Heart And Body Extract

The cholesterol dogma

31 Mar 2016 no comments HAB Extract

We have seen how fats are essential for life and how they are important to lower cholesterol. In this sense, it is the omega 3’s and omega 6’s essential fatty acids (EFA’s) that can lower cholesterol. Tropical oils and oils like EPA and DHA fish oils can also lower cholesterol. Others like oleic acid may not lower cholesterol, but do not raise it either.

Cholesterol is such a misunderstood topic that it would be worth going into detail about what it is, how it is used in the body and why it is important, as well as when it can become a problem. This is the topic of this blog.

According to the author of the book ‘Fats that heal, fats that kill’ Udo Erasmus, the ‘cholesterol scare’  is “Big business for doctors, laboratories, and drug companies. It is also a powerful marketing gimmick for vegetable oil and margarine manufacturers who can advertise their products as cholesterol free.’ According to him,  “999 out of every 1000, depending on the expert source you read, can control their cholesterol levels and more importantly their cardiovascular health by nutritional means alone.”

So what is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a hard waxy lipid that melts at 300 F. It is unique in the body because, as opposed to other substances, once it is made, it cannot be broken down and must be removed through stool (in the form of bile acids and cholesterol molecules). Fiber helps with this removal because it helps the movement of cholesterol through our intestines. However, if fiber is missing , cholesterol and bile acids are reabsorbed and this increases our blood cholesterol levels.

Our cells make their own cholesterol according to their need. The extra cholesterol is ‘hooked up’ to an essential fatty acid  and shipped via our blood stream to our liver to be changed into bile acids, (as long as vitamin C and certain minerals necessary for this change are present). Our liver then ‘dumps’ bile acids into our intestine to help with fat digestion and removes the bile acids from our body with solid wastes with the help of  fiber. This prevents cholesterol and bile acids in our intestines from being reabsorbed and recycled.

Cholesterol does not need to be obtained from foods because our body can make it from simpler substances: from the breakdown of sugars, fats and proteins, specially when we eat them in excess. The more calories we consume, specially from sugars, saturated and other non-essential fatty acids, the more pressure there is  in our body to make cholesterol. In addition, the more stress we are under, the more cholesterol our body makes, because cholesterol is the precursor of stress hormones.

Main functions of Cholesterol

Cholesterol is essential for health. The many functions cholesterol plays in the body are proof of this. These vital functions are:

  1. Cholesterol is found in our cells’ membranes. Each cell membrane is equipped with the means to synthesize its own cholesterol. In the cell membrane, cholesterol has the important job of fine tuning the membrane fluidity, which constantly fluctuates  under conditions of fat intake or fat deficiency. The more essential fatty acids (EFA’s) we ingest (which are fluid) the more cholesterol  (which is rigid) will be built into membranes. This is one reason why EFA’s lower cholesterol levels. A diet rich in saturated fatty acids (SaFas), which are hard, means more cholesterol will be removed from membranes and moved back into the blood, this is why saturated fatty acids raise cholesterol levels.  Our intake of fatty acids then is essential in this regard.
  2. From cholesterol our body makes steroid hormones (also known as sex hormones): estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.
  3. Similarly, our body makes adrenal corticosteroid hormones from cholesterol: aldosterone (which regulates blood pressure) and cortisone, which promotes the synthesis of glucose to prepare our body for the fight or flight stress responses we deal with everyday. Cortisone also suppresses inflammation.
  4. From cholesterol our body makes vitamin D, that regulates calcium and phosphorus metabolism.
  5. Cholesterol is used to make bile acids, which are vital for digestion of fats and fat soluble vitamins from foods.
  6. Cholesterol is secreted by glands in our skin to protect our skin against dehydration, wind, sun and water. Cholesterol helps heal the skin and prevents infections by foreign organisms.
  7. Our liver, intestine, adrenal glands and sex glands all make cholesterol for the other functions in which cholesterol is involved.
  8. During pregnancy, the placenta also makes cholesterol from which it manufactures progesterone, which keeps pregnancy from being terminated.

Cholesterol in transport

For transport in our blood, cholesterol must be hooked to a fatty acid, preferably an essential fatty acid (EFA) and vitamin B 6. The 1/2 oz of cholesterol in our blood stream is found, together with triglycerides, phospholipids, carotene, vitamin E and proteins in carrier vehicles called plasma lipoproteins. There are two main groups of lipoproteins:

  1. Made up of two subfractions, the most important of which is LDL (‘bad’ cholesterol), it carries cholesterol and fats (triglycerides) from foods and our liver to our cells.
  2. The other fraction, called HDL (‘good’ cholesterol), carries cholesterol from cells back to our liver where it is changed back to bile. Both cholesterol and bile acids are excreted into our intestine, and eventually discarded with our stool.

Total blood cholesterol is all cholesterol in transit, being carried by the different lipoprotein vehicles to and from our cells.

Digestion of fats, oils and cholesterol.

Our body’s processing of fats and oils starts with digestion.

The liver is the organ that digests the fats and oils we eat. Poor digestion of fats/oils will show as a feeling of being tired and nauseous, which are signs of liver dysfunction. Digestion of fats is so essential for health that any problem with it will start the disease process.

In our mouth there is not much digestion of fats, except for mixing. In our stomach there is an enzyme that can split fats into their components, but this enzyme is inactive under normal stomach acid conditions. Our small intestine can digest a maximum of 10 grams every hour. The digestion process takes part in different stages. All of them have to be working in pristine condition for fat digestion to take place effectively. Digestive problems are a hidden epidemic and they should be addressed first before other health conditions can be resolved. The different stages that take place in digestion are as follows:

  1. Bile. The churning action of our intestines mixes fats with bile that our liver produced from cholesterol and stored in our gallbladder. Bile contains lecithin, which emulsifies fats, breaking it into tiny droplets. This increases the surface area of fat exposed to fat digesting enzymes and speeds up digestion of fats.
  2. Enzymes. Fat digesting enzymes are made by our pancreas and released into food mixture in the first part of our small intestine (duodenum). Digestion and absorption of fats continues to take place as food passes through our small intestine. Different enzymes in the alkaline pancreatic juice digest triglycerides, phospholipids and cholesterol present in food fats. These enzymes split fatty acids and the different components are absorbed separately into the cells lining our intestinal tract (mucosal cells) where they are put back together. By taking them apart first, our body makes sure that the complex chemical substances (proteins) that make up the tissue of the food we eat don’t get in our blood. If this happened an immune reaction would occur, where white blood cells, the soldiers of our immune system, would mobilize to the area to declare war and destroy these intruders. This is known as ‘food allergy‘ which is very stressful and costly to our body.
  3. Transport. Our mucosal cells build transport vehicles for fats out of proteins and phospholipids. These loaded bags are then dumped into our lymph vessels which ship them to a large vessel close to our heart where they merge with the bloodstream. The heart then pumps them to the rest of the body. These loaded bags never reach our cells, instead the body uses high-density lipoproteins (HDL) to take these fats to our liver, which makes another transport vehicle called very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL) which are transformed into LDL (low density lipoprotein). Our blood carries both VLDL and LDL, which in turn, transport the fats and cholesterol to our cells. What is more, each of our 100 trillion cells have on their membranes several ‘docks’ for receiving and unloading VLDL and LDL. When their requirement is filled, these docks shut down, and the extra fat and cholesterol continue to circulate in our blood (high blood triglyceride and cholesterol levels) until they are metabolized by our liver or stored as fat. Standard medical dogma considers HDL ‘good’ and LDL ‘bad’ but actually both are good for cardiovascular health.

This complex lipoprotein system ensures fats are digested, absorbed and transported to all cells to supply cells with the fats they need. It also ensures excess fats don’t build up in our blood. This system also moves excess cholesterol from our cells to the liver which converts cholesterol into bile salts, pours these salts into our intestine to aid in fat digestion, then gets rid of excess cholesterol in our stool with the help of fiber. Lipoproteins work efficiently when we eat fats as nature makes them, when we ingest rancid oils our body partially protects us by unpalatability, irritation of the delicate lining of our intestines, diarrhea and decreased digestion and absorption.

Lecithin and cholesterol

Lecithin is also important when it comes to cholesterol. The word ‘lecithin’ is derived from the Greek word for ‘egg yolk’ from which it was first isolated. Lecithin is considered to be our ‘edible soap’ because it breaks up fats into smaller droplets, this action is known as emulsification. Lecithin is important because it helps our digestion of fats and improve general health. All unrefined crude oils contain some lecithin, the richest source is unrefined soybean oil, which contains both essential fatty acids. Lecithin from other seeds only contains one of them:  linoleic acid (LA) found in safflower, sunflower, hemp, walnut, pumpkin, sesame, flax, corn and sesame. Lecithin is removed from oils when they are refined.

Lecithin has very important roles for heart health and general health:

  1. It keeps cholesterol soluble.
  2. It keeps cholesterol isolated from arterial linings.
  3. It protects cholesterol from oxidation.
  4. Helps prevent and dissolve gall and kidney stones by its emulsifying action on fats.
  5. Lecithin is also important for our livers’ detoxification functions, and helps us from slowly being poisoned  by breakdown products of metabolic processes that take place in our body.
  6. Lecithin increases resistance to disease by its role in our thymus gland.
  7. Lecithin is also important because it makes 22% of both the high density (HDL) and low density lipoprotein (LDL), both of which are cholesterol carrying vehicles in our blood. These vehicles keep cholesterol and triglyceride fats in solution in our bloodstream and carry them to and from all parts of our body.
  8. Lecithin is important component of bile, helping break down fats into smaller droplets, increasing their surface area and thus improving their digestion by enzymes.
  9. Finally, lecithin is also an essential nutrient.

The dark side of cholesterol

According to the author, cholesterol has been given so much attention by the medical community that it has been wrongly associated with cardiovascular disease. The reason is that it is found deposited along with fats, protein, fibrin, and calcium in the inner lining of our arteries, where it narrows them.

When cholesterol becomes a problem. Atherosclerosis.

Around 2/3 of the population of North America, Europe and the rest of the world suffer from arteriosclerotic deposits to some degree. These deposits are made of proteins, cholesterol, fats and minerals, they narrow arteries and slow down blood flow. What is more, cholesterol and saturated or processed fatty acids make our platelets sticky increasing the risk of clots. The combination of atherosclerosis and clots may completely block an artery, cutting off oxygen and nutrients to the cells of the part of our body supplied by that artery. These cells then die. If an artery to our brain is blocked a stroke occurs and depending on the size and location of the blocked artery the stroke may be minimal or fatal. Narrowed arteries to the heart produce chest pains on exertion (angina) or after a meal high in fats that makes blood thicker and less capable of supplying oxygen. Blockage of an artery supplying our heart results in a heart attack (coronary occlusion). If a clot blocks an artery in our lungs, pulmonary embolism occurs. A blocked artery to our legs results in impaired circulation that can lead to gangrene. Atherosclerotic deposits also harden our arteries resulting in raised blood pressure because our arteries’ resilience which normally takes up the pressure generated by each heartbeat (contraction) is lost. This results in a heavier load on our heart and kidneys which, when prolonged leads to water retention (edema) and heart and kidney failure.

Controversy about cholesterol

The topic of cholesterol has received a lot of controversy, with many different interpretations about its cause. For 40 years, elevated cholesterol levels have been blamed for fatal diseases of our heart and arteries which include heart attacks, pulmonary and other embolisms, peripheral arterial disease, stroke, high blood pressure, heart failure, and kidney failure. According to the cholesterol theory, high total cholesterol and high low density lipoprotein (LDL) levels predispose us to cardiovascular diseases (CVD). For the author Udo Erasmus, the cholesterol theory has many flaws and he explains his point in the following way: CVD was rare before 1900. Then, during the first and second world wars, when less animal products and more vegetables were eaten the CVD death rate fell dramatically. According to this evidence it looks like high cholesterol levels predispose us to CVD and low cholesterol protects us. However, cholesterol consumption has remained the same since 1900, while cardiovascular disease increased greatly between then and now. During the two world wars, people ate more vegetables, less margarine and shortening and although fat and cholesterol consumption was lower, the consumption of minerals, vitamins, essential fatty acids and fiber were higher. Protein and sugar consumption were also lower during these wars. All of these factors, not cholesterol alone, have to be considered as possible reasons for the decrease in cardiovascular diseases and others degenerative diseases during those two wars. Stress too was higher back then, resulting in increased cholesterol production which if the cholesterol theory was correct, it should have increased incidence of CVD. He points to other evidence that seems to counteract the cholesterol theory. One is food traditions like that of the Inuit, who eat a traditional diet high in meat, fats, and cholesterol and have little atherosclerosis, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and other degenerative diseases. Similarly, he refers to the work of the dentist Weston Price, who travelled around the globe in the 1930’s studying different cultures. He discovered that all traditional diets maintained the health of the local people, but within a single generation of introducing white sugar and white flour, physical degeneration skyrocketed.

More theories about cholesterol

With so many people having cholesterol-containing deposits in their arteries several explanations for how this is the case have emerged. A group of researchers think that the body cannot metabolize large amounts of dietary cholesterol effectively. Others think that a diet high in meats which contain too little cholesterol-removing-fiber is to blame. Still others believe that it is a diet low in micronutrients needed to properly metabolize cholesterol that is the cause. In this sense, research has shown that diets high in cholesterol which also include sufficient quantities of all vitamins and mineral micronutrients keep blood cholesterol levels normal and prevent atherosclerosis. Clinical evidence shows that atherosclerosis can be lowered by exercise, diet and micronutrient supplementation like vitamin C and B 3. Calcium, zinc, copper and chromium can also be helpful.

Other theories to explain the cause of CVD have gathered momentum and followers, these are:

  1. The triglycerides and sugar theory. This theory points to the fact that triglyceride levels increase with high intake of refined sugars, starches, excess calories and hard non-essential fats. Increased use of these in our diets parallels the increase in CVD since 1900, while intake of cholesterol has remained constant. Certain toxins and drugs also increase triglycerides levels, which also will increase cardiovascular risk.
  2. Sugar. British researcher John Yudkin blames sugar for the meteoric rise in cardiovascular disease. Sugar consumption is one of the quickest ways to increase triglycerides, because our body turns sugar into fats to protect itself from the toxic effects of excess sugar. Sugar also increases oxidation damage, inhibits immune functions and interferes with the transport of vitamin C. All of these actions of sugar can affect the development of cardiovascular and other degenerative diseases. Decreased consumption of refined sugars and non-essential fatty acids prevents and helps reverse CVD and other degenerative diseases. It also increases vigor and longevity.
  3. Oxidation theory. Recent discoveries show that oxidized cholesterol and oxidized fatty acids  in triglycerides damage arterial walls leading to CVD. When antioxidants,  which prevent this oxidation from happening,  are lacking in foods then lipids and cholesterol are attacked by oxygen. According to this interpretation, increasing the intake of antioxidants like vitamin C, E, selenium, sulphur and limiting the intake of sugar, which interferes with the transfer of vitamin C, can help.
  4. Deficiency theory. It suggests that deficiencies of vitamins, minerals including antioxidants, fiber and EFA’s are the key causes of degenerative diseases.
  5. The vitamin C interpretation. The research of Linus Pauling  and Matthias Rath points to the lack of anti-oxidants and how this leads to poor control of the free radicals normally produced by oxidation. These free radicals speed oxidation of cholesterol and triglycerides, which can damage arteries. Their work concentrated in what they considered to be the most potent of antioxidants, vitamin C. Vitamin C is used by the body for the production of collagen and elastin to keep our arteries, bones, teeth, cartilage, scar tissue and other tissues strong. Lack of vitamin C results in weakened arteries that bleed into tissue spaces. Under conditions of weak connective tissues, our body tries to compensate for this deficiency by thickening our arteries using an adhesive repair protein called apo made by our liver. This repair protein is a stronger risk factor for cardiovascular disease than LDL according to these researchers. In cholesterol studies and measurements, the effect of this protein and its carrier vehicle Lipoprotein (a) have been mistakenly blamed on LDL. When vitamin C consumption goes up, apo (a) levels decrease because less repair protein is necessary when there is enough vitamin C to keep connective tissue in our arteries strong. Since humans don’t make vitamin C, the only way to prevent this from happening is to supplement with vitamin C. We need high doses of it, from 5 grams upwards.  Vitamin C alone cannot be used to prevent cardiovascular disease, sulphur containing amino acids, vitamin B3, Co Q 10 are also needed.

The combination of thickened (narrowed) arteries and sticky platelets sets the stage for heart attacks, strokes and emboli. In this sense, it is the saturated fatty acids that tend to make platelets more sticky when our diet is high on foods like beef, mutton, pork, dairy products, etc and low in the more fluid (less sticky) essential fatty acids. The problem with these saturated fatty acids is that they can be deposited within cells, organs and arteries along with proteins, minerals and cholesterol. A diet high in refined sugars has the same effects as these kind of fats because excess sugar is converted into these saturated fatty acids in the body.

Cholesterol in the 1900’s

According to the author, cholesterol cannot be the primary cause of CVD because our cholesterol consumption has remained about the same in the last 100 years, while CVD has skyrocketed. According to him, trans fatty acids and altered vegetable fats, sugars, processed foods lacking vitamins and minerals all deserve suspicion. Butter is not to blame for our increased fatty degeneration because our consumption of butter since 1910 has decreased while that of margarine rose by 9 times. In the same way, consumption of saturated acids, cheese, ice cream, frozen deserts and low fat milk all increased. Of special interest is the higher consumption of sugar, from 15 pounds in 1815 per person to 135 lbs today. At the same time our consumption of fiber decreased and refined flours increased.

How cholesterol is measured

For the last 30 years doctors have measured our blood cholesterol levels as predictors of cardiovascular risk but the author believes this is more for business than prediction.

The most common way doctors use to measure total serum cholesterol level lumps the ‘good’ HDL and ‘bad’ LDL together. This total blood cholesterol is considered a general indicator of risk of cardiovascular disease but can be inaccurate. According to it, a ratio of 3.5 or lower indicates low risk of CVD. Cholesterol in this way is measured as milligrams of cholesterol per deciliter of blood volume (mg/dl). Recently, the medical profession introduced a new measurement for blood cholesterol, in millimoles of cholesterol per liter of blood (mmol/L). This new measurement is more complex and more difficult for non-tecnical people to understand than the old measurement. A number of 200 mg/dl becomes 5.15 mmol/L in the new system, for example. To roughly convert the old measure to the new, divide the old number by 39.

The way doctors have explained HDL and LDL is that high ‘good’ HDL in our blood indicates that the system for removing excess cholesterol is functioning well and preventing the accumulation of cholesterol in our arteries. A high ‘bad’ LDL level on the other hand indicates that our system is being overloaded by cholesterol from food which is being deposited in our arteries and is increasing our risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks and stroke. The author believes much profit is invested in this old dogma.

A lot of research has yielded new information about cholesterol and heart health. The new findings show a different view of cholesterol as follows:

  1. Oxidized cholesterol. Recent findings show that only oxidized LDL cholesterol damages arteries and leads to atherosclerosis. When our body’s normal antioxidants which normally prevent oxidative damage to arteries become depleted, cholesterol and fats (triglycerides) become oxidized and cause damage to arteries. Oxidation also uses up antioxidants lowering already low levels. EFA’s also lower blood fibrinogen/fibrin levels that could thicken our arteries because of lack of vitamin C.
  2. Lp(a) and its adhesive apo (a). Apo(a), a protein carried by Lp(a) is an adhesive protein used for tissue repair. Together with other repair proteins (fibrinogen/fibrin) it thickens our arteries in cases of weak arteries. Apo (a) seems to protect our arteries in cases of vitamin C deficiency by thickening them. It has been found that it is this lipoprotein Lp(a), which looks like LDL but carries the adhesive repair protein apo (a), that is a is a strong indicator of  cardiovascular disease. Measurements on which the cholesterol dogma is based have erroneously lumped LDL and Lp(a) together. Separated from Lp(a), LDL alone appears to be a very weak risk factor. This means that LDL has been wrongly blamed for damaged done by Lp(a). In addition, Lp(a) often increases when levels of vitamin C decrease in our blood stream, and usually decrease when vitamin C levels increase. Increased intake of vitamin C (several grams a day) and other anti-oxidants can keep Lp(a) and apo (a) levels down, reverse scurvy and build strong thin arteries with strong connective tissue. Vitamin C snags free radicals preventing them from doing damage, it also recharges vitamin E which snags free radicals in oil soluble membranes. Vitamin C recharges sulphur containing glutathione, which snags free radicals that made it through the membrane into the cell. Since vitamin C is water soluble it is excreted after urination, so it would be good to replenish it afterwards.

Trans fats and cholesterol

We have seen how trans fats are detrimental to health. Trans fats can increase blood cholesterol levels by up to 15% and blood fat (triglycerides) by up to 47% very rapidly when partially hydrogenated vegetable oils containing 37% trans fatty acids are ingested. High triglycerides levels play a part in developing cardiovascular disease. If our diet contains cholesterol, the effect of trans fatty acids is enhanced.

A large well controlled study published in the ‘New England Journal of Medicine’ in 1990 shows conclusively that trans fats increase total cholesterol and LDL, both of which are correlated with increased cardiovascular disease, disproving manufacturers’ advertising claims that suggest that margarines can be good for the health of our heart.

EPA and DHA and cholesterol

These two fish oils can help with cholesterol because by being highly unsaturated they have a strong urge to disperse. So strong is their tendency to move apart that they help prevent aggregation of saturated fatty acids that like to stick together, helping to keep saturated fatty acids and cholesterol dispersed. EPA and DHA keep our platelets from getting too sticky, lowering the risk of blood clots.  They also lower apo (a) and fibrin levels in our arteries. They lower triglycerides up to 65%, lower cholesterol and LDL  to some extent and very low density lipo-protein (VLDL). They also lower blood pressure and protect against cancer.

Our body can convert alpha linoleic acid (LNA) (found in flax seed, chia, hemp seed, pumpkin seed oil, soybean, walnut and dark-green leaves) into EPA when it is accompanied by co-factors like B 3, B 6, vitamin C, magnesium and zinc. Two tablespoons of flax oil can be converted into 378 mg of EPA, approximately what two large capsules of fish oil will supply.

To sum up, fatty degeneration involves much more than cholesterol, it involves an imbalance of essential fatty acids, the presence of altered (toxic) fatty materials (trans fats, oxidized fatty acids, etc), an excess of non-essential fatty acids (fats, oils, cholesterol) in places or quantities where they are not normally found. Cholesterol is not essential to obtain from the diet because our body can make it, this doesn’t mean that eating cholesterol should be a problem. As long as our diet includes all of the other essential nutrients, antioxidants, fiber, good bacteria and is low in refined carbohydrates and sugars, cholesterol levels take care of themselves through the different cholesterol controlling mechanisms we have seen in this blog.

We at Healthy Hearts Club recommend to complement a balanced diet rich in essential fats with the ‘Heart and Body Extract’, together with the ‘Liver Support Compound‘ and the ‘Kidney/Bladder Extract‘ for maximum results. Thanks for reading.

The sugar fat connection

31 Mar 2016 no comments HAB Extract

We have been talking about fats and cholesterol and we have pointed to the detrimental effects of sugar consumption. Sugar and fats might not appear to be connected but according to nutrition expert Udo Erasmus, “refined dietary sugars and starches almost always turn into fats in the body.” In this fat and cholesterol phobia driven world we live in, we don’t seem to be as scared about the effects of sugar in our health. In what follows, we will see how sugar can be more of a cardiovascular risk than the dreaded cholesterol.

Which sugars?

When we talk about sugars, we are referring to all refined sugars and syrups. These are:

  1. Simple sugars: glucose (also known as dextrose), fructose (also known as levulose) and galactose (found in milk).
  2. Double sugars: sucrose (table sugar), maltose (in beer) and lactose (in milk).
  3. Dextrins and dextrans.
  4. Syrups made from sugarcane, sugar beets, sorghum and maple.
  5. Honey. The problem with all of these sugars is that our body digests and absorbs them rapidly and turns them into saturated fatty acids.
  6. Starches. Starches are sugar molecules bonded together. Enzymes in our body must break the bonds between the glucose molecules, gradually turning starches into glucose via digestion. Glucose is the primary fuel for the cells in our body (from vegetables rather than from simple sugars). Starches are preferable to sugars because they are digested and absorbed more slowly. Refined starchy foods (white flour, rice, paste, enriched flours, corn starch, tapioca, breakfast cereals, etc) are more likely to turn into fats than starches from whole grains, which contain more fiber and are digested even more slowly.

Sugar in your kitchen

Products that contain a lot of sugar are ketchup, canned fruits, juices, ice creams, jams, jellies, soft drinks, pies, candies, etc. Many meat and sausage products are extended with refined starch and protein. Starch mixtures are more difficult to digest than either protein or starch by itself. When poorly or incompletely digested, such mixtures can lead to bloating, intestinal pain and gas. Potatoes and yams contain starch that is quickly broken down and can increase blood sugar levels rapidly.

Carbohydrates and health problems

Complex carbohydrates (vegetables) are the best source of slowly released glucose, which is the best fuel for providing the energy we need. Complex carbs contain fiber and other things that are digested slowly. The glucose released is burned/used up by body functions at the same rate that it is produced therefore they don’t provide extra energy that turns into fat. Complex carbs also contain vitamins and minerals (cofactors) that enable our body to burn them cleanly into carbon dioxide, water and energy. On the other hand, diets high in refined carbs will lead to cardio vascular disease (CVD) or diabetes as early as 30 years of age. Refined sugars need no digestion and are absorbed rapidly, they lack the cofactors and our body cannot burn them properly. When this happens glucose then floods our blood and cells. This is a dangerous situation that can lead to diabetic sugar shock, coma and death.

Excess glucose

Our body deals with excess glucose in two ways:

  1. Stores it as fat.
  2. It excretes excess glucose through urine (common in diabetes). This only happens when the first fails as is the case of overload or failure of sugar regulating mechanisms.

Our body is not equipped to deal with continued excess, so this is something we need to avoid. When we eat excess glucose what happens is the pancreas releases  insulin, which in turn moves glucose into our cells. In our cells glucose is fed into the energy producing cycle (krebs cycle) of the mitochondria in our cells. This stimulates the production of fatty acids, which get turned into a triglyceride, which then is stored in our cells and organs. This is why high sugar consumption leads to high triglycerides in the blood and to cardiovascular disease: stroke, heart attack, clogged arteries and diabetes. What is more significant is that these fats are ‘sticky’ saturated fatty acids. Our body makes enzymes that change saturated fatty acids (SaFas) into a liquid oil, so the sticky and prone to form flow impending clots in blood vessels are changed into a liquid oil that doesn’t have such dangerous effects in our body. This ability is limited though, so over consumption of these sticky SaFas combined with lack of essential minerals and vitamins can lead to blood vessel degeneration, clots, heart attacks and stroke, pulmonary embolism, circulatory problems of the extremities and blindness in diabetics.

In addition, fatty acids made from sugars interfere with the essential fatty acids functions and increase the likelihood of diseases of fatty geneneration. An excess of refined sugars can also increase cholesterol levels. Most of our organs can use fat for energy, but not our brain, which requires glucose (from complex carbohydrates), glutamic acid or ketones from protein.

Refined sugars are absorbed very quickly into the blood stream. Insulin then has to remove this excess glucose, which causes the levels of glucose to fall too low (hypoglycemia). When this happens, the adrenal glands kick in to mobilize the body’s stores of glycogen to make more glucose. This kind of diet overworks our pancreas and adrenal glands. If the pancreas slows down it will produce less insulin so excess glucose remains in the blood resulting in cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Also, if the adrenals are too burdened, the result is an inability of our body to deal with stress. Stress caused diseases is the end result. Overworked adrenals also cause the body to be unable to raise glucose levels necessary for energy requirements of the body. This will result in low blood sugar which will cause sugar cravings. When we consume sugar in this manner, we go from high sugar to low sugar, all of which is very taxing to the body and adds a load of stress to our heart.

When the body is unable to use the extra fats and cholesterol that come from a high sugar diet, it will deposit it in the cells of our liver, heart, arteries, fat tissues, kidneys, muscles and other organs. This means atherosclerosis, fatty liver, kidney disease, tumors, obesity, etc.

If all this was not bad enough, we can add that sugar shuts down the immune system. It also increases the body’s production of adrenaline by four, which activates the fight or flight response and increases the cortisol levels in the body, which also shuts down the immune system. Sugar lacks the vitamins and minerals required for its own metabolism so the body uses its own stores of these precious nutrients. Sugar feeds candida, fungi, and cancer cells. Sugar interferes with the transport of vitamin C because they both share the same transport system. High blood sugar inhibits the release of linoleic acid from storage in fat tissues and contributes to essential fatty acid deficiency.

Sugar and triglycerides

Our body can convert a toxic excess of sugar into less harmful triglycerides (TGs). In this way, TGs provide a safety mechanism for our body. The more sugar we consume obviously, the higher the triglycerides levels will be in our blood. TGs are then carried around in our blood stream which is known as high blood triglycerides.

Triglycerides and disease

Excess TGs can cause problems. High blood TGs levels increase our risk of heart disease. They are produced by high intake of cholesterol, overeating and by high intake of refined sugars, sticky saturated fats and too few antioxidants. Under these conditions, TG fatty acids oxidize and damage the insides of our arteries. High blood TG levels may also increase the tendency of blood cells to clump together (blood clots).

Excess stored triglyceride fats correlate with high blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. All increase our risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, heart and kidney failure and other degenerative diseases. Diets high in fats but also rich in minerals and vitamins lessen the danger of degeneration. The antioxidant vitamins C and E, carotene, sulphur, selenium, zinc and manganese are important for preventing fatty acids from oxidizing too. Vitamin B 6 should be increased on a high fat diet as it is necessary for metabolizing the fatty acids.

A diet high in omega 3 fatty acids from flax, or EPA and DHA from fish and marine animal oils can lower triglycerides levels by up to 65%. Exercise also lowers blood TGs levels by burning up excess fats to produce energy. Normal blood TG levels are about 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl).

Functions of triglycerides

Despite this dark side of triglycerides, in the right amount, they are important for health.

Chemists call fats and oils triglycerides because they consist of three (tri) fatty acids molecules joined to a glycerol (glyceride) molecule.

Triglycerides are the main kind of fat we carry in our body. All oils and fats are mixtures of triglycerides and make up 95% of the fats we eat.

TGs are the main form in which living organisms store energy for future use. Edible oils from seeds, egg yolk and fat deposits of animals are also mainly TGs. TGs serve as our body’s reserve of the vital essential fatty acids, linoleic acid (LA) and alpha linoleic acid (LNA).

TGs are excellent insulation material, forming a layer around our body under our skin that conserves heat. Without this layer, more food consumption, more digestion, more absorption and increased metabolism would be required to keep body temperature constant.

Body fat is an effective shock absorber. It protects internal organs from shock and injury every time we take a step, walk or run.

Fat tissues store energy reserves on which our body can draw between meals, increased physical exertion, while we sleep, during pregnancy or during a famine.

TGs are fuel for all organs, except the brain. TGs store our body’s reserves of EFA’s.

To sum up, excess sugar consumption can have detrimental effects in our health. A balanced diet high in essential fatty acids is the best way to wean ourselves from sugar. Thank you for reading.


Understanding fats. Does your heart need an ‘oil change’?

03 Mar 2016 no comments HAB Extract

When it comes to health there is no topic that has been received more press than fats and cholesterol. We all have heard of fats that kill, but are you aware that fats can heal? The truth of the matter is that fats are absolutely necessary for life. What determines whether a fat is a killer or a healer? In this blog and in subsequent blogs we will go into detail into this topic. We will hopefully answer all your questions about fats like, which is better, margarine or butter? What exactly are trans-fats? What are essential fatty acids? How much do I need?

To delve deep into all of this we will focus on Udo Erasmus‘ book “Fats that heal, fats that kill”. Udo Erasmus is an internationally recognized authority on the topic of fats and cholesterol. He has a degree in genetics, biochemistry and a PhD in Nutrition and is passionate about his job. He pioneered technology for pressing and packaging healthy oils and travels the world educating people and health professionals about the importance of good fats. According to him, “fats continue to be cause of much debate, controversy and confusion, coming mainly from half-truths that have been used for advertising purposes…Doctors are rarely trained on nutrition and the processing of oils to know how this affects our health and we often entrust our health to them, not knowing we can gain the knowledge to take care of our own bodies. Lots of new research information have yielded a great deal of evidence on the role of nutrients on healing and health, despite this the medical body remains skeptical.”

From fatty generation to fatty degeneration.

Fat related diseases ultimately kill 2/3 of the population living in industrialized nations. This comprises cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes. Since the 1900s when cardiovascular disease and cancer were rare much has changed: processed foods becoming a mega-industry, use of pesticides, rise of pharmaceutical drugs, pollution of soil, water and air, chlorination of water, etc. Of importance has been the kind of fats we consume and how we process them. When it comes to fat, there is what he calls the ‘goldilocks effect’, there is either too little (deficiency), just right (optimum) or too much (excess), all determined by age, sex, physical , mental and environmental conditions, etc. . Too little will bring about physical degeneration, too much can bring about toxicity. Both of which can cause disease. Malnutrition results mainly from deficiencies but also from imbalances, poor digestion or absorption.

Other factors determine how fats affect our health, like what kind of fat is it, how the fat has been treated: is it fresh or old?, has it been exposed to light, oxygen, heat , hydrogen, water, acid, base or metals like copper and iron? what is the ratio of different oils. Only the right kinds of fats, prepared with the right methods, in the right amount and with the right ratio build our health, otherwise they become ‘killer fats’. Large US government sponsored surveys show that over 60% of the population is deficient in one or more essential nutrients. Deficiencies, excesses or imbalances in fats lead to degeneration and are involved in 70% or more of all US deaths.

Another aspect that determines how an oil affects our health are co-factors. Fats don’t act alone, they require certain vitamins and minerals to do their job. Research has found there are 50 essential factors for health: essential nutrients (20-1 minerals, 13 vitamins, 8 amino acids and 2 essential fatty acids), a source of energy (starch or glucose), water, oxygen and light. These are essential because our body doesnt make them so we must obtain it from our environment. In addition, also required for good health are fiber, friendly bacteria, hydrochloric acid, bile and digestive enzymes. Herbs will also help to bring the body to peak performance.

Let’s face fats.

The word ‘lipids’ is a general word that is used to refer to fats, oils, cholesterol and other fat-like substances, fatty acids (the main building block of fats and oils), phospholipids from which our cells’ membrane is made and alkylglycerols. Fats are solid while oils are liquid.

Fatty acids deserve especial attention because they are essential for the health of our cells. There are different families of fatty acids. The main two are saturated fatty acids and unsaturated fatty acids. Saturated and unsaturated fatty acids differ in melting point and stability. Saturated fatty acids are relatively stable and inert. Unsaturated are less stable and more active chemically. Plants and animal cells can modify saturated fatty acids and produce unsaturated fatty acids that are known as omega 3 fatty acids and omega 6 which are both essential because they cannot be made in the body.

All fatty acids produce 9 calories of energy per gram, the body prefers to save the important omega 3 and omega 6 essential fatty acids for vital hormone-like functions. In particular, our body uses saturated fatty acids to generate energy, build membranes or make unsaturated fatty acids and can also store them in fat tissues for future use. Our body uses unsaturated fatty acids to construct membranes, create electrical potentials and move electrical currents. It can also burn them to produce energy if the more vital roles these fatty acids play have been properly fulfilled.

Also, our body can turn unsaturated and essential fatty acids into highly unsaturated molecules, which serve functions in all cells especially in the most active tissues in the body: brain, sense organs, adrenal glands and testes. Highly unsaturated fatty acids have important jobs such as attracting oxygen, helping generate electrical currents and helping transform light energy into electrical energy and then into nerve impulses.

Food sources of fatty acids.

Unsaturated fatty acids.

In our fat phobia driven world, we forget fats can heal. Not only they heal, they are essential which means our body cannot make them so we have to obtain them from the diet. When these two essential fatty acids are missing our cells deteriorate and disease starts.

The unsaturated fatty acids are a big family of fats that include the essential fatty acids that are necessary for life. These are the omega 3 essential fatty acids and the omega 6 fatty acids (EFAs). Both omega 3 and 6s are polyunsaturated, but the author prefers to call the omega 3 fatty acids superunsaturated to distinguish them from the omega 6 fatty acids. This is important because omega 3 and omega 6 have opposite effects in the body, affecting our health greatly. (Market use of the term polyunsaturated refers to omega 6s found in safflower, sunflower, corn and sesame) Our body uses these two for important functions in brain cells, nerve endings, sense organs, adrenal glands, sex glands and all cells also to make prostaglandins, which have hormone-like regulating and communicating functions in our cells.

Unsaturated fatty acids aggregate poorly (less sticky) and melt at lower temperature than saturated fats. They have a negative charge. This is important because like charges repel one another so they tend to spread out over surfaces, which means they are less sticky and more fluid. In a cell membrane this fluidity allows molecules within cells the freedom to swim and dive and to better transport substances.

Omega 3 and omega 6 have a man-made toxic form that are obtained through processing and interfere with the body’s biological functions.

The unsaturated fatty acids are a big family of fats with sub-groups as follows:

  1. Super-unsaturated fatty acids omega 3 (SUFAs):
  2. 1a. A member of this family is alpha-linoleic acid (LNA), improperly called linoleic acid, but can also be called ALA or ALENA. It is found in flax seed (50%), chia and kukui (30%), hemp seed (20%), pumpkin seed oil (15%) maximum, canola up to 10%, soybean 5-7%, walnut and dark-green leaves between 3% and 11%. Symptoms of alpha linoleic acids deficiency are: growth retardation, weakness, impairment of vision and learning ability, motor incoordination, tingling sensations in arms and legs, high triglycerides, high blood pressure, sticky platelets, tissue inflammation, edema, dry skin, mental deterioration, low metabolic rate and some kinds of immune dysfunction.
  3. 1.b. Stearidonic acid (SDA), which is found in black currant seeds.
  4. 1.c. EPA (eicosapentaenoic ) and DHA (docosahexaenoic) in cold water fish, salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines, etc. These are really important for health, in the body these oils are found in great quantities in the brain, eyeballs, adrenal glands and testes.
  5. Poly-unsaturated fatty acids omega 6 (PUFAs).

2.a. Linoleic acid (LA) found in safflower, sunflower, hemp, soybean, walnut, pumpkin, sesame, flax, corn and sesame. Linoleic acid deficiency symptoms are: eczema, loss of hair, liver degeneration, kidney degeneration, excessive loss of water and thirst, drying up of glands, failure of wounds to heal, sterility in males, miscarriage in women, growth retardation and heart and circulatory. Deficiency is fatal.

2.b. Gamma-linoleic acid (GLA) is absent from mother’s milk contrary to advertising claims. Borage is the richest source followed by black currant seed oil. Evening primrose oil contains 9%

2.c. DGLA (Dihomogamma-linoleic acid) found in mother’s milk, very important for health.

2.d. Arachidonic acid (AA) found in meats and other animal products, from which our body makes some substances important for survival and disease functions.

  1. Mono-unsaturated fatty acid omega 9 (MUFAs).

3.a. Oleic acid (OA.) The most important monounsaturated fat is called oleic acid, found in olives, almonds, peanuts, pistachios, pecans, canola, avocado, hazelnut, cashew and macadamia oils. Oleic acid melts at 55F and is fairly stable which means it is not easily oxidized and it helps keep our arteries supple. This kind of fat is the one found in our skin glands. Land animal fats and butter are also a source of oleic acid. Oleic Acid and other members of this family are produced in our body.

  1. Mono-unsaturated omega 7:

4.a. Palmitoleic acid (POA) is found in milk and tropical oils, especially coconut and palm kernel. An excess can interfere with the body’s conversion of essential fatty acids into hormone like prostaglandins. Our body converts palmitoleic acid into several other members of the omega 7 family.

Chemical nature of essential fatty acids. Why are EFAs so important?

Fats are not all the same. Different types of fatty acids take part in different kinds of reactions. EFAs take part in so many biological functions that it would be hard to list them all. What follows is a list of the most important roles EFAs have in the body.

  1. EFAs are used to make phospholipids, the main structural compounds of cell membranes. This is especially important for the most active of body tissues: brain, nerve cells, synapses, retinas, adrenals and testes.
  2. Most importantly, EFAs interact with proteins in the transfer of electrons and energy. Life is movement of energy.
  3. EFAs attract oxygen into our body.
  4. EFAs transfer and carry oxygen from our red blood cells to precise locations in our mitochondria which use it to produce energy.
  5. EFAs absorb sunlight energy which increases their ability to react with oxygen by a thousand fold, this makes them very active.
  6. Because EFAs carry negative electrical charges they repel one another, when we eat these fats they get incorporated into our cells’ membranes and this keeps them from clumping together (clotting).
  7. EFAs keep our membranes fluid, this allows substances such as toxins to move to the surface of the skin, intestinal tract, kidneys or lungs where these can be discarded.
  8. The chemical reactions on which life depends require a one-way movement of electrons and energy in molecules. This is made possible by EFAs.
  9. EFAs can create charges of static electricity that are caught between the water within (positive charge) and the membrane outside the cells (negative charge) creating electrical currents very important for nerve, muscle, heart and membrane functions.
  10. EFAs also hold oxygen in our cell membranes where oxygen acts as a barrier to viruses, fungi, bacteria, etc. which cannot survive in the presence of oxygen.
  11. Hemoglobin production. EFAs produce red blood pigment (hemoglobin) and make oxygen available to our tissues.
  12. Membrane components. EFAs are part of all cell membranes. They help hold proteins in the membrane thus they are involved in the traffic of substances in and out of our cells. They also help create electrical potentials across membranes which when stimulated, generate bioelectric currents that travel along cell membranes to other cells, transmitting messages.
  13. EFAs are also structural parts of the membranes of subcellular organelles or small organs within our cells among which is the mitochondria, which is like a little factory inside our cell that burns food molecules to release the sunlight stored in them for use as energy. Another one is the nucleus which contains the chromosomes that carry the master plan according to which our whole body is constructed. This is why these oils are found especially concentrated in membranes of the brain, nerve cells and synapses, retina, inner ear, adrenal glands and sex glands.
  14. Recovery from fatigue. EFAs shorten the time required for fatigued muscles to recover after exercise by facilitating the conversion of lactic acid to water and carbon dioxide.
  15. EFAs are precursors of prostaglandins, three families of short-lived hormone like substances that regulate many functions of the cells in all tissues. Some prostaglandins affect the tone of involuntary muscles in our blood vessels, some lower blood pressure, some relax coronary arteries and some inhibit platelet stickiness. EFAs are also precursors of some unsaturated fatty acids needed by the most active oxygen requiring energy and electron exchanging tissues: brain, retina, adrenal, and testicular tissues and ensure oxygen is available.
  16. Growth. They increase the rate of the metabolic reactions in our body, this increased rate burns more fat into carbon dioxide, water and energy (heat) resulting in fat burn off and loss of excess weight.
  17. They are also involved in electron and energy transport.
  18. LNA can lower elevated blood fats by up to 65%.
  19. They help to keep the blood fats fluid, so they help generate the electrical currents that help our heart beat in an orderly sequence.
  20. Cell division. EFAs are part of the new cell membranes after they divide.
  21. They help our immune system fight infections.
  22. EFAs govern every single life process in our body. Life without them is impossible.
  23. Brain development. In fetuses and growing babies, EFAs are essential for brain development. Pregnant women should be supplementing with EFAs.
  24. Other benefits: EFAs produce smooth wrinkle free skin, speed healing, increase stamina, help with premenstrual syndrome, reduce inflammation, water retention, platelet stickiness and blood pressure.

Co-factors to EFA functions

We need to remember that fats do not work alone. All their functions are only possible when EFAs are part of a complete nutritional supplement program that includes all 50 essential factors: 2 essential fatty acids, 8 essential amino acids, 13 vitamins, 20 minerals, water, oxygen and light. Apart from this we need fiber, friendly bacteria, hydrochloric acid, digestive enzymes and bile. Herbs will also help tone the human body to peak condition. Despite living in industrialized nations most of us are deficient in most essential nutrients, many of these are missing from the foods we eat because of soil depletion. Other factors contributing to this are poor digestion, poor absorption, food allergies, imbalances of bowel flora, drug interferences with metabolic processes, etc. What is more, processed foods have lost most of their nutrition when they are processed. Success also requires removal of junk foods and toxic substances. EFAs should account for 1/3 of the total amount of fats we consume. To perform their functions, linoleic acid (LA) and alpha linoleic acid (LNA) must first be converted to EFA derivatives or into prostaglandins. These conversions require vitamins B3, B6, C, magnesium and zinc. A deficiency in any of these will mimic the effects of EFAs deficiencies.

Daily requirements of EFAs.

Linoleic acid is the essential fatty acid with the highest requirement. The exact amount is still being debated and it changes according to physical activity, stress, etc. A good dose could be around 1 tablespoon a day. Obese people might need even more. Safflower is the richest source of LA while hemp seed contains both omega 6 and omega 3 in an ideal ratio of 3 to 1.

Alpha-Linoleic Acid dose is around 1-2 teaspoons a day, together with the vitamins and minerals mentioned above. The richest source of alpha linoleic acid is flax oil.


While omega 3 consumption has decreased since 1850s, omega 6 has doubled drastically changing the ratio in our food supply. This has had a bearing in our health.

Long term exclusive use of flax oil can result in omega 6 deficiency because flax seed contains four times more omega 3 than 6. Deficiency symptoms can show up within 16 to 24 months.

Caring for EFAs

Both LA and LNA are very susceptible to light, air and heat. In their natural state, the seeds isolate these elements so the oil inside the seeds can stay fresh for years. When oils are extracted, packaged and stored, especial care needs to be taken not to destroy these oils. This makes them expensive.

Light can produce free radicals and oxygen turns the oil rancid. They can then turn into toxic compounds and their properties altered. Heat like in frying or hydrogenation (to make margarines or shortenings) will change the molecular structure of the oils. This is why capsules are usually kept in dark bottles and with a shelf-date, they can be frozen to keep them fresh.

Fat metabolism and absorption

When it comes to health, digestion and absorption of fats is of extreme importance. If the body is not able to metabolize and absorb the nutrients in fats, the end result will be disease, even if we are eating the right fats. Fat metabolism cannot take place without the help of enzymes, minerals and vitamins.

Enzymes. Enzymes are facilitators between molecules that allow life to carry on. Each step in every chemical reaction in metabolism requires the presence of a specific enzyme without which that chemical reaction cannot take place.

Minerals. Enzymes work with minerals. An example is zinc, with which 80 enzymes ally themselves. Without zinc these enzymes cannot do their work.

Vitamins. 13 vitamin cofactors are essential to human health, without these many enzyme catalyzed interactions between molecules cannot take place.

EFAs and weight loss.

An excess of EFA (upwards of 3 tablespoons a day) increases the speed at which our body burns fat and glucose so this can be used to burn off excess fats and help the person stay slim. Since fats are digested slower, they suppress appetite longer than carbs. Fats also produce ketones, which reduce hunger even more.

Relationship of oil with protein

Proteins and oils are the two most abundant substances in our cells, they are found together in cell membranes, lipoproteins that carry fat and cholesterol in our blood and in membranes at the subcellular level. They form the main structures and functional components of our entire body.

We can get too much oil or too much protein if either is taken by itself over the long term. Oil and protein belong together, work together and protect each other, so both should be eaten together. This is the basis of the Budwig’s program for treating terminal cancer.

Fats and stress

Just like a battery has a positive and a negative that allow a flow of current, fats and protein become a battery in our body. Oils are negatively charged, and proteins are positively charged. Between these two poles life currents flow when the circuit of essential nutrients is complete. The more we are stressed, the more these fats and proteins are used up and the sooner this battery is run down. Oils and proteins must be continually replaced with foods that recharge our batteries. More stress requires more oils and proteins and vitamins and minerals. A deficiency becomes weakness first, then it becomes sickness, the severity of which depends on the severity of the deficiency.

Vitamins and minerals are supporting the work that fats and protein do, all of them are important and deficiencies in one can create internal nutritional stress. The fast pace at which we live our lives runs down our battery.


Antioxidants are also essential to preserve the oil from oxidizing and turning rancid. Vitamin E is essential to keep EFAs intact in our body to protect them from destruction from free radical and oxygen. Vitamin C recharges vitamin E so that it can be reused.

In nature vitamin E and other antioxidants is always present in fresh oil bearing seeds and nuts. The more EFAs an oils contains, the richer it is in anti-oxidants. Fresh nuts and seeds are a good source of anti-oxidants. When oils are pressed, vitamin E and other anti-oxidants stay in the oil if they are mechanically pressed under protection from light and air. These anti-oxidants protect our cells and tissues from free radical damage, prevent abnormal clotting of blood, protect from heart attacks, strokes and cancer by inactivating free radicals that might get out of control and start free radical chain reactions.

After processing oils, they are refined, bleached, deodorized and the anti-oxidants are removed from them. Manufacturers don’t throw away the vitamin E, they separate the sludge, concentrate the vitamin E and sell it. Without the antioxidants, the oils are unprotected. If our diet consists mainly of refined foods then uncontrolled free radical chain reactions will occur in our body, causing degeneration and aging. Transparent bottles and frying oils are all destructive. Consuming these unprotected and refined oils produce dark spots on the skin which are a sign of fatty degeneration, they are also found in the cells of heart muscle and brain of older people. They indicate a deficiency in anti-oxidants, vitamin E and selenium. Consuming unrefined oils is then the best way to obtain these important antioxidants.

Saturated fatty acids.

Hard fats and saturated fatty acids (SaFAs). Saturated fatty acids are found in all food fats and oils, especially in hard fats. An excess of saturated fatty acids can cause health problems for our heart and arteries. The harder they are the higher the melting point is and the more they will tend to aggregate and be ‘stickier’. Saturated fatty acids decrease oxygen supply to tissues (hypoxia) chocking them by making the red blood cells stick together, less mobile (sludgy) and less able to deliver oxygen to cells.

To this family belong the following:

  1. Stearic acid (SA) found in beef, mutton, pork, butter, cocoa butter, and shea nut butter.
  2. Palmitic acid (PA) found in tropical oils coconut, palm and palm kernel.
  3. Butyric acid (BA) found in butter.
  4. Arachidic acid found in peanuts.

We can divide saturated fatty acids into:

  1. Short-chain saturated fatty acids.

Short chain saturated fatty acids make up less than 10% of the total fatty acids found in butter and milk fat, some short chain saturated fatty acids are also found in coconut and palm kernel oils. Butyric acid (butter) helps feed the friendly bacteria that keep our colon clean.

  1. Medium-chain saturated fatty acids. The body uses these to produce energy. They are not stored as fat.
  2. Long-chain saturated fatty acids. They are solid at body temperature and insoluble in water. They stick together to form drops, this tendency to aggregate involves these saturated fatty acids in sticky platelets that can form blood clots in an artery. This is the case of beef, mutton, pork and dairy products. They can be deposited within cells, organs and arteries along with proteins, minerals and cholesterol. Diets high in refined sugars can create this same health problem, mainly because our body converts excess sugar into saturated fatty acids.

We can end our discussion by stressing the importance of fats for life and health. Everything that lives has fats and oils because everything that lives is made up of cells with a fatty membrane. The sub-units inside cells are also surrounded by membranes containing phospholipids and fatty acids. Red blood cells, nerve cells, liver cells, etc. all depend on fats for health. Plants also contains fats, seaweeds are the highest source. Oils in the green parts of plants are EFAs-rich, they take part in processes by which plants capture sunlight energy and store it, this is the energy we need to live.

To find out more about the author, you can visit his website www.udoerasmus.com.

Separating ‘fat’ from fiction. The good, the bad and the ugly.

03 Mar 2016 no comments HAB Extract

From the time of the cottage press to the mass production of oils much has changed in the food industry. Some oil processing can offer fresh oils, others will change the chemical structure of the oil and turn them into an oil that kills. What is important to note is that the good oils rich in essential fatty acids (EFAs) are unstable and last fresh a few days. With the start of mass production, many healthy and unstable omega 3 oils were replaced for more stable, less healthy omega 6, upsetting the ratio of the omega 3 and 6 that is important to health. Their cofactors, that help these oils be absorbed better, were removed with chemical extraction and chemical solvents (hexane, heptane) were added. Natural nutrients in oils were converted to dangerous substances: trans-fatty acids, polymers, aldehydes, etc. The processes used to refine oils produce dozens of different new substances by random processes that cannot be controlled. It was because of this that in 1987 Udo Erasmus started a natural oil business with new guidelines for machinery design, packaging materials, shelf dating refrigeration and guidelines for making oils with human health in mind. His methods for pressing oils produce oils that are protected from light and air with custom made modifications for existing presses. ‘Fresh edible oils require a great deal of care that the mega oil industry is not willing to do… most manufacturers know nothing about the biology human health oil’ he asserts.

In this blog, we will look at how oils are mass produced, the different methods of extraction and how the end product damages our health. We will also learn to read a label. Lastly, we will look with detail at the best and worst oils for our health.

From seed to oil

It all starts with a seed. In mass oil production, seeds are first mechanically cleaned, then cooked for up to 2 hours at around 248F to make the oil easier to extract. This exposes the oil to air, starting the process of deterioration. The cooked seeds then are pressed mechanically in an expeller press. The higher the pressure the higher the oil yield but this increases the temperature too. Oil pressed this way may be filtered, then bottled and sold in natural food stores as natural unrefined ‘crude’ oil.

Solvent extraction

Another method for extracting oils is dissolving them in a solvent like hexane or heptane (gasoline) at 131 to 149 F under constant agitation. The solvent is then evaporated at a temperature of 302F and reused. These solvents are highly flammable and traces can be found in the oil. This final product can be sold as ‘unrefined’, but it can also be processed by several further steps: degumming, refining, bleaching and deodorizing to produce refined oils. All these steps use dangerous chemicals and remove the nutrients from the oils. To put them on shelves in supermarkets, these oils can have synthetic antioxidants added like BHT, BHA, TBHQ, etc. instead of using the natural antioxidant present before all the processing.


Hydrogenation is a process introduced on a large scale in the 1930’s for making margarines and shortenings (cheaper substitutes for butter and lard, respectively). It introduces many altered fat substances in our diet. The big industry’s reason for this process is to provide cheap spreadable (plastic) products. Fully refined oils can be artificially saturated to harden them into spreadable products. Labels do not include all this information, but say something like ‘free of cholesterol’, ‘low in saturates’, ‘for frying, baking and cooking’ or ‘high in polyunsaturates’.

In hydrogenation, oils are reacted under pressure with hydrogen gas at high temperatures (248F-410F). This is done in the presence of a metal catalyst for 6-8 hours, usually nickel and aluminum, both of which can be found leaching.

In complete hydrogenation all the good essential fatty acids have been removed. They call this fat ‘safe’ because it contains no trans-fatty acids to interfere with EFA activities in your body and does not spoil, resulting in a long shelf ‘life’. Hydrogenated oil can be fried, baked, roasted or boiled without further damage. All this is highly toxic but it is a manufacturer’s dream: an un-spoilable substance that lasts forever. You can find this kind of oils on products like chocolate (hard but soft enough to melt in your mouth). They are also mixed with natural EFA containing liquid oils to make a ‘vegetable spread ‘which is like margarine but free of trans-fatty acids.

Partial hydrogenation

When the process of hydrogenation is not brought to completion a product with many intermediate substances results. Scientists have barely scratched the surface of studying changes induced in fats and oils by partial hydrogenation. Hydrogenation destroys omega 3 very rapidly and omega 6 more slightly. It is impossible to control the chemical outcome of the process and the quantities of each different kind of altered substance that will be produced. The reason is it allows cheap oils to be turned into semi-liquid, plastic, or solid fats that compete with butter in ‘mouth feel’, texture, spreadability, and shelf life. The low cost of raw materials allows margarine to be sold at a much lower price than butter, sales generate good profits with money left over for massive advertising campaigns.

Partial hydrogenation produces margarines, shortenings, shortening oils and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. These products contain large quantities of trans-fatty acids and other altered fat substances some of which are known to be detrimental to health because they interfere with normal biochemical processes. Among other things, they increase cholesterol, decrease beneficial high density lipoprotein (HDL), interfere with our liver’s detoxification system and interfere with EFA function.

The oil in margarines and shortenings have all the protein, fiber, minerals, vitamins, lecithin, phytosterols, EFAs, etc. removed, so you are eating a dead food which in many occasions contain toxic substances.

Trans-fatty acids are produced by high temperatures and hydrogenation that turn refined oils into margarines, shortening, shortening oils and partially hydrogenated (stiffened) vegetable oils.

Fractionation and trans-esterification

These are two recent processing techniques that served industrial producers to make the oils easier to work with but add no nutritional value to an oil. The starting point of these materials are always fully refined, deodorized, bland oils.

Fractionation is when you separate an oil into 2 or 3 different triglycerides that have different fatty acid composition, for example coconut oils can be fractionated into a harder more saturated fraction that stays solid at room temperature.

What are the effects on our health?

The main side effect of hydrogenation in our health is the increase in food additives. Just hydrogenation brings twice as many food additives into our diet as all other food additives from all food sources combined. The author has observed that with reduction in EFAs and increase in altered fatty acids in our diets, fatty degeneration has risen to epidemic proportions in 90 years in spite of all medical advances, especially cardiovascular disease which rose 300%.

In food products about 1/3 of all edible oil produced is hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated. Hydrogenated oils end up in baked goods, confections and snacks such as potato chips where hydrogenated oils help give the product its crispness. Without hydrogenated oils potato chips would be limp and they wouldn’t be the popular snack they are today.

How does all this affect the properties of oils?

All these different methods to mass produce oils not only affect our health, they also alter the oils:

  1. Misfits: to explain this we can think of tinker toys, the pieces have to have a certain shape to fit together. That is how fats are supposed to fit onto enzymes and membranes to do their job. Trans-fatty acids cannot fit properly into enzymes and membrane structures in our body, so the oil cannot do the job it is supposed to do.
  2. Melting points. Natural non-sticky liquid oils change to sticky trans-fats. The first melt at 55F, the second at 111F so they stay solid at room and body temperatures.
  3. Dispersal. Natural oils are more dispersed, their molecules tend to repel one another. Unnatural trans-fatty acids are stickier. They make platelets stickier, increasing the likelihood of a clot in a small blood vessel causing strokes, heart attacks or circulatory occlusions in other organs such as lungs, extremities, and sense organs.
  4. Breakdown. The rate at which our enzymes break down trans-fatty acids is slower than the rate at which they break down normal fatty acids. This is important for our heart because fatty acids are fuel for our heart. Trans-fatty acid consumption may lower the heart’s ability to perform. In a case of increased activity, stress lowered heart performance can have fatal consequences.
  5. Holes in membranes. The job of healthy fats is to protect the cell membrane, which acts as a barrier for cells to stay alive and healthy. By changing the cell’s permeability, molecules that would ordinarily stay out of cells can get in, allergic reactions and immune reactions can result.
  6. Electrical short-circuits. Trans-fatty acids have their electrical nature changed. Healthy EFAs and their highly unsaturated derivatives are involved in energy and electron exchange reactions that also involve sulphur-rich proteins, oxygen and light. Trans-fatty acids are unable to participate in these vital reactions, worst, they interfere because they almost fit but not quite. Like in a car, when a spark plug has too wide of a gap, the spark is unable to jump this gap, this prevents the car from working.
  7. Energy flow. Life is energy, it flows in our body via electrons that move across molecules specifically for that purpose. Extremely precise structural and spatial arrangements of atoms and their electrons are required. When we change the molecular architecture of our body by introducing molecules with wrong shape (remember the tinker toys), size and properties they do not fit and throw the flow of life’s currents off course. Any molecule that doesn’t belong in our body will have such effect including altered fatty acids, pesticides, synthetics and drugs.
  8. Life functions. Life energy currents are responsible for all life functions, including healthy heartbeat, nerve function, cell division, coordination, sensory function, mental balance, and vitality. To explain degenerative diseases at the molecular level, we must look at altered molecules and their capacity to impair the natural flow of energy from molecule to molecule within our body. Trans-fatty acids constitute a major cause for these altered molecules. Since the disruption that trans-fatty acids create may be primarily electrical rather than molecular, by the time degeneration becomes visible those trans-fats that started the electrical process that led to degeneration have been metabolized and gone.
  1. EFA disruption. Trans-fats disrupt the vital functions of EFAs. They worsen EFA deficiency by interfering with the enzyme systems that transform fatty acids into highly unsaturated fatty acid derivatives found especially concentrated in our brain, sense organs, adrenals and testes. They also interfere with the production of prostaglandins that regulate muscle tone in the walls of our arteries, increase and decrease blood pressure, regulate platelet stickiness important to blood clotting and regulate kidney function, inflammation response and immune system competence. It is easy to see how anything that interferes with prostaglandins will interfere with health.

How our body deals with trans-fatty acids.

Just as a defective brick cannot be used to build, a defective oil cannot be used by the body. Some enzymes can recognize these defects and ‘reject’ these oils. Our brain is partially protected too as well as a baby in the womb is partially protected by the placenta. The body can selectively dispose of these defective oils breaking them down as fast as it can, but if too many are defective the body may have to use them for vital structures and functions anyway. This means that if all the fat we get in our diet is the fat found in m&m’s for example, our cells will be built with m&m fat and the end result is going to be disease, what kind of degenerative diseases?

  1. Atherosclerosis. Trans-fatty acids will increase blood cholesterol by up to 15% and blood fat by 47% very rapidly. Trans-fatty acids increase the size of atherosclerotic plaques, but high levels of natural oils like flax, hemp, cold water fish oils reverse this. This in spite of manufacturers’ advertising claims that suggest margarines are good four your heart.
  2. Cancer. Cancer rates have gone from 1 in 30 people in 1900 to 1 in 4 in 1990. This increase in cancer is parallel to the increase of fat consumption of hydrogenated, trans- fatty acid vegetable oils. Recent research shows that omega 3 fatty acids inhibit cancer.

Other side effects are: lower immune function, interference with pregnancy, lower birth weight, lower quality of breast milk, increase of blood insulin in response to glucose, decreased insulin response, altered activities of the liver enzyme that metabolizes carcinogens and toxins, altered membrane transport and fluidity.

Advertising. Exposing advertising claims

The oil industry is heavily invested in advertising. Fancy talk and pleasant imagery permeate many ads that want to sell us mediocre products. The worse the product is the more enticing and insistent the ad seems to be, this is especially the case of products directed to children, where a cartoon usually attracts the young mind’s attention.

Advertising counts on us being ignorant, confused or both to sell us products. We need to educate yourselves. In a label you will find things like:

‘From 100% corn oil‘. This claim is actually a true statement, margarine marketed this way usually comes from 100% corn, but it fails to specify that the corn oil used is refined, plus the fact that margarine is partially hydrogenated, and contains 25% trans fatty acids.

‘Polyunsaturated’ is a term that is usually associated in our minds with health or EFA containing. This is because both essential fatty acids LA and LNA are polyunsaturated, but most polyunsaturated oils are unnaturally produced so they contain no LNA.

‘High in polyunsaturates’, high doesn’t specify how high it is, it can refer to as little as 2%. A product termed like this may be devoid of omega 3, may contain unnatural polyunsaturates or may decrease cholesterol levels while increasing cancer. All these side effects are left out in the advertising. Trans-fatty acids constitute a major deception in advertising poly-unsaturated fatty acids because they are allowed to advertise them as high in polyunsaturates which is true but misleading because by being trans-polyunsaturted fatty acids they are harmful. Partially hydrogenated vegetable oils also contain trans-polyunsaturated fatty acids and superunsaturated fatty acids. Because hydrogenation is a random uncontrollable process manufacturers do not have to give information on unnatural polyunsaturated fatty acids and superunsaturated fatty acids in their products.

‘Contains lecithin’, how much is not specified either and just a tiny amount is enough to be allowed to be put on the label.

‘For cooking, frying and baking’ this recommendation encourages sales but we have seen oils in this way cannot be healthy.

‘No preservatives’, the oil may still contain pesticides, solvents, residues or trans-fatty acids.

‘No cholesterol’ this is true of all products of plant origin. This claim can be used to sell refined oils, tropical fats, margarines, shortenings, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, etc. which although free of cholesterol may kill you by means of other toxic ingredients more rapidly than the feared cholesterol.

‘For the good of your heart’, there is no scientific evidence that backs up this claim in margarine and other hydrogenated products, on the contrary there is a lot that points in the opposite direction.

‘Low in fat’ or ‘light’. Some products advertised like this may still contain 50% of their calories in fat.

‘Cold pressed’ is a meaningless term. Neither industry nor government have agreed on a definition so this invites anybody to invent whatever suits them. The term was first introduced by a distributor of mass market oils strictly for advertising purposes. It can be used for seeds that have been heated to very high temperatures during deodoration because no external heat was applied to seeds while they were being pressed. This doesn’t take into account that the pressing itself produces heat due to pressure and rotational friction. In the USA this term is used undiscrimately and it is almost impossible to find commercially pressed oils without heat (an exception are virgin olive oils and one brand of peanut oils which is made by the old hydraulic pressing method that produces no heat). Screw (mechanical, expeller) presses generate heat by friction as seeds are compressed and rotated into a squeeze. Heat makes oils run out of seeds faster, the higher the heat, the less oil remains in the pressed seed cake, the better the profit. The lowest temperature at which it is possible to expeller press oils in small presses is around 122F, but the bigger the press the higher the temperature is. The higher the temperature, the faster the oil is destroyed by light and oxygen. Excluding light and oxygen from the pressing process can minimize this damage.

Butter vs. margarine

This topic has become a marketing battle waged in the media by dairy boards and oil processors, by keeping the controversy they also keep their products on our mind. Let’s look at these two in regards to health effects and their metabolism in our body.

Butter. It contains about 500 different fatty acids, one of them is butyric acid and other short chain fatty acids which are all easy to digest. It is low in EFAs, with 2% linoleic acid and no alpha linoleic acid. Compared to human milk fat, human milk contains between 7 and 14% linoleic acid and up to 2% alpha linoleic acid. The milk of a vegetarian mother contains up to 32% linoleic acid and 3% alpha linoleic acid. So if you were to compare butter and human milk, the last would win.

Butter contains about 9% stearic acid, 19% oleic acid and 38% palmitic acid. These three compete for enzymes that metabolize LA and LNA and in excess can interfere with the functions of EFAs.

A pound of butter contains 1 gram of cholesterol, a substance required by all our cells. Dairy farmers use antibiotics in cattle feed and injections which find their way into butter. Antibiotics encourage the growth of yeasts and fungi including candida in humans and can cause allergies, tiredness, sugar cravings (to feed candida), etc. Also, the use of antibiotics allows antibiotic resistant bacteria to thrive. If the butter comes from an organic farm, however, then this problem is gone.

Butter can be used for frying and high heat baking because it is mainly saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids which are relatively stable to light, heat and oxygen. Its low content of EFA is an advantage here. In general, butter is a neutral fat, it’s not essential, it can be useful for frying and in excess can be dangerous.

Butter has been blamed for the increase in degenerative diseases. However, the author notes that butter has been part of man’s diet since cows were domesticated several thousands of years ago. Degenerative diseases in a large scale are very recent in comparison (last 100 years). In this time span butter consumption has decreased. It is unlikely that butter or the cows it comes from are contributors to this rise in degenerative diseases. The author believes margarine has become more popular because is far cheaper than butter but has affected our health greatly.


Margarine contains a few short-chain, easily digestible fatty acids. The oils used to make margarines have plenty of EFAs but hydrogenation destroys them or changes them into altered substances. Margarine contains no cholesterol, but has all the minerals and vitamins removed. Margarine contains no antibiotics, but it contains plenty of trans-fats, so it can cause cardiovascular disease. Margarine is a source of aluminum and nickel which is a serious concern associated with senility, osteoporosis and cancer. Margarine is not suitable for frying, because the unsaturated fatty acids it still contains are further denatured by heat, light and oxygen. Margarine is often advertised in a misleading way as high in polyunsaturated which the public associates with good health because EFAs are polyunsaturated, but in margarine they are chemically altered so they are bad for health. The brand name Becel is made without trans-fats, and with refined sunflower and tropical fats.

Making oils with human health in mind.

In order from the most destructive to the less, light is most damaging, then oxygen. Heat speeds up the destruction by both light and oxygen. High temperatures cause great damage even in the absence of light and oxygen. Udo Erasmus custom-designed and custom-made parts for existing presses to prevent any contact of the oil with light and air while being pressed, avoiding certain metals too. Several companies now make oils using the methods he pioneered.

Packaging and storing oils.

According to the author, seed oils should be pressed and bottled in the dark and in an oxygen-free environment. Refrigeration slows down deterioration by half, so oils should be kept in a dark bottle and refrigerated. Each second that a full exprectrum light hits the oil thousands of photons strike it, each photon of light can begin a free radical chain reaction that lasts 30,000 cycles before it stops. Oils to be healthy need to go from the darkness of a bottle to the darkness of our stomach. Black bottles are best, then brown, then green. For complete protection they should be packed under inert gas (nitrogen, argon or inert gas mixtures) to exclude oxygen. Like this, oils can be kept for years without spoiling.

Opened bottles should be used rapidly after opening: flax 3-6 weeks, hemp 6-12 weeks. As soon as we open the bottle, gas molecules enter the bottle very fast. Each oxygen molecule inside the container can induce many cycles of free radical chain reactions without being used up. In a sealed cooled container, flax lasts 3 months, hemp 5 months or longer. Safflower, sunflower, sesame and pumpkin 9-12 months, and olive oil 2 years. Walnut and soy are less sensitive than flax because they contain less LNA but are more sensitive than oils containing only LA.

Labeling oil products.

Labels should be informative to help consumers make the right choices, but they are not. Manufacturers are not required to state on the label when an oil has been refined, bleached, deodorized, or hydrogenated so they don’t give this information. Labels should include the following information:

  1. Refined-unrefined: the label should say whether the oil is crude (unrefined) or refined. Usually the label specifies this only when it is ‘unrefined’ or ‘virgin’ or ‘extra virgin’. If this information doesn’t show up on the label, then it is refined.
  2. EFAs content: Since the EFAs LA and LNA are key to health, products should display how many grams per 100mg it contains of each. To be good it must contain at least 25 grams of LA per 100mg.
  3. Pressing date should be included. It shouldn’t be confused with processing date that makes older oils look fresh.
  4. ‘Mechanically pressed’ or ‘chemically extracted’.
  5. Hydrogenation.
  6. Organic or non-organic.

The good…

The best oils are unrefined, mechanically expeller pressed without solvents, stored in opaque containers protected from light, oxygen and heat and delivered quickly to the consumer so they don’t spoil.

When it comes to nutritional content, in order from the most nutritious to least, the best oils are:

  1. Hemp seed oil. It comes from the seeds of the marijuana plant. Hemp and sproutable seeds are illegal to grow in the USA, but the oil is legal. Hemp seeds and hemp oil contain no THC (the drug derivative). Hemp seed oil is probably the most perfectly balanced oil there is. Hemp contains 19% of LNA, 57% of the LA and 1.7% LA derived GLA. It is the only common oil that contains GLA. It is so well balanced that one could use it for a lifetime without ever suffering EFA deficiency. Hemp was widely used to make clothing, textiles, rope, etc. Even the first and second drafts of the U.S. Declaration of Independence were written on hemp paper. However, hemp received heavy negative propaganda that successfully changed the public’s perception of this once widely used plant. Nowadays the public’s perception of this plant is changing and there are even companies selling cannabis oil legally.
  1. Flax seed oil. It contains the largest amount of alpha linoleic acid (LNA), it is so rich in LNA it can lead to linoleic acid (LA) deficiency. Alpha linoleic acid helps disperse deposits of saturated fatty acids and cholesterol which like to aggregate and make platelets sticky (blood clots). Flax seed is a poor source of LA but it is the richest source of LNA. To convert LNA to EPA to prostaglandins the body needs optimum amounts of the conversion co-factors B3, B6, and C and the minerals magnesium and zinc. Something unique about flax is that it may contain a substance resembling prostaglandins. To be good for health flax oil must be fresh, not exposed to light, oxygen and heat because these destroy the alpha linoleic acid rapidly. Eating the seeds whole will keep the body from getting the nutrients they contain, you can grind them and eat them right away, and this is the best way to get the freshest less spoiled oil possible plus all the other nutrients they contain. Take them with plenty of fluid because its mucilage absorbs 5 times the seed’s weight of water. Use from 1 to 6 tablespoons per day. 1 tablespoon contains about 1 teaspoon of oil. The use of flax seeds this way can improve digestion, prevent constipation, stabilize blood glucose levels, improve cardiovascular health, inhibit tumor formation, etc. Ground flax seeds kept in plastic containers from the store are usually rancid. Fresh, unrefined flax oils contains lecithin and other phospholipids that help emulsify fats and oils for easier digestion, also carotene, and vitamin E. When the oil is refined both are removed. Flax seeds contain high quality easily digestible protein that contains all amino acids essential to human health, with which the body can make protein. Flax is low in both lysine, methionine and cysteine (essential for premature infants). The high fiber in flax minimizes the release of toxins back into our blood and lowers cholesterol by preventing it and bile acids from being reabsorbed into our body from our intestine. Cholesterol and bile acids attach themselves to fiber and are carried out of our body. It also feeds the healthy intestinal flora and yeasts that make some of our vitamins and protect us from unfriendly intestinal bugs. The mucilage in flax soothes and protects the delicate stomach and intestinal lining, prevents irritation and keeps the contents moving smoothly along. It absorbs water and swells to about 20 times its dry volume. It can be considered the laxative of choice. Flax mucilage also has the ability to buffer excess acid, this makes it ideal for people with acid or sensitive stomachs, ulcers and inflammatory conditions of any part of the intestine. Mucilage helps stabilize blood glucose so it can be useful in diabetes and hypoglycaemia. Flax also contains minerals, fat soluble vitamins E, carotene and water soluble vitamins B1, B2 and C. It is also high in lignans which are molecules with antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal and anti-cancer properties. It contains 100 more lignans than the next source, wheat bran, which is found in the seed meal rather than the oil. Flax can be considered a good food because it has almost all of the components of a complete diet: protein, oil with lecithin, phytosterols, minerals and vitamins, fiber and lignans.
  2. Pumpkin seed oil is difficult to obtain. It might contain 0-15% of alpha linoleic acid (LNA) and from 45% to 60% of linoleic acid (LA). Most commonly available kinds contain no LNA
  3. Unrefined walnut oil is difficult to find fresh, most is refined.
  4. Unrefined soybean oil is high-quality oil but the yield from mechanical pressing is low. Fresh unrefined soybean is an excellent source of EFAs, lecithin, phytosterols and other natural factors that inhibit some kinds of cancers. Most of the soy oil in commercial trade is refined and partly hydrogenated.
  5. Wheat germ oil contains some LNA and is a rich source of a fatty alcohol called octacosanol which protects heart function and may help nerve degeneration. It is also the richest source of vitamin E.

Inside the best oils category there are two oils that deserve special attention. These are the oils from fish and seafoods. They are associated with clean arteries and freedom from fatty degeneration because of the two recently discovered essential omega 3 fatty acids they contain: EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). What makes these two oils special is that they are normal constituents of our cells, especially abundant in brain cells, nerve synapses, retinas, adrenal glands, and sex glands. They can be manufactured by healthy cells from omega 3 fatty acids (flax, hemp, etc.) but degenerative conditions may keep our body from making them. EPA and DHA come from cold water fish and other marine animals. Fish can make EPA and DHA from the omega 3 fatty acid LNA but mainly from brown and red algae. EPA and DHA reverse the negative effects of lack of omega 3 fatty acids. By adding it to our diet either through fish oil pills, by eating these fish fresh or by eating brown and red algae we can get the benefits of these oils. Algae are like living little factories that make omega 3 fatty acids and can be used as excellent food sources of EPA and DHA containing triglycerides. EPA and DHA being highly unsaturated have a strong urge to disperse, have an extremely low melting point so they will not harden or aggregate (stick together), consequently, they help keep saturated fatty acids and cholesterol dispersed and keep our platelets from getting too sticky and blood clots from happening.

Functions of EPA and DHA

-EPA is the starting material for making series 3 prostaglandins which have beneficial effect on blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, kidney function, inflammatory response and immune function.

-In our retina, these highly active fatty acids are involved with the conversion of light energy entering our eyes into the chemical energy of nerve impulses.

-In our brain, they have neurological functions that involve energy conversion and electron transfer. They attract oxygen necessary for intense chemical activity of brain cells. In adrenal and sex glands, they provide increased chemical activity.

-In our arteries, EPA and DHA also seem to help lower fibrinogen and apo levels, two repair proteins that are involved in the proliferation of atherosclerotic tissue in arteries. Lowered levels of these repair proteins result in less atherosclerosis and more fully open arteries.

-When it comes to blood triglycerides, EPA and DHA can lower high triglycerides by up to 65%, cholesterol levels and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and very-low density lipoprotein (VLDL) by half.

-EPA lowers elevated blood pressure through the effects of prostaglandins made from omega 3s.

-Hormone effects. From EPA our body makes prostaglandins and leukotrienes that help prevent strokes heart attacks and other problems that involve clot formation, such as pulmonary embolism and cardiovascular complications due to diabetes which can result in gangrenous limbs and blindness.

-Cancer. In some studies omega 3 fish oils inhibited growth and metastasis of tumors. Negative experimental results with omega 3 fish oils in cancer treatment are likely due to poor product quality (rancid oils) or low omega 3 fish oils. Trout, salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna and eel are the richest sources of omega 3 fatty acids.

Conversion of LNA to EPA

If a person has no omega 3s in their body but takes 2 tablespoons of flax oil each day, of which 50% is LNA their body can make 378 mg of EPA which is what two large capsules of fish oil will supply. EPA made in our body is fresher than from pills. LNA from seeds are available in fresher conditions than fish oils because they are simpler to produce and are more stable and are less likely to contain toxic ingredients like PCBs. However, for people who cannot make the conversion, fish or their oils would be the best choice. Dietary saturates, monounsaturates, trans- fatty acids and cholesterol all slow down conversion, and deficiencies of vitamins B3, B6, C, magnesium or zinc also inhibit conversion.

How often?

EPA and DHA from fish take about 2-3 weeks to be completely metabolized in our body after being consumed. Their triglyceride-lowering, platelet unsticking, and artery protecting effects last the same length of time. Fish should be eaten at least every 2 weeks, with their skins on because the fats we want are found under their skin, especially behind the gills, around the fins and along the belly. It should be boiled better than fried.

Easily destroyed.

EPA and DHA are even more sensitive to destruction by light, air and heat than LNA. They need completely opaque insulation, either in a capsule or bottle. Most capsules marketed today contain ‘fishy’ tasting oil (rancid). Sardines canned in their own oil are the only processed source that could be said not to be rancid. The best way to eat it would be to eat it while it is still ‘wiggling’ and prepare it immediately. This is why the Inuit were virtually free of disease of fatty degeneration, even though their diet contained very little fiber.

From best oils we move on to good oils. Good oils lack LNA, therefore they should be used only in conjunction with LNA containing oils. They are a good source of LA, which our body needs more than LNA. These are:

  1. Unrefined safflower and sunflower seed oils: they are available in natural health food stores in transparent bottles which exposes them to the light.
  2. Sesame seed oil is easy to press without heat, it should be unrefined and untoasted. It contains natural preservatives that keep it stable for a long time.
  3. Rice bran oil is another stable omega 6 oil, rich source of natural waxes and sterols that lower cholesterol levels. None of these oils should be fried, rather used in salads or mayonnaise.
  1. Evening primrose oil (EPO) is always refined. Evening primrose oil, borage and black currant contain LA and GLA. Our body can make some GLA from LA under certain circumstances. GLA is beneficial for arthritis and premenstrual syndrome, also the body uses GLA to make prostaglandins that benefit the heart and arteries, glands, kidneys, joints and mental function. In addition to GLA black currant oil also contains LNA and its first derivative called steraridonic acid (SDA).

Mediocre omega 6 oils:

  1. Corn oil is usually solvent extracted and refined. Occasionally one can obtain mechanically pressed unrefined corn oil pressed from corn germ, but generally it is partially rancid.
  2. Grape oil is similar to corn oil with no special advantages over other oils. It is rich in omega 6 but has no omega 3.
  3. Other oils in this category can be applied on the skin, but they are better eaten than applied on the skin because on the skin they can turn rancid quick. The best for this are almond, apricot and prune. Almond is rich in vitamin E so it is a stable EFA rich oil. Neem oil is good for skin because of its antifungal, antibacterial and antiseptic and repels mosquitoes and other insects.
  4. Monounsaturated oils. Rape and mustard are monounsaturated oils that contain small amounts of both EFAs. Unrefined these oils can have a strong flavor so they are mainly used refined. Canola is sometimes partially hydrogenated, destroying LNA. Peanut oil is a stable monounsaturate oil available as a true batch-pressed unrefined oil with a pleasant aroma, but peanuts can have carcinogenic substances made by a fungus that grows in damp peanuts.
  5. Avocado oil is a monounsaturated oil that is sold unrefined. It is similar to olive, peanut and almond oils in its EFA and monounsaturated fatty acid content.
  6. Olive oil is rich in monounsaturates but low in EFAs. It is stable and requires no equipment for pressing the oil. It is the only unrefined oil sold in the general mass market. It contains phytosterols, chlorophyll, magnesium, vitamin E, and carotene. It contains about 80% monounsaturated fatty acids, 8-10% LA and about 1% LNA.

Research shows this fruit oil protects against cardiovascular disease, has been associated with low cancer incidence and general good health. The positive thing about olive oil that gives it its health benefits is that it is pressed without heat. When it is unrefined it still contains many natural factors unique to olives. Its unsaturated fatty acids are anti-mutagenic, which means they can protect the genetic material in our cells from mutations caused by toxic chemicals or destructive rays. When those protective unsaturated fatty acids are heated over 302 F not only they lose those protective effects but they become mutation causing themselves. Virgin olive oils are the only mass market oils that have not been heated above that temperature.

Olive oil is poor in EFAs so these must be obtained from other sources, because of this olive oil is deficient in cholesterol lowering effects. Olive oil is high in oleic acid (63-83%) and has some palmitoleic acid, which are monounsaturated non-essential fatty acids that are quite stable. It also contains the non-essential saturated fatty acid palmitic acid (7.5-18%). Olive oil also has some minor components that account for only 2% of the total value of the oil but are quite important like beta-carotene (pro vitamin A) and tocopherols (vitamin E). Magnesium rich chlorophyll is found in unrefined green oils like olive oil, hemp, pumpkin and avocado, this is also removed when the oil is refined. Phytosterols are also present in olive oil but removed when the oil is refined. One polyphenol in olive oil (oleoeuropein) lowers blood pressure.

Other health benefits of olive oil: Virgin olive oil helps membrane development, cell formation and cell differentiation. It has also been shown to be beneficial in lowering cholesterol when other bad oils were replaced by olive oil and proven to lower the formation of gallstones and favor bile secretion (all of which improves the digestion of fats and helps the body eliminate the toxic end products of the liver).

Oils that can be heated.

Butter, tropical fats (coconut, palm, palm kernel, cocoa and shea nut) are safest for frying because they contain only small quantities of EFAs which heat turns into poisonous breakdown products that interfere with EFA functions. Only small amounts should be eaten as they are sticky hard saturated fatty acid containing fats.

Tropical fats got a bad reputation for increasing cholesterol and triglyceride levels but tropical oils used in their country of origin decrease cholesterol levels. Raw tropical oils are rich sources of vitamin E and tocotrienols which help protect arteries from damage leading to cardiovascular disease. Tropical fats are the most stable fats known.

Whole seeds.

Seeds are nutritionally balanced and they are the best way to get fresh oils as long as they are not roasted and they are freshly ground prior to consuming them. The shell in each seed acts as a barrier for light and oxygen, so if they are ground, they need to be consumed fairly quickly to avoid rancidity. In addition to EFAs seeds also contain vitamins, minerals, proteins, fiber and many important minor seed specific ingredients. Good quality seeds are our most reliable sources of the freshest possible oils. Only if we need more than 2 tablespoons of oil, which is common in the treatment of degenerative conditions we need to rely on bottled oils.

Evening primrose oil, borage and black currant oils.

Evening Primrose Oil has 72% linoleic acid, 9% GLA and a small amount of non-essential fatty acids. Borage oil is 24% GLA, 34% LA, the rest is saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids. Black currant oil contains both EFAs and up to 18% GLA and 9% of stearic acid, unfortunately this is always refined and deodorized.

Hemp seed oil contains about 2% GLA. Flax, safflower, sunflower, sesame and other common vegetable oils contain no GLA at all.

LNA is found in flax, hemp, rape (canola) seed, soybean, walnut and DHA. LNA is the second EFA required for human health. Our body cannot make it, so it must come from the diet. GLA and LNA are almost identical, this is why they are easily confused and lumped together, but their small difference makes it where they cannot substitute one another.

Studies with evening primrose oil (EPO) compared to omega 3.

Both of these oils have been extensively tested in double blind trials. EPO has been found to possibly:

  1. Lower blood pressure, cholesterol, lower risk of stroke and heart attack. Omega 3 lowers blood pressure, platelets stickiness, and cardiovascular risk more effectively.
  2. Normalize fat metabolism in diabetes and the amount of insulin needed by diabetics (omega 3s do this also)
  3. Prevent liver damage caused by alcoholism.
  4. Cause weight loss by increasing fat burn-off (omega 3’s are more effective in this sense).
  5. Relieve premenstrual syndrome.
  6. Prevent drying and atrophy of tear and salivary glands.
  7. Improve the condition of hair, nails and skin (omega 3 does even a better job)
  8. Improve certain kinds of eczema.
  9. Slow down or stop deterioration in multiple sclerosis.
  10. Help treat diabetic neuropathy in type 2 diabetes (removal of sugar and saturated fatty acids and consumption of omega 3 also works well)
  11. Kill cancer cells in tissue culture without harming normal cells (omega 3 more effectively inhibit cancer cells in practice).

Continuing results with EPO and GLA.

EPO has the drawback that it doesn’t supply the missing omega 3 and adds to an already existing overload of omega 6. From LA our body makes gamma linoleic acid (GLA). The problem with EPO is that it addresses only half of the EFA conversion problem. If the conversion of omega 6 (LA to GLA) is blocked, the conversion of omega 3 (LNA to SDA) is also blocked because the same enzyme converts both EFA to derivatives. But EPO contains only omega 6s and therefore cannot address the equally important omega 3 block. Black currant oil contains both omega 6 and omega 3 derivatives and can therefore address the conversion of both EFAs. To address the conversion problem EPO must be combined with an oil containing omega 3 derivatives, such as fish oil. In the case of cancer it is especially critical that EPO not be given without including omega 3 fatty acids, because omega 6 enhance tumor formation and growth, while omega 3 inhibits tumors.

Borage and black currant oils.

These have been less researched. Like EPO, borage oil contains only omega 6 so it only does half the job, it should be combined with an omega 3 derivative like fish oil. Black currant oil contains both omega 3 and 6, GLA and the omega 3 derivative stearidonic acid. All of these oils are usually refined, solvent extracted as well.

As with all oils, cofactors are needed: zinc, magnesium, vitamin C, and vitamins B3 and B6, as they assist the body in converting GLA to prostaglandins.

The bad…

Toxic oils. Besides trans-fats, several oils contain toxic fatty acids and therefore are not recommended for human consumption.

  1. Cottonseed oil. Contains cyclopropene fatty acid which has toxic effects on liver and gallbladder, slows down sexual maturity, destroys enzymes that make highly unsaturated fatty acids and interferes with essential fatty acid functions. It also contains gossypol, a complex substance that irritates the digestive tract and causes water retention in the lungs, shortness of breath and paralysis. Cottonseed oil contains high levels of pesticide residues.
  2. Cetoleic acid, found in herring and capelin oils.
  3. Castor oils contains ricinoleic acid, which stimulates the secretion of fluids in the intestine, and is therefore used as a purge, causing powerful intestinal contractions. It has no harmful effects because it is not absorbed into our body. Prolonged use can make our body to lose minerals and vitamins.

Modified oils.

  1. Oils can be modified by heat. In this way, oils produce many harmful substances which have not been identified yet, but some have been found in the liver as fatty deposits. Deep frying destroys the oils in 3 different ways simultaneously: light, oxygen and heat. Besides producing atherosclerosis, they also impair cell respiration and other cell functions, inhibit immune functions and lead to cancer.
  2. Brominated oils. Oils can also be modified when bromine is added. These oils are made from olive, corn, sesame, cottonseed, and soybean oils and are used for cosmetic purposes in fresh juices, to give juices with a cloudy appearance a fresh look. Brominated oils cause changes in heart tissue, thyroid enlargement, fatty liver, kidney damage, and withered testicles. They decrease the heart’s ability to use saturated fats as fuel and lower the liver’s ability to metabolize pyruvic acid, a very common fuel for cells. These oils accumulate toxic bromine in the tissues of children and in some countries in Europe they are banned.
  3. Oils can also be modified by light and free radicals. Light produces free radicals in oils, which will produce changes in molecules that affect our health. A free radical is a molecule that is missing an electron, they are very small and can move at the speed of light (186,000 miles per second), while it is moving, it is looking for a partner and is willing to break up another pair to find a ‘mate’. Between 2 to 5% of the free radicals involved in oxidation escape from molecular confinement and it is these escapees that can damage molecules in cells and tissues. Lots of free radicals are produced every second and our body uses antioxidants like vitamins C, B3, and E etc. to neutralize them. If we are antioxidant deficient, free radical chain reactions can occur leading to the wrong biochemical reactions, toxic substances and disease. In an oil, this free radical chain reaction can happen by exposing the oil to light. A ray of light may be caught by an electron in a fatty acid breaking off its bond, the electron now carries more energy than it did before and in this excited state, it takes off with a hydrogen nucleus, leaving behind a lone electron desperate for a partner, this will go on as another electron is left unpaired which then becomes a chain reaction until the original electron finds another lone electron or until an antioxidant traps the loose electron. This can go on for 30,000 cycles before it is stopped and another ray of light can start this chain reaction again. Billions of photons are present even in a cloudy day. This becomes more dramatic if the oil is already processed from which all antioxidants have been removed.
  4. Oxygen destroys oil in a similar way. If the antioxidants are left intact in the oil, they can trap these free radicals. Vitamin C for example can reactivate used up glutathione and vitamin E, which in turn reactivates carotene and other antioxidants. Metals added to the oil encourage free radical formation. In mass production, cheap dangerous antioxidants are added to replace the natural ones. In our body, vitamin E and carotene protect the fatty cell membrane. Vitamin C, Sulphur, selenium and bioflavonoids protect the watery parts. Alpha Lipoic acid protects both. Antioxidants can prevent and reverse free radical damage, but not for ever, this is called aging. Antioxidants then play an important role in protecting oils in our body.

Oils in your kitchen. Frying and deep frying.

Frying causes rapid oxidation (rapid use up of the antioxidants). Free radicals then start chain reactions in oil molecules. Decades of this causes our cells to accumulate altered toxic products for which they have not evolved efficient detoxifying mechanisms, cells then degenerate and diseases start.

Frying is not recommended. Frying turns EFAs into toxic products, the smoke you see coming off the pan is destroyed fatty acids. Coconut oil, palm, palm kernel, cocoa butter and butter in small quantities can be used for frying if one insists on frying oils. Used in moderation, fried butter and coconut oil create fewer health problems than other fried oils. But since they lack EFAs they are nutritionally deficient, they provide only fat calories our body must burn for energy or store as fat. Shortening and margarine are definitely not good for frying because they contain too many altered molecule to begin with and frying makes them worse. Olive oil (unrefined) is acceptable for low temperature frying. Refined peanut and avocado oils withstand heat relatively well. High oleic sunflower and high oleic safflower oils are also quite stable but are more difficult to find. Fresh unrefined mechanically pressed light and oxygen protected EFA rich oils should never be used for frying. An example is flax seed.

Boiling is less destructive than frying, even the most sensitive EFA rich oils can be used on cooked grains and steamed vegetables without deterioration (temperature 212F). Baking is midway between boiling and frying (temperature 240F). Butter or coconut oil can be used to line baking pans or to brush the top of what you are baking. The inside of baked bread is steamed at an acceptable temperature for even the most sensitive of oils, the crust however has the oils destroyed. So if you must fry, use refined oils that contain the lowest amounts of EFAs and the greatest amounts of SAFAs and MUFAs and use sulfur rich garlic and onion in frying to minimize radical damage.

Oils least damaged by high temperatures in order of preference are butter, tropical fats, high oleic sunflower oil (not regular), high oleic safflower (not regular), peanut oil, sesame oil, canola oil, and olive oil. Since these oils are low on EFA they produce the lowest amount of toxic molecules when heated. Deep frying is completely prohibited if optimum health is what you are looking for, or if you are attempting to reverse cancer or any other degenerative disease.

Hidden junk fats.

They make up almost half of all the fats we eat. They are found in a great variety of processed foods. They are always refined and toxic oils and never the essential fats our body needs so the best way to avoid them is to completely stop eating processed foods.

Summing up, fats and oils are a very important part of health. Only oils that are fresh and protected from oxidation can build our body, otherwise they can damage our health. As consumers we can make informed decisions to avoid degenerative diseases and keep our health in our own hands. Thanks for reading.

Vitamin K, calcium’s best friend

03 Feb 2016 no comments HAB Extract

Vitamin K is one of the most misunderstood vitamins, partly because of the fact that it was recently discovered. Many of its benefits are not even very well known yet. It was given its name because K was the next available letter in the alphabet, also because of the German word for coagulation. But vitamin K is much more than a coagulation vitamin. How would you like to improve your absorption of calcium, build strong bones, improve the health of your cells, keep cancer and bay, keep your arteries from calcifying and much more, just by adding one vitamin to your daily routine?

How vitamin K was discovered

It was 1929 when Danish chemist Henrik Dam first found out about vitamin K as part of his experimentation on cholesterol and steroid hormones. Then in 1940 the structural components of vitamin K were isolated by American chemist Edward Doisy from Washington University in St. Louis. He is credited with discovering the structure of vitamin k. Both Henrik Dam and Edward Doisy were awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology in 1943 for the discovery of vitamin k.

Ironically, the history of vitamin K and warfarin are tied together, both were discovered almost simultaneously.

How warfarin was discovered

It was the 1920’s, around the time of the Great Depression, when many farmers in the northern part of the USA and Canada, trying to cut costs, started giving their animals some cattle feed made with moldy clover. The problem was that animals started bleeding and dying. The cause of death was a mystery, but after some research, they found a chemical in clover they called coumarin that when clover molded turned into a rancid oxidized byproduct they called dicoumarol. After some thought, they decided to put it to use and by 1948 it was approved as a rat poison and was given the name “warfarin”. A few years later, drug companies seeing the increase in surgeries, (surgeries being a main cause of blood clotting), sought the use of this rat killer for human use. In 1954 it was approved as a blood thinning drug. Then, in 1955 President Eisenhower had a heart attack and he was the first famous person to use it. Right then, it became one of the most widely used drugs, to this day.

The truth of the matter is that warfarin is one of the most toxic drugs there are, according to pharmacist Ben Fuchs. Not only this, according to him, artificially trying to interfere with the clotting mechanism is a very serious and dangerous matter.

Warfarin still causes many problems today. According to www.poison.org “Every year, nearly 100,000 adults aged 65 and older are admitted to the hospital for drug side effects. In a recent study, the majority of problems were caused by “blood thinners” (warfarin and other oral anti-thrombosis drugs) and diabetes drugs (insulin and oral diabetes medicines).” According to this website, side effects of blood thinning drugs are: “Bleeding gums, bleeding after shaving that lasts longer than usual, red or brown urine, red or black stools, unusual bruises, an unusually heavy menstrual period, a bad headache, bad stomach pain, an accident or fall.”

In this website, you can read a graphic story of what happened to an elderly woman who was on a blood thinning drug:

“A 78-year-old woman was taking her prescribed dose of Coumadin 5 mg daily for about a month. She began to have black stools and was coughing up blood clots. She awoke one morning with a mouthful of blood and was brought to the hospital. Studies of her blood (coagulation studies) confirmed the reason: too much blood thinner had built up in her system. Poison Control recommended vitamin K. After one dose her coagulation studies improved and her symptoms resolved. She was hospitalized for 2 days.”

The problem with warfarin, according to pharmacist Ben Fuchs, is that it is very hard to control the dose, mainly because blood clotting is a variable, it changes constantly. The body tightly controls blood clotting so forcing the blood to thin is a very dangerous thing. He adds, if you want to thin the blood why not use red clover? Red clover is a powerful anticoagulant, so following the recommended dose is always advised. You can find red clover as an active ingredient in the Detoxifier Extract from Healthy Hearts Club, it is a great product for detoxifying the blood and keeping it from clotting.

Roles of vitamin K

The first and most well-known role of vitamin K is clotting the blood. It is for this reason that doctors will ask patients who are on a blood thinner like warfarin to stop taking vitamin K supplements or any vitamin K containing foods. The reason for this is that vitamin K starts the clotting process in the body and antagonizes the action of Warfarin. According to Ben Fuchs, Warfarin acts by selectively poisoning vitamin K chemistry in the body. He explains, the newer anticoagulant drugs like Plavix and Pradaxa do not have this effect on vitamin K, but they are still toxic drugs.

Vitamin K is an essential nutrient, it is non-toxic and has a long list of great health benefits. This is proven by the fact that our gut bacteria makes vitamin K, and this makes deficiencies rare, but in today’s world, with so many attacks on our gut, it is hard to know how much vitamin K is available.

We have already seen how to keep the blood from clotting naturally, so supplementing with vitamin k shouldn’t be a cause for concern. Besides, when you find out how important vitamin K is, you are not going to want to do without it.

Sources and types of vitamin K

The fact that probiotic bacteria in our gut makes vitamin K is a proof of how important it is. Newborns, because they don’t have a fully developed gut bacteria can be deficient in it, but the best way to make sure they have it is for the mother to have a healthy diet high in probiotics and fermented foods, as well as vitamin K.

There are two major types of vitamin K, Vitamin K1 and vitamin K2. Vitamin K1 is made by plants by the process known as photosynthesis, so the best vegetarian sources of K1 are vegetables, wheat grass and ocean vegetation.  K1 is a clotting vitamin and it primarily stays in the liver. Vitamin K2, on the other hand, travels around the body performing many different jobs we will explain shortly. K2 is found in cholesterol rich foods like cheese, butter, organ meats, dairy, but the highest source is a fermented food called natto.

Vitamin K can be confusing because it is actually a family of vitamins, with 7 different subtypes, the best well known are mk-4 and mk-7.

The many benefits of vitamin K

According to Ben Fuchs vitamin K has a long list of wonderful benefits:

1. Energizing vitamin: Vitamin K carries energy inside the cell, to the place where the cell manufactures energy, the mitochondria. The mitochondria then uses this energy to power our cells, tissues and organs. What is particularly interesting is that the structures in the body that need energy the most, the heart, the brain and the digestive system have around 1,000 little mitochondria inside their cells. Because healthy mitochondria depend on vitamin K to function properly, these organs are going to depend on vitamin K greatly.

Vitamin K also carries electrical energy around into various chemical reactions and activates them. In this way, vitamin K is like a battery the body can use to energize cells. This is tightly tied to the process known as photosynthesis, by which green foods can trap solar energy and convert it into electrical energy. When animals and humans eat these foods they get the energy benefits of the sun.

The way vitamin K accomplishes this energizing role is by getting inside the cell membrane and carrying electrical energy and thus activating chemical reactions, especially the ones involving calcium. Vitamin K can literally drill itself inside the part of the cell that processes calcium and activate it. When this happens, calcium is then able to turn all the chemical reactions that take place in the cell. This is of extreme importance because of all the ways calcium is used in the body: contracting muscles, strengthen bones and teeth, firing nerve cells, etc.

We need to remember we are electrical beings by the electrical nature of vitamins and minerals. This highly electrical chemical structure of vitamin K makes it very important for the next health issue, cancer.

2. Anticancer: this is vitamin K’s most important role. Ben Fuchs explains that cells depend on electrical energy to do their job and stay healthy. Keeping the electrical energy going is of utmost importance, as is keeping the environment the cells live in pristine condition. What is more, cells have a positive and negative electrical charge, it is this battery-like nature that determines their health. What keeps this electrical nature healthy? Nutrition, clean blood and oxygen. When the cell is swimming in toxic, dirty blood, is being starved by lack of nutrition and suffocated by lack of oxygen, the cell won’t be able to do its job and its normal growth and division will be affected. This is essential to understand, changes in the normal electrical nature of the blood will initiate changes in how the cells divide and grow. This is where disease starts. So we could say that since the blood is a liquid organ, it depends on this fluidity to keep the electrical energy moving to bathe the cells and to keep cell growth and division tightly regulated. Toxins floating in the blood, inflammation, lack of oxygen and lack of nutrition (electrical nutrients) are going to interrupt the normal electrical flow of energy.  This is very significant in the case of cancer. Ben Fuchs explains that cancer starts with one single cell losing its normal electrical charge, then more cells are affected. By the time someone has cancer this electrical malfunction has been going on for years. Things like eating sugar will only add fuel to the fire. The end result is a change in genetics.

He emphasizes that the electrical health of cells is of extreme importance. To prove it, he explains that a healthy cell has as much electrical energy relative to its size as a bolt of lightning. If you multiply that by a hundred trillion cells, you get 100 billion trillion volts of electricity in the human body.

Since vitamin K is highly electrical, it keeps electrical energy in the body tightly regulated and organized in a controlled fashion. By keeping electrical energy tightly regulated and controlled vitamin K can protect cells from mutations and from growing out of control.

Studies done on Vitamin K

There have been several studies done on vitamin K that prove its beneficial effects on cancer. In the ‘International Journal of Oncology’ from 2003 researchers found that vitamin K suppresses the growth of cancer cells. Other studies have shown that vitamin K can help turn leukemia cells back to normal cells. In The Alternative Medicine Review titled ‘The anti-cancer effects of vitamin K’ from 2003, researchers concluded that vitamin K’s protective properties comes from its ability to protect genes.

In the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2008 researchers showed an inverse relation between vitamin K and prostate cancer. And in a study by the ‘European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition’, 11,000 men were studied and research found vitamin K was related to a 35% reduction of prostate cancer risk.

Vitamin K has been shown to stop the progress of liver cancer cells, by affecting how liver cells grow.

Vitamin k blocks the progression and division of cancer cells by several mechanisms:

a. Apoptosis: Vitamin K causes cancer cells to ‘commit suicide’.

b. Oncosis: Vitamin K suffocates cancer cells without affecting normal cells. In a 2005 article published in the “Journal of Molecular Pharmacology” they found that when breast cancer cells were exposed to vitamin K, they experienced oncosis within 4 hours of treatment.

c. Autophagy: via this mechanism vitamin K makes cancer cells release their own digestive enzymes inside themselves, in other words, they ‘eat themselves’.

In his article “Autophagy: turning stress into health” Dr. Champ describes it like this: “Our cells are constantly breaking down, repairing themselves, and regenerating. However, this process is by no means perfect, and often some parts are unfixable. Also, often cells are just too old and beat up, and much like an old 1985 Yugo, sometimes it’s better to just totally replace the old piece of junk. Of note, the Yugo may actually be the worst car ever. Well, autophagy is the process that takes this old Yugo, strips off the pleather seats and interior, and reuses the metal to build a brand new Ferrari. In fact, the process of autophagy uses structures called lysosomes, which are able to tear apart and reuse our cellular parts or even completely destroy unusable Yugo-esque parts. This garbage is converted to amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, which can then be transported throughout the body for use. This process helps rejuvenate cells and clear out the junk that builds up….Combining intense exercise, and a low-glucose lifestyle is likely a near-perfect combination of turning on autophagy while minimizing excessive damage. It’s no surprise that they are all the same mechanisms that have naturally been experienced in nature for millions of years.

d. The presence of vitamin K, makes cancer cells split open and die. This requires the participation of vitamin C, another very important anti-cancer vitamin. They work together in this fashion.

e. Vitamin K has also been found to suppress blood vessels that feed cancer cells.

f. Vitamin K can also disrupt cancer cell communication systems keeping cancer cells from ‘teaming up’ with one another and metastasizing.

As you can see, vitamin k has great benefits, it is not chemotherapy but shows a very powerful and non-toxic effect on cancer.

3. Powerful antioxidant.

4. Cardiovascular and circulatory health. Because vitamin K is so highly electrical, it can help the blood to stay electrically charged and fluid, which will help our heart as well.

5. Bone building and anti-calcification: Vitamin K, calcium and vitamin D work together to build bone. First, Vitamin D allows calcium to get inside bone cells. Then calcium is used in the body to activate some chemicals called ‘Calcium Dependent Proteins’ that need calcium to do their job of contracting muscles, building bone, making the heart pump, helping nerve cells fire, etc. These chemicals are inactive without calcium. What is more, these calcium dependent proteins have little hooks with which they ‘hook on’ to calcium and do their job. It is vitamin K that allows these chemicals to make these calcium trapping hooks (a process that in chemistry is known as ‘carboxylation’). Without hooks, they cannot trap calcium which means that calcium can be found floating in the blood and can start accumulating in soft tissue, a deadly process called ‘calcification’ This can also cause clots, plaques in arteries and soft tissue and kidney stones. It also means that without these hooks all the activities these chemicals perform cannot be carried out: contracting muscles (the heart is a muscle), firing nerve cells, building bone, etc. One example of these proteins is osteocalcin that traps calcium and remineralizes bones, without vitamin K this cannot happen.

Ben Fuchs explains that because of this relation between calcium and Vitamin K, vitamin K is as important to build bones as calcium itself.

Vitamin K then is used both to clean up the blood from calcium that could be found floating and it is used to put calcium where it is needed to calcify bones and teeth.

Vitamin K and cholesterol

We have seen how LDL (low density lipo-protein) is not cholesterol but a protein that transports cholesterol around the body. Because vitamin K is a fatty vitamin it depends on LDL to be transported from the liver to different tissues in the body including the heart and the circulatory system. If you are avoiding cholesterol, or are on a statin drug, then delivery of this important vitamin is going to be compromised. That means calcification of the blood and organs, because vitamin K cannot clean the blood from excess calcium floating around, which can precipitate the formation of plaques in the blood vessels and ironically lead to heart disease, osteoporosis, kidney stones and death. Vitamin k is also important for the skin, it can keep the connective tissue proteins from calcifying, this means less wrinkles and less aging looking skin. It will also help with bruising.

Vitamin K and nerve cells health

Nerve cells run on calcium more than any other cells, calcium in this sense improves nerve cell conduction, people with movement disorders can benefit from taking vitamin k.

Summing up

We have seen how inflammation will initiate the clotting process more than anything else. In this sense, clotting is the way the body defends itself from the offending agents that get in the blood inappropriately: pieces and particles of food mainly, followed by immune complexes in the blood, white blood cells and thickening sluggish red blood cells. When this happens, the body perceives this as a life threatening situation and clots the blood to prevent hemorrhage. Since this is the primary source of blood clotting, we should focus on addressing this rather than taking dangerous toxic drugs that do not fix the underlying problem. When we do this, we won’t have to worry about avoiding healthy foods rich in vitamin K1. We can also eat cholesterol rich foods because they help vitamin K2 be transported where calcium needs it to build strong bones and to trap calcium that could cause calcification of our heart and arteries, brain and kidneys.

In supplemental form, vitamin K2 can be found in doses up to 5,000 mcg.  Take your Calcium Extract with vitamin K and D for great absorption. Thanks for reading.

Deep Vein Thrombosis

03 Feb 2016 no comments HAB Extract

Deep Vein thrombosis (DVT) is, according to the Merck Manual of Medical Information, “The formation of blood clots (thrombi) in the deep veins of the body, usually in the legs. Because blood in the legs’ veins travels to the heart and then the lungs by the squeezing action of the calf muscle, these clots then can block one or more arteries in the lungs, a condition called pulmonary embolism (PE).” The website www.worldthrombosisday.org likes to express it like “DVT+PE= VTE, because together, DVT and PE make up venous thromboembolism (VTE).”

DVT is a very common condition and according to Gary E. Raskob, PhD, in his article from January 7, 2016 titled ‘Blood Clots: The Common Killer You Might Be Ignoring’:

“Blood clots kill one in four people worldwide…each year, VTE affects 1 to 3 out of every 1,000 people. Among those who are age 70 or older, this increases to between 2 and 7 per 1,000.” Despite this, he claims public awareness is low as shown in a survey he and others conducted with the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis steering committee of the United States, along with eight other countries from North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. In this survey, they found that “public awareness of thrombosis was low overall (at 68 percent), and for venous thromboembolism (VTE) in particular (at about 50 percent) — much lower than awareness of other health conditions”. According to him, “thrombosis is the underlying cause of heart attack, most strokes, and venous thromboembolism (VTE).”An estimated 100,000 to 300,000 people die from VTE each year in the USA, and more than 500,000 die each year in Europe. VTE causes more deaths each year in the United States and Europe than breast cancer, HIV disease, and motor vehicle crashes — combined.”

According to this article, “A recent study by the World Health Organization and others, VTE associated with hospitalization was the leading cause of premature death, as well as years lived with disability, in low- and middle-income countries. VTE was the second most common cause in high-income countries across the globe. VTE is responsible for more deaths and disability than hospital-associated pneumonia, catheter-related bloodstream infections, and adverse drug events. VTE contributes to chronic disability for people who have non-fatal clots in the legs or lungs. This post-thrombotic syndrome, or PTS is a painful and often disabling complication of clots in the deep veins of the leg. The syndrome results in chronic pain and swelling in the leg after periods of standing and may lead to the development of skin ulcers. This condition impairs quality of life and may also limit a person’s ability to work. Blood clots in the lung, especially recurrent clots, may cause chronic pulmonary hypertension— a condition in which the pressure in the lung arteries is chronically elevated, leading to symptoms such as shortness of breath when exercising and impaired heart function. These limit the patient’s activity and may require major surgery.”

Anatomy of blood vessels

The veins in the legs are built like one-way valves consisting of two flaps with edges that meet. In normal circumstances, veins return blood to the heart from all the organs of the body. As blood moves toward the heart, it pushes the flaps open like a pair of one-way swinging doors. If gravity or muscle contractions try to pull blood backward these flaps close up. This mechanism helps blood return to the heart. This is accomplished by the powerful calf muscles, which forcefully compress the deep veins with every step. These veins carry 90% or more of the blood from the legs toward the heart.

The legs also have superficial veins located in the fatty layer under the skin and deep veins in the muscles.

Major problems with veins include inflammation, blood clots or distended veins. Some thrombi heal by being converted to scar tissue, which may damage the valves in the veins. This prevents the veins from functioning normally, fluid accumulates and the ankle swells, condition called edema.

According to the Merck Manual, when it comes to blood clots, it is hard to predict how the blockage will occur. Depending on the size of the clot, a small artery in the lungs can be blocked causing death of a small area of lung tissue (pulmonary infarction), or all of the blood travelling from the right side of the heart to the lungs can be blocked quickly causing death.

In addition, chronic deep vein insufficiency is a complication that occurs with long term DVT. The valves in the deep veins and connecting veins of the legs are destroyed and this causes blood to not adequately return to the heart from the legs. Eventually the affected veins may be obliterated. When this is the case edema is always present, the skin on the inside of the ankle becomes scaly and itchy and may turn a reddish brown. This discoloration is caused by red blood cells that scape from the swollen veins into the skin. This skin becomes very vulnerable and even a minor injury can break it open and there can be throbbing pain when standing or walking.

Medical Treatments for DVT

Usual treatments for DVT in order of effectiveness are:

  1. Elastic stockings which gradually compress the blood flow upward. This can cause painful skin ulcers to develop.
  2. Pneumatic stockings, these have an electric pump that repeatedly squeezes the calves and empty the veins. They are used during surgery and kept after surgery until the person can walk again.
  3. Anticoagulants, usually given to patients who are going to undergo surgery. Heparin given by injection under the skin, followed by warfarin taken by mouth. The length of the treatment usually depends on the severity of the disease. The main risk associated with taking an anticoagulant drug like warfarin is increase in bleeding, both internally and externally. To keep this risk as low as possible doctors have to constantly monitor the blood for clotting time and the dose of the drug has to be adjusted accordingly. Drugs to dissolve the clots can also be administered (thrombolytic drugs) such as IV tissue plasminogen activator especially if the thrombus has been present for less than 48 hours. After 48 hours scar tissue begins to develop in the thrombus making it less likely to dissolve. After DVT develops the veins never recover and surgery may be the only option.

Risk factors

According to the website www.clotconnect.org, common risk factors for developing blood clots are:

  1. Immobility: which can be found in the case of hospitalization, being paralyzed, and prolonged sitting.
  2. Surgery and Trauma: Major surgery (especially of the pelvis, abdomen, hip, knee), bone fracture or cast, catheter in a big vein (PICC line, central venous catheter, or port)
  3. Increased estrogens: Birth control pills, patches, rings. Pregnancy, including up to 6 weeks after giving birth. Estrogen and progestin hormone therapy.
  4. Medical conditions: Cancer and chemotherapy, heart failure, inflammatory disorders (lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease) and the kidney disorder called ‘Nephrotic Syndrome’.
  5. Other risk factors: Previous blood clot, family history of clots, clotting disorder (inherited or acquired), obesity, older age, cigarette smoking, varicose veins.


About half of the people with DVT have no symptoms at all. In these people chest pain caused by pulmonary embolism may be the first sign that something is wrong. In others, when deep vein thrombosis blocks blood flow in a large vein, the calf swells and may be painful, tender to the touch and warm. This can happen on the ankle, foot, or thigh. The classic symptoms for DVT are:

  1. Pain
  2. Swelling
  3. Discoloration (bluish or reddish)
  4. Warmth

The classis signs for Pulmonary Embolism (PE) are:

  1. Shortness of breath
  2. Chest pain (may be worse with deep breath)
  3. Unexplained cough (may cough up blood)
  4. Unexplained rapid heart rate.

What is a blood clot?

Despite all the different names it receives DVT, PE, VTE, PI, PTS and CPH, the root of the problem is always a blood clot. So the question we need to ask ourselves is what is a blood clot exactly? And how does it develop in the body?

To answer these questions, I would like to start with the real story of a 19 year old boy who died of PE. In the words of his own mother as published in the National Blood Clot Alliance website:

“Paul did not exhibit many symptoms. The only symptom Paul presented was shortness of breath, and therefore, he was believed to have developed exercise-induced asthma. He was the picture of health. Paul was a very active, healthy 19-year-old young man who never had asthma. He played many sports throughout his life and was working out at the gym several times a week with his friends. It was September and allergy season was in full force so it made sense that Paul would have some trouble breathing when he exerted himself. After all, I also have seasonal allergies and need to use my inhaler when I exercise in the summer.

It appeared suddenly, out of nowhere, at the end of August 2013. I remember the first time I noticed a difference in Paul. He had just walked down the stairs in our house and sat on the couch next to his grandmother, who was visiting from out of town. I heard him breathing heavily and asked him what he had just done…it sounded like he ran a marathon. He laughed and said, “I know, I just came down the stairs.” Paul never, not one time, complained about having trouble breathing. His father and I continued to notice the problem and sent him to see his doctor. It made perfect sense when he came home with an inhaler, which he used for a week and I noticed no improvement so he returned to the doctor for another appointment. I had hoped he would be prescribed a steroid, because that seemed to make sense given the continued shortness of breath and continuing allergy season. I am not a doctor, but that was my motherly instinct. Apparently, the doctor agreed, because that is what he prescribed for Paul. However, the very next day, Paul left for classes and never came home (he commuted to the University at Buffalo). He collapsed while at school that day and died instantly.”

Reading this heartbreaking story one can start thinking, how could such a healthy young man die of such a disease? Especially since he didn’t seem to present any of the risk factors associated with it. Maybe we need to look closer at this condition. According to pharmacist Ben Fuchs, to explain how a blood clot forms we have to look at the microscopic red blood cell that is circulating in our blood. According to him, a healthy red blood cell (or any other kind of cell) has a coating surrounding the nucleus that is made out of fat. This fatty membrane on the outside of the cells carries a negative charge that makes the cell highly electrical. It is this negative charge that red blood cells have on their outside membrane that causes them to repel each other and this bouncing-off-of-each-other effect keeps red blood cells from sticking to each other and thus forming clots. EFAs (essential fatty acids), he explains, keep our cells’ fatty membrane healthy with a negative charge that keeps them from clumping up together. From this explanation we can infer that when cells lose their electrical charge, they are prone to clumping up together and a blood clot forms. This will happen when the electrical nature of the cell is disrupted like in the case of EFA’s deficiency or because our digestive system is compromised and we are not absorbing fats correctly or because we are eating the wrong kind of fats (very common nowadays). Then, instead of repelling each other they are going to clump together. This means clotting and clogging, and ultimately, thrombosis, strokes and also all sorts of degenerative diseases, because these red blood cells’ main job is to deliver oxygen to tissues in the body. Do you think keeping our cells healthy is important? Could the cholesterol phobia we have been conditioned to be a reason for the increasing cases of blood clotting diseases skyrocketing today?

This takes us to another point, the electrical nature of the circulatory system. We need to remember that we are electrical beings, our heart, brain and blood run on electricity. Because our blood is liquid (mainly water) it depends on movement to keep the electricity going in our body. Think of a stream of running water and picture it pushing debris and pebbles with force. Then compare it to a river of stagnant water, stagnant water accumulates all sorts of debris in it. Our blood is the same, so what do you think happens when all these clots get in the way of the fluid electrical liquid organ our blood is? First, it cannot carry electricity, second, it cannot carry oxygen, third, it cannot carry nutrients to the different organs, fourth, it cannot detoxify itself. The result is slow, sludgy, clotting dirty blood and DISEASE. On the contrary, when the blood is fluid and clean, disease cannot take place. Fluid blood creates an electrical current, just like moving water creates electricity. This is why it is so important to keep the circulation at peak performance!

What is also significant is the nature of the cell itself. According to Ben Fuchs, the nucleus of the cell (the center of it) has a positive charge, which makes it attract and have a pulling effect on the highly electrical negative charge on the outside of the cell. This means that each of the 100 trillion cells circulating in our blood are little microscopic batteries, which also means they create a current that keeps the blood highly electrical and fluid, flowing versus clogged up. It is electricity that determines the health or lack of health in our bodies. Movement of fluids (good circulation) means health, a lack of movement means a breakdown in the movement of energy (bad circulation). Cells lose their negative charge under conditions of EFA’s deficiencies. Health then could be said to be good circulation and healthy cells.

Eating the sun

Foods that are highly electrical are all the ocean foods like kelp and all seaweed, and meats and dairy from grass fed animals, especially in the summer months because they absorb more solar energy than in the winter months. By the process known as photosynthesis plants literally harvest solar energy and convert that solar energy into something physical we can eat. Also, ocean foods are high is something called polysaccharides which are long chain sugars (not like white sugar) that are highly electrical and very detoxifying. These long chain sugars have little hooks that can trap electrical energy, when we eat these foods we get the benefits of this highly electrical energy and will keep the blood fluid. In an article from the “Journal of Thrombosis and homeostasis” researchers found that ocean products (all seaweed) “possess anticoagulant activities”.

This takes us to another important point to consider. Highly processed foods from which all nutrition has been stripped to extend shelf life not only don’t provide any electrical energy but rob electrical energy from our body! Could our highly processed diet also be the cause of deadly diseases like DVT?

More risk factors for DVT

Now that we know what a blood clot is and how important a high fat diet is, we can look at other contributing factors for blood clots. But before we go into detail on the risk factors, I would like to emphasize that blood clotting is not the normal state of the blood. Blood doesn’t just clot for no reason. In this sense, clotting blood is the end result of a long-term chronic health crisis where a number of contributing factors turn the blood into sticky, dirty prone to clot blood. According to Ben Fuchs, clotting is a serious matter and the body tightly controls and regulates it. In this sense, blood clotting is a complicated series of 7 or 8 different biochemical reactions known as the ‘clotting cascade’. What is more, the blood is an organ (a liquid organ) and as such it can get inflamed, just like any other organ. Ben Fuchs defines blood clotting as septic blood with lots of inflammatory factors in it. He explains that over time clotting blood leads to what is known as MODS (Multiple Organ Dysfunction Syndrome) and adds blood clotting is a very common ‘under the radar’ condition. As we saw in our blog on sepsis, dirty blood affects several organs because it flows around the body infecting different organs.

What are these chronic risk factors?

The main cause according to Ben Fuchs is chronic inflammation. According to him, DVT is caused by a long term input of toxicity through the digestive system. We saw previously how inflammation is a defense mechanism that happens when the wrong kinds of foods activate the immune system. When this happens, a chemical war follows causing casualties in the form of lots of dead cells, poisons and debris that circulate in the blood leading to clogging and sludginess. This accumulation of dead cells will not only clot the blood, but will also interfere with the delivery of nutrients to the different organs. When this happens, the cells that coat the lining of our small intestine will start dying, and holes will start forming, condition known as ‘leaky gut syndrome’. This further complicates things, because now pieces of food also end up in the blood activating the immune system again. The result is more dirty, clogging, clotting blood that compromises the circulatory system even more, which in turn will lead to cell suffocation, starvation and toxification and ultimately to cell death and more clotting and clogging.

This process will become a deadly downward spiral, because under these conditions the body will be under great stress. If you recall in our blog on stress, we saw how stress itself can cause the blood to clot. All these digestive problems will become a source of stress for the body, and this stress will clot the blood even more.

All this clotting and clogging coming from the digestive system will bring about another risk factor for DVT: low blood oxygen (hypoxia). Because all these poisons circulating in the blood will prevent oxygen delivery (remember the stagnant body of water) Under conditions of low blood oxygen the blood will also clot, which will add more stress, which will further clot the blood, compounding the problem more and more.

Deep breathing and oxygenating the blood with exercise will help, but not without first removing the primary causes of the clotting: eating the wrong foods first and a leaky gut second.

Other risk factors for blood clotting are pregnancy, exercise induced dehydration, inactivity and smoking. When it comes to food as a risk factor, sugar is especially problematic, high fructose corn syrup in particular. In an article from the ‘Journal of Diabetes Research’ authors say “unequivocally HFCS is known to produce cardiovascular and metabolic pathologies” and this includes high blood pressure, activation of the stress nervous system and both of these are related to blood clotting pathology. According to another article from the “Journal of Thrombosis Research” “Fructose promotes abnormal clotting much more than any other common sugar”.

The good news

There are so many things you can do to keep your blood from clotting.

First of all, identify which foods trigger an immune response in your body, most highly suspects are going to be sugar, HFCS, any highly processed foods, lectins containing foods like wheat, hydrogenated fats and highly processed oils (like canola oil). Then you are going to have to do investigative work on the less obvious foods, you know your body the best, so pay attention to any signs of digestive distress and eliminate those foods. Then start a good nutritional supplement program that includes omega 3,6,9 fatty acids with digestive support if you have problems digesting fats: enzymes like pancreatin, lipase, protease, etc. and apple cider vinegar to activate the enzymes. Dosage of omega 3,6,9 is relative to body weight, the higher the weight the more you will need. You can also help your gut heal with aloe vera, glutamine powder (1tsp/day), zinc picolinate (50 mg/day) taken together with 2 mg of copper, glucosamine and any mucilaginous product like slippery elm, bone soup and seaweed. Help your liver keep the blood clean by using the Liver Support Compound from Healthy Hearts Club, and the Detoxifier Extract. These two products will help you purify the blood and will keep blood clots from forming. Also the Heart and Body Extract will improve circulation and is antibacterial. Your health is in your hands, take it back!












Sepsis and antibiotic resistance

07 Jan 2016 no comments HAB Extract

It has been called a mystery disease, and a master of disguise for how well it can be mistaken for the common flu and be hard to diagnose. Despite this elusiveness and health professionals’ lack of agreement about its origins, what we can all agree on is that sepsis is becoming an epidemic. According to The Global Sepsis Alliance’s official website, sepsis kills 258,000 Americans every year, and the numbers are increasing. In the US alone, deaths went from 154,159 to 207,427 in 2007 and the number of hospitalizations for sepsis has overtaken those of myocardial infarction. According to their website “Sepsis remains the primary cause of death from infection despite advances in modern medicine such as vaccines, antibiotics, and acute care. In the developing world, sepsis accounts for 60-80% of lost lives per year, affecting more than 6 million newborns and children annually and over 100,000 women contract sepsis in the course of pregnancy and childbirth“.
But what is sepsis? According to the Global Sepsis Alliance, sepsis is defined as ‘the body’s overwhelming and life-threatening response to infection which can lead to tissue damage, organ failure and death.’ According to them, the reason behind this increase in the number of deaths from sepsis is “more chronic diseases, upsurge in major surgical interventions and invasive procedures, broader use of immune-suppressants and chemotherapy agents as well as spread of antibiotic resistant organisms.”
Similarly, the World Health Organization, in their April 2014 news release disclosed data from their most comprehensive report done on antibiotic resistance to date, with data from 114 countries. In this report titled “Antimicrobial resistance: global report on surveillance” Dr. Keiji Fukuda, WHO’s Assistant Director-General for Health Security asserts:
‘The report focuses on antibiotic resistance in seven different bacteria responsible for common, serious diseases such as bloodstream infections (sepsis), diarrhea, pneumonia, urinary tract infections and gonorrhea. The results are cause for high concern, documenting resistance to antibiotics, especially “last resort” antibiotics in all regions of the world…Common infections and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades can once again kill…This serious threat is no longer a prediction for the future, it is happening right now in every region of the world and has the potential to affect anyone, of any age, in any country”.
While it is not my intention to cause fear, it is indeed to stress the seriousness of the disease. What is most alarming about sepsis is that it is usually caught when it is almost too late. Symptoms appear when the body has gone into systemic shock and the infection has spread to organs causing great damage. To make my point as vivid as possible, I would like to refer to a sepsis survivor’s first person account. In her book, “My Sepsis Story. How I almost died and you don’t have to” Lisa Brandt tells us how she survived the disease after almost losing her life because the infection had damaged her liver very badly.
It all started with a feeling of being unwell that didn’t go away. After being dismissed several times even by doctors as just having the flu, she went back home. Unable to stay awake she would sleep for 18 hours at a time and would wake up freezing and drenched in sweat. She recalls being terribly thirsty but being unable to urinate for days. After a few days of feeling this bad, she finally gathered the strength to make a call to what in Canada is known as Telehealth, where a registered nurse determines whether your case is serious enough for medical intervention. While she was on the phone, she felt a strong urge to urinate, urine came out as pure red blood. This was what convinced the nurse something was seriously wrong. Lisa was rushed to the ER, once again she heard: “Another case of flu, just wasting my time”, this time from the ambulance personnel. Once in the hospital, it took several days for the doctors to determine what was wrong with her, but they looked alarmed at how bad her liver looked. They informed her liver had actually failed and had such big lesions they were not sure they could save her. There were eight different infection sites in her liver the biggest of which was 4.5 centimeters long. Meanwhile, they still didn’t have a diagnosis for her, all they knew was that she had bacteria in her blood. The source of her septic blood continued to elude the doctors, meningitis was a possibility but her blood was too thin to do a spinal tap. On IV antibiotics for several days, they still didn’t know whether the antibiotics would be strong enough to save her liver. Thankfully, the antibiotics slowly started clearing the infection on her liver. While she was fighting for her life, she would constantly go from high fever to a cold sweat that would drive her to tears and to the point of thinking about ‘finding a way out’. Her fight for survival was wavering and ‘the feeling of vulnerability was crushing’. Her depressed immune system and the very strong antibiotics she was put under made the nurses afraid she could contract a very contagious and prevalent bacteria in hospitals called C. Difficile, because antibiotics kill the good bacteria in the gut, which ironically can lead to sepsis. After fifteen days in the hospital, she was pronounced healthy enough to go home. She was given a line attached to a bag of antibiotics that made her recovery at home easier. She wrote her book to share her experience with as many people as possible. To date, she is a very active advocate to make sepsis known to the world, she has interviewed several experts in the topic and works closely with the “Global Sepsis Alliance” to convince the WHO to make September 13, World Sepsis Day. She can be reached at www.voiceoflisabrandt.com
What we can learn from this testimony is how hard it is even for healthcare professionals to spot and diagnose sepsis, and how crushing, devastating and debilitating this disease can be. Most importantly, what can we as individuals do about this reality? I think the answer is to not panic and stay informed.

Antibiotics in perspective

Nobody can doubt the great role antibiotics have played in saving lives and improving health. It was Alexander Fleming’s discovery of penicillin in 1920’s that made this possible. After his discovery, some of the most powerful antibiotic drugs were available in the 1940’s and since then millions of lives have been saved. How can it be that several decades later antibiotics are linked to millions of deaths every year? It is called ‘bacterial resistance’ or ‘antibiotic resistance’ and because of it thousands of people die every year by bacterial infections that are not treatable by antibiotics. Pharmacist Ben Fuchs recalls when he was in pharmacy school in the 80’s and a professor warned of the day when antibacterial resistance would be a reality. Three and a half decades later, it is here.
So what are antibiotics?, how do they work and what exactly are bacteria?
Ben Fuchs explains bacteria are primitive cells without a nervous system or a brain. Like any other cell, bacteria have a covering called bacterial wall, like all cells, they make proteins, and like all cells, they have their own DNA. It is these characteristics that make bacteria vulnerable to antibiotic medication. Antibiotics kill bacteria by taking advantage of these components. In this sense, the mechanism of action of penicillin for example works by blocking the production of the bacteria’s cover, so they are not able to make their cell wall. Other antibiotics interfere with the bacteria’s ability to make protein, others will block the bacteria’s DNA. This is all great and has been very effective, but Ben Fuchs explains, antibiotics, like all drugs have a ‘dark side’. Despite the fact that bacteria are just primitive cells, they are intelligent, they can learn to adjust to their environment very effectively. Bacteria have ‘figured out’ a way to make antibiotics stop working, this is what is called ‘bacterial resistance’ or ‘antibiotic resistance’ and it is also the reason bacteria are now called ‘superbugs‘. Unfortunately, the more antibiotics are used the more likely they will stop working. Ben Fuchs explains antibiotic resistance is getting so bad that even finding an effective antibiotic can take up to 2 or 3 days. He explains labs have to grow bacteria in a petri dish, then they have to add a particular antibiotic and wait to see if it works and this takes time that a person in critical condition might not have. Sometimes in emergency situations doctors will use super potent antibiotics or they will combine antibiotics, and up to 40% of the times this does not work. Even worse, combining antibiotics increases the likelihood of more antibiotic resistance.

The mechanisms by which bacteria render antibiotics harmless are nothing less than astounding:

  1. Some bacteria have the ability to share genetics or ‘borrow’ genes from other bacteria that are not susceptible to the antibiotics.
  2. Other bacteria can erect a covering around their cell wall that will block the entrance of antibiotics into the cell.
  3. Other bacteria have the ability to kick out an antibiotic using little molecular ‘pumps’ that will force the antibiotic out of a cell.
  4. Other bacteria can change the chemical structure of the antibiotic target inside a cell. By disguising that target the antibiotic cannot recognize it anymore.
  5. Still other bacteria can literally destroy the antibiotic.

All of this occurs at the microscopic level. Once the bacteria has figured out how to outsmart the antibiotic it can ‘pass’ that skill to its bacterial ‘children’. The end result is the dreaded ‘antibacterial resistance’.
In his long career as a pharmacist Ben Fuchs has observed how we as individuals have contributed to this antibiotic resistance in different ways. First of all, he explains most antibiotic medication has a course of action of up to 21 days, and it is very important that the patient finishes the course of antibiotics even if he/she feels better. Not doing so can cause bacteria that has been left behind to proliferate again causing a new type of antibiotic resistance. Another way in which we contribute to antibiotic resistance is by overusing antibiotics anytime we feel any sign of a cold or the flu. He explains we have an immune system and we should let our immune system fight the disease. Third, antibiotics can be found in dairy, meats, fish and tap water. There is not much we can do about that but if possible we should eat antibiotic free and filter our tap water. Four, he has observed many people stay on the medication for months at a time, especially many acne medications. There is a rule in pharmacy, he explains, that says you cannot stay on antibiotics for more than 2-3 weeks at a time.
Ben Fuchs explains it is possible to kill bacteria without having to use antibiotics. Our body, he says, is built to fight bacteria naturally. How can we do this? First of all, we need to strengthen our immune system, then, there are many wonderful supplements we can take that have antibacterial properties.

Your immune system

Firstly, he explains we need to stay away from foods that suppress our immune system like sugar, refined flours or any food that turns into sugar in the blood (refined carbohydrates). He mentions a study done in 1973 published in the ‘American Journal of Clinical Nutrition’ where researchers at Loma Linda University gave volunteers 20 teaspoons of sugar, blood was then taken out and mixed with bacteria. What they observed was a dramatic suppression of the immune system’s ability to kill the bacteria. Just 3 oz. of sugar, they noted, inhibits the ability of white blood cells (the heart of our immune system) to destroy bacteria and viruses from 30 minutes to up to 5 hours. This applies to all sugar, fruit and fruit juices, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, etc. Secondly, stress shuts down the immune system. (Please read our previous blog on stress). Thirdly, there are wonderful supplements that strengthen the immune system:

  1. Vitamin C: several grams a day to bowel tolerance and in divided doses. It can be used to prevent colds and flu’s and other kinds of bacterial infections.
  2. Zinc: 50 mg of zinc picolinate, taken together with copper (around 2 mg). Zinc is one the most important minerals when it comes to immunity and antimicrobial activity.
  3. Selenium: the second most important immune boosting mineral. It acts like a little battery to fuel the body’s main immune system chemical glutathione, which protects our body’s cells’ membrane from breaking down. Selenium has powerful antibacterial properties. While it can be toxic in high amounts to human cells, this toxicity is being studied to kill bacteria. In the “Journal of Digestive Diseases and Sciences” July 10, 2008 scientists explain the antibacterial action of selenium enriched probiotics to kill pathogenic e-coli. And on the ‘Journal of Biomedical Materials Research’, Professor Tom Webster of Brown University has proven that a selenium coating on catheters and endotracheal tubes significantly reduces staph bacteria as much as 90%.
  4. Iodine: this essential mineral has been used extensively to treat colds and bacterial infections long before the existence of antibiotics. Iodine is antibacterial, anticancer, antiparasitic, antifungal, and antiviral. According to Lynne Farrow, author of the book ‘The Iodine Crisis’, iodine’s medicinal use dates back 15,000 years. Iodine was the first treatment of choice in the 19th century for tumors and aggressive diseases of obscure origin. The importance of iodine cannot be underestimated, every single cell in the body uses iodine and without it we would die. Despite this, deficiency in the diet is another worldwide health crisis. The World Health Organization has recognized that iodine deficiency is the world’s greatest single cause of preventable mental retardation in children and adults. Iodine deficiency has been identified as a significant public health problem in 129 countries and up to 72% of the world’s population is affected by an iodine deficiency disorder. You can find iodine in kelp which is an active ingredient in the “Heart and Body Extract”.
  5. Ben Fuchs also recommends taking probiotics. Good bacteria, he says, are a great way to protect yourself from bad bacteria. Working as a pharmacist he would always advise patients to start taking probiotics after finishing their course of antibiotics (which cost him his job).

Watch what you eat

Many pro-inflammatory foods cause an immune reaction in the body that can create havoc in our health. A good example are lectins. Lectins are chemicals produced by most all vegetation (grains, fruits, and vegetables) as a defensive mechanism to keep animals from eating them. Wheat is an example, but any vegetation can cause a reaction. Not everybody reacts to lectins and not all lectins cause an immune reaction, so it is a question of paying attention to how our own body reacts to specific foods. What is particularly problematic about lectins is that they can ‘stick’ to certain parts of the body like the joints or the brain but specially the cells in the digestive system. When they adhere themselves to the cells of the digestive system, this makes your own cells look like a foreign invader to the body causing your immune system to launch an attack on your own cells. This is what is called auto-immunity. What happens when our body attacks itself is a microscopic chemical war where white blood cells release chemicals like hydrogen peroxide, nitric oxide and free radicals that are designed to kill the invader. These chemical poisons released by the white blood cells are ‘squirted’ into your own digestive tract, the very sensitive and delicate area of the small intestine, to kill your own cells. This creates lots of dead cells that have to be detoxified by our lymphatic system. Apart from the chemicals that the white blood cells release, when cells die they literally explode releasing lots of chemicals too. When these digestive problems and auto-immune reactions happen over and over, all this toxicity and inflammation builds up. This build up will eventually interfere with the flow of nutrients that are usually carried by the blood to feed the cells in the digestive tract. This interruption causes cells in the small intestine to starve and to start dying, then cracks start forming in the walls of the small intestine. With time, cells in the digestive system get weaker and weaker and they are unable to absorb nutrients. Not only this, these cracks allow food particles and lectins to enter into the blood stream, a condition called leaky gut syndrome. This condition is quite prevalent and accounts for every degenerative disease there is: arthritis, high blood pressure, blood clotting, cancer, etc. according to Ben Fuchs. He explains the small intestine is like a tube coated with cells. In a healthy gut, the food we eat goes into the stomach, then into the small intestine where food doesn’t just pass though: all nutrients, minerals, vitamins, essential fats and aminoacids are literally sucked into these cells in a very controlled fashion. The fiber, toxic chemicals, water and things the body does not need are ‘dumped’ out of the body through the next compartment, the large intestine.
So these holes in the digestive system can cause lectins to get into the blood stream causing an immune reaction in the body. But other factors can cause the same immune reaction too, like not making enough stomach acid or a pancreas that is not making enough digestive enzymes. All of this can cause undigested food to get into the blood causing the same immune reaction. Another factor that can cause an immune reaction is having the wrong kind of bacteria in the gut, which causes a proliferation of pathogenic organisms in the gut. The toxins these pathogens release can cause the same immune reactions in the body that lectins do and can be the cause of bacterial infections like sepsis.

The importance of healthy gut bacteria

Ben Fuchs explains you can protect yourself from bacterial infections with the help of probiotics. Similarly, Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride, author of the book ‘Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, A.D.D., Dyslexia, A.D.H.D., Depression, Schizophrenia’ believes there is a direct link between pathogenic bacteria in the gut and brain disorders. Abnormal gut bacteria she explains release pathogens that cause diseases in children like autism, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, etc. Dr. Natasha is a neurologist and neurosurgeon born and raised in Russia. After practicing as a neurologist in her native country, she moved to the UK where her son was born and at the age of three was diagnosed with autism. Being a neurologist she was surprised to find out her own field of expertise had no answers for her son’s condition. She then went back to school and got a degree on human nutrition. It was then that she learned the clear relation between the health of the gut bacteria and the health of the brain. After changing her son’s diet he is not autistic anymore and lives a normal life. Dr. Natasha has a clinic in Cambridge, UK where she successfully treats hundreds of children with ADHD, autism, learning disabilities and psychiatric, immune and digestive disorders. When she graduated in 1984 she recalls autism was a very rare disorder, with 1 for every 10,000 children having the disorder. The numbers have been increasing dramatically and in 2010 there has been a forty fold increase with 1 in every 150 children being diagnosed autistic. Today, there are some areas of the UK where 1 in every 60 kids is autistic. She explains these kids are born with a normal brain and sensory organs, but they don’t develop healthy gut flora from birth. Our gut, she explains, is home to probiotic bacteria, probiotic viruses, probiotic yeasts, even probiotic protozoa. She explains these organisms living in our gut account for 90% of our body’s cells and genetic material. The human body is just a host, a habitat for these organisms accounting for just 10%. In a healthy gut the beneficial species of microbes (called probiotics) predominate, keeping the harmful pathogens under control. But when we have the wrong kind of bacteria in our gut they release toxins that damage the gut wall and get into the bloodstream and end up in the brain. This makes our digestive system a constant source of toxins instead of a source of nourishment. When the brain is flooded with toxicity it cannot process information right and the child cannot learn. Since autism happens at a critical time in the development of the child, when they start to learn to talk and their brain is developing, the child then misses the opportunity to learn. She explains while the baby is in the womb, his/her gut flora is sterile, it only acquires gut flora as it goes through the birth canal of the mother, whatever gut flora the mother has will be transferred to the baby.
What has caused the shift in gut flora in the last few decades? She explains she has observed an epidemic in abnormal gut flora that started around WWII when antibiotics started to be used. Every course of antibiotics wipes out the beneficial species in the gut and leaves the harmful pathogens uncontrolled. Scientists she says have found thousands of different species of pathogenic-disease-causing microbes, bacteria, fungus, etc. but as long as the good ones predominate in the gut, they keep the pathogens under control only allowing them to subsist in small colonies. Antibiotics wipe out the beneficial bacteria and give the pathogens the opportunity to proliferate. Since it takes from 2 weeks to 2 months for bacteria to go back to normal this gives them an opportunity to proliferate. She has found in the mothers of kids with autism 100% abundance of pathogenic gut bacteria having a direct incidence in the number of autism cases. This increase in pathogenic organisms found in the blood of autistic children has been compounded by other factors, like a decline in breastfeeding after the 60’s and 70’s. She explains breastfed babies receive immune factors from the mother’s milk which protects them from these pathogens. Even if the mother has abnormal gut bacteria, her body can build immunity to these pathogens to protect her. These immune factor are then found floating in the blood and are passed on to the baby through the breast milk. However, when breastfeeding stops the protection stops, and this is when the baby starts going down with these diseases. Since newborn’s immune system is so immature this becomes a recipe for disaster, accounting for the increasing number of cases of autism and other terrible diseases.
She also believes antibiotics have been overused. Other factors that have contributed to the spread of pathogens in the gut colonies of the mother is the use of contraceptive pills that also destroy the beneficial bacteria. Also the foods we eat, heavily processed foods she says feed pathogens in the digestive system. All these factors combined have created abnormal gut bacteria in many women and they are passing it to their babies at birth. Could this explain why sepsis affects women and babies in great numbers? Since the establishment of normal gut flora takes place in the first 20 days of the baby’s life, the baby’s immune system is very weak. She recommends probiotics, removing problematic foods and improving the health of the body’s detoxification system, whose headquarters are in the liver and has departments in every cell. The liver she explains is a very sophisticated system that keeps us clean. Because the digestive system, and metabolism in general, produce a lot of toxic substances the liver has a critical role in detoxifying the body. In patients with autism because there is a river of toxicity coming from the gut, the liver’s detoxification system gets clogged up. In these kids toxins like mercury, lead, arsenic, formaldehyde and other toxic chemicals accumulate in the various tissues of the body. Poisons we are all exposed to but in normal circumstances the liver can detoxify them. In these kids, the detoxification system of the body needs to be restored. For this she recommends a simple diet with vegetable juices to flush toxins out, seaweed powder, sea salt, apple cider vinegar and fermented foods. Fermented foods she explains provide the needed probiotics and they chelate chemicals flushing them out of the body. Fermented foods she says are the perfect food for those people that have digestive problems like leaky gut, ulcerative colitis, etc. because the good bacteria in the fermented food pre-digests the proteins and fats, releasing the vitamins also ingesting the sugar found in the food, making it a natural low sugar food.
Last but not least, she explains the ‘die-off effect’, most patients can initially get worse when detoxifying the body because of the great amount of toxins being released at once, but this usually clears out as the body is cleansed.
This takes us to the next important point in our discussion.

The lymphatic system

In her book ‘The Core Balance Diet’ Marcelle Pick, MSN, OB/GYN NP describes another important way the body detoxifies itself ‘the often overlooked lymphatic system (which is) your body’s sanitation department: it cleans up the mess made by virtually all the other systems of the body. Widely regarded as a lesser sister to the circulatory system, it has no dedicated muscle (such as the heart) to pump lymph fluid, yet every cell in your body is continuously bathed in lymph fluid, which circulates through a vast network of capillaries and ducts, pulsing with motion and breath. Like a river of fluid, the lymph system sweeps debris from the shores of your cells and filters it through the appropriate receptacles (lymph ducts and nodes, spleen and liver) for removal. If your lymph stopped moving, you would die of toxicity in a matter of hours“. Ben Fuchs also explains how important the lymphatic system is for health and detoxification. According to him, oxygenation is very important to kill pathogens and bacteria. In the body this oxygenation is accomplished by the action of the lymphatic system which carries away toxins like a river carries away silt. Clogging, clotting and congestion of the lymphatic system can create oxygen deprivation and this increases the odds of a bacterial infection dramatically. Clogged lymphatic system will also block the flow of bacteria filled fluid after the dead bacteria and the infectious material is supposed to pass through the lymph. Lymphatic congestion is going to further compromise the body’s defense system by causing a defect in this movement of dead infectious material through the body.
He emphasizes it is possible for the body to fight bacteria and infections by moving the lymph, drinking plenty of fluids and eating less solid food so the body can concentrate in combating the pathogens instead of having to detoxify and process foods.
The products from Healthy Hearts Club can help you accomplish this. We recommend the “Liver Compound Complex” taken on a regular basis to assist the liver in its detoxifying abilities, especially if you are on prescription drugs. The “Heart and Body Extract” is antibacterial, anti-viral, strengthens the immune system and helps the lymphatic system by improving circulation all over the body. The “Blood Purifier Extract” is a nutritive supplement with a pleasant licorice taste for degenerative disorders, it has great blood cleansing properties as well as being antiviral and improving the lymphatic system.

Don’t wait till it might be too late, take control of your health now.

Zinc, the multitasking mineral

07 Jan 2016 no comments HAB Extract

Do you suffer from eczema, acne, or dandruff? Most probably you do not have a dandruff shampoo deficiency, but you may be low in zinc. Zinc deficiency is very common mainly because it is lacking in the soil, which makes it deficient in the foods we eat. When it comes to trace elements, zinc is one of the most multifunctional minerals there is.  According to Pharmacist Ben Fuchs, zinc is used in over 200 different chemical processes in the body, and while we will not go into detail about all of them, we will explain the most important ones.

Dr. Bernard Jensen in his book “Come alive!” called zinc the ‘growth element’ because of how essential it is for adequate growth. According to him, deficiency may cause birth defects, retarded growth, delayed sexual maturity and a slowdown of tissue repair and healing. In older people, he said, lack of zinc may cause loss of taste and smell, leading to a lowered interest in eating, which in turn can lead to multiple vitamin, mineral and other deficiencies. He emphasized how studies have shown, “beyond the shadow of a doubt, that zinc deficiency retards growth at any period of life from birth to adulthood”. In the first six months of life, he said, “babies who lack zinc average a pound less in weight and an inch less in height than babies with adequate zinc intake”.

According to Dr. Joel Dr. Wallach in his book “Epigenetics” congenital birth defects associated to zinc deficiency are Down’s syndrome, cleft palate, brain defects like cerebral palsy, spina bifida, clubbed limbs, heart defects, lung defects, etc. Zinc deficiency diseases and symptoms are pica, loss of sense of smell or taste, infertility, miscarriage, failure of wounds to heal, immune system status failure, poor growth, high rate of infant mortality, anemia, alopecia, gluten intolerance, depression, paranoia, dermatitis, benign prostate hypertrophy, etc. He explains heavy losses of zinc occur in sweat so athletes and individuals performing heavy labor are particularly prone to zinc deficiency. The liver, pancreas, kidneys, bone and skeletal muscle have the greatest needs and reserves of zinc, lesser amounts are found in the eyes, prostate gland, semen, skin, hair, finger and toe nails. About 20% of the body’s zinc is found in the skin, prostrate and bones. The retina of the eye and all the white blood cells contain zinc, and, over 70 enzymes in the body require zinc to do their work.

Dr. Bernard Jensen listed the benefits of zinc as follows:

  1. Possibly the most important role of zinc in the body he said is its requirement in the synthesis of nucleic acids, the basic substance of life.
  2. Next in importance is its role in processing protein, carbohydrates and fats. The combination of these two roles together with mobilizing food for use in the body makes zinc a key element in the growth of children and in the healing of tissue.
  3. The pancreas uses a good deal of zinc to secrete insulin. “Diabetics, he said, have about half of the amount of zinc in their pancreas as non-diabetics. Zinc may be a necessary part of the storage form of insulin, which is important in getting blood sugar into the cells”. Since zinc is part of the insulin molecule, the more sugar we eat the more insulin our body has to make, which also means the body will use up more zinc. Diabetics and anybody with sugar problems like prediabetes, disglycemia, hypoglycemia, should supplement with zinc.
  4. Zinc helps maintain vitamin A in the bloodstream.
  5. Zinc is protective against all cancers. Zinc is a major player in genetics, genes have what is called ‘zinc fingers’ which are little extensions that contain zinc and they are involved in how cells divide and reproduce. Zinc is very important for the prostate and is protective against prostate cancer (BPH, benign prostatic hypertrophy). Since zinc is involved in growth it can be very important for degenerative diseases like prostate cancer which has to do with a growth deficiency according to Ben Fuchs. Also, the prostate, being a fatty organ, depends heavily on healthy fats for health: EFAs, Vitamin E, vitamin D, Zinc and selenium. This implies the unhealthy fats like trans fats, hydrogenated oils, fried foods damage this organ greatly.
  6. Zinc is found in the white blood cells of the immune system. According to an article published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition zinc is a potent stimulator of all immune functions and has cold fighting abilities.
  7. Zinc may play a part in the destruction of bacteria. Zinc is a powerful antimicrobial mineral, so it is very important in boosting the body’s immune system.
  8. Zinc is needed for bone mineralization. Zinc is as important as calcium to build strong bones. This makes it beneficial for osteoporosis.
  9. Both skin ulcers and stomach ulcers have healed faster in patients taking zinc. It can also be beneficial for leaky gut syndrome.
  10. Zinc is very important for skin health. All skin conditions can improve when supplementing with zinc: acne, eczema, etc. Zinc is partly stored in the skin, so when we have a wound or a burn, zinc is mobilized to the area to build collagen and heal the skin. It is also used to heal acne, it is a fact, explains Ben Fuchs that people with acne are deficient in zinc. It is also anti-itching, calamine lotions are made with a form of zinc called zinc silicate. Zinc oxide is known for being very efficient in treating skin rashes. It is also used for sunburns, it will not only heal sunburn but will protect the skin from it if applied before exposing ourselves to the sun.
  11. Zinc is an essential part of important enzymes which detoxify alcohol, split phosphate molecules, break proteins down into amino acids and destroy free radicals. In this sense, zinc protects the liver against liver poisoning like fatty liver disease.

Dr. Bernard Jensen explained that zinc works together with copper, which is also essential for growth and to build red blood cells. He considered these two to be the most important trace elements needed by man. Zinc and copper, he said, work together in several body substances to protect and enhance health. Shortages of both trace elements can cause hypothyroidism.

In the blood, copper is equally found inside red blood cells and outside of them in the plasma. Copper is necessary for the formation of red blood cells, for the absorption of iron from the bowel and for bringing iron out of storage in the liver or muscle tissue. Copper is found in about a dozen enzymes in the body, zinc is found in 70 enzymes.

An important aspect when it comes to the zinc-copper ratio is that, unless these two are balanced, too much zinc will cause the body to excrete copper and vice versa. Blood cholesterol levels increase when blood copper levels are lowered due to too much zinc intake, so a proper balance between zinc and copper is important in normalizing cholesterol levels. What is more, signs of zinc deficiency can be duplicated by taking too much zinc (100mg a day or more). The ideal dose of zinc is 50 mg a day according to pharmacist Ben Fuchs, in the picolinate form. Other versions of zinc like zinc sulfate or gluconate can cause digestive distress and are not absorbed by the body as efficiently. Zinc monomethianine is a deluxe form of zinc that is highly absorbed by the body as well.

You can tell if you’re deficient in zinc by doing the “Zinc Taste Test”. A solution of zinc sulfate and water (available online) can be placed on the tongue, if you are not instantly repelled by a strong metallic taste chances are pretty good that you’re suffering from a zinc deficiency.

Zinc and the soil

Zinc, as well as selenium and sulfur, are water soluble which makes them very easily leached out of the soil. The soil is a living organism that can convert minerals and matter from the soil into nutrients our body can assimilate. However, the soil has been depleted of minerals for decades. The heavy use of pesticides and other farming techniques has corrupted the soil and turned it into dead soil. This makes supplementation necessary.

Zinc absorption

It is important to note that it is a little hard to obtain zinc from foods specially plants so it is best taken with digestive enzymes, the stomach has to be making enough acid so if you are deficient in stomach acid you can take apple cider vinegar after all your meals to be able to absorb zinc.

Zinc and PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome)

PCOS is a condition in which the ovaries make a lot of estrogen and this results in cysts in the ovaries growing out of control. Estrogen can cause an excretion of zinc in the body. If you have digestive problems then the problem is compounded because your body is not being able to break down excess estrogen (please read the blog titled “Heart Disease in Women”). Women on the birth control pill or hormone replacement therapy are taking huge amounts of estrogen that needs to be broken down and disposed of.  For all these cases, zinc can help greatly. Someone with PCOS also makes a lot of testosterone. According to Ben Fuchs, PCOS is primarily a blood sugar problem combined with problems processing hormones (estrogen and testosterone). Signs of excess estrogen are: bloating and problematic periods, cysts and fibroids, sluggishness, headaches, problems sleeping, zinc deficiency and excess testosterone. Signs of excess testosterone are excess body hair, thinning hair on the head, acne, oily skin and weight gain. The best way to address this condition is to address blood sugar by reducing sugar in the diet and taking zinc (please read the blog titled “Understanding blood sugar control”). PCOS is induced by zinc deficiency but it also causes zinc to be lost in the body. Zinc can help stabilize testosterone in women, it can also help stabilize testosterone in men by helping the body metabolize DHT, its breakdown product.

Growth and repair, blood sugar metabolism, anticancer, immune boosting, skin health, bone health and when in doubt, think zinc!

Understanding Blood Sugar Control (pt. 2)

02 Dec 2015 no comments HAB Extract

Poor sugar control does not only cause heart disease and stroke but also brain problems and depression, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, hypoglycemia and metabolic syndrome. All of these conditions are becoming health issues of epidemic proportions. What can we learn about sugar as a trigger in each of these conditions? Please read on to find out.

Your brain 101

Weighing only 3 pounds, our brain comprises 2% of our body weight, and uses 30% of the calories we ingest. It needs glucose to function, but not from highly processed sources like table sugar, pasta, bread, cakes, etc. which are released quickly into the blood stream. It needs a steady source of complex carbohydrates that are released slowly such as glucose from vegetables, but also healthy fats, protein, nuts, and at least 30 grams of fiber each day. Fast carbohydrates cause a stress reaction in the body, says Dr. Khalsa, author of the book “Brain Longevity”. Sugar is a stress for the body in individuals without problems metabolizing sugar in the body, even more for diabetics whose body cannot clear the sugar from the blood stream so the sugar stays longer after a meal than it should. He observed how these people performed worse in memory tasks than those with normal blood sugar control, had a smaller hippocampus, causing poor memory. Nowadays, kids with diabetes are also experiencing cognitive difficulties.

Experts believe we overeat sugar to experience a rush of dopamine. Dopamine is released in the brain when we experience pleasure. Eating sugar is like the brain’s way to get a reward, so eating becomes a source of pleasure. People who feel compelled to eat more are actually trying to compensate for the low dopamine state by stimulating it with food. This is the same for drug addicts. Sugar, drugs and alcohol all activate similar reward-related parts of the brain, the opioid system, and trigger the release of opioids such as beta-endorphins and dopamine.

New research is finding how insulin resistance might be linked to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia by causing some of the early biochemical changes found in Alzheimer’s disease. What is more, ingesting sugary foods not only is believed to increase free radicals but lower levels of vitamin E (a free radical scavenger) thus causing inflammation of the arteries that could increase one’s risk for stroke and Alzheimer’s. Free radicals can cause inflammation of the blood vessels and ultimately block flow to the brain, contributing to serious health problems including stroke, heart disease and cancer. Dr. Dandona explains free radicals accelerate hardening of the arteries everywhere in the body, including the brain. Inflammation damages the lining of blood vessels which can inhibit a healthy flow of blood to the brain, robbing oxygen, which can increase chances of Alzheimer’s, heart disease and stroke.

Julia Ross, M.A., in her book “The Mood Cure”, explains that because people are not eating as healthy, they are suffering from nutritional deprivation and depression is skyrocketing. Adult rates of depression have tripled and over 80% of those who consult a doctor complain of excessive stress, she explains. Scientists point to the fact that people self-medicate with sugar when they are under stress, anxious, depressed, tired or moody.

Addicted to sugar

The authors of “Sugar Shock” describe how sugar can be as addictive as heroin. Experiments performed with mice show how feeding them sugar caused some neurochemical changes in their part of brain where acetylcholine (neurotransmitter associated with aversion) was increased and the release of the brain chemical dopamine (neurotransmitter involved with motivation and reward) decreased. Further observation revealed that the more sucrose they ate, the more food they craved (about 33% more). When the sugar was taken away from them they became irritable, aggressive even toward the lab technicians. They also showed more addictive behaviors, like drinking more sucrose in stressful situations, their sleep cycle was disrupted, etc.

Sugar can depress you

Compelling research shows that sweets can cause feelings of despair, desolation, and hopelessness and this is only the beginning of a downward spiral because these feelings only make subjects turn to sweets again and again to quench these feelings of depression and unhappiness.

Scientists have been questioning whether people actually self-medicate when they are depressed. To learn whether this was the case or not, Larry Christensen, Ph.D. at the psychology department of the University of South Alabama, studied 113 male and 138 females. 67% reported they craved sugary foods when feeling anxious, depressed, tired or moody. After eating the sugary stuff 7% reported feeling happy, relaxed or energetic. As their cravings increased so did their emotional stress, the higher the craving the more distress they reported. After eating the sugar they felt better but not for long. Those that craved something sweet reported stronger cravings than those that craved protein. Welsh psychology professor Paul Willner, Ph. D. in one study he conducted he observed that depression increased the intensity of the cravings.

Judith Wurtman, Ph. D., developed a serotonin theory when she observed that people seek carbohydrates when their depressed brains need the amino acid tryptophan which is serotonin building block and which has been diminishing from our food supply over the last century. Like we mentioned before, sugary foods will keep tryptophan from reaching our brain.

Psychologist David Benton believes that stress or low mood induce eating sugary foods. Apart from serotonin, another group of neurotransmitters called opioids which the body produces when eating, can also influence our moods, enhancing feelings of euphoria, self-esteem and confidence. They are chemically similar to morphine and act like opiates (drugs) dulling the pain of both physical and emotional wounds. Just by tasting sugar in your tongue you can make your brain release endorphins. In experiments they administered sugar directly into the digestive tract, bypassing the tongue, and there was no release of endorphins. Stress can induce eating to achieve this endorphin release; What happens when we are under stress is neurotransmitters and blood sugar rise in tandem, creating a temporary euphoria but then drop us into depression, especially sugar sensitive people. These feelings might send you after the sweet high to drop you again and again. People who don’t manage their blood sugar properly are more likely to be depressed.

In his book ‘Diet, Crime and Delinquency’ Dr. Schauss conducted studies on sugar dependency and criminal behavior and to his astonishment there was a dramatic decline in this behavior when sugar and junk foods were removed. He found significant declines in anti-social behaviors. Changing their diets from white breads, pasta, candy, chemical additives to fresh vegetables, water, healthy fats, lean meats and fish got astounding results, with 80% of them becoming productive members of society. Moreover, research by the American Journal of Psychiatry showed that children with certain nutritional deficiencies were more aggressive as they grew older. They were not getting crucial minerals like zinc, iron, B vitamins and protein needed to develop a healthy nervous system and mental and emotional health and stability.

Sugar will deplete your body of important nutrients

Nancy Appleton Ph.D., asserts sugar will rob your body of important minerals like chromium, copper, and other minerals and interfere with the absorption of calcium, magnesium and protein. According to Dr. Rockwell, not enough chromium in the body will keep your body from getting enough sugar into the cells and diverting it into fat cells. This translates into wanting more food even if you are full: you will eat more sugar, your insulin will spike, then it will get low and you will feel terrible again. Supplementing with chromium picolinate can have a dramatic effect in normalizing appetite.

Also, if you are eating a lot of carbohydrates you are most probably not getting enough omega 3 fatty acids, so important for the heart, which also have anti-depressant effects in the body.


‘Hypo’ meaning ‘low’ and ‘glycemia’ meaning ‘blood sugar’, it means your blood sugar gets too low for you to carry on normal daily activities. It will cause you to become confused, irritable, spacey, lightheaded and more. Remember that insulin is the hormone that removes sugar from the blood stream, this sugar deprivation triggers an outpouring of counter-regulatory hormones mostly from the adrenals, says Ronald Hoffman M.D. These hormones oppose the action of insulin and push blood sugar back up. Unfortunately, these same hormones initiate the fight or flight or stress response causing heart palpitations, sweaty palms, nervousness, tremor and sometimes panic attack Dr. Hoffman explains. As serious as it can be this condition has mostly been mis-diagnosed or not even considered a disease. Many times it has been wrongly treated as hysteria, brain tumor, coronary thrombosis, epilepsy, gallbladder disease, asthma, allergies, etc.

Hypoglycemia is characterized by an extreme stress reaction in the body that include: sweating, shakiness, trembling, anxiety, fast heart action, headache, hunger sensations, brief feelings of weakness, fatigue, crying spells, heart palpitations, depression, cold hand and feet, and sometimes, seizures and coma all caused by a sudden drop in blood sugar after eating sweets.  This condition is not measurable because even when the blood sugar is low, it will show normal in a test. This drop of blood sugar is so deadly that in order to avoid seizures and death the body always responds with an emergency stress hormone release. Many things can trigger hypoglycemia: skipping meals, eating too much sugar, over-exercising, and too much stress.  The most tragic of situations is when hypoglycemia sufferers are dismissed as hypochondriacs or mentally unstable.

Low blood is not caused by a lack of sugar in the diet says Dr.Harvey Ross, but by failure of the body’s sugar-regulating mechanism, which results in a lowered sugar level in the blood after the person has eaten sugar. The worst thing someone with low blood sugar can do is to eat more sugar. This condition won’t go away until you completely lay off the sugar. The organ affected by too much sugar consumption is the pancreas. It is the most susceptible to damage by excess sweeteners. Dr. Nancy Appleton Ph. D. says.

There are over 70 different symptoms related to hypoglycemia that are a manifestation of an excessive stress response none of which are recognized as serious, but are misdiagnosed and neglected. Despite this, hypoglycemia is rampant according to Dr. Ronald Hoffman, “many people have it, but they don’t even know it “. He adds, hypoglycemia is triggering the obesity epidemic in this country because people are overeating after their blood sugar drops and they can’t stop”.  The authors believe that diabetes is becoming an epidemic as well as hypoglycemia.

Hypoglycemia is a prelude to diabetes, since both conditions have to do with underlying blood sugar imbalances, hypoglycemia can be seen as a prediabetic form of glucose intolerance which can develop eventually as full blown diabetes, according to James Chow MD and Cheryl Chow.

Dr. DeOrio describes how hypoglycemia could lead to type 2 diabetes: when the brain craves for glucose, you eat more simple carbs to get it up, then you get into the cycle low sugar, high sugar, low sugar, high sugar, on and on, which taxes your pancreas and leads to either insulin deficiency or to greater insulin resistance and then type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is actually chronic hypoglycemia.

Cancer feeds on sugar

If what we have learned so far was not enough stress for the body, we can add one more stress: cancer. The well- known research done on cancer free Eskimos is a proof that a sugar free diet is the best anti-cancer therapy there is, this is further evidenced by the fact that once they adopted the ‘civilized’ diet, they started dying of degenerative diseases.  Dr. Keith I. Block, M.D. points out “A major ingredient in the recipe for getting cancer is a diet high in refined sugar, high in unhealthy fats particularly omega 6 fatty acids and saturated fats” “Tumors are glucose guzzlers. If you strangulate the supply of sugar to a tumor, it may actually trigger a form of biological suicide among the malignant cells. All this applies to breast cancer in women and cancers of all types like colon cancer, endometrial cancer (uterus).


The most obvious condition caused by high sugar diets, diabetes, is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. alone. Around 7% of the population has diabetes and around 6.2 million have prediabetes which means they have not been diagnosed as diabetic but still have glucose levels higher than normal. Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90-95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes and is the one that can be easily reversed by cutting down simple carbs and exercising. The dangers of untreated blood sugar problems are heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, kidney disease, nervous systems disorders and impaired circulation which can lead to blindness and loss of limbs.

Metabolic Syndrome

Previously known as Syndrome X and insulin resistance syndrome, metabolic syndrome can be defined as a cluster of symptoms which could significantly increase a person’s risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Many experts are now realizing that identifying this condition is an effective way to catch diseases while they are still in the developmental stage. Metabolic syndrome doesn’t show up in blood tests normally given in a routine check- up. A doctor would have to order a set of specific tests to identify its six classic symptoms, which according to the American Heart Association include:

  1. Excess abdominal fat.
  2. Insulin resistance or glucose intolerance: elevated levels of glucose. The body cannot properly use insulin or blood sugar.
  3. Hyperlipidemia: high level of fats circulating in the blood.
  4. Hypertension.
  5. Pro-thrombotic state: tendency of blood to clot.
  6. Pro-inflammatory state: the lining of the arteries is inflamed which is one of the first steps to forming plaque in your arteries.

Causes of metabolic syndrome are sugar according to Dr. Victor Zammit. He explains the process that leads to diabetes as follows: ‘Tissues are exposed to high insulin and glucose levels which causes them to be damaged. Excess insulin causes the liver to pump out even more dangerous triglycerides, which can cause insulin resistance in the muscle cells and stops them from removing glucose from the blood. As time goes by more insulin is secreted. The blood becomes flooded with fatty acids, which start destroying the pancreatic cells that produce insulin causing insulin levels to plummet. The result is type 2 diabetes. The development of insulin resistance in the various tissues lead to metabolic syndrome”

Some misconceptions

When it comes to marketing products there are so many misconceptions and misleading labels it is easy to be fooled. If you are ready to kick your sugar habit there are some things you need to know:

  1. ‘Reduced sugar’, sugar free’, ‘no added sugar’, Low fat’ and ‘fat free’ don’t mean the product has no sugar.
  2. Raw sugar, brown rice syrup, barley malt and maple syrup are not better than refined white sugar. They are all metabolized in our bodies like sucrose, raising our blood sugar levels rapidly, upsetting mineral relations and suppressing the immune system, according to Dr.  Nancy Appleton.
  3. Fruit juice concentrates are not better for you than refined sugars. All of these are metabolized in the same way as refined sugars according to dietician Grieger, they are also stripped of most vitamins, minerals and fiber she explains.
  4. Honey is not better for you than sugar. Honey is 1/3 fructose, 1/3 glucose a little of maltose and 20% water. Honey is even more concentrated than table sugar, it has 5 grams of sugar per teaspoon vs. 4 grams of sugar per teaspoon for sucrose or table sugar according to Dr. Appleton.
  5. Sucrose is only natural if you can get it directly from a cane stalk or beet still planted in the ground. However, the white commercial sugar is highly refined and chemically altered from its origins as cane stalks or sugar beets, explains experienced food and beverage formulator Russ Bianchi “To make sugar, you first have to take the stalks or beets an do physical processing or crushing, followed by filtering. Then some refiners use an industrial acid and/or chemical enzymatic treatment which means you are adding hydrochloric acid or sulfuric acid to assist in ridding the product of impurities or foreign matter.” Other processes include bleaching, boiling, some harmful agents are added like sodium nitrate, silicon dioxide, chlorine, titanium dioxide (a whitening agent that contains arsenic).
  6. ‘All natural’ is a misleading name that reflects an ample leeway in food labeling and it certainly does not mean it does not contain sugar.
  7. Fructose is not better because it comes from fruits. Fruits contain many other sugars apart from fructose (technically known as levulose), sucrose (which is half fructose), glucose, dextrose, maltose, galactose and other saccharides. While they are better than the chemically refined fructose from corn, they still are high in sugars and therefore should be avoided.
  8. Evaporated cane juice, cane syrup solids, cane nectar, beet nectar, cane juice, beet juice and naturally milled cane are all misleading terms because they imply there is no sugar in the product. They are all metabolized by the body exactly the same way that white refined sugar is. They cause the same stimulating effect on insulin as refined sugars asserts nutritionist Nan Kathryn Fuchs, Ph. D.

If you still want to have sweets, stevia or xylitol are great alternatives without the side effects.

Lastly, sweeteners can have over 100 different names. It can become very impractical to read every single food label. The best ways to kick the sugar and food habits are:

  1. Good nutrition: A diet high in healthy fats, protein and fiber with all the digestive support we have discussed in previous articles as well as plenty of fresh vegetables.
  2. Herbs can help your body manage blood sugar. The “Heart and Body Extract” is a wonderful combination of herbs that will help your body to naturally balance blood sugar levels: Ginseng can help boost endorphin release by the brain, cayenne can release feel-good chemicals and naturally reduce the pain response. Other herbs like cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, licorice root, gymnena sylvestre can help too.
  3. Moderate exercise can shut down the part of the brain that signals hunger and reduce stress.
  4. Cutting down sweets will force your body to use up its glycogen stores which will help you maintain healthy blood sugar balance. When this happens you will naturally crave less sweets.
  5. Supplements like chromium and vanadium or glutamine powder. According to Ben Fuchs the amino acid glutamine can “allow brain cells to convert the amino acid into glucose and this may make it useful for beating cravings. 500-2000 mg every few hours, especially when hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) hits in the middle of the day.” Also, 5HTP (up to 300mg/day), the B vitamins (you can’t overdose on these), tryptophan (1,000 mg/day or as needed).
  6. Drinking plenty of good quality water will dilute excess blood sugar, especially when drank first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.
  7. Simple dietary changes and exercise can reverse this condition by 58%. Just 10-15 pound weight loss improved health dramatically according to Mary Hoskin, R.D., M.S., without being reliant on insulin or oral agents. Also, reducing fast burning carbohydrates and replacing them with protein and good fats like coconut oil, avocados, flax seed, EFA’s, etc. get better results than administering oral insulin. You might want to know how to recognize high carbs foods: starches are 100% glucose, fruit sugar and milk sugar are only 50% glucose.

Summing up, blood sugar disorders can create havoc in our health. Both high blood sugar and low blood sugar when they become chronic can cause the same stress reaction in the body as running from a tiger that wants to eat us. Not only this, sugar and sweeteners can clog and damage our arteries, rob our body of important minerals, among other things. The good news is that we can wean ourselves from sugar with good nutrition and products like the “Heart and Body Extract”.

 Understanding Blood Sugar Control (pt. 1)

02 Dec 2015 no comments HAB Extract

Blood sugar could be said to be the most important marker of health there is. However, all along, cholesterol has received all the bad reputation for causing heart disease. Ironically, sugar and foods that turn quickly into sugar in the body are the main cause of elevated cholesterol. What is more, fructose, sucrose, high fructose corn syrup and carbohydrates are among the deadliest of poisons, they all cause a stress reaction in the body. They can be even more deadly than unhealthy fats.  In what follows we will see how sugar can create havoc in our health.  What is behind the sweet poison that nobody seems to be scared about? It seems a lot more than we have been told.

For most people the addiction starts in the early years. It looks like it is a good thing to give kids sweets just because of the fact that they are kids. What is more, everybody celebrates with food and sweets, it is the thing to do, and if you don’t partake of the sweet poison, you will be left out of many social gatherings. How many sugar-free social gatherings can you think of?

With today’s technology it has become possible to extract sugar from plants so efficiently that we are all eating much more sugar than our liver can handle. According to pharmacist Ben Fuchs, “The average American is ingesting around 60 pounds of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) and 140 pounds of sucrose every year. When you do the math, we’re looking over two pounds of fructose a week, per person, per year. And that doesn’t include the amount people are getting from fruit and honey and other sources. That’s a lot of fructose for a body that is equipped to handle the sweet stuff in only the smallest of quantities”.

Fructose vs. Sucrose

Both High Fructose Corn Syrup and sucrose have been the target of a marketing war which has brought a lot of confusion. On the one hand we have HFCS which is argued to not raise blood glucose and has a low glycemic response of 20. On the other hand we have sucrose which is converted into blood glucose quickly in the body and has a glycemic response in the GI tract of 100. According to the authors of the book “Sugar Shock” Dr. Stephen Sinatra and Connie Bennett, the reason behind this purposeful confusion is money: sugar costs 30 cents a pound while HFCS is 10 cents a pound, therefore is cheaper to put in many products. The truth of the matter is that fructose can raise cholesterol and lead to heart disease. Fructose can also increase the risk of metabolic syndrome due to its ability to increase uric acid, which decreases the levels of nitric acid.

The term fructose in High Fructose Corn Syrup can be misleading. Despite the fact that HFCS is extracted from corn, ‘fructose’ implies it comes from fruits. HFCS is a man- made fructose that is not the same as fructose from fruits, it doesn’t exist in nature but it’s chemically refined to form an artificial hydrocarbon. It is refined in such a way that the body does not recognize it. Sugar (sucrose or ordinary table sugar) on the other hand is extracted from sugar cane or beets.   Furthermore, HFCS is 55% fructose and 45% glucose, sucrose is 50% fructose and 50% glucose. This implies they are both metabolized the same by the body,  however, this is not the case: fructose goes directly to the liver where it is more prone than sugar (sucrose) to being metabolized and converted into fat and raise triglyceride levels for many hours after. Sugar (sucrose) on the contrary is recognized by the body and converted into blood glucose.

So, what’s the problem with fructose?

According to pharmacist Ben Fuchs, High Fructose Corn Syrup affects every system of the body. HFCS he explains is ‘especially problematic for the digestive system in general and specifically for the liver. Proof of this is the alarming incidences of fatty liver disease (now considered a normal part of aging) and pervasive intestinal illnesses”. Do you experience symptoms like gas, bloating and loose stools, or any other digestive problems after eating and drinking fruits, fruit juices and HFCS containing foods?  The problems associated with HFCS are worse with liquid or powdered fructose because they are more quickly absorbed into the blood. Even more alarming is how this substance affects children. ‘Little kids are major victims because of the vast variety of fructose-containing processed foods that target them’.  He explains how mothers like to give apple juice in a bottle or pacifier to put their babies to sleep without realizing they might be harming them greatly. According to him “when a baby cries for his apple juice he’s going through withdrawal symptoms that are just as severe as those associated with opium” He further explains “There is a well-researched link between the sweet taste and so-called “opioid” receptors in the brain. These receptors are called “opioids” because they respond to opium. In other words, sugar and opium (think heroin) both “turn on” the same chemical systems in the brain. Which means, sugar is essentially brain heroin and when a baby (or adult) goes without it he screams because he’s withdrawing! That’s one of the main reasons it’s so hard to get off of sugar. It’s a withdrawal stress on an already stressed out body system. In a way, ingestion of fructose and the associated problems are better than adding another stress in the form of withdrawal.”

Another side effect of HFCS consumption, according to Ben Fuchs, is that it blocks the very important mood enhancing amino-acid tryptophan. “What happens is that HFCS makes tryptophan unavailable to the brain and this is bad news. Tryptophan is really important for mood and wellbeing and gets turned into melatonin and serotonin, the two most important chemicals in the brain. You can think of tryptophan as natural Prozac and for many people fructose will be blocking it from access to the brain. What is more, the brain has an appetite area, that initiates hunger sensations and a satisfaction area that shuts these sensations down. It uses tryptophan to determine which center will be activated. All day long it is scanning the blood for this important amino acid. When tryptophan levels rise, activity in the satisfaction center is turned on and hunger ceases. Low tryptophan levels on the other hand stimulate brain activity in the appetite or hunger center. If fructose is complexing with tryptophan, preventing it from getting into the brain it will take ingestion of a lot of tryptophan for the brain to activate satisfaction centers vs. the ‘go get us a Coke or some other kind of sugar’ center.”

Sugar and heart disease

Dr. Stephen Sinatra, a board-certified cardiologist, certified nutrition specialist and antiaging specialist claims there are ‘far more significant and devastating causes of coronary artery disease than cholesterol and too much sugar and high blood sugar are at the top of the list’. Consuming too many sweets and refined carbohydrates, he says, can clog your arteries even more than cholesterol and give you heart disease faster than cholesterol.

Dr. Sinatra has observed that people on a high sugar diet age faster. He recalls one instance during his training years at medical school when they were asked to identify a disease shown on a X-ray showing a calcified femoral artery that looked like that of a 60-year old person. It turned out to be the X-ray of a 40-year old diabetic woman.

Dr. Sinatra is very familiar with diabetes, he watched his mother die from it while suffering from cardiac arrhythmias, severe osteoporosis and bone fractures and blindness. For years he would watch doctors being unable to help her while advising a diet high in refined carbohydrates was ‘ok’. That was what inspired him to become a doctor later in life. He himself suffered from diabetes until he became a young cardiologist and he started seeing the evil side of sugar. He mentions how heartbreaking was to work with the elderly diabetics’ hearts, it was then that he realized that it was sugar that was the evil one, not cholesterol. He explains sugar shortens our cells’ life force. What causes silent inflammation? Insulin he says, what releases insulin? Sugar.

This is how it happens: when you eat sugar or refined carbohydrates, your body converts them into glucose, when this enters the blood stream, your pancreas releases the hormone insulin also called ‘master hormone’ or ‘fat storage hormone’. Insulin’s role is pivotal. Insulin helps convert the excess glucose into glycogen for energy storage in liver and muscles, while the un-metabolized calories are stored as fat. This regulates your body’s blood sugar levels by moving the excess glucose out of your bloodstream into your cells, thus lowering your blood sugar and making glucose available to fuel your body’s functions and activities of daily life. Both the insulin and glucose then travel directly into your liver where insulin tells the liver’s cells to open up their doors and let the sugar in. Once inside the liver’s cells, glucose can be processed through four different pathways:

  1. Some sugar is used for immediate energy.
  2. Other is stored in the form of glycogen in the liver and muscle for later use.

Excess sugar is turned into two forms of fats:

  1. Triglycerides
  2. Cholesterol

Both of which lead to diabetes and heart disease. This means the more sugar, the more insulin the body has to produce which means more inflammation. Excess insulin is the number one cause of hardening of the arteries Dr. Sinatra explains.

Furthermore, when blood sugar is cleared from the circulating blood by the action of insulin this triggers signals of hunger. Since sugar is cleared out pretty quickly in the body, this means you are going to be hungry over and over after eating sugar! This also leaves you with lower than normal blood sugar levels, a very stressing condition known as hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia will make you hungry, anxious, depressed, bad tempered, etc. making you so unstable that you will be more vulnerable to stressful situations, it will lower your immune system and health overall making you crave carbs over and over again.


Insulin is not the only hormone released after eating sugar, glucagon is another hormone released by your hardworking pancreas. Glucagon starts working when your blood sugar drops below normal, it stimulates the breakdown of glycogen (the storage form of glucose) so glucose can be ready for the body to use. This protects you from the dangerous effects of hypoglycemia. Glucagon also promotes the mobilization of previously stored fat. Both insulin and glucagon work together in an intricate and precise way known as ‘homeostasis’: insulin puts your sugar into storage as fat, glucagon takes it out by signaling the cells to get sugar and fat out so it can be used as energy. However, if insulin is out of balance because you eat too many carbs, glucagon will not be released. In other words, when you eat high sugary meals glucagon will be shut down. For glucagon to work fully it needs regular intake of protein. A diet high in vegetables, nuts, berries, etc. is also important. These foods are high in carbs but because they are complex carbs they are gradually broken down into the blood stream so they don’t cause a sudden sugar spike.   They have all the fiber, vitamins and minerals so the body has to digest them layer by layer and this slows down its release into the blood stream. On the contrary, heavily processed foods have been stripped of fiber, vitamins and minerals in order to extend shelf life. White flour, white rice, white sugar, etc. all raise our blood sugar very quickly.

Glucose metabolism disorders are: hypoglycemia, prediabetes (impaired glucose tolerance or glucose intolerance and impaired fasting glucose), hyperinsulinemia, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. Once this has become chronic then you will need more and more insulin to do the same load of work resulting in the pancreas not being able to keep up with the demands for insulin. This is what is called insulin resistance/impaired glucose tolerance/prediabetes. When this condition develops what happens is your cells stop listening to insulin. (Picture your insulin knocking on the cells’ doors asking them to open the door to carbs but the cells ignore the knock, carbs are then shuttled to fat cells). The more we become insulin resistant, the more insulin the body has to produce, eventually the pancreas cannot keep up and diabetes is the result.

Sugar is more of a killer than stress itself

According to Dr. Perricone, sugar and foods that convert rapidly to sugar in the blood stream (high-glycemic carbohydrates like fast burning carbs) are toxic, they are pro-inflammatory. His many years of research have shown to him that chronic, subclinical inflammation is the single greatest precipitator of aging and age-related diseases. These include heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, cancer, obesity, unwanted weight gain, loss of muscle, and wrinkled, sagging skin. This inflammation takes place at the cellular level so it is invisible to the naked eye and we can’t see it or feel it until it’s too late. He believes that diet is more of a killer than stress itself.

A pro-inflammatory diet is one that provokes an inflammatory reaction in the body and the body has to defend itself from the offending agent. Chief inflammatory foods are sugars and foods that turn quickly into sugar in the body, also called high-glycemic carbohydrates: cakes, cookies, potatoes, most packed cereals, juice, soda, chips, etc.

Understanding the inflammatory mechanism

Pro-inflammatory foods cause a sudden spike in blood sugar, triggering an insulin response from the pancreas in an effort to control the rising level of blood sugar. Diabetics do not have a properly functioning pancreas, so they suffer from high blood sugar. Constant high sugar causes kidney failure, blindness, heart attacks and strokes. Studies have shown that when diabetics keep their blood sugar stable, their death rate is cut down by 70%. The bad news is that you don’t have to be a diabetic to suffer from sugar problems, healthy bodies are harmed by sugar as well by the process known as glycation: eating sugar causes an immediate browning (glycation) of the protein in the tissues. You can think of it like what happens when you heat sugar and it turns brown. Your organs are ‘caramelized’ when sugar molecules attach themselves to collagen in your body permanently. This process becomes a source of inflammation which in turn produces enzymes that break down collagen, resulting in wrinkles on the skin and deterioration of blood vessels. (Remember your blood vessels are mainly collagen). This causes loss of elasticity on the skin and blood vessels. According to Dr. Perricone, healthy skin or blood vessels have collagen strands overlapping making them elastic, so skin can snap back  and stay elastic after a smile or a frown and an artery can stay flexible to take the pressure needed to deliver blood to our organs. This does not happen when years of sugar consumption make our arteries stiff and inflexible because the sugar molecules have attached themselves to collagen.

Glycation turns soft baby skin and strong blood vessels into a leather-like hardened tissue. This happens throughout the body: arteries, veins, bones, ligaments, brains, resulting in breakdown of all organ systems.

 What leads to Heart Disease: Bad Fat, Sugar or Both?

Dr. Sinatra points out how people worry too much about their cholesterol levels and not eating fats, not realizing that their sugar intake might be even more dangerous. Dr. Block points out how many people have traded a high fat diet for a high sugar one, low fat cookies are loaded with sugar! So to the question above, the answer is BOTH. Both unhealthy fats and sugar are pro-inflammatory.  Dr. Zammit explains a diet high in sugars makes your liver secrete more triglycerides so you end up at the same endpoint as if you ate fat.  Nutrition expert John Yudkin, M.D., Ph.D. noticed the tremendous rise in heart disease coinciding with the increased intake of refined carbohydrates.

Similarly, Dr. Willett explains refined starches and sugars are one of the most powerful predictors of heart disease, and adds, ‘replacing those foods with whole grain, high fiber forms of carbs will actually reduce the risk of heart disease”. What is more, a team of scientists at UCLA in Los Angeles found that men with cardiovascular disease may be at considerably higher risk of death even when their blood sugar is in the ‘normal’ range. “Our findings suggest that for men with cardiovascular disease, there is apparently no ‘normal’ blood sugar level…for these men across the normal range, the lower their blood sugar, the better”.