Your Risk Of Erectile Dysfunction More Than Triples If You Have This Health Condition

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High blood sugar can make it hard to get hard: Men with diabetes are significantly more likely to have erectile dysfunction that those with normal blood sugar readings, new research in the journal Diabetic Medicine concludes. That’s a problem, since diabetes cases have increased four-fold since 1980.

After crunching the numbers from 145 studies including over 88,000 men who averaged 56 years old, the researchers determined that those with diabetes were more than three times as likely to have erectile dysfunction than healthy guys were. In fact, 59 percent of men with diabetes had ED.

What’s more, men with diabetes tended to develop their erectile dysfunction 10 to 15 years earlier than those without the condition did, according to the study. (Want to keep your penis healthy for life?

So how can high blood sugar sink you in the bedroom?

Diabetes can damage your blood vessels and your nerves—both of which are needed for healthy erectile functioning, says Sean Skeldon, M.D., who has previously researched ED and diabetes, but was not involved in this study.

Another important point: Erectile dysfunction is often considered a harbinger of heart disease. That’s because the blood vessel issues that cause ED—say, like plaque buildup—can also affect your heart, too. They just manifest first with problems in the bedroom, since your blood vessels in your penis are smaller than the ones that carry blood to your heart. (Here are 8 other weird facts you never knew about your heart.)

The good news, though, is that many of the risk factors for diabetes are under your control—meaning your penis and your heart could benefit from some prevention strategies. One easy one? Eat three servings of legumes a week. That can cut your risk of diabetes by 35 percent, as we recently reported, possibly because their fiber can help prevent blood sugar spikes.

Written by: CHRISTA SGOBBA

Article Source: http://www.menshealth.com/health/diabetes-raises-erectile-dysfunction-risk?

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Dangerous Combinations

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Five things you need to know about food and drug interactions

You are diligent about taking your medication each day. But did you ever think that the bologna sandwich, grapefruit or glass of milk you have with it could be making your medicine less effective, or even dangerous? Read on for five facts you need to know about food and drug interactions.

1. Beware of grapefruit.

This popular breakfast fruit interacts with a variety of medications, including blood pressure medications, statins, HIV medications and organ transplant medications, says Charlie Twilley, Pharm.D., a pharmacist at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. The culprits are furanocoumarins, compounds found in grapefruit that block the enzymes in the intestines responsible for breaking down these drugs. This can make the drugs more potent, and raise the level of drug in your bloodstream. If you are a big grapefruit fan, talk to your doctor or pharmacist to find out whether it is safe to eat with the medications you are taking.

2. Dairy diminishes antibiotics’ infection-fighting powers.

Twilley warns that the calcium in milk, yogurt, cheese, ice cream and antacids can interact with tetracycline and the tetracycline group of antibiotics used to treat a number of bacterial infections. To make sure you are getting the full benefit of your antibiotic, take it one hour before, or two hours after you eat anything containing calcium.

3. Leafy greens cancel the effects of warfarin.

The vitamin K in spinach, collards, kale and broccoli can lessen the effectiveness of warfarin, a blood thinner used to prevent blood clots and stroke. The darker green the vegetable is, the more vitamin K it has. “You don’t want to eliminate leafy greens from your diet, because they do have many health benefits,” says Twilley. The key is to be consistent with the amount you eat. If you plan to drastically change the amount of these veggies in your diet, talk to your doctor or pharmacist first.

4. Beer, red wine and chocolate are dangerous to mix with some antidepressants.

These popular indulgences may be a nice way to relax in the evening, but they contain tyramine, a naturally occurring amino acid that can cause an unsafe spike in blood pressure when mixed with MAO inhibitors. Tyramine also is found in processed meat, avocados and some cheeses. “This is a significant, dangerous interaction,” says Twilley. If you take MAO inhibitors for depression, talk to your doctor or pharmacist before eating anything with tyramine. Alternative therapy may be considered.

5. Think before you crush medication in applesauce.

Many people who have trouble swallowing pills like to crush them up and mix them with applesauce or pudding. Always ask your doctor or pharmacist before you crush or take apart medication. “This method can dump too much of the drug into your system at once, or change the way the drug works,” says Twilley.

Also keep in mind that some medications are affected by whether or not you eat with them. Before you start any new drug, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about whether it is affected by food. “They can help you come up with a schedule that’s good for the drug and convenient for you,” says Twilley. Even over-the-counter medications and supplements can have food interactions.

Article Source: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/publications/jh_bayview_news/fall_2014/dangerous_combinations

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New Study: Standard American Diet Causes Nearly Half of All Deaths from Heart Disease, Stroke and Type 2 Diabetes

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It should come as no surprise that our diet plays a critical role in our health and longevity, but the sheer level of influence may come as a shock to you.

A new study published in the March 7 issue of JAMA found that poor diet is responsible for an astonishing 45 percent of all deaths from heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes in the US. The researchers attributed this high mortality rate to the Standard American Diet (SAD), which is high in sodium, processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages and unprocessed red meats.

The good news is, just as diet can be our downfall, it’s also just as powerful in promoting exceptional health and longevity — as seen in “Blue Zone” cultures, who are known for their extraordinary lifespan and phenomenal vitality.

A Deadly Trinity of Disease, Directly Linked to Poor Food Choices

According to the newly released JAMA study, which was funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), nearly half of all US deaths in 2012 caused by cardiometabolic diseases — like heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes — are due to poor diet. Out of the 702,308 adult deaths from cardiometabolic diseases, 318,656 — about 45 percent — were linked with over-consumption of certain unhealthy foods, as well as low consumption of specific nutrient dense edibles.

“Nationally, estimated cardiometabolic deaths related to insufficient healthier foods/nutrients remained at least as substantial as those related to excess unhealthful foods/nutrients,” said lead researcher Renata Micha, RD, PhD, of the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Boston.

Excess consumption of sodium was associated with the highest percentage of death. Consuming high amounts of processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages and unprocessed red meat were also linked with high mortality. Americans also don’t eat enough of certain health-promoting foods — like fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole grains, polyunsaturated fats and seafood omega-3 fats.

“Among unhealthful foods/nutrients, the present findings suggest that sodium is a key target,” noted the researchers. “Population-wide salt reduction policies that include a strong government role to educate the public and engage industry to gradually reduce salt content in processed foods (for example, as implemented in the United Kingdom and Turkey) appear to be effective, equitable, and highly cost-effective or even cost-saving.”

According to a press release from the NHLBI:

“The study also shows that the proportion of deaths associated with diet varied across population groups. For instance, death rates were higher among men when compared to women; among blacks and Hispanics compared to whites; and among those with lower education levels, compared with their higher-educated counterparts.”

The findings of the study were based on death certificate data from the National Center of Health Statistics.

With annual US healthcare spending hitting $3.8 trillion in 2014 and $3.2 trillion in 2016 — heart disease and stroke costing nearly $1 billion a day in medical costs along with lost productivity, and diabetes totaling $245 billion annually — the results of this study come as a stark reality check. However, they can also help encourage positive outcomes, such as new public health strategies, public education programs, and revamped industry standards.

For inspiration, we can also look to cultures and communities that have outstanding health and longevity for guidance — and a perfect place to start is with the Blue Zones.

The Island Where People Forgot to Die

Just off the coast of Turkey, very close to Samos, where Pythagoras and Epicurus lived, is a Greek island named Ikaria that is renown as “the island where people forgot to die” because of the exceptional lifespan of its inhabitants. Included in what is referred to as the Blue Zones — five regions in Europe, Latin America, Asia and the US with the highest concentrations of centenarians in the world — the people of Ikaria live about eight years longer than average and have exceedingly good health. These communities are also largely free of health complaints like obesity, cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Moreover, they’re sharp to the very end, whereas in the US, almost half the population over 85 suffers from dementia.

Diet is a key ingredient to their robust health and longevity. In Ikaria, they’re eating a variety of a Mediterranean diet, but with lots of potatoes. They also consume high amounts of beans. One unique foodstuff is called horta, a weed-like green that’s eaten as a salad, lightly steamed or baked into pies. Goat’s milk, wine, honey, some fruit and small amounts of fish are also enjoyed. Other foods include feta cheese, lemons and herbs such as sage and marjoram, which are made into tea.

Lifestyle also comes into play. Plenty of sex (even in old age) and napping are integral aspects of the culture, as is physical activity. There are no treadmills or aerobic classes here. Instead, exercise involves planting and maintaining a garden, manual labor (houses in Ikaria only have hand tools) and walking to run errands.

Another Blue Zone region is Sardinia, Italy where goat’s milk and sheep’s cheese are staples, along with moderate amounts of flat bread, sourdough bread and barley. They also eat plenty of fennel, fava beans, tomatoes, chickpeas, almonds, milk thistle tea and wine from Grenache grapes.

Seventh-day Adventists in Loma Linda, California made the list as well. The community shuns smoking, drinking and dancing, while also avoiding movies, television and other media distractions. Their diet focuses on grains, fruits, nuts, vegetables — and they only drink water. Sugar, except for natural sources found in whole fruit, is taboo. Adventists who follow the religion’s lifestyle live about 10 years longer than those who don’t. Interestingly, pesco-vegetarians in the community, who include up to one serving of fish per day with their plant-based diet, live longer than vegan Adventists. Avocados, salmon, beans, oatmeal, avocados, whole wheat bread and soy milk make up the bulk of their diet.

Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica also has a high number of centenarians. Theirs is a traditional Mesoamerican diet of beans, corn and squash — plus papayas, yams, bananas and peach palms (an oval fruit dense in vitamins A and C).

The final Blue Zone is Okinawa, Japan. Their “top longevity foods” are bitter melons, seaweed, turmeric, sweet potato, tofu, garlic, brown rice, green tea and shitake mushrooms.

All Blue Zones share the following characteristics:

  • Only eat until you’re 80 percent full.
  • The smallest meal of the day is always in the late afternoon or evening.
  • Diet consists mostly plants, especially beans. Meat is eaten rarely — on average of just five times a month — and in small portions of about 3 to 4 ounces.
  • Moderate amounts of wine is consumed with 1-2 glasses per day (doesn’t apply to Seventh-day Adventists).
  • A sense of community and close social bonds, often with religious underpinnings.

Although the secret to Blue Zone longevity doesn’t rely exclusively on diet, it’s certainly a core foundation for their exceptional health and vitality. We can take a cue from these regions and integrate their wisdom into our own lives for improved well-being. Have a look at these quick and easy Blue Zone recipes for inspiration.

Written By: Carolanne Wright

Article Source: https://wakeup-world.com/2017/04/24/new-study-standard-american-diet-causes-nearly-half-all-deaths-heart-disease-stroke-type-2-diabetes/

 

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Do We Need to Give Up Alcohol to Lose Weight? Not Necessarily

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People trying to lose weight — or not gain weight — are frequently advised to “lay off the booze.” Although organizations like Weight Watchers offer ways to drink wisely within their plans, alcohol, with seven calories a gram and no compensating nutrients, is commonly thought to derail most efforts at weight control.

After the winter holidays, I often hear people blame alcohol for added pounds, not just from its caloric contribution but also because it can undermine self-control and stimulate the appetite and desire for fattening foods.

Yet you probably know people who routinely drink wine with dinner, or a cocktail before it, and never put on an unwanted pound. Given that moderate drinkers tend to live longer than teetotalers, I’d love a glass of wine or a beer with dinner if I could do so without gaining, so I looked into what science has to say about alcohol’s influence on weight.

Despite thousands of studies spanning decades, I discovered that alcohol remains one of the most controversial and confusing topics for people concerned about controlling their weight.

I plowed through more than two dozen research reports, many with conflicting findings on the relationship between alcohol and weight, and finally found a thorough review of the science that can help people determine whether drinking might be compatible with effective weight management.

The review, published in 2015 in Current Obesity Reports, was prepared by Gregory Traversy and Jean-Philippe Chaput of the Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute in Ottawa, Ontario.

The reviewers first examined so-called cross-sectional studies, studies that assessed links between alcohol intake and body mass index among large groups of people at a given moment in time. The most common finding was that, in men on average, drinking was “not associated” with weight, whereas among women, drinking either did not affect weight or was actually associated with a lower body weight than among nondrinkers.

Their summary of the findings: Most such studies showed that “frequent light to moderate alcohol intake” — at most two drinks a day for men, one for women — “does not seem to be associated with obesity risk.” However, binge drinking (consuming five or more drinks on an occasion) and heavy drinking (more than four drinks in a day for men, or more than three for women) were linked to an increased risk of obesity and an expanding waistline. And in a departure from most of the other findings, some of the research indicated that for adolescents and (alas) older adults, alcohol in any amount may “promote overweight and a higher body fat percentage.”

Prospective studies, which are generally considered to be more rigorous than cross-sectional studies and which follow groups of people over time, in this case from several months to 20 years, had varied results and produced “no clear picture” of the relationship between alcohol and weight. Several found either no relationship or a negative relationship, at least in women, while others found that men who drank tended to risk becoming obese, especially if they were beer drinkers.

The conclusion from the most recent such studies: While heavy drinkers risked gaining weight, “light to moderate alcohol intake is not associated with weight gain or changes in waist circumference.”

The studies Dr. Chaput ranked as “most reliable” and “providing the strongest evidence” were controlled experiments in which people were randomly assigned to consume given amounts of alcohol under monitored conditions. One such study found that drinking two glasses of red wine with dinner daily for six weeks did not result in weight gain or a greater percentage of body fat in 14 men, when compared with the same diet and exercise regimen without alcohol. A similar study among 20 overweight, sedentary women found no meaningful change in weight after 10 weeks of consuming a glass of wine five times a week.

However, the experimental studies were small and the “intervention periods” were short. Dr. Chaput noted that even a very small weight gain over the course of 10 weeks can add up to a lot of extra pounds in five years unless there is a compensating reduction in food intake or increase in physical activity.

Unlike protein, fats and carbohydrates, alcohol is a toxic substance that is not stored in the body. Alcohol calories are used for fuel, thus decreasing the body’s use of other sources of calories. That means people who drink must eat less or exercise more to maintain their weight.

Dr. Chaput said he is able to keep from gaining weight and body fat despite consuming “about 15 drinks a week” by eating a healthy diet, exercising daily and monitoring his weight regularly.

Big differences in drinking patterns between men and women influence the findings of alcohol’s effects on weight, he said. “Men are more likely to binge drink and to drink beer and spirits, whereas women mostly drink wine and are more likely than men to compensate for extra calories consumed as alcohol.”

Genetics are also a factor, Dr. Chaput said, suggesting that alcohol can be more of a problem among people genetically prone to excessive weight gain. “People who are overweight to begin with are more likely to gain weight if they increase their alcohol intake,” he said.

Furthermore, as I and countless others have found, alcohol has a “disinhibiting” effect and can stimulate people to eat more when food is readily available. “The extra calories taken in with alcohol are stored as fat,” he reminded drinkers.

Here’s the bottom line: Everyone is different. The studies cited above average the results among groups of people and thus gloss over individual differences. Even when two people start out weighing the same and eat, drink and exercise the same amount, adding alcohol to the mix can have different consequences.

The critical ingredient is self-monitoring: weighing yourself regularly, even daily, at the same time of day and under the same circumstances. If you’re a moderate drinker and find yourself gradually putting on weight, try cutting down on, or cutting out, alcohol for a few months to see if you lose, gain or stay the same.

Or, if you’re holding off on drinking but gradually gaining weight and have no medical or personal reason to abstain from alcohol, you might try having a glass of wine on most days to see if your weight stabilizes or even drops slightly over the coming months.

You might also consult a reliable source on the sometimes surprising differences in calorie content among similar alcoholic drinks. The Center for Science in the Public Interest recently published such a list, available at http://www.nutritionaction.com. Search for “Which alcoholic beverages have the most calories?” While you’ll find no difference in calories between white and red wines, depending on the brand, 12 ounces of beer can range from 55 to 320 calories.

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Article Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/13/well/do-we-need-to-give-up-alcohol-to-lose-weight-not-necessarily.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fwell&action=click&contentCollection=well&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=10&pgtype=sectionfront

 

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What causes heart disease

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As 2016 draws to an end, I believe that a change is in the air. The dietary guidelines, or perhaps I should call them the ‘dietary misguidedlines’, are under a sustained attack. This, finally, may actually result in success. We will be able move on from believing that fat, or saturated fat, in the diet is responsible for cardiovascular disease or, indeed, any form of disease.

But where to then? The current dogma is that saturated fat in the diet raises cholesterol levels and this, in turn, leads to cardiovascular disease. However, as many of you may have spotted earlier this year, in the Minnesota Coronary Experiment (MCE), substituting saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat was effective at lowering cholesterol levels. However, it had absolutely no effect on deaths for heart disease, and greatly increased the overall risk of death.

The summary of this trial was, as follows:

  • It involved 9423 women and men aged 20-97
  • A cholesterol lowering diet was used, replacing saturated fat with linoleic acid (from corn oil and corn oil polyunsaturated margarine).
  • The low saturated fat group had a significant reduction in serum cholesterol compared with controls.
  • There was no evidence of benefit in the intervention group for coronary atherosclerosis or myocardial infarcts.
  • For every 0.78mmol/l reduction in serum cholesterol [Around a 20% reduction], there was a 22% higher risk of death [This is about a 30% reduction in cholesterol level]

Big deal, you might think. This is just one trial, so what difference does it make. However, this was no ordinary trial. It was absolutely pivotal for four main reasons:

  • It was the largest controlled trials of its kind ever done. That is, substituting saturated with polyunsaturated fats.
  • It was done by Ancel Keys (who started the entire diet-heart hypothesis in the first place)
  • It was finished, before the main clinical nutritional guidelines were developed
  • It was not published at the time, for reasons that have never been explained, by anyone.

As the authors of the re-analysis note.

Whatever the explanation for key MCE data not being published, there is growing recognition that incomplete publication of negative or inconclusive results can contribute to skewed research priorities and public health initiatives. Recovery of unpublished data can alter the balance of evidence and, in some instances, can lead to reversal of established policy or clinical practice positions.” 1

Which is a polite way of saying that a bunch of liars hid the results. Almost certainly because the results contradicted their self-promoted message that saturated fats are unhealthy. It is clear that these researchers, in particular Ancel Keys, did this quite deliberately, and then continued to promote their own dietary dogma.

I think it is almost impossible to overestimate the long-term impact of the non-publication of this trial.

  • For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
  • For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
  • For want of a horse the rider was lost.
  • For want of a rider the message was lost.
  • For want of a message the battle was lost.
  • For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
  • And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

Here is my updated version

  • For want of the MCE trial evidence the McGovern hearings were lost
  • For want of the hearings the guidelines were lost
  • For want of the guidelines the message was lost
  • For want of the message battle was lost
  • For want of the battle saturated fat was lost
  • All for the want of the MCE trial data.

The McGovern hearings which set the entire direction of nutritional thinking, and guidelines, took place in 1977. The MCE trial ran from 1968 to 1973. Had the data from this study been made available, the dietary guidelines in the US, the UK and the rest of the world (In their current form, demonising saturated fat) simply could not have been written.

If those guidelines had not been written, then the entire world of cardiovascular research would almost certainly have gone off in a different direction. The role of LDL in causing CVD would have been consigned to the dustbin history. Goldstein and Brown wouldn’t have done their research on Familial Hypercholesterolaemia, statins would never have been developed, and we not have been forced to endure fifty years of the damaging, destructive diet-heart/cholesterol hypothesis.

The fact that the diet-heart/cholesterol hypothesis is complete nonsense, has been clear as day to many people for many years. In 1977 George Mann, a co-director of the Framingham Study, writing in the New England Journal of Medicine called it ‘the greatest scam in the history of medicine.’ In my view, anyone with a moderately functioning brain, can easily see that it is nonsense.

So, if not fat and cholesterol, what does cause cardiovascular disease, and more importantly, what can be done to prevent it, or at least delay it? At last (some of you are thinking) I will state what I believe to be one of the most important things you can do to reduce the risk.

Returning to the central process of cardiovascular disease (CVD), for a moment. If you are going to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, you must do, at least, one of three things:

  • Protect the endothelium (lining of blood vessels) from harm
  • Reduce the risk of blood clots forming – especially over areas of endothelial damage
  • Reduce the size and tenacity (difficulty of being broken down) of the blood clots that develop

If you can do all three, you will reduce your risk of dying of a heart attack, or stroke, to virtually zero.

What protects the endothelium?

There are many things that that can do this, but the number one agent that protects the endothelium is nitric oxide (NO). Thus, anything that stimulates NO synthesis will be protective against CVD. Which brings us to sunshine and vitamin D.

  • Sunlight on the skin directly stimulates NO synthesis, which has been shown to reduce blood pressure, improve arterial elasticity, and a whole host of other beneficial things for your cardiovascular system, not least a reduction in blood clot formation.
  • Sunlight on the skin also creates vitamin D, which has significant impact on NO synthesis in endothelial cells, alongside many other actions. It also prevents cancer, so you get a double benefit.

Therefore, my first direct piece of direct advice for those who want to prevent heart disease, is to sunbathe. In the winter when the sun is not shining take vitamin D supplementation. Alternatively, go on holiday to somewhere sunny. Or get a UVB sunbed, and use it.

My only note of warning here is to say, don’t burn, it is painful and you don’t need to.

By the way, don’t worry about skin cancer. Sun exposure protects against all forms of cancer to a far greater degree than it may cause any specific cancer. To give you reassurance on this point, here is a Medscape article, quoting from a long-term Swedish study on sun exposure:

‘Nonsmokers who stayed out of the sun had a life expectancy similar to smokers who soaked up the most rays, according to researchers who studied nearly 30,000 Swedish women over 20 years.

This indicates that avoiding the sun “is a risk factor for death of a similar magnitude as smoking,” write the authors of the article, published March 21 in the Journal of Internal Medicine. Compared with those with the highest sun exposure, life expectancy for those who avoided sun dropped by 0.6 to 2.1 years.

Pelle Lindqvist, MD, of Karolinska University Hospital in Huddinge, Sweden, and colleagues found that women who seek out the sun were generally at lower risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and noncancer/non-CVD diseases such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and pulmonary diseases, than those who avoided sun exposure.

And one of the strengths of the study was that results were dose-specific — sunshine benefits went up with amount of exposure. The researchers acknowledge that longer life expectancy for sunbathers seems paradoxical to the common thinking that sun exposure increases risk for skin cancer.

“We did find an increased risk of…skin cancer. However, the skin cancers that occurred in those exposing themselves to the sun had better prognosis,” Dr Lindqvist said.”2

In short, avoiding the sun is a bad for you as smoking. In my opinion ordering people to avoid the sun, is possibly the single most dangerous and damaging piece of health prevention advice there has ever been. The sun has been up there, shining down, for over four billion years. Only very recently have we hidden from it. If you believe in evolution, you must also believe that sunshine provides significant health benefits. It cannot be otherwise.

Written By: Dr. Malcolm Kendrick

Article Source: https://drmalcolmkendrick.org/2016/12/24/what-causes-heart-disease-part-xxiii/

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Statin cholesterol drugs are for bread-eaters

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Much of the $23 billion spent each and every year on statin drugs is really targeting the treatment of “high cholesterol”—but actually unhealthy distortions in lipoproteins—created by consuming grains.

Most people, unfortunately, continue to focus on fat consumption, especially saturated fat, as the cause for high cholesterol and have been led to believe that cutting saturated fat and statin drugs are the solution. So let me try and clear up this somewhat confusing issue and show you that 1) there is no real benefit to cutting saturated fat, 2) grains and sugars cause distortions that increase cardiovascular disease, and 3) statin drugs do not fully address the causes of cardiovascular disease, accounting for their relatively trivial benefits.

Here is a typical panel of someone who consumes grains:

Triglycerides 170 mg/dl
LDL cholesterol (calculated) 150 mg/dl
HDL cholesterol 40 mg/dl
Total cholesterol 224 mg/dl

In other words, HDL cholesterol is lowish, triglycerides high, LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol high. What does this mean? Let’s take each, one by one. It’s a bit complex, but stick with it and you will emerge smarter than 95% of doctors who “treat” high cholesterol.

Triglycerides are the byproduct of two digestive processes: 1) De novo lipogenesis or the liver’s conversion of the amylopectin of grains and other sugars into triglyceride-rich VLDL particles that enter the bloodstream, and 2) absorption of dietary fats (which are triglycerides themselves). De novo lipogenesis dominates triglyceride levels in the bloodstream, far outstripping consumption of fat as a determinant of triglyceride levels. This simple fact was only identified recently, as the rise in triglycerides that occurs after consuming fats and oils develops within 2-4 hours, but the much larger rise in triglycerides from carbohydrate-to-triglyceride conversion starts 6-8 hours later, a fact not uncovered in older studies that failed to track this far out in time. (And, in certain genetic types, such as apo E2, the rise from carbohydrates in grains and sugars can last for days to weeks.)

LDL cholesterol is calculated, not measured. The Friedewald calculation, developed in the early 1960s to provide an easy but crude means of estimating the quantity of cholesterol in the low-density lipoprotein fraction of the blood applied several basic assumptions: 1) that everyone consumes an average diet of average macronutrient composition, and 2) that the triglyceride content of all lipoproteins remained constant from person to person (which is not true, but is wildly variable), and 3) that all LDL particles are the same (also not true, as LDL particles vary in size, conformation, surface characteristics, etc.).

Grain consumption, thanks to the process of de novo lipogenesis, increases blood levels of triglycerides and VLDL particles. VLDL particles interact with LDL particles, enriching LDL particle triglyceride content and reducing cholesterol content. This leads to a process of LDL particle “remodeling” that creates small LDL particles–glycation-prone, oxidizable, adherent to inflammatory blood cells, and persistent in the bloodstream for 7 days, rather than the 24 hours of more benign large LDL particles. Grains thereby trigger the process creating persistent and damaging small LDL particles; fats trigger the process that does not.

When we cut out grains and sugars, the Friedewald calculation is therefore no longer valid, as the assumptions–-weak to begin with–-are disrupted. LDL cholesterol, this crude, surrogate effort to indirectly quantify LDL particles, is therefore completely useless—the calculation of LDL cholesterol is INVALID. This has not, unfortunately, dampened enthusiasm among my colleagues nor the drug industry for trying to treat this number with statin drugs to the tune of $23 billion per year.

Better ways to quantify LDL particles: NMR LDL particle number (which includes quantification of small and large LDL particles) or an apoprotein B. (Each LDL particle contains one apo B, which thereby provides a virtual count of LDL particles, but no breakdown into small vs. large.) Lipoprotein testing has been around for over 20 years, is inexpensive and available—but requires an informed doctor to interpret.

HDL cholesterol is, unlike LDL cholesterol, a measured and reliable value. Ironically, it is among the most ignored. Grain-consuming humans tend to have low HDL because the high triglyceride/VLDL particles interact in the bloodstream with HDL particles, enriching HDL particles in triglycerides and reducing cholesterol content. This leads to a reduction in HDL size and HDL quantity, thus low HDL cholesterol values. The lower the HDL, the higher the cardiovascular risk.

Total cholesterol is the sum of all three values: LDL cholesterol + HDL cholesterol + triglycerides/5. (More accurately, LDL cholesterol is the calculated value: LDL = total chol – HDL – trg/5.)

Given the mix of values, total cholesterol is therefore essentially useless. A large increase in HDL, for instance–-a GOOD thing–-will raise total cholesterol; a large reduction in HDL–-a BAD thing–-will reduce total cholesterol: the opposite of what you would think. Total cholesterol can indeed yield useful prognostic information when applied to a population, though the relationship is weak. But it is useless when applied to an individual.

If we reject the silly and simple-minded notions of cholesterol panels, and apply the greater insights provided by advanced lipoprotein analysis, several nutritional observations can be made:

–Saturated fat increases HDL, shifts HDL to larger, more protective, particles, and triggers formation of large LDL particles.
–The amylopectin carbohydrates of grains trigger higher triglycerides, thereby providing more VLDL particles to interact with HDL and LDL particles, the process that leads to triglyceride enrichment and smaller ineffective HDL and smaller atherogenic LDL (heart disease-causing).
–Given the unusual persistence time of small (7 days) vs large (1 day) LDL particles, grain consumption is FAR worse than fat consumption.

You can begin to appreciate how overly simplistic this notion of “reducing cholesterol” using statin drugs really is. You can also appreciate that the real situation is a bit more complicated and beyond the reach of most busy primary care physicians, while being outside the interests of most cardiologists, obsessed as they are with revenue-producing activities like heart catheterizations, stent and defibrillator implantation.

A typical response in the cholesterol panel of someone who has eliminated all wheat, grains, and sugars would look something like this:

Triglycerides 50 mg/dl
LDL cholesterol (calculated) — mg/dl
HDL cholesterol 70 mg/dl
Total cholesterol 200 mg/dl

I left the LDL cholesterol blank because it can do just about anything: go up, go down, remain unchanged—but it doesn’t matter, because it is inaccurate, unreliable, invalid. If you were to measure advanced lipoproteins, however, you would see a dramatic reduction or elimination of small LDL particles and reduction of the total count of LDL particles (since the small LDL component has been reduced or eliminated) with large LDL particles remaining.

Common distortions of cholesterol panels can be easily explained by the chain of events that emerge from a diet rich in “healthy whole grains.” The relatively trivial benefits of statin cholesterol drugs (about a 1% reduction in real risk, not the inflated “relative risks” quoted in ads and statistically-manipulated studies) should come as no surprise, since high cholesterol is not the cause for cardiovascular disease.

Written By: Dr. William Davis

Article Source: http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/2016/02/statin-cholesterol-drugs-are-for-bread-eaters/

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Wellness & Preventative Medicine

Why Understanding Food Serving Sizes Is Important for Weight Loss

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If you want to lose weight, you need to get better at knowing how many calories you eat. With some foods, like peanut butter or ice cream, that’s actually really hard to do. Here’s why it’s important to be a little more accurate than “Eh, that looks like one serving” if you want to lose weight.

A bagel, two tablespoons of peanut butter, or any other serving size is hard to imagine if you don’t know exactly what it looks like. Test it out: make a peanut butter and whatever sandwich, using only one serving of peanut butter (that’s two tablespoons, or 32 grams). Go ahead and use a measuring spoon, which is still prone to a lot of error. Now weigh out your portion in grams. What did you get?

 If you’ve never paid attention to this stuff before, it could very well be twice the serving size, or twice the calories! If you’re off by even 10 grams, that’s still extra calories you never accounted for. Clearly, it’s easy to overdo it on your favorite foods without even realizing it. If you nailed the perfect serving size, congrats!

Tracking and weighing foods aren’t for everyone and a lot of work, but they’re a powerful process for weight loss. Note that calorie information can have up to a 25% margin of error and you’ll never be truly accurate (which is okay). Be careful not to be obsessed with weighing and tracking every leaf of lettuce, cereal flake, and anything else you eat. That’s overkill. Just do it for a couple of weeks with your most commonly eaten foods to get a sense of what appropriate serving sizes should look like.

Written By: Stephanie Lee

Article Source: http://vitals.lifehacker.com/why-understanding-food-serving-sizes-is-important-for-w-1790289391

“The Greatest Health of Your Life”℠

Boston Testosterone Partners
National Testosterone Restoration for Men
Wellness & Preventative Medicine

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