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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

About Fat Cells and Inflammation

This study, conducted by researchers at Newcastle University and the University of Leeds, UK, is published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.  In it they found that being overweight more than doubles the risk of bowel cancer in people with Lynch Syndrome, an inherited genetic disorder which affects genes responsible for detecting and repairing damage in the DNA. Around half of these people develop cancer, mainly in the bowel and womb.

However, over the course of a ten year study they found this risk could be counteracted by taking a regular dose of aspirin. 

What!!!???  Aspirin counteracts the risk of cancer in fat people?  Wow.  Aspirin is one of the oldest, safest, drugs known to man, from at least the time of the ancient Egyptians (willow bark) to the development of the pills we have today in the 1800’s.  Caveat—stomach problems are the drawback of aspirin.

Cancer, we know, is a disease of inflammation.  Aspirin is an anti-inflammatory drug.  But the connection to obesity is my point today. 

Separate from normal wear and tear aging, full fat cells drive chronic inflammation.  The details of that are beyond the scope of today’s post, but they jack up inflammatory chemicals in your body.  The more visceral fat you have, the higher your level of chronic inflammation - and thus the more damage gets added over time to the state of your biology. 

Aging itself is simply your body’s reaction to the damage inflammation causes.  YES, even WRINKLES!  So for those of us with more visceral fat, we have to do more to knock down those inflammatory chemicals. 

The name of my website is minding the middle aged middle—and getting it smaller is important for us who are overweight.  But not only because of cultural pressure or superficial reasons.  It’s an anti-aging strategy because it’s an anti-inflammatory strategy.

 In overweight mice and humans the fat cells, are sending out  false distress signals - they are not under attack by pathogens. But this still sends local immune cells into a tizzy, and that causes inflammation.
Is it hopeless until you’ve lost the weight?  No.  You have heard me talk about the CRP test that measures chronic inflammation.  I am happy to report mine is now VERY low.  And I still have visceral fat I’m working on.  It can be done. 

And what does that get me?  The net result is that I feel better than ever before, I run circles around most of my peers and many who are younger.  And my risk of cancer or any number of other inflammatory and degenerative diseases is extremely low.  That is what I wish for others, as well.  Read back issues to find out what it takes.  It’s not doctors but it is under your control. 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

It's Not Just Me

I harp on the subject of chronic inflammation.  I know, I sound like a broken record...And your doctor never mentions it, most of the health news rarely mentions it either.

Sometimes it's nice to know I'm not the only one, though it would be helpful if more people and doctors recognized the importance of chronic inflammation.  But here's an article that appeared this week.  It's short, go ahead and take a look.

Where this article failed, is in defining something as simple as "what is an inflammatory marker?"  How do you know if you are inflamed?  And more important, what do you do about it? 

The inflammatory marker is called the CRP test.  It is a simple blood test that measures the C-reactive protein, THE marker of your level of inflammation.  A low test score (1.0 or less) indicates little risk. Over 1.0 and you have chronic inflammation going on and it is doing bad things.  Those are the bad things that keep you from being functional both mentally and physically as you age.  Someone recently asked me what is the upper limit of the score...There may not be one, though people with multiple organ failure, have scores over 100--but they are near death.  This is not an obscure test that you have to fight to get.  Just ask for it.

If you have an infection, your score will be higher, and if you are overweight, your score will be higher.  One of the discoveries of recent years is that fat cells are modified cells of the immune system and full fat cells put out inflammatory molecules.  It takes more to reduce chronic inflammation if you are overweight.  That said, what it takes to reduce inflammation is well understood. 
Two of the best things you can do for yourself is get blood sugar and insulin very low and take plenty of Omega 3 fish oils--get a good brand for there are many that are worthless.  I prefer Carlson's brand myself.  And test.  Know your CRP and if it is high, get it down.  Not so you'll live to 100 or more, but so that however long you live with be without disease and dementia.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Study About Carbohydrates and Depression

Today I want to share the results of a study that just came out in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: 

Consumption of carbohydrates increases blood sugar levels to varying degrees, depending on the type of food ingested. The more highly refined the carbohydrate, the higher its score on the glycemic index (GI) scale. The GI scale, which goes from 0-100, measures the amount of sugar found in the blood after eating. Refined foods such as white bread, white rice, and soda trigger a hormonal response in the body to reduce blood sugar levels. This response may also cause or exacerbate mood changes, fatigue and other symptoms of depression. 

The investigators found that progressively higher dietary GI scores and consumption of added sugars and refined grains were associated with increased risk of new-onset depression in post-menopausal women. Greater consumption of dietary fiber, whole grains, vegetables and non-juice fruits was associated with decreased risk.

While the above information is mostly accurate and interesting (i.e. carbohydrates are mostly not human-friendly)  they started with the same ol’ same ol’ assumption that whole grains are better than processed grains.  Yes, lowering the glycemic index (or load which is dependant on serving size) is likely protective of brain and mood, but the information below needs to be factored in, too. 

1 cup of hard red winter wheat (whole) is 137 grams of carbs with a glycemic load of 68.  This is raw wheat.  I’n not sure, but cooked in water that might be two cups of whole wheat.  Halve those numbers and you get almost 70 grams of carbs with a glycemic load of 34—the glycemic load says 10 and below is a low load, over 20 is high.  Tell me how anyone can possibly think whole grains are good for blood sugar/insulin levels.  WHOLE GRAINS ARE NOT HEALTHY!!!!  They are nothing more than packages of high density glucose delivered with an unhealthy dose of anti-nutrients (lectins, phytic acid and gluten).  Whew, sorry if I was shouting.  This crappy information riles me!  If you want to avoid depression, keep the glycemic index and load of your carbs low.  But do not kid yourself that whole grains fit that bill.