Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Risk of Carcinogens in Drinking Water including Drugs

What’s in Your Tap Water? Understanding & Minimizing Your 

by Irene Villano
When most people get thirsty, they go to their tap or refrigerator for a drink of water   without giving it a second thought. But what if you discovered that what was in the tap water you used every day for drinking, cooking, and washing could potentially harm you? Sadly, studies have found that potential cancercausing agents are in almost every municipal water system in the US!
The Environmental Working Group (EWG), an environmental watchdog agency, has done the testing and the results are frightening. Out of 201 systems tested across 43 states, “probable human carcinogens” were found in every sample tested. That means that the chemicals used to clean and treat the water for public consumption are harmful - despite being declared safe for drinking by the very government agencies who are meant to protect us.
The EWG wants the government to clean up its act, our water treatment systems, as well as the sources from which water is received. Removing known sources of tap water pollution would lessen the need for harmful chemicals such as chlorine being used to treat our water. Contaminants in the water supply, including organic particles from animals, fallen leaves, etc., can react with chlorine and other chemicals used during treatment to produce toxic byproducts. These byproducts aren’t tested for, nor are they monitored.
Manufacturing and Pharmaceutical Contaminants Found in Drinking Water
Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) is a disinfection byproduct that is 1,000 times more toxic than chlorine. This toxic chemical is used in the making of plastics, paint, adhesives, textiles, printing ink, and much more. There are no safe levels and DBP (along with other cancer-causing phthalates such as butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP) and di (2-ethyhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) has been detected in drinking water samples around the country.
Water treatment plants use a combination of chemicals. The most toxic is chloramine, a blend of chlorine and ammonia. Approximately 20 percent of Americans drink water that’s been treated with chloramine.
The EPA says it doesn’t know whether chloramine itself is carcinogenic, but their IRIS document for NDMA, a DBP (disinfection by-product) of chloramine, states that it’s a “probable human carcinogen.” In reality, there are more than 600 DBPs of chloramine, and little is known about most of them.
Here are other contaminants often found in drinking water:
HAAs – Haloacetic acids may cause liver disease in test animals, but as a human carcinogen it’s known to cause low birth weights, sperm toxicity, and neurological issues.
VOCs – Volatile organic compounds lead to central nervous system issues, drowsiness, and irritation of human skin and mucous membranes.
THMs – Trihalomethanes cause cancer in lab animals and trigger the production of free radicals in the human body and are associated with bladder cancer, developmental problems, and gestational dysfunction.
These tap water pollutants cannot be removed by boiling, distilling, or evaporation. They also produce vapors that can accumulate in small spaces such as bathrooms and kitchens.
Other chemicals in our water supply are just as disturbing and there may be hundreds, if not thousands of them present in municipal water supplies. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) only regulates nine pollutants but they represent less than two percent of the unwanted chemicals in the system.
In one report, over 100,000 man-made chemicals were detected in the water from public treatment systems. Other chemicals can include toxic herbicides, pesticides, and pharmaceutical drugs such as statins, anti-depressants, hormone treatments (replacement therapy and contraception), and antibiotics.
That doesn’t even take into account the approved mass fluoridation of our water supply that has been linked to cancer and neurological deterioration by hundreds of studies.
The (Avoidable) Dangers of Fluoride in Our Water Supply
For more than 50 years, much of the world (including the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand) has embraced a policy of lacing public water supplies with a chemical substance known as fluoride that mainstream dentistry claims is helping to prevent tooth decay.
But the science seems to suggest that this policy is not only outdated but woefully misguided, and that fluoride may actually be a major risk factor in the development of cancer and other health problems.
After pouring through the evidence myself, I’m also convinced that consuming synthetic fluoride chemicals via municipal drinking water is not the best option if you’re trying to remain healthy and cancer-free. The risks far outweigh any “perceived” benefits, and yet most Americans who live in urban and suburban areas have no choice but to drink and bathe in water that contains what can only be described as an industrial waste product with a laundry list of potential health risks.
Cancer-Causing Toxins in Fluoride
A 1936 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association stated that fluoride at the 1 ppm (part per million) concentration is as toxic as arsenic and lead. This is the exact amount of fluoride that is dripped into municipal water supplies across the USA! Fluoride inhibits enzyme activity, paralyzes white blood cells, and causes collagen to break down. Enzymes, the immune system’s leukocytes, and collagen are all fundamental in fighting cancer. And all three are adversely affected by fluoride.
Fluoride is the chemical byproduct of industrial processes like phosphate fertilizer mining and production. The fluoride gases released during the manufacture of synthetic fertilizers used in chemical-based agriculture are trapped by large “wet scrubbers” that turn them into liquids and/or powders, which are then hauled off to municipal water departments to be injected into the water piped into your home.
Sounds appetizing, right? This is the inconvenient truth about fluoride that you won’t hear about in the major media. But it’s an important primer for what I’m about to explain to you concerning the health effects of this noxious class of chemicals, and how they differ from the earth-based fluoride minerals found naturally in some water sources.
The synthetic fluoride chemicals added to many public water supplies throughout the US come in three forms: hydrofluorosilicic acid, sodium fluorosilicate, and sodium fluoride. I won’t get into the details of each of these, but suffice it to say that all of them are entirely unnatural and pose serious risks to human health.
The EPA, which regulates the use of fluoride in water, is conflicted about its use. While admitting that fluoride chemicals are derived from industrial waste, the agency maintains that the amounts of it used in water are safe for human consumption. But even some scientists at the EPA have raised objections concerning its use, citing research showing that it can be harmful even at the amounts used.
What you need to understand about fluoride is that it’s not pharmaceutical grade, and does not undergo any type of purification before being added to water. This is problematic in and of itself because many other harmful chemicals such as arsenic and lead are oftentimes present in addition to the fluoride. These chemicals, as you may already know, are both known carcinogens.
The National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) released the results of tests it conducted back in 2000 on fluoridated water, which found that up to 40 percent of the fluoridation chemicals tested contained detectable levels of arsenic. Some samples were found to contain as much as 1.66 parts per billion (ppb) of arsenic.
A 2009 study published in the Indian Journal of Dermatology found that dermatofibromas, a type of breast cancer tumor, are directly associated with arsenic exposure. Based on the findings of this study, the researchers involved declared that arsenic “may represent the cause of the majority of cases of breast cancer.”
Separate research has also identified fluoride chemicals as corrosive agents in leaching lead from piping. Lead, as you may already know, is a recognized cause of brain damage and is linked to lower IQ in children. Lead can also displace important nutrients like zinc inside the body, obstructing the normal enzymatic processes necessary for proper cellular function and cancer prevention.
Interesting to note, fluoride is also one of the basic ingredients in both Prozac® (FLUoxetene Hydrochloride) and Sarin Nerve Gas (Isopropyl-Methyl-Phosphoryl FLUORIDE).
Ingesting Fluoride is a Recipe for Breast and Other Cancers
The presence of both arsenic and lead in fluoride chemicals is clearly problematic. But what about the fluoride chemicals themselves? A closer look at the scientific literature reveals that what you’ve probably been told all your life about the safety of fluoride is patently false.
Back in 1977, the International Society for Fluoride Research (ISFR) released a quarterly report indicting fluoride as a carcinogenic and mutagenic substance. Fluoride builds up inside the body, it noted, displacing beneficial nutrients such as iodine that feed the thyroid gland and protect against disease, especially cancers of the breast and thyroid. The result is an onset of conditions including bone cancer, thyroid cancer, liver cancer, breast cancer, and others.
Dr. Dean Burk, the former head of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), admitted that fluoridation was responsible for some 10,000 cancer deaths, based on the epidemiological research he conducted.
Many years later in 1990, the National Toxicology Program (NTP), which is part of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, released a study showing that male rats fed fluoridated water for two years had an increased risk of osteosarcomas, a type of bone tumor.
In more recent years, fluoride consumption has been linked by researchers at Harvard University to lowered IQ in young children. Fluoride has also been shown to accumulate in the pineal gland, a small gland inside your brain that produces hormones, inhibiting the body’s production of melatonin. Melatonin is an important hormone for breast cancer prevention.
On April 12, 2010, Time magazine listed fluoride as one of the “Top Ten Common Household Toxins” and described fluoride as both “neurotoxic and potentially tumorigenic if swallowed.” In Europe, fluoride is rarely added to water supplies. In Britain, only about 10 percent of the population has fluoridated water. It has been a controversial issue there, with critics arguing people shouldn’t have “medical treatment” forced on them. Truth be told, in almost every country in the world (including the USA), it’s against the law to “mass medicate” an entire population with a substance that everyone admits is toxic. However, in the US, we do it anyway.
Astonishingly, in 2011, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a report that admitted 40 percent of the children in America show signs of fluoride poisoning. The CDC concluded that fluoride levels need to be lowered in municipal water supplies, reducing fluoride to 0.7 milligrams per liter (the previous recommended upper limit was 1.2 milligrams per liter). Can you believe it? They actually admitted that fluoride is poison!
Do you remember the huge volcanic eruption in Iceland in 2010? According to BBC News (April 19, 2010): “The fluoride in the ash creates acid in the animals’ stomachs, corroding the intestines and causing hemorrhages. It also binds with calcium in the bloodstream and after heavy exposure over a period of days makes bones frail, even causing teeth to crumble.”
Removing Fluoride and Other Toxins from Your Water
No matter how you look at it, fluoride isn’t beneficial for your body. And if you’re trying to avoid cancer, fluoride definitely isn’t something you want in your food, your water, or any other part of your life - including your toothpaste and mouthwash!
Unfortunately, removing fluoride from water is difficult due to its small ionic composition. The average refrigerator or pitcher water filter simply cannot capture it, so you need to look for other options. Even most of the counter and under the sink models don’t remove fluoride.
Bottled water is also not a foolproof option for avoiding fluoride or any of the other toxins we’ve discussed. Most of the water bottled in the US comes straight from municipal water systems and may be even more contaminated because of lesser regulation. Bottled water may still contain dangerous contaminants including nitrates, caffeine, acetaminophen, and industrial chemicals. The plastic bottles also contribute to environmental pollution and can break down if exposed to direct sunlight, infusing the water inside with even more toxins.
So what are the best ways to reduce your family’s exposure to fluoride and other toxic chemicals in drinking water? Here are my recommendations:
Buy a Quality Water Filter
It’s not enough to simply funnel your tap water through a basic Brita pitcher and call it a day. In order to get as many contaminants out of your water as possible, you’ll need a filtration method that combines multiple advanced forms of media, i.e. carbon, “activated” carbon, charcoal, ozonation, and reverse osmosis.
A basic carbon filtration system will remove chlorine, asbestos, lead, mercury, and even some volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which include things like paints, glues, and pesticides. But carbon has a difficult time removing “inorganic” pollutants such as arsenic, fluoride, and perchlorates (fuel and fertilizers).
A good solution to this is to add another layer of filtration such as bone char, which can help dramatically reduce fluoride levels in water, according to the findings of a 2006 case study published in the Journal of Water and Health.
If you can afford it, a whole-house water filtration system like those offered by Pelican Water Systems will ensure that every drop of water running through your home is purified to the maximum extent possible.
If a whole-house filtration system isn’t an option financially, consider investing in a smaller-scale, best-in-class water purification system like Berkey Filters, which offers an extensive line of home drinking water filters, shower filters, portable filters, and everything in between.
Another excellent option for your shower is the Omica filter, which combines multiple forms of purifying media including shungite (a rare form of carbon), micronized zeolite, activated coconut shell carbon, and a special copper/zinc blend to maximize removal of chlorine, heavy metals, iron oxides, and VOCs.
They might not be the cheapest options, but reverse osmosis and distillation offer added purification where these other filtration methods lack. Both technologies capture hard-to-remove chemicals like fluoride, arsenic, hexavalent chromium, nitrates, and perchlorate, but they don’t remove chlorine, trihalomethanes, or VOCs - hence the need for the other filtration methods mentioned earlier.
Purchase Purified Water
If home water filtration systems aren’t in your budget or aren’t feasible in your current lifestyle context, the next best thing is to drink filtered or spring water, either bottled or from an advanced filtration machine. Many natural food stores now have full-service water machines that offer purified, mineral-balanced drinking water that’s treated through multiple stages of media.
FreshPure Reverse Osmosis Water is one best-in-class example of this, offering some of the cleanest, self-serve water for just pennies a gallon at natural and organic health food stores nationwide, including retailers such as Whole Foods, Natural Grocers, and Earth Fare.
As I mentioned earlier, bottled water is not always purified and has additional drawbacks. If you are traveling or are forced to use bottled water, you can check out the EWGs 2011 Bottled Water Scorecard for more information on the best and worst bottled waters.
More Ways to Reduce Your Exposure to Fluoride
In addition to filtering your water, here are some other steps you can take to reduce the amount of fluoride in your body.
A natural detox that includes the nutrient selenium will help stop the effects of fluoride accumulation and flush it from your body. You can find selenium in Brazil nuts (most highly concentrated source), mixed nuts, sunflower seeds, mushrooms, fatty fish and shellfish (including sardines, oysters, tuna), liver, meat and poultry, eggs, and cottage cheese. A good food based selenium supplement is called Innate Response. This is the selenium supplement that my family uses each day.
Tamarind (an ancient remedy in Ayurvedic medicine) helps to flush fluoride buildup through your urine when you use the leaves to make a tea.
Drink plenty of fluoride-free water and enjoy a dry sauna! This is an incredible method to reduce toxins in your body overall because it breaks them up from your fatty tissues so your body can expel them.
Switch to safer cookware. Non-stick cookware concentrates the effects of fluoride and is a known cancer-causing agent. Use stainless steel, glass, or ceramic for safer cooking.
Avoid processed foods and beverages (especially soft drinks), which are manufactured using fluoridated water. Choose fresh, natural foods washed in filtered water whenever possible.
Use caution when choosing oral care products and either make your own or use brands without fluoride. Manufacturers of fluoride-free toothpaste include: Auromere Ayurvedic Toothpaste, Desert Essence Toothpaste, Dr. Bronner’s All-One Toothpaste, Jason Toothpaste, Nature’s Answer PerioBrite Natural Toothpaste, and Spry Dental Defense Toothpaste.
Making Drinking Water Safer for Everyone
Current studies continue to prove that tap water pollutants will have long-term effects on your overall health and development. You must make a stand for clean, uncontaminated water for your home and family.
To determine if your city’s drinking water contains synthetic fluoride chemicals, call your water utility or look for a copy of your utility’s water quality report online. This report will give you a breakdown of what contaminants are present in your water, and let you know how much fluoride is being added (or how much is naturally present as calcium fluoride).
If your water does contain added fluoride, add your voice to those looking to have fluoride removed from your area’s drinking water. To find a concerned citizen’s group in your area, Google “the name of your city/town + anti-fluoride.”
Remember too, different areas will have different chemical pollutants, so understanding what’s in your water supply is important to determine the best filters for your personal situation. Even if you have a well, you must still be concerned about the breakdown of piping systems as well as contamination from run-off from manufacturing or farming by-products in your area.
To recap, here are the best ways to ensure drinking water safety:
Filter your water in as many ways as possible
Store your water in glass containers versus plastic
Continue to lobby for stricter water regulations in your area
You need water. You cannot survive without it. Make sure you’re taking every step possible to ensure your tap water is safe for you and your family to drink.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Handle Cognitive Decline

ReCODE: The Reversal of Cognitive Decline

Story at-a-glance

  • Dr. Dale Bredesen’s ReCODE protocol evaluates 150 factors known to contribute to Alzheimer’s disease. This identifies your disease subtype or combination of subtypes, and an effective treatment protocol can be devised
  • Type 1 Alzheimer’s is primarily caused by inflammatory factors; type 2 involves atrophic responses; type 1.5 is a mix of inflammation and atrophy, and type 3 is primarily caused by toxic exposures
  • Only 5 percent of Alzheimer’s cases are “familial” Alzheimer’s disease, a genetic condition that causes early onset Alzheimer’s; the rest are caused by lifestyle factors over which we have a great deal of control; hence, we have the ability to improve or even reverse most cases of the disease

By Dr. Mercola
Alzheimer’s is now the third leading cause of death in the United States, right behind heart disease and cancer. While prevalence is rapidly increasing, the good news is you actually have a great deal of control over this devastating disease.
Dr. Dale Bredesen, director of neurodegenerative disease research at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Medicine, and author of “The End of Alzheimer’s: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline,” has identified a number of molecular mechanisms at work in this disease, and has created a novel program to treat and reverse it.
Originally known as the MEND (Metabolic Enhancement of Neurodegeneration) Protocol, the program is now called ReCODE (Reversal of Cognitive Decline).1
“You hear things that sound like hyperbole when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease, but unfortunately, they’re not,” Bredesen says. “It’s currently costing the United States over $220 billion annually. It is a trillion-dollar global health problem. It was the sixth leading cause of death … Now, it has become the third leading cause of death in the United States. This is something that’s set to bankrupt Medicare.
It strikes about 15 percent of the population, so it’s incredibly common. In fact, you have the pathophysiology of the disease for about 20 years before the diagnosis is made. Many of us are walking around with early Alzheimer’s without realizing it. It’s a huge problem on the rise, and there hasn’t been any sort of a monotherapeutic approach that has worked for this terrible illness.”

Why Functional Medicine Is the Ideal Treatment Approach

Projections estimate Alzheimer’s will affect about half of the senior population in the next generation. Genetic predisposition does play a role. An estimated 75 million Americans have the single allele for Apolipoprotein E epsilon 4 (ApoE4). Those who are ApoE4 positive have a 30 percent lifetime risk of developing the disease. Approximately 7 million have two copies of the gene, which puts them at a 50 percent lifetime risk.
That said, even if you have one or two copies of this gene, you can still prevent Alzheimer’s from developing. But you do need to be proactive. One of the disease mechanisms Bredesen’s team discovered involve amyloid precursor protein (APP) and dependence receptors, first identified in 1993. Bredesen explains:
“These are receptors that actually create states of dependence on trophic factors [and] hormones … If they don’t get the appropriate factors, they induce programmed cell death. They induce neurite withdrawal [editor’s note: a neurite refers to a projection from the neuron’s cell body] and things like that. The surprise was that APP actually looks like a dependence receptor. We started looking at this further [and found] … that APP actually is an integrator.
In other words, it’s not just waiting for one molecule. It is summoning many different things. Whether it is going to give you the signals that indicate you should … make synapses and keep memories, or the opposite … forget [and] activate programmed cell death, depends on a whole set of signals.
These include estradiol, progesterone, pregnenolone, free T3, NF-ĸB and inflammation. We realized this is what the epidemiologists have been telling us. This is, in fact, what functional medicine does.
If you look at the molecules involved, you can’t escape the conclusion that a functional medicine approach is an optimal approach. This in no way says that you shouldn’t develop drugs as well, but you want to test the drugs on a background of the appropriate program.
We tell patients, ‘Imagine you have 36 holes in your roof — because we initially identified 36 different mechanisms involved — if you patch one hole, that’s not going to help you much. You want to patch all the holes.’ Now, a drug typically patches one hole … [but you need to] patch the other 35 as well.”

Not All Alzheimer’s Is the Same

In his research, Bredesen determined there are several subtypes of Alzheimer’s. Two of them are actually not an illness, per se. They are strategic programming downsides of the synaptic density based on a mismatch of a number of different inputs, but essentially not illnesses. If you implement Bredesen’s recommendations, you can reverse those problems. Bredesen explains:
“You can think about it the way you need to think about osteoporosis. You’ve got osteoblastic activity. You’ve got osteoclastic activity. It’s an imbalance in those two over your life that leads to osteoporosis. What we’re seeing [in these subtypes of Alzheimer’s] is no different. We realize this is synaptoporosis. There is synaptoblastic activity, and there are dozens of signals that feed into synaptoblastic activity [and there’s synaptoclastic activity].”
For clarification, your brain’s ability to speak, learn and make decisions requires connections between brain cells. You have some 100 billion neurons in your brain, and each neuron has, on average, nearly 10,000 connections, called synapses. These synapses are critical for cognitive functions such as memory storage and decision making.
When you get Alzheimer’s, you initially lose the function of the synapse, and ultimately the structure of the synapse. Eventually, the brain cells themselves start to die. This process is what causes the hallmark symptoms of Alzheimer’s. To function properly, the synaptoblastic and synaptoclastic activity in your brain needs to be balanced.
“What we discovered is that everybody with Alzheimer’s is on the wrong side of the balance. In other words, their synaptoblastic activity is too low, and/or their synaptoclastic activity is too high. We want to go after all of those different things. Now, when we then started to measure these, we realized that you’ve got to measure things that aren’t measured in clinical practice. This has been the big problem.
People say that Alzheimer’s disease is mysterious; there’s nothing you can do about it. That’s because they have not looked at these larger datasets. This is part of the new medicine … We now argue that you can, for the first time, both prevent and reverse cognitive decline. Actually, we published the first paper that showed reversal of cognitive decline.2,3 The bottom line is we need to look at larger datasets. When you do that, you can see very clearly … that there are subtypes.”

Alzheimer’s Subtypes

While these classifications have not become widely accepted yet, Bredesen has published two papers on Alzheimer’s subtypes, based on metabolic profiling.4 These include:
1.Type 1, inflammatory (“hot”) Alzheimer’s: Patients present predominantly inflammatory symptoms. They have high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, interleukin 6 and tumor necrosis factor alpha, reflecting a chronic inflammatory state. When the NF-ĸB part of inflammation is activated, it also alters gene transcription. Two of the genes turned “on” are beta-secretase and gamma-secretase, the latter of which cleaves APP, thereby promoting synaptoclastic processes.
2.Type 1.5, glycotoxic (sugar-toxic, “sweet”), a mixed subtype: This is an in-between subtype that involves both inflammation and atrophy processes, due to insulin resistance and glucose-induced inflammation.
3.Type 2, atrophic or “cold” Alzheimer’s: This is classified as patients presenting an atrophic response. While a completely different mechanism from inflammation, it produces the same end result — it pushes APP in the direction of creating amyloid plaques and Alzheimer’s cell signaling.
When you withdraw nerve growth factor, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), estradiol, testosterone or vitamin D — any compound that provides atrophic support — your brain responds by blocking synaptogenesis. As a result, your ability to retain and learn new things is reduced.   
4.Type 3, toxic (“vile”) Alzheimer’s: These are patients with toxic exposures. Many will have chronic inflammatory response syndrome (CIRS) markers, even though most do not fit the official criteria for CIRS. “They act like CIRS patients (in their labs, not necessarily symptoms) with dementia,” Bredesen explains.
They will typically have high transforming growth factor beta and complement component 4 A; low melanocyte-stimulating hormone; high matrix metallopeptidase-9; human leukocyte antigen-antigen D related qs (associated with bio toxin sensitivity), yet they rarely have the pulmonary complaints, rashes, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue typically associated with CIRS. “When you treat those, then they get better. Without treating them, they continue to decline,” Bredesen says.  

What About Genetic Influence?

As for the genetic component, Bredesen notes:
“With respect to genetics and Alzheimer’s, about 95 percent of cases of Alzheimer’s are not so-called “familial” Alzheimer’s disease. Those are relatively uncommon. Actually, mutations in APP itself are very rare causing Alzheimer’s. They tend to be very clearly clustered in families. They come on early.
However, about two-thirds of the people who have Alzheimer’s do have one or two copies of ApoE4. In that case, the genetics of risk for Alzheimer’s is very important. The ApoE4 increases your risk for type 1. It increases your risk for type 2. But it actually seems to decrease your risk for type 3, the toxin-associated [subtype], which is very interesting because … ApoE4 [has been found to be] protective with respect to parasite-associated dementia …
In fact, ApoE4 is protective for certain things. It is a more pro-inflammatory state, so very good for dealing with things like microbes. Not so good for aging, thus a case of what’s called antagonistic pleiotropy … It gives you advantages when you are young, but it is a liability with respect to chronic illness when you are older.”

If You’re ApoE4 Positive, Fasting Is Strongly Indicated to Avoid Alzheimer’s

Interestingly, ApoE4 is actually a rather useful gene, as it helps your body survive famine. Granted, lack of food is a rare situation in most developed nations — most suffer health problems from an overabundance of food — but as soon as I heard this, I suspected having this gene could be a strong clinical indication that you absolutely need to do intermittent fasting or longer fasts on a regular basis in order to avoid Alzheimer’s. Bredesen confirms my suspicion, saying:
“This is absolutely the case. I think it’s a very interesting point. ApoE is such a remarkably interesting gene … [It’s] is a fat-carrying molecule … What does that have to do with Alzheimer’s disease? Why do you start with ApoE4 and end up with Alzheimer’s? We started looking at this. It turned out, surprisingly, that ApoE actually enters the nucleus. It binds to the promoters of 1,700 different genes. It literally reprograms your cell toward a more inflammatory state.
In fact, if you look at the groups of genes, you couldn’t tell a better story about Alzheimer’s. It binds to things related to neurotrophic support … ApoE has a big impact … The ApoE4 was the primordial gene that appeared between 5 and 7 million years ago … For 96 percent of all of evolution of hominids, we’ve all been ApoE4 double positive … ApoE3 appeared 220,000 years ago. ApoE2 appeared 80,000 years ago.
Interestingly, ApoE4 prepares you to change niches. When we moved from in-the-trees arboreal ancestors to walking on the savannah, stepping on dung, puncturing our feet, eating raw meat filled with microbes, we needed a pro-inflammatory gene. In fact, if you look at the genes that are different between simians and hominids, a surprising number of these are pro-inflammatory.
It also allows you to eat fat, absorb it better and go longer without eating. If you take people who are ApoE4-positive and -negative and starve them, the ones who are negative will tend to die earlier. Therefore, it’s not that it’s better or worse. It’s different.
It gives you some advantages. It gives you some disadvantages. Therefore, you can learn to live your life slightly differently that is of advantage to you. My argument is that if you do the right things, Alzheimer’s disease should be a very rare illness …”

Mitochondrial Dysfunction Is at the Heart of Alzheimer’s

Bredesen has identified more than four dozen variables that can have a significant influence on Alzheimer’s, but at the heart of it all is mitochondrial dysfunction. This makes logical sense when you consider that your mitochondria are instrumental in producing the energy currency in your body, and without energy, nothing will work properly.
Your mitochondria are also where a majority of free radicals are generated, so when your lifestyle choices produce higher amounts of free radicals, dysfunctions in mitochondria are to be expected. The accumulation of mutations in mitochondrial DNA are also a primary driver of age-related decline.
“One of the biggest surprises we found is that if you look at why APP is making these amyloids, it’s actually changing the synaptoclastic side. The very amyloid that we have vilified and tried to get rid of turns out to be a protective response to three fundamentally different classes of insults. These go along with the subtypes of Alzheimer’s.
If you’ve got inflammation going on, you are making the amyloid because … it is a very effective endogenous antimicrobial. If you are decreasing your trophic factor support … you are downsizing a network. As mentioned earlier, in that case, it’s not really a disease …
[It’s] a falling apart of the system. You’re making amyloid because you’re fighting microbes, because you’re under assault and you’re inflamed, because you are decreased in your trophic support (insulin resistance, and so on) or because [you’re toxic].
Guess what amyloid does beautifully? It binds toxins like metals, mercury and copper. It’s very clear you’re making [amyloid] to protect yourself. It’s all well and good if you want to remove it, but make sure to remove the inducer of it before you remove it. Otherwise, you’re putting yourself at risk.”

Why Drug Treatments Aren’t the Answer

When it comes to Alzheimer’s, the evidence suggests that holding out for a drug treatment would be foolish, as it’s unlikely to work very well, and here’s why:
“The hope is that we would use a specific drug and test drugs to see if we can prevent it. Here’s the problem: APP is like a CEO essentially. It’s looking at all the inputs from both sides, the pro and the con. It’s deciding, ‘Are we going to be able to make more memories? Are we going to have a positive synaptic plasticity? Are we going to be synaptoblastic or are we synaptoclastic?’
Now, in the few families that have this [familial presenilin 1 mutation], they are pushed towards the synaptoclastic side from the beginning. That is not representative of what over 95 percent of us have. We are pushed there appropriately because we ate the wrong foods, we stayed up too late and we abused ourselves with stress; we were exposed to toxins; we lived a Western lifestyle; our hormones decreased. Those are the things that drive our APP to produce the synaptoclastic side.
In those presemilin1 cases and in the APP mutations, it is not the same mechanism. Unfortunately, the mouse models that we all work with are like familial Alzheimer’s, not like the sporadic Alzheimer’s, which is the vast majority [of real-life cases]. This is not to say that the drug cannot work. Let’s hope for the best. But again, I would argue that you want to address the various things that are contributing to an appropriate response of your APP, which we ultimately call Alzheimer’s disease …
The critical piece here is … to say … ‘Let’s look at all of the contributors to your cognitive decline.’ We know ahead of time that because of the cognitive decline, you have this change. If it’s what we call Alzheimer’s, you, by definition, have a change in your APP signaling with the occurrence of this amyloid. Let’s look at all the things that contribute to that.”


While ReCODE looks at all of the contributing factors, restoring mitochondrial function is a cornerstone of successful Alzheimer’s treatment. One of the most powerful ways to optimize mitochondrial function is pulsed or cyclical ketosis, which is the main focus of my book, “Fat for Fuel.”
Not surprisingly, Bredesen’s ReCODE Protocol makes use of nutritional ketosis, and he’s starting to familiarize himself with cyclical ketosis as well. Typically, patients are asked to get a ketone meter, and to maintain a mildly ketogenic state of 0.5 to 4 millimolar betahydroxybutyrate.
The ReCODE protocol evaluates 150 different variables, including biochemistry, genetics and historical imaging, to determine which factors are most likely driving the disease. You can get more details on these variables by reading Bredesen’s outstanding new book, “The End of Alzheimer’s,” which was just released this week. An algorithm then generates a percentage for each subtype. While most patients have a dominant type, other subtypes typically contribute to the disease.
From this, they then devise a personalized treatment protocol. For example, if you have insulin resistance, which many do, you want to improve your insulin sensitivity. If you have inflammation, then you’ll work on removing the source of the pro-inflammatory effect.
Oftentimes you’ll need to eliminate toxins and/or address leaky gut or a suboptimal gut microbiome. Interestingly, they also place great focus on the rhinosinal microbiome, the microbes residing in your nose and sinuses. According to Bredesen, your rhinosinal microbiome can have a significant influence on this disease. Many Alzheimer’s patients have elevated levels of a number of different pathogens, especially oral bacteria, such as P. gingivalis and Herpes simplex virus-1.
“There’s a tremendous amount you can do,” Bredesen says. “We recommend that everybody over the age of 45 get what we call a “cognoscopy” … It’s very simple. You’re going to look at these different things in your blood. You’re going to look at your genetics … Then get on the appropriate program for prevention. If you’ve already started to be symptomatic, get on an appropriate program for reversal. The earlier, the better.”
Following is a list of suggested screening tests.
Alzheimer’s Screening Tests
TestRecommended range
40 to 60 ng/mL
Less than 16 U/L for men and less than 9 U/L for women
25-hydroxy vitamin D
40 to 60 ng/mL
You can get test here
High-sensitivity CRP
Less than 0.9 mg/L (the lower the better)
Fasting Insulin
Less than 4.5 mg/dL (the lower the better)
Omega-3 index and omega 6:3 ratio
Omega-3 index should be above 8 percent and your omega 6-to-3 ratio between 0.5 and 3.0
You can get the omega-3 index test here
TNF alpha
Less than 6.0
Less than 2.0 microunits/mL
Free T3
3.2-4.2 pg/mL
Reverse T3
Less than 20 ng/mL
Free T4
1.3-1.8 ng/mL
Serum copper and zinc ratio
Serum selenium
110-150 ng/mL
5.0-5.5 μm
Vitamin E (alpha tocopherol)
12-20 mcg/mL
Body mass index (which you can calculate yourself)
ApoE4 (DNA test)
See how many alleles you have: 0, 1 or 2
Vitamin B12
Hemoglobin A1c
Less than 5.5 (the lower the better)
4.4-10.8 mcmol/L

Core Treatment Strategies

Bredesen recommends mild ketosis and a mostly plant-based diet to all his patients. The specific diet recommended in his protocol is called KetoFlex 12/3, which involves a daily fasting period of 12 hours. For ApoE4-positive patients, 14 to 16 hours of fasting instead of the minimum 12 is recommended.
He also recommends exercise, to increase BDNF; stress reduction; optimizing your sleep, which is critical for cognitive function, and nutritional support. Important nutrients include animal-based omega-3, magnesium, vitamin D and fiber. All of these nutrients need to be optimized.
“I always tell patients, ‘We’re going to treat you now like a competitive athlete’ … We want to optimize these things. When you do that, the effects are absolutely striking. I’ve seen people go back to work. One person said, ‘I’ve allowed myself to talk to my grandchildren, once again, about the future, because I had to stop doing that.’
One person went from third percentile to the 84th percentile on his cognitive testing. Another person increased hippocampal volume dramatically. These are unprecedented effects, because we are addressing the specific items that are actually causing the cognitive decline.”
He’s also following Michael Hamblin’s work on photobiomodulation, which uses near-infrared light and red light between 660 and 830 nanometers for the treatment of Alzheimer’s. Dr. Lew Lim has developed a device called the Vielight, which employs light emitting diodes at these frequencies. Alzheimer’s patients using the device for 20 minutes a day report remarkably positive results.
Bredesen also agrees that electromagnetic exposures from wireless technologies are a crucial component that needs to be addressed, as this type of radiation activates the voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs) in your cells, and the greatest density of VGCCs are in your brain, the pacemaker of your heart and male testes. It is my belief that excessive microwave exposure and glyphosate, which disrupts the blood brain barrier, are two of the most significant factors contributing to Alzheimer’s.

More Information

To learn more, be sure to pick up a copy of “The End of Alzheimer’s: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline,” which details all the different evaluations recommended in his ReCODE Protocol. As noted by Bredesen:
“The hope is that when we all work together, we can make a major impact and reduce [Alzheimer’s prevalence]. As I said, it should be a rare illness. That is the truth. It should be a rare illness if we do the right things … We are in the middle of a revolution. This is a major change in medicine. We are now looking at how the human organism actually works. We are now able, for the first time, to do essentially what Jonathan Wright calls human biochemistry.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Cinnamon: medical powerhouse?

Cinnamon: Pantry staple -- and medical powerhouse?

Story highlights

  • Cinnamon is being studied for its antibacterial and antioxidant properties
  • Some of the most promising research is on blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes
  • Experts caution that it's too early in the scientific process to support use as a supplement
(CNN)Cinnamon is one of the world's most popular spices, sprinkled on lattes, boiled with ciders and enjoyed in numerous dishes. Without it, Thanksgiving and Christmas meals might well become tasteless and definitely less fragrant.
Harvested from the inner bark of a tropical evergreen plant, cinnamon has been used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat respiratory and digestive problems for centuries. Ancient Egyptians used cinnamon as a perfume during the embalming process, while Romans used it in funeral pyres to mask the stench of burning flesh.
    The Bible mentions cinnamon several times, most commonly as a way to perfume bedding, clothes and anointing oil. The essential oil form is made from the bark, leaves or twigs of the plant.
    But it's cinnamon's use as a medicinal agent that has scientists buzzing, trying to determine just how well its antioxidant capabilities might work to better our health.
    "Medicine started as herbs and plants," said Lauri Wright, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "So it almost comes full circle, as we're now going back and proving what some of these plant substances may do for health."

    Not all cinnamon is created equal

    There are two basic types of cinnamon. Ceylon, or Cinnamomum verum, is grown in Sri Lanka. C. cassia, C. loureiroi and C. burmannii, communally known as cassia, are widely produced in China and Indonesia. Cassia has the stronger flavor and odor of the two and, due to its much lower cost, is what we buy in the store to sprinkle on our food.
    But it's the more expensive Ceylon version, with a milder, sweeter flavor, that might be the best for your health.
    Cassia can contain relatively high concentrations of coumarin, a plant compound that can damage the liver. A study of 91 cinnamon samples from various stores in Germany found 63 times more coumarin in cassia cinnamon powder than Ceylon powder. Cassia sticks, which look like a thick layer of rolled bark, also contained 18 times more coumarin than Ceylon sticks, which have thin layers.
    "A challenge with some of these herbal solutions, because they are not a regulated drug, is that you don't know exactly what you are getting," said registered dietitian Melinda Maryniuk, who serves on the professional practice committee for the American Diabetes Association. "A lot of things affect the makeup of the product: where it's grown, the soil, growing conditions, even how the spice was stored and dried."
    That problem also plagues research on cinnamon. Scientists have used different doses, species and compounds of the spice for their research.
    "The doses have varied greatly among the studies, from less than 1 gram to levels that would be toxic in humans," Wright said. "The duration of taking the capsules has also varied greatly. That's the problem with translation of all of this work. Even when we find positive results, how do we come up with the correct compounding and dosage for maximum safety?"
    Keep that in mind as you read on about where science stands on cinnamon.

    Diabetes and cholesterol

    "I think the strongest evidence lies so far with diabetes and the promise of cinnamon and blood sugar control," Wright said, pointing to studies in test tubes and mice and even small studies in people showing that cinnamon helps with insulin sensitivity and glucose transport while decreasing inflammation.
    "A lot of the studies have been in postmenopausal women and men of that age," said biochemist Amy Stockert, who studies cinnamon at Raabe College of Pharmacy at Ohio Northern University. "Some have found positive effects; other studies have not."
    Stockert co-authored a small study of 18 people with type 2 diabetes that showed the cassia species of cinnamon was more effective than diet alone in lowering blood glucose levels. In fact, her study found that it was comparable to oral diabetes medications.
    Another study of 60 people with type 2 diabetes found that small doses of cinnamon reduced blood sugar levels and improved LDL, or "bad" cholesterol, triglycerides and total cholesterol.
    "I like the fact that the amount that showed benefits for blood sugar and cholesterol in that study was 1 to 6 grams, which is the range of half-teaspoon to three teaspoons, or one tablespoon, so it's easy to sprinkle on cereal or in yogurt or use in recipes," said registered dietitian Lisa Drayer, who writes about nutrition for CNN. The Food and Drug Administration's recommended limit is 6 grams a day.
    But while the future looks promising, the American Diabetes Association urges caution.
    "The ADA believes there's not enough evidence," Maryniuk said. "A 2013 meta-analysis, which is one of the most rigorous of reviews, found that cinnamon had no impact on hemoglobin A1c levels, which is what we look at to measure how well blood sugar is being controlled over time. If that had gone down, I'd be more impressed."
    Still, if you want to see whether cinnamon works for you, Maryniuk suggests that people with type 2 diabetes do a self-test.
    "Do some paired blood glucose testing," she said. "Use a half a teaspoon in the morning, on fruit or oatmeal or in coffee, and see what happens to your blood sugar levels before and after you eat. Check again two to three hours later and see if there's a difference.
    "But keep taking your medicine," she warned. "You don't want to try something to the exclusion of the medicine you're taking."
    "We still need a bit more work before we roll this out," Wright agreed. "And you must be careful to work with your doctor when using cinnamon with diabetes medications, as it might drop your blood sugars too low."

    Dementia, HIV, cancer and more

    The antioxidant properties of cinnamon are also being studied for their impact on the formation of the plaques and tangles of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. Cinnamaldehyde, a compound responsible for the spice's sweet smell, and epicatechin, a powerful antioxidant that's also in blueberries, red wine and chocolate, seem to offer some protection against the oxidative stress that damages tau, a key player in the development of dementia.
    Another study found a component of Ceylon cinnamon to have the same effect. However, research has occurred only in mice, rats and laboratory Petri dishes.
    "It appears to work as an anti-inflammatory or antioxidant, protecting the body on a cellular level from bad things that happen," Wright said, "by getting rid of waste products and keeping the cells healthy."
    Cinnamon and other traditional Indian medicinal plantsare also being tested in the fight against HIV. One studyfound that green tea, elderberry and some extracts of cinnamon rich in flavonoids blocked the virus from entering and infecting certain cells.
    "That's how AZT works, which is one of the early HIV drugs," said Wright, who specializes in nutrition for infectious disease at the University of South Florida. "And while that's interesting, what I would hate is that patients will use cinnamon and other supplements instead of their HIV medications.
    "Having worked with many HIV clients over the years, I know there's definitely a big interest in supplements," she said. "But I would always caution them to always use the meds that we know work, that have been tested and dosed, and then look carefully to make sure there are no conflicts with any additional supplements."
    The research on cinnamon doesn't stop there. Ceylon cinnamon has also been associated with cancer-fighting properties in rodents, anti-parasitic effects, improved diabetic neuropathy, lower blood pressure and wound healing, including liver damage. Studies have shown that solutions of cinnamon oil can kill a number of common bacteria, such as streptococcus and E. coli. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health is investigating cinnamon's impact on multiple sclerosis.
    Using a computer model, biochemist Stockert found that cinnamon was as effective as resveratrol, an antioxidant in red wine known for anti-aging and disease-fighting properties, in activating SIRT-1 -- also known as the longevity gene because of its role in repairing DNA.
    "In some cases, it did better than resveratrol," Stockert said. "We're talking anti-cancer, anti-aging, a very, very big deal if that is what is going on."

    Cinnamon as health aid

    Based on all this preliminary research, the potential of cinnamon seems enormous. But experts caution that it's still too early in the scientific process to suggest cinnamon as a daily supplement.
    "I don't recommend capsules. There's not enough science to tell us to take capsules," Wright said.
    "You are affecting your body's signaling," Stockert said, "and that's significant. We're at an early stage in research where we don't know how cinnamon will affect most people. Is it healthy to cook with spices and use them liberally? I'm sure that's fine. But I would be cautious about taking any supplements on their own."
    "I think the bottom line is that cinnamon is a perfect pantry staple, a pleasant spice that can add flavor to foods for minimal calories, with antioxidant properties that may give an edge to those looking to better control their blood sugar," Drayer agreed. "But we need to see more research before we can make any solid health claims linking cinnamon to reduce risk of disease or improved health."