Caveman Doctor Applying Simple Logic to Complex Health Issues 2015-04-21T01:24:22Z http://www.cavemandoctor.com/feed/atom/ cavemandoctor http://Cavemandoctor.com <![CDATA[How to Live Forever, Part II: Chewing the Fat]]> http://www.cavemandoctor.com/?p=4529 2015-04-10T13:48:52Z 2015-04-10T13:33:06Z In the last installment, we read the first major reason why figuratively “chewing the fat” through conversation and mental stimulation is your best bet to increase your chances of living a long and healthy life. In this week’s post, we...
Read more

The post How to Live Forever, Part II: Chewing the Fat appeared first on Caveman Doctor.

]]>
In the last installment, we read the first major reason why figuratively “chewing the fat” through conversation and mental stimulation is your best bet to increase your chances of living a long and healthy life. In this week’s post, we discuss how literally chewing the fat can help increase your odds of living forever.
 
My grandfather, about to turn 97, recalls his days of using lard and butter to cook, or even eating pure lard during the Great Depression. Throughout his life, his meals consisted mostly of home-cooked foods and home-grown vegetables in his organic garden. Processed foods, TV dinners, and pre-made meals didn’t exist and were considered an insult to his wife, the greatest Italian cook in the world.*
 
Candy and sweets were a rarity, and meals mostly consisted of vegetables cooked in fat, along with a portion of meat. A piece of bread did accompany some meals, more so during the 1930s, and before the war when money was tight.
 

Did This Lifestyle Help Lead to His Longevity?

 
The short answer is yes. However, the real question is how? Obviously growing your own vegetables and eating whole foods are major contributors to optimal health, as are stimulating your brain and having meaningful relationships with those around you, as we discussed in the first part. But on a molecular level, what exactly was he doing?
 
What he was doing, unintentionally of course, was limiting the amount of insulin released in his body and channeling the internal mechanisms, developed over millions of years, that allow humans to remain healthy while living and thriving to a ripe old age. In fact, this process likely exists because it was molded by the human diet, which generally consisted of more fat and less carbohydrates than most people consume nowadays (and more than most physicians recommend today).
 
As one eats an overabundance of carbohydrates, insulin rises, binding to specific cellular receptors. In addition, molecular pathways are activated that lead to fat stimulation, cancer growth, neurological damage, and cells burning out much sooner than they should.
 

Immortal or IGF

 
Recent studies have looked at people like my grandfather whom lived past 100 to assess what differences these individuals have over the rest of us mere mortals. One thing these centenarians have in common is a frequent mutation in the IGF (insulin-like growth factor) receptor along the insulin pathway.1 In other words, they can have insulin or IGF floating around, but there are fewer functional receptors to bind to and upregulate, or increase the number of cell receptors on, this pathway.
 
Even if these folks were eating a higher amount of carbohydrates than their bodies were adept at processing, this broken point along the insulin pathway stops the upregulation that leads to cancer, obesity, and poor overall health.
 
It’s safe to assume most of us probably don’t have this insulin pathway mutation, so we need to switch to other methods to keep upregulation as low as possible. The easiest method is, of course, to limit the food that directly stimulates it, and replace the carbohydrates with the food that doesn’t by chewing the fat. However, keep in mind that protein stimulates this pathway to a lesser amount. This is where things start to get difficult and a balance must be reached. We all want to live as long as possible, but we also want to be happy during the process.
 
Striking a balance will be different for everyone, but my approach has been one of limiting my consumption of carbohydrates, going into periodic ketosis (very low carbohydrate consumption or fasting), and engaging in periodic severe calorie restriction through intermittent fasting, as it has been shown to increase lifespan in all species except monkeys and humans.2 It is also is a good method for helping the body rid itself of cancerous cells.3 This generally leaves me happy enough with my meal choices and food consumption while minimizing the insulin pathway and hopefully decreasing my chances of cancer.3
 

What It Takes to Live Forever

 
Turning to Jeanne Calment — who was the longest living human ever at 122 years — she seemed to have her own rules, though they were not that all that different from my grandfather’s. Calment ascribed her longevity and youthful appearance to a diet “rich in olive oil, and rubbed onto her skin, as well as a diet of port wine, and ate nearly one kilogram (2.2 lb) of chocolate every week.”
 
Assuming this chocolate was 85% dark; perhaps this diet isn’t too far off. Then again, I love dark chocolate…
 
Returning to the centenarian study, we must keep in mind that these individuals with incredible longevity had genetic mutations in their IGF1 signaling pathway. Considering that Jeanne Calment smoked until she was 117, she likely had some unique genetics that pushed her along and kept her alive to nearly triple her life expectancy at birth.
 
While Calment is a great example, perhaps we should turn to an expert like internationally acclaimed Cynthia Kenyon, for an opinion on what leads to the greatest longevity. She won the award for her novel work studying the longevity and telomeres in worms and, not surprisingly, she has a similar outlook on what it takes to “live forever.” From a recent article in PLOS Biology, “In Methuselah’s Mould,”4 she stated:
 

“Nevertheless, the discoveries about the role of the insulin/IGF-1 pathway in ageing have had a profound impact on her own lifestyle, which includes a tendency to discard the bread from sandwiches and eat only the toppings of pizzas. ‘I’m on a low-carb diet. I gave my worms glucose, and it shortened their lifespan. [The diet] makes sense because it keeps your insulin levels down.’
 
No desserts. No sweets. No potatoes. No rice. No bread. No pasta. ‘When I say ‘no,’ I mean ‘no, or not much,’ she notes. ‘Instead, eat green vegetables. Eat the fruits that aren’t the sweet fruits, like melon.’ Bananas? “Bananas are a little sweet.’ Meat? ‘Meat, yes, of course. Avocados. All vegetables. Nuts. Fish. Chicken. That’s what I eat. Cheese. Eggs. And one glass of red wine a day.’

 
With multiple awards under her belt and almost 97 years of personal experience under his, perhaps these two have learned a thing or two about longevity.
 
Want to maximize your chances of living forever? Maybe it’s time to start chewing the fat…
 
Grandfather

My caveman brother and I with our grandfather one month before he passed.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Prior to the publication of this article, my grandfather called to tell me time had finally caught up with him, and this time he wasn’t getting away. He told me he wanted to go peacefully and didn’t want anything done to keep him alive. He was a third of the way into Steve Jobs’ biography and was shoveling the snow in the driveway the week before, so it was tough to believe him. The following day over breakfast, he told his wife of 67 years that it was finally time, and he wanted to go in his sleep. He went to bed that night following his normal routine. He never woke up the next morning and went into a coma. I rushed over to the hospital to withdraw all care to follow his wishes. Though unconscious and on Morphine, he stayed alive for 36 hours until just after midnight the following day. My sister had traveled 19 hours from China to see him. He passed away 20 minutes after she got to the hospital room. It was also his wife’s 92nd birthday.
 
*My grandmother’s title of the “greatest Italian cook in the world” has been personally verified by your author.
 

Part I in case you missed it…

 

Subscribe to Caveman Doctor



References:

1. Suh Y, Atzmon G, Cho M-O, et al. Functionally significant insulin-like growth factor I receptor mutations in centenarians. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. March 4, 2008 2008;105(9):3438-3442.http://www.pnas.org/content/105/9/3438.abstract
2. Champ CE, Baserga R, Mishra MV, et al. Nutrient Restriction and Radiation Therapy for Cancer Treatment: When Less Is More. The oncologist. January 1, 2013 2013;18(1):97-103.http://theoncologist.alphamedpress.org/content/18/1/97.abstract
3. Simone BA, Champ CE, Rosenberg AL, et al. Selectively starving cancer cells through dietary manipulation: methods and clinical implications. Future Oncology. 2013/07/01 2013;9(7):959-976.http://dx.doi.org/10.2217/fon.13.31
4. O’Neill B. In Methuselah’s Mould. PLoS Biol. 2004;2(1):e12.http://dx.doi.org/10.1371%2Fjournal.pbio.0020012
 

© 2015 CDR Health and Nutrition, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

The post How to Live Forever, Part II: Chewing the Fat appeared first on Caveman Doctor.

]]>
7
cavemandoctor http://Cavemandoctor.com <![CDATA[How to Live Forever, Part I]]> http://www.cavemandoctor.com/?p=4509 2015-04-10T13:41:06Z 2015-04-10T13:08:20Z I recently moved back to Pittsburgh, both the city of champions and also the place I grew up. In doing so, I now have the opportunity to spend more time with some of my close friends and family. One extremely...
Read more

The post How to Live Forever, Part I appeared first on Caveman Doctor.

]]>
I recently moved back to Pittsburgh, both the city of champions and also the place I grew up. In doing so, I now have the opportunity to spend more time with some of my close friends and family. One extremely important person in my life lives about 30 minutes away, and I am lucky enough to spend a day or two per week with him.
 
I often help him with yard work, but he mostly takes care of it on his own. He cuts his grass and recently replaced his mailbox, setting it in concrete — quite a daunting task. He also recently replaced all of his basement windows with glass blocks. He reads a lot of books, and I recently got him an 800-page book on the Italian Renaissance. He told me he read it all but didn’t make it past 10 pages at a time without falling asleep. He helps me out too, as he has an organic garden and has supplied my family and I with vegetables throughout my life.
 
Oh, and I forgot to mention, he turns 97 in a few months.
 
My grandfather called me last week and asked if I wanted to come over and “chew the fat.” Interestingly, he didn’t realize I was actually writing an article about him to try to figure out how he could possibly still be not only alive and healthy, but thriving. Perhaps this was the answer. Maybe both literally and figuratively, “chewing the fat” is one way to live as long and healthy as possible.
 

The First Key: Conversing and Cognition

 
We have spent countless hours chewing the fat, discussing everything from gardening, to cooking, to the Great Depression, and growing up as a German immigrant in the early 1900s. He has read many books on the topic, and as a result, we never had a dull dinner table conversation that I could remember.
 
Grandfather WWII

My Pap, John Reichl


 
It’s no wonder he remains so cognitively intact at nearly 100. The studies reveal one method of trying to live forever is preservation of cognitive and functional ability, which is a strong marker for longevity.1
 
While this is obvious to most people, opportunities for cognitive stimulation decrease as we age, retire, and become tired. Opportunities to converse, stimulate cognition, and exercise the mind become fewer and fewer, and as a result, products like Lumosity have hit the market.
 
However, in my grandfather’s case, a strong stimulation of function and cognition on a daily basis is likely a major reason why he is still “chewing the fat” at age 96. Reading books is one thing and reading books on the Italian Renaissance is another. However, his constant physical and mental stimulation from cutting the grass, projects around the yard and house, and maintaining an organic garden and compost are major reasons for his longevity.
 
Studies in both mice2 and humans reveal that resistance training and hippocampal functioning are connected. The hippocampus is a very important part of the brain that contributes to cognition and functioning. A combination of mental stimulation and exercise appears to be the vital one-two punch for staying alive and mentally healthy into old age.
 
Interesting, as stated in this research “work levels rather than running distance are more determinant of exercise-induced beneficial effects.” In men, aerobic exercise improves hippocampal function and increases a factor called BDNF. However, it also helps them to perform better on spatial memory tests.3
 
Keeping the brain stimulated through mental activities is seemingly aided by stimulating the mind through physical activities. Combining them both is likely even more powerful at keeping the brain functioning to its fullest at a ripe old age.
 
A funny and interesting story about my grandfather and his pursuit for constant mental stimulation involves a time when my grandmother had to be rushed to the hospital. My entire family was emotionally distraught as she was being evaluated. After she was admitted in stable condition, and things settled down a bit, we found my grandfather frantically searching the hospital for a newspaper or financial journal. After we questioned him for a while, we found out that at age 92, he was playing the stock market, and he wanted to check in on his stocks.
 
Even more interesting (and hilarious) was the fact that he wasn’t actually putting any money into these stocks, as he had very little. He was merely pretending he was investing in these stocks and was following them daily to see how he would have done had he actually invested. He thought he was too old to gamble his life savings in the market.
 

The Second Key: Knowing When to Shut the Brain Off

 
While he never actually meditated for all I know, I would often catch him sitting on the porch watching nature or (even more strange to me at the time) sitting in the dark, relaxing. After his intense projects, he would often enter an almost trance-like state as he unwound for the day. While this was not meditation as we know it, it was clearly a state of being and relaxation that your highest yogi aims for.
 
What can I learn from a hilarious and interesting 96-year-old whom I am lucky enough to “chew the fat” with on a weekly basis? Stress is good. Acute stress via exercise, intense mental stimulation, and activity-based projects is the key to a healthy brain into ones 90s, and it is just as important to intermix these activities with meditative-like periods to rest the brain and allow it to recover and rebuild.
 
One thing is for sure, the simple gesture in his phone call may not have been too far off. Chewing the fat may help you to live as long and healthy as possible.
 

Read Part II HERE

 

View the article on My Health Wire

Subscribe to Caveman Doctor



References:

1. Schupf N, Costa R, Tang M-X, et al. Preservation of cognitive and functional ability as markers of longevity. Neurobiology of aging. 2004;25(9):1231-1240.
2. Lee MC, Okamoto M, Liu YF, et al. Voluntary resistance running with short distance enhances spatial memory related to hippocampal BDNF signaling. Journal of Applied Physiology. 2012;113(8):1260-1266.
3. Griffin ÉW, Mullally S, Foley C, Warmington SA, O’Mara SM, Kelly ÁM. Aerobic exercise improves hippocampal function and increases BDNF in the serum of young adult males. Physiology & Behavior. 2011;104(5):934-941.
 

© 2015 CDR Health and Nutrition, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

The post How to Live Forever, Part I appeared first on Caveman Doctor.

]]>
1
cavemandoctor http://Cavemandoctor.com <![CDATA[Is Your Barber More Important than Your Doctor?]]> http://www.cavemandoctor.com/?p=3577 2015-04-06T16:30:19Z 2015-04-06T16:33:44Z In medieval Europe, physicians mostly dealt with patients through observation and consultation, and they rarely got their hands dirty. Barbers, on the other hand, used to be the surgeons. They tended to those injured on the battlefield and performed an...
Read more

The post Is Your Barber More Important than Your Doctor? appeared first on Caveman Doctor.

]]>
In medieval Europe, physicians mostly dealt with patients through observation and consultation, and they rarely got their hands dirty. Barbers, on the other hand, used to be the surgeons. They tended to those injured on the battlefield and performed an occasional amputation when necessary. The traditional striped barber pole seen outside of barber shops actually represents blood soaked rags that could be found adorning the original barber shops.
 
I used to cut my own hair. My short haircut throughout college and medical school was actually pretty easy to manage myself. However, during residency, I let it grow a bit, and my skill set with the scissors was no longer adequate. I went to several women who cut my hair, well, like a woman. I went to a highly rated barber, but when I showed up for my appointment, his hair was dyed purple.
 
I left before my hair cut began…
 
I desperately needed to find a competent barber, and word of mouth led me to Carl. He wore a hairstyle that I liked, and when he cut my hair, it was amazing. To top it off, he only charged me $20 per cut.
 

Man, am I glad I found a good barber.

 
After my illustrious basketball career at MIT (sarcasm intended), I played in several city leagues in Philadelphia. I also played in the intramural league at my medical school. The night before my cardiology exam, I was playing against our rival team and we had gone into overtime. I may or may not have hit three straight three-pointers, and I may or may not still be living in my past a bit.
 
The game ended in triple overtime with me catching a rebound and twisting to take the final shot. When I twisted, I tore my ACL and MCL. Actually, the ACL did not tear, but rather tore a piece of bone off of my lower leg, in essence breaking my tibia.
 
Later, I had the ligament of a cadaver surgically placed in my knee to replace my ACL. I sought out my particular surgeon because he was the orthopedic surgeon for the U.S. women’s gymnastics team. Shortly after this major surgery, I was squatting in the gym and returned to the basketball court.
 

Man, am I glad I had a good surgeon.

 
More recently, I had to seek an official primary care physician (PCP). Prior to this, my PCP was yours truly, and I must say, I did an excellent job taking care of myself. I prescribed a healthy diet and exercise for everything, took no medications, and besides some infrequent sports injuries, had very few health issues.
 
However, with newer insurance plans, one can no longer be their own physician. I found myself deep in thought. Would I use the same methods in choosing my doctor as I did when choosing a barber? It seemed to work well for my ACL surgery. Certainly as a purple-haired barber would not suit me well, a physician that did not believe in the benefits of a healthy diet and exercise would be just as contradictory.
 
It also made me curious as to whether I was being judgmental, or if such aspects actually predicted the aptitude of a physician, or at least of what I deem important.
 
However, a review of some recent literature seems to agree with my judgmental nature. In fact, studies reveal that physicians with low body mass index (BMI) are more likely to “engage their obese patients in weight loss discussions when compared to overweight or obese physicians.”1
 
This same study shows that leaner physicians have greater confidence in counseling about diet and exercise. Most importantly, physicians with a normal BMI were more likely to believe that physicians should suggest healthy weight-related behaviors to their patients, including diet and exercise, and are 80% more likely to discuss weight loss to an overweight patient.
 
A recent article in the Atlantic discusses this issue further. Apparently Johns Hopkins has taken these findings very seriously, especially since discovering that:

1 in 6 physicians and nurses are overweight or obese!


 

Patient Promise

 
As the care-givers, these are very troubling findings. As a result, Hopkins developed a “Patient Promise,” asking physicians to take a pledge stating they will eat a healthy and nutritious diet, exercise, reduce personal stressors, and work alongside their patients to aid them in a similar journey. The entire promise is as follows:
 

  • I will engage in regular physical activity.
  • I will consume a balanced and nutritious diet.
  • I will refrain from the use of harmful substances.
  • I will diminish personal stressors and look after my mental well-being.
  • I will encourage my patient to adopt these healthy lifestyle behaviors.
  • I will work alongside my patient as a partner in this journey.
  • I will identify and guard myself from potential prejudices against my patient based on unhealthy behaviors, recognizing the often complex origins of these habits.
  • I will respect and seek to understand the beliefs and traditions of my patient that affect his or her health.
  • I will do my part to promote healthy lifestyle behaviors within my community…

 
Maybe it is less important if your physician appears healthy, as opposed to aiming to be healthy. Perhaps like the Johns Hopkins pledge, if your physician is in the midst of working towards better health through diet and exercise, you can join them on their journey. However, if you are picky when choosing the person who cuts and manages your hair, doesn’t it make sense to be just as picky when it comes to the person that manages your health and life?
 

CONT’D: Follow the link HERE to continue reading the remainder of the article.

 

Subscribe to Caveman Doctor



References:

1. Bleich, S. N., Bennett, W. L., Gudzune, K. A. & Cooper, L. A. Impact of physician BMI on obesity care and beliefs. Obesity (Silver Spring). 20, 999–1005 (2012).
 
 

© 2015 CDR Health and Nutrition, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

The post Is Your Barber More Important than Your Doctor? appeared first on Caveman Doctor.

]]>
2
cavemandoctor http://Cavemandoctor.com <![CDATA[Is it Time to Stop Going to the Doctor?]]> http://www.cavemandoctor.com/?p=3886 2015-04-08T13:03:45Z 2015-04-01T17:47:52Z After years of reliance on pills, costly procedures, and diagnostic tests that don’t necessarily help but may even lead to more costly and invasive tests, there has been somewhat of a backlash against the medical field as a whole. Part...
Read more

The post Is it Time to Stop Going to the Doctor? appeared first on Caveman Doctor.

]]>
After years of reliance on pills, costly procedures, and diagnostic tests that don’t necessarily help but may even lead to more costly and invasive tests, there has been somewhat of a backlash against the medical field as a whole.
Part of this is in fact medicine’s fault, while a lot of the blame can be placed on our society’s lack of proper diet and exercise, continual push for convenience, and the desire for a quick and easy fix for deep-rooted health problems. However, doctors are often in a tough spot.
 
What are they to do when patients refuse to make the lifestyle changes necessary to cure their current ailments and prevent those of the future? Should they refuse to give the diabetic insulin to bring down his constantly elevated blood sugar caused by his poor diet of bread and pasta? Such a refusal could result in serious harm and even death. The physician has few options besides providing a bandage for the problem if the patient refuses to provide the fix.
 
Luckily, there has been an explosion of interest in nutrition and exercise both on the Internet and within hospital walls to combat and prevent disease. The dogma of dietary recommendations has extensively questioned and disproven advice related to everything from heart health to weight loss to fighting cancer.
 
New clinical trials are assessing diet and exercise at an unprecedented rate. Doctors are following suit and enthusiasm is palpable within universities. But as is the case in any revolution, someone has to be the enemy. In this case, it is medicine. Taking the easy way out or “fixing” problems with medicines or costly procedures, has left a blemish on the medical field’s reputation. However, many physicians are trying to right these wrongs…
 

No Way Jose!

 
Take my grandfather, for instance, who was my inspiration in life and a large part of the reason why I am in medicine and fully subscribe to the power of diet, exercise, and a healthy lifestyle. He lived these aspects to the fullest and was rewarded with nearly 97 healthy and fulfilling years.
 
Born in 1917, his first doctor’s appointment was in 1939 for his screening in the Army before they shipped him off to Italy. His next doctor’s appointment came around 60 years later at the turn of the century when his wife was sick. He had chest pain and went to the hospital. The cardiologist told him he had an irregular heartbeat, and he would be at high risk for a blood clot due to this arrhythmia.
 
He told him to make a follow-up appointment and to start taking the blood thinner Coumadin. He got in the car and laughed, telling my mother “Like hell I’m going to take any Coumadin, let alone any medication!”
 
He never saw that doctor again. That was that…
 
Fast forwarding a decade, I remember receiving a frantic call from my mother after my grandfather had fallen. He had slipped on the ice, striking his head and causing a nasty gash on the back of his skull. She was trying to get him to the ER to undergo a CT scan and he refused. I found myself on the phone with the intent of convincing him to go.
 
“What happens if I do in fact have a bleed?” he asked me.
 
I responded that they may have to drill through his skull to release the pressure.
 
“What happens if I have a bleed and do nothing?”
 
I responded, “You will slowly lose consciousness and die in your sleep.”
 
His response: “Hell yeah, that sounds like a great way to go.” That was that.
 
He apparently did not have a bleed and was out shoveling the walkway again several days later. As a side note, if he had been on Coumadin, he would have likely experienced a severe brain bleed and passed away, as Coumadin thins the blood and interferes with the clotting process.
 
Several days before he passed, my mother was pleading with him to go to the doctor. The day before he passed he said it would be his last day alive. When told to go to the doctor, he quickly responded, “No way Jose!” When he went to bed the following day, he never woke up. That was that.
 
For my grandfather, it wasn’t really a matter of stopping visits to the doctor. He never went in the first place. However, his life was one of intense hard work on a daily basis followed by extended relaxation. He put in a new mailbox and anchored it down with concrete in 90 degree heat at the age of 96. It took him two hours. He grew his own vegetables and ate real food for all of his meals. He enjoyed a glass of wine on his porch every day just staring at nature and resting his mind. He lifted weights until he was 86 and walked 45 minutes each day either outside or on a treadmill up until his death.
 
He read the Wall Street Journal and the Economist, along with historical books and biographies up until the day before he never woke up. He loved his family intensely and spent significant amounts of time with them every day of his life. He never raised his voice and nothing, besides bad performances from the Pittsburgh Steelers, seemed to bother him.
 
If you follow all of these rules maybe you can stop going to your doctor, too…
 

Follow the link HERE to continue reading the remainder of the article.

 

Grandfather

My laid-back grandfather at age 96. No way Jose!

Subscribe to Caveman Doctor



References:

1. Bleich, S. N., Bennett, W. L., Gudzune, K. A. & Cooper, L. A. Impact of physician BMI on obesity care and beliefs. Obesity (Silver Spring). 20, 999–1005 (2012).
 

© 2015 CDR Health and Nutrition, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

The post Is it Time to Stop Going to the Doctor? appeared first on Caveman Doctor.

]]>
0
cavemandoctor http://Cavemandoctor.com <![CDATA[Dump Out Your Juices and Do a Real “Cleanse”]]> http://www.cavemandoctor.com/?p=4293 2015-04-01T13:37:30Z 2015-03-31T12:35:56Z Recently, juicing and cleanses are hotter than Hansel from Zoolander. Cleanses have people doing everything from putting coffee beans into their behinds to drinking herbal laxatives and even twelve glasses of lemonade per day.   These cleanses have also been...
Read more

The post Dump Out Your Juices and Do a Real “Cleanse” appeared first on Caveman Doctor.

]]>
Recently, juicing and cleanses are hotter than Hansel from Zoolander. Cleanses have people doing everything from putting coffee beans into their behinds to drinking herbal laxatives and even twelve glasses of lemonade per day.
 
These cleanses have also been referred to as detox diets, but they generally promote the same health benefits and make the same promises. Many even want you to buy their cleanse kit and tout it as the best. Sometimes these cleanses include adding herbal supplements or special ingredients like Garcinia Cambogia. Generally, the more supplements or meal replacements involved, the more companies can profit by selling the cleanses as products, and the more money they seem to charge.
 
Even Beyoncé was hyping the benefits of cleansing as she used one to lose weight for Dreamgirls, apparently by subsiding on lemon water, cayenne pepper, maple syrup, and herbal tea for 10 days. Granted, I am a fan of B, but one has to question the rationale for this diet. Besides the fact that it would be seemingly easy to lose weight on a diet like this, it remains unclear what this actually “cleanses.” This particular cleanse is referred to as the “Master Cleanse.

Regardless of the type of cleanse, they all have one thing in common: there is little to no data to support any of them…

The Age- (and Data-) Proven Alternative

 
While juice cleanses among others are flaunted as the latest and greatest by celebrities and others in the media, the age-old cleansing technique of fasting as a purge or cleanse actually has real data to back it up. In fact, the only benefit that may come from the popular cleanses may be the fact that many of them restrict food for a certain period of time, thus potentially mimicking fasting. However, the medical benefits of fasting cover a broad spectrum, from lowering blood sugar to fighting cancer. It also turns on the process of autophagy, which helps our cells recycle their older, used parts.
 

Several examples include:

Fasting and Blood Sugar

 
Intermittent fasting in mice has been shown to significantly reduce blood sugar and insulin levels, which may have anticancer benefits.1 It also appears to protect brain cells from damage, which may in itself be from the lower glucose.2 Fasting also induces ketosis, the metabolic process by which ketones are produced by the liver to provide our brain cells with an energy source.3 This has been shown to lower blood sugar and insulin.1,4,5
 

Fasting and Cancer Treatment

 
In mice, fasting appears to delay or halt the incidence of malignancies in mice predisposed to cancer through genetic mutations.6 There are even studies assessing fasting in humans before and after chemotherapy to decrease side effects.7,8 Other studies regarding fasting in mice have shown that it helps chemotherapy kill cancer cells more effectively while sparing our normal cells.9–11 The lowering of insulin and glucose during fasting may also help radiation therapy work better.12
 

Fasting and Neuroprotection

 
Fasting increases autophagy within brain cells, allowing them to recycle the garbage that can accumulate within our cells.13 Mice that are prone to develop Alzheimer’s benefit significantly from intermittent fasting, which helps their brain cells fight the damaging effects of Alzheimer’s and leave the mice with better cognition.14
 

Fasting Has Withstood the Test of Time

 
While just because something being old does not necessarily make it better, the history of fasting is a long one. Besides the involuntary fasting that our ancestors engaged in over the past hundreds of thousands of years during winter, famine and times of food scarcity, purposeful fasting is not too young either. Fasting during a religious ceremony is thousands of years old and has been practiced by everyone from Buddhist monks to followers of Jainism, who engage in fasting to reach a transcendent state during meditation. In China, fasting occurred before the winter solstice as it was believed that the Yang was beginning its new cycle. Finally, Judaism and Christianity involve a plethora of days of fasting throughout the year, with some Christians apparently fasting for 40 days during lent.
 
Why is fasting a part of so many different cultures and religions, from Christians during Lent to Muslims from dusk to dawn during the month of Ramaḍān? It must have some benefits if it survived as a part of so many different religions and cultures across the globe. Newer studies are showing those benefits…
 

Juice Fasts

 
Of all the cleanses and detox attempts, juice fasts may be the most absurd. While the name alone is an oxymoron, this trend has gained some recent popularity. It has no science to back it, and if the juices are heavily based on fruit, this cleanse may actually negate all of the insulin and glucose-lowering benefits of intermittent fasting. It can also potentially result in vitamin deficiencies and salt depletion. It would be a convenient method to gain the benefits of fasting without fasting, but as is the case with most conveniences, it does not work.
 

Implementing Fasting in Your Life

 
Based on the evidence and credible science as well as thousands of years of human existence where fasting was a common aspect of daily life, I believe in the benefits of fasting, a real cleanse. The-never-hungry, snacking-often-with-three-or-more-meals-per-day aspect of modern living clearly does not align with our history.
 

CONT’D: Follow the link HERE to continue reading the remainder of the article.

 
 

Subscribe to Caveman Doctor



References:

1. Champ CE, Volek JS, Siglin J, Jin L, Simone NL. Weight Gain, Metabolic Syndrome, and Breast Cancer Recurrence: Are Dietary Recommendations Supported by the Data? Int J Breast Cancer. 2012;2012:9. doi:10.1155/2012/506868.
2. Anson RM, Guo Z, de Cabo R, et al. Intermittent fasting dissociates beneficial effects of dietary restriction on glucose metabolism and neuronal resistance to injury from calorie intake. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 2003;100(10):6216-6220. doi:10.1073/pnas.1035720100.
3. Haymond MW, Howard C, Ben-Galim E, DeVivo DC. Effects of ketosis on glucose flux in children and adults. Am J Physiol – Endocrinol Metab. 1983;245:E373-E378. http://ajpendo.physiology.org/ajpendo/245/4/E373.full.pdf.
4. Champ CE, Palmer JD, Volek JS, et al. Targeting metabolism with a ketogenic diet during the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme. J Neurooncol. 2014;117(1):125-131. doi:10.1007/s11060-014-1362-0.
5. Fine EJ, Segal-Isaacson CJ, Feinman RD, et al. Targeting insulin inhibition as a metabolic therapy in advanced cancer: a pilot safety and feasibility dietary trial in 10 patients. Nutrition. 2012;28(10):1028-1035. doi:10.1016/j.nut.2012.05.001.
6. Berrigan D, Perkins SN, Haines DC, Hursting SD. Adult-onset calorie restriction and fasting delay spontaneous tumorigenesis in p53-deficient mice. Carcinogenesis. 2002;23(5):817-822. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&dopt=Citation&list_uids=12016155.
7. Safdie FM, Dorff T, Quinn D, et al. Fasting and cancer treatment in humans: A case series report. Aging (Albany NY). 2009;1(12):988-1007. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20157582.
8. Raffaghello L, Safdie F, Bianchi G, Dorff T, Fontana L, Longo VD. Fasting and differential chemotherapy protection in patients. Cell cycle. 2010;9(22):4474-4476. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21088487.
9. Safdie F, Brandhorst S, Wei M, et al. Fasting enhances the response of glioma to chemo- and radiotherapy. PLoS One. 2012;7(9):e44603. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0044603.
10. Raffaghello L, Lee C, Safdie FM, et al. Starvation-dependent differential stress resistance protects normal but not cancer cells against high-dose chemotherapy. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008;105(24):8215-8220. doi:10.1073/pnas.0708100105.
11. Lee C, Raffaghello L, Brandhorst S, et al. Fasting cycles retard growth of tumors and sensitize a range of cancer cell types to chemotherapy. Sci Transl Med. 2012;4(124):124ra27. doi:10.1126/scitranslmed.3003293.
12. Klement RJ, Champ CE. Calories, carbohydrates, and cancer therapy with radiation: exploiting the five R’s through dietary manipulation. Cancer Metastasis Rev. 2014:1-13. doi:10.1007/s10555-014-9495-3.
13. Alirezaei M, Kemball CC, Flynn CT, Wood MR, Whitton JL, Kiosses WB. Short-term fasting induces profound neuronal autophagy. Autophagy. 2010;6(6):702-710. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20534972.
14. Halagappa VKM, Guo Z, Pearson M, et al. Intermittent fasting and caloric restriction ameliorate age-related behavioral deficits in the triple-transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. Neurobiol Dis. 2007;26(1):212-220. doi:10.1016/j.nbd.2006.12.019.
 
 


 



© 2015 CDR Health and Nutrition, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

The post Dump Out Your Juices and Do a Real “Cleanse” appeared first on Caveman Doctor.

]]>
0
cavemandoctor http://Cavemandoctor.com <![CDATA[Sitting: The Eighth Deadly Sin]]> http://www.cavemandoctor.com/?p=4295 2015-04-01T13:49:07Z 2015-03-30T16:53:10Z The explanation of the cardinal or seven deadly sins became popular during the early days of Christianity to help instruct us mortals on how to avoid the deadly trap of sin. Nowadays, most people are familiar with Seven, the psychological...
Read more

The post Sitting: The Eighth Deadly Sin appeared first on Caveman Doctor.

]]>
The explanation of the cardinal or seven deadly sins became popular during the early days of Christianity to help instruct us mortals on how to avoid the deadly trap of sin. Nowadays, most people are familiar with Seven, the psychological thriller starring Brad Pitt. These sins were traditionally known as gluttony, sloth, wrath, greed, pride, lust, and envy.
 
However, the famous European painters and sculptors at the end of the Middle Ages began to popularize and immortalize the eight deadly sins within the Catholic Church. These were known as:
 

    1. A proud look
    2. A lying tongue
    3. Hands that shed innocent blood
    4. A heart that devises wicked plots
    5. Feet that are swift to run into mischief
    6. A deceitful witness that uttereth lies
    7. Him that soweth discord among brethren
    8. Him who siteth for longeth timeths

 
The eighth was not included in the newer interpretations of the Biblical texts, but the team here at Health Wire searched near and far to find the original text, and it does in fact include these ominous words.*
 

Sitting: The Modern Way of Life

 
As terrible as it may be, the 9-5 office setting is impossible for most of us to avoid if we want to feed our families. Unfortunately, this more often means no sun exposure during the day, little to no activity throughout the day, and sitting for hours on end. This is basically a recipe for disaster that most of us engage in on a daily basis. The fact that it is considered a normal aspect of daily life only adds to the issues.
 

The Problem with Sitting

 
According to a study in 2004, the average American sits for at least eight hours per day.1 In this study, over 6,000 Americans wore monitors that tracked their activity. However, they appeared to only wear the trackers for 14 hours a day, or over 50% of the time. It is likely that the average American sits a lot more than even eight hours per day.
 
Studies show that occupational sitting is associated with a higher incidence of diabetes and death.2 Those who sit for long periods are more likely to die from a heart attack.3 Another study reveals that, unsurprisingly, the more we sit, the heavier we are (in terms of body mass index).4 Other data show the more miles we drive (obviously sitting), the fatter we are.5
 
In fact, men who drive for over ten hours per week or are sedentary for over 23 hours per week have a significantly higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.6
 
Simply put, those that sit a lot are heavier, have more heart attacks, and die more often than those that stand.
 

Can You Exercise off Excessive Sitting?

 
A recent study from Australia looked at the sitting habits of almost a quarter million people.7 It found that, of those people who died, the more they sat, the higher their risk of death.
 
When comparing the sitting time of those in the study who sat for more than four hours, they found that:
 

    1. Those people who sat for 8-11 hours per day had a 15% relative increase in the risk of death.
    2. Those people who sat for more than eleven hours per day had a 40% relative increase in risk of death.

 
An interesting tidbit of this study was that this risk of death was persistent when they looked at physical activity levels among the study participants. Another study supports similar findings, as its assessment of over 120,000 people revealed that sitting for over six hours per day was independently associated with total mortality. This was found to be true regardless of an individual’s physical activity level.8
 
In other words, if you spend most of the day in a chair and then kick it into overdrive in the gym in the evening, it may not make up for the extended period of sitting. Perhaps activity levels throughout the day as a whole are more important than a lot of sitting intermixed with one period of compartmentalized exercise.
 

Stand up for Your Health

 
If you spend most of the day sitting, then stop. Increase your activity levels through these simple steps:
 

    1. Make a standing desk.
    2. Walk around as often as you can.
    3. Never, ever, ever take the elevator.

 

CONT’D: Follow the link HERE to continue reading the remainder of the article.

 
*The eighth sin was made up by me, and in no way is an official deadly sin, though it should be…
 

Subscribe to Caveman Doctor



References:

1. Matthews CE, Chen KY, Freedson PS, et al. Amount of time spent in sedentary behaviors in the United States, 2003-2004. Am J Epidemiol. 2008;167(7):875-881. doi:10.1093/aje/kwm390.
2. Van Uffelen JGZ, Wong J, Chau JY, et al. Occupational sitting and health risks: a systematic review. Am J Prev Med. 2010;39(4):379-388. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2010.05.024.
3. Proper KI, Singh AS, van Mechelen W, Chinapaw MJM. Sedentary behaviors and health outcomes among adults: a systematic review of prospective studies. Am J Prev Med. 2011;40(2):174-182. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2010.10.015.
4. Santos R, Soares-Miranda L, Vale S, Moreira C, Marques AI, Mota J. Sitting time and body mass index, in a Portuguese sample of men: results from the Azorean Physical Activity and Health Study (APAHS). doi:10.3390/ijerph7041500.
 
 


 



© 2015 CDR Health and Nutrition, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

The post Sitting: The Eighth Deadly Sin appeared first on Caveman Doctor.

]]>
0
cavemandoctor http://Cavemandoctor.com <![CDATA[Wine, Weight Loss and Low Carbs]]> http://www.cavemandoctor.com/?p=4029 2015-04-01T13:18:10Z 2015-03-23T13:12:59Z Another study came out this week illustrating the powerful health benefits of restricting carbohydrates. While this study was not a randomized trial comparing a low and high-fat diet (we already have dozens of those showing the superiority of a higher-fat...
Read more

The post Wine, Weight Loss and Low Carbs appeared first on Caveman Doctor.

]]>
Another study came out this week illustrating the powerful health benefits of restricting carbohydrates. While this study was not a randomized trial comparing a low and high-fat diet (we already have dozens of those showing the superiority of a higher-fat diet), it added some new twists and turns to the traditional low-carb and ketogenic diet.
 
This group constructed what it referred to as the “Spanish Ketogenic Diet,”1 which is basically a merging of the ketogenic and Mediterranean diets. The resulting diet is, well pretty much what you would expect — the ketogenic diet with a European flavor.
 
In fact, they looked at a ketogenic diet that, in their words, encompassed “four important healthy components of the Mediterranean diet in Spain: olive oil, salad, fish and red wine.”
 

The Spanish Ketogenic (Mediterranean) Diet

 
In only a way that Europeans can, they took an already clinically useful diet, and made it better. In regards to the details of the diet, they were as follows:
 

    1. Unlimited calories: like nearly all high-fat diets, one does not have to count calories. When humans eat satiating and satisfying foods rich in fat, hunger naturally subsides. These diets generally do not consist of the annoying and ineffective calorie counting or the painful starvation diets that many would have you believe are necessary to lose weight.
    2. The major source of fat came from olive oil, with over 30ml consumed per day. This provided a hefty supply of monounsaturated fatty acids. Again, this was a European, Mediterranean-esque diet.
    3. Green vegetables and salads were the major form of carbohydrates.
    4. Fish was the major source of protein.
    5. A moderate amount of daily wine consumption*

*By a moderate amount, they mean 200-400ml per day. To put that in context, a standard wine bottle is 750ml in size.
 

As a Side Note

 
When I was reading this study, I easily pictured the scientists and physicians as they discussed it:
 
Physician 1: This study layout sounds good, but are we sure that the subjects will follow and enjoy the diet?
 
Physician 2: Yes, good point. My colleagues in the United States give patients protein shakes full of vegetable oils and polyunsaturated fats and even high-fructose corn syrup to get them to follow meal plans. While I would never in a million years do that myself, what if we took that approach?
 
Physician 3: That sounds terrible. What if we don’t do either of those things, but just tell the patients that they can drink up to a half-bottle of wine per day?
 
Physicians 1, 2, 3, and the Entire Room: Of course! What were we thinking?! Red wine it is!
 

Sometimes the Europeans just do things better…

 
While I am not advocating drinking a half bottle of wine a day (though a glass of red is fine and has some established health benefits),2 I think you get the point.
 

The Study Participants

 
The study took place in Córdoba, Spain and included 40 overweight subjects (22 male and 19 female). They had a high body mass index of 37 (on average). Interestingly, they had to be consuming a diet with over 50% consumption of carbohydrates to be considered for the study, which oddly enough would likely be considered healthy by many low-fat advocates. They then followed the Spanish Ketogenic Diet for 12 weeks.
 
Ketosis was confirmed in the subjects through ketone strips in the morning; though they do not specify if these were urine or finger-stick tests (urine strips generally become unreliable after 2-3 weeks). Along these lines, I would question whether this was a ketogenic diet or simply a very low-carbohydrate diet.
 

So How Did They Do?

 
The improvements were globally quite drastic:

  • Bodyweight was reduced from 240 to 208 lbs overall. The authors also described what they observed as a clear loss of fat over muscle.
  • Body mass index (BMI) was reduced from 36.46 to 31.76 kg/m2.
  • Systolic blood pressure was reduced from 125.71 to 109.05 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure dropped from 84.52 to 75.24 mmHg.
  • Total cholesterol dropped significantly from 208.24 to 186.62 mg/dl.
  • Triglycerides were reduced from 218.67 to 113.90 mg/dl.
  • Glucose levels dropped from 109.81 to 93.33 mg/dl.
  • There was a significant reduction in LDL cholesterol from 114.52 to 105.95 mg/dl.
  • HDL cholesterol was increased from 50.10 to 54.57 mg/dl.

 
Overall, the largest reduction by far was the massive drop in triglycerides. This is especially important as elevated triglycerides are associated with the increased risk of stroke, heart disease, and cancer.3–5 A near 50% reduction of this potentially dangerous number is quite impressive. While many would be suspicious of a high-fat diet promoting the consumption of red wine, the weight loss, reduced blood pressure, and improvement of all lipid (cholesterol) numbers may make the skeptics rethink a few things.
 
Keep in mind that these changes occurred in rather obese individuals, so it remains difficult to tease out how many of these changes were a result of the large loss in weight. Regardless, the large loss of weight is a very important and impressive result of this diet.
 

Conclusions

 
The Spanish Ketogenic Diet was a successful lifestyle modification that led to significant improvement in weight and several important metabolic risk factors. It also sounds like a fun diet to try…
 

CONT’D: Follow the link HERE to continue reading the remainder of the article.

 
 

Subscribe to Caveman Doctor



References:

1. Pérez-Guisado J, Muñoz-Serrano A, Alonso-Moraga A. Spanish Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet: a healthy cardiovascular diet for weight loss. Nutr J. 2008;7(1):30. doi:10.1186/1475-2891-7-30.
2. Corder R, Mullen W, Khan NQ, et al. Oenology: red wine procyanidins and vascular health. Nature. 2006;444(7119):566. doi:10.1038/444566a.
3. Goodwin PJ, Boyd NF, Hanna W, et al. Elevated levels of plasma triglycerides are associated with histologically defined premenopausal breast cancer risk. Nutr Cancer. 1997;27(3):284-292. doi:10.1080/01635589709514539.
4. Hokanson JE, Austin MA. Plasma triglyceride level is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease independent of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol level: a meta-analysis of population-based prospective studies. J Cardiovasc Risk. 1996;3(2):213-219. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8836866.
5. Freiberg JJ, Tybjærg-Hansen A, Jensen JS, Nordestgaard BG. Nonfasting Triglycerides and Risk of Ischemic Stroke in the General Population. JAMA J Am Med Assoc. 2008;300(18):2142-2152. doi:10.1001/jama.2008.621.
 
 


 



© 2015 CDR Health and Nutrition, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

The post Wine, Weight Loss and Low Carbs appeared first on Caveman Doctor.

]]>
1
cavemandoctor http://Cavemandoctor.com <![CDATA[Refusing Cancer Care and the Burden of Segregated Medicine]]> http://www.cavemandoctor.com/?p=4031 2015-04-01T16:42:31Z 2015-03-23T12:31:07Z I recently became board certified by the American Board of Integrative and Holistic Medicine. In general, I am not big on the whole board certification process, which usually requires paying a lot of money to take a test and get...
Read more

The post Refusing Cancer Care and the Burden of Segregated Medicine appeared first on Caveman Doctor.

]]>
I recently became board certified by the American Board of Integrative and Holistic Medicine. In general, I am not big on the whole board certification process, which usually requires paying a lot of money to take a test and get a piece of paper in return. However, since I am an advocate of diet, exercise, and lifestyle for the prevention and treatment of disease and cancer, it only seemed appropriate that I put my money where my mouth is.
 
However, more and more people claim to be practicing or following integrative medicine, when in reality they are dismissing proven medical treatments for unproven or even ineffective ones. This may avoid a curative treatment for a hodgepodge of non-curative treatments, doing a great disservice to the patient all in the name of “integrative medicine.”
 

Integrative = Integrative and Is Not Mutually Exclusive

 
The key with integrative medicine is that it integrates several types of potential treatments and care for patients. For instance, patients who have nausea that is not handled with typical medicines like Zofran or Compazine may want to try adding ginger or even acupuncture.
 
Yet, somewhere along the way, integrative medicine has been seen by many as a refusal of traditional care or even its replacement with unproven modalities. For instance, I have seen patients with curable breast cancer undergo a vegetarian diet or supplements with herbs as their sole treatment for what was a curable early-stage breast cancer. The key word here is integrative and not replacement medicine for cancer care. While we hope that one day a natural or lifestyle treatment may replace standard treatments that lead to unwanted side effects, we are clearly not there yet.
 
And I get it. Some types of cancers have horrendous prognoses and standard treatment is nowhere near enough. Many tumors like pancreatic cancer and aggressive brain tumors have unsatisfactory cure rates and we need newer and better treatments.
 
But when I receive phone calls and consultations from patients with early-stage breast cancer, a very curable disease, who are refusing all treatment for unproven diets and herbs, it is concerning. Oftentimes, unfounded comments of the severe toxicity from treatment are used as rationale. Yet, treatment for early-stage breast cancer is frequently a lumpectomy, 16-20 treatments of radiation, and an estrogen-blocking drug.
 
While I am not minimizing the mental and physical effects of treatment, it is often very manageable for many women — more manageable than the ugly course that untreated cancer takes. Oftentimes the largest annoyance of treatment is coming in for radiation for four weeks, though we try to make it as painless as possible. One of my elderly patients would even come prepared for her treatments with a new joke each day, sometimes dirty, but always funny.
 
The problem lies in those that sit on opposite ends of the spectrum. Many physicians are 100% against any integrative treatment, from diet and exercise to vitamins and supplements. Many alternative providers and seekers are 100% against any form of conventional medicine. The two must merge. The two must become integrated.
 

What Happens When Curable Treatment Is Refused?

 
Studies showing what happens when treatment is refused are tough to come by these days. So for some answers, I had to turn to data tracing back over two centuries. One such study assessed the results from women who refused treatment from 1805-1933. They compared these women to the natural survival rates of the time which, granted, were much lower than they are nowadays. This paper is chock-full of interesting data, and I would highly recommend reading it if you have the time. What they found was that of patients with grade I (the lowest grade) tumors, 37% of treated patients were alive after 15 years while none of the untreated women were alive — and this was before 1950.1 Also, while tumors in these women appeared to fluctuate in growth rate, spontaneous regression was never seen.
 
Another more recent study looked at 5,339 women from Switzerland with nonmetastatic breast cancer who refused surgery.2 These women experienced a 2.1-fold increased risk of dying from their breast cancer.
 
When it comes to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), things did not fare much better. A third and very interesting study looked both at women who refused standard treatment and also women who turned to CAM.3 As per the discussion above, in this case it would not be complementary or integrative, as they were refusing the standard treatment to complement. The authors found a significant reduction in breast cancer-specific survival along with overall survival:
 
Survival of Breast Cancer Patients
 
Interestingly, these authors also pulled out patients who refused traditional treatment, and instead used CAM. As you can see below, while they did survive significantly longer than those that refused all treatment, it was still remarkably less than those who received standard treatment.
 
Survival of Breast Cancer Patients
 
The question remains if CAM combined with traditional treatment can work together to provide an even better cure rate.
 

Spicing up Your Life

 
For instance, curcumin, a component of the spice turmeric, has been shown to kill cancer cells through many different pathways.4,5 It also appears to target cancer cells, as it is apparently harmless to our normal cells. It may even enhance current treatments, like chemotherapy.6 Is there data showing that it can be used by itself as a definitive treatment for cancer? No, but as a side note, it is a great way to spice up a meal.
 
Compelling data exists showing the ability of green tea to help prevent many diseases, including cancer.7,8 Other preclinical data has shown that green tea may help to treat cancer synergistically with current modalities as well as stopping cancer from spreading (metastasis).9 When I was sorting through my grandfather’s belongings after he passed away several weeks before turning 97, I found a massive supply of his green tea, which he apparently would drink in a couple weeks. He may have been 96, but he knew the data on green tea was quite compelling.
 

Grandfather Green Tea

My grandfather at age 96 with, most likely, green tea in his mug!

Integrating the Future

 
Improving and drastically changing diet, adding exercise, sleeping better, enhancing the immune system, and engaging in methods of stress management are all beneficial in their own rights, but there is no tangible data to show that any of these are successful treatments for breast cancer in and of themselves. Integrating them may help (and for some it may not). Ideally some of them help so much that we can reduce treatments that carry with them significant side effects.
 

CONT’D: Follow the link HERE to continue reading the remainder of the article.

 
 

Subscribe to Caveman Doctor



References:

1. BLOOM HJ, RICHARDSON WW, HARRIES EJ. Natural history of untreated breast cancer (1805-1933). Comparison of untreated and treated cases according to histological grade of malignancy. Br Med J. 1962;2(5299):213-221. http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1925646&tool=pmcentrez&rendertype=abstract. Accessed January 19, 2015.
2. Verkooijen HM, Fioretta GM, Rapiti E, et al. Patients’ refusal of surgery strongly impairs breast cancer survival. Ann Surg. 2005;242(2):276-280. http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1357734&tool=pmcentrez&rendertype=abstract. Accessed January 19, 2015.
3. Joseph K, Vrouwe S, Kamruzzaman A, et al. Outcome analysis of breast cancer patients who declined evidence-based treatment. World J Surg Oncol. 2012;10(1):118. doi:10.1186/1477-7819-10-118.
4. Wang Y, Rishi AK, Wu W, et al. Curcumin suppresses growth of mesothelioma cells in vitro and in vivo, in part, by stimulating apoptosis. Mol Cell Biochem. 2011. doi:10.1007/s11010-011-0878-2.
5. Ravindran J, Prasad S, Aggarwal BB. Curcumin and cancer cells: how many ways can curry kill tumor cells selectively? AAPS J. 2009;11(3):495-510. doi:10.1208/s12248-009-9128-x.
6. Abuzeid WM, Davis S, Tang AL, et al. Sensitization of head and neck cancer to Cisplatin through the use of a novel curcumin analog. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2011;137(5):499-507. doi:137/5/499 [pii] 10.1001/archoto.2011.63.
7. Shimizu M, Adachi S, Masuda M, Kozawa O, Moriwaki H. Cancer chemoprevention with green tea catechins by targeting receptor tyrosine kinases. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2011. doi:10.1002/mnfr.201000622.
8. Hanau C, Morré DJ, Morré DM. Cancer prevention trial of a synergistic mixture of green tea concentrate plus Capsicum (CAPSOL-T) in a random population of subjects ages 40-84. Clin Proteomics. 2014;11(1):2. doi:10.1186/1559-0275-11-2.
9. Khan N, Mukhtar H. Cancer and metastasis: prevention and treatment by green tea. Cancer Metastasis Rev. 2010;29(3):435-445. doi:10.1007/s10555-010-9236-1.

 
 


 



© 2015 CDR Health and Nutrition, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

The post Refusing Cancer Care and the Burden of Segregated Medicine appeared first on Caveman Doctor.

]]>
0
cavemandoctor http://Cavemandoctor.com <![CDATA[Booze and Health: Everything You Need to Know]]> http://www.cavemandoctor.com/?p=4037 2015-04-01T13:26:51Z 2015-03-20T18:21:04Z My articles here at Health Wire have recently been touching on the potential health benefits of alcohol, and specifically wine, quite a bit. I am not sure if it is my cabin fever while being stuck inside during these bitter...
Read more

The post Booze and Health: Everything You Need to Know appeared first on Caveman Doctor.

]]>
My articles here at Health Wire have recently been touching on the potential health benefits of alcohol, and specifically wine, quite a bit. I am not sure if it is my cabin fever while being stuck inside during these bitter cold winter months in Pittsburgh or a new wine app that I downloaded on my phone.
 
In the past several weeks, we have discussed the “Spanish Ketogenic Diet” along with some benefits of wine that you likely never even considered. Yet, while some wine may be healthy for us, some people forget to draw the line where enough is enough.
 
In fact, some people follow a very strict and healthy lifestyle, but then seem to hypocritically turn it off when it comes to the excessive drinking of alcohol, or even binge drinking…
 

Binge Drinking: Not Just for Kids

 
Binge drinking oftentimes occurs in college,1 but in actuality persists throughout adulthood for many.2 Heavy drinking in one sitting (five or more drinks) at any age is both unhealthy and unsafe, but the numbers show that it is increasing among adults.2 I often see many of my friends or colleagues follow a strict diet and lifestyle throughout the week and then effortlessly consume an excessive amount of alcohol on the weekend. And it is more than just on special occasions…
 
Besides the fact that binging on alcohol increases acute safety issues like car wrecks, assault, and situations that can lead to an increased risk of death, it also increases many chronic medical conditions over time. These can include things like liver dysfunction and multiple types of cancer.
 
People seem to forget the effect on cancer that may result from overloading on alcohol…
 

Alcohol and Cancer

 
While the exact mechanism is unclear, alcohol interferes with several physiologic processes that can lead to cancer, including the metabolism of folate and the repair of DNA damage.3 Also, alcohol is metabolized to acetaldehyde, which can damage our genes. It also increases estrogens within the body, which can potentially fuel hormonally-active cancers like breast and prostate cancer. Finally, it can increase free radicals, which damage our organs and cells.
 

The Brighter Side

 
However, moderate alcohol consumption is not all gloom and doom. When we do not inundate our body with large amounts of alcohol, there may be some health benefits. As described above, alcohol is a poison to a degree and must be metabolized and excreted from the body. Therefore, as with any poison, large amounts can lead to multiple heath issues. However, lesser amounts may provide the benefits of improving our heart health, benefiting our cholesterol profiles, and perhaps even acting as antioxidants.4
 
Wine contains many antioxidants, like resveratrol, quercetin, and catechin, along with polyphenols like anthocyanins, which appear to protect our hearts and organs from free radicals. It also increases HDL, a task that can be difficult at times even with costly medication. Finally, wine may protect against several chronic diseases, like type II diabetes.5
 
A recent study of several thousand senior citizens (taking place in Bordeaux of all places) revealed that wine consumption correlated with a significant decrease in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in those who drank 250-500ml per day. This equates to 2-3 glasses per day of what I consider a normal pour.
 
But again, this is drinking in moderation. Overloading our body with excessive amounts of alcohol in a single sitting paints quite a different picture…
 

How Much Alcohol Is Just Right?

 
Like most questions when it comes to health and nutrition, we do not know the exact answer. For some, it is clearly best to avoid alcohol altogether. For those of us who are able to drink in moderation, the data seems strongest for 1-2 glasses of alcohol per day. While red wine may provide the strongest benefit, other studies reveal that people who drink wine may merely eat healthier, creating a “chicken or the egg” phenomena.6
 
A large Danish study analyzed over 12,000 people and looked at the number of drinks and types of alcohol to help answer this question. They found that heavy drinkers of any type of alcohol reported sub-optimal health, while wine drinkers generally had better health. Interestingly, beer drinkers generally experienced more sub-optimal health (50% more) than wine drinkers. Again, we must consider the chicken or the egg here. As a side note, while many studies point towards wine as providing the largest benefit, other studies show that it does not matter what type of alcohol is consumed to derive the health benefit.7
 
A final and interesting finding of this study was that suboptimal health was found to be J-shaped. In other words, those who did not consume alcohol or those who consumed high amounts experienced suboptimal health. Along these lines, the sweet spot for wine consumption was smack dab in the middle, and those who consumed excessive amounts seemed to lose the benefit. The authors concluded that:

“a light to moderate wine intake is related to good self-perceived health, whereas this is not the case for beer and spirits.”

Keeping in mind this study only looked at associations, it supports past data showing potential benefits of moderate wine consumption.
 

My Personal Alcohol Habits

 
Regardless of what the exact mechanism by which wine may benefit health is, and how many drinks per day is optimal, one thing is for sure:
 
Excessive alcohol consumption and binge drinking lead to sub-optimal health and decision-making. Like the many other aspects of health, with alcohol and even red wine, you can certainly have too much of a good thing.
 
I will continue my nightly glass of red. Sometimes I may push the limits on this at weddings or other celebrations where I get really crazy and have three glasses…
 

Follow the link HERE to view on Health Wire.

 
 

Subscribe to Caveman Doctor



References:

1. Wechsler H, Dowdall GW, Davenport A, Castillo S. Correlates of college student binge drinking. Am J Public Health. 1995;85(7):921-926. doi:10.2105/AJPH.85.7.921.
2. Naimi TS, Brewer RD, Mokdad A, Denny C, Serdula MK, Marks JS. Binge Drinking Among US Adults. JAMA. 2003;289(1):70-75. doi:10.1001/jama.289.1.70.
3. Boffetta P, Hashibe M. Alcohol and cancer. Lancet Oncol. 2006;7(2):149-156. doi:10.1016/S1470-2045(06)70577-0.
4. Lindberg ML, Amsterdam EA. Alcohol, wine, and cardiovascular health. Clin Cardiol. 2008;31(8):347-351. doi:10.1002/clc.20263.
5. Tomera JF. Current knowledge of the health benefits and disadvantages of wine consumption. Trends Food Sci Technol. 1999;10(4-5):129-138. doi:10.1016/S0924-2244(99)00035-7.
6. Tjonneland A, Gronbæk M, Stripp C, Overvad K. Wine intake and diet in a random sample of 48763 Danish men and women. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999;69(1):49-54. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/69/1/49.short. Accessed February 1, 2015.
7. Rimm EB, Klatsky A, Grobbee D, Stampfer MJ. Review of moderate alcohol consumption and reduced risk of coronary heart disease: is the effect due to beer, wine, or spirits? BMJ. 1996;312(7033):731-736. doi:10.1136/bmj.312.7033.731.

 
 


 



© 2014 CDR Health and Nutrition, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

The post Booze and Health: Everything You Need to Know appeared first on Caveman Doctor.

]]>
0
cavemandoctor http://Cavemandoctor.com <![CDATA[Ensure, Boost and Powersauce Bars]]> http://www.cavemandoctor.com/?p=4035 2015-04-01T13:35:02Z 2015-03-19T12:05:22Z In a classic Simpsons episode, Homer decides to climb the “Murderhorn,” the tallest mountain in Springfield. This occurs after homer joins a 24-hour gym (that he pronounces “gyme”) and meets Rainier Wolfcastle, the show’s equivalent of Arnold Schwarzenegger.   After...
Read more

The post Ensure, Boost and Powersauce Bars appeared first on Caveman Doctor.

]]>
In a classic Simpsons episode, Homer decides to climb the “Murderhorn,” the tallest mountain in Springfield. This occurs after homer joins a 24-hour gym (that he pronounces “gyme”) and meets Rainier Wolfcastle, the show’s equivalent of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
 
After hitting the weights, building some muscle, and losing his famous belly, Homer is approached by “Powersauce,” a supplement company that wants to promote the climb by “fueling” Homer with its energy bars. Homer eventually makes it to the peak of the mountain, after he nearly dies. It also became known to Homer during the trek that his Powersauce bars were actually made of apple cores and shredded Chinese newspaper.
 
This episode comes to my mind every time I hear a patient tell me they were recommended Boost, Ensure, Glucerna, or one of the many popular meal replacement shakes and supplements. Unfortunately, this episode pops into my head quite often…
 

 

Cancer Patients, Cachexia, and Nutrition

 
Significant muscle loss remains a concern for cancer patients during treatment. The treatment itself can cause eating difficulties due to nausea, bowel issues, or even damage to the mouth or esophagus resulting in pain with swallowing and difficulty eating adequate amounts of food. Chemoradiation also disrupts normal taste and salivary gland function. It is surprising to see how little people will eat when they cannot taste the food. Oftentimes, this leaves liquid meal replacement products as the go-to source for nutrition.
 
However, weight loss in cancer patients is not always bad. In many cases, weight loss may even be helpful, as fat tissue gives off inflammatory factors and hormones that can fuel cancer growth.1,2 Weight gain in breast cancer patients, for instance, can lead to increased chances that the treated cancer will recur.3
 
Cachexia, on the other hand, is the unwanted, significant, and progressive loss of appetite, weight, and body mass (especially muscle).4 It is also accompanied by a state of systemic inflammation throughout the body. Cachexia is the fear that has led many dietitians and oncologists to tell patients to eat whatever they can, just do not lose weight. The loss of muscle mass from cachexia in cancer patients is usually considered irreversible.
 
However, decades of research have started to tell us what works and what doesn’t when it comes to stopping the loss of muscle mass in cancer patients. Earlier studies in mice showed that medium chain triglycerides (MCT) appear to halt muscle loss without feeding cancer cells.5 In fact, weight loss was reduced in proportion to the amount of fat in the diet. Further data showed that MCT increased ketones in the blood, which may also help to combat cancer cachexia.6 More recent studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids and fish oil may help fight cachexia.7
 
The key here is that healthy fat sources appear to combat cachexia, while recommending mega doses of sugar and other poor sources of nutrition provide little benefit. Simply telling patients to eat more, whether that is ice cream or popsicles, does not work as it does not address the underlying inflammatory and metabolic issues.8
 

What about telling patients to turn to the standard — Boost, Ensure, Glucerna, and Carnation Instant Breakfast?


 
I have compiled what I believe (in my humble opinion) are the worst possible ingredients to feed anyone, let alone cancer patients:

    1. Sugar
    2. High-fructose corn syrup

    3. Vegetable oils: Full of inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids and known to increase inflammation. As cachexia is inflammation gone amok, inflammatory food is likely the last thing we want to feed cancer patients.

    4. Poor protein sources

 

What’s on the Label?

 
Perusing the nutrition facts label from Ensure Complete gives a clear picture as to what kind of supplement it is:
 
Ensure Complete
 
As you can see, this “supplement” has a whopping 51 grams of carbohydrates with 13g of protein and 11g of fat. Twenty grams of sugar further sweeten (or worsen) the deal for its consumers.
 
Ensure Complete Ingredients
 
The ingredients listed on nutrition labels are in order of quantity. In other words, the first four ingredients often make up the bulk of the product. In the case of Ensure Complete, the first four ingredients are water, corn maltodextrin, sugar, and canola oil.
 
Two of the first three ingredients are carbohydrates, with the second being pure sugar. Pile this on top of all the issues with cancer and sugar and radiation and chemotherapy that we have discussed about a million times (see here, here, here, and here). The fourth ingredient is Canola Oil, the vegetable oil created from the seed of the rape plant. It was first made in Canada in the 1970s, thus giving it the name Canola — Can stands for Canada and ola for oil. In 2011, 25% of canola was manufactured from genetically modified sources (GMOs). Nowadays that number is apparently 90%.
 
Canola oil is one of the many vegetable oils that go through extreme processing. This includes using the solvent hexane to extract the oil from seeds. This gunk is then pressed and washed with sodium hydroxide. The oil is also heated and steamed to remove the foul odor and eventually bleached to lighten the color.
 
Sound healthy?
 
As if this process did not sound bad enough, it damages the oil creating oxidation and trans fatty acids.9 Trans fatty acids have been found to cause many health issues like heart disease, inflammation, and cancer.10–13 Canola oil also has double the amount of inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids versus omega-3 fatty acids. While omega-3 fatty acids have many health benefits, the plant form found in canola oil (alpha linoleic acid) does not have the health benefits of the forms found in fish and animals, like DHA and EPA.
 
Furthermore, ALA has to be converted to EPA or DHA, a process that the human body is not very good at.14 The body also gets worse at this with higher amounts of omega-6s, further limiting any health benefit from this processed vegetable oil. As cachexia is a state of inflammation, it stands to reason that this may not be the best step forward for those cancer patients struggling to keep on weight.
 

At Least There Is Protein

 
Way back when I was in high school, perusing the aisles of my local GNC in an effort to find a good protein shake to build some muscle for the girls at school, I would always find the best deal on soy protein isolate. While whey was always around $30 per bottle, soy protein was usually under $10. I remember asking the meathead that worked behind the counter why that was the case. “Because soy protein isolate is garbage,” was his response. I went home and did some research, and he was right.
 
Somewhere along the line, people began considering soy products healthy. Their prices gradually shot up as a result. The cheap garbage on the bottom shelf at GNC was said to have a plethora of health benefits and was worthy of a higher price tag.
 
Yet, while some soy products were originally thought to have health benefits, and while this is a controversial topic,15 most people consider soy protein isolate to contain very little health benefit and to be potentially dangerous. Data has revealed that soy protein isolate stimulates breast tissue in premenopausal women, causing excessive growth of breast tissue (hyperplastic epithelial cells), secretion of breast fluid, and elevated levels of estrogen throughout the body.16 Even in the vegetarian community, it seems that enthusiasm for soy protein isolate has simmered down.
 
To add insult to injury, you will notice that the number two protein ingredient of Ensure Complete is soy protein isolate. This continues and rounds out the usage of utterly second-rate ingredients in these supplements.
 

CONT’D: Follow the link HERE to continue reading the remainder of the article.

 
 

Subscribe to Caveman Doctor



References:

1. Van Kruijsdijk RCM, van der Wall E, Visseren FLJ. Obesity and Cancer: The Role of Dysfunctional Adipose Tissue. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2009;18(10):2569-2578. doi:10.1158/1055-9965.epi-09-0372.
2. Simone BA, Champ CE, Rosenberg AL, et al. Selectively starving cancer cells through dietary manipulation: methods and clinical implications. Futur Oncol. 2013;9(7):959-976. doi:10.2217/fon.13.31.
3. Champ CE, Volek JS, Siglin J, Jin L, Simone NL. Weight Gain, Metabolic Syndrome, and Breast Cancer Recurrence: Are Dietary Recommendations Supported by the Data? Int J Breast Cancer. 2012;2012:9. doi:10.1155/2012/506868.
4. Fearon K, Strasser F, Anker SD, et al. Definition and classification of cancer cachexia: an international consensus. Lancet Oncol. 2011;12(5):489-495. doi:10.1016/S1470-2045(10)70218-7.
5. Tisdale MJ, Brennan RA, Fearon KC. Reduction of weight loss and tumour size in a cachexia model by a high fat diet. Br J Cancer. 1987;56(1):39-43. http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=2001676&tool=pmcentrez&rendertype=abstract. Accessed February 15, 2015.
6. Tisdale MJ, Brennan RA. A comparison of long-chain triglycerides and medium-chain triglycerides on weight loss and tumour size in a cachexia model. Br J Cancer. 1988;58(5):580-583. http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=2246820&tool=pmcentrez&rendertype=abstract. Accessed February 15, 2015.
7. Giacosa A, Rondanelli M. Fish oil and treatment of cancer cachexia. Genes Nutr. 2008;3(1):25-28. doi:10.1007/s12263-008-0078-1.
8. Bosaeus I. Nutritional support in multimodal therapy for cancer cachexia. Support Care Cancer. 2008;16(5):447-451. doi:10.1007/s00520-007-0388-7.
9. O’KEEFE S, GASKINS-WRIGHT S, WILEY V, CHEN I-C. LEVELS OF TRANS GEOMETRICAL ISOMERS OF ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS IN SOME UNHYDROGENATED U. S. VEGETABLE OILS. J Food Lipids. 1994;1(3):165-176. doi:10.1111/j.1745-4522.1994.tb00244.x.
10. Lemaitre RN, King IB, Raghunathan TE, et al. Cell Membrane Trans-Fatty Acids and the Risk of Primary Cardiac Arrest. Circulation. 2002;105(6):697-701. doi:10.1161/hc0602.103583.
11. Lopez-Garcia E, Schulze MB, Meigs JB, et al. Consumption of Trans Fatty Acids Is Related to Plasma Biomarkers of Inflammation and Endothelial Dysfunction. J Nutr. 2005;135(3):562-566. http://jn.nutrition.org/content/135/3/562.abstract.
12. Reddy BS, Tanaka T, Simi B. Effect of different levels of dietary trans fat or corn oil on azoxymethane-induced colon carcinogenesis in F344 rats. J Natl Cancer Inst. 1985;75(4):791-798. http://ukpmc.ac.uk/abstract/MED/3862909.
13. Stender S, Dyerberg J, Astrup A. High Levels of Industrially Produced Trans Fat in Popular Fast Foods. N Engl J Med. 2006;354(15):1650-1652. doi:doi:10.1056/NEJMc052959.
14. Gerster H. Can adults adequately convert alpha-linolenic acid (18:3n-3) to eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5n-3) and docosahexaenoic acid (22:6n-3)? Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 1998;68(3):159-173. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9637947. Accessed February 14, 2015.
15. Xiao CW. Health Effects of Soy Protein and Isoflavones in Humans. J Nutr. 2008;138(6):1244S – 1249. http://jn.nutrition.org/content/138/6/1244S.short. Accessed February 12, 2015.
16. Petrakis N, Barnes S, King E, et al. Stimulatory influence of soy protein isolate on breast secretion in pre- and postmenopausal women. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 1996;5(10):785-794. http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/5/10/785.short. Accessed February 12, 2015.

 
 


 



© 2014 CDR Health and Nutrition, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

The post Ensure, Boost and Powersauce Bars appeared first on Caveman Doctor.

]]>
0