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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Another Biggie in Cancer Prevention

I’m writing this blog because no one else is (that I know of).  The information is just too important to be hidden away in obscure internet files.  Hidden is not the right word, but it takes a lot of time and focus to find it all.  So I’m trying to get the cheap, or free, health promoting things out there to get some publicity.  If you get breast cancer, I promise it’s not from a lack of tamoxifen or chemotherapy drugs.  It’s from nutritional things that are under your control.  (Ok, there may be a few exceptions—but go with the numbers).

This blog is not commercial.  But I’m stealing from my time needed to make a living to bring it to you.  So today, you’re getting less writing and more just cut and paste.  There is so much information!  The last blog I wrote about the three minerals involved in cancer protection took me two days to write.  Can’t do that today, so bear with the choppy nature of the following.
Vitamin D
Vitamin D isn’t really a vitamin.  It behaves more like a hormone.  Nevertheless, it’s named Vitamin D.  We convert sunlight to vitamin D when skin is exposed to sunlight.  The sun exposure paranoia of the last few decades has certainly contributed to increased cancer rates.  A recent review article estimated that 50,000-70,000 Americans die prematurely from cancer each year due to insufficient vitamin D.
And here’s some evidence.
On the PubMed database, there are 63 observational studies about vitamin D status in relation to cancer risk.  They include 30 of colon, 13 of breast, 26 of prostate, and 7 of ovarian cancer.  The majority of these studies found a protective relationship between sufficient vitamin D and lower risk of cancer. The evidence suggests that efforts to improve vitamin D status, for example by vitamin D supplementation, could reduce cancer incidence and mortality at low cost, with few or no adverse effects.
Theories linking vitamin D deficiency to cancer have been tested and confirmed in more than 200 epidemiological studies, and understanding of its physiological basis stems from more than 2,500 laboratory studies. 
One particularly noteworthy study was completed by Joan Lappe and Robert Heaney in 2007.   A group of menopausal women were given enough vitamin D to raise their serum levels to 40 ng/ml. These women experienced a 77 percent reduction in the incidence of all cancers, across the board, after just four years.  The remarkable thing is, 40 ng/ml is a relatively modest level. The latest information suggests the serum level “sweet spot” for vitamin D is 50 to 70 ng/ml. To have such stunning findings at just 40 ng/ml underscores just how powerful and important vitamin D is to your body’s optimal functioning.
Vitamin D plays a huge role in many other conditions.  Levels below 30 ng/ml show evidence of issues associated with mood disorder, autism, bone health, cancer and heart disease as well as several autoimmune diseases.
Emerging research suggests that vitamin D also has applications in promoting bone strength, as well as in mitigating autoimmune conditions such as multiple sclerosis, type I diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis, mood disorders, autism and heart disease.  Other potential benefits include promoting dental and skin health, and helping to prevent stroke, metabolic syndrome, and musculoskeletal pain.  In fact, vitamin D deficiency is often misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia.
In another study Vitamin D supplementation of just 1200 units (very low) reduced flu by 42%.  That’s better than a flu shot.  It’s also been linked to better lung function, a stronger immune system, and an enhanced ability to fight off certain infections, such as tuberculosis.
Statistically, you are probably low in Vitamin D since reports are that between October and May, almost no one can get enough sun.  Also if your skin is dark, it takes more sun to get the same amount of Vitamin D.  Vitamin D is virtually absent from food with the exception of sea food and egg yolks.  If you are overweight, you need more sun or more supplementation to get levels up.  If you’ve not been tested, get it done.  Shoot for a score of 50-70.   I’m trying to reach at least 50 and am currently taking 10,000 units daily.  When I first started testing my level was 31—almost dangerously low--and that was after a summer of outdoor work and sun worshipping.   But in Oregon, so far into the north.
Since this is already plenty long, I am going to save the last nutrient involved in cancer protection for next time.  Start now on how to improve your minerals and Vitamin D level.  There’s more.  But you need to start somewhere.  I can promise you’re not getting enough from your grocery store of any of them.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Three Biggie Minerals for Cancer Prevention

Those who are doing research into nutrition, generally look at a narrow spectrum of it.  As I’ve said before, the body doesn’t work on a narrow spectrum, but on a network of inter-related nutrients and processes with much connectivity, positive and negative feedback loops, and complexity that is mind boggling.  So, when a researcher looks at one nutrient, and draws conclusions, I’d like you to remember the complexity that lies behind the single nutrient studied.

I am going to list three nutrients below for which there is excellent research indicating they play a role in cancer prevention (and by implication in cancer survivability).  Next time I’ll talk about some other things that research says play a role in staying clear of cancer.  But…the conclusion I draw from this is that cancer and disease prevention is multidimensional and isolating one thing is only part of the picture.  Also, over and over as I’m digging into this kind of information, these minerals first, are identified as public health concerns for their universal deficiencies in large populations.  Statistically, you’re probably low in these things—maybe dangerously low—because they’re hard to get adequately in diet.
1.  Selenium.  Areas of low selenium content in the soil have higher rates of cancer than areas of high content.  My first experience with this mineral was in livestock health.  In low selenium areas large animals must get selenium injections or various problems occur—especially in reproductive health.  It is always combined with Vitamin E.  Areas low in selenium are higher in cancer.  No question.  Particularly cancers of lung, esophagus, bladder, breast, colon, rectum, pancreas, ovary and cervix.  Its exact role or the degree to which it is preventative might still be under discussion.  But selenium’s role in general is well established as being critical for cancer prevention.  But it’s also implicated in many other disease processes as well.  
Here’s a list of conditions connected to selenium deficiency:
            A type of heart disease (white muscle in animals)
Reproductive problems such as low sperm quality
Kidney Disease
Verbal memory and age-related mental decline
Fibrocystic breast disease
Look at the map of selenium deficient (or selenium rich) soils in the US here:
And remember that where your food comes from might not be local.
How much selenium do you need?  RDA for adults is 400 mcg.  Depending on how deficient you are, it must be stored in all the places it’s missing so you might need much more.  The types of cancers (and diseases) that show up in selenium deficient places are perhaps indicative of the organs in which selenium is most stored.
Not long ago I was diagnosed with fibrocystic breast disease and for several months was take 3 times that amount.   The cysts disappeared within 6 months and I now take 800 mcg daily.  I live in a selenium deficient area and eat locally.  Also in that same time frame, I had a dairy goat with cystic ovaries that has resolved with more frequent selenium injections.  Just reporting my own experiments, not making recommendations.  
2.  Iodine.  Your thyroid gland is perhaps the major player in the whole orchestration of your immune system.  The immune system protects you against cancer (and many other diseases).  The active form of thyroid hormone that does most of the work in your body is named tri-iodo-thyronine (hyphens are mine), so named because it contains three iodine molecules.   If iodine is in short supply, that hormone cannot be produced and the immune system is compromised.  And since your thyroid gland is something of a master controller for so many other systems, there are many other effects of low iodine (low thyroid) too.  (See previous post on Thyroid).
Some researchers indicate that iodine deficiency also increases the risk of other cancers such as prostate, endometrial, and ovarian cancer.  In other words, any tissue that stores iodine is ripe for disease if iodine is in short supply.  So first, iodine is implicated in both breast and thyroid cancers.  But there is also a link between iodine deficiency and gastric cancer going back to 1924.  
What else?   Low iodine is correlated with many other health problems:
          Developmental mental retardation
          All reproductive problems (see above for selenium)
          Heart arrhythmias
          Eye disease
Heart disease
Fungal skin disease
Too high or too low thyroid
Where do we get iodine?  Sea food and sea vegetables are the best sources but here are others.  If you are low, adding iodine rich foods will probably not be enough—and public health officials are decrying widespread deficiency.  It’s almost nonexistent in soil so it’s difficult to get enough.  To add insult to injury, exposure to other halides like chloride, bromine and fluoride may be out-competing what little iodine there is.   
How much iodine do you need?  If we compare the lower rates of cancers in Japan with their 60,000 micrograms per day, it’s clear we have a long way to go before reaching too much.  BTW that translates to 60 mg.  While treating for both fibrocystic problems and upping my iodine for a sluggish thyroid (carpal tunnel is a symptom of either low iodine or low thyroid or both) I was taking about 30 mg every other day.  On reading about these levels in the Japanese diet, I doubled my iodine supplement and within days noticed a big improvement in carpel tunnel symptoms.
3.  Magnesium.  I’m just starting my look at magnesium so this section will be a little less detailed.  But the information is pretty clear that magnesium deficiency and cancer development go hand in hand.
It’s the second most common element in the human body and involved in 300-350 enzyme reactions in your body.  They are involved in the metabolism of carbohydrate, amino acids, nucleic acids, protein, and ion transport. Magnesium is involved in the cell’s energy production in the mitochondria (the power plant in each cell).  Magnesium actively pumps calcium ions OUT of the cell, but if magnesium is low relative to calcium, those calcium ions build up in the cell, calcifying at the cell membrane.  A calcified cell membrane makes a sick cell, prone to other changes and death.

Cancer prevalence and low Mg content of water and of soil was reported from worldwide early studies, starting from the earliest 20th century.  Fergusson, Madden, Day, Dolbey, as well as the eminent English cancer specialist, Roger Williams, and Engel Bey wrote in 1908. "From these data it appears that the reputation of Egypt for comparative immunity from cancer is well founded."  In 1931, the following:

Dr. P. Schrumpf-Pierron presented a paper entitled "On the Cause Of the Rarity of Cancer in Egypt," concluding that ”which characterizes the diet of the Rural Egyptian is its richness in salts of magnesium. They consume in food, in the water, and in the crude salt used from 2.5 to 3 grams of magnesium per day, against 4 to 5 grams of potash (potassium).  That magnesium intake is about ten times that of Europeans and Americans.
Dr. Mildred Seelig wrote Magnesium In Oncogenesis And In Anti-Cancer Treatment: Interaction With Minerals And Vitamins, published in 1993.  She covered much information that should have triggered research but hasn’t.  (Follow the money).  But clearly, according to many epidemiological studies, cancer rates are higher in areas of soft water (fewer minerals that make water ‘hard’)  and low soil magnesium.  Especially sensitive to magnesium deficiency are colorectal and pancreatic cancers. adeno- and squamous cell carcinomas in the gastrointestinal tract, respiratory system, and leukemias. 
Magnesium deficiency has been linked to the following health conditions:
migraine headaches
fatigue and lethargy
digestive problems
muscle cramps
premenstrual cramping
metabolic syndrome
type 2 diabetes
heart disease
The National Institutes of Health recommend daily consumption of 420 milligrams for men and 320 milligrams for adult woman, with slightly more for pregnant women.  Dr. Dean, author of “The Magnesium Miracle” goes further. She says that 700 milligrams of elemental magnesium daily, is important for curing and preventing a host of problems (see list above).  That level is nearly impossible to get through diet alone — through leafy green vegetables, squash, broccoli, legumes, seeds, nuts, and some meats and saltwater fish — because of soil that is low or depleted of magnesium.  Remember the Egyptians at 2 ½  to 3 grams.
Many researchers have tested minerals in vegetables and fruits, finding them far lower than tests of a few decades earlier.  If you are eating commercially grown vegetables and fruits, remember that they are boosted with nitrogen but not magnesium and trace minerals.  If you have noticed produce being tasteless in recent years, that’s why.  
The World Health Organization also said that up to 80 percent of Americans are deficient in the mineral. Like the minerals before, deficiency is widespread according to many researchers and public health investigators.  Researchers found that 46% of the patients admitted to the ICU of a cancer center presented with Mg deficiency.   Studies suggest that cancer may not be able to exist in a body saturated with magnesium.  A type of magnesium supplement that can cross the blood brain barrier and is implicated in age related memory problems, is magnesium L-threonate.  Several sources have said it’s very hard to overdose on magnesium, and that like Vitamin C, when you get too much you will experience diarrhea—an indication of too much.
More about growing things in the next blog when I finish up this section on (mostly) cancer causes, with two more important nutrients that are not minerals.  If you have a history of cancer in your family, or are dealing with it now, getting these three minerals into your diet are a no brainer. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

A Little Algebra Today

Here’s an equation to examine

Perfect Nutrition + Perfect Lifestyle = Perfect Health


I’ve given my evidence for the truth of that equation before, i.e. if it were not so, humans as a species would no doubt have died out before covering the earth.

The factor on the right is what I want.  I guess I have to admit to being a purist on this stuff.  I want it badly enough that I will dig into the meaning of the factors on the left and jump through some hoops to get them. 

Times have changed from my parents’ day when not much was known about what perfect nutrition meant, nor even perfect lifestyle.  More and more research and smart thinking  is going into figuring it out.  But here’s what I’m pretty sure we can all take to the bank.  If we don’t have perfect health, the answer is on the other side of the equation.

So ask yourself what is going on in your health that is not perfect.  Things I include: (remember I’m an extremist on this stuff, but with good reason)

Pimples, dry skin, wrinkles, thinning hair, rashes
Tiredness, poor sleep, low energy
Asthma, allergies, psoriasis, carpal tunnel, joint or muscle pain
Arthritis, depression, mood problems, muscle cramps
Reproductive issues, difficult menopause or cycle problems, PMS
Diabetes, heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis or its precursors
Low thyroid, high thyroid, hormone problems
Frequent colds, flu or other bugs
Headaches, back aches, chronic pain of any kind
High blood pressure, constipation, diarrhea, lack of sexual desire
Heart arrhythmias, kidney disease, pancreatitis, pcos, stomach pain
Memory loss or problems, mental health issues
Parkinson’s, MS, Alzheimer’s, GERD, Gout, IBS, MRSA
Obesity, Leaky gut, TB…

Did I miss anything?  The above are NOT inevitable.  They are the result of non optimal nutrition or lifestyle or both.  You are designed to feel great virtually every day of your life—even into old age.  If you don’t, let’s find out what’s not optimal and fix it.  I think almost everything can be healed entirely or improved a whole lot—depending on how far and how long things have been out of optimal range.

Do I have perfect health?  Not quite.  I used to think I had all the answers.  I don’t.  But I have a bunch and I’m looking hard for more info all the time.  And my health is awfully darn good.  Especially when I think of where I was a decade ago.

“Why,” you ask, “have I not heard this from my doctor?”

First of all, he or she doesn’t get any training in this stuff.  Second, there’s no money in it and medicine is the biggest business in America.  No money in it, they’re not interested.  No blame attached to that, but it’s why your doctor’s office is not where to get good information on nutrition and lifestyle which tend to be low cost or free for you to try.    Imagine your doctor taking the hour it would take to teach you about sugar/insulin/glucagon and then simply recommending you quit eating sugary stuff.  Not going to happen!

As I’ve been working on my chapter “How To Get To The End of Your Life Without Getting Cancer: And a lot of other bad stuff,” I’m getting pretty excited about some minerals.  Next time I will give you a sneak peak at what I’ve found out.   I’m still experimenting on myself but I have some preliminary information I will share.


If you are garnering any entertainment value or information that’s useful, please tell a couple people in the next few days.  Let’s spread the news that life can be robust even into our golden olden years!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

It All Works Together

Correction from last post...the correct address to subscribe to the yahoogroup for this blog is
It all Works together.
Your body isn’t just the bits and pieces and your health isn’t just the bits you’re having symptoms in.  It’s all an interrelated whole, dependent on all the stuff working together in a dance of complexity we can only begin to imagine.  Nevertheless, it’s hard to talk about health in totality.  If you have an aching hip or a rash on your arms, it feels like the hip or the arms are the most important part.
 It’s especially attractive if you read something that promises to help your aching joints, or make your rash go away.  I don’t promise such easy stuff.  My thing is “What is going on with your lifestyle and nutrition that might manifest as arthritis or a rash?”
I have carpal tunnel.  I noticed it after about six months of milking a goat with extremely small orifices.  It took a great deal of squeezing to get the milk out.  “Of course,” you say, “an overuse injury is obvious.”  And my doctor offered cortisone shots to help.  What does cortisone do?  Well, after some reading and researching, I find that cortisone is a highly powerful anti-inflammatory.  Ah, my old friend inflammation.  But the down side of corticosteroids is that they increase insulin resistance among other things.
And it turns out, that one symptom of low thyroid is carpal tunnel.  Come to think about it, maybe I have a couple others off that list.  And what makes a thyroid optimal?  Lots of minerals—iodine and selenium for two.  So if I have a deficiency of a couple minerals, (since I get virtually no iodine or selenium, that seems about right) it causes an inflammatory response which hurts my thyroid which makes it more likely to end up with an inflammatory overuse injury, ie carpal tunnel. 
The easy answer is take the cortisone shots—or worst case scenario, the carpal tunnel surgery.  Fixes the problem, right?  But what about the deficiency of iodine and selenium?  They still exist.  And as it turns out, deficiencies of those two in particular, are highly correlated with some other problems.  Heart disease and cancer for two—oh my!    And in the mix of things that work together are Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Vitamin D and the list goes on. 
Well, then, can’t I just take a bunch of supplements?  Yes.  How much does it take to overcome a deficiency?  I don’t know for sure, but I’m pretty sure it’s quite a bit more than the RDA for any of those.  And I have been really careful about things like diet and lifestyle issues for a long time.  But a Vitamin D test a while ago showed I was dangerously low. 
Yeah, but…I’m outside all the time!  I take Vitamin D.  How can that be?  Turns out I was low for a lot of reasons.  It’s Oregon.  I’m overweight—fat people need twice as much as skinny people.  My supplements were low potency.  Without the test, I’d have gone on not realizing how much I was risking—biggies, too, cancer, heart, diabetes, osteoporosis, and a host of others. 
If you have been buying groceries in a supermarket and eating commercially raised and grown food, you WILL have some deficiencies unless you’re careful about supplements.  Minerals seem to crop up as deficient more often than some other things.  And ultimately, your report card on how good are your nutrients, is what your CRP number is.  CRP stands for C Reactive protein, something that indicates chronic inflammation—that bane of civilized diets that is at the root of all disease processes.  It’s almost entirely dependent on what you put in your mouth—or don’t.
 So test.  How can you fix something if you don’t know it needs fixing until your diagnosis of something life-threatening?
 These tests I highly recommend.  At least twice a year or as often and you feel the need.
 CRP should be under 1.  If not, get on an anti-inflammatory diet and look at supplements.
 Vitamin D level is not totally agreed on, but 40 to 70 seems to be a consensus.  That said a big study showed women at 50 level had a huge reduction in breast cancer occurrence.
 A1C measures your average blood sugar over about 3 months.  5 or below means your brain is not shrinking, you are not at risk for a host of physical and neurological insults.
Fasting insulin should be less than 6 uUnits/ml
If you have these test and want to talk to me about what they mean and what to do about it, email me privately.  I’ve been working on this stuff…I have a few ideas that can help.


Thursday, February 5, 2015

More About Thyroid

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I’ve set those list parameters so that conversations, questions, discussion is available.   

Last post I gave a list of thyroid symptoms.  If you missed that, please take a look and see if you have any.  If you have as many as three or more, chances are high your thyroid is low.  Thyroid matters big time!  It controls or participates in virtually every system of your body.  Thus the symptoms can show up in so many seemingly unrelated areas, from stem to stern so to speak.

 So first of all,  how does thyroid get low?  I think this is a better question than what are treatments.  And this answer, like virtually all that relate to “how did I get sick?” comes back to our old friend chronic inflammation. Our immune system is a one note song.  No matter what goes wrong, the body’s response is inflammation.  When humans were hunter/gatherers, that worked well.  What went wrong was mostly injury or micro invaders (bacteria and viruses).  Inflammation had something clear cut to do. 

 If you had a cut, inflammation did its best—pain, redness, heat and swelling.  Meanwhile, inflammatory chemicals removed damaged tissue and allowed scar tissue to heal the injury.  Or in the case of microorganisms, there was something to attack, you ran a fever and your immune system got you well. 

 Modern life brought a whole host of other thing that go wrong and it’s not so clear-cut what to attack.  If you have a deficiency of some important nutrient (or several) what is there for the inflammatory chemicals to attack or remove to allow for healing.  If you breathe noxious air quality or eat lots of sugars—two examples of things that the body isn’t really designed for—what can the immune system attack?  If you bought into the “saturated fat is bad for you” mantra foist upon us 30 years ago, and used high levels of Omega 6 oils for years with little balance of Omega 3 oils, your immune system is revved to the inflammatory side (omega 6) without the braking effect of the anti-inflammatory side(Omega 3.

 Under modern conditions we have inflammation cranked into high gear and no clear object for it to fight.  But fight it must.  And so inflammatory chemicals do their thing—fighting your own organs.  Which ones?  It’s different for every individual, depending on genetics, history, environment.  If you are inflamed for decades, will you have a low thyroid, heart disease, cancer, depression, Alheimers,  psoriasis, arthritis, allegies, asthma, wrinkles—or what?  But all disease processes start with chronic inflammation run amok.  It’s doing damage somewhere(s) in your body.  The damage is silent and invisible—until it’s not –then it screams at you.

 OK, I got long winded there.  So how doies this relate to low thyroid?  STOP the inflammation!!!  Stop the damage!  There are many things to do to stop inflammation and I will be discussing more of them.  But today, for the thyroid, the biggie is giving it the nutrient it requires.  IODINE.

 And oh, by the way, getting enough iodine will do a lot of other good things for you.  If the Japanese with their high intake of iodine are any indication (and they are) you need iodine in many milligrams, not micrograms.  Don’t neglect selenium.  Feed your thyroid!  And if you are low enough to have hypothyroid symptoms, supplementing with thyroid hormone is great first aid for all those symptoms that show up when it’s low. 

 Thyroid tests are iffy.  Not because of the tests but because the “normal range” is not.  Many doctors are not up on the new normal range which for the TSH test should be under 2, preferable under 1.  Synthetic hormone is a favorite of many doctors and most patients report no improvement of symptoms though the tests improve.  Dessicated thyroid gland in Armour Thyroid, and a few other brands is a big improvement for most.  A good book for further reading and real help is found here:

 The author also runs an site for thyroid for lots more information.