Thursday, September 10, 2015

Stearic acid improves mitochondrial health and function

The fatty acid stearic acid increases the performance of our cellular powerhouses, the mitochondria inside cells. They are responsible for cellular energy, metabolism (fats, amino acids), and health (apoptosis; normal cell death). Not only our energy levels, but general health and longevity depend on cellular mitochondrial health.

Now a signaling effect of stearic acid has been shown to improve mitochondrial health in an animal model, with the same mechanism existing in people suggesting that it may have benefits in humans, as well. Mitochondrial defects are associated with various disorders affecting nerves, muscles, and brain, including neurodegenerative and aging problems.

Stearic acid is a fatty acid normally found in our diet, and it has been proven to NOT contribute to heart disease like other saturated fats. Much has been written about stearic acid, including numerous unbalanced accounts of it being unhealthy in minute amounts based largely on unrepresentative test tube studies, despite robust evidence that it is a common dietary fat consumed in significant quantities (up to 10 grams a day) as part of a healthy diet and a constituent of virtually all natural fats and oils that has shown positive benefits in numerous human studies.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

California poised to allow licensed naturopathic physicians to prescribe and do minor procedures

Sixteen states currently license naturopathic physicians as medical practitioners, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. One of these states - California - is moving a bill that would expand the scope of practice of licensed NDs to allow them to prescribe certain low-risk pharmaceuticals (Class IV, V, and unclassified drugs), perform superficial skin treatments (for lacerations, lesions, abrasions), and order a wider range of medical imaging. Naturally, the medical establishment in California opposes this bill, though it admits there is a shortage of physicians in the state. For more information:

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Undenatured proteins: Is this really a valid concern?

Proteins, by definition, are undenatured. Denaturing is equivalent to digestion, which needs to take place when you consume them. Digested proteins are simply amino acids or peptides; not a bad thing to take. The hype over denatured proteins is unfounded in science. Even whey proteins, which have been pasteurized/cultured/dried before mechanical processing (filtration techniques) to concentrate the whey protein, are virtually undenatured because they contain intact immunoglobulins such as IgG.

Friday, April 24, 2015

New Evidence that Canola (Rapeseed) Oil is Better than Olive Oil for Regulating Lipid and Inflammatory Markers in Obese Men

In a previous post I showed that Canola Oil was developed without Genetic Engineering (biotechnology; GMO):

In another post, I showed that canola oil had superior results to Olive Oil in comparisons of effects on cardiovascular health markers both in animal and human studies:

Now there is another study comparing the two oils. In that report, Rapeseed (Canola) Oil improved liver Health and inflammatory markers in obese men better than olive oil did. Consuming the canola oil resulted in improvements over consuming olive oil in a number of key markers in those men:

* Higher levels of serum omega-3 fatty acids
* Lower levels of LDL and total cholesterol
* Lower levels of serum AST (aspartate aminotransferase); a liver enzyme that detects liver damage and is a risk factor for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
* Reduction of the pro-inflammatory marker IL-6
* Indications of a potential long-term protective effect (gene expression resulting in a hormetic response) on inflammatory cytokines in adipose tissues

As before, the superior results from canola over olive oil are attributed to its higher omega-3 and lower omega-6 fatty acid content compared to olive oil. Don't think that olive oil is unhealthy; it's just that there is a myth that all canola oil is unhealthy, which repeatedly has been debunked by studies such as this latest one.

I would still advise against using Genetically Engineered (GMO) canola due to potential side effects such as the potential for unexpected new allergens and toxins, and the lack of long-term animal feeding studies actually proving safety. Since there is no way to track human reactions to GMO foods in North America due to a lack of will to impose documentation and labeling, we have no way to determine if the recent historical use supports their safety or risks. Because of the unscientific introduction of GMO foods and our current inability to pinpoint whether or not allergic or toxic reactions are occurring with their use, non-GMO (including organic) canola is the recommended type I suggest if you are considering using canola/rapeseed oil.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Does the Cyanocobalamin form of vitamin B-12 have toxic levels of cyanide?

All plants produce cyanide as a by-product of ethylene synthesis. Some plants naturally contain small amounts of cyanide compounds, including stone fruits (almonds, apples, cherries, peaches, and apricots) as well as lima beans, flax seeds, barley, sorghum, white clover, cassava (tapioca), and bamboo shoots.

The amount of cyanide (2% of the weight, or 20 micrograms cyanide in a 1 mg cyanocobalamin tab) is far less than ingested in many natural foods. Following absorption, vitamin B-12 from whatever source is transformed to either methylcobalamin or 5’-deoxyadenosylcobalamin (dibencoszide). Dibencozide is the predominant form of vitamin B-12 in human tissues (up to 70%).

The human body can detoxify a small amount of cyanide in the liver through the thiosulfate (sulfation) pathway. Poisoning occurs when there is not enough thiosulfate to neutralize all the cyanide present. When you’re talking about a dangerous dose of cyanide, it generally means between 50 and 200 milligrams of hydrogen cyanide… but a 1000 microgram (1 mg) pill of the vitamin B-12 supplement cyanocobalamin contains only 20 micrograms of cyanide, and according to dietitian Jack Norris, “the amount of cyanide in cyanocobalamin is considered to be physiologically insignificant.” That’s 20 micrograms, versus milligrams. There are 1000 micrograms in a milligram, which puts the amount of cyanide in a typical B12 supplement far below toxic levels.

Neither the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s Institute of Medicine (IOM) nor the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) have set a Tolerable Upper Intake (UL) level of Vitamin B-12 since each agency has concluded that it is not possible to derive an Upper Level because no clearly defined adverse effect could be identified from medical reports.

• The IOM reported, “The IOM did not establish a UL for vitamin B-12 because of its low potential for toxicity. In Dietary Reference Intakes: Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline, the IOM states that "no adverse effects have been associated with excess vitamin B-12 intake from food and supplements in healthy individuals". Findings from intervention trials support these conclusions.”
• The EFSA reported, “There are also no adverse effects known for vitamin B12 from foods, or from supplements in amounts far in excess of needs.”

Therefore, cyanocobalamin, the predominate form of supplemental vitamin B-12, has been deemed non-toxic even at high levels of intake and the presence of small amounts of cyanide is not unusual in foods.

• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
• Canadian Food Inspection Agency
• EFSA,0.pdf

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Does Borage Seed Oil contain PAs (Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids)?

Borage Oil does NOT contain detectable levels of PAs (Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids), because they are not co-extracted from the seed along with the oil. In the definitive study "Pyrrolizidine Alkaloid Content in Crude and Processed Borage Oil from Different Processing Stages" published in the highly reputable Journal of the American Oil Chemists Society [JAOCS, Vol. 80, no. 10 (2003)] it was stated:

"The pyrrolizidine alkaloid content of crude borage oil and borage oil from different processing stages was determined by GC-MS. The results showed that no pyrrolizidine alkaloids were present above a detection limit of 20 ppb. The reduction factors for pyrrolizidine alkaloids at various stages in the oil refining process were determined by means of spiking experiments using the commercially available pyrrolizidine alkaloid crotaline. It was shown that the pyrrolizidine content in crude borage oil was reduced overall by a factor of about 30,000 in the refining process."

Based on the scientific evidence, since manufacturers use refined borage seed oil their Borage Oil products would never be expected to contain any measurable PAs (at the current 20 parts-per-billion detection level).

Monday, June 23, 2014

John Oliver's take on "Unregulated" Dietary Supplements

Another salvo in the War on Vitamins and Dietary Supplements:

John Oliver was funny, but not remotely fair or accurate. Some of the more grievous false examples (in my opinion):

• He assumed no new laws or regulations have been implemented since DSHEA (the Dietary Supplement Health & Education Act of 1994)
o Untrue, and some have been championed by industry; some examples:
 The 2002 Anti-Bioterrorism law's food safety regulations
 The implementation of mandatory Good Manufacturing Practices regulations and increasing numbers of FDA audits over the past 4 years
 Bans on steroids and their precursors
 A mandatory Adverse Event Reporting law
 The more recent Food Safety Law

• He showed old news reports speculating that the botanical ephedra killed 155 people, asserting that these deaths occurred because of DSHEA tying FDA’s hands
o FDA was admittedly unable to substantiate any deaths
o FDA was able to ban ephedra under DSHEA anyway based on a solely theoretical one death per year from billions of doses taken, despite two FDA expert panels unable to validate any deaths

• He claimed that FDA and FTC are powerless to act because of DSHEA, Hatch and Harkin
o The number of enforcements have been rapidly increasing
 Warning letters, recalls, even seizures
o The number of FDA inspections has been rapidly increasing

• He showed how many citizens supported DSHEA in 1993-1994, but asserted that they were misled by industry champions Senators Hatch and Harkin, who received donations from the then relatively tiny $2 billion industry
o He implied that Hatch and Harkin did it solely for the money
o He implied that Hatch and Harkin still block all regulation; see above for contrary examples
 some of the more recent laws were supported by industry and even sponsored by Hatch and/or Harkin)

• He assumed that dietary supplements are largely unregulated because of not enough regulation, rather than their relatively good safety record versus drugs or even other foods
o He promoted pre-market approval of products and claims, similar to a failed Canadian strategy that cut product selection without enhancing safety
o He cited DNA testing of botanicals failing 1/3 of products tested, without mentioning that this is actually a proposed but not yet validated assay technology disputed by herbal authorities as far too premature to use as a standard

This does not address his criticisms of Dr. Oz, who can defend himself.

Link to show: