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Turmeric Produces ‘Remarkable’ Recovery in Alzheimer’s Patients

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A study on patients with AD found that less than a gram of turmeric daily, taken for three months, resulted in 'remarkable improvements.'

  • Reflect On:

    Turmeric has been used in India for over 5,000 years, which is likely why still today both rural and urban populations have some of the lowest prevalence rates of Alzheimer's disease (AD) in the world.

Before you begin...

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This article was written by Sayer Ji, founder of Greenmedinfo.com where it was originally published. Posted here with permission.

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A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), sadly, has become a rite of passage in so-called developed countries. AD is considered the most common form of dementia, which is defined as a serious loss of cognitive function in previously unimpaired persons, beyond what is expected from normal aging.

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A 2006 study estimated that 26 million people throughout the world suffer from this condition, and that by 2050, the prevalence will quadruple, by which time 1 in 85 persons worldwide will be afflicted with the disease.[1]

Given the global extent of the problem, interest in safe and effective preventive and therapeutic interventions within the conventional medical and alternative professions alike are growing.

Unfortunately, conventional drug-based approaches amount to declaring chemical war upon the problem, a mistake which we have documented elsewhere, and which can result in serious neurological harm, as evidenced by the fact that this drug class carries an alarmingly high risk for seizures, according to World Health Organization post-marketing surveillance statistics.[i][2]

What the general public is therefore growing most responsive to is using time-tested, safe, natural and otherwise more effective therapies that rely on foods, spices and familiar culinary ingredients.

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Remarkable Recoveries Reported after Administration of Turmeric

Late last year, a remarkable study was published in the journal Ayu titiled “Effects of turmeric on Alzheimer’s disease with behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia.” [ii] Researchers described three patients with Alzheimer’s disease whose behavioral symptoms were “improved remarkably” as a result of consuming 764 milligram of turmeric (curcumin 100 mg/day) for 12 weeks. According to the study:

All three patients exhibited irritability, agitation, anxiety, and apathy, two patients suffer from urinary incontinence and wonderings. They were prescribed turmeric powder capsules and started recovering from these symptoms without any adverse reaction in the clinical symptom and laboratory data.

After only 3 months of treatment, both the patients’ symptoms and the burden on their caregivers were significantly decreased.

The report describes the improvements thusly:

In one case, the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score was up five points, from 12/30 to 17/30. In the other two cases, no significant change was seen in the MMSE; however, they came to recognize their family within 1 year treatment. All cases have been taking turmeric for more than 1 year, re-exacerbation of BPSD was not seen.

This study illustrates just how powerful a simple natural intervention using a time-tested culinary herb can be. Given that turmeric has been used medicinally and as a culinary ingredient for over 5,000 years in Indian culture, even attaining the status of a ‘Golden Goddess,’ we should not be surprised at this result. Indeed, epidemiological studies of Indian populations reveal that they have a remarkably lower prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease relative to Western nations, [3] and this is true for both rural and more “Westernized” urban areas of India.[4]

Could turmeric be a major reason for this?

Turmeric’s Anti-Alzheimer’s Properties

The GreenMedInfo.com database now contains a broad range of published studies on the value of turmeric, and its primary polyphenol curcumin (which gives it its golden hue), for Alzheimer’s disease prevention and treatment.*

While there are 114 studies on our Turmeric research page indicating turmeric has a neuroprotective set of physiological actions, [5] 30 of these studies are directly connected to turmeric’s anti-Alzheimer’s disease properties.**

Two of these studies are particularly promising, as they reveal that curcumin is capable of enhancing the clearance of the pathological amyloid–beta plaque in Alzheimer’s disease patients,[6] and that in combination with vitamin D3 the neurorestorative process is further enhanced.[7] Additional preclinical research indicates curcumin (and its analogs) has inhibitory and protective effects against Alzheimer’s disease associated β-amyloid proteins.[8] [9] [10]

Other documented Anti-Alzheimer’s mechanisms include:

  • Anti-inflammatory: Curcumin has been found to play a protective role against β-amyloid protein associated inflammation.[11]
  • Anti-oxidative: Curcumin may reduce damage via antioxidant properties.[12]
  • Anti-cytotoxic: Curcumin appears to protect against the cell-damaging effects of β-amyloid proteins.[13] [14]
  • Anti-amyloidogenic: Turmeric contains a variety of compounds (curcumin, tetrahydrocurcumin, demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin) which may strike to the root pathological cause of Alzheimer’s disease by preventing β-amyloid protein formation.[15] [16] [17] [18]
  • Neurorestorative: Curcuminoids appear to rescue long-term potentiation (an indication of functional memory) impaired by amyloid peptide, and may reverse physiological damage by restoring distorted neurites and disrupting existing plaques. [19] [20]
  • Metal-chelating properties: Curcumin has a higher binding affinity for iron and copper rather than zinc, which may contribute to its protective effect in Alzheimer’s disease, as iron-mediated damage may play a pathological role.[21] [22]

Just The Tip of the Medicine Spice Cabinet

The modern kitchen pantry contains a broad range of anti-Alzheimer’s disease items, which plenty of science now confirms. Our Alzheimer’s research page contains research on 97 natural substances of interest. Top on the list, of course, is curcumin. Others include:

  • Coconut Oil: This remarkable substance contains approximately 66% medium chain triglycerides by weight, and is capable of improving symptoms of cognitive decline in those suffering from dementia by increasing brain-boosing ketone bodies, and perhaps more remarkably, within only one dose, and within only two hours.[23]
  • Cocoa: A 2009 study found that cocoa procyanidins may protect against lipid peroxidation associated with neuronal cell death in a manner relevant to Alzheimer’s disease.[24]
  • Sage: A 2003 study found that sage extract has therapeutic value in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.[25]
  • Folic acid: While most of the positive research on this B vitamin has been performed on the semi-synthetic version, which may have unintended, adverse health effects, the ideal source for this B vitamin is foliage, i.e. green leafy vegetables, as only foods provide folate. Also, the entire B group of vitamins, especially including the homocysteine-modulating B6 and B12,[26] may have the most value in Alzheimer’s disease prevention and treatment.
  • Resveratrol: this compound is mainly found in the Western diet in grapes, wine, peanuts and chocolate. There are 16 articles on our website indicating it has anti-Alzheimer’s properties.[27]

Other potent natural therapies include:

  • Gingko biloba: is one of the few herbs proven to be at least as effective as the pharmaceutical drug Aricept in treating and improving symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.[28] [29]
  • Melissa offinalis: this herb, also known as Lemon Balm, has been found to have therapeutic effect in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.[30]
  • Saffron: this herb compares favorably to the drug donepezil in the treatment of mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease.[31]

As always, the important thing to remember is that it is our diet and environmental exposures that largely determine our risk of accelerated brain aging and associated dementia. Prevention is an infinitely better strategy, especially considering many of the therapeutic items mentioned above can be used in foods as spices. Try incorporating small, high-quality culinary doses of spices like turmeric into your dietary pattern, remembering that ‘adding it to taste,’ in a way that is truly enjoyable, may be the ultimate standard for determining what a ‘healthy dose’ is for you.

Notes:

*This statement is not meant to be used to prevent, diagnosis, treat, or cure a disease; rather, it is a statement of fact: the research indexed on our database indicates it

**Our professional database users are empowered to employ the ‘Advanced Database Options’ listed on the top of the Turmeric research page and after clicking the function “Sort Quick Summaries by Title Alphabetically” under “Available Sorting Options” they can quickly retrieve an alphabetical list of all 613 diseases relevant to the Turmeric research, and then choosing the “Focus” articles selection to the right of the “Alzheimer’s disease” heading to see only the 30 study abstracts relevant to the topic.


References

[1] Ron Brookmeyer, Elizabeth Johnson, Kathryn Ziegler-Graham, H Michael Arrighi. Forecasting the global burden of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimers Dement. 2007 Jul ;3(3):186-91. PMID: 19595937

[2] Nozomi Hishikawa, Yoriko Takahashi, Yoshinobu Amakusa, Yuhei Tanno, Yoshitake Tuji, Hisayoshi Niwa, Nobuyuki Murakami, U K Krishna. Effects of turmeric on Alzheimer’s disease with behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia. Ayu. 2012 Oct ;33(4):499-504. PMID: 23723666

[3] V Chandra, R Pandav, H H Dodge, J M Johnston, S H Belle, S T DeKosky, M Ganguli. Incidence of Alzheimer’s disease in a rural community in India: the Indo-US study. Neurology. 2001 Sep 25 ;57(6):985-9. PMID: 11571321

[4] GreenMedInfo.com, Declaring Chemical Warfare Against Alzheimer’s.

[5] GreenMedInfo.com, Turmeric’s Neuroprotective Properties (114 study abstracts)

[6] Laura Zhang, Milan Fiala, John Cashman, James Sayre, Araceli Espinosa, Michelle Mahanian, Justin Zaghi, Vladimir Badmaev, Michael C Graves, George Bernard, Mark Rosenthal. Curcuminoids enhance amyloid-beta uptake by macrophages of Alzheimer’s disease patients. J Alzheimers Dis. 2006 Sep;10(1):1-7. PMID: 16988474

[7] Ava Masoumi, Ben Goldenson, Senait Ghirmai, Hripsime Avagyan, Justin Zaghi, Ken Abel, Xueying Zheng, Araceli Espinosa-Jeffrey, Michelle Mahanian, Phillip T Liu, Martin Hewison, Matthew Mizwickie, John Cashman, Milan Fiala. 1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 interacts with curcuminoids to stimulate amyloid-beta clearance by macrophages of Alzheimer’s disease patients. J Alzheimers Dis. 2009 Jul;17(3):703-17. PMID: 19433889

[8] Hongying Liu, Zhong Li, Donghai Qiu, Qiong Gu, Qingfeng Lei, Li Mao. The inhibitory effects of different curcuminoids onβ-amyloid protein, β-amyloid precursor protein and β-site amyloid precursor protein cleaving enzyme 1 in swAPP HEK293 cells. Int Dent J. 1996 Feb;46(1):22-34. PMID: 20727383

[9] Shilpa Mishra, Mamata Mishra, Pankaj Seth, Shiv Kumar Sharma. Tetrahydrocurcumin confers protection against amyloidβ-induced toxicity. Neuroreport. 2010 Nov 24. Epub 2010 Nov 24. PMID: 21116204

[10] Xiao-Yan Qin, Yong Cheng, Long-Chuan Yu. Potential protection of curcumin against intracellular amyloid beta-induced toxicity in cultured rat prefrontal cortical neurons. Neurosci Lett. 2010 Aug 9;480(1):21-4. PMID: 20638958

[11] Hong-Mei Wang, Yan-Xin Zhao, Shi Zhang, Gui-Dong Liu, Wen-Yan Kang, Hui-Dong Tang, Jian-Qing Ding, Sheng-Di Chen. PPARgamma agonist curcumin reduces the amyloid-beta-stimulated inflammatory responses in primary astrocytes. J Alzheimers Dis. 2010;20(4):1189-99. PMID: 20413894

[12] G P Lim, T Chu, F Yang, W Beech, S A Frautschy, G M Cole. The curry spice curcumin reduces oxidative damage and amyloid pathology in an Alzheimer transgenic mouse. J Neurosci. 2001 Nov 1;21(21):8370-7. PMID: 11606625

[13] Xiao-Yan Qin, Yong Cheng, Long-Chuan Yu. Potential protection of curcumin against intracellular amyloid beta-induced toxicity in cultured rat prefrontal cortical neurons. Neurosci Lett. 2010 Aug 9;480(1):21-4. PMID: 20638958

[14] D S Kim, S Y Park, J K Kim. Curcuminoids from Curcuma longa L. (Zingiberaceae) that protect PC12 rat pheochromocytoma and normal human umbilical vein endothelial cells from betaA(1-42) insult. Neurosci Lett. 2001 Apr 27;303(1):57-61. PMID: 11297823

[15] R Douglas Shytle, Paula C Bickford, Kavon Rezai-zadeh, L Hou, Jin Zeng, Jun Tan, Paul R Sanberg, Cyndy D Sanberg, Bill Roschek, Ryan C Fink, Randall S Alberte. Optimized turmeric extracts have potent anti-amyloidogenic effects. Curr Alzheimer Res. 2009 Dec;6(6):564-71. PMID: 19715544

[16] Fusheng Yang, Giselle P Lim, Aynun N Begum, Oliver J Ubeda, Mychica R Simmons, Surendra S Ambegaokar, Pingping P Chen, Rakez Kayed, Charles G Glabe, Sally A Frautschy, Gregory M Cole. Curcumin inhibits formation of amyloid beta oligomers and fibrils, binds plaques, and reduces amyloid in vivo. Neurochem Int. 2009 Mar-Apr;54(3-4):199-204. Epub 2008 Nov 30. PMID: 15590663

[17] Can Zhang, Andrew Browne, Daniel Child, Rudolph E Tanzi. Curcumin decreases amyloid-beta peptide levels by attenuating the maturation of amyloid-beta precursor protein. Gastroenterology. 2006 Jan;130(1):120-6. PMID: 20622013

[18] Ranjit K Giri, Vikram Rajagopal, Vijay K Kalra. Curcumin, the active constituent of turmeric, inhibits amyloid peptide-induced cytochemokine gene expression and CCR5-mediated chemotaxis of THP-1 monocytes by modulating early growth response-1 transcription factor. J Neurochem. 2004 Dec;91(5):1199-210. PMID: 15569263

[19] Touqeer Ahmed, Anwarul-Hassan Gilani, Narges Hosseinmardi, Saeed Semnanian, Syed Ather Enam, Yaghoub Fathollahi. Curcuminoids rescue long-term potentiation impaired by amyloid peptide in rat hippocampal slices. Synapse. 2010 Oct 20. Epub 2010 Oct 20. PMID: 20963814

[20] M Garcia-Alloza, L A Borrelli, A Rozkalne, B T Hyman, B J Bacskai. Curcumin labels amyloid pathology in vivo, disrupts existing plaques, and partially restores distorted neurites in an Alzheimer mouse model. J Neurochem. 2007 Aug;102(4):1095-104. Epub 2007 Apr 30. PMID: 17472706

[21] Larry Baum, Alex Ng. Curcumin interaction with copper and iron suggests one possible mechanism of action in Alzheimer’s disease animal models. J Alzheimers Dis. 2004 Aug;6(4):367-77; discussion 443-9. PMID: 15345806

[22] Silvia Mandel, Tamar Amit, Orit Bar-Am, Moussa B H Youdim. Iron dysregulation in Alzheimer’s disease: multimodal brain permeable iron chelating drugs, possessing neuroprotective-neurorescue and amyloid precursor protein-processing regulatory activities as therapeutic agents. Prog Neurobiol. 2007 Aug;82(6):348-60. Epub 2007 Jun 19. PMID: 17659826

[23] Mark A Reger, Samuel T Henderson, Cathy Hale, Brenna Cholerton, Laura D Baker, G S Watson, Karen Hyde, Darla Chapman, Suzanne Craft. Effects of beta-hydroxybutyrate on cognition in memory-impaired adults. Neurobiol Aging. 2004 Mar;25(3):311-4. PMID: 15123336

[24] Eun Sun Cho, Young Jin Jang, Nam Joo Kang, Mun Kyung Hwang, Yong Taek Kim, Ki Won Lee, Hyong Joo Lee. Cocoa procyanidins attenuate 4-hydroxynonenal-induced apoptosis of PC12 cells by directly inhibiting mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase 4 activity. Free Radic Biol Med. 2009 May 15;46(10):1319-27. Epub 2009 Feb 25. PMID: 19248828

[25] S Akhondzadeh, M Noroozian, M Mohammadi, S Ohadinia, A H Jamshidi, M Khani. Salvia officinalis extract in the treatment of patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease: a double blind, randomized and placebo-controlled trial. J Clin Pharm Ther. 2003 Feb;28(1):53-9. PMID: 12605619

[26] Celeste A de Jager, Abderrahim Oulhaj, Robin Jacoby, Helga Refsum, A David Smith. Cognitive and clinical outcomes of homocysteine-lowering B-vitamin treatment in mild cognitive impairment: a randomized controlled trial. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2011 Jul 21. Epub 2011 Jul 21. PMID: 21780182

[27] GreenMedInfo.com, Resveratrol’s Anti-Alzheimer’s properties

[28] S Yancheva, R Ihl, G Nikolova, P Panayotov, S Schlaefke, R Hoerr,. Ginkgo biloba extract EGb 761(R), donepezil or both combined in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease with neuropsychiatric features: a randomised, double-blind, exploratory trial. Aging Ment Health. 2009 Mar;13(2):183-90. PMID: 19347685

[29] M Mazza, A Capuano, P Bria, S Mazza. Ginkgo biloba and donepezil: a comparison in the treatment of Alzheimer’s dementia in a randomized placebo-controlled double-blind study. Eur J Neurol. 2006 Sep;13(9):981-5. PMID: 16930364

[30] S Akhondzadeh, M Noroozian, M Mohammadi, S Ohadinia, A H Jamshidi, M Khani. Melissa officinalis extract in the treatment of patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease: a double blind, randomised, placebo controlled trial. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2003 Jul;74(7):863-6. PMID: 12810768

[31] Shahin Akhondzadeh, Mehdi Shafiee Sabet, Mohammad Hossein Harirchian, Mansoreh Togha, Hamed Cheraghmakani, Soodeh Razeghi, Seyyed Shamssedin Hejazi, Mohammad Hossein Yousefi, Roozbeh Alimardani, Amirhossein Jamshidi, Shams-Ali Rezazadeh, Aboulghasem Yousefi, Farhad Zare, Atbin Moradi, Ardalan Vossoughi. A 22-week, multicenter, randomized, double-blind controlled trial of Crocus sativus in the treatment of mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2010 Jan;207(4):637-43. Epub 2009 Oct 20. PMID: 19838862

Sayer Ji is founder of Greenmedinfo.com, a reviewer at the International Journal of Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine, Co-founder and CEO of Systome Biomed, Vice Chairman of the Board of the National Health Federation, Steering Committee Member of the Global Non-GMO Foundation.

Link to the original article.

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Lebanese Hospital Becomes The World’s First To Go 100 Percent Vegan (Food)

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CE Staff Writer 7 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A hospital in Lebanon has become the first in the world to adopt a completely vegan menu.

  • Reflect On:

    Are people aware of the physical and emotional torture the majority animals we eat go through? Are people aware that a diet free of animal products can be very beneficial for human health. Are people aware that animal agriculture is destroying Earth?

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

At the beginning of March, Hayek Hospital in Beirut, Lebanon became the first hospital in the world to serve 100 percent vegan only meals. Prior to this change, patients had a choice between animal based meals and vegan meals, and included with that was information about the health benefits of choosing plant-based foods versus the dangers of consuming animal products. The hospital made the announcement via their Instagram page, stating that “Our patients will no longer wake up from surgery to be greeted with ham, cheese, milk, and eggs…the very food(s) that may have contributed to their health problems in the first place.”

When the World Health Organization classifies processed meat as a group 1A carcinogenic (causes cancer) same group as tobacco and red meat as group 2A carcinogenic, then serving meat in the hospital is like serving cigarettes in a hospital. When the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) declare that 3 out of 4 new or emerging infectious disease comes from animals. When adopting a plant based exclusive diet has been successfully proven not only to stop the evolution of certain diseases but it can also reverse them. We then, have the moral responsibility to act upon and align our beliefs with our actions. Taking the courage to look at the elephant in in the eye.

Their various statements also point to the role that animal agriculture plays in spawning infectious diseases, citing the Centers for Disease Control’s estimate that 3 out of 4 new or emerging infectious diseases come from animals. “We believe it’s well about time to tackle the root cause of diseases and pandemics, not just treat symptoms,” they note.

This was a great statement. The modern day medical industry only seems to be focused on medications, and only medications that can turn a hefty profit, to treat and cure disease instead of addressing root causes. It’s good to see things changing, but a big problem remains. If a plant that grows in abundance, for example, has the potential to cure a disease, will we ever hear about it? Will the medical industry be interested in it? Probably not, but when a drug is made and patented from that plant in a specific way, that’s when we will. This is not to say that modern day medicine is useless, but today now more than ever a big problem exists, and this problem may be killing more people than it’s helping.

Arnold Seymour Relman (1923-2014), a Harvard professor of medicine and also a former Editor-in-Chief of NEMJ, was frustrated 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.” (source)

According to Forks Over Knives,

While Hayek is the first hospital to completely purge animal products from its menu, a number of hospitals have begun offering more plant-based options in recent years. Both New York and California have enacted laws requiring hospitals to offer a plant-based option with every meal. In 2018 NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue launched the Plant-Based Lifestyle Medicine Program to help patients transition to a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle.

The American Medical Association passed a resolution in 2017 calling on U.S. hospitals to provide healthful plant-based meals to promote better health in patients, staff, and visitors. The American College of Cardiology has issued similar recommendations.

In my opinion, “veganism is a very fine form of nutrition” (Dr. Ellsworth Wareham, heart surgeon), and as mentioned above, there is plenty of science to back up that statement.  I’ve written about it many times before from a health perspective.

Here’s an article that goes into more detail and science if you’re interested, it also addresses history, and how our teeth and guts are designed and more. Here’s another one regarding a study that found a strong association between eating animal protein and a premature death from all causes, including multiple cancers and type 2 diabetes.

The studies cited in that article note that meat eating is strongly associated with up to a 75 percent increased chance of early mortality, and that protein from animals may cause harm, while protein from plants may help reverse disease and have a protective effect.

There are hundreds of these studies, and the ones I cite are just a few examples.

This is obviously a very controversial topic in the eyes of many, and it’s not hard at all to find conflicting information on the subject. I am no doubt bias in my beliefs and opinions here.

One thing is for certain, the way we treat animals on this planet is extremely heartbreaking and unnecessary. Animals are separated from their families, raised for slaughter and are kept in torturous conditions on a daily basis. It’s truly unbelievable and horrific. It’s the biggest genocide and example of both physical and emotional torture the world has ever seen. I don’t think anybody can witness what really goes on in most slaughterhouses can come out not being impacted.

On top of this, animal agriculture is one of, if not the greatest contributer to environmental degradation and pollution on our planet. Animal agriculture is actually the leading cause of deforestation. Every single day, close to 100 plant/animal/insect species are lost because of this practice.

Final Thoughts: At the end of the day it seems that, from a health perspective, processed meats, and other meats are no doubt harmful to human health. People can make the argument that other animal products may not be and that we are meant to consume them. People can also make the complete opposite argument. One thing that can’t be argued is, again, the torture, physical and emotional abuse that comprise the source of where animal products come from for the majority of people who eat them.

There is a big split, as with many other topics, amongst people on this issue. There are even vegan influencers who are creating splits within the ‘vegan community’ itself, which is unfortunate. I personally believe that, from a health perspective, animal products are not at all required for anybody and are again, overall, harmful to human health.

The more pressing issue, again, is the treatment of our animal brothers and sisters, and how we are constantly using and abusing them. It’s indicative of world that lacks empathy, compassion, understanding and love, as well as our inability to see ourselves in another. This can be seen in many aspects of the current human experience, be it war, human trafficking and more. That being said, it’s great to see human consciousness shifting towards a more compassionate, empathetic type of awareness. This is evident by the “vegan” movement alone, as it’s become quite large over the past few years and will continue to grow. Some of the biggest animal food producers have already gone out of business, and it’s great to see more people in the health community as well recognize that it’s a win for health, a win for environment, and most importantly, a win for the very emotional, intelligent, animals, who are similar to us in so many ways. We have so much to learn from them.

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Awareness

Caloric Restriction vs. Fasting: Why One Can Result In Weight Gain While The Other Helps Burn Fat

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CE Staff Writer 3 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    In the video below, Dr. Jason Fung explains the difference between caloric restriction and sending the body into "starvation" mode compared to fasting.

  • Reflect On:

    Fasting has been used as a health intervention for thousands of years, and is being used today by doctors who are educated on the topic. Why is it completely ignored by mainstream medicine? Is it because "big pharma" can't make any money off of it?

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

Some would say that the best solution to weight gain is eating right and exercising. I couldn’t agree more. Obesity is one of the deadliest problems humanity faces today, and just as important as diet and exercise is for addressing this issue, even more important are the emotional and personal reasons as to why so many people damage themselves and make themselves more prone to serious disease.

Apart from diet and exercise, initiating a proper fasting regimen can have tremendous health outcomes, especially for overweight people. It wasn’t but a decade ago when fasting to lose weight was considered unhealthy and dangerous. Today, we have a tremendous amount of science that’s been published clearly showing that fasting can be an effective health intervention for people of all body types, especially for people who are overweight and suffer from certain diseases. It’s an excellent way to help your body burn fat. Fasting has been used and is currently being used as an intervention for type two diabetes, cancer and more. Fasting has been shown to trigger stem cell regeneration, autophagy, which in turn can help clear out toxins and damaged cells, repair DNA, improve metabolism, lower blood sugar, boost brain function, reduce the risk of age related disease, lessen inflammation which improves a wide range of health issues from arthritic pain to asthma and more. It’s no wonder why so many ancient cultures from different parts of the world used fasting as medicine and as a health intervention.

As shown in the science, fasting is generally safe for everybody. This many not be true if you already have underlying health conditions or are taking certain medications. This is why it’s important to consult a health professional about it, but the issue is, the majority of health professionals are not well educated in fasting interventions. Those who have educated themselves have been treating their patients with fasting and are drawn to it due to its ability to provide so many benefits.

One of these doctors is Dr. Jason Fung, who on his blog and his YouTube channel, as well as the books he’s written provides a wealth of information and science regarding fasting. I often refer people to the work of Fung, or others like Dr. Valter Longo if they want to begin their own research about fasting. Again, there is a wealth of science and “scholarly” articles available on the subject for anybody who wants to search for it as well. It’s not heard to find.

In the video below, Fung explains why fasting is much different from caloric restriction or having your body go into “starvation mode.”  You can also check out his article, “The difference between calorie restriction and fasting” for some great information as well.

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The Deeper Questions Behind The “Lab Origins” Debate

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    It is being slowly accepted that SARS-COV2 originated in a laboratory. The delay in this admission has not been due to media "spin" alone but from scientists themselves.

  • Reflect On:

    How can we "trust the science" if the scientists are being disingenuous?

Before you begin...

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As the majority of Americans gather around the prevailing voice of our trusted medical institutions, those opposing it seem to be digging in their heels as well. Why is this happening? After all, we are not arguing over religion or political ideology (or at least we shouldn’t be). This pandemic and its management falls squarely in the realm of science, something that should be objective and indisputable. How is the layperson supposed to make sense of the growing polarity concerning this issue? Unless one has related training in virology, epidemiology, statistics and a decent understanding of the history and the sequence of investigations that have led scientific opinion to consensus positions before this pandemic, there is no way to be “scientific”. How are we to know whether the edicts coming from our leaders are reasonable and founded? This puts us in a difficult position, one that we are unable or unwilling to acknowledge: we have to trust someone else. The question is, whom?

Mainstream Media is beginning to acknowledge that SARS-COV2 originated in a lab

There has recently been a shift in the mainstream narrative. Some of these mainstream sources have been willing to take a hard look at where this virus came from: the “lab origins” thesis. In this recent interview with evolutionary biologists Heather Heying and Bret Weinstein, popular satirist and political commentator Bill Maher admits that “it would almost be a conspiracy theory to think it didn’t start in a lab.” The reasons for this are clear to anyone who has looked beyond the veil of simplistic statements and abjectly poor investigative journalism coming from mainstream sources. Gain of Function studies on SARS viruses were being conducted in publicly funded laboratories in this country for years prior to 2014. One could argue this was part of bioterrorism research just as easily as it was part of a pandemic preparedness effort. It is not so hard to see that in order to be prepared to combat a highly contagious and virulent pathogen we must be able to study the pathogen itself. Pandemic preparedness and bioterrorism research are basically the same thing.

As the story unfolds in the mainstream narrative, it is becoming apparent that the wet market hypothesis will soon be jettisoned for its sheer implausibility. Is it likely that this virus could survive in a bat or pangolin for generations while mutating in such a way that it could not only immediately survive in a human body but be so virulent as well? What are the factors that would be involved in allowing this new strain to behave unlike previous SARS viruses in terms of its copious presence in our nasopharyngeal cavities, apparent transmissibility in the asymptomatic and enduring pathogenicity when floating around in the air or lurking on surfaces? The answer is far more than one, making this wet market to global pandemic story all the more unacceptable.

As establishment science comes to its senses, we are left with the reality that the pandemic has most probably been the consequence of a laboratory research that got out of control. It may not be excusable or forgivable but at least we can take comfort that our attention has been refocused on what is plausible. However simply acknowledging the high probability of lab origins and moving forward with all the same initiatives to combat this virus is not enough. There are more questions that need to be posed first.

How did some Scientists “spin” the science?

This argument over SARS-COV2 origin is not new at all. It was being hotly debated a year ago for some of the same reasons I mentioned above. The lab origin thesis was effectively (and prematurely) purged from “acceptable” discussions when a paper entitled “The Proximal Origin of SARS-COV2” (KG Anderson et al) appeared in Nature Medicine (March 17, 2020). This piece served as the foundation of a wall of scientific opinion that was rapidly erected to contain the dangerous “conspiracy theory” that the virus was a product of human intention and ingenuity. If you were to read the piece it would be hard to not end up shrugging your shoulders and going along with the authors’ thesis. The authors are well-respected and published scientists that include W. Ian Lipkin, pathologist, neurobiologist and epidemiologist at Columbia University,  internationally recognized for his work around W. Nile Virus and SARS. They are assured in their conclusions and offer the reader, among other things, a comparative study of the peptide structure and genetic sequence of this virus and closely related variants. 

I am a physician and was led to this piece months ago in my research into this topic. I admit that I was left scratching my head. It wasn’t until I tuned in to a blog surrounding this and other issues hosted by Dr. Meryl Nass, a respected and dutiful researcher of pandemics and bioterrorism, that l was able to grasp where the misdirection was introduced. Dr. Nass correctly points out that it may not be possible to irrefutably prove that the virus was of lab origin or not, however it is the erroneous assumptions and unsound logic the authors of the Nature Medicine article use that point to the obscuration of the facts in a manner we could reasonably deem as deliberate.

After presenting us with a thorough description of the structure of SARS-COV-2 and analysis of its means of entering human cell lines via the Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor, the authors introduce their challenge to the lab origins position. The authors state:

“While the analyses above suggest that SARS-CoV-2 may bind human ACE2 with high affinity, computational analyses predict that the interaction is not ideal and that the RBD sequence is different from those shown in SARS-CoV to be optimal for receptor binding. Thus, the high-affinity binding of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein to human ACE2 is most likely the result of natural selection on a human or human-like ACE2 that permits another optimal binding solution to arise. This is strong evidence that SARS-CoV-2 is not the product of purposeful manipulation.”

Anderson et al are presenting their first line of attack on the Lab Origins hypothesis. Because their computational analysis predicts that a different and more “optimal” receptor-binding domain (RBD) portion of the spike protein on SARS-COV-2 could have been built, they say, it must have arisen naturally. The authors are assuming that if the virus was the product of bioterrorists they would have designed it differently. Is this sound logic? It is not. First, the authors are presupposing that their computational method is the only one available for use. Second, there is no reason to assume that a bioterrorist would choose the genetic solution that was “optimal”. Moreover, picking a “solution” identical to a computationally derived genetic sequence would leave an obvious clue that human hands were involved. This is in fact what the authors are correctly pointing out. 

This line of reasoning sheds light upon their foundational assumptions about the sophistication and intentions of would-be bioterrorists. Are they experimenters in laboratories building a novel coronavirus to a computer model’s specs to study it? Or are they true bioterrorists seeking to design a bioweapon that has no trace of human manipulation? Obviously one cannot know. Making either assumption cannot be part of any rigorous forensic analysis.

The authors go on:

“It is improbable that SARS-CoV-2 emerged through laboratory manipulation of a related SARS-CoV-like coronavirus. As noted above, the RBD of SARS-CoV-2 is optimized for binding to human ACE2 with an efficient solution different from those previously predicted. Furthermore, if genetic manipulation had been performed, one of the several reverse-genetic systems available for betacoronaviruses would probably have been used. However, the genetic data irrefutably show that SARS-CoV-2 is not derived from any previously used virus backbone.”

Here the authors are introducing yet another unfounded assumption: If the virus was designed as a biological weapon, why would a known coronavirus backbone necessarily be used as a basis for genetic manipulation? Certainly that option would be entertained by a team of bioterrorism researchers, but it is illogical to begin with that assumption. There are undoubtedly coronavirus backbones that have been genetically manipulated and remain behind closed doors and outside of public databases, i.e. unknown. It is equally logical to conclude that because no known backbone was used the virus was purposefully manipulated.  

In any case, genetic manipulation is not the only way to create a backbone of a virus. The oldest way is to use passage, a laboratory technique where a virus is cultured through a series of cell lines from different species resulting in a viable product that will survive in the target species. Other techniques are also readily available: exposing a known virus to mutagenic factors, collecting those that survive and repeating the process or simply mixing related viruses together to see what recombinant products result. None of these methods will result in a “solution” that would be in any way predictable at the outset. Indeed, that is the advantage of using such techniques. This is a fact that is well known to virologists, making the authors’ analysis all the more suspicious.

It is undeniable that the authors were using poor logic and unfounded assumptions to make unsound conclusions. This should have been obvious to the scientific community at that time, and this paper should not have made it through the editorial process of such a respected publication as Nature Medicine. The disquieting thing is that quite the opposite occurred. The article instead served as the seminal piece to squelch all arguments for the lab origin hypothesis once a flurry of subsequent publications cited it. Who should be held accountable for this? The authors? The editorial committee of Nature Medicine? The cadre of scientists that chose to use this publication to “manufacture consensus”? The mainstream media for failing in their responsibility to offer a balanced view of the debate around this article? None can be held solely responsible and all were required to perpetuate the distortion. The implications here are very serious and impossible to ignore.

Who can we rely upon to faithfully report “the science”?

Are there no stops to the dissemination of baseless “scientific” opinion? This is a question that rarely gets asked because we tend to assume that in the end, scientific consensus will be reached without the need for oversight. We are talking about science and scientists here, not policy makers or private industrialists with conflicts of interest and personal gains that hang in the balance. Yet the lines between science, industry and policy-making are blurrier the closer we look. In any case, who can we rely upon to ensure that the scientists are doing their job in formulating sound approaches to the problems at hand? There isn’t anyone, other than the scientists themselves. So what went wrong here? How did the Anderson paper end up deftly hamstringing a viable theory about the origins of SARS-COV2 a year ago using specious logic and unnecessary assumptions? Why didn’t anyone say anything? Despite what is generally known, many did.

Here’s where things get hopeful, depending on how you look at them. It would be wrong to dismiss all virologists, epidemiologists and researchers as slaves to corporate funded research institutions and group-think. Behind the veil of headlines that tout the rigor of the data and fuel the “trust the science” mantra there are collections of perspicacious and tireless researchers and journalists that have been pushing back against the established opinion and raising valid concerns about the hijacking of the narrative by members of their own ilk. Notably RFK Jr.’s Children’s Health Defense and Dr. Joseph Mercola have published an excellent paper that comprehensively summarized the ongoing work of Dr. Alina Chan of MIT’s Broad Institute who has documented the timeline and significance of how the spin has been manufactured by the scientific community themselves. Of course, many are familiar with Mr. Kennedy and Dr. Mercola not because of what they are bringing to complex discussions but because of their stigmatization as purveyors of “anti-vax” and “pseudoscience” opinions. Once so marked they are felled by the mainstream media machine with all the efficiency and discrimination of a logger’s chainsaw in an old-growth forest.

There are others that are broadcasting the same signal of reason. DRASTIC (Decentralized Radical Autonomous Search Team Investigating Covid-19) is a group of independent scientists, journalists and researchers that have been bringing attention to the suspicious ways that the debate surrounding the origin of SARS-COV2 has been marginalized within the scientific community itself (more about their work here). For example, “A Statement in support of the scientists, public health professionals and medical professionals of China combatting Covid-19” appeared in the correspondence section of the esteemed medical journal Lancet in March of 2020. In this letter the authors explicitly characterize any dissent to the natural origins hypothesis as “rumour, disinformation and conspiracy theories”. 

What are we to make of such accusations leveled against scientists by scientists? This sort of rhetoric has no place in any scientific discussion of any kind and should be a matter of real concern for everyone. Has science been corrupted by the same forces that are undeniably turning investigative journalism into a means of promulgating propaganda in some instances? If that were the case, how then are we to “trust the science”?

The Predicament that we are in

We are in an uncomfortable situation. Unless we can independently dismantle the arguments like those in the Anderson paper, or can understand the significance of the appearance of a mysterious 12 nucleotide sequence in the SARS-COV2 genome that confers the virus with a polybasic furin cleavage site (resulting in a substantial increase in virulence described here), or can appreciate the implications of a situation where scientific journals publish papers without requiring authors to supply the raw data required for independent genomic confirmation, we are stuck. If the science is being spun or misrepresented or poorly reported, there would be no way to know it.

Determining the origin of SARS-COV2 is an important question that still needs to be answered definitively. Attempting to answer this question has brought light to more disturbing questions. We cannot expect the layperson to comprehend the scientific studies that underpin our approach to this pandemic, let alone critique the logic and assumptions made by the authors of these papers. Expecting that a news correspondent, mainstream or otherwise, is anymore capable of dissecting such information is not realistic either. Until we come to grips with this we will not be able to grasp the enormity of the crisis we are facing.

The Takeaway

An honest examination into the origin of SARS-COV2 suggests a danger more pernicious than the virus itself. How much of scientific opinion is dictated by non-scientific interests? How many other “consensus” positions are rooted in inexcusably poor reasoning and assumptions? If we can only rely on independent researchers to bring clarity to these topics, who is going to give them a voice? If there is a fact that can be extracted from this debate it would be that “trusting the science” and trusting what a media source says about “the science” can be two very different things. 

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