Monday, February 16, 2009

Gluten Intolerance Leads to Bloating, Allergies & Even Cancer

I was talking with one of our members yesterday, who has had three rounds of chemotherapy for his non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and we got to talking about Dr. Rodier's penchant for gluten-free and dairy-free diets for anyone suffering from a serious or chronic disease.

Thus, I'm going to take on the topic of gluten-free diets today, as it also seems like everyone in my inner circle has some sensitivity to gluten. Gluten sensitivity is different from celiac disease. With celiac disease, intolerance of gluten is often detected after as so-called stomach or bowel problems don't respond to treatment and may only be diagnosed when some kind of disease like diabetes or Parkinson's or a malignant tumor is found.

Symptoms of gluten problems range from easy-to-dismiss fatigue, bloating, headaches, allergies, and skin rashes to more serious symptoms associated with leaky gut, autoimmune disease, depression, neurological dysfunction, and, yes, even lymphomas

According to Peter H. R. Green, MD and director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University, "None of us digests gluten very well."

An evolutionary approach looks at the fact that wheat was not commonly used until the age of agriculture, some 10,000 years ago, while human DNA evolved much earlier without gluten proteins to digest and assimilate. That explains why so many people do end up being gluten sensitive, or even positive for celiac disease, even if they don't know it.

When you're sensitive or outright intolerant of gluten, you have to be careful not only about wheat, rye, spelt, barley, and other obvious sources of gluten but also about hidden sources of gluten. Soy sauce, miso soup, imitation seafood (often in sushi rolls), gravies, barley malt (used as a sweetener in breakfast cereals and snack foods), malt vinegars, maltodextrin, commercial seasoning packets, sausage products, chocolate bars, and all sorts of processed foods are likely to contain gluten. Even French-fried potatoes often have gluten from gluten-infused seasonings or from other batters fried in the same vat of oil (think: battered calamari, onion rigngs, zucchini, etc.).

What I found disturbing was that, according to an article called Gluten-Free Made Easy in the March 2009 edition of Natural Solutions:

"Unlike celiac disease, gluten sensitivity can also be linked to non-gluten factors like environmental pollution, pesticides in our foods, and the use of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs that can alter our digestive system's immune function and reduce our ability to digest gluten."

It's back to Dr. Rodier's theory that most ailments can be traced back to "TOILing" cells (cells that are "toxic, oxidized, inflamed, or lacking in mitochondrial energy from the right nutrients").

And, while environmental toxins can make us more sensitive to gluten, gluten can also make our systems more inflamed and deficient in nutrition, so the factors of cellular TOIL go both ways.

My take? More folks should ditch the gluten, especially folks suffering from any chronic disease. Please share your thoughts in a comment below if you have struggled with gluten-free living.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Extra Virgin Olive Oil & Breast Cancer

The Huntsman Cancer Institute sits up on the foothills of the mountains, facing west over Salt Lake City and into the sun's bright setting arc. I've had lunch up in their cafeteria, which sits on the top floor, enjoying the panoramic views and quite good food.

Today, I saw a December 2008 posting on the Huntsman Cancer Institute's web site on the link between extra-virgin olive oil and cancer protection. Here's the opening summary of the research, which was done in Spain:

"Good quality extra-virgin olive oil contains health-relevant chemicals, 'phytochemicals', that can trigger cancer cell death. New research published in the open access journal BMC Cancer sheds more light on the suspected association between olive oil-rich Mediterranean diets and reductions in breast cancer risk."

Javier Menendez from the Catalan Institute of Oncology said:

"Our findings reveal for the first time that all the major complex phenols present in extra-virgin olive oil drastically suppress overexpression of the cancer gene HER2 in human breast cancer cells."

The value of extra-virgin olive oil comes from pressing olives without heat or chemical treatments, thus avoiding the loss of potent phytochemicals, including the important polyphenols, in typical refining processes.

While cancer researchers are intrigued by the possibility of using olive oil polyphenols as "an excellent and safe platform for the design of new anti breast-cancer drugs," I think it's a good bet to "go Mediterranean"-- as in adopting a diet rich in extra-virgin olive oil and luscious Mediterranean style vegetables.

Meanwhile, few word to the wise on olive oil:

  • Don't settle for the lighter, less olive-y tasting oils that have gone through heat and chemical refinement.
  • Do store your extra-virgin olive oil in a cool, dark place, preferably in dark or opaque plastic or metal containers that protect against light. Did you know that 2 months of exposure to light creates peroxides or free radicals that damage the value of your olive oil?
  • Do buy from a store that has high turnover of its shelf products and buy the bottles from the back of the shelf, away from store lights.
  • Do buy smaller containers of oil as oils lose many of their valuable antioxidants and polyphenols within 12 months (it's not worth saving a bit of money if the oil doesn't have the things your cells most need!).
  • Consider storing most of your olive oil in the refrigerator, with only a week or so of oil at room temperature for use in cooking.

My Friend with Multiple Myeloma

I have a dear friend in Seattle who has multiple myeloma and has already gone through 14 months of chemotherapy. Her cancer has been in remission but her immune system is not yet working properly--her white blood cell count keeps dropping.

While my friend has worked with a naturopath, a chiropractor (multiple myeloma comes with a lot of pain from bones becoming weak) , and a Chinese medicine doctor, she had not taken a nutritional approach to her cancer treatment. Now, she is open to learning more about nutritional protocols, as her spirits have fallen due to her low white blood cell counts.

I sent my friend links to Bill Henderson's Cancer Free and Patrick Quillin's book, Beating Cancer with Nutrition. I also introduced her to Dr. Rodier, who did a phone consultation with her on Monday. Here are some of the things Dr. Rodier discussed with her:

  • Cancer as a DNA mutation prompted by environmental toxins. In the case of multiple myeloma, he believes that diesel fuels and gasoline are major culprits, so he recommended avoiding exposure as much as possible (my friend has quite a sense of humor and said she'll just have to get her husband to pump her gas for her).
  • Improving detoxification, particularly in the liver, to help boost immune system function. He explained that without the right nutrients and diet, detoxification pathways malfunction and don't permit proper elimination of toxins that trip up DNA and turn on the wrong genes.
  • Eczema as a clear sign that my friend's detoxification process was not working properly. He recommended N-acetyl-cysteine at 1200mg / day and whey protein to stimulate her liver to detoxify more effectively.
  • Anamu, a rainforest herb that supports healthy immune function (I hadn't heard of this one before)
  • Constant Health as a daily immune, intestinal, and detoxification supplement (Dr. Rodier helped us formulate Constant Health to address immune health through a healthy gut).
  • Fiber, lots of it, to support elimination of toxins and omega-3 fatty acids to support healthy cellular function.
  • Vitamin D3 to achieve at least 10,000 IU / day (with the goal of getting serum levels above 80, far above what clinicians believe is adequate).
  • Curcumin and green tea supplements, which are both known to have cancer-fighting properties.
  • Probiotics at 10 capsules a day to support friendly bacteria in my friend's gut.
  • Saunas, as sweating helps the body detoxify itself. He also recommended coffee enemas to stimulate the liver to detoxify more efficiently (my friend made the "eeew" sound and said this was the least attractive part of advice she received).
  • Avoidance of all sugars, including wine and even all grains, to avoid feeding cancer cells with what they most like for energy.
Dr. Rodier cited research data that indicates that two thirds of all cancers can be prevented with diet alone.

A nutritional approach takes a real personal investment and can feel complex to someone accustomed to filling prescriptions and taking a few basics like calcium for bone loss and n-acetyl-cysteine and D3 at much lower levels (meaning fewer capsules).

I think my friend is bought in to nourishing her poor overworked cells. I hope so. I love her dearly.

Bill Henderson Testimonial & Budwig Protocol Note

The seventh anniversary for Our Health Co-op falls on February 15th. We have a big 20% discount sale going on to celebrate yet another year in business. Always a big "yay" when you're a small business. Many thanks to our very loyal members (customers)!

Given all the bad news in the press of late, it was such a delight to get the following testimonial on three of our new products: Constant Health, Soothing Greens, and Immune Health.

Bill Henderson, author of Cancer-Free, one of our original members, and a consummate researcher on all things nutritional, wrote this to me over the weekend:

"Hi Cindy, My wife, Terry, and I have been taking the Constant Health, Soothing Greens and Immune Health for about three weeks now. Without chronic conditions to correct, we can surely say that they seem to have made us feel more energetic and healthy. I have tried adding the Constant Health and Soothing Greens powders to the cottage cheese/flaxseed oil "smoothie" I make for breakfast every morning. They blend well and I find I have no hunger for about 8 hours after eating the smoothie. I wish you well with these fine products. I will certainly mention them on my web talk radio show and urge people to try them."

Thanks Bill! In turn, I hope you get lots of new hits to your web site and radio show, as I love to turn new people on to your wholesome, integrative approach to healing people through nutrition.

And for those of you who don't understand why Bill might be blending cottage cheese and flaxseed oil in his smoothies, here's some background on the famous Budwig protocol of blending cottage cheese and flaxseed oil, which is a well-known anti-cancer diet in nutritionally-oriented circles.

Please comment on this blog posting if you have either benefited from Bill Henderson's advice and counsel or have used the Budwig protocol and would be willing to share your experiences (whether your focus was on cancer or heart health).

Friday, February 6, 2009

Spore-Forming Probiotics & Soothing Greens

Planning is not my forte. Even though I run a supplement company and am dear friends with an integrative physician, who pushes probiotics, probiotics, and more probiotics, I am just not so good at taking anything a half hour before a meal. Once I get it in my head that I want to eat, I don't want to wait a half hour.

I know, I should take them upon waking up but often forget anyway, as I'm not particularly a morning person.

Because of this persistent little glitch in my routine, I was so excited when our consultants introduced us to Ganeden's patented BC30 probiotics, which survive digestion, no sweat, because they are spore-forming organisms (versus the vegetative cells that are typical of probiotics formulas).

The BC30 spore-forming probiotics are thus ideal for drink mixes, food products, and even cooking. This is because spore-forming organisms can survive in dried-out states indefinitely and then go on to happily colonize the gastrointestinal tract. Good news.

According to research on spore-forming probiotics in the U.K. by Gabriella Casula and Simon M. Cutting:

"For humans they are available either as over-the-counter prophylactics for mild gastrointestinal disorders such as diarrhea or as health foods or nutritional supplements. In some countries though (e.g., Vietnam), bacterial spores are being used for oral bacteriotherapy of gastrointestinal disorders often under clinical supervision. In the agricultural industry spores are also receiving increasing attention as potential alternatives to antibiotics as growth promoters."

The researchers went on to say it is:

"possible that the spore itself exerts an immunostimulatory effect which serves to exclude the colonization of the gut by harmful pathogens. A number of reports have shown that the spore is immunostimulatory and can elicit a number of cellular immune responses in the gastrointestinal tract."

I can't share the Ganeden BC30 data directly, as we are under non-disclosure with Ganeden, however, their research is quite compelling.

Remember those old commercials where the guy would say, "I'm not only the president of Hair Club for men. I'm also a client!" I know, I'm dating myself. That was back in the 1970s when everything seemed to be cheesy.

Anyway, I remember that guy whenever I start talking about our own products, which I use and my family and friends use. Do you get the sense that I am setting you up for a product pitch? You would be right.

Anyway, to get to the rest of my story, Soothing Greens, our latest nutritional drink mix, combines not only a healthy amount of greens, rice protein, larch arabinogalactan (a powerful immune system booster), and citrus bioflavonoids but also spore-forming BC30 probiotics too.

After being diagnosed with leaky gut last fall, I packed an early sample package of Soothing Greens for my 3 week program at the Hippocrates Health Institute. Thus, I didn't have to buy their very expensive probiotics or greens products. I added Co-op Pancreatic Enzymes and Fish Oil for omega-3 fatty acids to cover the basics for gastrointestinal health.

I'm back to normal life (and temptations) and so I include Soothing Greens in my morning shake most mornings. I'm three months into a six month allergy elimination program (no wheat, no dairy, no eggs, no almonds - I've slipped only on a bit of dairy on a rice crust pizza, sigh!). This aside, I'm trying to make sure my gut returns to a totally healthy state, so I'm personally quite happy to have Soothing Greens onboard at last.

On a more sentimental note, Soothing Greens, when combined with Constant Health, makes me think of my father. As many of you know, when my father was sick, I hand-mixed a formula Dr. Rodier specified, which did indeed heal my father's leaky gut (that is until he stopped taking the formula and went back to a bad diet).

Regardless, the inspiration for both Constant Health and Soothing Greens was born in my dad's nursing home room, as I shook up dark-colored shakes with greens and protein powder and anti-inflammatory/gut-healing powders along with fiber.

By the way, a combo of Constant Health, Soothing Greens, and Fish Oil will be going into clinical trial here in Utah (finally, finally) next week, so results should be rolling in during the next few months.

For those of my readers who have already started using Soothing Greens, please drop me a line to let me know (1) what made you decide to try this product and (2) what is your experience with this product.

Alkaline Water & Alkalizing (Soothing) Greens

It's gloomy outside. Don't get me wrong, I like gloomy, overcast days. I grew up in Santa Monica where the fog rolled in predictably in the afternoon and sometimes earlier.

I'm playing the perfect piece to match the dim lighting, wet pavement, and dirty snow piled up outside my office: As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls (a Pat Metheney/Lyle Mays jazz collaboration).

Lately, I have been doing some research into water purifiers that also ionize water and separate purified water into two streams: alkaline (for drinking and cooking) and acid (for cleaning and plants). The sleek undersink design of the Jupiter Delphi unit is impressive but also comes with an ouch price tag too. I saw that a Jupiter unit didn't get such hot reviews at one ionizer review site, which preferred the Tyent USA machine.

When I first heard about alkaline water, it seemed, well, irrelevant. I drink mostly water, preferably cool and not cold by the way. Taste and smell are my first priorities when it comes to water. You could call me a fussy water drinker, as I have the most ridiculously strong sense of smell, and even faint scents of chlorine or sulfur --undetectable to most folks --make my nose twitch and brow furrow.

Alkalinity in water sounded oh so foo foo back in the day before I cared about acid/alkaline balance. After my 3 weeks at the Hippocrates Health Institute, however, alkalinity has become a new fascination.

Many of you know that most of the body's systems run on a slightly alkaline basis, save those acid-rich stomach juices used for digestion. And when we're not eating enough alkalizing foods, our body will readily steal alkalizing minerals from our bones to counteract overly-acid diets.

So, alkaline water seems like a pretty simple and valuable way to balance out too much acid. If I decide on a water ionizer device, I'll let everyone know.

By now, my music has switched to The Pretenders, a very different vibe with Middle of the Road. The gloom has lifted outside and the birds are sounding chipper outside. Time to sign off for now.

Meanwhile, if you have an opinion about water purifiers/ionizers and are NOT a vendor or distributor or selling something, please take a moment to comment on this blog entry. I'm sure many of my readers would like to know more. :-)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Iodine, Bromine, and Breast Cancer

My friend, Gino Giglio, recommended the book "Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can't Live Without It" by David Brownstein, MD.

I just received the book and, given all the interest in my last iodine blog posting, I am finding it a really useful reference on the 62nd most abundant element on earth (this makes iodine relatively rare, with many soils depleted of iodine).

Iodine used to be added to baked goods to condition the dough, but bromine replaced iodine in the 1980s. Unfortunately, bromine is toxic to the human body and binds to iodine receptors in the breast; in fact, bromine is a known carcinogen in the breast. Iodine, on the other hand, has anticarcinogenic properties, according to Brownstein, particularly in thyroid and breast cancers.

Iodide, the form of iodine found in iodized salt, is used by the thyroid gland, while breast and prostate tissues use iodine. This means that iodized salt, one of the primary sources of iodine, does nothing to protect breast and prostate tissues from cancer. Unequivocally, the body needs both forms of iodine. If iodine is in short supply, the thyroid and breast or prostate tissues will compete for iodine and a cascade of depletion ensues.

Dr. Brownstein's breast cancer patients have consistently tested out as low in iodine and at the same time high in bromine and flouride (remember, both bromine and flouride displace iodine in the body) in contrast with patients without breast cancer. In Japan and Iceland, where dietary intake of iodine is much higher than in the U.S., the incidence of breast cancer is much lower.

Did you know that breast cancer rates have skyrocketed in the U.S. at the same time that the food supply created excess bromine and deficiencies in iodine? Did you know that 1 in 7 women get breast cancer? Did you know that survival rates for breast cancer have not improved in 70 years, even with extensive use of mammograms, surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation?

Scary stuff for any woman (I keep thinking of a recent movie I saw, Elegy, where Penelope Cruz's character was diagnosed with breast cancer at such a young age - yes, this would be called a bit of a movie spoiler).

But back to my discussion of iodine deficiencies. If you have a family history of breast cancer, fibrocystic disease, or hormonal imbalances (the ovaries have the second highest concentration of iodine after the thyroid), then you may want to get your iodine level checked.

Get supervision from a qualified healthcare practitioner to remedy any deficiencies you find, as you can definitely get too much of a good thing with iodine.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Electrical Stimulation for Tissue Repair & Pain Management

When I was at the Hippocrates Health Institute, a major part of our week involved various treatments at Oasis Therapy Center, where services range from massage and colonics to mind/body psychotherapy and an assortment of infrared and electrical stimulation treatments.

The H-Wave is one such electrical stimulation device, which uses ultra low frequencies to contract muscles. I knit my brow in puzzlement at first and felt I was entering the realm of Dr. Gregory House when I saw electrodes attached to other guests' limbs and faces. I saw their muscles jumping and twitching as they were shocked (er, I mean "stimulated") through a 30-60 minute "healing" sessions.

I remember the first time I was hooked up to the H-Wave, with adhesive pads stuck to my knees, wrists, shoulders, and right foot (remember, I had just started healing from a fractured ankle when I went). The technician turned up the electricity too high on the electrodes on my wrists and there they went, flapping and jumping around rather spastically on their own accord. The assessment: not a lot of congestion in my arms and wrists and so the technician revised my protocol and moved the electrodes to my jaws (to address a bit of TMJ), at a reduced setting (it helped, by the way!). I personally liked having the settings cranked up high for my knees and shoulders.

Now, back to the machine itself. The H-Wave device sends electrical currents to contract muscles and move fluids, thus helping tissues heal and reduce pain associated with tissue congestion and inflammation. Removing congestion allows cells to take in proper nutrients that support nerves, surrounding cells, and the immune system as well. The electrical current also supports lymphatic drainage (that stuff that carries out cellular waste but has no internal pump of its own and relies on movement to "take the trash out").

The walls of the H-Wave treatment room were decorated with testimonials from the Veteran's Administration and professional sports teams that use the H-Wave to help folks with everything from diabetic neuropathy to sports traumas.

I briefly thought about getting a portable machine for my mom, but I'm pretty sure she wouldn't use it and these devices don't come cheap.

If anyone you know is dealing with acute or chronic pain, then finding an H-Wave treatment center might be of interest, as the core benefit comes from removing waste that creates chemical irritations and physical pressure to nerves and allows uptake of oxygenated blood bearing healing nutrients. Leave a comment below if you have experience with the H-Wave.