Archive for January, 2020

SOY – finally one bit of good news

Over the years, many Healthy by Nature guests have discussed the many problems with most forms of soy. I’ll review some of that below, but first some good news:

A newly published 11-year Japanese study of almost 93,000 persons showed important benefits from certain food products made from fermented soy. The foods miso and natto were associated with a lower risk of “all cause” mortality. Natto, in particular, showed a significant association with reduced cardiovascular disease. Other forms of soy were not associate with these benefits.

You may only know miso from the soup of that name served in Asian restaurants. I often use miso paste to add flavor depth to dishes—especially vegetable soup. I recommend Miso Master Organic brand found in the refrigerated section of natural foods markets. I tried natto when I was in Japan. To me it tasted as bad as it smelled (something like a rotting used sweat sock). I’m glad to report that Kyolic, put in their blood pressure Formula 109 capsules a concentrate of the active natto property (and no icky smell). Formula 109 also includes wisely the massively studied Kyolic Aged Garlic and the calming amino acid, L-Theanine.

There is NOT GOOD NEWS  for other forms such as soy protein, soy milk, tofu, edamame, etc. 

  • Anthony Jay, PhD talked about hormone disruptors during his January 11 interview. He wrote me later to assure I knew that soy was associated with thyroid
  • Steven Gundry, MD talked about inflammatory lectins in his November 9 interview. He says that lectins (components plants create to protect themselves by being eaten by animals) are a major cause of leaky gut, arthritis, obesity and many diseases. Because soy is very high in lectins, he thinks that it is one of the worst foods. On Facebook he said: ““The soy industry lied to you to make money.” 
  • More than 75% of soy (unless certified organic) is genetically modified (GMO) and contaminated with glyphosate weed killer. Study
  • The following two quotes are from Michael Pollan in his book, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto:

“You may not think you eat a lot of corn and soybeans, but you do: 75 percent of the vegetable oils in your diet come from soy (representing 20 percent of your daily calories) and more than half of the sweeteners you consume come from corn (representing around 10 percent of daily calories).”

“The soybean itself is a notably inauspicious staple food; it contains a whole assortment of “antinutrients” – compounds that actually block the body’s absorption of vitamins and minerals, interfere with the hormonal system, and prevent the body from breaking down the proteins of the soy itself.”

The food industry talks up soy, but there are whole books on what is wrong with it. I’m glad to see the study showing benefits from fermenting soy. Fermentation reduces the problems with foods and makes them more powerful. I am a fan of Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics because it is a concentrate of many wonderful fermented foods.

“The REST of the story”

For more than 50 years, radio commentator Paul Harvey famously surprised us with “rest of the story”. These days, a fly on the wall would often hear me muttering “but what about…” as I read / listen to news reports about health. Here are three examples:

  • “The body’s ‘normal’ temperature has dropped.” As the Scientific American article reports, for nearly 150 years, 98.6° was understood to be the temperature of a healthy human. Now researchers claim based on averages that the new normal is 97.5°.

The rest of the story. Really? It is illogical that the genetics of whole populations could have changed in just a few decades. Hmmm…you know what else has changed in that time period? The incidence of thyroid insufficiency which has gone up markedly and a major symptom of low thyroid is low body temperature! The condition is under-reported and the low-temp symptom is often still present even after treatment with the synthetic thyroid drug. So, are they really talking about a new “normal” or have they basically said that on average we are sicker, so we’ll just call it normal?

Since 40% of the country is obese, should we now call that “normal”? Likewise, several studies have concluded that boys and girls are reaching puberty at younger ages. Do we change the guidelines in the textbooks, or try to control the hormone-disrupting chemicals and plastics in the environment that Dr. Jay said are to blame?

  • Sepsis. According to the CDC, “each year, at least 1.7 million adults in America develop sepsis. Nearly 270,000 Americans die [annually] as a result of sepsis. 1 in 3 patients who die in a hospital have sepsis.” Wikipedia explains: “Sepsis is caused by an inflammatory immune response triggered by an infection. Most commonly, the infection is bacterial, but it may also be fungal, viral, or protozoan.” Sepsis is the leading cause of deaths in hospitals and the incidence of it is rising by 8% per year. 

The rest of the story. Bill Sardi reported: Modern Medicine’s Aversion To Vitamin C Therapy Results In Needless Deaths From Sepsis In U.S. Hospitals Every Year. He also told me that “one published study reveals the prevalence of vitamin C deficiency is ~7% for the public at large but rises to 47.3% among hospitalized patients.  That figure approaches 100% in the ICU.” Intravenous vitamin C is extremely inexpensive.

  • A New Approach to Cancer Treatment Draws Lessons From Darwin. “Adaptive treatment” is a type that takes a break from chemo after the tumor is reduced by a certain percentage. The point is to stop before the tumor cells all become resistant to the chemo drug. Once that happens, the patient is in serious trouble. (Some farmers and smart pest control services do something similar. They leave a few critters behind to compete with the ones that have evolved resistance to the poison.) Cancer treatment is resumed when the cancer begins to grow again. This approach significantly increased the survival rate while reducing both the cost of treatment and side effects. Sounds promising.

The rest of the story. Research continues. In an early study it was projected that the optimum time to suspend treatment was when the tumor had shrunk 25%. However, to make the idea better accepted, the treatment was continued until a 50% reduction was achieved. What interests me most about this is that oncologists have been so slow to learn from the farmers, pest control and the horrible mess we’ve made by creating antibiotic resistance. I’m impressed that our friendly bacteria, which are a huge part of our immune system, can mutate to protect us as the threats change. Too little research is being done on how our microbes can be used to help with treatment and how to avoid killing them off with treatment. (Chemo damages them of course, but so do antibiotics that are used in cancer surgery…often with no thought to replacing the depleted probiotics.)

Environmental estrogens make MEN & WOMEN fat, sick and infertile

During the January 11, 2020 program, we got a wake-up call from Anthony G. Jay, PH.D. about a class of chemicals that are assaulting our bodies and brains. Dr. Jay is a Mayo Clinic researcher and the author of Estrogeneration: How Estrogenics Are Making You Fat, Sick, and Infertile. The quick review below is not a substitute for listening to that show and certainly not for reading his book.

What Xenoestrogens are. There are an increasing number of “endocrine-disruptor” chemicals in our air, food, water, consumer products and environment. (Even some foods such as soy can imbalance hormones.) They can mess with any of our hormones—for example, the thyroid. The category we discussed was xeno-estrogens. “Xeno” means “foreign”. As you know, “estrogen” is a hormone (messenger in the body) that is commonly thought of as for females. Actually, during most of the month, men have about the same blood levels as women. When hormones get out of balance, bad things can happen. Hormone-dependent breast cancer is perhaps the best known example and fake estrogens can have that effect. As the name of Dr. Jay’s book implies, these chemical impersonators can cause many more problems for both genders. The toxic xeno-estrogens can also block receptors for the real thing and interfere with normal benefits.

The problems they cause. We could start with the environment. Xenoestrogens are making whole communities of certain wildlife infertile and killing coral reefs. In humans, the chemicals are linked to Alzheimer’s, cancers (breast cancer up 250% since 1980), depression, diabetes, early-onset puberty, endometriosis, infertility (fertility down 50% since 1960), “man boobs” (even in toddlers), miscarriage and obesity (doubled since 1980). Birth control pills are hormones used to upset the balance on purpose. It appears that high estrogen levels reduce testosterone, which in addition to supporting cardiovascular health and muscle strength in both genders, also improves libido. These compounds affect the way our genes behave and that information is passed along to many future generations. That process is called “epigenetics”.

Sources of xeno-estrogens. Common sources that we discussed on the show are the plastics in water bottles, the linings of cans and paper cups and packaging. BPA is a well known member of this class and it is also sprayed on the paper used for register receipts. Beware of products claiming to be “free of BPA because they may have simply substituted BPS or one of the other BP line that have the same effects. Look at the recycling codes for a clue. Avoid #1.  Better numbers are 3, 4 and 5. Avoid storage of foods and beverages in plastic and certainly don’t microwave food in plastic.

Food additives like red food color and food contaminants such as many pesticides (especially on grains) and herbicides (think Roundup) have estrogenic effects. So, whole, natural, organic food is best. Dr. Jay says to avoid soy foods (unless fermented) because they are too strong a source of plant estrogens. Body care products (e.g. sunscreen, shampoo, and creams) with fragrances, parabens and other additives have estrogenic effects. They are a big problem because they absorb into circulation with no chance of being detoxified in the gut. Also, watch out for laundry detergent and household cleaning products. Wash new clothing because it might have been treated with these chemicals. Marijuana smoked is estrogenic, but not the edibles. This website has a list of sources (and the site I thank for the graphic) and here is another site.

Removing xeno-estrogens from our bodies. The best place to start, of course, is to avoid taking more in. We should also remember that fat cells make estrogen which, even though natural, adds to the estrogen load. Eating a lot of good green foods is a positive start on detox (and weight loss). Dr. Jay says that the Far Infrared Sauna is a big help. Use a water filter because the compounds are now in tap water. Exercise regularly. When Dr. Jay is on the next time we’ll ask him more about detoxification.

“We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.” Often attributed to Benjamin Franklin

Cancer prevention and patient support options

One hundred years ago, cancer was the #5 cause of premature death. When we began our conventional “WAR on cancer” in 1971 (almost 50 years ago) it was #3. Today it is #2 (unless you count the total of medication side effects, medical mistakes, hospital acquired infections, etc. which would push cancer back to #3). Some of that rise is due to some diseases moving down the list. Yes, what they call “survival”, still alive at 5 years, has improved. That is due mostly to folks giving up cigarettes and excessive sun exposure, plus earlier detection of cancers. However, a shocking number of people still must be treated for cancer and because conventional treatment so damages the immune system, the rates that cancer returns after 5 years are alarming. And, there has been a 250% increase in breast cancer since 1980.

If we were looking at the situation objectively from another planet, we’d have to conclude that Americans must be doing something(s) to generate more cancer and that the current treatment approach is not all that effective…in spite of the near $100 billion spent on research and a like amount spent every year on treatment! The “war” strategy has been mainly chasing some silver bullet (translate that as “drug”) to kill cancer after it has become established—i.e. we’ve been fighting the forest fire. We should be telling people how to blow out the match before it starts the fire—i.e. prevention. Science continues to discover genes linked to certain cancers and big pharma invents sophisticated (and horrendously expensive) drugs to tell the immune system what to do regarding a single gene that affects a particular cancer. Side effects abound.

However, I think the really exciting research is into how nutrients and other natural substances can change how many genes behave to avoid and even cure cancer. Although there are many kinds of cancer, the basic causes and nutritional support for them are very similar. So, don’t be afraid to read about “pancreatic cancer” or “breast cancer” even if that is not what you are worried about. Also, what is good for prevention should also be considered during treatment.

The paragraphs above are the introduction to what is a major new overhaul of the information about cancer in the website Library. If you are interested in prevention you might like to read it. If you know someone with cancer, please do them a service and send them this link. They might just find the life saving answer(s) they have been looking for.

These are the subjects on the cancer page: Causes of Cancer to avoid, Detection Options, Natural Supportive Steps (with sections on diet, gut, various supplements and remedies, body weight, toxins, alcohol, exercise, stress/anger, hormone therapy, sleep/shift work, stem cells), links to Related Pages (Building Immune Function, Pancreatic Cancer, a Survivor Story, 10 steps from Dr. Kotsanis), Treatment Options, links to outside sites with good information, past Radio Shows, Books, Charities and services for patients.

Yes, it is a lot, but for someone in the fight of their life, I think they would want as much good information as they could get and unfortunately, they will not likely hear any of this at the conventional oncology clinic.

New Year’s Health Resolutions Made Easy

Well, maybe not so much “easy” as they are potentially manageable. One reason that “turn-over-a-new-leaf” resolutions often fail is that folks bite off too much thereby setting themselves up to fail. (Some also just set a goal weight reduction rather than working on being healthy first.) Studies at Stanford University offered tips for forming good habits. They also found that making an emotional connection to the desired habit helps.

Consider tackling one of the following tips and working on that until it becomes a habit (which may take weeks). And then try another. Everyone is different, so pick the one you think might make the biggest change in your health and energy. Tackle that first. Or go for one that sounds easy and build on that success. Having the goals written out helps. Perhaps print this out and assign a month to each item (I’ve given more than 12 choices). Post the plan where you will see it daily and remember that a trip of a 1,000 miles starts with a single step.

  1. Reduce sugar in your diet. The more you remove, the better you will feel and the less you will crave it.
  2. Consider reducing your intake of grains like wheat and corn. They are starches that turn into sugar and are at the top of the list of most common allergens, but there are a lot of other reasons. Learn more from my Library article on grains.
  3. Eat more vegetables. Every study that I review, no matter what the disease focus or overall diet plan, agrees that veggies are crucial. One reason is that they are what our intestinal good guy bacteria like to eat. Frozen vegetables are okay if you can’t get fresh.
  4. Choose more organic foods. The Environmental Working Group is a great resource. They rate the foods they have found to be the most contaminated with pesticides and weedkillers and those that are safer. You can download a shopping guide and a list of hormone disrupting chemicals to avoid. CLICK HERE.
  5. Plan meals a week at a time. A lot of our nutrition indiscretions occur when we are very hungry and our survival instincts lead us zombie-like to a vending machine or drive-through window. Twenty minutes a week of planning before going to the market will make sure you have what you need. You can pull something out of the freezer or turn on the crock pot before you head out for the day.
  6. Drink sufficient water. Our cells contain a total of about 30 quarts of water. It is needed to move nutrients in, toxins out and to facilitate all the chemistry of the cells. The standard advice is to divide your body weight in half and drink that many ounces per day. (For example, a 150 lb person would drink 75 ounces.) Measure out that much into a glass bottle or pitcher and monitor throughout the day how you are doing. Of course, I’m talking about pure water, not tap water. Water filtered at home is much better and less expensive than any brand in a toxic plastic bottle.
  7. Get 8 hours sleep. Because of our body runs processes on a clock, hours of sleep before midnight count more. If you are in the habit of staying up late, try going to bed ½ hour earlier each night until you reach your target. Computer work or staring at the phone screen before bedtime makes shutting down your brain harder. A warm bath or shower helps. If prayers or visualizing a relaxing vacation spot doesn’t send you to dreamland, consider a supplement of melatonin.
  8. Improve your digestion. Chewing thoroughly and being relaxed when you eat are a good start. Probiotics are very important. (Learn more in my book, The Probiotic Cure) If you need more help, consider a fiber supplement, enzymes and adequate water (as suggested above). If elimination is slow, try drinking a large glass of very warm water when you get up in the morning. As I discuss in my heartburn book, it is a very, very dangerous idea to corrupt digestion with acid-blocking drugs for more than a couple of weeks.
  9. Get your structure straight. Make a standing monthly appointment for a chiropractic tuneup to make sure you aren’t stressing your body with something being out of place. Miss-alignments can cause interference with nerve supply and/or circulation to almost any body part or system.
  10. Reduce stress in your life. You likely know where unhealthful chronic stress is coming from. Make a plan to get rid of the sources and add in more pleasurable things. Stress Reduction Ideas. At the least, be determined not to let the things you can’t change control you. Don’t forget the little stressors that add up–like clutter or the annoying ding that says you have email. Pay attention to your breathing. Slow deep breaths from the gut are relaxing and cleansing. Count 4 in 8 out.
  11. Reduce toxic chemicals in and around your home. Substitute natural, environmentally safe cleaners like vinegar and baking soda. Use organic pest and weed control—follow the advice of Howard Garrett.
  12. Be regular about supplements. Make up packs (in little zip lock baggies) so that you are more regular with your supplements. These are described in my article on supplements. You can get the right size baggies in the bead department of a craft store or on Amazon. (You can put in a note to take ones that are stored in the refrigerator.)
  13. Take better care of your gums. Gum problems lead to cardiovascular problems and adult tooth loss. Use a Sonicare brush and Water flosser (on low setting and perpendicular to the gum line so you don’t force anything below). Dissolve a Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics gel cap in your mouth as you sleep. Have your teeth cleaned twice a year.
  14. Exercise. I saved this for next to last because advice to exercise is everywhere. Start wherever you are and make gradual improvements. If all you can do today is walk to the mail box, maybe by next week you can get to the neighbor’s. We are reminded less often to do strength training, but it is equally important. You don’t have to go to a gym or even have fancy equipment. I have a page on this website that lists 16 reasons to exercise and here is a site with some useful suggestions: Link.
  15. Lose weight. This is most likely the New Year’s Resolution made and broken most often. (As the joke goes, I vowed to lose 10 pounds…I only have 15 to go.) It too can be turned into steps starting with some of those above, especially the more water / less sugar ones. Another you might not have thought of is to watch for yeast overgrowth because your gut bugs have a lot to say about what you crave.

Unfortunately, no one can do these things for you and it is clear that if we keep doing what we’ve been doing, we will keep getting what we’ve been getting (and maybe some other unwanted stuff we didn’t see coming.) Good luck!

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