Gene mutation may contribute to body weight regulation, obesity.


Through mice and human studies, researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital suggest that a rare genetic mutation which can contribute to severe obesity could lead to further questions about weight gain and energy expenditure among obese patients.

“We found other mutations that weren’t as clearly damaging to the gene,” researcherJoseph Majzoub, MD, chief of endocrinology at Boston Children’s Hospital, said in a press release. “It’s possible that some of these more common mutations actually are pathogenic, especially in combination with other genes in the same pathway.”

According to researchers, the loss of either melanocortin-2 receptor (MC2R) or melanocortin receptor accessory protein (MRAP) in humans can cause severe resistance to adrenocorticotropic hormone, resulting in glucocorticoid deficiency. To study whether changes to melanocortin receptor accessory protein-2 (MRAP2) are associated with human obesity, Majzoub and colleagues conducted coding sequences in obese and control patients from the Genetics of Obesity Study cohort and the Swedish Obese Children’s Cohort.

Four rare heterozygous variants were absent from cohort-specific controls and 1,000 genomes were found in “unrelated, nonsyndromic, severely obese individuals, with all but one variant in the C-terminal region of the protein,” researchers wrote.

Although the rare mutations directly cause obesity in less than 1% of the obese population, other suspected mutations could be more likely to causeobesity, researchers wrote. These findings suggest that MRAP2 disruption could contribute to body weight regulation, prompting a need for further research to confirm these data.

Source: Endocrine Today

 

Spironolactone/metformin superior to either treatment alone for PCOS.


Low-dose spironolactone and metformin combination therapy compared with either drug alone appeared to be an effective treatment for the management of polycystic ovary syndrome, according to results from an open-label, randomized study conducted in India.

“The key findings suggest superior efficacy (menstrual cyclicity, Ferriman–Gallwey [FG] score, serum total testosterone, insulin sensitivity and compliance) of low-dose spironolactone and metformin over either drug alone in the management of PCOS, without increasing the adverse event rate,”Mohd Ashraf Ganie, MD, of the department of endocrinology and metabolism at All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Ansari Nagar, New Delhi, India, and colleagues wrote.

Women who fell under the Androgen Excess-PCOS (AE-PCOS) 2006 criteria for PCOS were randomly assigned to one of three groups: metformin 1,000 mg per day (n=56), low-dose spironolactone 50 mg per day (n=51) or a combination of both drugs (n=62) for 6 months.

Before randomization, women were given dietary counseling (30 kcal/kg to 35 kcal/kg composed of 50% to 55% carbohydrates, 20% to 25% protein and 15% to 20% fat with high fiber content) besides lifestyle advice (ie, 25 to 35 minutes of brisk walking per day).

Menstrual cycle patterns, FG score, BMI, waist-hip ratio, blood pressure, luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, total testosterone, glucose and insulin sensitivity indices were measured at baseline, 3 and 6 months after the intervention. Data indicate all groups had comparable mean age and BMI at baseline.

At 6 months, menstrual cycles per year increased, whereas FG scores, serum total testosterone, AUC-glucose and AUC-insulin decreased significantly (P<.05) in the combination group compared with either therapy alone, according to data.

The adverse events associated with combination therapy were not significantly high. However, some of the clinical benefits could be the result of lifestyle modifications due to the lack of a placebo arm, researchers wrote. Yet, the efficacy and compliance were apparent without an increase in adverse events.

PERSPECTIVE

 

  • This study confirms what we have suspected for some time: that combination therapy is better for women with PCOS than single-agent treatment. In this case, combination therapy included an insulin sensitizer (metformin) and an androgen blocker (spironolactone). It is important to understand that combination therapy works best if the medications being used have differing mechanisms of action. For example, there are a number of drugs that decrease the production of androgens (i.e., metformin or oral contraceptives) while other drugs will block the action of androgens (i.e., spironolactone, finasteride, etc.). Medications may also improve metabolic function (e.g. metformin) if needed. In a disorder as complex and multifactorial as PCOS, optimum therapy will be one that combines currently available therapies to affect maximum benefit while minimizing side-effects. This study suggests that the combination of metformin 1000 mg and spironolactone 50 mg daily is one of these therapies.
  • Ricardo Azziz, MD
  • Professor of obstetrics and gynecology, medicine, and medical humanities
    President of Georgia Regents University
    CEO of Georgia Regents Health System

Source: Endocrine Today

 

What Is the Role of Gut Bacteria in Calorie Restriction?


Story at-a-glance

  • Life-long calorie restriction in mice significantly changes their gut microflora in ways that promote longevity
  • It appears that calorie restriction’s beneficial changes to gut microflora may be, in part, responsible for its observed enhancement of longevity
  • Intermittent calorie restriction, such as intermittent fasting, appears to provide many of the same health benefits as constant calorie restriction, including benefitting gut bacteria, extending lifespan and protecting against disease
  • What you eat is crucial to maintaining a healthful inner ecosystem; in addition to calorie restriction/intermittent fasting, avoiding excess sugars and grains and eating plenty of traditionally fermented foods are important

Lowering your caloric intake has been scientifically proven to slow down aging, reduce age-related chronic diseases and extend lifespan. The effects have been observed in a variety of species from worms and yeast to rats and fish, with some research showing that restricting calories in certain animals can increase their lifespan by as much as 50 percent.

There’s evidence that calorie restriction has a similar effect on the human lifespan, as well, and one of the key reasons why is likely related to its ability to lower your insulin levels as well as improve insulin sensitivity.

However, researchers recently studied whether calorie restriction also prompts changes to your gut microbiota, which may also be responsible for some of its beneficial role in health.

Calorie Restriction Prompts Significant Changes to Your Gut Bacteria

Science is increasingly revealing that microorganisms living in your gut are there performing indispensable functions. Known as your microbiome, about 100 trillion of these cells populate your body, particularly your intestines and other parts of your digestive system.

There is also an emerging consensus that most disease originates in your digestive system, and this includes conditions that impact your brain, your heart, your weight and your immune system, among others. There’s also evidence that the microorganisms present in your gut can affect how well you age,1 and this, of course, ties in directly with the latest research on calorie restriction and longevity.

One important thing to remember about the microbes in your gut is that they are not static. They can change profoundly throughout your life, for better or for worse, and one of the biggest influences on this change is your diet.

Indeed, the latest study showed that life-long calorie restriction in mice “significantly changes the overall structure of the gut microbiota” in ways that promote longevity.2 So it now appears that one reason why calorie restriction may lengthen lifespan is because it promotes positive changes to the microorganisms in your gut.

The researchers noted:

“Calorie restriction enriches phylotypes positively correlated with lifespan, for example, the genus Lactobacillus on low-fat diet, and reduces phylotypes negatively correlated with lifespan.

These calorie restriction-induced changes in the gut microbiota are concomitant with significantly reduced serum levels of lipopolysaccharide-binding protein, suggesting that animals under calorie restriction can establish a structurally balanced architecture of gut microbiota that may exert a health benefit to the host via reduction of antigen load from the gut.”

Intermittent Fasting May Provide Comparable Health Benefits to Calorie Restriction

While the research supporting calorie restriction is compelling, it’s not a very popular dietary strategy for most people, for obvious reasons. Many are simply not willing to deprive themselves of calories to the extent needed to prompt the beneficial effects.

An alternative that is much more acceptable is intermittent fasting, which can be as simple as restricting your daily eating to a narrower window of time of say 6-8 hours (this equates to 16-18 hours worth of fasting each and every day).

Recent research suggests that sudden and intermittent calorie restriction appears to provide many of the same health benefits as constant calorie restriction, including extending lifespan and protecting against disease. For instance, intermittent fasting leads to:

  1. Increased insulin sensitivity and mitochondrial energy efficiency – Fasting increases your leptin and insulin sensitivity along with mitochondrial energy efficiency, and thereby retards aging and disease, which are typically associated with loss of insulin sensitivity and declined mitochondrial energy.
  2. Reduced oxidative stress – Fasting decreases the accumulation of oxidative radicals in the cell, and thereby prevents oxidative damage to cellular proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids associated with aging and disease.
  3. Increased capacity to resist stress, disease and aging – Fasting induces a cellular stress response (similar to that induced by exercise) in which cells up-regulate the expression of genes that increase the capacity to cope with stress and resist disease and aging.

Intermittent Fasting Switches Your Body to Fat-Burning Mode… With Radical Improvements to Your Gut

If you want to give intermittent fasting a try, consider starting gradually. You can delay breakfast as long as possible and extend the time every day before you eat breakfast until you are actually skipping breakfast. Make sure you stop eating and drinking anything but water three hours before you go to sleep, and restrict your eating to an 8-hour (or less) time frame every day. In the 6-8 hours that you do eat, have healthy protein, minimize your carbs like pasta, bread, and potatoes and exchange them for healthful fats like butter, eggs, avocado, coconut oil, olive oil and nuts — essentially the very fats the media and “experts” tell you to avoid.

This will help shift you from carb-burning to fat-burning mode. Once your body has made this shift, it is nothing short of magical as your cravings for sweets, and food in general, rapidly normalizes and your desire for sweets and junk food radically decreases — if not disappears entirely.

Remember, it typically takes a few weeks for most to shift from burning carbs to fat-burning mode. Once you succeed and switch to fat-burning mode, you’ll be easily able to fast for 18 hours and not feel hungry. The “hunger” most people feel is actually cravings for sugar, and these will disappear once you successfully shift over to burning fat instead.

Another phenomenal benefit that occurs is that you will radically improve the beneficial bacteria in your gut, as occurs with calorie restriction. Along with improving your immune system, you will sleep better, have more energy, have increased mental clarity and concentrate better. Essentially, every aspect of your health will improve as your gut flora becomes balanced.

Certain Gut Bacteria are ‘Major Contributors’ to Cancer

As if you needed even more reason to optimize the bacteria in your gut, recent research has revealed an association between different gut bacteria and the development of lymphoma, a cancer of the white blood cells. The study involved mice with ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T), a genetic disease linked to a high rate of B-cell lymphoma in both mice and humans. Those with certain microbial species in their gut lived significantly longer before developing lymphoma, and had less of the gene damage that causes the disease. The researchers also created a catalog detailing which types of bacteria had either promoting or protective effects on genotoxicity and lymphoma.

This is not the first time gut bacteria has been linked to cancer. Findings published in the journal Nature,3 for instance, reported the discovery of microbial-dependent mechanisms through which some cancers mount an inflammatory response that fuels their development and growth. Another study, published in the journal Science,4 suggested cancer may be due to a chain reaction that starts with inflammation that disrupts your gut ecosystem, allowing pathogens, such as E. coli, to invade your gut and cause cellular damage.

Healthy Gut 101: How to Optimize Your Microflora for Better Health

With it now becoming increasingly clear that your microflora influence the expression of your genes, your immune system, weight, mental health, memory, and your risk of numerous chronic and acute diseases, from diabetes to cancer, destroying your gut flora with antibiotics and poor diet is a primary factor in rising disease rates.

As discussed, your diet is crucial in this equation, and it appears likely that calorie restriction, or intermittent fasting, may have a beneficial effect on the makeup of your microflora. But there are other factors, too. Remember, an estimated 80 percent of your immune system is also located in your gut, so reseeding your gut with healthy bacteria is important for the prevention of virtually ALL disease, from colds to cancer. In light of this, here are my recommendations for optimizing your gut bacteria.

  • Fermented foods are the best route to optimal digestive health, as long as you eat the traditionally made, unpasteurized versions. Healthy choices include lassi (an Indian yoghurt drink, traditionally enjoyed before dinner), fermented grass-fed organic milk such as kefir, various fermentations of vegetables like cabbage, turnips, eggplant, cucumbers, onions, squash and carrots, and natto (fermented soy).

Fermented vegetables, which are one of my new passions, are an excellent way to supply beneficial bacteria back into your gut. And, unlike some other fermented foods, they tend to be palatable, if not downright delicious, to most people. Most high-quality probiotic supplements will only supply you with a fraction of the beneficial bacteria found in such homemade fermented vegetables, so it’s your most economical route to optimal gut health as well.

  • Probiotic supplement. Although I’m not a major proponent of taking many supplements (as I believe the majority of your nutrients need to come from food), probiotics are an exception if you don’t eat plenty of raw organic and fermented foods on a regular basis.

In addition to knowing what to add to your diet and lifestyle, it’s equally important to know what to avoid, for optimal microflora balance, and this includes:

Antibiotics, unless absolutely necessary (and when you do use them, make sure to reseed your gut with fermented foods and/or a probiotics supplement) Conventionally raised meats and other animal products, as CAFO animals are routinely fed low-dose antibiotics, plusgenetically engineered grains, which have also been implicated in the destruction of gut flora

 

Processed foods (as the excessive grains and sugars, along with otherwise “dead” nutrients, feed pathogenic bacteria)

 

Chlorinated and/or fluoridated water

 

Source: mercola.com

 

Do You Take Any of These 11 Dangerous Statins or Cholesterol Drugs?


Story at-a-glance

  • One in four Americans over the age of 45 are now taking a statin drug, despite the fact that there are over 900 studies proving their adverse effects, which run the gamut from muscle problems to diabetes and increased cancer risk.
  • Statins deplete your body of CoQ10, which can have devastating results. If you take statin drugs without taking CoQ10, your health is at serious risk. If you have symptoms of statin damage, such as muscle pain, take anywhere from 200 to 500 mg of CoQ10 or ubiquinol, which is the reduced form. Ubiquinol is the recommended form if you’re over the age of 25. For preventative use, take around 100-200 mg.
  • Statins also impair the function of all sterols, including cholesterol and vitamin D (which is similar to cholesterol and is produced from cholesterol in your skin), all your sex hormones, cortisone, the dolichols, which are involved in keeping the membranes inside your cells healthy
  • Odds are greater than 100 to 1 that if you’re taking a statin, you don’t really need it. The ONLY subgroup that might benefit are those born with a genetic defect called familial hypercholesterolemia, as this makes them resistant to traditional measures of normalizing cholesterol.
  • Statins are in fact classified as a “pregnancy Category X medication”; meaning, it causes serious birth defects, and should NEVER be used by a woman who is pregnant or planning a pregnancy.
  • calorie-counting

Tens of millions of Americans are taking cholesterol-lowering drugs—mostly statins—and some “experts” claim that many millions more should be taking them. I couldn’t disagree more.

Statins are HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, that is, they act by blocking the enzyme in your liver that is responsible for making cholesterol (HMG-CoA reductase).

The fact that statin drugs cause side effects is well established—there are now900 studies proving their adverse effects, which run the gamut from muscle problems to increased cancer risk. For starters, reported side effects include:

Muscle problems, polyneuropathy (nerve damage in the hands and feet), and rhabdomyolysis (a serious degenerative muscle tissue condition) Anemia
Acidosis Sexual dysfunction
Immune depression Cataracts
Pancreas or liver dysfunction, including a potential increase in liver enzymes Memory loss

 

Muscle problems are the best known of statin drugs’ adverse side effects, but cognitive problems and memory loss are also widely reported. A spectrum of other problems, ranging from blood glucose elevations to tendon problems, can also occur. There is evidence that taking statins may even increase your risk for Lou Gehrig’s diseasediabetes, and even cancer. Statins currently available on the U.S. market include:

Advicor(lovastatin with niacin) – Abbott Crestor(rosuvastatin) –AstraZeneca Mevacor (lovastatin) –Merck Simcor(niacin / imvastatin) –Abbott
Altoprev(lovastatin) – Shionogi Pharma Lescol(fluvastatin) – Novartis Pravachol (pravastatin) — Bristol-Myers Squibb Zocor (simvastatin) – Merck
Caduet[atorvastatin with amlodipine (Norvasc)] –Pfizer Lipitor(atorvastatin) – Pfizer Vytorin(ezetimibe/simvastatin) – Merck/Schering-Plough  

Statin Drugs: A Surprising Cause of Diabetes

Statins have been shown to increase your risk of diabetes through a few different mechanisms. The most important one is that they increase insulin resistance, which can be extremely harmful to your health. Increased insulin resistance contributes to chronic inflammation in your body, and inflammation is the hallmark of most diseases. In fact, increased insulin resistance can lead to heart disease, which, ironically, is the primary reason for taking a cholesterol-reducing drug in the first place! It can also promote belly fat, high blood pressure, heart attacks, chronic fatigue, thyroid disruption, and diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and cancer.

Secondly, statins increase your diabetes risk by actually raising your blood sugar. When you eat a meal that contains starches and sugar, some of the excess sugar goes to your liver, which then stores it away as cholesterol and triglycerides. Statins work by preventing your liver from making cholesterol. As a result, your liver returns the sugar to your bloodstream, which raises your blood sugar levels.

Now, it’s important to realize that drug-induced diabetes and genuine type 2 diabetes are not necessarily identical.

If you’re on a statin drug and find that your blood glucose is elevated, it’s possible that what you have is just hyperglycemia—a side effect, and the result of your medication. Unfortunately, many doctors will at that point mistakenly diagnose you with “type 2 diabetes,” and possibly prescribe another drug, when all you may need to do is simply discontinue the statin in order for your blood glucose levels to revert back to normal. So if friends or loved ones you know are on a statin (and one in four Americans over 45 are) and they are told they have diabetes, please do them a favor and tell them about the information in this article.

Major Statin Drug Study Found to Be Flawed

A study known as the JUPITER trial initially suggested cholesterol-lowering statin drugs might prevent heart-related death in many more people than just those with high cholesterol. But two years after its publication in 2008, researchers came out saying the JUPITER results are flawed — and that they do not support the benefits initially reported. Not only is there no “striking decrease in coronary heart disease complications,” but a more recent report has also called into question drug companies’ involvement in such trials.

According to a report by ABC News:

“… major discrepancies exists between the significant reductions in nonfatal stroke and heart attacks reported in the JUPITER trial and what has been found in other research … ‘The JUPITER data set appears biased,’ [the researchers] wrote in conclusion.”

If You Take Statins, You MUST Take CoQ10

Statins deplete your body of CoQ10, which can have devastating results. If you take statin drugs without taking CoQ10, your health is at serious risk. Unfortunately, this describes the majority of people who take them in the United States. CoQ10 is a cofactor (co-enzyme) that is essential for the creation of ATP molecules, which you need for cellular energy production. Organs such as your heart have higher energy requirements, and therefore require more CoQ10 to function properly. Produced mainly in your liver, it also plays a role in maintaining blood glucose.

Physicians rarely inform people of this risk and only occasionally advise them to take a CoQ10 supplement. As your body gets more and more depleted of CoQ10, you may suffer from fatigue, muscle weakness and soreness, and eventually heart failure.

Coenzyme Q10 is also very important in the process of neutralizing free radicals. So when your CoQ10 is depleted, you enter a vicious cycle of increased free radicals, loss of cellular energy, and damaged mitochondrial DNA. If you decide to take a CoQ10 supplement and are over the age of 40, it is important to choose the reduced version, called ubiquinol. Ubiquinol is a FAR more effective form—I personally take it daily for its many far-ranging benefits. As for dosage, Dr. Graveline, a family doctor and former astronaut, made the following recommendation in a previous interview on statins and CoQ10:

  • If you have symptoms of statin damage such as muscle pain, take anywhere from 200 to 500 mg
  • If you just want to use it preventively, 200 mg or less should be sufficient

Statins Impair Numerous Biological Functions

Statin drugs also interfere with other biological functions, including an early step in the mevalonate pathway, which is the central pathway for the steroid management in your body. Products of this pathway that are negatively affected by statins include:

  • All your sex hormones
  • Cortisone
  • The dolichols, which are involved in keeping the membranes inside your cells healthy
  • All sterols, including cholesterol and vitamin D (which is similar to cholesterol and is produced from cholesterol in your skin)

It’s still uncertain whether statins actually deplete your body of vitamin D, but they do reduce your body’s natural ability to createactive vitamin D (1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol). This is the natural outcome of the drug’s cholesterol-reducing ability, because you need cholesterol to make vitamin D! It’s the raw material your body uses for vitamin D conversion after you’ve exposed your skin to sunlight. It’s also well-documented that vitamin D improves insulin resistance, so needless to say, when you take a statin drug, you forfeit this ‘built-in’ health-promoting mechanism, which is yet another clue as to how statins can cause diabetes.

Ninety-Nine Out of 100 People Do Not Need Statin Drugs

That these drugs have proliferated the market the way they have is a testimony to the power of marketing, corruption and corporate greed, because the odds are very high— greater than 100 to 1—that if you’re taking a statin, you don’t really need it. The ONLY subgroup that might benefit are those born with a genetic defect called familial hypercholesterolemia, as this makes them resistant to traditional measures of normalizing cholesterol.

And, even more importantly, cholesterol is NOT the cause of heart disease.

If your physician is urging you to check your total cholesterol, then you should know that this test will tell you virtually nothing about your risk of heart disease, unless it is 330 or higher. HDL percentage is a far more potent indicator for heart disease risk. Here are the two ratios you should pay attention to:

  1. HDL/Total Cholesterol Ratio: Should ideally be above 24 percent. If below 10 percent, you have a significantly elevated risk for heart disease.
  2. Triglyceride/HDL Ratio: Should be below 2.

I have seen a number of people with total cholesterol levels over 250 who were actually at low risk for heart disease due to their elevated HDL levels. Conversely, I have seen many people with cholesterol levels under 200 who had a very high risk of heart disease, based on their low HDL. Your body NEEDS cholesterol—it is important in the production of cell membranes, hormones, vitamin D, and bile acids that help you to digest fat. Cholesterol also helps your brain form memories and is vital to your neurological function. There is also strong evidence that having too little cholesterol INCREASES your risk for cancer, memory loss, Parkinson’s disease, hormonal imbalances, stroke, depression, suicide, and violent behavior.

Statins Should NEVER Be Used By Pregnant Women

One in four Americans over the age of 45 is now taking these drugs, and few are properly warned about the related health risks. Part of the problem is that many doctors are not even aware of all the risks. A study published last spring highlighted this dilemma.

Most disturbingly, the researchers found that physicians were lacking in awareness of the teratogenic risks(ability to cause fetal malformations) of statins and other cardiovascular drugs they prescribed for their pregnant patients. The study followed an earlier report, which had concluded statins should be avoided in early pregnancy due to their teratogenic capability4. An even earlier 2003 study5 had already established that cholesterol plays an essential role in embryonic development, and that statins could play a part in embryonic mutations or even death…

Indeed, it’s difficult to look at these facts and not reach the conclusion that the pharmaceutical industry is quite willing to sacrifice human lives for profit. Statins are in fact classified as a “pregnancy Category X medication.” Meaning, it causes serious birth defects, and should NEVER be used by a woman who is pregnant or planning a pregnancy.

Parents Beware: Outrageous Push to Put Kids on Statin Drugs!

In a bold attempt to increase profits before the patent runs out, Pfizer has introduced a chewable kid-friendly version of Lipitor. Its US patent for Lipitor expired in November 2011, and seeking to boost sales of the drug, children have become the new target market, and the conventional medical establishment is more than happy to oblige.

Researchers and many doctors are now calling for universal school screening of children to check for high cholesterol to find those “in need of treatment.” In addition, older siblings, parents, and other family members might be prompted to get screened as well, the researchers say, which would uncover additional, previously undiagnosed adults in need of the drug.

This is clearly NOT the way to improve public health. On the contrary, it could produce a new, massive wave of extremely dire health consequences in just a few years’ time.

So rather than improving school lunches, which would cost about a dollar a day per child, they’d rather “invest” ten times that for tests and drugs that in no way, shape, or form address the root cause, which is an improper, unhealthy diet! All they’re doing is allowing all the industries to maintain or increase their profits: Big Pharma, Big Sugar, Big Corn and the processed food industry.

Who pays?

You and your children! And in far more ways than one!

Optimizing Your Cholesterol Levels, Naturally

There’s really no reason to take statins and suffer the damaging health effects from these dangerous drugs. The fact is that 75 percent of your cholesterol is produced by your liver, which is influenced by your insulin levels. Therefore, if you optimize your insulin levels, you will automatically optimize your cholesterol. It follows, then, that my primary recommendations for safely regulating your cholesterol have to do with modifying your diet and lifestyle:

  • Optimize your vitamin D levels. Research by Dr. Stephanie Seneff has shed additional light on the extreme importance of appropriate sun exposure for normalizing your cholesterol levels and preventing heart disease. For more information, please see this previous interview.
  • Reduce, with the plan of eliminating, grains and sugars in your diet. Ideally, you’ll also want to consume a good portion of your food raw.
  • Make sure you are getting plenty of high-quality, animal-based omega-3 fats, such as krill oil.
  • Other heart-healthy foods include olive oil, coconut and coconut oil, organic raw dairy products and eggs, avocados, raw nuts and seeds, and organic grass-fed meats as appropriate for your nutritional type.
  • Exercise daily. Make sure you incorporate Peak Fitness exercises, which also optimizes your human growth hormone (HGH) production.
  • Address your emotional challenges. My favorite technique for stress management is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT).
  • Avoid smoking or drinking alcohol excessively.
  • Be sure to get plenty of good, restorative sleep.

Unlike statin drugs, which lower your cholesterol at the expense of your health, these lifestyle strategies represent a holistic approach that will benefit your overall health—which includes a healthy cardiovascular system.

The Baycol Statin Recall and Safety Issue:

In August 2001, Bayer AG, the maker of Baycol (cerivastatin), a popular cholesterol-lowering drug used by about 700,000 Americans, pulled the medicine off the market after 31 people died from severe muscle breakdown, a well-recognized side effect of cholesterol-lowering drugs. Related articles follow:

Statins: Is the Danger in the Dose?

Here is the hard data on Baycol-associated adverse reactions. If you or someone you know is taking one of the statin cholesterol-lowering drugs, this is a “must-read” article by Jay Cohen, MD to help you understand the potential dangers that this exposes you to.

Baycol Pulled From Market as Numerous Deaths Linked to It

Baycol, a cholestrol-lowering drug (statin), has been voluntarily pulled off the market because of numerous deaths associated with its use.

The Baycol Recall: How Safe is Your Statin?

With the recall of Baycol, patients are now searching out a new drug to take its place, but are other statins really safe? Here are some precautions necessary for anyone taking Baycol or any statin.

Baycol: Another Fluoride Drug Bites the Dust

Baycol is just one of many fluoride drugs to be pulled from the market due to health hazards posed. Read about this and some of the others in this informative article written by Andreas Schuld and Wendy Small.

BMJ: Bayer faces potential fine over cholesterol lowering drug

Bayer might have to pay a fine to the German government of about $23,400 for withholding from the German authorities information on the drug’s potentially fatal interaction with another drug.

Lipitor Tied to Liver, Kidney Injury, as Well as Muscle Damage

It seems that Baycol is not alone among cholesterol lowering drugs in posing serious dangers to the public. A number of legal actions are also being pursued against Pfizer Inc., the manufacturer of the Lipitor.

Excerpts from Public Citizen’s Health Research Group’s Petition to Require a Box Warning on All HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (“Statins”):

” … Public Citizen, representing 135,000 consumers nationwide, hereby petitions the FDA pursuant to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act 21, U.S.C. Section 355(e)(3), and C.F.R. 10.30, to add a black box warning and additional consistent bolded warnings about this serious problem to the label of all statins marketed in the United States.”

“Doctors and the public must be warned to immediately discontinue use of statin drugs at the onset of muscle pain, muscle tenderness, muscle weakness or tiredness.”

“Prompt cessation of the use of statins at the first sign of muscle pain, muscle tenderness, muscle weakness or tiredness and prompt evaluation by a physician including a blood test for creatine phosphokinase (a measure of muscle destruction) may avoid the progression to more extensive muscle damage, rhabdomyolysis and death.”

“Rhabdomyolysis has been reported with all statins currently marketed in the United States.”

Souirce: mercola.com

New Cholesterol Drug PCSK9 is Likely to Prematurely Kill You.


Story at-a-glance

  • A new class of drugs known as PCSK9 inhibitors promises to reduce LDL cholesterol levels to previously unheard of lows, dropping your level below 50. These drugs will undoubtedly kill many before the risks are fully realized
  • Your body needs cholesterol for the production of cell membranes, hormones, vitamin D, and bile acids that help you to digest fat
  • If your levels get too low, you increase your risk of dementia, violent and aggressive behavior, depression, suicide, cancer, Parkinson’s disease—and likely heart disease, as a result of cholesterol sulfate deficiency
  • Statin drugs, which one in four adults over 45 are using to protect their heart health, can paradoxically have significantly detrimental effects on your heart health
  • The most effective way to optimize your cholesterol profile and prevent heart disease is via diet and exercise.
  • cholesterol (1)

In 2004, the US government’s National Cholesterol Education Program panel advised those at risk for heart disease to attempt to reduce their LDL cholesterolto less than 100, or even less than 70, if you’re very high risk. Prior to this, a 130-milligram LDL cholesterol level was considered healthy.

In order to obtain the incredibly low LDL levels now recommended, you typicallyhave to take a cholesterol-lowering statin drug, and sometimes two or three of them in combination.

Now, a new class of cholesterol drugs known as PCSK9 inhibitors promises to reduce LDL cholesterol levels to previously unheard of lows. Indeed, this type of drug can drop your level below 50!

My prediction? These drugs will absolutely kill people—not just some, but MANY. I cannot warn you against this terrible idea enough. While many worry that their cholesterol is too high, few give any thought at all to the damage that can result if your cholesterol is too low.

This is a topic near and dear to my heart, as I drove (without drugs) my own total cholesterol levels down to a risky 75 when I was a naive young doctor. Alas, when it comes to cholesterol, lower is not always better. In fact, when your cholesterol levels go too low, a host of negative things happen in your body.

Unfortunately, lowering cholesterol levels has become so common in the US that nearly every American reading this either knows someone struggling to do so, or has struggled to do so themselves.

This despite the fact that there is no evidence to support the notion that having an extremely low cholesterol level is beneficial, and increasing numbers of studies point to significant risks associated with cholesterol-lowering drugs.

For example, a 2008 paper published in the American Journal of Cardiovascular Drugs1 cites nearly 900 studies on the adverse effects of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins), which run the gamut from muscle problems to increased cancer risk.

How Do PCSK9 Inhibitors Work?

Whereas statins (HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors) reduce your cholesterol by blocking an enzyme in your liver that is responsible for making cholesterol, these newer drugs, PCSK9 inhibitors, target and suppress a particular gene involved in the regulation of how much cholesterol your liver can actually filter out.

Researchers discovered that people with underactive PCSK9 genes had low levels of LDL. They also had low levels of cardiovascular disease. Since high cholesterol has long been mistaken as a primary cause of cardiovascular disease, these findings were akin to striking scientific gold… As reported in the featured article2:

“It’s this discovery that has Sanofi and two other major drug companies, Amgen and Pfizer, racing to develop a drug that mimics the gene’s effects. The best approach, experts say, will be through monoclonal antibodies: antibodies that are created in a lab and help your immune system fight a disease or, in this case, fight cholesterol…

‘This is not to replace statin therapy,’ said Joe Miletich, senior vice president of research and development at Amgen. ‘This is actually to get patients to (their) goal who can’t get there.’… ‘With a statin medication, you can often get somebody’s cholesterol between 70 and 100 mg/dL,’ said Dr. Elliott Antman, president-elect of the American Heart Association and a dean at Harvard Medical School. ‘If you use these monoclonal antibodies, you could see a number way less than 50.'”

I’ve told you before that the odds are very high— greater than 100 to 1—that if you’re taking a statin, you don’t really need it. From my review, the only subgroup that might benefit are those born with a genetic defect called familial hypercholesterolemia, as this makes them resistant to traditional measures of normalizing cholesterol.

In my view, this warning is just as applicable when it comes to PCSK9 inhibitors. Your body needs cholesterol and it doesn’t matter how you lower it: statins, PCSK inhibitors, or diet and exercise like I did. If your cholesterol drops too low, you will suffer health problems that I review in the next section.

The Health Hazards of Having Too Little Cholesterol

Your body needs cholesterol for the production of cell membranes, hormones, vitamin D, and bile acids that help you to digest fat. It’s not hard to see then why too little cholesterol can have such detrimental effects on your body—especially your brain, where it helps your brain form memories and is vital to your neurological function.

For example, research published in 20083 showed that low HDL is associated with poor memory and decline in memory in middle-aged adults. If you value your brain and want to keep it functioning into your senior years, you’d be well advised to pay attention to what it needs, and that includes cholesterol, along with healthful fats like omega-3. But impaired memory and dementia are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to low cholesterol’s impact on your brain. If your levels get too low, you also increase your risk of:

Even more importantly, heart disease may in fact be a sign of cholesterol deficiency, according to MIT researcher, Dr. Stephanie Seneff. Considering the fact that conventional medicine has been telling us that heart disease is due to elevated cholesterol and recommends lowering cholesterol levels as much as possible, Dr. Seneff’s claims may come as a complete shock to some.

“Heart disease, I think, is a cholesterol deficiency problem, and in particular a cholesterol sulfate deficiency problem…”

She points out that all of this information is available in the research literature, but it requires putting all the pieces together to see the full picture. Through her research, she believes that the mechanism we call “cardiovascular disease,” of which arterial plaque is a hallmark, is actually your body’s way to compensate for not having enough cholesterol sulfate. In a nutshell, high LDL appears to be a sign of cholesterol sulfate deficiency—it’s your body’s way of trying to maintain the correct balance by taking damaged LDL and turning it into plaque, within which the blood platelets produce the cholesterol sulfate your heart and brain needs for optimal function…

What this also means is that when you artificially lower your cholesterol with a statin drug, which effectively reduces that plaque but doesn’t address the root problem, your body is not able to compensate any longer, and as a result of lack of cholesterol sulfate you may end up with heart failure.

Have High Cholesterol? Address the Cause!

Contrary to popular belief, high cholesterol is not a disease in and of itself. It is actually a response to something gone awry in your body. Cholesterol is produced whenever your cells become damaged, as it’s a necessary component in making new, healthy cells, so if you have a lot of damaged cells, you’re also going to have a lot of cholesterol in your bloodstream. This is a sign that your cells need, and are, being repaired. While most conventional doctors do not recognize this sign for what it is and put you on toxic cholesterol-lowering drugs, a more knowledgeable doctor will address the root problem, which is typically related to chronic inflammation brought on by:

  • A diet too high in sugar/fructose and grains
  • Too many processed, overcooked foods
  • Lack of exercise
  • Emotional stress
  • Smoking

The remedy involves, of course, addressing these factors by making simple lifestyle changes that are outlined in my optimizednutrition and lifestyle plan. Whatever you do, don’t fall for the mistaken belief that the lower your cholesterol goes, the better. If you lower your cholesterol through artificial means without addressing the underlying causes for your elevated cholesterol levels, your body will continue to degenerate. Leave the decision of how much cholesterol your body needs up to your body, and make the right lifestyle choices to keep your cells in their top condition. This way you get the best of both worlds: the right amount of cholesterol and a body in tip-top shape.

The Many Well-Known Health Hazards of Statin Drugs

First, if you are a woman, it’s critical for you to know that statins are classified as a “pregnancy Category X medication” meaning,it causes serious birth defects, and should NEVER be used if you’re pregnant or planning a pregnancy. Last year, the US Food and Drug Administration5 (FDA) also announced it’s considering additional warning labels for statin drugs. Among them are warnings that statins may increase your risk of:

  • Liver damage
  • Memory loss and confusion
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Muscle weakness (for certain statins)

In all, statin drugs have been directly linked to over 300 side effects6, including:

Cognitive loss Neuropathy Anemia
Acidosis Frequent fevers Cataracts
Sexual dysfunction An increase in cancer risk Pancreatic dysfunction
Immune system suppression Muscle problems, polyneuropathy (nerve damage in the hands and feet), and rhabdomyolysis, a serious degenerative muscle tissue condition Hepatic dysfunction (Due to the potential increase in liver enzymes, patients must be monitored for normal liver function)

Statins Cause Hallmark Symptoms of Heart Disease and Diabetes

Sadly, while millions of people are told to use statin drugs as a form of “preventive medicine” to protect their heart health, research shows that these drugs actually can have significantly detrimental effects on your heart! How is that preventive medicine? For example, a study published just last year in the journal Atherosclerosis7 showed that statin use is associated with a 52 percent increased prevalence and extent of calcified coronary plaque compared to non-users. And coronary artery calcification is the hallmark of potentially lethal heart disease!

Statins can also:

  • Deplete your body of CoQ10, which accounts for many of its devastating health effects. CoQ10 is used by every cell in your body, but especially your heart cells. Cardiac muscle cells have up to 200 times more mitochondria, and hence 200 times higher CoQ10 requirements than skeletal muscle. Therefore, if you take a statin, you must take supplemental CoQ10, or better, the reduced form called ubiquinol.

A recent study in the European Journal of Pharmacology8 showed that ubiquinol effectively rescued cells from the damage caused by the statin drug simvastatin, thereby protecting muscle cells from myopathies. Again demonstrating the necessity of CoQ10 supplementation during statin therapy, a recent study9 evaluating the benefits of CoQ10 and selenium supplementation for patients with statin-associated myopathy found that, compared to those given a placebo, the treatment group experienced significantly less pain, decreased muscle weakness and cramps, and less fatigue.

  • Interfere with the mevalonate pathway, which is the central pathway for the steroid management in your body. Products of this pathway that are negatively affected by statins include sex hormones, cortisone, the dolichols (which are involved in keeping the membranes inside your cells healthy), and all sterols, including cholesterol and vitamin D (which is similar to cholesterol and is produced from cholesterol in your skin).
  • Increase your insulin resistance, which contributes to chronic inflammation in your body. Increased insulin resistance can lead to heart disease, which, ironically, is the primary reason for taking a cholesterol-reducing drug in the first place. It can also promote belly fat, high blood pressure, heart attacks, chronic fatigue, thyroid disruption, and diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and cancer.
  • Increase your risk of diabetes by raising your blood sugar. When you eat a meal that contains starches and sugar, some of the excess sugar goes to your liver, which then stores it away as cholesterol and triglycerides. Statins work by preventing your liver from making cholesterol. As a result, your liver returns the sugar to your bloodstream, which raises your blood sugar levels.

Drug-induced diabetes and genuine type 2 diabetes are not necessarily identical. If you’re on a statin drug and find that your blood glucose is elevated, it’s possible that what you have is just hyperglycemia—a side effect, and the result of your medication. Unfortunately, many doctors will at that point mistakenly diagnose you with “type 2 diabetes,” and possibly prescribe another drug, when all you may need to do is simply discontinue the statin in order for your blood glucose levels to revert back to normal.

Beware: Statins Can Also Completely Negate Your Fitness Efforts

One of the major benefits of exercise is the beneficial impact it has on your heart health, and exercise is a primary strategy to naturally maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Alas, researchers recently discovered that if you take a statin drug, you’re likely to forfeit most if not all health benefits of your exercise. In fact, the study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology10, discovered that statin use led to dramatically reduced fitness benefits from exercise, in some cases actually making the volunteer LESS fit than before!

The key to understanding why statins prevent your body from reaping the normal benefits from exercise lies in understanding what these drugs do to your mitochondria—the energy chamber of your cells, responsible for the utilization of energy for all metabolic functions. As mentioned above, the primary fuel for your mitochondria is Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), and one of the primary mechanisms of harm from statins in general appears to be related to CoQ10 depletion.

A 2011 review published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism11 pointed out that exercise actually induces changes in mitochondrial enzyme content and activity, which can increase your cellular energy production and in so doing decrease your risk of chronic disease. The fact that statin drugs deplete your body of the primary fuel for your mitochondria helps explain why certain statin users in the trial ended up with worse aerobic fitness after a steady fitness regimen. There simply wasn’t enough mitochondrial fuel in their system.

To Evaluate Your Heart Disease Risk, Get the Right Tests Done

If your physician is urging you to check your total cholesterol, then you need to be aware that this test will tell you virtually nothingabout your risk of heart disease, unless it is 330 or higher.

One of the most important tests you can get to determine your real heart disease risk is the NMR LipoProfile, which measures your LDL particle number. This test also has other markers that can help determine if you have insulin resistance, which is a primary cause of elevated LDL particle number and increased heart disease risk. The NMR LipoProfile test easy to get and all major labs offer it. Most insurance policies cover the test as well. Best of all, even if your doctor were to refuse to order it, you can order it yourself via third-party intermediaries like Direct Labs, or you can order the test online, and get blood drawn locally. Two other ratios you should pay attention to are your:

  • HDL/Total Cholesterol Ratio: (i.e. take your HDL number and divide it by your total cholesterol number.) This should ideally be above 24 percent. If below 10 percent, you have a significantly elevated risk for heart disease.
  • Triglyceride/HDL Ratio: Should be below 2.

I have seen a number of people with total cholesterol levels over 250 who were actually at low risk for heart disease due to their elevated HDL levels. Conversely, I have seen many people with cholesterol levels under 200 who had a very high risk of heart disease, based on their low HDL. For four additional risk factors for heart disease that do not involve your cholesterol levels, please see my recent article: Side Effects of Statins.

How to Optimize Your Cholesterol Levels Naturally

The most effective way to optimize your cholesterol profile and prevent heart disease is via diet and exercise. Seventy-five percent of your cholesterol is produced by your liver, which is influenced by your insulin levels. Therefore, if you optimize your insulin level, you will automatically optimize your cholesterol and reduce your risk of both diabetes and heart disease.

There is NO drug that can cure heart disease, as the underlying cause is insulin and leptin resistance and arterial wall damage—both of which are caused by eating excessive amounts of sugars, grains, and especially fructose. So, in addition to regular exercise, my primary recommendations for safely regulating your cholesterol and reducing your risk of heart disease include:

  • Reduce, with the plan of eliminating grains and fructose from your diet. This is one of the best ways to optimize your insulin levels, which will have a positive effect on not just your cholesterol, but also reduces your risk of diabetes and heart disease, and most other chronic diseases. Use my Nutrition Plan to help you determine the ideal diet for you, and consume a good portion of your food raw.
  • Start intermittent fasting, which will radically improve your ability to burn fat as your primary fuel and thus help improve your insulin and leptin signaling.
  • Get plenty of high-quality, animal-based omega 3 fats, such as krill oil, and reduce your consumption of damaged omega-6 fats (trans fats, vegetable oils) to balance out your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio.
  • Include heart-healthy foods in your diet, such as olive oil, coconut and coconut oil, organic raw dairy products and eggs, avocados, raw nuts and seeds, and organic grass-fed meats.
  • Optimize your vitamin D levels by getting proper sun exposure or using a safe tanning bed.
  • Optimize your gut flora, as recent research suggests the bacterial balance in your intestines may play a role in your susceptibility to heart disease as well.
  • Walk barefoot to ground yourself to the earth. Lack of grounding has a lot to do with the rise of modern diseases as it affects inflammatory processes in your body. Grounding thins your blood, making it less viscous. Virtually, every aspect of cardiovascular disease has been correlated with elevated blood viscosity.

When you ground to the earth, your zeta potential quickly rises, which means your red blood cells have more charge on their surface, which forces them apart from each other. This action causes your blood to thin and flow easier. By repelling each other, your red blood cells are also less inclined to stick together and form a clot.

Take Control of Your Health

The odds are very high that if you’re taking cholesterol-lowering medication, you’re wasting your money and taking unnecessary risks with your health. From my review, the ONLY subgroup that might benefit from statins are those born with a genetic defect called familial hypercholesterolemia, as this makes them resistant to traditional measures of normalizing cholesterol, which I reviewed above.

Remember, your body needs cholesterol for the production of cell membranes, hormones, and vitamin D, just to mention a few. Cholesterol is also vital to your neurological function. And there’s strong evidence that having too little cholesterol increases your risk for cancer, memory loss, Parkinson’s disease, hormonal imbalances, stroke, depression, suicide, and violent behavior.

Taking a drug that can reduce your cholesterol levels down to 50 or below is absolutely a recipe for disaster, when you consider all your biological functions that need cholesterol!

Also keep in mind that contrary to what you’ve been told by pharmaceutical PR firms, statins have nothing to do with reducing your heart disease risk. In fact, this class of drugs can increase your heart disease risk—especially if you do not take Ubiquinol(CoQ10) along with it to mitigate the depletion of CoQ10 caused by the drug. So please, carefully weigh the risks and benefits!

Poor lifestyle choices are primarily to blame for elevated cholesterol levels, such as too much sugar, too little exercise, lack of sun exposure and never grounding to the earth. These are all things that are within your control, and don’t cost much (if any) money to address. If you have a genetic defect, medication may be needed. If you don’t, you may be surprised at how quickly and easily your cholesterol levels will normalize when you start implementing the required lifestyle changes.

If you’re currently taking a statin drug and are worried about the excessive side effects they cause, please consult with a knowledgeable health care practitioner who can help you to optimize your heart health naturally, without the use of these dangerous drugs.

Source: mercola.com

World Hepatitis Day — July 28th..


   Viral hepatitis is the leading cause of cirrhosis and liver cancer worldwide. Approximately 400 million people have chronic viral hepatitis and most of them do not know they are infected.

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Viral Hepatitis

Viral hepatitis is a major global health threat. There are five major types of viral hepatitis, including Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E. All types of viral hepatitis can cause inflammation of the liver; however, hepatitis B and C infection can result in a lifelong, chronic infection.  Worldwide, approximately one million people die each year from chronic viral hepatitis. These deaths are primarily from cirrhosis or liver cancer caused by Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 400 million people have chronic viral hepatitis worldwide. In the United States alone, an estimated 4.4 million Americans are living with chronic hepatitis and most do not know they are infected.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A can spread through food or water contaminated with fecal matter—even in microscopic amounts. This most often occurs in countries where Hepatitis A is common, especially if personal hygiene or sanitary conditions are poor. Contamination of food can happen at any point: growing, harvesting, processing, handling, and even after cooking

The best way to prevent getting infected with Hepatitis A is to get a safe, effective vaccine.

CDC is collaborating with public health officials in several states and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate a multistate outbreak of hepatitis A virus infections linked to pomegranate seeds from Turkey. While foodborne hepatitis A outbreaks are not common in the United States, our global food chain makes outbreaks possible. The current outbreak involves about 150 people in the southwest United States who ate a particular brand of frozen berry mix with pomegranate seeds. The product has been recalled, but the investigation is ongoing. The recalled product has a long shelf life and symptoms of hepatitis A infection can take as long as 6 weeks to appear, so people could continue to get sick. It is important for consumers to check their homes and freezers for the recalled product and not eat it.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is common in many areas across the world, especially Asian and African countries. An estimated 1 in 12 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) is living with hepatitis B, yet as many as 2 in 3 do not know they are infected. If you or your parents were born in Asia or the Pacific Islands, talk to your doctor about Hepatitis B testing. There is a safe, effective vaccine to prevent Hepatitis B.

CDC recently launched, Know Hepatitis B, a national, multilingual communication campaign aiming to increase testing for Hepatitis B among AAPIs. The campaign delivers culturally relevant messages in English, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese through a variety of multi-media channels. The Know Hepatitis B campaign was created and launched in partnership with Hep B United, a coalition of Asian community groups from around the country. Hep B United partners conduct community-level outreach and will incorporate campaign materials into their education about Hepatitis B.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a serious liver disease that results from infection with the Hepatitis C virus. It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness. Hepatitis C is usually spread when blood from a person infected with the Hepatitis C virus enters the body of someone who is not infected.

Unlike Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B, there is no vaccine available to prevent Hepatitis C. The best way to prevent Hepatitis C is by avoiding behaviors that can spread the disease, such as sharing needles or other equipment to inject cosmetic substances, drugs, or steroids

Know More Hepatitis is a national Hepatitis C education campaign designed to decrease the burden of chronic Hepatitis C. The campaign is aimed at increasing awareness about this hidden epidemic and encouraging people who may be chronically infected with Hepatitis C to get tested.

Viral Hepatitis Testing and Vaccination Recommendations

Find out if you are at risk for viral hepatitis and whether or not you should get tested or vaccinated by taking CDC’s 5 minute online Hepatitis Risk Assessment.

 

Source: CDC

 

Nizoral (ketoconazole): Drug Safety Communication – Potentially Fatal Liver Injury, Risk of Drug Interactions and Adrenal Gland Problems.


ISSUE: FDA is taking several actions related to Nizoral (ketoconazole) oral tablets, including limiting the drug’s use, warning that it can cause severe liver injuries and adrenal gland problems, and advising that it can lead to harmful drug interactions with other medications. FDA has approved label changes and added a new Medication Guide to address these safety issues. As a result, Nizoral oral tablets should not be a first-line treatment for any fungal infection. Nizoral should be used for the treatment of certain fungal infections, known as endemic mycoses, only when alternative antifungal therapies are not available or tolerated.

Liver Injury (Hepatotoxicity)

Nizoral tablets can cause liver injury, which may potentially result in liver transplantation or death.  FDA has revised the Boxed Warning, added a strong recommendation against its use (contraindication) in patients with liver disease, and included new recommendations for assessing and monitoring patients for liver toxicity.

Adrenal Insufficiency

Nizoral tablets may cause adrenal insufficiency by decreasing the body’s production of corticosteroids.

Drug Interactions

Nizoral tablets may interact with other drugs a patient is taking and can result in serious and potentially life-threatening outcomes, such as heart rhythm problems.

See the FDA Drug Safety Communication for additional information, including a Data Summary.

BACKGROUND: Nizoral (ketoconazole) is indicated for the treatment of fungal infections when alternatives are not available or not tolerated. The topical formulations of Nizoral have not been associated with liver damage, adrenal problems, or drug interactions. These formulations include creams, shampoos, foams, and gels applied to the skin, unlike the Nizoral tablets, which are taken by mouth.

RECOMMENDATION: Nizoral tablets should be used only for the treatment of certain life-threatening mycoses when the potential benefits outweigh the risks and alternative therapeutic options are not available or tolerated. Healthcare professionals should assess the liver status of the patient before starting oral ketoconazole, and monitor serum ALT levels during treatment. Adrenal function should be monitored in patients with adrenal insufficiency or with borderline adrenal function and in patients under prolonged periods of stress (major surgery, intensive care, etc.). Review all concomitant medications for the potential for drug interactions with Nizoral tablets.

Source: FDA

 

Pesticides Are Leading Cause of Bee Die-Offs..


As we’ve written before, the mysterious mass die-off of honey bees that pollinate $30 billion worth of crops in the US has so decimated America’s apis mellifera population that one bad winter could leave fallow. Now, a new study has pinpointed some of the probable causes of bee deaths and the rather scary results show that averting beemageddon will be much more difficult than previously thought.

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Scientists had struggled to find the trigger for so-called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) that has wiped out an estimated 10 million beehives, worth $2 billion, over the past six years. Suspects have included pesticides, disease-bearing parasites and poor nutrition. But in a first-of-its-kind study published today in the journal PLOS, scientists at the University of Maryland and the US Department of Agriculture have identified a witch’s brew of pesticides and fungicides contaminating pollen that bees collect to feed their hives. The findings break new ground on why large numbers of bees are dying though they do not identify the specific cause of CCD, where an entire beehive dies at once.

When researchers collected pollen from hives on the east coast pollinating cranberry, watermelon and other crops and fed it to healthy bees, those bees showed a significant decline in their ability to resist infection by a parasite called Nosema ceranae. The parasite has been implicated in Colony Collapse Disorder though scientists took pains to point out that their findings do not directly link the pesticides to CCD. The pollen was contaminated on average with nine different pesticides and fungicides though scientists discovered 21 agricultural chemicals in one sample. Scientists identified eight ag chemicals associated with increased risk of infection by the parasite.

Most disturbing, bees that ate pollen contaminated with fungicides were three times as likely to be infected by the parasite. Widely used, fungicides had been thought to be harmless for bees as they’re designed to kill fungus, not insects, on crops like apples.

“There’s growing evidence that fungicides may be affecting the bees on their own and I think what it highlights is a need to reassess how we label these agricultural chemicals,” Dennis VanEngelsdorp, the study’s lead author, told Quartz.

Labels on pesticides warn farmers not to spray when pollinating bees are in the vicinity but such precautions have not applied to fungicides.

Bee populations are so low in the US that it now takes 60% of the country’s surviving colonies just to pollinate one California crop, almonds. And that’s not just a west coast problem—California supplies 80% of the world’s almonds, a market worth $4 billion.

In recent years, a class of chemicals called neonicotinoids has been linked to bee deaths and in April regulators banned the use of the pesticide for two years in Europe where bee populations have also plummeted. But VanEngelsdorp, an assistant research scientist at the University of Maryland, says the new study shows that the interaction of multiple pesticides is affecting bee health
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“The pesticide issue in itself is much more complex than we have led to be believe,” he says. “It’s a lot more complicated than just one product, which means of course the solution does not lie in just banning one class of product.”

The study found another complication in efforts to save the bees: US honey bees, which are descendants of European bees, do not bring home pollen from native North American crops but collect bee chow from nearby weeds and wildflowers. That pollen, however, was also contaminated with pesticides even though those plants were not the target of spraying.

“It’s not clear whether the pesticides are drifting over to those plants but we need take a new look at agricultural spraying practices,” says VanEngelsdorp.

Sources: Raw For Beauty

How To Beat Addictions Naturally.


In this land of plenty, a conservative estimate calls 4 out of 10 Americans “addicts.” Abused substances include sugar, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, prescription drugs and street drugs including pot. Addiction can serve us well once we recognize that substance abuse is a way to obscure honest, peaceful, self-discovery. Using, of any addictive substance, gives us the temporary illusion of control, excitement and perfection. In recovery we discover, often to our great relief, that we’re not perfect, that we need intimacy, and that integrity is more appealing than denial. The addict is self-obsessed; living for the next “fix.” The addict is crisis oriented; using panic as a way of feeling alive while avoiding meaningful contact with others. In recovery we let go of our need to control in favor of serenity and clarity.

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Scientists from different schools of thought have attempted to explain addiction. Some say the culprit is a genetic lack of the feel-good, sleep-inducing neurotransmitter serotonin. Others say early brain cell damage begets lack of feedback inhibition for normal cravings, driving them out of balance. For example, non-addictive persons who eat some sugar will be satisfied (in terms of simple carbohydrates) for several hours. The addictive person, by contrast, will crave even more sugar after consuming a moderate serving. This may be due, in addicts, to a lack of endorphin stimulation when a healthy physiologic craving is satisfied. Other researchers and physicians contend that addiction is largely a response to depression. Addiction is major problem in this country, whatever the cause. Sugar addiction is perhaps the most insidious because the substance is so cheap, so available and so universally regarded as a “treat.”

Addiction spells confusion. For example, street drugs are “bad” while prescription drugs are “good” despite the statistics which show that in any recent year death due to complications from prescription drug overdose is 50 times more likely than death from street drugs. Nevertheless, IV “recreational” drug addicts are the long-term reservoir for AIDS and the vast proportion of criminal activity among teenagers is due to the cocaine trade. Caffeine and alcohol and nicotine are socially condoned although they contribute to a substantial percentage of hospitalizations in the U.S.
If you ingest white sugar daily, or drink alcohol daily or have an immediate family member who is alcoholic, or feel depressed frequently you may have a problem with addiction without realizing it. Please take a good look; the crucial initiation of breaking free from addiction is recognizing the substance abuse and seeking help to maintain the commitment to quit.

Addiction results from a multifactorial network of choices; the treatment approach must address not only the physical, but the mental and emotional (spiritual) as well. One reason the 12-Step programs (Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, Spenders Anonymous, Adult Children of Alcoholics, etc.) are so successful is that they are free of charge and thus require only the commitment of the participant for attendance. Sometimes people need stronger measures to kick their habit at the beginning. But quitting per se is not so difficult; the trick is staying quit. Many addicts have incurred so many physical and mental changes that they need to get their fix merely to sustain homeostasis. In other words withdrawal can be very rough. And the better prepared we are for withdrawal, whether it be from inhaled crack or chocolate, the better we will be able to handle the rocky road back to recovery.

The basic parameters for recovery are the same as for any rehabilitation; good high fiber, high fresh veggie, plenty of pure water diet; regular adequate sleep; daily exercise; heartfelt participation in group activities. Don’t isolate yourself. The more people know you’re trying to quit, the more help will be spontaneously offered, and the more comfortable you’ll be with asking for help and taking baby-steps towards your new reality.

The cornerstone towards my own recovery has been wanting to hear that small and enormously personal inner voice that would get drowned in the substances night after night. Breaking free of addictive habits is a blessed opportunity to engage in the ultimate purpose of life — to know Thyself. Meanwhile, there are a few natural support mechanisms that may help.

1) Good old Vitamin C, preferably the powdered form (1/4 tsp = 1 gram). Take up to 12 grams daily. Vitamin C is the single most potent free radical scavenger and will help cleanse and oxygenate the tissues. It will also help to keep the bowels moving; a very important component of getting clean and sober.

2) The amino acid Glutamine is a so-called amino radical, useful in detox, as well as acting as an excitatory neurotransmitter. Glutamine, 1 gram 4-6 times daily between meals on an empty stomach, will stimulate the body’s natural opiates, the endorphins and enkephalins, to help us through the cravings.

3) Essential fatty acids (preferably Flax oil, cold, raw, 1 tablespoon daily) in combination with the sulfur proteins (foods with cysteine or methionine, such as yoghurt, eggs, codfish, sesame paste, garlic and onions) will render fat soluble toxins water soluble, allowing all the toxic wastes, which are preferentially stored in the body’s fat cells, to be flushed out via the kidneys and sweat glands.

4) Anything to enhance perspiration; rigorous exercise, Turkish wet steam, or Finnish style dry heat sauna. Make sure to scrub down with a high-fat soap (such as Neutrogena) after sweating, to emulsify the fatty secretions and prevent their re-absorption.

5) Liquid aqueous chromium drops are extremely helpful in reducing sugar cravings. This is because the trivalent mineral chromium is the central molecule in the Glucose Tolerance Factor, which allows insulin to deliver glucose from the blood stream into the cells. Without chromium, the insulin cannot do its job and sugar will build up in high levels in the blood, then flood precipitously into the cells causing the dramatic rollercoaster ride of “sugar blues.”

6) There are a number of natural substances to help with sleep and depression, including the amino acids tyrosine, phenylalanine, tryptophan (the precursor to serotonin) and the vitamin niacinamide. From the botanical pharmacy we have Valerian, Scutellaria (Skullcap), Passiflora (Passion lower), Chamomile and many others.

7) Many people are helped enormously by acupuncture, especially for getting off nicotine and street drugs. Acupuncture detox clinics using a simple “5 needle protocol” in specific acupoints (Spirit Gate, Lung, Liver, Kidney and Parasympathetic) in both ears are so successful that state governments have become involved. Seattle King County medical insurance will now re-imburse for acupuncture treatments for addicts. In Oregon, heroin addicts MUST try acupuncture before getting methadone.

Whether you go the route of stimulate the natural endorphins or 12-step meetings, the bottom line is commitment to self. Cold turkey off anything is usually the least painful in the long run — but please prepare yourself. Prepare for the demons who will emerge. Prepare to negotiate with them and bring them around to your best interest. Set a date; tell your friends; locate support groups in your area; stock up the pantry with fresh healthy snacks; invest in a consultation or two with your local holistic health practitioner to get some high quality supplements. Ask your doctor or therapist to help guide you through a visualization of a shiny clean new you. No one is pretending it’s easy; but it’s certainly worth it.

Source: OasisAdvancedWellness.com

 

Urinary phthalates linked to early puberty in boys.


Researchers in Denmark have linked urinary phthalate metabolites with adrenal androgen levels and onset of puberty, according to data published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. 

“Phthalates are a group of chemicals widely used in personal care and consumer products. Humans are exposed both by ingestion, inhalation and dermal contact,” researchers wrote.

In order to determine if metabolite levels were associated with circulating adrenalandrogen levels and age at puberty, researchers examined 168 healthy children (84 girls) from the COPENHAGEN Puberty Study every 6 months for 5 years.

They collected measurements of serum dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS); changes to 4-androstenedione (adione); and testosterone and urinary excretion of 14 phthalate metabolites identical to seven different phthalate diesters.

According to data, variations in urinary excretion of phthalates were found in each child. Repetitive samples appeared to be more representative for long-term excretion compared with a single observation.

Results indicate that among girls, dibutyl phthalate isomers (MBP) and di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) metabolites excreted above the geometric group mean (795 ng/kg and 730 ng/kg, respectively) were associated with lower levels of DHEAS and adione. However, this was only significant at age 13, according to data.

Similarly among boys, excretion of monobenzyl phthalate (MBzP) metabolites above the geometric group mean (346 ng/kg) was associated with lower levels of DHEAS at 11 years of age, but higher levels of testosterone were evident at age 13 years.

Further, boys with excretion of MBP above the geometric group mean appeared to reach puberty at an earlier age (11 years vs. 12.3 years,P=.005), researchers wrote.

These results indicate high exposure to MBzP was linked to testosterone levels at age 13 and high exposure to MBP was linked to earlier age of puberty in boys. However, no associations were found in girls.

Source: Endocrine Today