Archive for May, 2017

New research shows a way to preserve your precious eyesight

The exciting information that Bill Sardi brought us on the program Saturday was so powerful and life changing for some folks that I thought I’ better repeat at least some highlights. Most of us probably know someone who is struggling with macular degeneration or has a parent that suffers with it. Do them a giant favor and forward this article to them. They can listen to the show by clicking here.

Macular Degeneration (MD) causes more people to lose their eyesight than cataracts and glaucoma combined—more than 10 million Americans are affected. (The photo above illustrates the effect and it can be worse.) Furthermore, even people with perfect vision should pay attention if one of their parents had the problem. That’s because 45% are also likely to develop the disease in their lifetimes. Sadly, until now, there has been no proven way to prevent MD. Nor is there a proven treatment for the most common type (dry). The therapy for the fast-progressing wet type is expensive and involves monthly injections into the eyeball. (Yikes. Some science suggests that the drugs used in those injections might cause blindness.)

There hasn’t even been an early warning of MD…just the prospect of surprising and terrifying news during an eye exam. Now an FDA-approved test can predict MD. This test measures how long it takes our eyes to adapt to a dark environment after having been exposed to bright light. If a person’s eyes take 6.5 or more minutes to make that transition, they can expect to develop macular degeneration within 4 years—unless they know the right things to do.

“Popular” is not the same thing as “effective”. For example, you may be familiar with the Age Related Eye Disease (AREDs) antioxidant supplement formulated by the National Eye Institute and marketed most widely by Bausch + Lomb under the name PreserVision®. That combination has been shown to slow the worsening of MD (25% slowing over 10 years), but it does not stop the loss of vision or restore what has been lost. Worse yet, for 2 of 4 genetic types, it even makes matters worse.

One supplement has recently been shown to do what we really need. Longevinex®, formulated by Bill Sardi, is not new. People have been taking it for various reasons, e.g. to protect their hearts or slow the effects of aging. Surprisingly, many consumers reported that they also experienced a major improvement in their eyesight…even the reversing macular degeneration. And, that observation was not just made by consumers. An eye doctor at a VA hospital said he saw reversals of MD among many patients using Longevinex. As impressive as these testimonials are, they are not science per se.

Then Dr. Stuart Richer OD, PhD*, in a small study of elderly subjects with dry macular degeneration, discovered that roughly 86% of subjects significantly reduced the time it took for their eyes to adapt to the dark when taking Longevinex. That means it had reversed the process that is predictive of macular degeneration.

Sure, it would be great to have a larger and longer study proving the benefits of Longevinex for Macular Degeneration. Unfortunately, too many of us cannot wait that long. Such studies take years and many millions of dollars. But, it is even worse in the case of a natural nutritional supplement because current law forbids a nutrient to say it prevents or treats a disease—no matter what the research shows! Bill Sardi tried to conduct a study on Longevinex for macular degeneration but the FDA said he would have to declare it a drug. Also, he has found that eye doctors do not refer patients for such tests. (Is there just too much money to be made giving those eye injections?)

If you have a family history of MD or have been diagnosed with it, what do you have to lose by trying Longevinex? At the least you would be supporting the health of your heart and gaining other benefits you can read about in my article on resveratrol. (Note. Plain resveratrol is only 1/6 as effective Longevinex which combines a safe dose of herbal antioxidants (resveratrol and quercetin) with vitamin D, a metal binder (IP6 phytate from rice bran) and DNA-repairing nucleotides (RNA).)

Preliminary studies suggest that Vitamin B3 (as nicotinamide or niacinamide) and zinc also help protect the eyes against MD. Those are contained in another Bill Sardi formulated product I greatly admire and personally use, Molecular Multi. A clean diet and UV-blue filtering sunglasses may also help.

* Dr. Stuart Richer OD, PhD is Director of the Ocular Preventive Medicine at the Captain James A Lovell Federal Health Care Facility, North Chicago, IL, and President of the Ocular Nutrition Society. He announced that discovery at the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision & Ophthalmology (ARVO), Baltimore, MD, May 8, 2017

 

Could MORE cups of coffee reduce blood pressure?

In last week’s blog I discussed: The great debates about Fat, Salt, Chocolate, what is too much OR TOO LITTLE? It appears that coffee may also have different and surprising effects at various levels of consumption. Below I cherry pick from an article by Jacob Schor ND, FABNO in Natural Medicine Journal.

Dr. Schor reviewed a study conducted with 63,257 Chinese participants, aged 45 to 74 years over a period of 9.5 years. The researchers controlled for “height, weight, lifetime tobacco use, current physical activity, sleep duration, and medical history” so that they could focus on intake of coffee (and tea). Oddly, they noticed that high blood pressure was more common among participants who were female, those who had never smoked, those who were more physically active and those who did not drink alcohol. It was less surprising that hypertension was more common among those who were older, had less education and ranked higher on the body mass index.

Since coffee tends to rev us up, it would not come as a surprise to most people that it could increase blood pressure. Doctors know coffee affects several factors such as the sympathetic nervous system, the adrenals, kidneys, the energy system and it signals blood vessels to constrict. In the study, drinking less than one cup of coffee a day was not associated with hypertension. Drinking one to three cups of coffee per day (at 237 mL, nearly 8 ounce cups) was linked to increased blood pressure.

But, here is where it gets pretty interesting. Drinking more than three cups a day seemed to lower blood pressure. How is that possible? Well, it appears that there are other constituents of coffee that have effects that counters those of caffeine. For example, coffee contains potassium which relaxes blood vessels and promotes the creation of nitric oxide. Five cups of coffee can deliver about ¼ the daily need for potassium. Coffee also contains Chlorogenic acid (a polyphenol) which tends to lower blood pressure. At higher intake amounts, the other components of coffee seem to tilt the balance to the benefit side.

Higher coffee intake also seems to lower the risk of liver disease. I found that information in another analysis of data from that same study.

What is the takeaway from all this? Should we work to drink 4 or more cups of coffee a day? (If so, hopefully, organically grown and not as sugary coffee drinks.) Personally, I don’t think that is the best answer. There are other, more nutritious, sources of potassium. Think acorn squash, avocado, beans, sweet potato, spinach, potato, Swiss chard, raisins, prunes, tomato, and as I’m sure you already know, banana. Those foods as well as spices, fruits, vegetables, red wine, olive oil and cocoa provide the benefits of polyphenols and antioxidants that are in coffee.

If your blood pressure stays in what your doctor says is the normal range, maybe that means whatever amount of coffee you are drinking is okay.  

 

 

The great debates about Fat, Salt, Chocolate, what is too much OR TOO LITTLE?

If a little is good, more is better, right? That does seem to be the American way. We can have too little of good things and miss the benefits. Unfortunately, we can also get too much of even a very good thing. Well-meaning but misguided government agencies often lead us to one extreme or the other. To find the right balance can mean investigating beyond the headlines. Here are 3 cases in point:

  • For decades, the public was warned that fat in foods was the enemy. That silly advice resulted in a slew of unhealthful carb-loaded fat-free foods and an explosion of obesity and diabetes. My easy-read little book on the subject (Fat Free Folly) explains how that occurred and gives science-based advice about choosing good fats vs. the bad ones. Implementing a smart-fat / low crap-carb* diet is now a lot easier. Our friend Fred Pescatore, MD just published an exciting book detailing the advice that he gives to his red-carpet worthy celebrity patients. The A-List Diet: Lose up to 15 Pounds and Look and Feel Younger in Just 2 Weeks contains 100 delicious recipes, and easy-to-follow meal plans.
  • Chocolate. When I was in natural foods retailing years ago, I remember that chocolate was supposedly bad for us. (Maybe it was the puritanical principle that if it tastes / feels good it must be evil.) Therefore, many manufacturers began to substitute carob (from the pea family) for chocolate. While carob is healthful, it is certainly no competition for chocolate in the flavor department. Now we know that chocolate contains powerful antioxidants and is, for example, associated with potentially reducing inflammation and blood pressure as well as lowering the risk of various cardiovascular events. We also all understand that dark chocolate is better than milk chocolate although some studies do not differentiate. Less well known is that science has shown that benefits peak at a certain intake and then begin to decrease. STUDY of men. STUDY of women. With really high consumption chocolate can even become a liability! The sweet spot (yes, I noticed the pun) may be something like 3-5 servings a week of an average portion size**. I use muscle testing as a double check and find that after having chocolate a couple of days in a row, my body wants a day off.
  • Salt / sodium. Let’s start with the fact that animals will travel distances to find a “salt lick”. Like the other minerals in those deposits, salt is an essential nutrient. Sodium helps balance fluid inside and outside cells as well as being important to the function of nerve tissue and muscles. There was an article this week in the Dallas paper on the trial of a man who murdered 4 women. The defense explained that this guy had brain injury from sports-related concussions, post-traumatic stress disorder and was on a cocktail of psychiatric medications. This was already a setup for a perfect storm, but the insanity plea also noted that the final trigger for the rampage was low sodium levels. The lack of salt contributed to swelling in the brain and confusion. (I have heard of the “Twinkie defense” but the “Low sodium defense” is a new one to me.)

Dogma has it that folks with high blood pressure should reduce sodium intake. However, a recent large scale study calls that idea into question. ARTICLE. This quote is from that article, but I added the emphasis: “the researchers found that the study participants who consumed less than 2,500 milligrams of sodium a day had higher blood pressure than participants who consumed higher amounts of sodium.” I have grave misgivings about the government’s push to force lower sodium intake. (Should we take their advice with a grain of salt?) But, I also worry about people who get a huge amount of sodium from eating processed foods. Besides the uncertainty about the health effects of gigantic amounts of salt, those foods pose other problems and are typically low in potassium which balances sodium.

Moderation in general may be the key rather than trying to force any component of the diet to artificially high or low levels. Also, each person is Individual and generalized rules may not apply.

* (“crap-carb” is my highly scientific term for the refined carbohydrates (e.g. sugar and starch) that have become a blight on the American food supply.)

** I only had access to the whole study on women. That one said the average portion of chocolate for women age 62 and over was 19 grams which is like the standard US portion size, 20 grams (3/4 ounce). Younger women in the study averaged 30 gram portions. For a moment, I thought maybe the younger females ate more because of monthly cravings, but the youngest in the study was 48. Note: this study did not separate milk chocolate from


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