Thursday, June 26, 2008

Toxins, Detoxification & Constant Health

High blood levels of lead -- one of the ugly heavy metals found in paints before 1978 and all sorts of other places like plumbing, faucets, and pipes --have been linked to criminal behavior.

New studies of young people from impoverished inner-city neighborhoods in Cincinnati show significant brain damage from childhood exposure to lead, and researchers demonstrated a devastating correlation between lives of crime and high lead exposures in childhood (the higher the blood concentrations of lead, the greater the increase in arrests for violent offenses). So sad.

It seems so basic. Things that are toxic -- capable of causing death or severe debilitation -- must be expelled (detoxified) or the system breaks down. In the case of these kids, lead permanently shrank brain mass in the prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex, areas of the brain associated with judgment, attention, decision making, and impulse control.

I talked to a University of Utah biochemist and researcher on Monday about Constant Health, and while he liked the idea of the immune system and intestinal health support, he found the concept of detoxification questionable at best.

There are questionable approaches to solving every problem; however, there are many well-studied nutrients that help the body detoxify itself of toxins such as heavy metals, pesticides, and other chemicals.

Of course, once toxins destroy organ function (such as lost brain mass in the Cincinnati kids), it's too late, but it's not too late to dislodge toxins being harbored in fat cells thate promote obesity or eliminate the toxins causing aches and pains in the body.

Our Constant Health formula has therapeutic amounts of important detoxifiers such as n-acetyl-cysteine, milk thistle, calcium-d-glucarate, as well as guar gum, apple fiber and apple pectin.

Constant Health was also designed to support the body's glutathione production (liver protection), with significant amounts of glycine, glutamine, and curcumin. Glutathione helps detoxify the body of heavy metals and drugs and is crucial to liver health (the powerhouse of detoxification).

While I hope to make a convert of my new acquaintance at the University, I do respect his need to "see the science" on detoxification claims. And there's a lot of science to see when one is studying, as he does, a vast universe of biochemistry, which ranges from the health value of bison over beef to lipid metabolism and oxidative stress.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Vitamin D - "Analgesic" for Chronic Pain

Wanna give your health care practitioner some good stuff on vitamin D, that so-called vitamin that is actually a prohormone (vitamin D receptors "affect the function of up to 1000 different genes" and helps "control cell growth and differentiation"), phagocytosis promoter, and analgesic too?

Below is an introduction to the clinical value of using supplemental vitamin D for treating chronic pain from Pain Treatment Topics:

"According to peer-reviewed clinical research, inadequacies of vitamin D have been linked to chronic musculoskeletal pain of various types, muscle weakness or fatigue, fibromyalgia syndrome, rheumatic disorders, osteoarthritis, hyperesthesia, migraine headaches, and other somatic complaints. It also has been implicated in the mood disturbances of chronic fatigue syndrome and seasonal affective disorder.

Current best evidence demonstrates that supplemental vitamin D can help to resolve or alleviate chronic pain and fatigue syndromes in many patients who have been unresponsive to other therapies. Vitamin D therapy is easy for patients to self-administer, is well tolerated, and is very economical."

For handy reference, here are three excellent pieces to share with health care practitioners from

The articles acknowledge that vitamin D does not act palliatively like pharmaceutical interventions, but systemically, and thus takes weeks to months to kick in, as a person's system is nourished with ample vitamin D over time.

Worried about mom's or dad's (or your own) bones, aches and pains, possibilities of falls? I can't stress it enough: make sure you know plenty about our little friend, vitamin D (yes that is a link to our product, for full disclosure)!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Epigenetics & Cancer

Environment. Genes. Nurture. Nature. Age-old questions.

Last night, I landed on a cool interview, Ghost in Your Genes, with Dr. Jean-Pierre Issa on The topic: epigenetics and cancer.

Issa's interview offers an easy-to-understand explanation of how genes and environmental stimuli interact and how this relates to cancer and aging. Here's the introduction to Dr. Issa's interview:

"For decades, scientists and doctors assumed that cancer was caused by irreversible damage to some critical stretch of DNA within one's genome. But in the last few years, a much more complex picture has emerged, one that shows that some cancers are caused by epigenetic changes—tiny chemical tags that accumulate over time and can turn genes on or off. Unlike genetic damage, epigenetic changes can sometimes be reversed, and with treatments that are far less toxic to the patient."

Dr. Issa explains genetic damage (environmental exposures, radiation, cigarettes, etc.) and how this paves the way for cancer, and he also explores how epigenetic therapy can "change the instructions of the cancer cells" rather than killing the cells.

How can we "change the instructions" of cells that are up to mischief and worse? Energy and information or E&I as my friend, Dr. Rodier likes to say. Food and supplemental nutrients have energy and information. Cells in our bodies have energy and information to exchange and receptors for energy and information from other cells.

At the cellular level, changing the instructions in a rogue cell (cancer cell) can be likened to creating a paradigm shift in a culture or an organization or a person. Change the way an organism pays attention (is programmed) and behavior can change.

Yes, it's still a pharmaceutical intervention that Dr. Issa is researching. Nevertheless, epigenetic medicine offers a more optimistic promise than the old "search and destroy" military paradigm of conventional cancer treatments -- which have by all statistical measures have failed to win the "war on cancer."

While I am naturally biased toward nutritional approaches to healing, I am ultimately an "integrative medicine" advocate rather than a strict "alternative medicine" activist. Not everyone has the will or the emotional support to maintain complete dietary and lifestyle overhauls required to beat cancer naturally. I can think of many people whom I love dearly who fall into this category.

Thus, I think anything that can dramatically reduce the toxicity of conventional cancer treatments, leave more normal cells intact and healthy, and offer complete remissions in almost half of the patients receiving treatment is worthy of more study.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Constant Health Clinical Study

I had lunch with Dr. Rodier yesterday and brought up the topic of a study with Constant Health, since he keeps bragging about how well his patients are doing on Constant Health.

Dr. Rodier keeps saying, "The formula is actually quite strong. Tell everyone that 1 scoop a day is sufficient for maintenance programs and that you only need 1 scoop twice a day on detox programs."

Yeah! This means that a jar of Constant Health goes twice as far as we initally expected, which makes it more affordable.

Back to the study. Dr. Rodier put me in touch with the head of the nutrition division of the College of Health at the University of Utah. We're meeting on Monday afternoon to explore the potential for a clinical study using Constant Health. First we need a faculty member interested, so Monday, I'm hoping that despite the summer timeframe when faculty are scarce, that we have some bites and a few interested faculty members show up at my exploratory meeting.

Wish me luck in getting this study off the ground!

Gotta Love That Vitamin D

The positive news just keeps coming in on vitamin D. I'll never forget my first introduction back in 2004 to the radically greater importance of vitamin D than I ever imagined. I was 44 at the time and had grown up in sunshine-rich environments, so vitamin D wasn't something I thought was particularly interesting (way more interesting to learn about unusual herbs and extracts)!

It was Elliot Freeman, R.Ph., of Chicago, who first introduced me to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine linking vitamin D deficiencies to peripheral myopathy or non-specific musculo-skeletal pain in wheelchair-bound and bed-ridden hospital patients. For literally pennies a day, these patients were treated for 4-6 weeks and 4 of 5 patients fully recovered!

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute researchers just announced in the Journal of Clinical Oncology that colorectal cancer patients with abundant vitamin D were less likely to die after diagnosis than those with low vitamin D levels. It was previously known that higher levels of vitamin D reduced the risk of developing colon or rectal cancer by an astounding 50%.

However, Dana-Farber and Harvard School of Public Health researchers were loathe to recommend supplemetation before more studies are done. Their press release mentioned standard daily requirements being between 200 and 600 IU of vitamin D, depending on age.

It's not like the news on vitamin D and the need for higher levels hasn't been plastered all over the news for the last year or so (and the study with wheelchair and bedridden patients who literally got up and walked with a month and a half of supplemental vitamin D was published in 2000)!

My advice? Get your vitamin D levels checked and, according to Dr. Rodier, if your levels are below 75, you are at greater risk for a whole host of health problems. Talk to your physician or nurse practitioner about your vitamin D levels at your next appointment! And, drop a line with what you learn!