Anti-Inflammatory Diet

All health care starts with diet. My recommendations for a healthy diet are here:
Anti-Inflammatory Diet and Lifestyle.
There are over 190 articles on diet, inflammation and disease on this blog
(find topics using search [upper left] or index [lower right]), and
more articles by Prof. Ayers on Suite101 .

Friday, July 25, 2014

Dr. Oz Five Food Felons

Biofilms on intestine microvilli
The medical industry is slowly pulling away from diet advice that has contributed significantly to disease in America.  It promoted or at least tolerated, the shift from butter to margarine and polyunsaturated vegetable oils, and from saturated fats in meats to starches and grains.  The medical emissary, Dr. Oz, still supports medical advice that is not based on medical research.

Dr. Oz's Five Food Felons and Why His Choices Are Unhealthy:

"1) Trans fats raise lousy LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, lower your healthy HDL cholesterol level and fuel disease-triggering inflammation."  Trans fats are inflammatory and should not be eaten.  New labeling has permitted substantial amounts of trans fats to be added to processed foods and still be labelled "No trans fats."  LDL blood levels reflect inflammation, but artificially lowering the LDL with statins has no impact on heart disease.  Lowering LDL, by lowering inflammation with fish oil and/or repair of gut flora, diet and exercise is effective.

"2) Saturated fat in red meats, poultry skin, full-fat dairy products and palm and coconut oils fuels cancer risk, coronary artery disease, dementia, obesity and diabetes."  Linking saturated fats with heart disease, etc. was never supported by medical research.  Elimination of red meat, removing skin from chicken, avoiding egg yolks, etc. and replacing them with omega-6 polyunsatured vegetable oils has been a major contributor to inflammation and disease.  Full fat milk is the healthful choice, especially for children.  The change was dangerous and is being reversed with new emphasis placed on omega-3 fish oils.

"3) Added sugars and 4) sugar syrups cause the proteins in your body to be less functional and age your immune and cardiovascular systems and your joints. Plus, they disrupt your metabolism and contribute to almost every lifestyle-related malady, including some cancers."  Oz got this right even though they initially promoted high fructose corn syrup (half glucose/oligos) and its evil and even higher fructose sister agave nectar (all fructose/oligos.)  Equally bad, however, are the hyperglycemic starch in breads (including whole grain!) and over cooked pasta.

Gut flora
"5) Refined and processed grains don't contain the fiber or nutrients (contained in 100 percent whole grains) that you need to keep the bacteria in your guts happy, glucose levels regulated, immune system strong and digestion running smoothly."  Dr. Oz and company fail to understand the basics of vitamins, soluble fiber and gut flora.  Grains are not healthy for most people, because of the toxicity of gluten and hyperglycemic starch.  Ultra fine milling and fast commercial bread making eliminate the resistant starch.  "Whole grain" processed foods just add back the insoluble fiber that is considered toxic, because of its phytic acid content.  Grains should just be replaced with whole foods, such as vegetables that contain the soluble fiber that feeds the gut flora that provide all of the needed vitamins and are required for immune system development.

Why Does Dr. Oz Make Health Mistakes?

Dr. Oz has been criticized for promoting foods, supplements, medical treatments, etc. that are not supported by medical research.  While that is true, I think that he is just following the general views of the medical industry and simply doesn't know any better.  Sadly, most doctors don't have the background to read scientific research papers, let alone their own biomedical literature that is rife with scandals of nonreproducibility and inappropriate industry influence.  Doctors find it hard to give valid dietary advice, because nutritionists have false information and celebrity doctors, and their research teams, don't do their homework.  The result is the mix of ancient orthodoxy, industry promotion, alternative medicine and unscientific fads that appears in the media.  Doctors need a scientific background sufficient to answer the essential question posed to health claims, "Does it make sense?"

Friday, July 18, 2014

Bacteria Migrating to Breast May Cause Cancer

—-The other 200 posts—-
The readers of this blog are probably aware of my interest in the causes and related cures of diseases.  Juxtaposition of recent research findings has made me reconsider the role of bacteria in breast cancer.

The Findings
  • Lactation/breastfeeding lowers risk of breast cancer (improves path of normal mammary duct micro biome from nipple.)
  • Tubal ligation lowers risk of ovarian cancer (eliminates path for bacteria from vagina.)
  • Aspirin reduces pancreatic cancer (by reducing inflammation involved in the transition from bacterial infection to cancer.)
  • Pancreatic and breast cancer risks are both dramatically increased by BRCA (tumor suppressor genes involved in 5% of breast cancer.)
  • Bacteria are transported from gut to blood to breast to milk to infants.  (Google entero-mammary bacterial circulation involving intestinal M cells and dendrocytes.)

Bacteria Have Access to Organs with Common Cancers
Serum or fluid flows from organs outward; liver to gall bladder to intestines, pancreas to intestines, prostate to urethra, ovary to fallopian tube to uterus to vagina.  In each case there is also an related infection and inflammation associated with the backward path to the organ.  Urinary tract infections can lead to prostatitis.  Vaginitis can lead to pelvic inflammation, gastritis to stomach cancer, and intestinal infection/inflammation can result in pancreatitis.  The theme seems to be that bacterial infections can cause inflammation that leads to cancer.

Bacterial Path to the Breast
Lactating women occasionally have bacteria that migrate back up milk ducts to cause mastitis, but this is not quite parallel to my other examples of bacterial movement, because women are not continually producing milk.  There is, however, another path of bacteria to mammary tissue.  Prior to birth, bacteria move from the maternal gut, through the blood (presumably in lymphocytes) and into mammary tissue.  Subsequent nursing transports the bacteria to the infant to initiate the milk controlled gut flora unique to exclusively breastfed infants.

Monthly Transport of Bacteria to Breast
The menstrual cycle is an abbreviated ovulation, conception, gestation and birth, which suggests that just as in the normal prelude to lactation, there may also be monthly transport of gut bacteria to mammary tissue.  These bacteria may also cause infection and inflammation, though they may not be sufficient to cause more than transient breast tenderness.

Healthy Gut Flora Means Healthy Breasts
I expect that many diseases in infants may be associated with the wrong bacteria being transported from maternal gut to breast to infant.  Clearly, if the mother suffers from dysbiosis, which is very common, it may be difficult for the correct Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria to be transported to mammary tissue.  Transport of other bacteria may cause problems.  Those problems may be severe as a consequence of menstrual cycles that don’t end in pregnancy, but rather end in infection, inflammation and breast cancer.  It may all come down to gut flora.  The difference between women who develop breast cancer and those that remain healthy may be the health of their gut flora.  Breastfeeding, of course, reduces the risk of breast cancer, as well as improving infant gut flora.  Formula is always a risk factor for infant health, because it attacks normal infant gut flora and promotes inflammation. Since many breast cancers naturally resolve, it may also be the case that a healthy immune system can reverse breast cancer and the health of the immune system is determined by the gut flora.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Gut Flora, Disease and Obesity

The health of your gut flora (the interacting trillions of bacteria of a couple of hundred different species that make up the pound of bacteria that you carry primarily in your large intestines) is more important than your genetics to your overall health.  Thus, your health is a result of diet, gut flora adapted to your diet and exercise.  Everything else, your genetic risks, environmental toxins, etc. are of only minor impact.

I am trying to paint the big picture of how the food that you eat and your gut flora interact to determine your health, by which I mean whether you get sick, become obese and/or bloat with gas.

Health Depends on Gut Flora
If you are healthy, you have a couple of hundred different species of bacteria that help you to digest the protein, fats and carbs that you eat in meat and vegetables.  Your body easily digests protein and fats in meat, fish, eggs and dairy, because enzymes to digest them are present in your stomach and small intestines.  The only carbs that your body can digest are some simple sugars and starch.  The rest of the polysaccharides present in plants cannot be digested without the help of bacteria.  The polysaccharides that your gut flora can digest are fermentable, soluble fiber, e.g. resistant starch, pectin, inulin, arabinogalactan, xylans, beta-glucan, etc.  If you can’t digest soluble fiber, because you have damaged gut flora, dysbiosis, and are missing essential bacterial species normally found in a healthy gut, then the soluble fiber just passes through as insoluble fiber and readily dehydrates into hard, constipated stools.  Partial digestion due to just a few missing bacterial species produces the symptoms of food intolerances.  

Constipation Results from Dysbiosis
The bottom line is that the volume of healthy, soft, firm stools is made up of gut flora that digested dietary soluble fiber and converted it into more bacteria.  If you eat more soluble fiber, this food for your gut flora, will produce proportionately more bowel movements.

Gut Flora Guide Immune System Development
Most of cells of your immune system are in the lining of your gut and there are particular species of gut bacteria directly involved in the development of immune cells that have different functions as they spread throughout your body.  Some of these cells are aggressive and attack pathogens, while others make sure that the aggression doesn’t get out of control and cause autoimmune diseases or allergies.

Gut Flora Divided into Groups to Show Involvement in Disease
Recent studies have demonstrated the role of gut bacteria in producing nutrients, vitamins and neurotransmitters.  To highlight the essential role of gut flora in disease, I have divided the hundreds of species of gut bacteria into groups to illustrate their direct involvement in development of the immune system and regulation of the flow of dietary nutrients involved in obesity.  A recent study shows that an infection can produce a change in gut flora associated with marshaling additional fatty acid nutrients for the host instead of just producing more gut flora.  Chronic change of gut flora in this way leads to obesity.  Other types of dysbiosis contribute to infections, cancer, autoimmune disease, allergies, food intolerances, gas and bloating.

Group A Bacteria  Provide Aggressive Immunity
There are several dozen species of bacteria in healthy gut flora, including the filamentous bacteria, that trigger the development of the aggressive part of your immune system that attacks pathogens, and kills cells of your body that are infected with viruses or are cancerous.  Most antibiotics don’t permanently damage this group of bacteria, so after a course of antibiotics you can usually still stop infections.  Excessive suppression of aggressive immunity contributes to cancer.

Group B Bacteria Provide Suppressive Immunity
There are dozens of other species of bacteria, including Clostridia, that control the development of the suppressive half of your immune system that produces immune cells, such as regulatory T cells, Tregs, that stop the aggressive cells of your immune system from attacking your own cells and innocuous things such as food and pollen.  Many common antibiotics damage these species of bacteria and are thought to contribute to the development of autoimmune diseases and allergies.  Inflammatory bowel disease is characterized by a simplified gut flora with only half the healthy number of bacterial species.  Resistant starch preferentially feeds these bacteria to enhance suppressive immunity and in some individuals cure autoimmune disease.

Group C Bacteria Convert Soluble Fiber to Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFA)
The fermentable soluble fiber in your diet is typically from vegetables and it is converted by the largest and most diverse group of bacterial species into short chain fatty acids.  Each different plant polysaccharide, and there are hundreds, requires many enzymes for complete digestion to the simple molecules used by the bacteria to make its own proteins, fats and polysaccharides.  Absence of bacteria that are specialized for the digestion of particular polysaccharides or other dietary components can disrupt gut flora and cause digestive disturbances that are experienced as food intolerances (also confused with food allergies that are rare.)  Some of the bacterial species convert polysaccharides into butyric acid and other short chain fatty acids that are the major source of energy for cells that form the lining of the intestines.  These SCFAs are also a major food source for other gut bacteria.

Group D Bacteria Convert SCFAs to Fecal Bacteria to Produce Bulk of Bowel Movements
In healthy people, the SCFAs produced by gut flora feed the intestines and the remainder produced in the large bowel is converted into more gut bacteria, which forms soft stools.  Antibiotics typically damage these bacteria and result in constipation.  These bacteria are typically more sensitive to antibiotics than those that digest the soluble fiber and produce SCFAs, so the excess SCFAs pass into the blood stream and contribute to obesity instead of stools.  Lean mice with gut flora exchanged from obese mice, become obese.  Cattle are fed antibiotics to enhance the conversion of corn polysaccharides into SCFAs and body fat prior to slaughter.

Group E Bacteria convert Soluble Fiber to Methane and Hydrogen, Bloat
Increased volume of the intestines, bloating, results from conversion of soluble fiber into methane, hydrogen and carbon dioxide gases.  Some of this gas is absorbed into the blood and can pass from the large intestines, through the blood, and back to the stomach and small intestines.  Helicobacter pylori, the cause of stomach ulcers and gastric cancer, can utilize hydrogen from the blood as an energy source.

In Summary:
A+B+C+D = healthy, normal weight
A+C+D = normal weight, autoimmunity and allergies
B+C+D = normal weight, susceptibility to cancer, chronic Lyme disease, food poisoning
A+B = normal weight, constipated
A+B+C = obese, constipated
A+B+D = normal weight, food intolerances
A+B+C+E = obese, constipated, bloated

Cure for Dysbiosis and Associated Diseases is Repair of Gut Flora
The excitement about the use of resistant starch (RS) and probiotics with Clostridia and other soil bacteria to reverse the symptoms of autoimmune diseases is based on the ability to repair gut flora damaged by poor nutrition and antibiotics.  Low carbohydrate diets that do not provide soluble fiber to feed gut flora lead to dysbiosis and chronic diseases.  Resistant starch, as the name suggests, passes on to the colon by avoiding digestion with amylases in the small intestines and acts as a soluble fiber to feed gut flora in the colon.  Clostridia convert the RS to sugars and SCFAs usable by other gut flora.  Note that some species of Clostridia produce toxins and it is these pathogens that take over in hospitals after the healthy species are killed off with antibiotics.  Fecal transplants are the best treatment for these hospital acquired infections. 

 I have discussed the role of hygiene, muddy veggies, fermented foods, etc. in several other posts on repair of gut flora.  

Complete repair of gut dysbiosis is possible, but it requires more than just changes in diet and dairy probiotics, as typically recommended erroneously by the medical industry.

Health is dependent on:
  1. an Anti-Inflammatory Diet,
  2. gut flora adapted to your diet
  3. exercise and
  4. adequate sleep
The rest (genetics, vegan vs. paleo, environmental toxins, organic veggies, GMOs, etc.) are minor contributors, less than 10% in aggregate, to overall health.


Friday, July 4, 2014

Can Apple’s HealthKit Avoid Health-Exploitation?

More healthcare begets more health costs and less health.  Tests detect symptoms that trigger treatment, but more often than not fail to contribute to health.  Apple’s newly announced HealthKit promises to facilitate increased surveillance of personal health statistics and to integrate the data with the health industry.  If recent history is a guide, more data will simply mean more inappropriate interventions, greater expense and further deterioration of public health.  More public interaction and scrutiny is needed to keep the public safe from the health industry and to hold doctors to their pledge to do no harm.

Breast, Prostate and Pelvic Exams Lead to Costly, Harmful, Unnecessary Interventions
In the last two years, major studies have found that frequent breast exams, prostate tests and pelvic exams cause more harm than good.  The surgery, followup procedures and treatments that the screening tests trigger are worse than the cancers that went unnoticed under more relaxed scrutiny.  The bottom line is that the information gathered from screening was not sufficient to produce appropriate, measured treatment.  Patients were harmed without benefit and the health industry was compromised by increased profits from inappropriate tests and treatments.  Doctors routinely convinced themselves of the value of routine exams that they performed to yield excessive false positives that resulted in unnecessary biopsies or disfiguring surgery.  Those flawed exams, tests and procedures also contributed substantially to the profitability of their practices.  Patients may have inadvertently been harmed, but the doctors knew that they benefited.

The Health Industry Pursues Profitable Tests and Treatment, not Causes and Cures
I was astounded a few years ago to read an article in the biomedical literature by a researcher who bemoaned the lack of interest in understanding the causes of diseases and the pursuit of cures.  Public and private funds were only spent on patent-protected tests and treatments.  I watched as the development and testing of fecal transplants demonstrated a safe and effective treatment for numerous diseases, and yet this approach was tracked down and caged by the health industry.  I think broad use of this approach could save billions of health dollars, but there is no patent protection and minimal profit, so the approach was stiffled.  The efficacy of fecal transplants also points directly at damaged gut flora (and antibiotics) as the cause of many diseases.  Where is the public forum to discuss the use of public funds to promote approaches that are safe, effective, cheap, but without potential for proprietary exploitation?  What will happen to simple cures, such as resistant starch and probiotics with Clostridium butyricum?

Is HealthKit Personal Data for Personal or Corporate Gain?
Will there be mechanisms for individuals to contribute their HealthKit data to large scale public health experiments to determine simple lifestyle, dietary and exercise approaches that can replace expensive and destructive pharmaceutical-based health industry approaches?  HealthKit provides the potential to wrest health from the health industry.  We will see if there is an app for that.