Category Archives: Diet
I have worked with a coenzyme called pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) for quite a while now and think it is worth a “look see” by physicians and others for its preventative and therapeutic potential. Let’s dive into this now:
First, let’s “do the time warp, now”: During 1994-5 I worked in an Ag lab and large greenhouse complex outside Lincoln, Nebraska (Which was devoted to the testing of various nature-derived growth accelerants on culinary & medicinal mushrooms). One of the principle consulting researchers who rubbed elbows with me was Andy Anderson, PhD, who discovered a radioresistant bacterium back in 1956 while irradiating food at the Oregon Agricultural Experimental Station in Corvallis (As I recall from our chitchat, he was irradiating canned foods to see if this would reliably preserve them against spoilage). The bacterium was subsequently dubbed Deinococcus radiodurans and is indisputably the most radioresistant organism discovered to-date.
Reversing arterial blockage: Experimental regimen that worked for man facing amputation of his lower legs
Last year (2012) I was contacted by a gentleman who had severe blockage in his legs and had been told by his physician-surgeon that he would need to amputate his legs below the knee. Naturally this chap was horrified at the prospect of living his life out of a wheelchair and/or on crutches and was frantic to know if there is anything, however experimental, that might help him avoid the surgeon’s knife. Apparently he had done a Google search and come across some of my health-related hypotheses (I have since 1986, been paid by various docs & researchers to spin hypotheses and provide novel ideas they could then pursue – or not).
I could not, of course, prescribe anything whatsoever as I am not a physician and lack the qualifications to get into such matters. However, what I did do is hand off an experimental regimen I originally developed in the late 1980s and had updated recently, along with the stringent caveat that much of my own work and that which informed it involved animal models of arterial blockage and I was giving him this with the strict understanding he would share it with his primary care MD and do what he said or advised.
I heard nothing from this chap for about 8 months and then got a call. It seems he was able to get his MD to endorse my handwork which he had followed religiously. Long story short, the circulation in his legs had improved to the point that amputation was no longer on the proverbial table. Needless to say he and his wife of some 50+ years were overjoyed by his progress.
So here is what I shared with this guy – again, with the caveat it is experimental and unproved and should not be undertaken without the express consent & supervision of a duly licensed & practicing MD or DO.
TO READ THE REST OF MY ARTICLE GO TO http://www.scribd.com/doc/161978171/Reversing-arterial-blockage-Experimental-regimen-that-worked-for-man-facing-amputation-of-his-lower-legs
During March of this year (2013) a paper appeared in the journal The Lancet titled “Atherosclerosis across 4000 years of human history: the Horus study of four ancient populations”. You may have seen something about this among the many news articles and blurbs posted across the Web on the heels of this paper’s publication. If not, check out Science Daily’s excellent lay level piece on it at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130311091537.htm
You can read the paper in its entirety at http://download.thelancet.com/flatcontentassets/pdfs/S014067361360598X.pdf I perused it right after it came out and would like to share my thoughts on a possible culprit behind the arterial blockage that bedeviled the ancient peoples represented in the Horus study and which has cast a long shadow over modern populations as well (The fabled “Iceman“ Ötzi showed evidence of atherosclerosis too albeit he had a genetic predisposition and evidence of a chronic infection, namely borreliosis or Lyme disease).
LINKS TO LIVESTRONG.COM ARTICLES
CAM (Complimentary & Alternative Medicine)
STEM CELL SCIENCE & THERAPY
The reasons people seek answers to health challenges in the world of CAM (Complementary & Alternative Medicine) or integrative medicine are as varied as people themselves, though in my experience a great many do so owed to real or perceived failures on the part of their mainstream doctors to diagnose or treat or otherwise address their ills (Again, real or perceived). My interaction with patients and “natural medicine” (Is there an unnatural medicine?) practitioners from chiropractors to naturopathic physicians to just about everything else under the “alt med sun” is extensive – stretching from my childhood in the 1960s to the present – and has taught me a great deal firsthand about how disappointment with conventional or mainstream medicine plus hope, wishful thinking, the placebo effect, lack of critical thinking, and sometimes desperation have sent my folks into the arms of those who offer seemingly definitive diagnoses and/or solutions (Or at least less personally intimidating non-invasive diagnostic methods plus gentler therapies often dispensed or administered with a great deal more TLC than some overworked MDs can understandably muster).
Do these people get positive results? By all means. But as to why, this isn’t always a clear cut case of “I took or did this and it worked”. Many of the diagnostic methods used on these patients have been disproved and utterly discredited, as are some of the treatments prescribed. For more than a few I’ve followed – some for years—their illness is psychosomatic and their improvement the end result of their vested faith in their practitioner and expectancy that his or her therapy will prove efficacious. Others attribute improvement to a non-standard treatment when it was more likely a prior mainstream treatment or just the disease or condition having run its course.
Back when I first began exploring nonstandard medical and paramedical modalities (1960s as a boy of 8 or so) many specific herbal, nutritional and other forms of intervention had not been formally evaluated in well-designed and executed clinical trials. As a result there was the very real possibility some of these would pan out once put to the test. And if some of these gentler remedies could bring about remediation of disease with few if any of the side effects associated with their pharmacological counterparts, their promotion and use seemed a reasonable course of action or recourse for both practitioners and patients. This line of reasoning apparently informed and motivated many to offer them at the retail and professional level and scores of ailing folks to seek them out in health food stores and in the offices of clinicians of various stripes.
The years and subsequent rigorous evaluation has not been kind to many cherished non-standard diagnostic tests and remedies (Nor to many accepted mainstream techniques and treatments either). What should have happened is that treatments and diagnostic methods that didn’t pan out following rigorous evaluation should have gone the way of the dinosaurs. But they didn’t. Why? The reasons are varied but among the recurring ones I have run across down through the years among medical consumers and many integrative practitioners are: (1) A refusal to accept scientific valid consensus findings from multiple studies (Many I’ve confronted with this have said something to the effect that “I know this, but I also know it works no matter what and I won’t set it aside”. True believers whose reasons have more in common with the kind of faith articulated in revival meetings than anything else); (2) A vested interest in the therapy or therapeutic agent that makes it difficult to relinquish it; and (3) A lack of exposure to the methods of science and critical thinking and how to apply them when it comes to evaluating a given therapy, diagnostic method or treating compound, drug, herb or such.
In my own case, I took my childhood interest in the promise of natural medicine and eventually ran with it over time. Mine was a wide-ranging course whose first stop was another childhood passion, physical anthropology (and especially dietary patterns throughout human evolution). To my way of thinking, the best way to approach diet, human disease and even psychology was through an evolutionary lens, something given increasing credence by subsequent developments and discoveries. Following this I studied and did hands-on work with various mainstays of what is now known as integrative medicine such as homeopathy (German school), orthomolecular nutrition and psychiatry, therapeutic nutrition, botanic medicine or phytotherapy, and much more. Along the way I came up with and shared various ideas with such notables in science such as Stephen Jay Gould (Nonstandard but seemingly promising approaches to the mesothelioma that had him in its grip plus my thoughts on the possible effects of ultra low levels of iridium during the Cretaceous-Tertiary asteroid impact on bacteria that populated the guts of prehistoric animals, insects and such), Karl Folkers (CoQ10 for treating various avian diseases) and Carl Sagan (Feasibility of going a Cosmos type program focused on human evolution as well as one that focused on medicine including the impact of the CAM movement)……many whose work was quite controversial such as Michael Persinger (Application of his extremely low frequency electromagnetic technology to induce hallucinatory states aimed at pain attenuation or rallying immune response in terminally ill cancer patients)….…and still others who were regarded as being solidly on the fringe such as Roy Kupsinel, MD (Shared with him information and thoughts on a botanic drug called PADMA 28 which had shown efficacy for Peripheral Artery Disease in 5 randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled trials done in Europe). I was, in short, “all over the map” in the sense I was working with and acting on knowledge, ideas, therapies and forms of therapeutic intervention that spanned the gamut from the realistically possible or promising to tentatively proved on one end, to the far-fetched and virtually impossible on the other. This was not a pattern peculiar to me though, but one that seemingly characterizes if not defines a large segment of the CAM movement (Both practitioners and proponents).
Thankfully though, I listened to the skeptics and critics of many of things I had studied or was otherwise involved with. As a result of their well reasoned writings I decided I needed to master aspects of the scientific method that was not part of my education and hands-on work or which was but which I’d sometimes glossed over in my erstwhile rush to help suffering people. I thus went on to teach myself such things as the principles of medical statistics and clinical studies design and then applied this body of knowledge and methods to help evaluate many of the ideas, therapies and treatments in my repertoire. The outcome was predictable: I found many which failed to hold water and thus had to be ditched, while others garnered evidence that suggested a more circumspect use or dose than proponents had originally declared effective. Among those I tossed was homeopathy (though Jacque Benveniste’s published paper in the Nature in 1988 made me take a second look – until the methodological flaws which invalidated his work became apparent) plus many botanic medicines and individual herbs.
I also tested things for myself using the tools of science; the methods that as Carl Sagan rightly contended reliably “delivers the goods” (Truth in the tentative scientific sense of “successive approximations” as pioneering astronomer Edwin Hubble put it; that is, findings that might be overturned or subject to modification as new evidence turns up). One prime example was EAV testing, the use of what amounts to a computerized galvanometer to diagnose or otherwise detect allergies, organ deficiencies and bodily needs for various nutrients and such.
During the late 1980s I was introduced to EAV (Electroacupuncture according to Voll) or electrodermal testing using a Vegatest device and trained in it as part of my staff duties for a prominent CAM physician (Later this unit was replaced with a computerized Interro device). As a baby boomer I’d grown up watching such venerable sci-fi classics as the Outer Limits, Twilight Zone and Star Trek, and as such had a special fondness for high tech medical, scientific and robotic devices. Anything along this line that might make medical diagnostics as easy and forthright as Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy’s medical tricorder was especially appealing to me– which the EAV machine in some ways was purported to be.
To understand what EAV or electrodermal testing is all about you have to first understand the principle behind it. In-a-word, these machines are purported to measure changes in the body’s flow of “energy” along “acupuncture meridians”. According to proponents there are specific points on people’s hands and feet that can be used to gage health in various organs and also test drugs, hormones, nutrients and such to see what will remedy any detected abnormalities. This is how it works: The patient holds a moist gauze covered conductive metal cylinder in one hand which is connected to the device (A tiny electric current is sent through this wire by the machine). A second wire runs from the device to a probe held by the technician or doctor who does the testing. When the probe is touched to specific “acupuncture points” a low voltage circuit is completed and the flow of current is measured by the EAV machine and a reading is displayed that indicates organ status (Healthy or unhealthy and, if unhealthy, to what degree). The operator can supposedly determine what will bring the meridian flow back up or down to normal by testing various substances housed in small vials (These vials are introduced one-by-one or in combinations into receptacles into the machine or a plate that connects probe and/or cylinder to the machine). In addition, allergy testing is can supposedly be done by placing vials of known/suspected allergens in the receptacles or on the plate and watching for responses (A jump in the readings).
Even if the principle behind the machine were true – that meridians exist and can be tapped into in a meaningful way to diagnose – it is obvious that if the skin stays at the same level of moisture the readings can be influenced subtly or grossly by the pressure the operator using when he or she applies the probe. This alone would tend to throw off readings. And in practice I saw this for myself. In fact, I quickly realized that what I was doing with the machine was essentially a variation on psychic parlor cold readings – that is, by combining my own perceptive reading of body language and asking leading questions I would come up with “findings” that agreed with the patient’s known medical history and expectations.
This said, what intrigued was the use of the machine to determining drugs, hormones and such that “balanced” a patient’s readings. The readings would supposedly indicate what single or combination of drugs and such would benefit the patient, as well as the dose. This was something I could actually put to the test in a strictly scientific way.
With the assistance of a research engineer friend of mine named Jim this is what we did:
First we filled glass vials (identical to the others in the EAV testing kit) with arsenic, mercury, cadmium and other toxic substances plus samples of deadly herbs and toxic weeds and labeled each one. I then had my buddy go to a separate room and cover the labels on all the vials in the kit – the original ones plus those we created — with other labels bearing an alphanumeric code which he recorded on paper and locked away. Jim then mixed up all the vials and brought them to me. I proceeded to perform tests on a succession of about 40 people, both healthy and ill over a five (5) day period. The end result? Eighty-three percent tested out as “needing” arsenic, mercury, cadmium, etc. (That is, the EAV device clearly indicated 83% of those tested would especially benefit from pure, toxic doses of various heavy metals, toxic herbs, poisons, etc.)
I shared my findings with the clinic director, of course. The EAV machine found its way to a storage closet not too long afterwards.
In the ensuing years I watched many more CAM diagnostic devices and treatments fail to hold up to testing, both those I carried out as well as more formal and rigorous ones conducted by others. Conversely, some herbal medicines, individual herbs, therapeutic dietary measures and such were shown to be effective for various health conditions in formal clinical studies. This said, a great many of these studies were not so rigorous in design or poorly designed and/or executed. And the number proved effective in well designed and executed randomized controlled trials (RTC) appeared to be quite small. Naturally, until these remedies and such pan out in RTCs their effectiveness remains an open question.
Given the paucity of hard scientific evidence underlying many cherished CAM diagnostic methods and treatments, one is compelled to ask if it is it ethical or wise to run a clinical practice based largely on such unproved testing and/or remedies? Certainly not if the practitioner admits patients who have foregone undergoing proper diagnostic work-ups and scientifically validated medical care for his or her clinical offerings (Unless the practitioner is qualified to do this sort of testing and treatment and competently does so). But what if the practitioner and his methods or treatments are not substituted for standard medical care by the patient, do no harm and largely inspire hope? It could be argued that even if the CAM practitioner’s fare is medically ineffective or even worthless, the positive aspects such as the placebo effect and corresponding reductions in anxiety or fear make it worthwhile provided the cost is not outrageous. Perhaps so. As for squaring the ethical issues involved, at the very least CAM practitioners should clearly label unproved diagnostic methods and treatments as such and disclose any known hazards or potential side effects, making them de facto experimental. Many in fact do.
Of course, the fact that unproved treatments are being used at all by CAM practitioners of various stripes and also by legions of people doing dietary and supplement self-experimentation is galling to many mainstream physicians, medical consumer advocates, journalists and others. More than a few of these would tightly regulate these remedies and severely reduce access to them, something the vast majority of Americans appear to oppose. In an ideal world unproved diagnostic methods and disease-specific treatments would be speedily and thoroughly evaluated, and those that indisputably bomb would be swiftly abandoned by CAM practitioners. But testing has often moved at a snail’s pace and even when specific remedies have been repeatedly shown to have no efficacy, many proponent CAM practitioners and medical consumers refuse to relinquish them. Some of this is likely a reflection of human ignorance or stubbornness (as in “it’ll be vindicated somehow”) or both. Some people just flat out prefer to live on the other side of looking glass even when so doing lands them squarely in a land of illusions and delusions. But since illusions and delusions help many folks cope with the vicissitudes of life including illness, these discredited CAM tests and treatments is unlikely to vanish anytime soon – if ever.
Want to learn more about how many CAM modalities and treatments hold up to scientific scrutiny? How to think critically about CAM as well as other heterodox beliefs and practices?
PIER (American College of Physicians) – Provides information on specific diseases and includes interpretations of the extant evidence
Snake Oil Science by R. Barker Bausell, Ph.D.
The Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan, Ph.D.
The Undercover Philosopher by Michael Philips
© 2009 by Dr. Anthony G. Payne. All rights reserved.
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By Choctaw Doc
Alcohol-induced disease is fairly commonplace among individuals who abuse alcohol. Fibrosis and cirrhosis by-and-large head the list. In both cases, abnormal changes take place in liver tissue that compromise this vital organ’s ability to function optimally. For many people who drink, a doctor’s finding of liver pathology (disease) is sufficient to get them to either curtail their drinking or abstain altogether (Whether on a temporary or permanent basis).
For others, however, a diagnosis of cirrhosis or other alcohol-induced disease does not put “the fear of God in ’em” with sufficient force for them to overcome the craving to elbow bend. What follows is information concerning a “dose of prevention” that may just spare the heavy drinker some grief down the line (Albeit this is by no means an argument to continue excessive drinking!)
This said, I would urge consistent moderate drinkers to pay attention to what I am about to share as well, as they too have the potential to experience liver damage over time that may not be readily repaired (and which could set the stage for problems later on in life).
A Dose of Prevention
In at least two separate animal studies carried out during the past fifteen years, a natural compound called lecithin protected animals who consumed booze in great quantities. Indeed, the animals were protected from developing many of the pathologic abnormalities common when alcohol is abused. Here are the details of this very compelling body of research:
In a study involving rats, 28 male littermates were pair-fed liquid diets containing 36% of energy either as ethanol (alcohol) or as additional carbohydrates for 21 days. Half of these rodents were given polyenylphosphatidylcholine (A component of lecithin) at 3 grams per liter of their food substrate (Liquid meals). The other group was given safflower oil (3 grams/liter) and choline (A chemical part of lecithin) as a bitatrate salt. The polyenylphosphatidylcholine (PPC) did not influence diet intake or alcohol consumption, but the booze-induced liver enlargement and accumulation of specific fats (lipids – triglycerides and cholesterol esters) and proteins were about half those in rats not given PPC. In rats that consumed PPC, post-eating rise in serum lipids was lower than was true of their littermates who had no PPC. The researchers, who worked at the Alcohol Research and Treatment Center, Bronx Veteran Affairs Medical Center (New York City), concluded that “These beneficial effects of PPC at the initial stages of alcoholic liver injury may prevent or delay the progression to more advanced forms of alcoholic liver disease” (1).
In a separate 10 year-long study involving baboons, also carried out at the Bronx Veteran Affairs Center (Section of Liver Disease and Nutrition), the suggested benefits of lecithin ingestion were even more encouraging.
In the study, twelve baboons (eight females, four males) were fed a liquid diet rich in alcohol supplemented with polyunsaturated lecithin (50% of total energy) or isocaloric carbohydrate. This group was compared with another group of eighteen baboons who were fed an equivalent diet (with or without alcohol), but without of lecithin. (2) Both groups developed increases in specific lipids (associated with alcohol use), but there were significant differences in the degree of liver injury (fibrosis) seen. For one thing, septal fibrosis (with cirrhosis in two animals) and transformation of their fat cells (lipocytes) into transitional cells developed in seven of the nine baboons fed the regular diet with alcohol. Septal fibrosis did not develop in any of the animals fed lecithin! In fact, they did not progress beyond the stage of perivenular (area around veins) fibrosis and had significantly lesser activation of fat cells to transitional cells. (3) The clincher came when the scientists took three of the lecithin-consuming animals off same, but maintained their customary diet and alcohol mix. They very rapidly progressed to cirrhosis, accompanied by an increased transformation of their fat cells to transitional cells!
The fact these researchers found that choline exerted no protective effect in animals ingesting large quantities of alcohol led them to conclude that the polyunsaturated phospholipids might be responsible for the protective effect. This is underscored by the rodent study cited above, in which choline did not protect the animals from alcohol-induced liver damage, whereas PPC (Lecithin component) did. (4)
Baboon livers are remarkably similar to human livers (This is one reason an attempt was made many years back to transplant baboon livers into humans whose livers had failed). Given this, it seems logical that lecithin should provide human drinkers at least some of the benefits seen in the baboons. Accordingly, for those who drink — especially heavily — lecithin may be an invaluable form of health insurance. It is also easy on the pocketbook, being sold “dirt cheap” in health food and grocery stores plus pharmacies across the land.
In addition to lecithin, there are other compounds that if taken by drinkers should help reduce the damage to their livers.
For example, in alcoholics the conversion of the amino acid methione to S-adenosylmethionine (SAM-e) is significantly reduced. In baboon models of alcoholism, the animals experienced alcoholic cirrhosis that was opposed by replenishing SAM-e. Other lines of research indicate that bolstering SAM-e levels in human alcoholics decreases mortality, and offsets oxidative stress resulting from alcohol and alcohol byproduct induction of a liver detoxification enzyme designated cytochrome P4502E1 (CYP2E1).
SAM-e can readily be replenished by taking an oral form that is bioavailable (Not all forms are!)
As the liver is a prime site for manufacture of one of the bodies most powerful antioxidants, glutathione, it logically follows that heavy use of alcohol would impact synthesis of this compound. And indeed, at least one animal study indicates this to be the case.
Fortunately, glutathione can be orally supplemented. However, not just any form of glutathione will work, as most forms are broken down in the gut and thus never reach the bloodstream intact. There is patented forms that resist breakdown until the glutathione has reached tissues throughout the body.
Of course, when it comes to drinking to excess – be it binge drinking or habitual heavy imbibing — curtailing or quitting is ideal. Those caught up in this sort of drinking pattern should seek professional help. But for addicts, alcohol abusers, and just plain ole social drinkers, offsetting some of the injury boozing does to the body (liver especially) is a prudent measure. The judicious use of lecithin, SAM-e and the right form of glutathione should readily help in this regard.
If only a small fraction of those who imbibe heavily take lecithin, SAM-e and glutathione benefit in terms of staving off the many diseases linked to alcohol abuse, the savings in terms of payouts for medical care and lost time from work alone could prove very substantial! This is a blessing to both the individual drinker and society at large.
1. Navder KP, Baraona E, Lieber CS. ‘Polyenylphosphatidylcholine attenuates alcohol-induced fatty liver and hyperlipidemia in rats’. J. Nutrition, Sep;127 (9): 1800-6.
2. Liber CS, DeCarli LM, Mak KM, Kim CI, Leo MA. ‘Attenuation of alcohol-induced hepatic fibrosis by polyunsaturated lecithin’. Hepatology 1990 Dec;12 (6):1390-8 3. IBID 4. IBID
3. Liber, CS, ‘New Concepts of the pathogenesis of alcoholic liver disease lead to novel treatments, Curr Gastroenterol Rep 2004 Feb;6(1):60-5
4. Kessova IG, Ho YS, Thung S, Cederbaum AI, ‘Alochol-induced liver injury in mice lacking Cu, Zn-superoxide dismutase,’ Hepatology. 2003 Nov;38(5):1136-45
Original article upon which this piece is derived © 2003 by Dr. Anthony G. Payne. All rights reserved. This article © 2010 by Dr. Anthony G. Payne. All rights reserved.
The information contained in this article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice or instruction. Readers are advised to consult a licensed health care professional concerning all matters related to their health and well being.