Is it your heart or is it heartburn?

01 Jun 2016 no comments HAB Extract

When it comes to the health of our heart most of us might assume that by focusing on our heart it is enough to keep it healthy. But the work of many health care professionals points to the fact that we need to change the environment of the whole body so the heart can be restored to health. This is the case of Dr. Bernard Jensen. His many years of experience working with patients confirm this fact. He saw the body as a “community of organs, glands and tissues each one either helping or hindering all the others. In his book “Developing a new heart” Dr. Jensen recalls how for over 60 years he revealed to his patients the ‘secrets of the heart’ by teaching them that to reverse or prevent cardiovascular disease one has to take care of the “99% of the body surrounding the heart as well as the heart itself”. Disease, he explained, “always involves …. not only the organ mainly affected by the disease, but every other part of the body as well…To take care of the heart, we have to feed the whole body…strengthen all the glands, organs, systems and tissues that support the heart.”

The products at Healthy Hearts Club are created with this idea in mind. Not only they target the whole body, but by being liquid they bypass any digestive problems we might have. All of the products work together to keep the whole body healthy so the heart can function properly.

In today’s blog we will focus on digestive health. Most people after the age of 50 have digestive problems.  What is more, in just  a few years there seems to be an increasing incidence of digestive disorders. This is the case of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) for example. According to a News Max Health article from January 2015 titled “Fatty liver disease: America’s silent epidemic”, in only 20 years the incidence of fatty liver disease has doubled. (1)

In addition, according to Web Md, more than 60 million Americans suffer from a burning sensation in the chest known as heartburn at least once a month. Also, between 25 and 45 million Americans deal with a condition known as ‘irritable bowel syndrome’ (2) Most people  live with these conditions not knowing that when left untreated they can lead to serious health consequences that put a burden in the heart. As we will detail in this article, a healthy digestive system is key to health. Digestive organs like the liver are key to the health of our heart.

What is most important to understand is that all inflammatory diseases have a digestive component. If you have a history of chronic indigestion, ulcerative colitis, crohn’s disease, gastritis, liver problems, pancreatitis, gallstones, etc or you do not have any of these but you don’t feel as good as you would like, I want to invite you to keep reading.

Like a car wash

Understanding the digestive process is key to taking control of our health. It might sound complicated, but if we compare our digestion to a car wash tunnel that ‘squirts’ different soaps in a timely and orderly fashion, we can begin to understand it better. Like in a car wash, the different digestive organs secrete substances like acid, baking soda, bile and enzymes in a step by step fashion. Each step in digestion has to work properly and fully for the next step to be efficient. When a step is missing or is uncomplete, the whole digestive process will be halted, affecting the subsequent steps. This will cause two major issues:

  • Mal absorption of key nutrients.
  • Undigested food will initiate an immune reaction in the digestive system first and in the general circulation second, thickening our blood and preventing proper blood circulation.

One step at a time

Digestion starts in the mouth, where the act of chewing and saliva break down food into smaller particles. Saliva has enzymes that are very similar to those of the pancreas. Chewing food properly is important to improve digestion and reducing the work the pancreas will have to do later on. When food reaches our stomach, the stomach enzyme pepsin and hydrochloric acid produced in the stomach are released and this turns food into an acid mash called ‘chyme‘. This acid breaks down food in the stomach, but it is also necessary for the next step in digestion to signal the pancreas to release sodium bicarbonate. When this acid drenched food from the stomach comes in contact with the alkaline pH of the pancreas, this acid-alkaline combination creates a fizzing reaction (think vinegar and baking soda mixing This fizzing reaction is KEY to the digestive process. By means of this fizzing reaction, nutrients are removed out of food and food moves through the digestive system quickly and efficiently. At this point in digestion there are two scenarios that could go wrong. One is hypochlorhydria, low stomach acid. The other is pancreatic insufficiency. Both of these will have tremendous consequences for overall health.

When digestion ‘goes sour’. Low stomach acid

Stomach acid is the first step in digestion that is necessary for the subsequent steps in digestion to work efficiently. Low stomach acid will affect the rest of the  steps in digestion in different ways:

The enzymes in the pancreas, as opposed to those in the stomach that need an acid pH (low pH), only work in an alkaline ph (high pH). To neutralize this acidity coming from the stomach, the pancreas needs sodium bicarbonate.  However, low or no stomach acid, a very common condition known as hypochlorhydria, will keep the pancreas from releasing sodium bicarbonate. No stomach acid means no sodium bicarbonate is released. No sodium bicarbonate means pancreatic enzymes cannot be activated.  No pancreatic enzymes means no fizzing reaction, no fizzing reaction means food cannot be broken down further.

The consequences of this can be numerous:

  • The precious nutrients found in vegetables, many of which are anti-inflammatory and precursors to vitamins, will not be processed.
  • Mineral absorption is going to be compromised with low stomach acid, especially calcium. If calcium cannot be dissolved and reach the cells where it does its work, this undigested calcium is going to accumulate in the tissues, glands, even in cholesterol deposits in the arteries, running high risks of calcification of the heart, brain and soft tissue.
  • Absorption of fat soluble vitamins D, E, A and K will be compromised too because they all require stomach acid.
  • The B vitamins, so essential for heart health will not be absorbed either. Vitamin B 12, B 6 and folic acid, which keep the heart toxin homocysteine from accumulating in the body, will not be digested.
  • Stomach acid is involved in the activation of digestive enzymes, especially the ones that digest protein. This means that high protein foods like meat, eggs and dairy will stay undigested causing an allergic/immune reaction.  These undigested pieces of food will increase the odds of clotting in the blood, the liver and kidneys can filter some of this but with time they will get clogged too. Once the liver is overloaded the rest of the body will be affected, leading to many health problems including high BP. The kidneys will be affected too because they have to filter the blood. The ‘Kidney/Bladder Extract’ and ‘Liver Support Compound’ will be a great addition to your health protocol.

If you feel you are never satisfied after eating, you might be having mal absorption issues. Stomach acid secretion can be improved with stomach bitters before meals, herbs like peppermint, and apple cider vinegar with all meals. Apple cider vinegar is a good source of minerals specially potassium for the heart. The cayenne in the ‘Heart and Body Extract’ is a good digestive tonic, and the ‘Kidney/Bladder Extract’ will help your kidneys work more efficiently.

Pancreatic insufficiency

If the pancreas is stressed from making too much insulin or if you are using up your enzymes to digest a highly processed diet, this is also going to mean less ‘fizzing reaction’,  which means nutrients are not going to be broken down further and be absorbed as efficiently. Not only this, the whole pH of the body is maintained by pancreatic bicarbonate. Without enough bicarbonate the entire acid-alkaline balance in the body is thrown off. In the digestive system, without enough sodium bicarbonate this acid drenched food coming from the stomach is not going to be neutralized, but more critically, it is not going to activate the pancreatic enzymes tripsin and chemotripsin. The other enzymes produced by the pancreas, lipase and sucrase also need high ph to be activated. What are the health implications of either one of these two scenarios, low stomach acid and/or pancreatic insufficiency?

Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)

Food that cannot be broken down is going to sit around, become stagnant in the small intestine and become feeding ground for bacteria.  This rotting, fermenting,  putrifying food secondary to low pancreatic juices is going to invite bacteria to grow out of control, a condition known as SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth). The health implications of SIBO are immense: these bacteria growing in the intestine will start releasing gases, which are going to activate an immune response in the digestive tract. This can translate into GERD (gastrointestinal reflux disease) commonly known as heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome, crohn’s disease, gas, bloating, burping, ulcerative colitis and leaky gut syndrome.

According to Amy Nett MD in her article “SIBO- What causes it and why it is so hard to treat”   ‘SIBO has been shown to negatively affect both the structure and function of the small bowel. It may significantly interfere with digestion of food and absorption of nutrients, primarily by damaging the cells lining the small bowel (the mucosa). Additionally, this damage to the small bowel mucosa can lead to leaky gut (when the intestinal barrier becomes permeable, allowing large protein molecules to escape into the bloodstream), which is known to have a number of potential complications including immune reactions that cause food allergies or sensitivities, generalized inflammation, and autoimmune diseases. These pathogenic bacteria, …, can lead to nutritional deficiencies on top of those due to poor digestion or absorption. In particular, the bacteria will take up certain B vitamins, such as vitamin B 12, before our own cells have a chance to absorb these important nutrients. They may also consume some of the amino acids, or protein, that we’ve ingested, which can lead to both mild protein deficiency and an increase in ammonia production by certain bacteria. (We normally produce some ammonia daily from normal metabolism, but ammonia requires detoxification, so this may add to an already burdened detoxification system.) The bacteria may also decrease fat absorption through their effect on bile acids, leading to deficiencies in fat soluble vitamins like A and D.’ (3)

Among the causes of SIBO, she mentions: Low stomach acid, celiac disease (long-standing),  prior bowel surgery, diabetes mellitus (type I and type II), multiple courses of antibiotics, organ system dysfunction, such as liver cirrhosis, chronic pancreatitis, renal failure, excessive alcohol consumption and oral contraceptives.

Since SIBO can be hard to diagnose, how can we know if we have it? She mentions the symptoms that can give us a clue are: Abdominal pain/discomfort, bloating and abdominal distention, diarrhea, constipation, gas and belching. In more severe cases, there may be weight loss and symptoms related to vitamin deficiencies. Antibiotics are normally the prescription used to treat SIBO but ironically they make things worse by killing the beneficial bacteria in the gut.

According to Benjamin Fuchs R Ph, there are other possible triggers for SIBO: Fructose mal absorption, diverticulitis, scleroderma (an immune condition that affects the intestinal muscles), intestinal scarring, adhesions, etc. But according to him, there is no trigger that is more important than pancreatic insufficiency. He quotes a text titled ‘Clinical nutrition in gastro-intestinal disease’ where it is stated that pancreatic insufficiency and SIBO are the two most important common categories of mal digestion. This means that if we are dealing with any kind of digestive problem the chances are very high it has something to do with the pancreas and SIBO. If you have any of the symptoms of SIBO like chronic heartburn, diarrhea, gas, burping, IBS, bloating 1-3 hours after eating, many other side effects are possible because these bacteria produce toxic gases that can affect the brain. The methane breath test can measure the presence of these bacteria where hydrogen and methane are found present at high levels. Memory issues, dementias,  learning disabilities, brain fog, inflammation, aggressive behavior, etc are all possible with SIBO according to the research of Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride in her book “Gut and psychology syndrome”. Her deep research in the importance of beneficial bacteria shows that low stomach acid can create changes in the intestinal environment too, in the large and small intestine. Usually the bacteria in the intestine are held in check by stomach acid, but under conditions of low stomach acid this bacteria can grow out of control. They will create problems with sugar metabolism, because these bacteria ‘love’ sugar, they will create sugar cravings in the sufferer, which will ‘feed’ the problem even more. If your diet is high on refined carbohydrates, which turn into sugar, and high in meat and animal products, which require heavy duty pancreatic processing, these two factors are going to compound, creating  more growth medium for bacteria, lots of putrefying food sitting in the intestine and this is big trouble.

One of the most problematic issues related to SIBO is fructose, also called ‘fructose mal absorption syndrome’, which means that fructose is not being absorbed properly, so it is sitting around in the intestine along with protein and other sugars we are eating causing excessive bacterial proliferation. The signs of fructose mal absorption syndrome are exactly the same as for SIBO: gas, bloating, pain, diarrhea, etc. Fructose mal absorption issues affect 30% of Americans. One of the worst effects of fructose mal absorption is deficiencies in the super amino acid tryptophan. Fructose keeps this important aminoacid from reaching the brain. Because tryptophan is the building block of the neurotransmitter serotonin, the brain’s most important anti-anxiety nutrient, the result is going to be depression, anxiety, problems sleeping, etc. Fructose mal absorption is also associated with zinc deficiency, and because there are so many  enzymes that depend on zinc, all this is going to compromise health even more.

One of the most common signs of SIBO is GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), you can think of it as common heartburn. Anti acid drugs like PPI inhibitors will only exacerbate this bacterial issue, because these drugs reduce acid in the stomach, which is what caused the bacterial overgrowth in the first place. According to an article published in the ‘Journal of gastroenterology and Hepatology’, SIBO occurs more frequently among long term users of nexium and PPI users.

What can we do?

Millions of people have leaky gut without knowing it. The main reason for it being so hard to detect is that digestive symptoms will not show up until you have a full blown immune disease. By the time digestive problems show up as a skin condition, rheumatoid arthritis or hypothyroidism, most people do not see the connection to the gut. Therefore, the digestive condition never gets addressed, only the symptoms. This is why its best to assume we all have a leaky gut to some extent, which is what can be expected from living in the 20th century.

To take the load off of the pancreas, baking soda can be dissolved in water 2 hours after eating.  Dr. Sircus recommends to “Dissolve a level teaspoonful of Bicarbonate of Soda in a tumbler of cool water and take one to two hours after meals. For a tonic form, about one-quarter teaspoonful before meals.” (4) Also, avoiding mixing starches and meats together. The garlic in the ‘Heart and Body Extract’ will help you with SIBO because of its antibacterial properties.

Benjamin Fuchs R Ph recommends to eliminate problematic foods, using foods that soothe the digestive system like bone soup, aloe vera, zinc picolinate for healing (50 mgs/day) glutamine powder, enzyme rich foods like raw vegetable juices and sprouts, probiotics and digestive enzymes.

The hard working pancreas

The pancreas is a key organ in the digestive system. The fact that pancreatic  cancer is one of the most aggressive types of cancers there are, with the lowest percentage of survival rate, attests to this fact. What makes the pancreas so critical is the important roles this organ has in digestion and overall health:

  • First of all, the pancreas is an enzyme factory. It specializes in enzymes that break up protein, fats and sugars. Defective secretion of digestive enzymes can lead to mal absorption of nutrients.
  • Secondly, the pancreas is a source of digestive peptides, which are messenger molecules that have the important job of communicating to the pancreas the arrival of food in the intestine. When this message is sent, the pancreas then is stimulated to secrete its digestive juices and enzymes into the intestine to help continue the work of digesting the food that left the stomach.
  • Thirdly, the pancreas has the crucial job of making insulin. Up to 30% of diabetics are found to be dealing with pancreatic insufficiencies due to the fact that their pancreas is working overtime to make insulin. This can overload this organ in such a way that it cannot make enough enzymes to break down food, compromising the whole digestive system. For this reason, many healthcare professionals recommend supplementing with pancreatic enzymes when this is the case. Diabetics, or people suffering from pancreatitis, pancreatic insufficiency, or just pancreatic fatigue would benefit greatly from this. Pancreatic insufficiency is generally hard to diagnose because there are no signs until the condition is serious enough to cause disease.
  • Fourthly, the pancreas has the very important job of making sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). Without it, digestion and absorption of nutrients will be greatly affected.

Protein digesting enzymes

Our pancreas makes several very important enzymes. The enzymes that digest protein are  known as ‘tripsin’ and ‘chemotrypsin’. ‘Lipase’ breaks fats and ‘sucrase’ breaks down sugars. People with pancreatic insufficiency will not be making enough of the protein digesting enzymes, therefore they run the risk of being deficient in protein. Without protein their diet cannot access amino acids and other essential nutrients for the heart. This can lead to mal nutrition, which can lead to fatigue, which can put a load on the heart.

What is more, undigested protein will cause an immune reaction in the body, starting the  inflammatory process that can go on undetected for years until a full blown immune condition shows up. This immune condition can show up anywhere in the body: joints, skin, glands, etc. By the time it shows up somewhere else, these conditions seem to be unrelated to the root cause: a broken digestive system. This is the reason why many times it is hard to make the connection between something like psoriasis for example and digestive disorders.

Auto-immune diseases like those affecting the thyroid can result and because the thyroid regulates everything else in the body, every disease is possible, including cancer and heart disease. According to the classical medical book on thyroid disease “Werner and Ingbar’s The Thyroid: A Fundamental and Clinical Text”, one third of patients with thyroid immune disease have problems with deficiencies in stomach acid.

Mal absorption of vitamin B 12 can be another cause of pancreatic insufficiency. Taking into account that low levels of B 12 is a contributing factor for the accumulation of the heart toxin homocysteine, this makes digestive problems a direct contributor to heart disease. Pancreatic insufficiency will not only lead to mal absorption of key nutrients like B 12, but B 12 deficiency can be a direct cause of pancreatic insufficiency. In the book “Could It be B 12?: An Epidemic of Misdiagnoses” the author Sally M. Pacholok discusses how B 12 deficiency is a hidden epidemic.

Cystic fibrosis

Pancreatic enzymes are an FDA approved prescription drug for cystic fibrosis, a generic congenital disease that affects the pancreas. In their article  ‘Enzyme Replacement Therapy for Cystic Fibrosis’ (5), Web Md explains how this is used. And in their article “How Cystic Fibrosis Affects Digestion and the Pancreas’ it is stated that ‘In cystic fibrosis, mucus clogs the pancreas, and digestive enzymes are not able to get to the intestine. So food is not properly digested, particularly fats and proteins. A related symptom is large, greasy, smelly stools.” (6)

Since pancreatic insufficiency is hard to diagnose and can have fatal consequences, we would all be wise to start helping our pancreas on a daily basis. We do not have to wait to have any pancreatic disease like cystic fibrosis, or even mild pancreatic fatigue. Enzymes can be obtained at any health food store and taken with every meal.  Pancreatic insufficiency can cause a type of diabetes that doctors call type 3 diabetes, consequently, this would be specially important for diabetics. But even candida,  skin diseases like psoriasis, rosacea, ezcema, and any auto-immune disease can be reversed by taking care of the digestive system.

Raw food

Edward Howell in his book “Enzyme nutrition” defines enzymes (also called ‘catalysts’) as ‘proteins that improve and speed up chemical reactions without being affected themselves’. He explains that in the body nothing happens without the work of enzymes: nerves cannot fire, muscles cannot contract, etc. This makes enzymes a very important part of our health. He stressed the fact that diets low in raw foods can actually put a load on our pancreas, forcing this organ to use up precious enzymes it needs to repair the body to digest food instead. He observed that animals living in the wild do not have the degenerative diseases humans have because their diet is mainly based on raw foods. By incorporating some raw food in our diet we can have access to the live enzymes in those foods and thus we can help our pancreas conserve its enzymes.

Enzyme inhibiting compounds

Foods like seeds, grains and beans have ‘enzyme inhibiting compounds’ that can inhibit the activity of tripsin and chemotrypsin. These compounds have the purpose of keeping the seeds asleep until they sprout. Tofu, soy beans and all its derivatives (soy milk, soy protein powder, etc.) can therefore be problematic if you have enzyme deficiency. Sprouting seeds, on the other hand, turns off these enzymes inhibitors and turns on the enzymes. This makes sprouts a very important food for people with pancreatic insufficiencies and digestive problems in general.

Enzymes and inflammation

Something important about these protein digesting enzymes is their anti-inflammatory properties. Since inflammation involves the formation of protein complexes, protein dissolving enzymes like tripsin and chemotripsin become a very important anti-inflammatory strategy without the side effects that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can have (NSAID). By adding these pancreatic enzymes to our diet, specially on an empty stomach, they can ‘eat up’ the protein covering these inflammatory complexes circulating in our blood have.  This can be very important in the case of extreme inflammation, like surgery. In a study published in the ‘Journal  of Medicine’ in 1967, chemotrypsin was given to patients undergoing invasive surgery four times a day. The results were impressive, the swelling was a third of the inflammation normally expected and the speed of recovery was dramatically faster after the surgery. Diabetics, people with pancreatic insufficiency, leaky gut and/or inflammation can benefit from supplementing with enzymes and eating raw foods.

Inflammation and cell death

Most of our immune system is located in the digestive system, this means that our digestive system is capable of starting an immune reaction by itself. Undigested food, from low stomach acid or pancreatic insufficiency will ultimately lead to leaky gut. Leaky gut is the jumping point between the digestive system and the general circulation. It will cause this undigested food to end up in the blood where another immune response will be initiated. Since these particles of undigested food do not belong in the blood, the immune system will send its ‘scouts’ to try to destroy these foreign invaders. It does that by surrounding these particles with immune complexes called ‘circulating immune complexes’ (CIC’s) . These CIC’s are like time bombs because at any moment they can explode, releasing their own toxins into the blood. This again, will initiate an immune response, becoming the chronic influx of toxins, immunity and inflammation we know of as ‘micro-inflammation‘. All these toxins and immune complexes will end up thickening the blood, making it sludgy and prone to clot, affecting our heart directly because now it has to pump harder. The liver and kidneys can get clogged if too much of this inflammation is going on, which will ultimately put another burden on the heart. Impaired circulation will also keep the cells in our body from receiving the nutrition and oxygen they need and keep them from detoxifying themselves. Whether it is a heart cell, a muscle cell, a brain cell, a liver cell, a kidney cell, etc, a sick, starved, suffocated cell that is swimming in its own waste will not be able to do its job. This will cause these cells to die, which will cause more immunity, more inflammation and more circulatory problems. The problem with all this chronic micro-inflammation is that it might go on for years or decades undetected, until it shows up as something very serious. Taking into account leaky gut is so hard to diagnose, everybody should assume they have a leaky gut, just from living in the 20th century, where taking care of our body properly is not always possible. Why wait for something to happen? We can start taking care of our digestive system and circulation now.  Correcting any digestive issues and taking care of our circulation with the ‘Heart and Body Extract’ and ‘Kidney/Bladder Extract’ can make all the difference when it comes to our health.

The nervous system and digestion

The nervous system can be divided into:

  • Involuntary nervous system, also called ‘autonomic’, ‘automatic’ or ‘parasympathetic’. This is where things like breathing, heart beat, digestion, etc belong. It is also called ‘rest and digest nervous system’ for a reason. Like the name says, it allows your body to digest food and to rest and repair itself.
  • The voluntary nervous system. Also known as ‘fight or flight’ or ‘sympathetic nervous system’. Contrary to the ‘rest and digest nervous system’, the ‘fight or flight nervous system’ is activated when we are in a stressful situation. What is significant about this nervous system is that when it gets activated, it shuts down the ‘rest and digest nervous system’ and consequently digestion and stomach acid production. Due to our stressful lives, most of us are shutting down digestion, rest, and repair. The logic is that when our body perceives stress, it thinks life is at stake so it focuses on  ‘fight or flight’ and shuts down rest, digestion and repair. Stress can then be said to be a cause of heartburn and other digestive disorders. There are nervous systems receptors located in the nostrils, which is why many health professionals recommend to relax and breath deep before meals. Dr. Edward Group, in his article ‘Why do people gain weight?’ asserts: ‘Eating in a parasympathetic state is perhaps the best way to consume any type of food in order to promote proper digestion and weight loss.’ (7)

Heartburn and the importance of stomach acid

According to Web Md, “Heartburn or acid reflux symptoms include chronic cough and chest pain and burning.” (6). Heartburn  can become  a serious condition when not treated properly and can lead to more serious health problems like damaged esophagus and even esophageal cancer.

Dr. Jonathan V Wright in his book ‘Why stomach acid is good for you’ explains that in most cases we make too little stomach acid, especially as we age. He asserts that despite the importance of stomach acid, many people believe their problem is that they make too much stomach acid and this causes their acid reflux or heartburn. But his experience with many patients has shown him that in most cases it is low stomach acid, not too much stomach acid,  that causes all the digestive distress associated with heartburn to begin with. He has treated many patients and when he explains to them this fact, they ask ‘how can low stomach acid cause heartburn?’ You can listen to his explanation here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1BqKy_U5S0. In this video and others, he explains that the valve that connects the esophagus with the stomach, called ‘lower esophageal sphincter’ (LES) is pH sensitive, it needs a low pH (acid) to close up and thus keep acid from splashing back up. If we do not make enough stomach acid, this muscle cannot close,  allowing acid to splash back upwards.

Similarly, according to Benjamin Fuchs R PH, acid reflux is not an acid issue but a muscle issue, caused by a weak sphincter that allows acid to go back up.  He asserts that probiotics can have a beneficial effect on GERD, mastic gum, DGL (licorice) and acidifying the stomach.

Heartburn is then a classic sign of low stomach acid, but also many other digestive discomforts. According to the ‘National Institute of Diabetes, Kidney and Digestive Diseases’, 60 million people experience heartburn once a month and 25 million treat this condition with anti-acid medications. This is alarming because as we have seen, stomach acid is essential for the absorption of nutrients. In an article published in Web Md titled “How Popular Heartburn Drug Might Harm Arteries”  heartburn has a possible link to damaged arteries. (8) According to this article:  “Studies have shown increased risk of heart disease in people who use proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) — the class of heartburn medication that includes Nexium, said study senior author Dr. John Cooke.”

What is more, according to an article published in ‘Journal of gastroenterology and Hepatology’, SIBO occurs more frequently among long term users of anti-acid drugs.

H. Pilori and stomach acid

Stomach acid is not only important for the digestive process, it also protects the body from microbes, bacteria, fungus and yeasts that can get into the body through food. If you are not making enough stomach acid, these organisms can get into the small intestine and from there to the blood, tissues and organs. This is the case of gastritis, an infection caused by a bacteria called H. Pilori. This bacteria once it is in the stomach attacks the cells that make stomach acid, the parietal cells. (9)

Dr. Jonathan Wright explains that gastritis will cause a decline in stomach acid production. This infection has become a common culprit in many digestive diseases these days, especially those that involve the upper part of the intestine and the stomach: ulcers, gastric ulcers, duodenal ulcers and gastritis.

As in the case of SIBO, the garlic and cayenne in the ‘Heart and Body Extract’ can keep any bacterial or virus under control.

To sum up, digestive disorders are becoming more and more prevalent these days. Whether it is a clear case of digestive disease like heartburn, pancreatitis, etc, or whether it is something under the radar, we can all benefit from improving our digestion. By doing so we will be helping our heart work more efficiently. All the products at ‘Healthy Hearts Club’ are created to not only assist digestion but the whole body function better.

Thank you for reading.

References:

(1)  http://www.newsmax.com/health/Headline/fatty-liver-disease-nonalcoholic-steatohepatitis-epidemic/2015/01/04/id/616329/

(2) http://www.webmd.com/ibs/digestive-diseases-irritable-bowel-syndrome

(3) http://chriskresser.com/sibo-what-causes-it-and-why-its-so-hard-to-treat/

(4) http://drsircus.com/medicine/sodium-bicarbonate-baking-soda/baking-soda-friend-need-arm-hammerand

(5)  http://www.webmd.com/children/enzyme-replacement-therapy-for-cystic-fibrosis

(6)  http://www.webmd.com/lung/tc/how-cystic-fibrosis-affects-digestion-and-the-pancreas-topic-overview

(7) http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/why-do-people-gain-weight/

(8) http://www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/news/20160510/clues-to-how-popular-heartburn-drug-might-harm-arteries

(9) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parietal_cell

Peripheral neuropathy (pt. 2)

26 Apr 2016 no comments HAB Extract

Herbs

Herbs have been used since the beginning of human history for every kind of ailment. Here we will focus on the herbs that can help with neuropathy the most. For this, I would like to concentrate on the importance of optimal blood circulation for optimal health. This is such an important aspect of health that we could say every single degenerative disease there is has a circulation component associated with it. This is why: the body in general and the organs and cells in particular depend on good circulation to receive oxygen and nutrients to work properly and to detoxify themselves from the byproducts and toxins produced in the body on a daily basis. Keeping the circulation moving is critical for this to happen, not only will good circulation allow this oxygenation, nutrification and detoxification to happen, but it will keep the electrical nature of the blood in peak condition. If the reader recalls from previous blogs, the blood is a liquid organ and it is this fluid nature that keeps the electrical energy in our body working properly: feeding the heart, brain, muscles and each of the 100 trillion cells in the body. When the blood is not circulating properly it will get inflamed, toxins will accumulate and this will lead to thick, prone to clot blood. Food toxicity, like sugar, hydrogenated fats, the wrong kind of gut bacteria and processed foods can exacerbate this toxicity and clotting. In the case of peripheral neuropathy the pain, tingling, numbness and loss of sensitivity can both be caused by poor circulation and cause poor circulation. This dangerous process can go on for years or decades taking a toll on our health and putting a great load on your heart. The Heart and Body Extract https://www.heartandbody.com/category-s/1836.htm
is a great combination of herbs that work synergistically to keep the circulation moving. To check the ingredients please visit https://www.heartandbody.com/Articles.asp?ID=255

How the ‘Heart and Body Extract’ can help

The Heart and Body Extract can be of great help to keep the body from the devastating effects of nerve damage caused by diabetes, like blindness and amputations. The different herbs in the Heart and body Extract synergize when blended, which means each herb becomes more powerful when combined, complementing one another and making each stronger and more effective. Cayenne, for example, intensifies the beneficial effects of the other herbs by ensuring a speedy and thorough distribution of the different herbs’ active components to the important functional centers of the body, especially those responsible for metabolism, data transmission, cellular respiration and nerve activity. Cayenne also improves circulation all over the body. Better circulation means better digestion, elimination, energy, respiration, stamina, eyesight, etc. Studies have shown that nutrients in food ingested with cayenne are assimilated faster and more easily. Cayenne also can help with pain: cayenne stimulates nerve endings to secrete substance P, which alerts the brain to pain. In response to this, other nerve cells secrete endorphins, the body’s pain killers, which act like morphine to stop the pain and convey a sense of well being. Similarly, the Stress Extract can help the body relax and in this way diminish pain.

Cayenne gets the blood moving, boots energy and eases stress, helps concentration and is anti-fatigue. By increasing the circulation of the blood to peripheral tissues in the body, cayenne helps deliver needed nutrients to inflamed areas. This is especially important in the case of peripheral neuropathy. Added to garlic, cayenne speeds its antibiotic action, so much that is like taking liquid penicillin. Modern medicine has validated the many properties of garlic, the most important of which is antibacterial. Because of it, garlic can improve the health of the immune system.
Another ingredient in the Heart and Body Extract https://www.heartandbody.com/category-s/1836.htm , ginger can help by increasing the circulatory and respiratory systems, aiding the body to recover from the negative effects of stress and fatigue and by relieving pain.

To sum up, we have seen how neuropathy can be a debilitating condition. The good news is that you can take control of it now without the need for expensive treatments or therapies. If you suspect that you have peripheral neuropathy because of symptoms like numbness, tingling, pain, etc. you can help yourself turn around this degeneration process by eliminating pro-inflammatory foods like sugars and processed carbohydrates, introducing healthy fats like omega 3’s and 6’s, supplementing with high doses of vitamins and minerals and improving your circulation with the products at Healthy hearts Club https://www.heartandbody.com/Articles.asp?ID=253

Peripheral neuropathy

26 Apr 2016 no comments HAB Extract

Peripheral neuropathy is another one of those conditions of which not much is known. Many suffer from pain and other physical complaints which suggest neuropathy in different forms and to various degrees without knowing they have it or how to deal with it. An approximate number is 20 million, but in specific groups like diabetics and HIV sufferers the numbers are larger. According to John A. Senneff,  a sufferer of the disease himself: ‘peripheral  neuropathy is poorly understood and not commonly discussed, therefore is called the ‘silent disease’, yet it affects more people than rheumatoid arthritis, a much better known ailment.’

According to the Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy, neuropathy is ‘a general term for a series of disorders that result from damage to the body’s peripheral nervous system (hands and feet). The damage can be to the nerves’ protective coating or damage to the nerves themselves.  When ‘nerves are damaged or destroyed they can’t send messages from the brain and spinal cord to the muscles, skin and other parts of the body.’ This is when it becomes a problem. An injury to the nerves or the coating will interfere with the transmission of impulses from these receptors. Depending on the receptors and nerve fibers involved, two things can happen:

  1. Either the brain acknowledges and registers the abnormal transmission as pain or some unpleasant sensation or
  2. It prompts a response back to  the muscle or organ from which the original impulse emanated. In this case, the response may result in decreased muscle movement or changes in organ functioning.

In this article we will look at peripheral neuropathy in depth, we will learn what it is, what causes it and what are the most widely used treatments based on the extensive research of the author in his book “Numb toes and aching soles. Coping with peripheral neuropathy”. We will also see how the Heart and Body Extract http://www.heartan.comegory-s/cat/1836.htmdbody   can help you with neuropathy.

Our nervous system

The body’s nervous system is made up of two parts:

  1. The central nervous system (CNS): includes the brain and the spinal cord.
  2. The peripheral nervous system (PNS): connects the nerves running from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body, the arms and hands, legs and feet, internal organs, joints and even the mouth, eyes, ears, nose, and skin.

What is more, our nerves are made up of fibers bundled together in nerve trunks. These nerves are shielded by a coating called myelin sheath. Like wires protected by insulation, the coated fibers carry electrical impulses from receptors located in internal organs, muscles and skin back to our brain through our spinal cord.

Peripheral neuropathy seems to initially occur at the extremities of the longest nerves farthest from the spinal cord and brain. The feet are usually hit first, then the hands may come next. If the underlying cause is not addressed the affliction can spread to ankles, legs and arms.

Physical aspect

Located on the skin, muscles and organs there are receptors at the end of nerve fibers. There are both large and small nerve fibers. The large fibers carry impulses faster than the small ones and these are the ones that register the pain sensations like ‘pins and needles’, tight band sensations as well as numbness and tingling. Small nerve fibers transmit pain signals as well as sensations of hot and cold. Tingling is an indication of damage or irritation to the nerves, numbness suggests the nerve is dead or severed. Damage to small fibers results in burning and aching sensations which are usually persistent. 

The receptors and nerves most often implicated in peripheral neuropathy are sensory, they are the ones receiving and transmitting signals of feeling and touch. These electrical impulses from sensory receptors are sent through the nerve fibers to the spinal cord and then relayed on to the brain for processing. If the impulses are distorted, magnified or multiplied, pain may be perceived when the impulses reach the brain. These distortions may be the result of degeneration of the axon of the nerve cell or of the nerve cell itself, changing the conduction properties of the nerve impulses. Or they can be caused by the destruction of the myelin sheath around the nerve, changing the rate and timing of impulse conduction to and from the spinal cord. Both of these causes can result in motor weakness or abnormal sensation causing pain.

Symptoms

Peripheral neuropathy creates a number of unpleasant symptoms in its sufferers depending on the kind of neuropathy: numbness, muscle weakness, movement impairment, loss of balance or position sense, breathing difficulties and sexual disfunction. The worst symptoms involve pain resulting from sensory neuropathies. These may occur over many months and as we have seen often include numbness of the affected members, burning, tingling, electric shocks, aching pain and extreme sensitiveness to touch. This pain comes in all shapes and sizes. It can be dull, diffuse and persistent, sharp, stabbing and intermittent or constantly burning or it can be a combination of all of these. In extreme cases, symptoms can cause anxiety, depression and loss of sleep. Motor neuropathies result in weakness in the feet, ankles, hands and wrists, diarrhea, lightheadedness or sexual dysfunction. Walking or sleeping in this kind of neuropathy may become nearly impossible. 

Types of neuropathy

There are many different types of neuropathies. On the one hand, we have poly-neuropathies, where multiple and often symmetric organs are affected: both feet or both hands. This condition is sometimes called distal symmetrical poly neuropathy. On the other hand, we have mono-neuropathies, where only one nerve is affected. An example is carpal tunnel syndrome (one hand and one wrist usually) or Bell’s palsy involving a single nerve to facial muscles. Other neuropathies are classified according to whether the sensory, motor or automatic nerve fibers are involved. In this regard, damage to sensory fibers concerned with feeling and touching results in abnormal aesthesis such as tingling, numbness, electrical shocks or severe pain. Damage to motor fibers, responsible for voluntary movements such as fist clenching, may result in muscle weakness or atrophy, cramps or spasms. Damage to autonomic fibers which affect involuntary or semi-voluntary functions such as control of internal organs, can cause decreased ability to sweat, loss of blood pressure, constipation, bowel and bladder problems and sexual dysfunction.
More rarer neuropathies include:

  • Chronic inflammatory demyelinating poly-neuropathy (CIDP): a chronic autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks the myelin sheath. It is characterized by muscle weakness and burning sensations.
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS): it is also autoimmune, resulting in paralysis of the legs, arms and breathing muscles.
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT): is a complex of hereditary nerve disorders of various types frequently involving the myelin sheath.
  • Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS): is a complication of neuropathy and iron deficiency manifested by creeping, crawling sensations accompanied by motor restlessness, usually at night.

Causes

According to the author, there are more than one hundred possible causes of peripheral neuropathy. Diabetes is considered the most common, especially in the US, where 30-65% people with diabetes have PN to some degree. PN is also said to cause pain for up to 1/3 of people with AIDS or HIV.

Among the other most common causes we can find:

  • Toxins and metallic poisons such as arsenic, lead and mercury.
  • Certain chemicals like solvents and insecticides.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption.
  • Vitamin deficiencies especially B 12.
  • Nutritional imbalances and drugs to treat HIV and AIDS.
  • Kidney failure.
  • Liver disease.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Abnormal blood proteins.
  • Cancer.
  • Leukemia.
  • Shingles.

One third of all neuropathies, according to the Bio Medical Frontiers publication considers the causes to be unknown, in which case they are called ‘idiopathic’.

  • Inflammation.  According to Benjamin Fuchs, RPh, inflammation plays a major role in all cases of peripheral neuropathy. When it comes to inflammation, he asserts, there is not a cause that is more relevant than pro-inflammatory foods, especially sugar. We have talked extensively about sugar and the devastating effects it can have in the body, but it would be worth to stress once again what happens in the body in the case of neuropathy. According to the research of Dr. Janet Zand, when sugar gets too high in our blood, it literally ‘toasts’ our organs, nerves, blood vessels and specially our cells. This happens through the process known as ‘glycation’ where sugar ‘chemically combines with protein or fat.’ You can think of it like what happens when you heat sugar on your kitchen stove and you get a sticky, browned and partially burned caramel. You can picture the sugar you consume doing exactly the same to your organs, especially your nerve cells. To put it in her own words: ” When you have too much blood sugar, your body can’t metabolize it fast enough. As a result, the excess sugar reacts with the proteins in your cells and the proteins become “toasted.” This leads to the creation of substances called Advanced Glycation End products, or AGEs for short. And it is the AGEs that cause your nerves to be tingly, numb or painful.” (It is not a coincidence that sugar cause this AGEs process, and causes you to ‘age’ quicker).

When it comes to this inflammatory process I think is important to note that we have control of this disease ourselves. Just by reducing the load of inflammatory foods in our diet, we can begin to turn this around.

Procedures

Usually a physician will first consider the patient’s medical history considering the symptoms, medications, contributing factors, etc. Secondly, he/she will test sensations in the affected area, most likely by means of an ankle jerk, or with the use of a sharp pointed object in order to determine different levels of sensitivity that could indicate neuropathy. Loss of sensation can be assessed with a 128 Hz tuning fork over the great toe. Neuropathy sufferers will only feel a buzzing for a few seconds versus 10 seconds or more for those with no neuropathy. Another quick test is a nylon filament mounted on a small wand where a standardized force is delivered to the affected areas. Blood and urine tests are commonly used to test for vitamin deficiencies and toxic elements that could be causing the neuropathy.

Based on this preliminary testing, the care physician may decide to refer the patient to a neurologist to determine whether the injury is to the nerve fibers or the myelin sheath. In this case, round metallic electrodes are placed on the skin and over the nerves at various points on the body. Electromyography (EMG) tests involve the insertion of fine needles into muscle tissues. The needles serve as electrodes that give information about the muscle itself and indicate how well it is supplied by the nerve.  A lumbar puncture or spinal tap is used sometimes to identify the presence of an autoimmune disorder such as Guillain-Barre or chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy. This involves the insertion of a long thin needle into the spinal canal to sample fluid and measure pressure. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is used if there is a question of arthritis changes in the spine causing compression of spinal nerve roots. Nerve biopsies involve the surgical removal and examination of nerve tissue, which provides the only opportunity to directly visualize the damaged nerve. Unfortunately, many people report greater pain following this procedure. This is why this procedure is reserved to when there is a real possibility of a treatable cause of the disease.

Treatments

In general, treatment consists of taking the body back to a state of health by dealing with the underlying causes of the disease. This is the case of:

  1. Diabetic neuropathy, which can be controlled by lowering sugar levels, a diet high in healthy fats, protein and fiber.
  2. Neuropathies induced by vitamin deficiencies, toxins and drugs, all of which can be corrected by supplementing the deficiency and removing the offending agent. Shortly, we will go into detail about the different vitamins and minerals relevant to neuropathy.
  3. Autoimmune and inflammatory neuropathies. The author mentions immune drugs, IVIg and plasmapheresis.
  4. Motor neuropathies by physical therapies.
  5. Autonomic neuropathies treated symptomatically with medications.
  6. Tumor related neuropathies by eliminating the tumor.

Unfortunately, the pain is also a factor for which the traditional approach is pain medication. Pain drugs can be divided in 3 major groups:

  1. Over the counter analgesics: aspirin and acetaminophen. These are considered too weak or not too well targeted for PN.
  2. Opioids like morphine and codeine. These are considered by many practitioners as having too many undesirable side effects.
  3. Non-opioid drugs: none of these are likely to eliminate the pain totally nor restore the patient to a pre-PN condition completely.

Medical therapies

When it comes to medical therapies there is a long list, some of them are more orthodox with solid science behind them. Others, known as alternative therapies, are thought to be more questionable. We will mention the most common in both.

  1. For conditions such as chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, a treatment known as plasmapheresis is generally used. In this therapy, the plasma (the fluid), which is believed to contain the antibodies that attack the myelin sheath, is removed from blood cells, once these are removed the plasma is returned to the body along with other fluids. This is an expensive treatment with some relative good results, however the improvement lasts no longer than four to eight weeks.
  2. Immunosuppressant medications. Usually prednisone or imuran are prescribed. Side effects of imuran are notorious: lowering of white blood cells with a subsequent increased risk of infections, liver toxicity, nausea. Prednisone can cause diabetes, hypertension, ulcers, osteoporosis, insomnia, depression, tremors, muscle weakness, fluid retention, glaucoma, cataracts, and weight gain. Not only are these the same symptoms that were sought to be treated in the first place, but also one needs to consider this fact: how can any disease be improved by suppressing the immune system?
  3. IVIg. It is a high dose of solution of proteins called gamma globulins which contains antibodies providing immunity against disease. These globulins are manufactured from donated blood. The globulins are thought to block the antibodies that cause the myelin damage. IVIg is administered intravenously, each session takes 3-6 hours. A first injection dose is given over 2-5 days, then maintenance doses are ordinarily given monthly for a limited period of time. This procedure can be combined with the other treatment options discussed previously. A few patients using this treatment have experienced serious side effects including hepatitis, renal failure and excessive clotting. Some positive results have been documented, but the low availability and expense of this procedure (from $8,000 to $26,000 per infusion) makes it out of reach for many patients.
  4. Caloric restriction. According to Benjamin Fuchs R. Ph. when it comes to inflammation and immunity all that needs to be done is to identify the triggers that started the inflammatory defensive response in the first place and eliminate them. In this case, he explains inflammation is nearly always caused by the entrance of offending agents into the blood either through the digestive tract, in which case it means food, food allergens and food toxicity, or through toxins coming from the wrong kind of gut bacteria, which is known as dysbiosis (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dysbiosis). When these toxins get into the blood, where they don’t belong, he explains, our immune system starts a defensive response to eliminate the offending agent. One of the many toxins, but not the only one, is sugar (it is not a surprise that diabetics are more prone to PN). The problem with sugar is it causes what is known as glycation: sugar attaches itself to proteins and causes them to literally caramelize, ‘gumming up’ and disfiguring cell membranes. When this happens the immune system doesn’t recognize these defective cells and launches an immune attack on its own cells. Once the immune system is involved, inflammation becomes involved, cells begin to break down and die. When cells die, the areas affected (the extremities), are robbed of oxygen and nutrients, killing muscle and bone tissue because they are no longer able to receive the nutrition and oxygen they need. This is what accounts for the unpleasant symptoms of diabetes like blindness and amputations. Benjamin Fuchs recommends removing the inflammatory foods from the diet, specially sugar, taking enough fiber, protein and healthy fats to stabilize blood sugar and eating less food (caloric restriction). He quotes a study from the ‘Journal of Neuroscience’ where scientists put mice on a low calorie diet. The observations these scientists made were a significant improvement in nerve and brain health which led them to conclude: ‘Reducing caloric intake delays nerve cell loss’.
  5. Nerve based treatments.
    1. Among these are nerve blocks, which are considered the standard practice in cases of nerve injury. The procedure consists of an injection with either a local anesthetic or a neurolytic (nerve destructive) agent into the nerve in order to decrease or eliminate nerve activity. An initial block usually lasts a few hours long enough to make an assessment of the impact of the neurolytic block.
    2. Peripheral nerve destruction is intended to provide long lasting block to pain signals through the injection or ethanol, phenol or another neurolytic agent into the nerves where previously the local anesthetic was first used. The injected neurolytic destroys many of the nerve fibers with which it comes in contact. The relief from pain is said to last months or years but it is rarely permanent. The reason for this is the nerves are often able to regenerate to some extent. A note of caution is needed as there is the possibility that the nerve may be further damaged rather than just suppressed causing more pain than it was felt before the procedure. A more radical version of this procedure is when a nerve close to the spinal cord is cut in order to permanently block nerve pathwaves which relay pain impulses to the brain. No need to say the surgery required is major.
    3. Direct nerve stimulation. This is considered the best way to stimulate nerves directly to alleviate the pain. TENS or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation is a technique where an electrical current is transmitted through the skin to underlying nerves. Current is applied with some electrodes until a slight tingling sensation is felt, after 40 minutes the pain is significantly reduced. A new surgical procedure can implant electrodes new the spinal cord. In an investigation done on a number of patients who had these electrodes permanently implanted, long term success in pain control was achieved several months later in 14 patients.

Alternative treatments

The FDA estimates the continued use of medication even over the counter medication causes upper gastrointestinal bleeding, ulcers or intestinal perforation in many sufferers. Besides this, most PN sufferers don’t get any benefit from the use of drugs. This is the reason why many people consider alternative treatments. According to a survey done by the American Medical Association, 40% of Americans use these alternative therapies. We will look at the most prominent here.

  1. Physical therapy. It involves stretching, strengthening and improving the range of joint motion. Exercises for flexibility, strength and stability can be administered in a special facility with various kinds of equipment with a therapist or done at home. Advocates claim physical therapy can benefit anyone with connective tissue problems such as spasms, trauma, chronic pain and neuropathy conditions. Dr. Robert W. Allen, M. D. writes “physical therapy is absolutely mandatory in cases of complex regional pain syndrome, (a type of neuropathy often resulting from trauma). The less you move your affected arm or leg, the more likely it is that the limb will become non-functional”
  2. Psychotherapy. A patient’s state of mind can influence how they perceive their condition, it is because of this that many believers in psychotherapy consider it can have significant effects on the patient’s perception of pain. This approach exploits the fact that the patient can take control of their own pain. The different methods of psychotherapy include:
    1. Relaxation and meditation: It has been demonstrated that any physical or mental tension can make any pain worse. This therapy is used to teach sufferers to relax tense muscles and reduce anxiety. When a person becomes tense because of pain, a reaction we know as ‘fight or flight response’ occurs, this causes the body to release stress hormones like adrenaline and norepinephrine as a defense against the stress. These hormones can eventually increase the pain, which will cause a downward spiral of more pain, more stress, on and on. On the other hand, when we teach the body to relax, the body can release powerful neurotransmitters that can help with pain. An easy way to accomplish this is with deep breathing, this ensures there is enough oxygen in the body for all its functions. The advantage of this technique is that it can be done almost anytime, anywhere and it only takes a few minutes to see results.
    2. Another technique is what is called progressive muscle relaxation, the idea is to contract muscles group by group and then release the tension slowly. You can accomplish this by focusing on a different muscle each time, for example clenching your fist then releasing it and then moving to the arm. This should be done for 5-10 minutes and like with exercise, it takes some time before results can be seen.
  3. The Stress Extract from Healthy Hearts Club is a combination of herbs that will help your body relax, therefore easing the pain associated with neuropathy. It can be taken at night or through the day.
  4. Biofeedback. It is the use of an instrument that allows people to ‘see’ or ‘hear’ activity in their own bodies. For this, electrodes are attached to the skin and activate a beeper or electric light everytime the muscles tense. The patient can then minimize the beeping by relaxing. This technique has been used to slow heart rate, blood pressure and brain activity.
  5. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy. It involves the administration of oxygen at greater than normal pressure. The pressure is said to force the oxygen into body tissues supposedly restoring circulation where blood flow had been previously reduced. This technique has been used to treat carbon monoxide poisoning, burns, spinal cord injuries and infections associated with AIDS. Sufferers of PN have reported that the numbness and lethargy diminished.
  6. Acupuncture. It has been documented as being used in ancient China as early as 2697 B.C. It is based on the idea that to keep the body pain free the energy of the body is to be unimpeded and allowed to flow smoothly. According to it, channels of energy called meridians run in ordered patterns through the body, these channels have correspondence to nerve trunks in our nervous system. The use of stainless steel needles properly placed in these points can unblock channels, energy is restored, thus relieving pain. In the treatment of diabetic nerve pain, a study showed around 77% of subjects experienced a reduction of pain with 67% of them reporting being able to stop or reduce their pain medications.
  7. Massage therapy. Massaging allows muscles to relax thereby reducing stress, it also enables the brain to produce more pain killing endorphins. Neurons fire up and pain signals are overtaken and temporarily dulled. A special technique called ‘rolfing’ involves deep tissue massage which can break scar tissue and free nerves therefore relieving pain. Enhanced blood flow is the direct effect of applying manual pressure in a rhythmic way, the resulting improvement in circulation is said to increase the oxygen capacity of the blood by 10-15% and assist in the removal of waste and toxins.
  8. Chelation. This is a controversial blood therapy sometimes used for PN, it refers to the intravenous infusion of an organic compound known as EDTA that removes toxic metals such as lead, mercury and cadmium from the body. According to practitioners, by removing this toxic overload, abnormal production of oxygen free radical molecules are reduced. Sometimes other substances are added such as B vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium and heparin (to prevent clotting at the injection site). In a study done with this therapy, subjects reported a considerate amount of reduction in neuropathy. Some report needing around 6 treatments while others need 9, after which they reported their neuropathy is ‘now almost gone’. This therapy is rarely covered by insurance and runs around $100 per session.

Nutrients

Natural medicine is the approach most sought after by sufferers of PN, mainly because most report drugs and conventional medicine do not help with the condition. Since diet alone cannot provide the necessary nutrients the body needs for optimal health, supplementation is the best option. Nutrients include vitamins, minerals, herbs and other supplements essential for maintaining bodily functions. They are usually used as a complementary approach to other methods. Vitamins. They are defined as organic nutrients vital for proper bodily functions. They are classified as being either fat soluble (vitamins D, E , A and K) which stay in the body longer and water soluble (vitamins B and C) which are easily flushed out of the body through sweat or urine so they need to be replenished frequently.

  • Vitamin A: It is considered a powerful antioxidant, which means it helps the body neutralize free radicals which are created in the body on a daily basis. Free radicals damage cells and cause oxidative stress which according to many experts can lead to peripheral neuropathy and other disorders. A good dose is around 20,000 IU per day.
  • B complex. The B complex is considered to be the most helpful with peripheral neuropathy of all the vitamins. There has been multiple studies done on the efficacy of the B complex in helping with different neuropathies with a clear improvement in symptoms such as intensity of pain and muscle weakness in 69% of the cases studied. What is important to note is that all the B vitamins work together even if each has a specific job, therefore they should be taken together. It can be found as B-100 in health stores and can be taken several times a day, especially after urination and/or sweating.
  • B 1 (thiamin) is particularly useful in improving nerve function and diminishing pain.
  • B 2 (riboflavin) is important for the production of energy in the body. A deficiency in B 2 can result in nerve disorders and a degeneration of the myelin sheaths. Vitamin B 2 helps the body convert B 6 to glutathione, a powerful antioxidant our own body makes in the pressence of vitamin E, selenium, etc. In the case of disease, like PN the body might be deficient in this critical vitamin and supplementing might be necessary.
  • B 3 (niacin) it helps stabilize blood sugar, improve circulation, and helps with the proper functioning of the nervous system. B 3 can cause flushing because of the opening of blood vessels effect is has so it is best taken with food and in divided doses. Some doctors have used high doses of up to 3 grams for therapeutic purposes.
  • B 5 is considered one of the best energy enhancing vitamins and a powerful anti-inflammatory. In a study done by the Life Extension Foundation, 28 out of 33 patients treated with alpha lipoic acid for PN showed great improvement when B 5 was added. A good dose is around 4 grams a day in divided doses.
  • B 6 (pyridoxine) is important in manufacturing prostaglandins (hormonal compounds that assist in the transport of oxygen into the blood stream). B6 is also considered to influence the nervous system through its effects in neurotransmitters.
  • B12 (cobalamin). It contributes to the metabolism of nerve tissue, guards against stroke and heart disease and is said to give relief from asthma, depression and low blood pressure. B 12 deficiency is considered to be a hidden epidemic because it is hard to absorb, so many health experts recommend B 12 shots. Studies have shown that aggressive B 12 therapy eases the pain from nerve damage due to diabetic neuropathy. What is more, deficiencies in this vitamin can lead directly to peripheral neuropathy. One of the more common tests for PN is to determine the level of B 12 in the patient’s blood. In an article from 1996 by ‘Nutrition Reviews’ it was stated that ‘B 12 deficiency is linked to PN in 40% of cases’.
  • Biotin. It is essential for cell growth and replication. There is evidence that megadoses can improve nerve conduction and relieve PN pain. In a study, subjects with PN were given intramuscular injections of biotin 3 times a week for 6 weeks. Within 4-8 weeks symptoms were reported to have decreased significantly, especially painful muscle cramps, paresthesis and inability to stand, walk and climb stairs with no side effects.
  • Folic acid. Biotin is said to work with folic acid, also known as folate. It is occasionally given intramuscularly for PN.
  • Inositol. It is found naturally in the body, however, decreased levels of inositol are found in the nerve cells of people with diabetes. Apparently, a high degree of blood glucose causes a build up of a chemical known as sorbitol in nerve cells while at the same time decreasing inositol. In different studies high doses of inositol (1,650 milligrams) showed improved sensory nerve function in diabetic patients. Dr. Robert Atkins has reported success treating PN with 2 to 6 grams of inositol daily.
    When it comes to the B vitamins, the research of Dr. Janet Zand is very significant. According to her, the fact that the B vitamins are water soluble and are easily flushed from the body accounts for an epidemic of vitamin B deficiency in the population in general. According to her, the best form of vitamin B is in a fatty form known as benfotiamine. By being fatty in nature, this allows it to stay longer in the body so it is not easily flushed out.
  • Lecithin. It protects the cells in our nervous system. Lecithin contains phosphatidylcholine which is a chemical known as an important neurotransmitter that mediates emotions and behavior. These chemicals are said to contribute to the protection of myelin. Practitioners suggest up to 10 grams per day of phosphatidylcholine or one gram of choline per day can be safely taken to good effect.
  • Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is one of the most powerful antioxidants. In addition to fighting free radicals, complementing the action of other nutrients, vitamin C also plays a role in the manufacture of neurotransmitters. Studies performed at the University of Stanton found that vitamin C can also reduce the concentrations of sorbitol, the type of sugar in red blood cells that affects PN. Adequate levels of vitamin C are considered essential for health. For regular diets a 1,000 mg dose a day is good, some practitioners though use up to 10,000 mg to treat patients with particular disorders.
  • Vitamin E. It is another very important antioxidant. Studies done with vitamin E showed that a dose of 400 to 800 IUs cut the risk of heart attack by more than half and the risk of non fatal heart attacks by 77%. Vitamin E protects cell membrames and sustains normal neurological processes. A study reported in the American Family Physician suggested that a serious deficiency of vitamin E can have a profound effect on the central nervous system, leading to significant muscle weakness and visual field constriction. Another study done on children who had neuropathies, treatment with vitamin E provided significant benefit with intramuscular and oral administrations.

Minerals

The most important minerals for sufferers of PN are thought to be selenium, magnesium, chromium and zinc.

  1. Selenium is a powerful antioxidant. It is also a constituent of glutathione, which works with vitamin E in its anti-free radical role. It strengthens the immune system and is anti-inflammatory. It is considered a trace mineral because it is only needed in minute amounts (micrograms). Some practitioners consider 200-600 mcg a good dose for therapeutic purposes. In higher doses it could be counterproductive.
  2. Magnesium. It is necessary for nerve conduction. A few practitioners have found that magnesium deficiencies either cause peripheral neuropathy or are associated with it. In a study done with type 2 diabetes patients, magnesium levels were found to be significantly lower. Dr Sally Stroud of the Houston Immunological Institute in Texas has found magnesium supplements help correct some neuropathies. In patients with decreased serum magnesium levels she reports intravenous supplementation followed by oral administration decreased neuropathic sensations and the use of pain medications. Some doctors suggest 200-400 milligrams is a good dose, however, Dr. Mildred Seelig, a well-known magnesium researcher, recommends 6-10 mg per kg of body weight a day.
  3. Chromium. It is essential for sugar metabolism. It works with insulin to move glucose into cells where it can be used to generate energy. Optimal intake of chromium appears to decrease the amount of insulin needed to maintain normal blood sugar. Practitioners recommend 200 to 400 mcg of chromium a day added to a neuropathy therapy program.
  4. Zinc. It is used by the body in over 200 enzymatic reactions and it is involved in the synthesis and conversion of carbohydrates,  lipids and proteins to usable forms. It is also necessary for the production of brain neurotransmitters. Deficiency is said to lead to impaired conduction and nerve damage. Dr. Atkins claims that zinc deficiency is implicated in a whole range of neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders. A dose of 50 mg of zinc picolinate a day taken together with copper (2mg) since both zinc and copper work together is highly recommended.

The different herbs in the Heart and Body extract https://www.heartandbody.com/category-s/1836.htm contain concentrations of key vitamins and minerals that make it a great addition to any therapy chosen to treat peripheral neuropathy. Cayenne for example helps circulation with five different types of capsaicin, vitamin A, alpha-tocopherols, vitamin C and minerals like sulphur, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus. This makes it good for diabetes, arthritis and other disorders. In a similar fashion, garlic contains high levels of protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, thiamine and trace minerals such as iron, zinc, copper, calcium, potassium, selenium, sulfur and germanium.

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.

Ratios

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

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

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.

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.

Symptoms

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.