks in arterial linings. It has been used for more than 1500 years to treat numerous medical problems and to increase longevity.

 

If you can’t get your hands on grapeseed extract or simply want another cancer-preventing option. look no further than curcumin supplementation. One study on curcumins (which is the compound found in the spice turmeric) from the University of Kansas’ Cancer Center and Medical Center, indicated that curcumin inhibits the growth of esophageal cancer cell lines, though how it works “is not well understood”.

Source:  naturalsociety