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Sep 20, 2012

Fifty Percent of all Cancers Can Be Prevented.

Researchers  at the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) World Cancer Congress 2012 stated that 50% of all cancers can be prevented simply by following the steps of what is known in cancer prevention such as:

Don't Smoke.  Smoking causes 1/3 of all cancers.

Lose weight.  Obesity causes 20% of all cancers.

Eat well.    Improvement in diet could reduce cancer incidence by 50% 

Exercise. Increases in physical activity could reduce cancer incidence by as much as 85% in 5 to 20 years.

Eradicating the main viruses associated with cancer worldwide which include human papillomavirus and hepatitis B and C  could lead to a 100% reduction in viral-related cancer incidence in 20 to 40 years.

Screening for colorectal cancer can reduce mortality by 30% to 40%.

Epidemiologists have shown thirty years ago that tobacco, alcohol, diet,  lack of physical activity, and obesity accounted for more than half of all cancer.

United States Wastes 750 Billion in Health Care Cost.

Is More Care Better Care?

Wasted health care dollars included:

unneccesary services $210 billion,
mistakes and unneccesary use of specialist $130 billion,
excessadministration cost $190 billion,
too high prices $105 billion,
missed prevention opportunities $55 billion,
and fraud committed by patients, providers and payers 75 billion.

Arsenic Found in Rice

Consumer Reports found arsenic, a known carcinogenic, in 200 different rice products that are sold in grocery stores in the United States alone.

This was reported to pressure the FDA to set standards for safe food supplies.

Arsenic was found in baby cereal, rice cakes and bags of rice.

Arsenic is found in many of the soils where rice is produced.

Arsenic can also be found in water supplies.  

Jun 21, 2012

Running Less Than Twenty Miles a Week Better for Your Health than Long runs.

A new study in by Dr Carl Lavie (Ochsner Health System, New Orleans, LA) showed that the mortality benefits of running are best accumulated in shorter distances, specifically at less than 20 miles per week.   In fact, at longer distances, the researchers observed a U-shape relationship between mortality and running, with longer weekly distances trending back in the wrong direction, toward less mortality benefit.  

 Lavie stressed that the study is one of the largest to date, including data on more than 52 000 men and women participating in the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study (ACLS), results will likely vary among individuals with differing athletic abilities or different ages.   Running was associated with a 19% lower risk of all-cause mortality when compared with individuals who did not run.  Individuals who ran six and seven miles per hour had a significant 21% and 27% lower risk of all-cause mortality, whereas those who ran eight or more miles per hour had a nonsignificant 7% lower risk of all-cause mortality.  Running up to 20 miles per week was associated with a significantly reduced risk of death, with the largest benefit observed in those who ran between 10 to 15 miles weekly.   For those who ran 20 to 25 miles and more than 25 miles per week, however, there was a nonsignificant 10% and 5% reduction in all-cause mortality. 

Lavie noted that it is impossible to say definitively that more running is making the reduction in all-cause mortality go in the other direction, as it's possible that unmeasured variables might have influenced the results.  It's possible that runners might not be taking care of themselves in other ways.  Endurance exercise may also be associated with coronary artery calcification, diastolic dysfunction, or arterial stiffening.  For a cardiovascular protection thirty to forty minutes of running is better that ninety minutes of running.  This study is showing that more is not better when it comes to exercise.

Statins Associated With Fatigue

A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine of June showed that low energy and fatigue have been described by patients receiving statins in observational studies.  The study enrolled 1016 subjects (692 men; 324 women) with LDL levels of 115 to 190 mg/dL and no cardiovascular disease or diabetes who were randomized to simvastatin 20 mg, pravastatin 40 mg, or placebo for six months.
Results showed a significant adverse effect on energy and fatigue with exertion associated with statin use, which was more common in women than men. Both simvastatin and pravastatin contributed to this effect. The authors also point out that there was a significant relation between the reduced energy reported and actual activity, which could in turn lead to an increase in cardiovascular clinical events.
Other side effects of statin drugs include muscle pain, asthma, dementia and now fatigue.  I would question the use of statins in my patients.

What is Health & Wellness in Vail Valley?

What is Health & Wellness for the Vail Valley?

I was in southern India for the month of April and was impressed in how this country is approaching health and wellness.  India offers three different hospital systems to patients’ allopathic hospitals, naturopathic hospitals and ayurvedic hospitals.  The government is supporting the naturopathic and ayurvedic hospitals because these therapies work well for difficult cases. At the naturopathic hospital the patient is treated using all organic vegetarian foods, daily yoga, over fifty different types of hydrotherapy treatments depending on their condition, acupuncture, massages with non-toxic oils and other types of condition specific therapies. At the ayurvedic hospitals the patient is treated using specific types of foods according to their dosha such as pitta, kapha or vata.  They are also doing yoga at least three times a week and ayurvedic massages which use non-toxic oils infused with medicinal herbs depending on the condition. Ayurvedic medicine also uses panchakarma therapy an internal cleansing treatment using sweating, enemas, sinus washes, dietary changes, and herbal treatments.

These hospitals are using organic foods and many of them are doing there own farming. As a naturopathic physician myself our food is the basis of most of the chronic disease today.  In the United States studies are showing that one in two people are obese this includes Colorado which was one of the healthiest states in the country.  Allopathic medicine does not treat obesity very well unless you want to have your stomach stabled.  Our diet and lifestyle is responsible for diabetes, high cholesterol, heart diseases, one third of all cancers and high blood pressure.  Many people that I see claim their high cholesterol is genetic because everyone in their family has high cholesterol.  It’s not genetic it is because everyone in their family eats the same way.  Eating healthy is not easy for a lot of people because of their fast pace life style.  The majority of the people that I see do not really know what a healthy diet is.  We have become a society of processed, genetically modified and pesticide laden foods.  In turn, we have one of the worse health care systems in the industrial world.  It was refreshing to see India not following our footsteps and offering choices in health care.

In the United States in the early 1900’s there were twenty three naturopathic hospitals in this country in which patients were treated using a healthy diet, exercise, massages, hydrotherapy treatments, botanical medicine and homeopathy.  Then the pharmaceutical companies took over and now we have drugs that have become the fourth leading cause of death in this country.  It is sad to see that we are not taking charge of our health.  Granted as individuals we do need to be responsible for our choices. 

I find it interesting that the Vail Valley wants to become a health and wellness center.  But I see nothing being done to move in this direction.  A visitor can come here to these beautiful mountains which can be healing in themselves, exercise and have a massage in which toxic oils are used. These visitors can do this in any state.  What makes our valley so special besides the scenery?  If we want to be a health and wellness center we have to offer health and wellness.  By definition health is the general condition of a person’s mind, body and spirit meaning to be free of illness, injury or pain.  Wellness can have many different definitions the Foundation of Wellness Professionals defines it as care without drugs that can not only eliminate health problems but prevent them.  Health and wellness is about treating the cause of any illness so that a person can obtain Optimal Health.  By treating the symptoms’ of a health problem that problem will never resolve and the person will never obtain optimal health.  Our health care system needs to completely change its direction if we truly want to offer health and wellness. 

Apr 25, 2012

Cruciferous Vegetables Improve Breast Cancer Survival

Cruciferous vegetables have become recognized for some of their protective effects against many types of cancers.  These include foods like broccoli, broccoli sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, turnips, Chinese cabbage/bok choy, and other greens. 

The results of a new study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research 103rd Annual Meeting indicate that Chinese breast cancer patients experienced improved survival when consuming cruciferous vegetables.  Researchers found that as more cruciferous vegetables were consumed, total mortality risk lowered by 27%.  Mortality risk specific to breast cancer decreased by 22%, while the risk for recurrence went down by 21%. 

The study population was a large group, including 4886 Chinese women with stage I to IV breast cancer.  All were between the ages of 20 and 75, and recruited within 6 months of diagnosis.  Researchers collected data on clinical, sociodemographic, and lifestyle factors, as well as consumption of cruciferous vegetables.  

Sarah J. Nechuta, PhD, and the other researchers involved in the study observed that cruciferous vegetable consumption during the first 36 months after initial diagnosis was linked to lowered total mortality, mortality specific to breast cancer, and recurrence.  This proved to be the case after adjustments were made to account for variables such as demographics, lifestyle factors, and clinical characteristics.  

As with any study, it is important to take note of the type of population studied and realize that the results and conclusions may not be applicable to all population groups.  More research is certainly needed to more fully understand the effects of cruciferous vegetables on breast cancer survival.  Still, a reasonable take home message from this particular study and others like it is to “Eat your veggies and include plenty of cruciferous ones!”

Dr. Shana McQueen

Apr 24, 2012

Tumor Cells Targeted With Green Tea Extract and Quercitin Combination

Compounds found in green tea have long been recognized for having anti-cancer effects in the body.  The antioxidants contained in green tea can promote apoptosis, otherwise known as programmed cell death, in cancer cells that have gone “out of control”.  Regular consumption of green tea has been linked with a lowered risk for many types of cancers, including cancers of the skin, breasts, lungs, colon, and more.  A study published in Food and Function discusses the relationship between polyphenols (powerful plant compounds) in green tea and the flavonoid known as quercetin.  Quercetin, a constituent found in many types of fruits and vegetables, has been found to work synergistically with green tea, as it apparently increases levels of green tea polyphenols inside cancer cells.  This ultimately helps components within green tea to act with a higher level of potency.

Quercetin is known for its ability to act as a methylation inhibitor in the body.  Since green tea catechins naturally become methylated upon ingestion, rendering them less beneficial as anti-cancer compounds, scientists observed the effects of giving quercetin with green tea.  For a period of two weeks, researchers gave mice known to have severe immunodeficiency brewed green tea, a diet that included 0.4% quercetin, or a combination of both.  The group of mice given both green tea and quercetin were noted to have 2-3-fold increased levels of total and non-methylated green tea catechins (specifically the catechins called EGCG or epigallocatechin gallate). 

Overall, study results showed that combining quercitin with green tea catechins led to a dramatic improvement in cancer-fighting ability in vivo.  The combination increased cellular adsorption of EGCG by four-fold in lung cancer cells and two-fold in kidney cancer cells.        

The team of researchers, from Rutgers University, concluded that "in order to have a maximum anticancer effect, green tea or green tea extract should be used together with quercetin."  They also pointed out how catechins found within green tea show higher antioxidant abilities when compared with vitamins C and E.  Recommendations of 3-5 cups of freshly brewed green tea daily in combination with quercetin from either food or supplementation were made as a way of maximizing cancer-prevention benefits. 
Dr. Shana McQueen

Apr 23, 2012

Nutrition Prevents Eyes from Aging

Whether it’s our eyes, skin, internal organs, blood vessels, or brain we are looking to prevent from aging too quickly, nutritional status is one of the key determining factors.  Our health and longevity largely depend on whether we receive the daily nutrients required to minimize cellular aging and damage.  According to a panel of roundtable experts organized by the Ocular Nutrition Society (ONS), a number of nutrients are particularly effective in promoting eye health.  Some of these include zinc, vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein, zeaxanthin, and omega-3 fatty acids. 

During the meeting, 8 experts in ophthalmology, optometry, diet and nutrition, and primary care, discussed the necessity for Americans to be informed of how their eye health is related to nutrition.  "There is not one "magic bullet" nutrient but a combination of nutrients that work together to support eye and body health," according to Dr. Anshel.  “We must remember that the eye is a part of the body and closely related to brain tissue. Whole body treatments can be very effective in treating eye conditions."

Professor of Ophthalmology at the Moran Eye Center in Salt Lake City, Paul S. Bernstein, noted that there "is strong basic science support for the value of lutein, zeaxanthin, and omega-3 fatty acids in promoting eye health, and we all are eagerly awaiting the release of AREDS2 results approximately one year from now."  The AREDS2 stands for the Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2.  It is a randomized, multi-center trial with the goal of assessing the “the effects of oral supplementation of macular xanthophylls (lutein and zeaxanthin) and/or long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (docosahexaenoic acid) [DHA] and eicosapentaenoic acid [EPA]) on the progression to advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD).” 

Dr. Shana McQueen


Apr 19, 2012

Anti-Diabetic Substance Contained in Licorice Root

Licorice root is a medicinal herb with a substantial list of health benefits used in both modern and ancient times.  

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin have identified a substance contained within this herb with anti-diabetic properties.  Found in the roots of the licorice plant as well as the fruit of the Amorpha fruticosa bush, amorfrutins are apparently not only helpful in lowering blood sugar levels, but also act as anti-inflammatories and can prevent fatty liver.  They also happen to be tolerated well.      

"The health-beneficial effects are based on the fact that the amorfrutin molecules dock directly onto a receptor in the nucleus called PPARĪ³," according to scientist Sascha Sauer.  Cellular metabolism of fats and glucose is affected by actions happening via the PPARĪ³ receptor.  As amorfrutin molecules bind the receptors, certain genes get activated that lead to a lowering of fatty acids and glucose circulating in the blood.  As blood glucose levels go down, so, too does insulin resistance and type II diabetes.  

According to Sauer, “Drinking licorice tea or eating licorice will not help to treat diabetes” due to the concentration of amorfrutins not being high enough in the tea or licorice root alone.  Special extraction steps were used in the study as a way of generating adequate concentration levels.   
Dr. Shana McQueen