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Some Doctors Don’t Believe In This Disease Yet It Predisposes Many Diseases

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mitoThe tragic case of Justina Pelletier has been in the news quite a bit lately.  Justina Pelletier is the teen (14 when her ordeal started, 15 now) who is at the center of a nasty custody battle between her parents and Boston Children’s Hospital. Boston Children’s Hospital and the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families have taken custody of Justina, against the will of her parents, because they assert that Justina’s health problems are psychosomatic and that Justina’s parents are guilty of medical abuse. Justina’s parents, on the other hand, assert that Boston Children’s Hospital has kidnapped their daughter and that Justina is in need of medical care for her mitochondrial disorder.

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Hundreds of news stories and blog posts have been written about Justina’s case.  One of the best articles that I’ve read about the horrible, tragic situation that Justina is caught in the middle of is “A Medical Collision with a Child in the Middle” in The Boston Globe.  The Boston Globe article, and many others, have given a good overview of Justina’s situation, but they have given very little information about the condition which Justina’s parents say she has and the Boston Children’s Hospital doctors deny exists – mitochondrial disease.

This post is to give some basic, introductory information about mitochondrial disease – a topic that most journalists and bloggers who have been writing about the case have glossed over, and a topic that some of the doctors in Justine’s case are woefully ignorant of.  (A doctor who Justine Pelletier sought help from “didn’t believe” in mitochondrial diseases)

Mitochondria 101

Mitochondria are the energy centers of the cells.  They are found in almost every cell in the human body and they produce more than 90% of cellular energy through the generation of ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate).  Mitochondria also play key roles in cellular processes including “calcium, copper and iron homeostatis; heme and iron-sulfer cluster assembly; synthesis of pyrimidines and steroids; thermogenesis and fever response; and calcium signaling” (1) and additionally produce ROS (reactive oxygen species) (2), which play key roles in regulating and determining apoptosis (programmed cell death), as well as signaling communication between cells and tissues.  (3)   Mitochondria have their own DNA, mtDNA, which is separate from the nuclear DNA of the cell.  Proper function of mitochondria is vital for all areas of health.

A hallmark of mitochondrial dysfunction is crippling fatigue and exhaustion.  Because mitochondria are the energy centers of cells, when they are not operating properly patients are unable to do things that require energy.  It is an organic, physical lack of energy, not a choice not to get out of bed or run around the block.

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Mito Action lists poor growth, loss of muscle coordination, muscle weakness, neurological problems, seizures, autism, visual and/or hearing problems, developmental delays, learning disabilities, heart disease, liver disease, kidney disease, GI disorders, diabetes, increased risk of infection, thyroid dysfunction, adrenal dysfunction, autonomic dysfunction and neuropsychological changes as symptoms of mitochondrial diseases.

When mitochondria are not functioning properly, multiple disease states can ensue.  According to Dr. Richard Boles, Director of the Metabolic and Mitochondrial Disorders Clinic at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles:

“these are partial defects. Mitochondrial dysfunction doesn’t really cause anything, what it does is predisposes towards seemingly everything. It’s one of many risk factors in multifactorial disease. It can predispose towards epilepsy, chronic fatigue, and even autism, but it doesn’t do it alone. It does it in combination with other factors, which is why in a family with a single mutation going through the family, everyone in the family is affected in a different way. Because it predisposes for disease throughout the entire system.” (source:  Hormones Matter)

It makes sense that when the energy centers of cells are not functioning properly, the body starts to shut down, and when the body shuts down on a cellular level, multi-symptom, diffuse illnesses result.

Mitochondrial Diseases

There are three basic categories of mitochondrial disease:  1)  Diseases that are recognized as verified mitochondrial diseases, 2)  Diseases that there is a large amount of evidence that links them to mitochondrial dysfunction, but are not generally recognized as mitochondrial diseases, and 3)  Diseases that are indirectly related to mitochondrial function.

The first category of mitochondrial diseases, those that are verified and acknowledged as mitochondrial diseases include:

  1.  Progressive External Opthalmoplegia
  2. Alper’s Syndrome
  3. Leigh’s Syndrome
  4. Friedrich’s Ataxia

These diseases are matrilineally inherited (mtDNA is passed down through the mother) and involve recognized mtDNA mutations.  The prognosis for many with these diseases is, sadly, poor, and there are “currently no pharmaceutical cures for any mitochondrial diseases.”  (3)   “Although individually rare, diseases caused by mtDNA and nDNA mutations are estimated to collectively have an incidence of ~1/4000 individuals.”  (1)  Interestingly, “a number of human mitochondrial genetic diseases that are clinically discreet are being diagnosed at unexpected rates.”  (4)  A possible explanation for an unexpected increase in hereditary mitochondrial diseases is that some of the environmental toxicants and pharmaceuticals that damage mitochondria have been shown to deplete mtDNA (5), and that depleted mtDNA may be passed from a mother on to a child.

The second category of mitochondrial diseases are diseases that are typically categorized as “mysterious diseases” of modernity.  These diseases have increased in prevalence significantly over the past 50 years.  They are controversial and their existence is denied by many.  Patients suffering from these diseases struggle to have their health problems acknowledged as having a physical cause, and are often accused of making things up or having a somatoform disorder, “a psychiatric condition when a person experiences physical pain for which no known medical explanation can be found.”   The exact cause of these diseases is officially unknown and there are many theories as to their origins.  There is much evidence, however, that these diseases at least feature, and are possibly (probably) caused by, mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress (which occurs in mitochondria as a result of mitochondrial stress, damage or injury).

  1. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) (6, 7)
  2. Fibromyalgia (8, 9, 10)
  3. Gulf War Syndrome (11)
  4. Autism (12, 13, 14)
  5. Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome and adverse reactions to other mitochondria damaging prescription drugs (15, 16, 17)
  6. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) (18)

All of the sources linked to are peer-reviewed.  Yet, these diseases are still woefully under-acknowledged and people, including doctors, seem to feel that they are at liberty to “not believe” in them.

There are a couple of reasons for disbelief in these diseases.  First, tests do not currently exist which can reliably determine the existence of these diseases.  An unfortunately common attitude in medicine is, “if it doesn’t show up on the tests, it doesn’t exist.”  Second, they are diseases of modernity, so there is little history from which to gather information on them.

The link between these mysterious diseases and mitochondrial damage and oxidative stress has been ignored.  This intentional ignorance is likely caused by the notion that if it is admitted that mitochondrial damage and oxidative stress are the causes of these diseases, the question may be asked, “what causes mitochondrial damage and oxidative stress?”  The answer is one that doctors, and anyone else who believes that the current medical system causes more good than harm, doesn’t want to admit – pharmaceuticals and environmental toxins are the causes of mitochondrial damage and oxidative stress. (1, 20) Chemicals in our drugs and in our environment are causing damage to our mitochondria, which are, in turn, causing multi-symptom, chronic, mysterious illnesses that afflict millions of people.

Offending drugs that cause mitochondrial damage include bactericidal antibiotics (15), statins (17), chemotherapy drugs (1), acetaminophen (4), metformin (a diabetes drug) (19), and others.  Disease states caused by chemical harm to mitochondria are often delayed and can involve a threshold of harm to the mitochondria (4), so it is often difficult to connect the mitochondria damaging chemical to the disease state.

The third category of mitochondrial diseases are those that are indirectly related to mitochondrial function.  Per a Review entitled, “Medication-induced Mitochondrial Damage and Disease,” the following diseases are related to mitochondrial damage:

“Damage to mitochondria is now understood to play a role in the pathogenesis of a wide range of seemingly unrelated disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disease, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, migraine headaches, strokes, neuropathic pain, Parkinson’s disease, ataxia, transient ischemic attack, cardiomyopathy, coronary artery disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, retinitis pigmentosa, diabetes, hepatitis C, and primary biliary cirrhosis.”

These diseases are often associated with old age (1) but they are afflicting younger and younger people over the past couple of decades.

The Regulatory Agencies are Failing to Protect our Mitochondria

Seeing as mitochondrial health is related to almost every chronic disease there is, it wouldn’t be too much to expect for the FDA and EPA to regularly look at the effects of drugs and environmental toxins on mitochondria when determining the safety of drugs and chemicals that humans come into contact with.  However, “mitochondrial toxicity testing is still not required by the US FDA for drug approval.”  (20)  The researchers who wrote the review entitled “Mitochondria as a Target of Environmental Toxicants” in 2013, noted that, “The existence of so many mitochondrial diseases illustrates the critical importance of maintenance of mitochondrial and mtDNA integrity for health.  It also raises an important question with implications for environment-mediated mitochondrial toxicity: Why did it take us so long to realize that many diseases are in fact mitochondrial diseases?” (1)  Good question.

Ignorance surrounding mitochondrial diseases can be explained by noting the following:

  1.  Mitochondria are a strange mix of vulnerable and resistant to assaults.  All sorts of drugs and chemicals damage mitochondria, and mtDNA is far more vulnerable to damage than nuclear DNA.  However, damage to mitochondria does not manifest itself in a disease state until a certain threshold of damage has occurred.  So, an individual can tolerate a certain amount of a mtDNA depleting drug, like Cipro/Ciprofloxacin (21), until their mtDNA is depleted sufficiently, then disease states will ensue. (4)
  2. The onset of diseases caused by mitochondrial damage are often delayed for days, months or even years after the offending chemical has done damage.  (4)
  3. Inertia.  The role of mitochondria in health has been ignored for years.  It would require a paradigm shift for medical professionals to start noticing mitochondrial dysfunction.  And if they start noticing mitochondrial dysfunction, they might start to realize that their drugs are the cause of the dysfunctional mitochondria.  (1, 20)
  4. There is very little that Western Medicine can do to fix mitochondrial dysfunction.  (1)  Rather than admit that there is nothing that they can do to fix the problem, those in the medical system deny that there is a problem.
  5. GREED, CORRUPTION and INFLUENCE.  The FDA and the EPA don’t require testing of drugs or environmental toxicants on mitochondria because the results would be incriminating, and those who would be incriminated have a massive amount of money and power.  It’s pretty simple, actually.

The ignorant, foolish doctor who “didn’t believe in mitochondrial disease” may want to note that:

“Mitochondrial function and behavior are central to the physiology of humans and, consequently, ‘mitochondrial dysfunction’ has been implicated in a wide range of diseases that encompass all aspects of medicine.”  (3)

It is time for those in the medical profession to stop ignoring the role of mitochondria in modern, chronic diseases.  The answers to preventing and fixing modern, chronic illnesses lie in the mitochondria.  Neither the questions nor the answers may be pleasant or convenient, but they are true and honest ones.  Cells don’t lie.  And the evidence against pharmaceutical and environmental toxicants that damage mitochondria is damning.

Post Script:  The author’s mitochondria were damaged by a prescription antibiotic, Cipro/Ciprofloxacin, a fluoroquinolone antibiotic.  Her blog, describing her story, and road to healing, is www.floxiehope.com.

Peer Reviewed Sources: 

  1. Toxicological Sciences, “Mitochondria as a Target of Environmental Toxicants
  2. Biochemical Society Transactions, “Mitochondrial Matirix Reactive Oxygen Species Production is Very Sensitive to Mild Uncoupling
  3. Cell, “Mitochondria:  In Sickness and In Health
  4. Molecular Interventions, “Mechanisms of Pathogenesis in Drug Hepatotoxicity Putting the Stress on Mitochondria
  5. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, “Calcium Signals are Affected by Ciprofloxacin as a Consequence of Reduction of Mitochondrial DNA Content in Jurkat Cells
  6. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Mitochondrial Dysfunction
  7. Journal of Internal Medicine, “Chronic fatigue syndrome: assessment of increased oxidative stress and altered muscle excitability in response to incremental exercise
  8. Muscle and Nerve, “Mitochondrial Myopathy Mimicking Fibromyalgia Syndrome
  9. The Journal of Rheumatology.  Supplement., “The Muscle in Fibromyalgia – A Review of Swedish Studies
  10. PLoS One, “Clinical Symptoms in Fibromyalgia Are Better Associated to Lipid Peroxidation Levels in Blood Mononuclear Cells Rather than in Plasma
  11. Nature Precedings, “Oxidative Stress and Mitochondrial Injury in Chronic Multisymptom Conditions: From Gulf War Illness to Autism Spectrum Disorder
  12. Pathophysiology, “Oxidative Stress in Autism
  13. Journal of Childhood Neurology, “Developmental Regression and Mitochondrial Dysfunction in a Child with Autism”
  14. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, “Evidence of Toxicity, Oxidative Stress, and Neuronal Insult in Autism
  15. Science Translational Medicine, “Bactericidal Antibiotics Induce Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Oxidative Damage in Mammalian Cells
  16. Journal of Young Pharmacists, “Oxidative Stress Induced by Fluoroquinolones on Treatment for Complicated Urinary Tract Infections in Indian Patients
  17. American Journal of Cardiovascular Drugs, “Statin Adverse Effects: A Review of the Literature and Evidence for a Mitochondrial Mechanism
  18. BMC Medicine, “Chronic fatigue syndrome: Harvey and Wessely’s (bio)psychosocial model versus a bio(psychosocial) model based on inflammatory and oxidative and nitrosative stress pathways
  19. Biochemical Journal, “Metformin inhibits mitochondrial permeability transition and cell death: a pharmacological in vitro study
  20. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, “Medication Induced Mitochondrial Damage and Disease
  21. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, “Calcium Signals Are Affected by Ciprofloxacin as a Consequence of Reduction of Mitochondrial DNA Content in Jurkat Cells

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12,000 Doctors Urge the FDA to Put Cancer Warnings on Cheese

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) recently submitted a citizen petition with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to change labeling on cheese to include a cancer warning.

  • Reflect On:

    Why have our federal health regulatory agencies and big food companies marketed dairy products as safe, healthy and necessary when the science clearly suggests otherwise.

What do doctors learn about nutrition in medical school? Shockingly and unfortunately, nothing. Why? Because nutrition does not bring in profit, and treating people with nutrition hasn’t seemed to be an option at all ever since the birth of the mainstream medical industry. The sad reality is that “the medical profession is being bought by the pharmaceutical industry, not only in terms of the practice of medicine, but also in terms of teaching and research. The academic institutions of this country are allowing themselves to be the paid agents of the pharmaceutical industry. I think it’s disgraceful.” – Arnold Seymour Relman (source)

Thankfully, things are changing and changing fast. A lot of people are taking their nutritional education into their own hands, and many doctors are also educating themselves on the power of nutrition through the plethora studies and clinical evidence that’s available out there.

One of the latest examples of doctors educating themselves comes from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), who recently submitted a citizen petition with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to change labeling on cheese to include a cancer warning.

Why? Because based on the research, cheese, and dairy from the animal of another is not good, but bad for us. This reality may be hard for many to believe given the fact that it’s been one of the stable food groups for so long. It’s time we start recognizing that “nutritional education” that we grow up with is a product of the big food companies and marketing, it’s not backed by any science and more people are starting to become aware of what the science is actually showing us.

The petition states:

Dairy cheese contains reproductive hormones that may increase breast cancer mortality risk. (This sentence is what they want on dairy cheese products).

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High-fat dairy products, such as cheese, are associated with an increased risk for breast cancer. Components in dairy such as insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) and other growth hormones may be among the reasons for the increased risk for cancer.

To ensure that Americans understand the potential significant risks, and resulting long-term costs, of consuming dairy cheese products, the FDA should ensure that the notice above is prominently placed on product packaging and labeling for all dairy cheese products.

I find it interesting that they mention IGF-1 growth hormone.

A 2015 study published in Cell Metabolism is one of multiple studies that points out:

Mice and humans with Growth Hormone Receptor/IGF-1 deficiencies display major reductions in age-related diseases. Because protein restriction reduces GHR-IGF-1 activity, we examined links between protein intake and mortality. Respondents (n=6,381) aged 50–65 reporting high protein intake had a 75% increase in overall mortality and a 4-fold increase in cancer and diabetes mortality during an 18 year follow up period. These associations were either abolished or attenuated if the source of proteins was plant-based.

The study above corroborates with a lot of other research showing that animal protein skyrockets IFG-1 growth hormone, thus leading to a wide variety of diseases, in the long term, including cancer. The interesting thing is that protein from plants, as the study points out, “abolished or attenuated” these associations “if the source of proteins was plant-based.”

Fasting has been shown to reduce the risk and even reverse many age related diseases, like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. It’s also been shown to regenerate stem cells and slow down the overall aging process, much of that is due to the fact that fasting drops our IGF-1 growth hormone levels.

A recent study conducted by researchers in California and France found that meat protein is associated with a very sharp increased risk of heart disease, while protein from nuts and seeds is actually beneficial for the human heart.

The study is titled “Patterns of plant and animal protein intake are strongly associated with cardiovascular mortality: The Adventist Health Study-2 cohort,” It was a joint project between researchers from Loma Linda University School of Public Health in California and AgroParisTech and the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique in Paris, France.

It was published in the International Journal of Epidemiology. The researchers found that people who ate large amounts of meat protein, which is a daily norm for many people, represented a portion of the human population that would experience a 60 percent increase in cardiovascular disease (CVD), while people who consumed large amounts of protein from nuts and seeds actually experienced a 40 percent reduction in CVD.

Dairy “Turning on Cancer.”

Doctor Colin Campbell. author of the “China Study”  discovered that animal protein (casein) can accelerate and “turn on” cancer, while plant based protein has the opposite effect.

“What I did during the early part of my career was nothing more than what traditional science would suggest. I made the observation that diets presumably higher in animal protein were associated with liver cancer in the Philippines. When coupled with the extraordinary report from India showing that casein fed to experimental rats at the usual levels of intake dramatically promoted liver cancer, it prompted my 27-year-long study The China Project, of how this effect worked. We did dozens of experiments to see if this was true and, further, how it worked.” – Dr Colin Campbell, (China Study)

Campbell is an American biochemist who specializes in the effect of nutrition on long term health. He is Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University, he has a Ph.D. in nutrition, biochemistry, and microbiology. Scholars like Campbell and their work is so important in a world of medical education and academia that almost completely ignores nutrition.

Casein is the most relevant chemical carcinogen ever identified, make no mistake about it. (source)

Campbell went beyond mere correlation and found using animal studies he conducted that casein actually “turns on” cancer. When animals were fed a diet high in casein, the cancer increased dramatically. What’s even more interesting is when they decided to do a comparison using plant protein.

What we learned along the way is that we could turn on and turn off cancer. Turn it on by increasing casein consumption, turn it off by decreasing it or replacing it with plant protein. That was a really exciting thing that we could take nutrition and turn cancer on and off, I mean that, that was pretty startling. – Campbell (source)

The Takeaway

We are the only species on the planet that consumes the dairy of another animal after weaning.  The reduction of lactase activity after infancy is a genetically programmed event. Approximately 75 % of Earths population is lactose intolerant for a reason, because it’s perfectly natural. We are not meant to drink the milk of another animal and we had to evolve the gene to digest it.  The statistics vary from race to race and country to country but overall they show an abnormal amount of individuals who qualify. In some Asian countries, 90 percent of the population is lactose intolerant.

It seems the big food companies convinced us that it’s a requirement, and that it’s healthy. They used protein and calcium (both of which are present in a number of plant sources, for example) as mass marketing tools to push dairy products on the population in order to turn a very large profit, all at the health expense of human beings.

This is one of multiple examples off mass perception manipulation.

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Awareness

7 Ways to Prevent and Even Reverse Heart Disease with Nutrition

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    This article was written by Sayer Ji. Founder of Greenmedinfo.com. Posted here with permission.

  • Reflect On:

    Heart disease, while still the #1 cause of mortality in the developed world, can be prevented and even reversed with nutritional interventions, according to a growing body of scientific research.

Considering that heart disease is the #1 cause of death in the developed world, anything that can prevent or reduce cardiac mortality, or slow or even reverse the cardiovascular disease process, should be of great interest to health professionals and the general public alike.

Sadly, millions are still unaware of the extensive body of biomedical literature that exists supporting the use of natural compounds for preventing and even reversing heart disease, which we have indexed on GreenMedInfo.com.

Instead, they spend billions of healthcare dollars annually on highly toxic cholesterol-lowering pharmaceuticals such as statin drugs which have known cardiotoxicity, among 300 other proven side effects, simply because their doctors told them to do so. Bad advice is the rule and not the exception here. For instance, after decades of recommending a so-called ‘low dose’ aspirin to prevent heart disease and stroke, the weight of evidence now points to it being a cause of significantly more harm than good: Doctors Reverse Decades Old Aspirin Recommendation: Deadly Risks Outweigh Benefits for Heart Disease & Stroke

So, with this in mind, let’s look at a small but significant sample of natural, food-based alternatives to these drugs through the lens of the clinical and biomedical literature itself.

Three Natural Substances that Reduce the Risk of Heart-Related Death

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: There is a robust body of research indicating that the risk of sudden cardiac death is reduced when consuming higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Going all the way back to 2002, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study titled, “Blood levels of long-chain n-3 fatty acids and the risk of sudden death,” which found: “The n-3 fatty acids found in fish are strongly associated with a reduced risk of sudden death among men without evidence of prior cardiovascular disease.” Another 2002 study, published in the journal Circulation, found that Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation reduces total mortality and sudden death in patients who have already had a heart attack.[i] For additional research, view our dataset on the topic of Omega-3 fatty acids and the reduction of cardiac mortality. It should be noted that the best-selling cholesterol drug class known as statins may actually reduce the effectiveness of omega-3 fats at protecting the heart. This has been offered as an explanation as to why newer research seems to show that consuming omega-3 fats does not lower the risk of cardiac mortality.
  • Vitamin D: Levels of this essential compound have been found to be directly associated with the risk of dying from all causes. Being in the lowest 25% percent of vitamin D levels is associated with a 26% increased rate of all-cause mortality.[ii] It has been proposed that doubling global vitamin D levels could significantly reduce mortality.[iii] Research published in the journal Clinical Endocrinology in 2009 confirmed that lower vitamin D levels are associated with increased all-cause mortality but also that the effect is even more pronounced with cardiovascular mortality.[iv] This finding was confirmed the same year in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society, [v] and again in 2010 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.[vi]
  • Magnesium: In a world gone mad over taking inorganic calcium supplementation for manufactured diseases such as T-score defined “osteopenia” or “osteoporosis,”despite their well-known association with increased risk of cardiac mortality, magnesium’s role in protecting against heart disease cannot be overstressed. It is well-known that even the accelerated aging of the heart muscle experienced by those in long space flight is due to magnesium deficiency. In 2010, the Journal of Biomedical Sciences reported that cardiovascular risks are significantly lower in individuals who excrete higher levels of magnesium, indicating its protective role.[vii] Another study published in the journal Atherosclerosis in 2011 found that low serum magnesium concentrations predict cardiovascular and all-cause mortality.[viii] Remember that when you are looking to ‘supplement’ your diet with magnesium go green. Chlorophyll is green because it has a magnesium atom at its center. Kale, for example, is far better a source of complex nutrition than magnesium supplements. But, failing the culinary approach, magnesium supplements can be highly effective at attaining a therapeutic and/or cardioprotective dose.

For an additional list of compounds that may reduce cardiac mortality, including cocoa, tea, wine and yes, even cholesterol itself, view our Reduce Cardiac Mortality page.

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Four Natural Compounds Which May Unclog the Arteries

  • Pomegranate: this remarkable fruit has been found in a human clinical study to reverse the carotid artery thickness (i.e. blockage) by up to 29% within 1 year[ix] There are a broad range of mechanisms that have been identified which may be responsible for this effect, including: 1) lowering blood pressure 2) fighting infection (plaque in arteries often contains bacteria and viruses) 3) preventing cholesterol oxidation 4) reducing inflammation.[x]
  • Arginine: Preclinical and clinical research indicates that this amino acid not only prevents the progression of atherosclerosis but also reverses pathologies associated with the process. (see also: Clogged Arteries and Arginine). One of the mechanisms in which it accomplishes this feat is by increasing the production of nitric oxide which is normally depressed in blood vessels where the inner lining has been damaged (endothelium) resulting in dysfunction.
  • Garlic: Not only has garlic been found to reduce a multitude of risk factors associated with arteriosclerosis, the thickening and hardening of the arteries, but it also significantly reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.[xi] In vitro research has confirmed that garlic inhibits arteriosclerotic plaque formation.[xii] Aged garlic extract has also been studied to inhibit the progression of coronary artery calcification in patients receiving statin therapy.[xiii] And let us not forget, garlic’s benefits are extremely broad. We have identified over 150 diseases that this remarkable culinary and medicinal herb has been confirmed to be of potential value in treating and preventing and which can be viewed here: Garlic Health Benefits.
  • B-Complex: One of the few vitamin categories that has been confirmed in human studies to not only reduce the progression of plaque buildup in the arteries but actually reverse it is B-complex. A 2009 study published in the journal Stroke found that high dose B-complex vitamin supplementation significantly reduces the progression of early-stage subclinical atherosclerosis in healthy individuals.[xiv] More remarkably, a 2005 study published in the journal Atherosclerosis found a B-vitamin formula decreased the carotid artery thickness in patients at risk for cerebral ischemia.[xv] Another possible explanation for these positive effects is the role B-vitamins have in reducing the production of homocysteine, an artery and otherwise blood vessel scarring amino acid.[xvi]

For additional research on artery unclogging substances visit our page dedicated to the topic Unclogging Arteries.

Additional Heart Unfriendly Things To Avoid

No discussion of preventing cardiac mortality would be complete without discussing things that need to be removed in order to reduce risk, such as:

  • NSAIDs: Drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen, and Tylenol, have well-known association with increased cardiac mortality. Review six studies on the topic here: NSAID Cardiotoxicity.
  • Statin Drugs: It is the height of irony that the very category of drugs promoted to millions globally as the standard of care for primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease and cardiac mortality are actually cardiotoxic agents, linked to no less than 300 adverse health effects. Statin drugs have devastating health effects. Explore the research here: Statin Drug Health Effects.
  • Wheat: while this connection is rarely discussed, even by those who promote grain-free and wheat free diets, wheat has profound cardiotoxic potential, along with over 200 documented adverse health effects: Wheat Toxicity. And why wouldn’t it, when the very countries that eat the most of it have the highest rate of cardiovascular disease and heart-related deaths? For an in-depth explanation read our article: Wheat’s Cardiotoxicity: As Serious As A Heart Attack.

Finally, for additional research on the topic of heart health promoting strategies visit our Health Guide: Heart Health. Interested in healing an injured heart? Read about cardiac tissue regeneration: 6 Bodily Tissues That Can Be Regenerated Through Nutrition.


References

[i] Roberto Marchioli, Federica Barzi, Elena Bomba, Carmine Chieffo, Domenico Di Gregorio, Rocco Di Mascio, Maria Grazia Franzosi, Enrico Geraci, Giacomo Levantesi, Aldo Pietro Maggioni, Loredana Mantini, Rosa Maria Marfisi, G Mastrogiuseppe, Nicola Mininni, Gian Luigi Nicolosi, Massimo Santini, Carlo Schweiger, Luigi Tavazzi, Gianni Tognoni, Corrado Tucci, Franco Valagussa,. Early protection against sudden death by n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids after myocardial infarction: time-course analysis of the results of the Gruppo Italiano per lo Studio della Sopravvivenza nell’Infarto Miocardico (GISSI)-Prevenzione. Circulation. 2002 Apr 23;105(16):1897-903. PMID: 11997274

[ii] Michal L Melamed, Erin D Michos, Wendy Post, Brad Astor. 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and the risk of mortality in the general population. Arch Intern Med. 2008 Aug 11;168(15):1629-37. PMID: 18695076

[iii] W B Grant. An estimate of the global reduction in mortality rates through doubling vitamin D levels. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2011 Jul 6. Epub 2011 Jul 6. PMID: 21731036

[iv] Stefan Pilz, Harald Dobnig, Giel Nijpels, Robert J Heine, Coen D A Stehouwer, Marieke B Snijder, Rob M van Dam, Jacqueline M Dekker. Vitamin D and mortality in older men and women. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2009 Nov;71(5):666-72. Epub 2009 Feb 18. PMID: 19226272

[v] Adit A Ginde, Robert Scragg, Robert S Schwartz, Carlos A Camargo. Prospective study of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D level, cardiovascular disease mortality, and all-cause mortality in older U.S. adults. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2009 Sep;57(9):1595-603. Epub 2009 Jun 22. PMID: 19549021

[vi] Karl Michaëlsson, John A Baron, Greta Snellman, Rolf Gedeborg, Liisa Byberg, Johan Sundström, Lars Berglund, Johan Arnlöv, Per Hellman, Rune Blomhoff, Alicja Wolk, Hans Garmo, Lars Holmberg, Håkan Melhus. Plasma vitamin D and mortality in older men: a community-based prospective cohort study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Oct;92(4):841-8. Epub 2010 Aug 18. PMID: 20720256

[vii] Yukio Yamori, Takashi Taguchi, Hideki Mori, Mari Mori. Low cardiovascular risks in the middle aged males and females excreting greater 24-hour urinary taurine and magnesium in 41 WHO-CARDIAC study populations in the world. J Biomed Sci. 2010;17 Suppl 1:S21. Epub 2010 Aug 24. PMID: 20804596

[viii] Thorsten Reffelmann, Till Ittermann, Marcus Dörr, Henry Völzke, Markus Reinthaler, Astrid Petersmann, Stephan B Felix. Low serum magnesium concentrations predict cardiovascular and all-cause mortality. Atherosclerosis. 2011 Jun 12. Epub 2011 Jun 12. PMID: 21703623

[ix] Sayer Ji, Research: Pomegranate May Reverse Blocked Arteries

[x] GreenMedInfo.com, Pomegranate’s Health Benefits

[xi] G Siegel, A Walter, S Engel, A Walper, F Michel. [Pleiotropic effects of garlic]. Wien Med Wochenschr. 1999;149(8-10):217-24. PMID: 10483684

[xii] Günter Siegel, Frank Michel, Michael Ploch, Miguel Rodríguez, Martin Malmsten. [Inhibition of arteriosclerotic plaque development by garlic]. Wien Med Wochenschr. 2004 Nov;154(21-22):515-22. PMID: 15638070

[xiii] Matthew J Budoff, Junichiro Takasu, Ferdinand R Flores, Yutaka Niihara, Bin Lu, Benjamin H Lau, Robert T Rosen, Harunobu Amagase. Inhibiting progression of coronary calcification using Aged Garlic Extract in patients receiving statin therapy: a preliminary study. Prev Med. 2004 Nov;39(5):985-91. PMID: 15475033

[xiv] Howard N Hodis, Wendy J Mack, Laurie Dustin, Peter R Mahrer, Stanley P Azen, Robert Detrano, Jacob Selhub, Petar Alaupovic, Chao-ran Liu, Ci-hua Liu, Juliana Hwang, Alison G Wilcox, Robert H Selzer,. High-dose B vitamin supplementation and progression of subclinical atherosclerosis: a randomized controlled trial. Stroke. 2009 Mar;40(3):730-6. Epub 2008 Dec 31. PMID: 19118243

[xv] Uwe Till, Peter Röhl, Almut Jentsch, Heiko Till, Andreas Müller, Klaus Bellstedt, Dietmar Plonné, Horst S Fink, Rüdiger Vollandt, Ulrich Sliwka, Falko H Herrmann, Henning Petermann, Reiner Riezler. Decrease of carotid intima-media thickness in patients at risk to cerebral ischemia after supplementation with folic acid, Vitamins B6 and B12. Atherosclerosis. 2005 Jul;181(1):131-5. Epub 2005 Feb 16. PMID: 15939064

[xvi] Claudio Maldonado, Chirag V Soni, Nathan D Todnem, Sathnur Pushpakumar, Dorothea Rosenberger, Srikanth Givvimani, Juan Villafane, Suresh C Tyagi. Hyperhomocysteinemia and sudden cardiac death: potential arrhythmogenic mechanisms. Curr Vasc Pharmacol. 2010 Jan;8(1):64-74. PMID: 19485933

Originally published: 2018-08-05

Aritcle updated: 2019-07-24


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Alternative News

United States Drinking Water Pollution Could Cause 100,000 Cancer Cases

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A new study has found United States drinking water pollution could cause 100,000 cancer cases.

  • Reflect On:

    What will it take for us to clean up our planet and our waterways? Why are we always focused on raising money for cancer treatment instead of creating awareness about the many causes of cancer?

While the push for reducing carbon emissions is stronger than ever, there are plenty of environmental issues that deserve just as much, if not more, attention. One of those issues is the pollution of our water systems. This is a global problem that plagues the entire planet, and North America is no exception. In Canada, for example, First Nations reserves have some of the worst drinking water in the world. It’s terrible and makes absolutely no sense at all.

Water contamination in the United States is at an all-time high, which was further illustrated by a new study published in the Journal Heliyon. The study looked at 22 cancer-causing compounds that researchers found in 48,363 U.S. municipal water systems, and is the first of its kind to contemplate the total cancer risk from the mixture of these chemical components that’ve been found in tap water. It’s important to note that the study did not include the approximately 13.5 million people that are currently on private well water.

The study concludes:

Overall, state- and national-level cumulative cancer risks due to carcinogenic water contaminants are similar in magnitude to the risks reported for carcinogenic air pollutants. Thus, improving water quality at the tap and investing in measures for source water protections represent opportunities for protecting public health and decreasing potential disease incidence due to environmental pollution.

“We’re seeing cancer risk estimated at about 100,000 cases for the U.S.– due to drinking water contaminants at levels that currently meet requirements,” lead author, Sydney Evans, a science analyst at the Environmental Working Group, told EHN.

The astonishing thing is that the chemical water contaminates actually meet the safety requirements. It appears that safety requirements that’ve been set by our federal health regulatory agencies need to be adjusted. At the end of the day, is there really a safe level of harmful chemical contamination? The obvious answer is no.

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“Water at the legal limit may still hold health risks,” Evans said.

The 100,000 cancer cases estimate is the calculated risk of people drinking water over a lifetime. In the United States, there are approximately 300 million people who access their water from community water systems, which is a large majority of the US population. According to the authors, we’re talking about 4 lifetime cancer cases per 10,000.

That may not seem like a large number to some, but it is, especially when you consider all of the other environmental contaminants that have been linked to cancer like everyday household products, pesticides and herbicides like RoundUp that are now found on many of our foods, not to mention electromagnetic radiation, processed foods, sugar (high fructose corn syrup), air pollution, and a host of other factors that have been strongly linked to cancer.

There are many such studies on public water systems in America. According to an Environmental Working Group’s review of government water analysis, 75% of America’s drinking water is ridden with cancer-causing hexavalent chromium or chromium-6. And 200 million Americans are currently being exposed to it.

Chromium-6 is a heavy metal categorized as a Group 1 carcinogen by the World Health Organization. The same heavy metal Erin Brockovich brought to attention–it’s a by-product of industrial manufacturing and is known to cause cancer even in minute concentrations. Indeed, California scientists labelled it dangerous when it surpasses a mere 0.02 parts per billion—the equivalent of one drop of water in an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

Bottled water isn’t much better, and also contributes to pollution.

Even antidepressant drugs, making their way through an increasing number of people’s bodies, getting excreted in small amounts into their toilets, and moving through the wastewater treatment process to lakes and rivers, have been found in multiple Great Lakes fish species’ brains. (source)

Research has exposed that no level of toxins is completely safe in your water. A two-year study conducted by the National Toxicology Program (2008) concluded that drinking water with traces of chromium-6 resulted in cancer among the test subjects.

Yes, we can protect ourselves from these risks by eating healthy, drinking clean water, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but it’s really getting out of hand. One of the main concerns is that people are constantly raising money for cancer, but that money isn’t being used to combat these issues. The disease has become a popular hashtag without any of these supposed cancer activists creating awareness on the actual causes of cancer.

Cancer is Not Just A Stroke of Bad Luck

Cancer is not just a stroke of bad luck. We know there are many environmental factors, products and services that can cause cancer. It would be interesting to see a similar study done, but one that took into account the dozens upon dozens of factors that are clearly contributing to rising cancer rates. Why aren’t cancer activists creating awareness about this? Why is the cancer industry constantly trying to raise money for cancer, while at the same time ignoring a number of potential treatments that can’t be patented by big pharmaceutical companies? These are all very important questions to ask.

The Takeaway

Real cancer awareness is about educating others on the alternative treatment methods suppressed by big pharma and creating awareness about the known causes of cancer. It’s not just about raising money, so next time you or someone you know donates or wants to raise awareness, point them in the direction of the known environmental pollutants, foods, products and services that are clearly contributing to the massive cancer epidemic our world is experiencing. The best type of activism is a healthy lifestyle, and it starts with you.

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