Wednesday, 23 July 2008

forget statins eat up your veg !

A new study confirms that eating plenty of fiber and vegetables lowers cholesterol just as much as statin drugs -- and without the side effects!

From Reuters:

A diet rich in fibre and vegetables lowered cholesterol just as much as taking a statin drug, Canadian researchers reported Monday.

They says people who cannot tolerate the statin drugs because of side-effects can turn to the diet, which their volunteers could easily follow.

David Jenkins of St. Michael's Hospital and the University of Toronto and colleagues created what they called a diet "portfolio" high in soy protein, almonds, and cereal fibre as well as plant sterols — tree-based compounds used in cholesterol-lowering margarines, salad dressing and other products.

They tested their diet on 34 overweight men and women, comparing it with a low-fat diet and with a normal diet plus a generic statin drug, lovastatin.

Writing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Jenkins and colleagues said the low-fat diet lowered LDL — the low-density lipoprotein or "bad" cholesterol — by 8.5 per cent after a month. Statins lowered LDL by 33 per cent and the "portfolio" diet lowered LDL by nearly 30 per cent.

The portfolio was rich in soy milk, soy burgers, almonds, oats, barley, psyllium seeds, okra and eggplant. The Almond Board of California helped fund the study, as did several food makers and the Canadian Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

burning incense lowers anxiety and depression

Incense is psychoactive: Scientists identify the biology behind the ceremony

Religious leaders have contended for millennia that burning incense is good for the soul. Now, biologists have learned that it is good for our brains too. In a new study appearing online in The FASEB Journal (, an international team of scientists, including researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, describe how burning frankincense (resin from the Boswellia plant) activates poorly understood ion channels in the brain to alleviate anxiety or depression. This suggests that an entirely new class of depression and anxiety drugs might be right under our noses.

“In spite of information stemming from ancient texts, constituents of Bosweilla had not been investigated for psychoactivity,” said Raphael Mechoulam, one of the research study’s co-authors. “We found that incensole acetate, a Boswellia resin constituent, when tested in mice lowers anxiety and causes antidepressive-like behavior. Apparently, most present day worshipers assume that incense burning has only a symbolic meaning.”

To determine incense’s psychoactive effects, the researchers administered incensole acetate to mice. They found that the compound significantly affected areas in brain areas known to be involved in emotions as well as in nerve circuits that are affected by current anxiety and depression drugs. Specifically, incensole acetate activated a protein called TRPV3, which is present in mammalian brains and also known to play a role in the perception of warmth of the skin. When mice bred without this protein were exposed to incensole acetate, the compound had no effect on their brains.

“Perhaps Marx wasn’t too wrong when he called religion the opium of the people: morphine comes from poppies, cannabinoids from marijuana, and LSD from mushrooms; each of these has been used in one or another religious ceremony.” said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. “Studies of how those psychoactive drugs work have helped us understand modern neurobiology. The discovery of how incensole acetate, purified from frankincense, works on specific targets in the brain should also help us understand diseases of the nervous system. This study also provides a biological explanation for millennia-old spiritual practices that have persisted across time, distance, culture, language, and religion—burning incense really does make you feel warm and tingly all over!”

According to the National Institutes of Health, major depressive disorder is the leading cause of disability in the United States for people ages 15–44, affecting approximately 14.8 million American adults. A less severe form of depression, dysthymic disorder, affects approximately 3.3 million American adults. Anxiety disorders affect 40 million American adults, and frequently co-occur with depressive disorders.

Perhaps people should burn incense and throw away the prozac!

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

statins, cholesterol, etc, etc.

More from Dr Al Sears MD : "Bombshell #1:
Statin Drugs Weaken Your Heart: Cholesterol-lowering
drugs rob your heart of the very nutrient that could save it. CoQ10
supplies your heart with the energy it needs. Without it, your heart
literally starves. And guess what? Statin drugs destroy your
supply of this life-giving enzyme.

Bombshell #2:
Low Cholesterol Kills Your Sex Drive: Your doctor ; and
all those TV commercials ; tell you to get your cholesterol
lower. But cholesterol is essential for life and health. When your
cholesterol is too low, your body can't make sex hormones. Aside
from causing other health problems, it has disastrous effects in
the bedroom."

tim russert - heart attack

just got this interesting email from Dr Al Sears MD :
"Why do you think Tim
Russert died of a massive heart attack last month? Maybe it could have
been I'll lay out what I know and let you
Russert was only 58.
He wasn't doing anything strenuous at the time;in fact,
hed just gotten back from a family vacation and passed away at
NBCs studios. He was under the care of a good doctor. He was
taking all his medications and doing everything his doctor told him to
None of it saved
him. This sad news made me;and many of my patients and
readers;wonder what went wrong.
I have a few
Heres one:
heart drugs don't work. I don't know all the medications
he was taking, but I do know one of them was a statin drug, probably
Lipitor or Zocor. (Russert's doctor reported this without naming
the specific drug.)
Statins drive down
CoQ10 to dangerously low levels. You know that CoQ10 is the vital
engine that fuels almost every cell in your body and powers all your
major organs;especially your heart.
Starve it of CoQ10,
and youre on the fast track to a heart attack. And it’s
not like the potentially fatal effect of statins on CoQ10 levels is a
secret. Those of us who've followed the research have known
about this for almost twenty years.
Still, the word hasnt gotten out.
A sad twist about
Russerts statin prescription: he didnt even have high
cholesterol. He was taking it as a preventive measure.

Another possible
cause: Russert was diabetic. That means his doctor may have put him on
one of the latest medications to treat it;either Actos or
Avandia. The problem here is that clinical studies have shown that one
of the major risks of taking these drugs is...heart failure. Drug regulators knew
this...and buried it. In
fact, the FDA employee who tried to get the warning put on the label
was fired."

Friday, 18 July 2008

Need a Bit More Sunshine in Your Life?

A recent study has found that men with vitamin D deficiency have more than double
the normal risk of having a heart attack. In fact, in the study, men with vitamin D
levels below 15 nanograms per millilitre had 2.5 times the risk of having a heart
attack or dying - even after controlling for all other possible risk factors such as
hypertension, obesity and high lipid levels.

The body produces vitamin D in response to sunlight exposure. That means that those
of us who live in less sunny climes are at a higher risk of deficiency of this
important nutrient.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Study Shows Usefulness of Omega 3 Fats for Weight Loss

Many people are still under the misguided impression that all fats are bad for you,
especially if you want to lose weight. Now a new study may help to show those
looking to lose weight that omega 3 fats really can help.

A new study has shown that obese people receiving supplements of omega 3 fatty acids
while following a weight loss programme experienced a feeling of fullness for
longer, which may in the long-term help to prevent overeating and so aid weight

"We show that the long chain omega 3 fatty acids can affect postprandial appetite
sensations in volunteers during a period of weight loss induced by energy
restriction," wrote lead author Dolores Parra in the journal Appetite.

"The usefulness of long chain omega-3 fatty acids in the nutritional treatment of
obesity has to be investigated further, since they could improve the patients'
compliance to changes in dietary habits required for weight loss and weight loss

"The most important finding of this study is that subjects who eat a dinner rich in
long chain omega-3 fatty acids feel less hunger and more full directly after and 2
hours after then their counterparts fed with the low long chain omega-3 fatty acids
diet," wrote the authors.

Source: Appetite
Published online ahead of print 14 June 2008, doi:
"A diet rich in long chain omega 3 fatty acids modulates satiety in overweight and
obese volunteers during weight loss"
Authors: Dolores Parra, A. Ramel, N. Bandarra, M. Kiely, J.A. Martinez, I. Thorsdottir