Monday, December 18, 2017

Deep Sleep A Natural ‘Fountain Of Youth

Deep Sleep A Natural ‘Fountain Of Youth’ In Old Age, Study Says

A new study finds that as people age and their ability to get truly restful sleep diminishes, their risk of memory loss and a wide range of mental and physical disorders increases.
Person sleeping on couch
A recent study finds that older adults who aren’t getting enough deep sleep are more likely to suffer from memory loss and life-threatening ailments like heart disease.
Researchers at the University of California-Berkeley determined that the parts of the brain that deteriorate the fastest as we age are the same areas that are responsible for the deep, restorative sleep we enjoyed in our youth.
“Nearly every disease killing us in later life has a causal link to lack of sleep,” says senior author  Matthew Walker, a professor of neuroscience and psychology at the school, in a news release.
Such ailments include heart disease, diabetes, and stroke, says Walker, while memory-related condition such as Alzheimer’s are more likely when it comes to lack of ample rest.
“We’ve done a good job of extending life span, but a poor job of extending our health span,” he adds. “We now see sleep, and improving sleep, as a new pathway for helping remedy that.”
During their review of the research, Walker and his team found that the elderly have more trouble generating the slow brainwaves that deep sleep requires, and their brains struggle to produce the neurochemicals responsible for switching from sleep to wakefulness.
In young, healthy brains, slow brainwaves help transfer memories and other information from the brain’s short-term memory center, the hippocampus, to the prefrontal cortex, where the brain stores long-term memories. These brainwaves become disrupted as we age.
The disruption of the brain’s production of the neurochemicals galanin, which promotes sleep, and orexin, which promotes wakefulness, often cause fatigue in older people during the day and restlessness at night.
The research team was quick to point out that sleeping pills don’t promote the kind of deep sleep that everyone needs.
“The American College of Physicians has acknowledged that sleeping pills should not be the first-line kneejerk response to sleep problems,” says Walker. “Sleeping pills sedate the brain, rather than help it sleep naturally. We must find better treatments for restoring healthy sleep in older adults, and that is now one of our dedicated research missions.”
Lead author Bryce Mander, a postdoctoral researcher in Walker’s lab, adds that just as important as the number of hours slept is the quality, or restfulness, of the sleep.
“Previously, the conversation has focused on how many hours you need to sleep,” he says. “However, you can sleep for a sufficient number of hours, but not obtain the right quality of sleep. We also need to appreciate the importance of sleep quality.”
So while many of us turn to supplements and holistic remedies to keep our brains and bodies young, perhaps deep sleep is the most natural — and effective — fountain of youth on the market.
The study’s findings were published in the journal Neuron.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Big Sugar - Killed How Many ?

Big Sugar Buried Evidence to Hide Sugar Harms

sugar industry paid scientists

Story at-a-glance

  • The sugar industry has long known that sugar consumption triggers poor health, but hid the incriminating data, much like the tobacco industry hid the evidence linking smoking to lung cancer
  • Historical documents show the sugar industry has spent decades manipulating, molding and guiding nutritional research to exonerate sugar by shifting the blame for obesity and heart disease to saturated fat
  • The documents also show the sugar industry buried evidence from the 1960s that linked sugar consumption to heart disease and bladder cancer. At the time, food additives shown to cause cancer in animals were banned
  • Sucrose was also found to have an adverse effect on cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Just like it defended sugar in food by shifting the blame onto dietary fats, the sugar industry also made sure sugar did not become a concern within dentistry by shifting the focus onto the need for fluoride

By Dr. Mercola
A number of recent investigations have revealed a significant truth: The sugar industry has long known that sugar consumption triggers poor health, but hid the incriminating data, much like the tobacco industry hid the evidence linking smoking to lung cancer. The most recent of these investigations, based on unearthed historical documents, found the sugar industry buried evidence from the 1960s that linked sugar consumption to heart disease and cancer.
The research didn’t see the light of day again until Cristin E. Kearns, assistant professor at UCSF School of Dentistry, discovered caches of internal industry documents stashed in the archives at several universities. The unearthing of these documents has resulted in three separate papers showing how the industry has systematically misled the public and public health officials about the dangers of sugar.
Emails obtained by Freedom of Information Act requests have also revealed Coca-Cola’s corporate plan to counter dietary warnings against soda consumption — tactics that include reshaping existing data and creating new studies, working with scientific organizations and influencing policymakers.1 All in all, the evidence clearly reveals that the food industry has but one chief aim, and that is to make money, no matter what the cost to human health.

Sugar Industry Influenced Dietary Recommendations

In 2016, Kearns and colleagues published a paper2 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine, detailing the sugar industry’s influence on dietary recommendations. In it, they revealed how the industry has spent decades manipulating, molding and guiding nutritional research to exonerate sugar and shift the blame to saturated fat instead. As reported by The New York Times:3
“The documents show that a trade group called the Sugar Research Foundation, known today as the Sugar Association, paid three Harvard scientists the equivalent of about $50,000 in today’s dollars to publish a 1967 review of research on sugar, fat and heart disease.
The studies used in the review were handpicked by the sugar group, and the article,4 which was published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, minimized the link between sugar and heart health and cast aspersions on the role of saturated fat. Even though the influence-peddling revealed in the documents dates back nearly 50 years, more recent reports show that the food industry has continued to influence nutrition science.”
Kearns also partnered with science journalist and author Gary Taubes to write the exposé “Big Sugar’s Sweet Little Lies.”5 In it, the pair notes that one of the primary strategies used by the industry has been to simply shed doubt on studies suggesting sugar is harmful. This stalling tactic, where more research is called for before a conclusion is made, has worked like a charm for five decades. Industry-funded scientists who served on federal panels also made sure the panels relied on industry-funded studies that exonerated sugar.

Industry Buried Research Linking Sugar to Heart Disease and Cancer

The latest paper6,7,8 based on the historical documents Kearns unearthed was published in PLOS Biology on November 21. Here, Kearns and colleagues focus on industry research linking sucrose to hyperlipidemia and cancer, and how and why this research was ultimately buried. In 1968, the Sugar Research Foundation, which later became the Sugar Association, funded an animal project to determine sugar’s impact on heart health.
Considering what we know today, it’s no surprise to learn the study showed that sugar promotes heart disease. However, the mechanism of action suggested sugar might also cause bladder cancer. At that point, the study was shut down. The results were never published. Co-author Stanton Glantz, professor of medicine at UCSF, told The New York Times9 this latest report continues “to build the case that the sugar industry has a long history of manipulating science.”
In a public statement,10 the Sugar Association rejected the report, calling it “a collection of speculations and assumptions about events that happened nearly five decades ago, conducted by a group of researchers and funded by individuals and organizations that are known critics of the sugar industry.” According to the association, which confirmed the existence of the study, the research was shut down not because of adverse results, but because of delays that made it go over budget.

Industry Maintains Sugar Is Part of ‘Balanced’ Lifestyle

The Sugar Association also boldly proclaims that, “We know that sugar consumed in moderation is part of a balanced lifestyle …” But is it really though? And what is a “balanced” lifestyle anyway? Half poison, half healthy nutrition? I don’t know about you, but to me that’s not a prescription for a healthy lifestyle. That’s like saying that smoking in moderation is part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle — a claim few would fall for these days.
Here’s just one recent example of what that kind of “balanced” lifestyle achieves. UCSF researchers concluded children who drink sugary beverages have shorter than average telomeres, which is associated with higher risk of chronic disease and reduced life span.11According to the author:
Even at relatively low levels of sugared-beverage consumption, we found that how often these young children drank sugar-sweetened beverages was associated with telomere length, mirroring the relationship that has been found in some studies of adults.”

Big Sugar, Big Tobacco

The 1960s sugar industry campaign aimed at countering “negative attitudes toward sugar” by funding studies showing favorable results was led by John Hickson, a Sugar Association executive who went on to work for the Cigar Research Council. As noted in The New York Times:12
As part of the sugar industry campaign, Mr. Hickson secretly paid two influential Harvard scientists to publish a major review paper in 1967 that minimized the link between sugar and heart health and shifted blame to saturated fat … Hickson left the sugar industry in the early 1970s to work for the Cigar Research Council, a tobacco industry organization.
In 1972, an internal tobacco industry memo on Mr. Hickson noted that he had a reputation for manipulating science to achieve his goals. The confidential tobacco memo described Mr. Hickson as ‘a supreme scientific politician who had been successful in condemning cyclamates, on behalf of the Sugar Research Council, on somewhat shaky evidence.’”
While the Sugar Association claims13 it “has embraced scientific research … to learn as much as possible about sugar, diet and health,” and “will always advocate for and respect any comprehensive, peer-reviewed scientific research that provides insights,” in the real world, the industry has consistently condemned or downplayed evidence of harm, despite the overwhelming amount of such evidence.
Once you know how the game is played, you start seeing pages from the game book in action everywhere you look. Case in point: While concerns about obesity grow, Coca-Cola is now shifting its corporate health initiative from the failed promotion of exercise, back to the solidly refuted idea that “all calories count” and that you can manage your weight by counting of calories.14 Both of these strategies conveniently circumvent the truth that drinking less soda, or none at all, will improve your health, even if you do nothing else.
The fact is, you cannot compare calories from an avocado and calories from soda, and reducing intake of nutritious food to squeeze in sugary beverages while maintaining a certain calorie count is not going to do your health any favors. Soda companies are also eyeing new markets where soda consumption is low,15 now that Western consumers are starting to catch on to the fact that sugar is a major driver of obesity and ill health. This includes China, India and Mexico.16

Failure to Publish Project 259 Hid Carcinogenic Potential

While Hickson was still working for the Sugar Association, studies emerged suggesting sugar calories were more detrimental to health than calories from starchy carbs like grains and potatoes. He suspected this effect might be related to the way gut microbes metabolize sugar and other carbs. To investigate this link, the association launched Project 259, to assess how animals lacking gut bacteria would respond to sugar and starches, compared to animals with normal microbiomes.
The research was led by WFR Pover, a researcher at the University of Birmingham in the U.K, who was paid the equivalent of $187,000 in today’s currency to perform the study. The initial results, detailed in a 1969 internal report, showed that rats fed sucrose produced high levels of beta-glucuronidase, an enzyme associated with both arterial hardening and bladder cancer. According to the internal report, “This is one of the first demonstrations of a biological difference between sucrose and starch fed rats.”
Pover also found that sucrose had an adverse effect on cholesterol and triglycerides, and that, indeed, this was the work of gut bacteria. While animal research carries less weight today than it did back then, federal law at the time banned food additives shown to cause cancer in animals. This means that, had this research been published rather than buried, it could have had very serious ramifications for the sugar industry. As noted in Kearns’ paper:17
“The sugar industry did not disclose evidence of harm from animal studies that would have (1) strengthened the case that the CHD [cardiovascular heart disease] risk of sucrose is greater than starch and (2) caused sucrose to be scrutinized as a potential carcinogen.”

Sugar Industry Influenced Dental Policy as Well

A third report based on Kearns cache of historical records reveal the sugar industry also played a significant role in the creation of dental policy.18,19 As a result of this collusion, dental policy not only downplays the impact that sugar and processed junk food has on dental health, it also ignores the toxic nature of fluoride.
Just like it defended sugar in food by shifting the blame onto dietary fats, the sugar industry made sure sugar did not become a concern within dentistry by shifting the focus onto the need for fluoride. According to this paper,20 published in PLOS Medicine in 2015, the sugar industry’s interactions with the National Institute of Dental Research (NIDR) significantly altered and shaped the priorities of the National Caries Program (NCP), launched in 1971 to identify interventions that would eradicate tooth decay.
As noted in the paper, “The sugar industry could not deny the role of sucrose in dental caries given the scientific evidence. They therefore adopted a strategy to deflect attention to public health interventions that would reduce the harms of sugar consumption rather than restricting intake.” This industry-led deflection strategy included:
  • Funding research on enzymes to break up dental plaque, in collaboration with allies in the food industry
  • Funding research into a highly questionable vaccine against tooth decay. Another failed research goal included developing a powder or agent that could be mixed or taken with sugary foods to lessen the destruction to teeth caused by the Streptococcus mutans bacterium21
  • Forming a task force with the aim to influence leaders in the NIDR (nine of the 11 members of the NIDR’s Caries Task Force Steering Committee, charged with identifying the NIDR’s research priorities, also served on the International Sugar Research Foundation’s Panel of Dental Caries Task Force)
  • Submitting a report to the NIDR, which served as the foundation for the initial proposal request issued for the NCP

Industry Derailed Research That Might Have Led to Sugar Regulations

Omitted from the NCP’s priorities was any research that might be detrimental to the sugar industry, meaning research investigating the role and impact of sugar on dental health. Here, as with Project 259, “The sugar industry was able to derail some promising research that probably would’ve been the foundation for regulation of sugar in food,” co-author Glantz said.22
Even today, Big Sugar is being evasive about fessing up the truth, despite overwhelming evidence showing that excessive sugar consumption — which is part and parcel of a processed food diet — is a key driver of dental cavities. According to the World Health Organization (WHO),23 people across the U.S. and Europe need to cut their sugar consumption in half in order to reduce their risk of tooth decay and obesity.
WHO’s guidelines call for reducing sugar consumption to 10 percent of daily calories or less, which equates to about 50 grams or 12 teaspoons of sugar for adults. Ideally, the WHO says, your intake should be below 5 percent, which is more in line with my own recommendations.

Sugar Labeling Is Long Overdue

We probably will not see sugar being removed from the GRAS (generally recognized as safe) list anytime soon, even though a reassessment would probably be warranted, considering the evidence. Still, there is some good news. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration finalized its new Nutrition Facts rules in May 2016,24 and once the changes take effect, food manufacturers will be required to list added sugars in grams and as percent daily value (based on a 2,000 calorie-a-day diet) on their nutrition facts labels.
By listing the percentage of daily value for sugar on nutritional labels, it will be easier to identify high-sugar foods, and could help rein in overconsumption caused by “hidden” sugars. Unfortunately, we won’t see these changes until January 1, 2020. Manufacturers with annual sales below $10 million will have one additional year to comply.

Sugar Industry Has Lost All Scientific Credibility

Large sums of money have been spent, and scientific integrity has been tossed by the wayside, to convince you that added sugars are a “staple” nutrient that belongs in your diet, and that health problems like obesity, chronic disease and dental caries are due to some other issue — be it lack of exercise, too much saturated fat, or lack of fluoride.
Clearly, the sugar industry’s ability to influence policy for public health and research put us decades behind the eight-ball, as it were. It’s really time to set the record straight, and to stop looking to the industry as a credible source of information about sugar.
To learn more about how sugar affects your health, check out, created by scientists at three American universities to counter the propaganda provided by profit-driven industry interests. This educational website25 provides access to independent research that is unsoiled by industry interference. This kind of research really is key, and anyone who believes industry-funded research is as trustworthy is deluding themselves.
Case in point: A report26 published in PLOS Medicine in December 2013 looked at how financial interests influence outcomes in trials aimed to determine the relationship between sugar consumption and obesity. The report concluded that studies with financial ties to industry were FIVE TIMES more likely to present a conclusion of “no positive association” between sugar and obesity, compared to those without such ties.

Monday, December 4, 2017

New Study Reveals Sugar Doesn't Just Feed But Causes Cancer

Research Reveals How Sugar CAUSES Cancer

Research Reveals How Sugar CAUSES Cancer
The average American consumes their body weight annually in this cancer-causing substance, and yet hospitals freely feed it to their cancer patients, oblivious to the harm it does.
Hospitals feed cancer patients sugar and high carbohydrate diets for a reason: they are abysmally ignorant of the role of nutrition in health and disease -- hence their burgeoning growth and packed rooms.
Even though the science itself shows – at least since the mid-20's with Otto Warburg's cancer hypothesis -- that tumors prefer to utilize sugar fermentation to produce energy rather than the much more efficient oxygen-based phosphorylation* – hospitals have actually invited corporations like McDonald's to move into their facilities  to 'enhance' their patient's gustatory experience, presumably to provide comfort and take the edge off of the painful surgery, radiation and chemo treatments erroneously proffered to them as the only reasonable 'standard of care.'
But the times are changing, with new research requiring these medical institutions to reform their dietary strategies, at least if they wish to claim that their interventions are in fact 'evidence-based' ...

New Study Reveals Sugar Doesn't Just Feed But Causes Cancer

A groundbreaking new study, uncovered by one of our volunteer researchers at Greenmedinfo – Jonathan Middleton – is the first of its kind to identify sugar, not only as  fuel source for an already existing cancer, but as a primary driver in oncogenesis – i.e. the initiation of cancerous characteristics (phenotype) within previously healthy cells.
Published in the Journal of Cliinical Investigation and titled, Increased sugar uptake promotes oncogenesis via EPAC/RAP1 and O-GlcNAc pathways, researchers addressed a common perception (or misperception) in the cancer research community regarding sugar's relationship to cancer: namely, "increased glycolysis [sugar based metabolis] is frequently viewed as a consequence of oncogenic events that drive malignant cell growth and survival."
Contrary to this conventional view, the new study "provide[s] evidence that increased glycolytic activation itself can be an oncogenic event..."  That is to say, the activation of sugar-based metabolism in a cell – driven by both the presence of increased quantities of glucose and the increase glucose receptors on the cell membrane surface (i.e. "overexpression of a glucose transporter") – drives cancer initiation.
Moreover, the study found that "Conversely, forced reduction of glucose uptake by breast cancer cells led to phenotypic reversion." In other words, interfering with sugar availability and uptake to the cell causes the cancer cell to REVERSE towards its pre-cancer structure-function (phenotype).

What Are The Implications of This Research to the Diet?

What this new research indicates is that sugar – of which Americans consume an astounding 160 lbs annually (imagine: 31 five-pound bags for each of us!) – is one of the primary causes of metabolic cell changes in the body consistent with the initiation and promotion of cancer. And, the research indicates that removing it from the diet, and depriving the cells of it, could REVERSE cancer.

Hidden Sugar, Crouching Cancer

It has been estimated by the USDA that the average American consumes 200 lbs of grain products annually. Why is this relevant to the question of sugar in the diet? Because refined carbohydrate products – e.g. crackers, bread, pasta, cereal – are actually 'hidden' forms of sugar. In fact, puffed rice causes your blood to become sweeter (and presumably feeds more cancer cells sugar) than white sugar, as it is higher on the glycemic index. Adding the two figures together – annual per capita consumption of sugar and grain-based products – we get a jaw dropping 360 lbs of sugar (both overt (table sugar/high fructose corn syrup) and covert (grain carbs) annually – all of which may contribute to promoting the ideal metabolic situation of cancer cells: aerobic glycolysis.
This is one reason why the ketogenic diet – that is, a fat- and protein-focused diet devoid of carbohydrate, both in simple (sugar) and complex (grain product) form – has been found so useful in the most aggressive of cancers: including brain cancer. Once you 'pull the rug out' from under the sugar/carb-craving cancer cells, they are forced to either undergo programmed cell death (apoptosis) or re-differentiate back into non-cancerous phenotypes.

If It's So Bad For Us, Why Do We Eat So Much?

One of the primary reasons why we eat sugar and carbohydrate rich diets is because they are addictive. Within minutes of consuming sugar/carbs our body goes through a neuroendocrine roller coaster. Your brain can not survive very long without glucose, the fundamental energy unit of the cell, and will 'freak out' if deprived of a steady stream of this 'nutrient' within only 2-3 minutes. The endocrine system, on the other hand, perceives the danger of high sugar – namely, glycation associated damage to protein and lipid structures within the cells of our body; think: blood caramelizing, getting sticky, and gumming up the finely tuned works – and will release hormones such as insulin, adrenaline and cortisol, in order to try to get the elevated sugar in the blood and tissues under control. Insulin forces the sugar into storage within the cell, both as glycogen and as fat, but often does its job too well, causing available glucose levels in the brain to be depleted – setting off a vicious cycle of 'emergency signals' telling the body to release more cortisol and adrenaline to increase the levels of glucose in the blood. This, of course, will result in additional insulin production and release, causing the same cycle to be repeated over and over again.
This seemingly endless vicious cycle is responsible for the insatiable cravings a high carb/sugar diet generates – not to mention the fructose-based hedonic effects generated in the brain that modulate both opioid and dopamine receptors in the nervous system (not unlike alcohol), and the pharmacologically active peptides in many gluten-containing grains, which also drive addictive behaviors and an almost psychotic fixation on getting carbs at each meal.
No wonder we have an epidemic of cancer in a world where the Westernized diet prevails. Certainly, we do not mean to indicate that a sugar/carb-rich diet is the only cause of cancer. There are many other factors that contribute to cancer initiation and promotion, such as:
  • Chemical exposure
  • Radiation exposure
  • Chronic stress that suppresses the immune system
  • Vaccines containing hidden retroviruses and cancer causing viruses
  • Natural infection with bacteria and viruses that are cancer causing
  • Lack of sleep
  • Insufficient nutrients (lack of methyl donors such as B12, folate, and B6 will prevent the body from 'turning off' (methylating) cancer-promoting genes
Even though cancer is a complex, multi-factorial phenomena, with variables we can not always control, one thing we can do is control what goes into our mouth. Sugar, for instance, does not belong there if we truly want to prevent and/or treat cancer.  And don't forget, carbohydrates that don't taste sweet on the front end – bread, crackers, cereal – certainly convert to sugar in the body within minutes post-consumption.
In a nutshell, if you are concerned about cancer, have cancer, or would like to prevent recurrence, removing sugar and excess carbohydrates is a must. Not only is it common sense, but it is now validated by experimental research.

Additional Research

Note: another recent study found that Candida albicans (yeast) also contributes to cancer initiation and promotion. C. albicans thrives on sugar, lending additional support to the notion that sugar (consumed excessively) may be a primary driver of the cancer epidemic in those consuming the modern Western diet. For information on sugar alternatives that are not synthetic toxicants like Splenda (sucralose), read my latest article on the topic:  4 Sugar Alternatives That Won't Poison You.

 *Note: Cancer cells prefer to ferment sugar as a form of energy even when there is sufficient oxygen available to the cells to do so; hence Warburg's description of cancer metabolism as 'aerobic glycolysis' or the so-called 'Warburg effect'

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Sugar is VERY BAD for us !!!

I’m Healthy, So Sugar Won’t Hurt Me, Right?

sugar health risks
While everyone has been taught that fat is bad, this was wrong. Turns out that the fat causes heart disease thing was a myth. The real public enemy has always been sugar. Now a new study shows just how damaging sugar can be.

Why Sugar Is Our Dietary Enemy

Besides the obvious, which is the inability to properly control weight, in recent years, sugar has been revealed to be quite harmful. It’s been linked to everything from cancer to heart disease to arthritis to unhealthy bacteria in the gut and much more.
Cancer cells, for example, thrive on sugar, and when there is an abundance of sugar, cancer cells can become too powerful for the immune system to destroy. Cancer cells occur in the body every single day, and our immune system does a great job at killing these cells before they turn into full-blown cancer.
Excessive sugar consumption can also change the environment in our gut, for the worse. It does this by throwing off the balance of good and bad gut bacteria (dysbiosis). Our bad gut bacteria also thrives on sugar and other junk foods, and when this happens the bad bacteria becomes the dominating force in the gut, leading to a whole host of problems, such as leaky gut, obesity, and more. Even Parkinson’s disease has been linked to the condition of our gut. Artificial sweeteners fare no better here, as these react like sugar and also damage the gut.
Cutting sugar has also been shown to benefit our stem cells. In fact, if you are considering a stem cell therapy using your own stem cells, ideally, your A1C should be at 5.1 or below, and a strict low-sugar, low-carb diet will help you get there. Additionally, sugar is a driving force behind metabolic syndrome common in middle age, which includes obesity, high blood pressure, type-2 diabetes, and more, and knee arthritis appears to be linked to metabolic syndrome and blood-sugar control.

Sugar Health Risks: Can Healthy People Handle More Sugar?

The new study compared the impact of sugar consumption on heart health in healthy and unhealthy men. The subjects in the study were separated into two groups: men with high levels of liver fat (with a condition called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease) and men with low levels of liver fat (the healthy subjects). The men in both groups were put on either a low-sugar (140 calories from sugar) or high-sugar (650 calories from sugar) diet.
After 12 weeks, the unhealthy men on the high-sugar diet experienced changes in fat metabolism that lead to heart disease, which would be expected. The more interesting finding, however was that the healthy men on the high-sugar diet had an increase in liver fat and also experienced these same changes in fat metabolism, thereby increasing their risk of heart disease as well. Another interesting finding was that men in both groups on the high-sugar diet gained weight, while men in both groups on the low-sugar diet lost weight.
The upshot? Sugar is awful. This holiday season you will be surrounded by the stuff. Don’t do it! Have a cookie or two or a glass of eggnog, but don’t let the sugar Santa get you!

Monday, November 20, 2017

CoQ10 — The No. 1 Supplement Recommended by Cardiologists

CoQ10 — The No. 1 Supplement Recommended by Cardiologists

Story at-a-glance

  • Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and the reduced version, ubiquinol, are among the most popular supplements for mitochondrial health. It’s also the No. 1 supplement recommended by cardiologists to all patients
  • Anyone taking a statin drug to lower their cholesterol must take a CoQ10/ubiquinol supplement to protect their health, especially their heart health, as statins deplete your body of CoQ10
  • Ubiquinol — the reduced, electron-rich form of CoQ10 that your body produces naturally — facilitates the conversion of energy substrates and oxygen into biological energy and is critical for mitochondrial health
  • Taking a CoQ10/ubiquinol supplement helps protect your mitochondrial membranes from oxidative damage, and has been shown to be helpful for a number of health conditions and chronic diseases rooted in mitochondrial dysfunction
  • Recent animal research suggests ubiquinol also has neuroprotective benefits that can improve your chances of recovery in case of a traumatic brain injury

By Dr. Mercola
According to the industry publication New Hope,1 coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and the reduced version, ubiquinol, are among the most popular supplements for mitochondrial health. Between 2000 and 2016, the number of Americans using CoQ10 increased from 2 million to 24 million, and the number of brands featuring CoQ10 has increased from 18 brands to 125.
This rapid growth suggests people are becoming increasingly familiar with the importance of mitochondrial health, which is great news. Even better, a recent poll2,3 reveals CoQ10 is now also the No. 1 supplement recommended by cardiologists for all patients. For years, I’ve warned that anyone taking a statin drug to lower their cholesterol really must take a CoQ10 supplement — or better yet, ubiquinol, which is the active, reduced form — to protect their health, especially their heart health.
In the past, few doctors, including cardiologists, would warn their patients of the fact that statins deplete your body of CoQ10 (and other important nutrients, including vitamin D). It appears this may now be slowly changing. Your body also produces less ubiquinol with advancing age, which is why supplementation is recommended even if you’re not on a statin drug.

Why CoQ10 Is so Important for Optimal Health

Ubiquinol — the reduced, electron-rich form of CoQ10 that your body produces naturally — plays an important role in the electron transport chain of your mitochondria, where it facilitates the conversion of energy substrates and oxygen into the biological energy (adenosine triphosphate or ATP) needed by your cells for life, repair and regeneration.
It’s a fat-soluble antioxidant, meaning it works in the fat portions of your body, such as your cell membranes, where it mops up potentially harmful byproducts of metabolism known as reactive oxygen species. Taking this supplement helps protect your mitochondrial membranes from oxidative damage, and this in turn has been shown to be helpful for a number of health conditions and chronic diseases.
This is to be expected, since many conditions, including heart disease and migraines — for which CoQ10 has been found beneficial — appear to be rooted in mitochondrial dysfunction. CoQ10 is used by every cell in your body, but especially your heart cells. Cardiac muscle cells have up to 200 times more mitochondria and hence 200 times higher CoQ10 requirements than skeletal muscle.
Low CoQ10 levels have also been detected in people with certain types of cancer,4 including lung, breast and pancreatic cancer, as well as melanoma metastasis, further strengthening the metabolic theory of cancer. The word “coenzyme” also provides a clue to its importance; it works synergistically with other enzymes to digest food, for example.
It also has the ability to increase your body’s absorption of important nutrients. More specifically, it helps recycle vitamins C and E, thereby maximizing their beneficial effects. The video above is a rerun of my interview with Robert Barry, Ph.D., a prominent CoQ10 researcher, in which he discusses the many reasons for taking CoQ10.

CoQ10 Plays an Important Role in Heart Health

Research shows CoQ10 is particularly important for heart- and cardiovascular conditions, including congestive heart failure5 and high blood pressure.6 Research also suggests CoQ10 can aid recovery after bypass and heart valve surgeries.7 I personally think all heart failure patients should be on ubiquinol. To me, not doing this is medical negligence.
When it comes to heart health, a more general benefit is that ubiquinol also acts as an antioxidant in your blood, where it prevents the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, thereby helping prevent atherosclerosis. A 2015 study8,9,10 found that older individuals who took a combination of CoQ10 and selenium daily for four years suffered fewer heart attacks, required fewer days in the hospital and had lower all-cause mortality. They also reported higher quality of life, compared to controls who received a placebo.
Remarkably, over the course of a decade — even though they’d stopped taking the supplements after four years — heart disease related deaths were nearly 50 percent lower in the original treatment group, and all-cause mortality was still 18 percent lower than controls. While CoQ10 is known to protect heart health all on its own, selenium aids your body in producing and accumulating CoQ10 by serving as a "booster."
Ubiquinol/CoQ10 also helps quell inflammation. Ubiquinol has been shown to have a positive effect on two inflammation markers, NT-proBNP and gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT), the latter of which is an early marker for heart failure. Levels of these markers are reduced and the genes linked with them are downregulated with ubiquinol supplementation. This can lower your risk not only for heart problems but also any number of other conditions associated with chronic inflammation.

CoQ10 Helps Prevent Statin-Induced Diabetes

By depleting your body of CoQ10, statin drugs not only increase your risk for heart problems, they also significantly increase your risk of diabetes.11 Rosuvastatin (Crestor), for example, is associated with a 27% increased risk of Type 2 diabetes.12 According to one 2011 meta-analysis,13 the higher your statin dose, the greater your risk of drug-induced diabetes.
The “number needed to harm” for intensive-dose statin therapy was 498 for new-onset diabetes — that’s the number of people who need to take the drug in order for one person to develop diabetes. In even simpler terms, 1 in 498 people who are on a high-dose statinregimen will develop diabetes.
As a side note, the “number needed to treat” per year for intensive-dose statins was 155 for cardiovascular events. This means 155 people have to take the drug in order to prevent a single person from having a cardiovascular event. Supplementing with ubiquinol or CoQ10 can help reduce this risk by improving mitochondrial function and hence insulin signaling. As noted in Life Extension Magazine:14
“By design, statins interfere with the production of new cholesterol molecules by blocking an enzyme called HMG-CoA reductase. But in the process, they also block a precursor of CoQ10, interfering with its natural production and resulting in lower CoQ10 blood levels. Making matters worse, lowering LDL cholesterol impairs CoQ10 transport into cells.
The combination of these effects has been shown to directly reduce blood levels of CoQ10 by as much as 54%. Diabetic patients already have lower-than-normal CoQ10 levels. That’s because their body uses up much of its CoQ10 stores in an effort to combat diabetes-induced oxidative stress. When diabetics are prescribed statin drugs … the further depletion of CoQ10 can be especially harmful.”

Other Health Benefits of CoQ10

Research reveals ubiquinol and CoQ10 is helpful for an array of different conditions and diseases, including but not limited to:15,16
Traumatic brain injury. Recent animal research suggests ubiquinol has neuroprotective benefits that can improve your chances of recovery in case of a traumatic brain injury. The study in question explored the effects of ubiquinol on cerebral gene expression when administered prior to traumatic brain injury.
Rats were given either saline or ubiquinol 30 minutes before a traumatic brain injury was induced. Those given ubiquinol fared better than the control group — an effect ascribed to ubiquinol’s ability to positively affect genes involved in bioenergetics and free radical production.
Parkinson's disease. High doses of CoQ10 may be beneficial in the early stages.
Statin-induced myopathy. Evidence shows CoQ10 lowers your risk of developing pain and muscle weakness associated with statin use.
Migraines. CoQ10 has been shown to ease headaches, including migraines, tension, cluster, menstrual and Lyme-related headaches.
Physical performance. CoQ10 is also popular with athletes. Since it’s involved in energy production, it may improve your physical performance. It may also be helpful for those with muscular dystrophy for the same reason.
Infertility. CoQ10 supplementation may also improve fertility in men and women. High levels of CoQ10 are found in semen, and has been directly correlated with sperm count and motility. Research also shows that a higher CoQ10 concentration in sperm cells helps protect sperm membranes from free radical damage.17
Women who want to conceive need to be mindful of their mitochondrial health. As noted in one study,18 “impaired mitochondrial performance created by suboptimal CoQ10 availability can drive age-associated oocyte deficits causing infertility.”

CoQ10 Combats Negative Effects of Many Drugs

CoQ10 supplementation also becomes important if you’re taking certain kinds of drugs, of which statins is but one. If you take any of the following medications you may benefit from a CoQ10 or ubiquinol supplement, as it can help combat the negative effects associated with these drugs:
Acid blockers
Allergy medicines
Anti-arrhythmic drugs
Blood thinners
Blood pressure drugs
ACE inhibitors
Angiotensin II receptor antagonists
Cholesterol reducers (including fibrates)
Diabetes medications
Psychiatric drugs

CoQ10 Versus Ubiquinol

As mentioned, ubiquinol is the reduced version of CoQ10 (aka ubiquinone). They’re actually the same molecule, but when CoQ10 is reduced it takes on two electrons, which turns it into ubiquinol. In your body, this conversion occurs thousands of times every second inside your mitochondria. The flipping back and forth between these two molecular forms is part of the process that transforms food into energy.
Ubiquinol production ramps up from early childhood until your mid- to late 20s. By the time you hit 30, it begins to decline. Young people are able to use CoQ10 supplements quite well, but older people do better with ubiquinol as it’s more readily absorbed. People with a genetic single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) called NQO1 lack the enzyme required to convert CoQ10 to ubiquinol in their bodies, and they definitely need to use ubiquinol or they won’t get any of the benefits.
Research has shown that Hispanic and Chinese populations are especially prone to having this SNP.19,20,21 There are also genetic tests you can get that can identify whether you have it. For all of these reasons, I typically recommend using ubiquinol, especially if you’re over 40.

How to Regenerate CoQ10 Naturally

Interestingly, recent research shows you can improve your body’s conversion of CoQ10 to ubiquinol by eating lots of green leafy vegetables, which are loaded with chlorophyll, in combination with sun exposure. Once chlorophyll is consumed it gets transported into your blood. Then, when you expose significant amounts of skin to sunshine, that chlorophyll absorbs the solar radiation, facilitating the conversion of CoQ10 to ubiquinol.
You can also improve absorption of CoQ10 from food or supplements by taking it with a small amount of healthy fat such as some olive oil, coconut oil or avocado. To optimize your body’s production of CoQ10, also be sure to eat plenty of:
  • Fatty fish low in contaminants, such as wild-caught Alaskan salmon, sardines, anchovies and herring
  • Grass fed beef and organic pastured poultry
  • Organic, grass fed or pastured organ meats
  • Sesame seeds
  • Broccoli

Suggested Dosing Recommendations

Dosing requirements will vary depending on your individual situation and needs. As a general rule, the sicker you are, the more you need. That said, studies typically cap the dose at 600 mg per day for severely ill people. If you're just starting out with ubiquinol, start with 200 to 300 mg per day. Within three weeks your plasma levels will typically plateau to its optimum level.
In one study, concentrations of ubiquinol increased nonlinearly with dosage over the course of a month, plateauing around levels of 2.6 grams per milliliter (g/mL) at a dosage of 90 mg/day; 3.7 g/mL for a dose of 150 mg/day and 6.5 g/mL for a dose of 300 mg/day, about midway through the month.22 After the first month, you can go down to a 100 mg/day maintenance dose. This is typically sufficient for healthy people.
If you have an active lifestyle, exercise a lot, or are under a lot of stress, you may want to increase your dose to 200 to 300 mg/day. Remember, if you're on a statin drug you need at least 100 to 200 mg of ubiquinol or CoQ10 per day, or more. To address heart failure and/or other significant heart problems you may need around 350 mg per day or more. I personally take 300 mg of ubiquinol every day.
Ideally, you’ll want to work with your physician to ascertain your ideal dose. Your doctor can do a blood test to measure your CoQ10 levels, which would tell you whether your dose is high enough to keep you within a healthy range. CoQ10 (or ubiquinol) is also appropriate for those with other chronic diseases besides heart problems, such as diabetes, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, chronic fatigue, migraines and autism, for example.
Ideally, you'll want to split the dose up to two or three times a day rather than taking it all at once, as this will result in higher blood levels. Other dosing guidelines, as presented by Dr. Stephen Sinatra (a board certified cardiologist, and a prominent expert in the field of natural cardiology) include:
Hypertension: 200 mg/day
World class athletes who need extra ATP turnover: 300 to 600 mg/day
Heart transplant or severe congestive heart failure: 300 to 600 mg/day in divided doses
Arrhythmia: 200 mg/day
Typical athlete: 100 to 300 mg/day
Mitral valve prolapse: a combination of 400 mg magnesium and 100 to 200 mg of ubiquinol per day