Monday, November 15, 2010

Pregnancy and probiotics

A new study in the British Journal of Nutrition of July this year (2010. doi:10.1017/S0007114509993898), found that supplementing pregnant women with probiotics helps reduce the risk of diabetes during pregnancy, improve blood glucose control and improve child health. The women who took probiotics had gestational diabetes mellitus at a rate of 13 percent compared to 36 percent for the diet/placebo group and 34 percent for the control group. This is almost a 2/3rds reduction in gestational diabetes. This is such a cheap and effect intervention without any increased risk. It is thought that by reducing gestational diabetes it also reduces the risk of the mother developing diabetes later in life. The probiotic supplement was contained the bacteria Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG, Valio) and Bifidobacterium lactis Bb12. These are big names but it helps scientists identify which ones are the most effective as not all probiotics are the same.

In an earlier study of 50 pregnant women published in the same journal in March 2010 (doi:10.1017/S0007114510000176) found those women who experienced excessive weight gain during pregnancy had more Escherichia coli bacteria in their gut, and fewer Bifidobacteria than women with normal weight gain during pregnancy. This builds on a growing body of evidence dating back to 2006 linking healthy gut flora to healthy weight maintenance. The study showed that overweight women had fewer Bifidobacterium and Bacteroides and more Staphylococcus, Enterobacteriaceae and E. coli than normal-weight women.

Raakel Luoto, Kirsi Laitinen, Merja Nermes and Erika Isolauri
Impact of maternal probiotic-supplemented dietary counselling on pregnancy outcome and prenatal and postnatal growth: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study
British Journal of Nutrition (2010) doi:10.1017/S0007114509993898

Source: British Journal of Nutrition
Published online ahead of print, First View article, doi:10.1017/S0007114510000176
“Gut microbiota composition is associated with body weight, weight gain and biochemical parameters in pregnant women”
Authors: A. Santacruz, M. C. Collado, L. García-Valdés, M. T. Segura, J. A. Martin-Lagos, T. Anjos, M. Martí-Romero, R. M. Lopez, J. Florido, C. Campoy, Y. Sanz

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Helping each other can really help you

A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine (October 19, 2010 vol. 153 no. 8 507-515) found that setting up peer support brought about significant improvements in health outcomes of diabetics. While the study was of 250 men in the U.S. Veterans Affairs health system who had poor diabetic control it really applies to anyone and any condition. Patients were randomized either to usual care with nurse management or to be paired up with another age-matched patient for mutual support. The patient pairs were encouraged to communicate regularly using a phone system that prompted weekly calls. After 6 months' follow-up, there was a significant improvement in the patient-pair group, versus a significant decline the nurse-care group. One continued to get worse under normal management while the other improved.

At a personal level I know of a lot of people working on reducing diabetes symptoms using the book by Gabriel Cousens “there is a cure for diabetes” and the ones having the most success are those who have extra support. It may be a family member, partner or just a friend. We also completed a study some years ago on personal coaching to improve health outcomes and found a significant improvement in health behaviour just as a result of one quick phone call or personal communication each week from the health coach. A little bit of help can make a lot of difference.

What does this mean for you? If you are interested in changing your health behaviour for the better get some regular support. Set your goals, link up with a few friends and set regular times to talk about what you are doing. Just a phone call each week may make the world of difference.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Reduce your heart attack without cholesterol lowering drugs

A recent Swedish study of 31671 woman found that multivitamin use was associated with a reduction in the rate of heart attack (myocardial infarction). This should have been front page news around the world but it did not seem to even get a look in. This is one of the dozens of studies that show a strong link with supplementation and health benefits. The study was broken into two groups. Women with a history of CVD and woman without any history of CVD. During the average of 10 years of follow-up the woman without any history of CVD and who took multivitamin supplements had a 27% in heart attacks over the period. That is better than any stain drug to lower cholesterol. The use of multivitamins over a 5 year period, that is, those who took them the longest, saw a reduction of 41%. Wow. This is so simple and so cheap. However in the CVD group use of multivitamins was not associated with any decrease in the rate of heart attack. So if you already had a heart attack low doses of multivitamins don’t appear to help at all. The levels were what you would find in a standard multivitamin supplement such as 400ug for folic acid. Perhaps it is my bias but the levels were probably so low for someone who already had a heart attack to make any difference. Better still make sure you don’t have a heart attack. (Am J Clin Nutr (September 22, 2010). doi:10.3945/ajcn.2010.29371)

Interestingly I have been doing a lot of reading on magnesium lately and there is a lot of research on the link between heart attack, atherosclerosis, angina and most other forms of CVD and low magnesium levels. That is low levels are associated with increased risks so if you want to lower your risk increase your magnesium. This may be obvious but the highest concentration of magnesium is in heart muscle and magnesium is essential for relaxing muscles. Magnesium also stops calcification of arteries and build up of plaque (no it is not all cholesterol, it is mostly calcium blocking your arteries). Another simple hint would be to have lots of water. It sounds simple but most of us don’t drink enough of it.

What amazes me as I read the volumes of research is why our medical system doesn’t tell us this.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Prebiotics help infants

Feeding infants with a prebiotic-enriched formula reduced the incidence of atopic dermatitis by 44 percent in a recent study released this week. This backs up a ground swell of studies highlighting the benefits of both prebiotic, probiotic and symbiotic fomulas to help with conditions such as allergy, eczema and infections particularly in bottle fed babies. Prebiotics are the foods that feed the healthy probiotics and synbiotics is when both prebiotics and probiotics are included together. Infants fed prebiotic formula had a significant reduction in the incidence of atopic dermatitis in children classified as being at low-risk, according to findings published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (2010, Volume 126, Pages 791-797)
The microbial ecosystem of the GI tract, particularly the large intestine has multiple beneficial functions including immune system stimulation, barrier function (provide a barrier protection against pathogens), maintenance of gut nutrition and circulation, production of nutrients and stimulation of bowel movements. It is essential that the ‘balance’ of microflora is maintained in the intestine, ensuring these important and specific functions can be carried out optimally. The main approach to increasing the number of health promoting organisms in the GI tract is the oral administration of live beneficial microbes known as probiotics or prebiotics.

In another study adding prebiotics to infant formula reduced the number of gut infections and reduce the use of antibiotics. Imagine prebiotics instead of having to treat with antibiotics. All bottle fed babies should be on prebiotic formulas. This study followed 342 infants. The infants were randomly assigned to receive either a control formula, or a formula containing an additional mixture of prebiotics over the course of 12 months, the researchers documented that the incidence of gastroenteritis was lower in the prebiotic-supplemented formula group with only 0.12 episodes per child throughout the year, compared to 0.29 episodes per child in the control group. As a result the researchers reported that prebiotic administration reduce intestinal and, possibly, respiratory infections in healthy infants during the first year of age. The likely mechanism is through an increase in bifidobacteria and their concomitant anti-pathogen effects (Clinical Nutrition. doi:10.1016/j.clnu.2009.01.008)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Science shows we can lose weight

In two recent studies reported in the journal of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1503/ doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1505) they showed that structured lifestyle programs can lead to significant weight loss in obese women. I know it sounds obvious but sometimes science needs to do that to show everyone that it really can be done.

In the first study of around 450 overweight or obese women the intervention included weekly counselling, increased activity, and reduced-energy intake with free prepackaged meals (Jenny Craig). At 2 years, weight loss was greater with the intervention than with usual care (7 kg vs. 2 kg). A good result but what was their nutritional status like?

In the second study, 130 severely obese adults (mostly women) took part in a one-year intensive lifestyle intervention consisting of diet and physical activity. One group (initial physical activity) was randomized to diet and physical activity for the entire 12 months; the other group (delayed physical activity) had the identical dietary intervention but with physical activity delayed for 6 months.

So one group started the exercise earlier. At 6 months, the early-exercisers had lost more weight, which is what you would expect but at 12 months, early- and delayed-exercisers had similar weight loss (12 kg and 10 kg, respectively). One of the findings the researchers reported was that these findings "directly counter the dogma that ... severely obese individuals do not respond to lifestyle intervention,".

So what is the key. Both programs had a strong structure and motivation built in and had pre prepared meals. The first study was sponsored by Jenny Craig (Nestle), but they had no role in the experimentation. The advantage of the pre prepared meals is that the people don’t have to think about their meals. Or is it an advantage. My preference is to get people to eat a big salad before a meal, just like the French do and what we do at home. It is also important to get people to think about nutrition beyond just calories and food beyond filling a big empty hungry feeling or some emotional need.

Depression and Chocolate Consumption

In a study of 900 adults in California who weren't taking antidepressants found those who screened positive for depression ate about eight servings of chocolate per month, while those without depression ate just five servings a month, a statistically significant difference. The research was published in the Journal Archives of Internal Medicine (2010;170(8):699-703)
Is it chocolate giving them depression or people seeking out mood foods . On a light hearted note at least this study may help identify people more likely to be depressed by observing their chocolate consumption.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Depression Linked to a Doubling of Risk for Dementia in Older Age

If you consider that all chronic illnesses are related through poor diet and lifestyle then it is not surprising to find a recent study in the journal Neurology (2010;75:35-41) found older adults with depression face nearly a twofold increase in risk for dementia. 950 dementia-free adults (mean age, 79) were followed for up to 17 years. Participants with depression at the beginning were roughly 75% more likely to develop dementia or AD as those without depression.
The first message is be happy and keep your memory the second message is if you treat one illness holistically you are likely to reduce your risk of many other illness. For example people with a high risk of cardiovascular disease also have a higher risk of depression, Alzheimer’s disease and so on. Treat the illness not the symptoms.
In support of this a study reported in JW Psychiatry Feb 8 2006 found depression is an inflammatory disease with the same chemical markers called cytokines (tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF- ) and interleukin (IL)-6 ) that you find in people with increase an risk of cardiovascular disease. The levels were significantly higher in depressed patients than in controls.

Another study reported in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (2009; 53:1440-1447) found that people with depression were 4 times more likely to have heart failure. They also found that heart failure was about as likely to occur among those with depression whether or not they received antidepressant drugs. The authors reported that both conditions were associated with increased inflammatory levels.

Get the picture all the chronic illnesses we have are linked to inflammation. That is why I am so critical of cholesterol lowering drugs, they only lower cholesterol and not the cause of the illness, inflammation.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Nutrition and Depression

Apart from the normal dietary recommendations of more vegetables, beans, nuts, fish and fruit and less junk food, sugar laden starches and fatty foods, it’s important to reduce both nicotine and caffeine.

From a biochemical perspective, depression is thought to be an imbalance of brain chemicals, usually identified as a lack of serotonin. If you look at the biochemical pathway for the manufacture of serotonin, there are many reasons as to why it may be low. Sometimes this can be rectified simply through dietary modifications.

Serotonin is made in the hippocampus (a part of the brain) from the amino acid tryptophan. For this chemical to be converted to serotonin, it needs Vitamins B3, B6, Folic acid, C, and the minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and a particular essential amino acid called tryptophan. A deficiency in a couple of these nutrients can result in low levels of serotonin and depression.

In one experiment people who had a history of depression were given nutritionally balanced but tryptophan depleted foods. Within seven hours 10 of the 15 participants reported worsening moods and began to show signs of depression. When the tryptophan was replaced their more positive mood quickly returned.

Supplementing with tryptophan should be around one gram for low moods and up to three grams for depression. It’s best eaten on an empty stomach or in conjunction with carbohydrates. Because tryptophan is converted first to serotonin and then to melatonin, it is best taken at night before going to bed, as it will help you sleep.

Tryptophan rich foods include fish, turkey, chicken, cheese, beans, tofu, oats, eggs, nuts, seeds and milk. Ironically, following a protein rich meal, brain levels of tryptophan and serotonin levels decrease. This is because some of the other amino acids (the LNAA’s such as valine, leucine, tyrosine and phenylalanine) in the meal out compete tryptophan for carrier molecules into the neurons. In contrast, it’s a meal rich in carbohydrates and a small serve of protein which increases brain tryptophan and serotonin. Even though the food may lack tryptophan completely, it causes the release of insulin which stimulates the uptake of most of the amino acids (the LNAA’s) other than tryptophan. This phenomenon explains why some people suffering depression crave carbohydrate snacks.

The best way to get more tryptophan in your diet is to eat some of the foods rich in tryptophan with food high in carbohydrates food such as fruit (bananas) and vegetables, including potatoes and wholmeal bread. A little bit of protein should be consumed with every meal to ensure a constant supply of tryptophan for the brain. Not a huge piece of meat just a small serve of protein rich food.

During the day adrenalin levels are higher, keeping you stimulated. As adrenalin levels decline, serotonin levels rise. As the day progresses and it gets darker, melatonin levels rise and serotonin levels decline. Melatonin’s main role is to regulate the sleep-awake cycle. Without enough serotonin you can’t manufacture melatonin. This is probably why poor sleep patterns are often associated with depression.

A man’s average synthesis rate of serotonin is around 52 per cent higher than that of a woman and as a result women are more prone to low serotonin and depression.

SAMe (S-adenosyl methionine) is a naturally occurring chemical in the body that’s linked with reducing joint problems and cardiovascular disease. It’s also involved in the production of various other chemicals in the body. However, more than 100 double blind studies have shown that supplementing with SAMe is equal or superior to using antidepressants. SAMe doesn’t appear to have side effects and has many potential side benefits. SAMe has also been shown to increase the levels of serotonin and dopamine in depressed patients. Deficiencies in SAMe may be brought about by a diet low in the amino acid methionine or Vitamin B12. This can occur if you are following a stricitly vegetarian or fad diet ; in the case of stomach infections with helicobacter pylori; in situations which generate low stomach acid, or in the presence of excessive copper, lead or mercury.

The Omega 3 fats are linked with improved reception of serotonin. Studies using omega 3 fats alone and in conjunction with antidepressants have shown significant benefits. Again, no side effects and lots of side benefits. The EFAs are converted into the hormone-like prostaglandins, which stimulate the brain’s manufacture of serotonin and other neurotransmitters. Understanding this shows how very low fat diets and bad fat diets can lead to depression. Research has shown that countries, such as Japan, that have a high daily intake of fish have a much lower rate of depression than countries with a low intake of omega 3 fatty acids, such as Australia and the US.

Stress can have a depleting effect on the body and lead to particular deficiencies that may affect our mood. Stress has a negative effect on the production of DHEA, adrenalin and serotonin. This increases our need for the raw materials to build the mood enhancing neurotransmitters. Stress also increases our need for the B vitamins and tryptophan. Depression is an exhausting experience that depletes the body of mood enhancing chemicals.

Supplements for depression include: SAMe, about 200 mg twice a day building up to 200 mg four times a day after 14 days; High potency vitamin B complex with 1000 milligrams folic acid and 1000 micrograms of Vitamin B12; and, St John Wort extract (0.3 per cent hypericin) at 300 mg three times a day. St John’s Wort has been shown to be effective in dozens of clinical trials. St John’s Wort does interact with some medications, so check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are uncertain.

By adopting the nutritional approach you not only work towards the solution to depression, you may also solve other problems such as joint pain and cardiovascular risk factors

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Simple Intervention Reduces Depression

A recent study of 700 chronically depressed patients published in the Annals of Family Medicine last week found that something as simple as a frequent telephone follow-up with care managers (mostly nurses) leads to sustained improvements in depression. The intervention involved a series of telephone calls with care managers. The study went on for 18 months and almost doubled the rate of depression remission from 27% to 49%. The authors concluded that their intervention is "feasible and highly effective."

The intervention consisted of a series of telephone calls and e-mail exchanges between patient and care manager starting with a 30 minute telephone conversation for the first interview, then 10 minutes for each month after that. The care managers did not give solutions or extra treatments advice just a bit of information and motivation such as setting a self-management goal.

Imagine what would happen if they also provided advice on Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, lifestyle interventions such as exercise and socialising, and nutrition all which have shown positive results with depression. But just knowing someone was going to phone each month and speaking about it for 10 minutes a month was enough to double the remission rates.

Relaxation and breathing techniques have been shown to have a positive effect on anxiety and depression. In another study of 18 patients who undertook a program of breathing every day for 30 minutes for 6 weeks, with 17 control subjects, the group taught breathing techniques had a greater decrease in anxiety and depression than the control group. Several studies have also demonstrated the positive changes in mood from meditation. Studies have shown that meditation increases alpha brain waves, which are the relaxed brain waves, which in turn can decrease anxiety and depression. Researchers from Harvard Medical School have found that meditation activates the autonomic nervous system. This controls the parasympathetic nervous system, which may be the reason for reduced anxiety, relaxation and calmness.

A large and growing body of research is highlighting the benefits of Cognitive Behavioural Therapies (CBT). It is now realised that the brain has its own internal pharmacy which can be activated by what we believe. With CBT techniques it’s possible to alter brain chemistry, altering mood and perception.

Some research in Australia is showing success in changing depression via the internet. This program is based on CBT and relies on people going through a number of modules. Early results suggest that it’s as beneficial as CBT and face to face contact with a therapist. You can log on to the website at What’s there to lose? At the absolute least you can learn more about depression. Other cognitive techniques that have been shown to be useful include hypnosis, Emotional Freedom Techniques, goal setting and cognitive reframing.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Even more on cholesterol

All of what I have been saying about cholesterol has been supported in the latest 2 major studies published in the June 2010. The first study “Cholesterol Lowering, Cardiovascular Diseases, and the Rosuvastatin-JUPITER Controversy. A Critical Reappraisal “ by Michel de Lorgeril and her 8 colleagues found that one of the major studies, probably the most influential of the studies to justify cholesterol lowering drug use and sponsored by the drug companies “the JUPITER Study” was severely flawed. This study did a careful and independent review of both results and methods used in the Jupiter Study and reported that the “trial was flawed”. In an unprecedented attack on the study they (scientist other than myself usually don’t say boo even when it is serious) stated that “The possibility that bias entered the trial is particularly concerning because of the strong commercial interest in the study.” In other words the big pharmaceutical money influenced the study. And concluded "The results of the trial do not support the use of statin treatment for primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases and raise troubling questions concerning the role of commercial sponsors.” This is a scathing attack in scientific terms of the earlier drug company sponsored study. Scientist do not go out of their way to create waves but these ones have not just found different results but also criticised the earlier studies link with pharmaceutical industry. Why this is so important is that my next book “the great cholesterol deception” does exactly that. It highlights not only that the studies don’t show any significant results but these studies and the education of our doctors is strongly influenced by the drug companies. (Arch Intern Med. 2010;170(12):1032-1036. )

In the second study “Statins and All-Cause Mortality in High-Risk Primary Prevention. A Meta-analysis of 11 Randomized Controlled Trials Involving 65 229 Participants” (don’t worry about the title too much) by Ray Kausik and 6 other independent researchers found the use of statins in this high-risk individuals was not associated with a statistically significant reduction. That is they don’t save lives. Their data combined from 11 studies with 65 229 participants followed for approximately 244 000 person-years, a very big study reported that this meta-analysis did not find evidence for the benefit of statin therapy on all-cause mortality in a high-risk primary prevention set-up.” In other words they don’t save lives even in a high risk group. Even if you have all the elevated risk factors they don’t work. (Arch Intern Med. 2010;170(12):1024-1031).

Combining the results of the two studies cholesterol lowering drugs do not reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke or all cause mortality (eg cancer) in high risk individuals. They don’t work but cost the Australian tax payer more than $1 billion a year and up to a thousand dollars a year for individuals. Why doesn’t the government open it eyes. It could save a lot of pain and suffering (because of the serious side effects) and a lot of money? Why? All the major political parties get donations from the big pharmaceutical companies. Yes I have a chapter on that too.

Please circulate this information to everyone you know it might save their life and money.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Cholesterol debate

We have been researching the cholesterol issue for the past 2 years. Cholesterol is not the killer just a simple indicator that the liver is under a bit of stress. Nor is saturated fat the issue. If you look at heart attack figures around the world you find they are more closely linked with stress than anything else. The French, Swiss, Belgians, Dutch (Netherlanders) etc have high saturated fats and cholesterol and the lowest rates of heart attach in the world. It is not French paradox and wine it is the lifestyle and a healthy diet. It is so simple.

The cholesterol we monitor in the body is produced by the liver. This will be increased if you have sugar (hi GI), stress and too little water. But all it is telling you is that something is wrong. You don’t shoot the messenger.

In Japan when they increased both the saturated fat in the diet and cholesterol in the blood in the 1950s the heart attack rates go down. There are hundreds of cases like this that completely dispel the cholesterol hypothesis.

More importantly the cholesterol hypothesis and that is what it is, just a hypothesis. But people treat it like fact. However, in science (and i am a scientist) if a hypothesis is tested and it fails it is no longer considered a valid hypothesis except in medicine where money and the volume of media whitewash it all.
Not only can I find a single bit of fact in the cholesterol hypothesis but it acts like a chameleon, one of those lizards that change color to suit the background. It has changed so many times. First it was just saturated fat and cholesterol, then it was cholesterol, then it was LDL cholesterol, then LDL and HDL ratios, then VLDL, then HDL and the number of changes just keep happening.

This is the greatest lie that has ever been sold to the public. Cholesterol is just a marker and as highlighted above one of the most important functional molecules in the body.

For a great book on this get “the great cholesterol con” by Malcolm Kendrick and MD with a conscience and common sense. And in two months I will have my book out The great cholesterol deception”. Notice the similarity in titles but I only just found the other book 2 weeks ago.

Also note that this information is exactly what the pharmaceutical companies don’t want out there so please spread it around.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Exams and some support through them

For all of you students out there, currently stressing and madly cramming for your next exam, have a look at One of Peter's PhD studends, Jason, has developed some information and a programs to help reduce your stress and maximise your success during the exams. So take a break, grab a cup of tea and spend 15min looking through the ideas on this web page. It is well worth it.

Jason and Dr Peter Dingle interview

Rebecca Mead
Dingle Presentations

Monday, May 31, 2010

Your teeth, CVD and Inflammation

In a recent 8 year study published in the British Medical Journal (Cesar et al 2010) adults who brushed their teeth less than once a day were 70% more likely to suffer cardiovascular disease than those who brushed twice daily. In a subgroup analysis, poor oral hygiene was also linked to elevated C-reactive protein and fibrinogen levels indicating inflammation. The authors say their findings suggest "a possible role of poor oral hygiene in the risk of cardiovascular disease via systemic inflammation,".

Over the past two decades, there has been a growing body of scientific evidence linking dental disease, specifically periodontal disease, and cardiovascular disease through inflammation. Inflammation plays an important role in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis, and markers of low-grade inflammation have been consistently associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. Periodontal disease, a chronic infection of the tissue surrounding the teeth is one of the most common chronic infections and is associated with moderate inflammation, such as raised concentrations of C reactive protein and other inflammatory biomarkers. The theory is that oral infections and the associated inflammation might add to the inflammatory burden of the individual and result in increased levels of cardiovascular risk. A little bit of extra inflammation on topic of someone who is already at risk with underlying inflammation, appears to be the straw that breaks the camels back.

The study authors suggest that periodontal disease seems to be associated with a 19% increase in the risk of future cardiovascular disease. This increase in relative risk is more prominent (44%) in people aged under 65. Interestingly the relative risk benefits of cholesterol lowering drugs is in the same order of magnitude, around 20% to 40%. Shouldn’t we recommend cleaning your teeth instead of drugs. Don’t get confused between relative risk and absolute risk. Both these process save only one life in 100, around 1% absolute risk. But tooth brushing is a lot cheaper and no negative side effects.

The message from this research is the need for good oral hygiene and that CVD is an inflammatory disease not a cholesterol imbalance.

De Oliveira, Cesar, Richard Watt, Mark Hamer, Toothbrushing, inflammation, and risk of cardiovascular disease: results from Scottish Health Survey. BMJ 2010;340:c2451

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

ADHD and phthalates.

Prenatal (before birth) exposure to a group of chemicals called phthalates has been linked with ADHD like symptoms in a study published on the Environmental Health Perspectives website on January 28, 2010. Phthalates are a group of chemicals often added to plastics to give them their plastic-flexible like qualities, as well as in paints, lubricants and detergents (yep the ones in your supermarket). They are also found in some personal car products such as nail polish, liquid soap, shampoos, perfume and eye shadow. They are pretty well everywhere in our homes.

The study found that mothers with higher levels of the phtalates in their blood reported poorer behaviour in their children (ages 4-9 years), including typical ADHD symptoms. However, ADHD is not the only problem associated with phthaltes. Phthaltes have been linked in both animal experiments and human research with sexual organ and sexual behaviour dysfunction to name a just a few of the problems they can create.

Phthaltes are considered endocrine disruptors because, at incredibly low levels, they interfere with hormones such as estrogen in the body. The most vulnerable stage of these chemicals to have an impact is on the developing foetus in pregnant mothers.
In another study in the Journal of Paediatrics, February 2010, the use of baby personal care products such as lotions, shampoos and powder was associated with higher levels of phthalates in the babies blood.

The message is to become aware of the chemicals in your home and reduce the exposure to everyone but particularly to mums to-be. You can find a lot more on toxic chemical exposure in my book “Is Your Home Making You Sick”

ADD/ADHD Real Evaluation

Sadly, little real evaluation of ADD/ADHD children is actually carried out. They are not routinely evaluated for chemical, nutritional or allergic factors, or assessed for behavioural or environmental issues arising from their home environment. Instead they are given drugs. This is despite the fact that there is growing body of scientific literature showing significant nutritional deficiencies in many of these children. There is growing evidence that a significant number of ADD/ADHD sufferers have a high body burden of heavy metals, particularly lead, mercury, cadmium and the organophosphate pesticdes. These metals are potent toxins which block thousands of important chemical reactions in the body and can play havoc with the nervous system. At even moderate concentrations, lead can lower a child’s IQ. Recent research links infant and maternal exposure to lead with higher rates of schizophrenia.

Nutritional deficiency is an underlying cause of ADD/ADHD in a significant number of children. Correcting these deficiencies and inbalances can make substantial improvements in childrens’ behaviour. Sometimes improvement is almost immediate.

The basic problem appears to be deficient levels of neurotransmitters (chemicals that coordinate many of the body’s and mind’s activities) in brain cells. Various chemical substances affect the transmission of messages across the synapse, the gap between individual nerve cells. Acetylcholine, adrenalin, noradrenaline, dopamine, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and serotonin are all examples of neurotransmitters. Some of these chemicals are responsible for other chemical secretions and uptake. They control muscular activity, mood and behaviour. So you can see how they are likely be involved in ADD/ADHD.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Pesticide Exposure Linked to Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Kids

Pesticides linked to ADHD

A recent study (Pediatrics, may 17, 2010) of 1139 children aged 8 to 15 years of age found children with greater exposure to widely used pesticides are more likely to have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

As levels of the organophosphate pesticide metabolite (breakdown product) dialkyl phosphate metabolites increased, so did ADHD prevalence. In particular, children with elevations in the most commonly detected metabolite, dimethyl thiophosphate, had twice the odds of having ADHD. That is the higher the levels the greater the risk of being diagnosed with ADHD. These pesticides have their effect on the nervous system so it is easy to understand how they can contribute to ADHD

The authors of the study concluded that organophosphate pesticide exposure, at levels common among US children, may contribute to ADHD prevalence. Common organophosphate pesticides in the home include diazanon, chlorpyrifos and dichlorvos used in insect sprays and treatments. Unfortunately, because of our poor understanding of these kids we then treat them with other highly toxic chemicals such as Ritalin and similar drugs instead of finding out the cause of the problem.

Perhaps we should be asking what other chemicals may be contributing to the symptoms of ADHD? And the answer would be heavy metals such as mercury and lead and the food colours common in every kids food.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) a preventable disease

Just over a year ago a student of mine motivated me to look into multiple Sclerosis. Bruce put up a slide quoting the official authorities saying there was no link between MS and nutrition. He then presented a slide with more than 40 peer reviewed scientific papers on the link between MS and nutrition. Along with Bruce it continually confuses me as to why such supposed authorities continue to deny the existence of nutritional treatments and even worse the role of poor nutrition in the causes. Since inspiring me I have now seen dozens of people suffering from MS begin a new life through really simple changes in nutrition and one of the simplest changes follows on from one of my earlier articles on vitamin D. Many Australians just don’t get enough sun anymore. But more on that later. What is even more important is that this information can help prevent the development of MS in the beginning.

There is now overwhelming evidence of the risk of developing MS is linked to a number of environmental factors such as excessive dietary intake of saturated fats and deficiencies in polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamin D and antioxidants 1,2. As a result of these findings good nutrition appears critical in limiting the development and ongoing effects of MS and enhance quality of life while limiting the risk of secondary conditions 3.

Over the past 200 years MS has significantly increased in incidence and prevalence. MS is a disease that effects an estimated 2.5 million people worldwide with over 18, 000 people in Australia with the disease, the incidence rate in Australia is increasing by 7% each year and financially costs approximately 2 billion dollars each year 4. It is twice as common in females (who have lower vitamin D than males) as in males and is the most frequent neurodegenerative disease in young adults 5,1. Geographically MS is common across northern Europe, Scandinavia and across the US and is much higher in incidence among whites then other racial groups 5.The disease is very rare in Japan, the Indian subcontinent and is unknown to black Africans however these groups are at significant risk to developing MS, when they go to other places to live, which supports the concept that an environmental factor is responsible for MS 5.

MS is a chronic, degenerative and autoimmune initiated inflammatory disease of the central nervous system, which may involve the brain, optic nerve or spinal cord and is characterized by demyelination 5,6. That is the myelin, that wraps around and insulates the nerve axons in the central nervous system, suffers self-destruction and degeneration 7. This means damaged myelin results in damaged nerve axons and causes the various disabilities of MS7. It is worth noting here that myelin is around 80% lipids (fats) and cholesterol (which I have written on in past articles) makes up an indispensable component of myelin membranes 8. The inflammatory reactions are poorly controlled and result in substantial damage to the myelin 7. As a result of demyelination MS patients suffer functional impairments such as abnormal walking mechanics, poor balance, muscle weakness and fatigue which result in individuals reduced ability to perform activities of daily living 9.

The single most important factor linked to the development of MS is a reduced supply of vitamin D 7, which I have written on extensively in the past. Research has shown that the active hormonal form of vitamin D, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin is a natural immune system regulator with anti-inflammatory action 10. Vitamin D is received from two sources, diet and sunshine, however it is considered diet provides insignificant amounts and therefore sensible exposure to sunlight is considered the most effective source 11. Even Scandinavian diets (rich in oily fish) scarcely exceed a few hundred IU/d of vitamin D 12. Sunshine is therefore the principal natural source of vitamin D, providing approximately 90% of requirements. Sunbathing can provide 10,000–20,000 IU in 15–30 min, but this will only last a few weeks before it needs to be replenished 13,14. It is interesting to note that women generally have lower serum levels than men 15,16 and have significantly higher levels of MS.

There is a 41% decrease in MS risk for every 50 nanomoles per liter increase in vitamin D (1,25-hydroxyvitamin) in the blood. The prevalence of MS is highest where environmental supplies of vitamin D are lowest 18. There is significant epidemiological data from Australia that shows a very strong correlation between vitamin D supply from ultraviolet (UV) radiation and MS prevalence 7. The correlation is indeed stronger than that of UV radiation exposure and melanoma development 7. Globally countries of high latitudes with insufficient UV radiation for most of the year report a higher incidence of MS 19,20. One case-control study has also shown that vitamin D status in individuals at the time of diagnosis of MS is significantly lower then healthy controls, indicating a further link 19.

It is theorized that vitamin D deficiencies may lead to an increase in T-helper cell autoimmune responses and therefore resulting in excessive damage to the myelin and MS symptoms 21.

Vitamin D supply through dietary intake also appears critical, as it has been reported that through vitamin D supplements there is an inverse relationship with MS 19. The role of vitamin D is supported by animal studies where mouse models have shown that vitamin D deficient mice succumb faster to MS but once administered with vitamin D the symptoms diminish 22.

The idea that an increase in saturated fats in modern diets may result in increased risks for MS (and diabetes type 2) has been known since the early 1950’s and reinforced on several occasions 23. Epidemiological studies in Norway have shown inland farming communities with high intake of animal products had higher MS incidence rates then coastal communities where consumption of fish is high while subsequent studies have also shown a negative correlation between MS and the consumption of fish, fruits and vegetables 23. Any wonder the rates of MS are increasing so fast in Australia knowing the poor diet most kids are having. It has been shown that MS sufferers have deficiencies in essential polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), primarily the omega 3 fats which is demonstrated in that the lipid and fatty acid composition in plaque tissue from the MS brain is altered compared to the normal brain white matter 1.

It is believed that humans evolved on a diet with a ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 of approximately 1:1 where as in western diets the ratio is varied between 15:1 – 20:1 24. We just have too much vegetable oil (omega 6) in our diet. It is literally added liberally to all processed foods.

A large study conducted over a 35 year period showed MS patients on a diet with low saturated fat and supplementation with cod liver oil provided long term benefits on mortality, relapse severity and disability, particularly if initiated during the earliest stages of MS 25. The results of this have shown that MS patients can expect to survive and be ambulant and otherwise normal to an advanced age if following an extreme low fat diet and omega-3 supplementation 26. The rarity of MS in the Japanese, whose diet consist of low saturated fat and high omega-3 fatty acids is another indication of the role of omega 3 oils in MS 27. There is now significant evidence to show it is a contributing factor to the development of the disease in conjunction with other environmental factors 7.

The development of MS is also believed to be linked to oxidant stress in the body from a lack of antioxidants 28. Along with other possible environmental factors the actual role of oxidative stress in patients with MS is poorly understood 29. The brain and nervous system are particularly susceptible to oxidative damage due to the low content of antioxidants in this area of the body due to them having to be imported 30.

Studies have shown that oxidative stress causes an activation where the production of pro-inflammatory chemical messengers called cytokines occurs which then contributes to the process of demyelination 31. Having sufficient antioxidants therefore ensures neuroprotection through suppression of inflammation, this limits the effects of MS 29,31,32.

Oligodendrocytes, a particular type of brain cell, that produce the extensive myelin sheaths are known to be particularly vulnerable to oxidative stress, this helps explain the lack of remyelination during remission stages 1. Oxidation (free radicals) literally stops the repair work on any damage to the myelin sheath.

In helping to prevent and restrict the development of MS there are a number of recommendations that can be applied as determined through scientific studies:
• Regular moderate sun exposure (15-30 min/day)
• Decreased intake of saturated fat and omega-6 PUFA accompanied with an increased consumption of omega-3 PUFA through consumption of fish and supplementation
• Daily supplement of vitamin D to ensure circulating level of vitamin D remains between 100 – 150 nanomoles per liter
• Consume at least 5-7 serves of antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables each day and supplement.

Acknowledgements. Bruce Greatwitch

1. Meeteren et. al. 2005
2. Liuzzi et. al. 2007
3. Timmerman, Stuifbergin 1999
4. MS research Australia 2008
5. Undurti 2003
6. Kanwar, 2005
7. Embry 2004
8. Saher et al 2005
9. White et. al. 2004
10. Van Amerongen 2004
11. Cantorna, Mahon 2004
12. Mark and Carson, 2006
13. Hollis, 2005
14. Vieth, 2007
15. Yetley, 2008
16. Zadshir et al 2005
17. Anonymous 2007
18. VanAmerongen et. al. 2004
19. Barnes et. al. 2007
20. Kampman et. al. 2007
21. Toohey 2004
22. Mandavilli 2007
23. Nordvik et. al. 2000
24. Simopoulos 2002
25. Swank cited in Weinstock-Guttman et. al. 2005
26. Swank, Goodwin 2003
27. Undurti 2003
28. Lutskii, Esaulenko 2007
29. Koch et. al. 2006
30. Syburra, Passi, 1999
31. Gonsette 2008
32. Gilgun-Sherki et. al. 2004

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sugar and Heart Attack

Continuing my campaign against sugars added to all our foods a recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA. 2010;303(15):1490-1497) found a high intake of added sugar is associated with increased risk for low HDL cholesterol and high triglycerides (blood fats). The HDL cholesterol is the one that transports the cholesterol back to the liver where it is used. When the HDL is low it is associated with a higher level of heart attack and stroke risk.

Compared with adults who got less than 5% of their total energy intake from added sugars, those getting 17.5%–25% of their energy from added sugars were about twice as likely to have low HDL levels.

The message lower your sugar to lower you risk of heart attack and stroke.

Monday, April 19, 2010

VItamins D and Sunscreen Study

Dr Dingle recently took part in a few radio interviews that discussed the complications of sunscreen and vitamin D. Given the increase in interest on this topic I have place a link on the Dr Dingle web page to give everyone free access to the articles.


Dr Dingle Free Information Sheets

Friday, April 16, 2010

Consumer groups get a lot of drug money

A recent report in the Daily Telegraph by Sue Dunlevy (google her she has some great articles) makes eye-opening reading. Since the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission made it mandatory from January 1 for drug companies to make public their sponsorship the truth has started to come out. Pfizer Australia, gave more than $1.7 million to 18 health organisations in 2008 and 2009, In 2002 Pfizer Australia, helped set up the health advocacy group Impotence Australia. Pfizer markets the well-known impotence drug Viagra and in 2008, Pfizer, which markets Champix, a quit smoking drug, provided $135,000 to set up the Australian Lung Foundation.

While Glaxco-Smith-Kline last year spent $1.3 million sponsoring 14 consumer health groups such as the Asthma Foundation, the Cancer Council, Diabetes Australia and MS Australia. And yes they also happen to have drugs for each of these.
Following is a list of the Donations made by Pfizer to health advocacy groups in
AustraliaAlzheimer’s Australia $135,000 (2008) $150,000 (2009)
Arthritis Australia $25,000 (2008) $10,000 (2009)
Arthritis NSW $72,192 (2009)
Australian Lung Foundation $135,000 (2008) $122,500(2009)
Brain Tumour Australia $5,000 (2008)
Chronic Pain Australia $49,260 (2008)
Council on the Ageing $5,000 (2008)
Glaucoma Australia $50,000 (2008), $50,000 (2009)
Impotence Australia $75,000 (2008) $30,000 (2009)
Mental Health Council Australia $25,800(2008) $25,000 (2009)
National Association of People Living with AIDS $53,724.96 (2008) $37,000 (2009)
National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre (for Pink Ribbon breakfast) $5,000 (2008) $6,403 (2009)
Heart Foundation $227,409 (2008) $126,000 (2009)
Sane Australia $60,750(2008) $129,300 (2009)
Schizophrenia Fellowship of NSW $7,400(2008) $7,400 (2009)
McGrath Foundation $300,000 over 3 years (2009)

And not to mention donations of a political nature
ALP $29,126(2008) $29,196 (2009)
Liberals $24,140(2008) $24,149 (2009)
Nationals $2,200 (2008)
Liberal national Party $1,650 (2008)

This does not even include the $1 million a week drug companies in Australia spend wooing our doctors. This is pretty scary stuff if you think how we rely on all these parties to be impartial in their advice.

Omega 3 and kid’s brains

A study out just this week in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.28549) found that supplementing healthy boys with DHA (one of the main omega 3s and the main one in the brain) led to an increase in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex part of the brain (the front part) - an area of the brain associated with working memory. Changes, measure by functional magnetic resonance imaging also occurred in other parts of the brain, including the occipital cortex (visual processing) and the cerebellar cortex (motor control). This builds on a huge amount of evidence on the benefits of DHA for healthy and not so healthy brain function in kids. Note the study above. There are literally hundreds of studies telling us it will help us and our kids. So why aren’t we all supplementing with fish oils? It should be a government education program and mandate. The evidence is overwhelming.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Health insurance companies sponsor obesity and illness

A recent article in CBS news reporter John Hartge highlights the ridiculous state and short sightedness of our modern health system. Reporting on a study in the American Journal of Public Health by Dr. Wesley Boyd from the Harvard Medical School health insurance firms invest nearly $2 billion in companies that sell fast foods linked to obesity and cardiovascular disease. The irony is that they have to make large payouts for sick, overweight and obese people.

The study found that Northwestern Mutual owns $422.2 million in fast-food stock, with $318.1 million invested in McDonald's. Massachusetts Mutual owns $366.5 million of fast-food stock, including $267.2 in McDonald's. ING, an investment firm that also has life and disability insurance, has total fast-food holdings of $406.1 million, including $12.3 million in Jack in the Box, $311 million in McDonald's, and $82.1 million in Yum! Brands, which owns Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell. New Jersey-based Prudential Financial Inc. sells life insurance and long-term disability coverage. With total fast-food holdings of $355.5 million, Prudential Financial owns $197.2 of stock in McDonald's and also has significant stakes in Burger King, Jack-in-the-Box and Yum! Brands.

While this is US information I would suggest it is the same in Australia. It also raises many bigger questions about where all our money is invested. Perhaps we are all contributing to the problem if our investment portfolios and superannuation is feeding the fast food industry.

Given that obesity has now overtaken tobacco smoke as the single biggest preventable cause of death, perhaps it is time we also treated the processed food industry the same way as the tobacco industry instead of letting them have free reign.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The flu vaccine may be responsible for more people catching the flu

In a recent study in Canada (yesterday, 6/4/10) those vaccination with the 2008–09 trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine (TIV) had an increased rate of pandemic influenza A (H1N1) (pH1N1) illness the following year. The studies, which took in about 2,700 people, and were extremely thoroughly researched found that the likelihood of needing medical attention for pandemic flu was 1.4 to 2.5 times greater among people who were vaccinated the previous fall. That is, if you got the flu injection you were more likely to get the pandemic influenza A (swine flu) the following year. This, along with another similar result in a US military study really brings into question our knowledge and use of flu vaccines. Overall my reading of the independent scientific literature (the Cochrane Review) suggests that the flu vaccine does not confer any significant benefit on the population and my suggestion is for people to maintain a healthy lifestyle and diet. A recent study in Japan found vitamin D supplements easily outperformed the seasonal flu vaccine. But we can’t have the health professionals saying have a vitamin supplement or even better go out into the sun, it just wouldn’t look right.

For those who want the article
Skowronski DM, De Serres G, Crowcroft NS, et al. Association between the 2008–09 seasonal influenza vaccine and pandemic H1N1 illness during spring–summer 2009: four observational studies from Canada. PLoS Med 2010 Apr 6;7(4) [Full text]

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

More Cholesterol Deception

A recent article by Duff Wilson, March 30, 2010 in the The New York Times “Risks Seen in Cholesterol Drug Use in Healthy People” highlights yet again the fatal flaws we have in promoting cholesterol lowering drugs.

The study Duff Wilson reports on found a 55 percent reduction in heart attacks, 48 percent reduction in stroke, and a 45 percent reduction in angioplasty bypass surgery. Sounds good doesn’t it? Unfortunately it is another example of statin statistics where they are not giving you all the real information and what they are giving you is designed to mislead everyone (especially doctors who don’t know how to read stats).

The actual rate of heart attacks was only 0.37 percent, or 68 patients out of 8,901 who took the placebo (a sugar pill). Those who took the statin (Crestor) dropped to 0.17 percent, or 31 patients. That is a 55 percent relative risk reduction but only 0.2 percentage real (or absolute) risk reduction — or 2 people out of 1,000. That is 500 people need to be treated with the statin for a year to avoid one usually survivable heart attack. Doesn’t sound so good any more does it? The stroke numbers were similar. This is considered statistically significant but nowhere near clinically significant and well below the real reduction of 50% people expect to get from a drug. In fact 2500 times less than what the public expect. The most ridiculous part of all this is that 7 grams of almonds will give 2-4 times the benefit of the drug. At $3.50 a pill, to prescribe the statin for 500 people for a year would be $638,000 to prevent one heart attack. At that price you could have free almonds for everyone, gym membership and personal coaching thrown in for a year. My option of course would not only reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke a lot more but also reduce all chronic illness and save hundreds of lives out of 500 people. Where has all the common sense gone.

If you want the full article go to the new york times web page
Please copy this blog and send it on to everyone you know.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Aggression and Omega 3 supplements

A very recent article in the journal of Aggressive Behaviour (Volume 36, Issue 2, Pages 117-126), yes there is such a journal, found that supplements which included omega-3s, vitamins and minerals were associated with a 34 per cent reduction in violent incidents, while the placebo group (received no supplements) had a 14 per cent increase in the number of reported incidents. This is following on from a study of young violent offenders reported in the British Journal of Psychiatry, in 2002 which found a 39% reduction in violent offences when they supplemented with a similar mix of nutrients. This is understandable if you look into a bit of the brain chemistry and the role of fatty acids and nutrients involved in healthy brain function.

Imagine we could reduce the violent behaviour out there in the community by getting people to eat well and supplement. Next time someone gets angry at you go tell them to take some supplements. The only real difference is that these people in the study are in prison. I know many kids who probably eat a lot worse than those in prison.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Breast cancer Anti depressants and Fish oils

While growing research shows the SSRI antidepressants (the ones most people take) don’t work beyond that of a placebo another blow occurred to these drugs when a recent (this week) article in the British Medical Journal found the depression drugs paroxetine and probably fluoxetine led to a reduction in the effectiveness of tamoxifen, and an breast cancer mortality for those being treated. The researchers estimated that for every 20 women with treatment overlaps of 41%, and one extra death for every 7 women overlapping 100%.

Interestingly these drugs have been around and used together for decades so how many woman have died in the interim?

By contrast another article this week in the British Journal of Cancer found that Supplements of the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which can also be used to reduce depression and many other chronic illnesses, improve outcomes for breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy with no adverse side effects. The study was of advanced cancers with spreading (metastasis) and overall survival of women was 22 months and went to 34 months in women with the highest DHA levels in their blood.
There is a large amount of research on the benefits of using supplements alongside allopathic cancer treatments despite what the chemo therapists say. The research is there that supplementing helps the treatment and minimises the side effects.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Big studies are the first hint that statin drugs don’t work

The first hint that the statin drugs don’t save lives is the size of the studies. If the drugs were so effective and the “miracle drugs” they are made out to be, researchers could treat 100 or maybe even 20 patients and see a benefit. Yet these meta-analyses use thousands of people—10,000, 50,000 or even 90,000—treated to show a benefit. If it is so good why do they need such large samples?

As readers of the scientific journals we should not get confused between statistical significance and clinical significance. “Statistically significant” means that the outcome was likely (95% chance) a result of the treatment whether it was 100% effective or less than 0.1% effective. That is, if you treat 1,000 people to save one life (0.1%) it may be statistically significant but it is not clinically significant. Clinical significance is 20% to 30% or more. The best studies on statins by the drug companies report statistical significance, mostly 1% or less, and none at all have so far found any clinical significance. Obviously, they should not be used.

Unfortunately, busy medical professionals don’t have time to review the statistics and few of them are actually aware of the different ways the statistics can be manipulated.

Statin drugs do not work

The statin drugs are effective at around 1%. That is you have to treat 100 people to prevent one heart attack. This is not very effective, in fact it is ridiculously ineffective. Other than what I have been writing over the last year to verify this all need to do is go to the Pfizer (who make Lipitor) website and look for a table in a document titled “Product Information Lipitor” which presented the following table.

The table is duplicated here exactly as it appears on the Pfizer website. It is the research on taking 10 mg of Lipitor. It shows in the fourth column the “Absolute Risk Reduction” of between 0.06% and 1.9%, that is, very low real risk reduction. In the sixth column it shows the relative risk reduction of between 20% and 38%, which looks so much better but is really misleading. This is where the doctors get confused. They think it is the absolute risk reduction. The fifth column, “Number Needed to Treat Per Year,” is the most telling as it shows to have a single effect you need to treat between 176 and 555.2 people, depending on the outcome desired. That is a lot of people have to be taking this drug to stop one heart attack or possibly save a single life. Levels like this are not clinically significant and do not warrant taking this drug. To be clinically significant it needs to be an absolute risk of 25-30%, not 1 or 2%. I know it sounds a bit repetitive but you can get a much greater effect with only a small change in your diet.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Cholesterol: It’s Not the Killer

Since the advent of cholesterol lowering drugs cholesterol has become “public enemy number one” and has taken nearly all the blame for the increase in CVD. Unfortunately this has led to a lot of misinformation and misdirection in treating the real illness of CVD and its causes.
The current ideology is far from the truth and can be dangerous—particularly since the overwhelming current evidence points to CVD as a result of poor lifestyle and dietary choices that lead to inflammation. In reality, CVD is now recognized as a disease of low-grade chronic inflammation of the vascular lining and an inappropriate wound healing of blood vessels. There is now extensive and growing evidence that inflammation is central to all stages of this disease, from the initial lesion to end-stage thrombotic complications. CVD is not a disease of cholesterol or even cholesterol accumulation.

Cholesterol is associated with the risk of CVD but it is not the disease. The cholesterol levels measured at the doctor’s office and in most studies are blood cholesterol levels and are representative of liver function . Cholesterol is a symptom of an underlying health problem. It predicts less than 35% of cardiovascular disease. The only reason we try to get it down is because a drug company can make money selling drugs.

Along with other signalling molecules, insulin controls the packaging of cholesterol and triglycerides into LDL (low-density lipoproteins), VLDL (very low-density lipoproteins), HDL (high-density lipoproteins) and other lipoproteins. Glucagon (a hormone secreted by the pancreas) inhibits the enzyme and insulin activates the enzyme. To control cholesterol production, you want to increase glucagon and decrease insulin. That is, consume only low GI foods.
There is also strong evidence that stress increases a person’s inflammatory markers and cholesterol. One possibility may be that stress encourages the body to produce more energy in the form of metabolic fuels—fatty acids and glucose.

Cholesterol is good for you

Not only is cholesterol not the enemy, but also it is essential to good health and wellbeing. Every cell in the body needs cholesterol in its membrane, where cholesterol plays a critical role in cell communication. Without cholesterol, cell membranes are incomplete and, as a result, their functional role deteriorates. Cholesterol is also used in the mitochondria of the cell and plays a vital role in cell energy production—not to mention its essential role in the brain structure and function. Cholesterol is the starting material of many essential chemicals including vitamin D, steroid hormones and the bile acids necessary for digestion.

For major drug companies, convincing the public that lower cholesterol levels equal good health is a marketing scheme. The goal of these companies is not your good health; it’s their profits. This “marketing messaging” has gone too far, especially considering that recent studies show that cholesterol may have protective properties against cancer.

Cholesterol is the most abundant organic molecule in the brain which contains almost a quarter of the unesterified cholesterol present in the entire body. In 2001, in groundbreaking research and with media fanfare, cholesterol was identified as the synaptogenic factor that is responsible for the development of synapses, the connections in the brain. The glial cells of the central nervous system that perform the housekeeping functions in the brain produce their own cholesterol for the specific purpose of providing nerve cells with the vital component required for synapse function. Cholesterol is also required for the function of serotonin receptors in the brain. Serotonin is the chemical in our brain that makes us feel happy. Low cholesterol level has been associated with mortality due to suicides and accidental deaths.

A thirty-year study published in 1987 provides evidence that elevated cholesterol in people over the age of 50 does not increase the risk of heart attack. Cholesterol levels of people free of coronary heart disease (CHD) and cancer were measured; the study found that there was no increase in death rate in those with high cholesterol. Research on the effects of cholesterol levels and age shows that high cholesterol levels in people over the age of 75 are protective, not harmful. A separate study published in the European Heart Journal (1997) found that the risk of cardiac death was the same in groups of people with low or normal cholesterol levels as those with high cholesterol.

Maybe we need to rethink the billions of dollars we spend each year on drugs that lower cholesterol and spend the money on the real risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease: our lifestyles and choices, including nutritional and environmental factors that increase inflammation.

Stay tuned because there is more to come over the next weeks.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Give us your ideas is creating a new membership database that will be open and operational hopefully in April 2010. We are looking to all our wonderful current followers to help us develop this new tool.

We would like to know what you want more of from Dr Dingle? Topics you would like him to look into more, areas you need more help with or other ideas to improve your health and wellbeing. Just email your ideas to our program manager Rebecca via or both of these will work.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Fat causes Type-2 Diabetes

Diabetes Type-2 is not a disease of sugar but rather one of fat. We measure and even define diabetes by the level of sugar in the blood when it is only the messenger. The message being something is stopping the sugar from getting into the cell and being metabolised to produce the energy needed to survive and thrive. You can control the sugar all you want but unless you can get it into the cell and into the mitochondria where it is used as energy, the problem will persist and get worse. So what then is stopping the sugar from getting into the cell?

Fat is the single most important factor in the development of diabetes Type-2. We have not only learnt to extract fats from all types of plants and how to grow bigger fatter animals but we have also learnt how to put fat in every meal. And unfortunately in most cases it is the wrong type of fat, saturated fat, vegetable oils (omega 6) and trans fatty acids. The saturated fats (found in animal products) and trans fats literally change the physical structure of the membrane around all our cells. The membrane is normally like a liquid crystal, dynamic, mobile and is the interface between the cell and outside environment. It communicates with the genes to direct the cell to do things. If the membrane is impeded then so is the normal function of the cell, including its ability to take in sugar in the form of glucose.

The second aspect is that fat accumulating in the cell in the form of intramyocellular fat, shuts down the development of the mitochondria (the cells powerhouse) so you can’t burn up energy. People with insulin resistance (prediabetes) have more intramyocellular fat in the cell and less mitochondria to burn up the energy. The intramyocellular fat also shuts off the intracellular signalling of insulin which then means the sugar begins to accumulate in the blood because it can’t get into the cell. Interestingly, people put on a very high fat diet took only a few days to accumulate the intramyocellular fat. Fortunately it appears to only take a few days to start to reduce the levels in the cells in people on a fat free diet.
If you want to learn more and how to cure, yes cure, diabetes Type 2, I strongly suggest you read and implement the book “There is a cure for diabetes” by Gabriel Cousens.

Cows milk causes Diabetes Type 1

Diabetes Type-1 used to be called juvenile onset diabetes as it was very rare to find it occurring in adults. Now it occurs across the whole spectrum of ages. The reason lies not in genetics but in our diet and environment. Don’t get me wrong, there is always a genetic component but this has not changed and cannot account for the different occurrence and increases in the disease over the past 30 years. The best scientific estimates suggest that only 5-10 percent of diabetes Type-1 can be linked to genetics.

It is thought that the onset of Type-1 is linked with an environmental insult, such as an allergen or a virus, and is an inflammatory response, called insulinitis, from an autoimmune reaction. While there are lots of thoughts about the viruses such as mumps, which set off the autoimmune response, the single most preventable cause is an allergic reaction to cows milk protein. It is the strongest link to the onset of this disease.

For example the consumption of pasteurised cows milk before three months of age increases the chances of getting diabetes Type-1 by 11 times. Even mothers who drink cows milk can pass on the protein allergen through breast feeding. But consumption at any age can be linked with the disease and there are well over one hundred very good scientific studies linking cows milk to the onset of Type-1.

One must then ask, why haven’t we told every one about this? And the answer is the large influence of the dairy industry. Most of the paediatric scientists know about it, but there is just too much pressure to drink milk and too much money involved.

Monday, January 18, 2010

21st Century Diets

The quality of the western diet has been consistently decreasing over the last 5 decades. Although authorities continually refer to the well-balanced diet, it becomes increasingly difficult to identify, let alone achieve, this diet as our food quantity and quality changes over time. A well balanced diet in the 1960's is substantially different to that of hunter/fisher/gatherer some 20,000 years ago, which is where or digestive system has evolved to.

Despite the limitations of the recommended daily allowance or intake of major nutrients, surveys have repeatedly demonstrated that few people actually meet 100% of the R.D.A for all major nutrients. You are what you eat, or perhaps even better, you are what you digest, absorb and metabolise. There are and increasing number of diseases, disorders and irregularities which reduce the ability of the body to digest food, which may then impact upon absorption and ultimately metabolism.

Food for thought.