Thursday, October 7, 2010
This had such an impact on me, I still remember it: I was sitting at my desk almost 20 years ago. I like to stay abreast of non-medical scientific literature. So I picked up my issue of Scientific American and something jumped off the page at me.
Elizabeth Blackburn had made a truly revolutionary discovery. I'll never forget it.
When I read that she'd found a solution to aging already in our genes, I took out a piece of paper and wrote down something that I still have today. It says, "This will change the world as we know it."
Now, finally, it seems other people think so, too. Elizabeth Blackburn won the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
Why all the fuss? Let me explain why this discovery is so powerful…
She and her colleagues had discovered the enzyme telomerase that allows you to rebuild the end part of your chromosomes called the telomere.
Telomeres are like the plastic caps on your shoelaces … only at the ends of your DNA. They keep your chromosomes from unraveling.
But here's the rub…
Each time your cells divide, your DNA copies itself exactly. And every time that happens, the telomeres get a tiny bit shorter. When telomeres get too short, the cell stops dividing. This is because there's not enough of the "cap" left to stop the DNA from unraveling.
In other words, it's the length of your telomeres that let your chromosomes know they can't make good copies any more. It's like an auto-shut-off mechanism so you don't make damaged DNA.
What this means is that telomere shortening serves as your genetic clock. This in itself is a huge discovery, but there's even more to it. After years of research and testing, scientists have found a way to stop your telomeres from shortening.
How? The enzyme that can turn back your biological clock: telomerase.
Telomerase is in all your cells, but it's usually turned off. The key to slowing or even reversing the aging process is activating it.
Telomerase's job is to make a blueprint so your telomeres can rebuild themselves when your DNA makes copies. This way, your telomeres don't get shorter. Sometimes they even get longer.
In fact, Blackburn discovered that telomerase is so important, even healthy, growing cells can have "catastrophic telomere shortening" without the enzyme. And when it's active, telomerase rebuilds telomeres that have suffered shortening.
Eventually, this discovery could lead to immortality. But activating your telomerase has benefits for you, right now.
Old Cells Can Be Young Again. When you get sick, your immune system makes copies of its disease-fighting white blood cells called T-cells. These cells divide over and over again to fight off the bacteria or virus that's invading your body.
The more often these cells reproduce, the shorter their telomeres become until they stop copying. The older you get, the fewer active T-cells you have because they've fought off as much sickness as they can. The bottom line is that when your telomeres are short, your immune system looks and acts old.
This makes your risk for infection and disease much higher. One study looked at about 150 people from 60-75 years old. The ones who had shorter telomeres were three times more likely to die from heart disease. And they were eight times more likely to die from an infectious disease.
Shortened telomeres also appear to be the mechanism for many chronic diseases like:
• Diabetes. When you eat too many carbohydrates, your pancreas is asked to create more insulin than it's supposed to. And to get the job done, the pancreas has to create more of a factory to create the insulin it needs by making more cells. If the pancreas is continually challenged to produce more and more insulin, the cells have to continue to divide. When their telomeres are too short, they can't reproduce anymore. And your body can't make the insulin you need. This is what causes diabetes.
• Atherosclerosis. One study I read looked at men with high blood pressure. Those with shorter telomeres in their white blood cells were more likely to get heart disease.
• Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's patients' glial cells, the maintenance cells to the brain, have short telomeres. Some kind of toxic environmental hazard caused those cells to replicate to defend themselves.
But you don't have to let your immune system grow old. When telomerase is activated, you strengthen your cells by keeping the telomeres long, strong and young. And the younger your cells are, the more powerful they are at fighting sickness and disease.
In fact, for most of the people in a brand new study, telomerase activation therapy reduced the percentage of immune cells with short telomeres by 10-50 percent. And the amount of older immune cells decreased by 10-20 percent.7 This represents an "apparent age reversal of 5-20 years!"
Grow Younger Naturally
Tons of research is going on every day and you'll be reading more and more about telomerase in the coming months. But in the meantime, you can help slow the aging of your cells with nutrients.
One of the best nutrients for activating your telomerase is trusty omega-3. A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association followed about 600 people over a full five years. They found that daily supplements of omega-3 significantly increased telomerase activity.
Luckily for you, there are lots of foods you can eat to bulk up on omega-3 right now. Cold-water, high-fat fish like mackerel, wild salmon, lake trout and herring are good sources. Also, you can eat plenty of raw nuts and seeds. Walnuts, brazil nuts, almonds and pumpkin seeds are some of my favorites.
The good news doesn't stop there, though. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition recently looked at telomere length in about 600 women. Those who used vitamins had telomeres that were on average 5 percent longer than those who didn't supplement.
Three vitamins your telomeres need are B12, C and E. You can get these in a variety of foods.
Unfortunately, in most circumstances, you might not be able to get enough of these vitamins from what you eat. If you can't, supplementing is a good option.
• Vitamin B12 – I recommend taking at least 100 mcg per day. But, you can take as much as 500 mcg per day to help improve your brain function and boost your energy levels.
• Vitamin C – Based on my own experience, taking up to 3,000 mg per day is a good amount if you're currently in good health. And in times of stress or sickness, you can take up to 20,000 mg.
It's very important to make sure you're getting a natural form of vitamin C, not a synthetic form. Natural vitamin C is over 100 percent more effective than the synthetic form. And it can stay in your system longer.
• Vitamin E – There are eight different types of vitamin E. And they get divided into two different groups: tocopherols and tocotrienols. Most multivitamins you find have only synthetic alpha tocopherol. Make sure you get a vitamin with a natural E complex. That way, you get all four tocopherols. Plus, natural E has twice the bioavailability of the synthetic form, so your body can absorb it better.
Vitamin D is called the "sunshine vitamin" for good reason. But it might soon be renamed the "telomere vitamin." That's because a separate study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at more than 2,000 women of all ages. The more vitamin D they had in their bodies, the longer their telomeres were. On top of that, people who supplemented with vitamin D had longer telomeres than those who didn't.
To get some vitamin D in your system, go out in the sun for 20 minutes each day. Your body will use sunlight to make tons of the stuff. If you don't live in the Sunshine State, like I do, you might need to eat some of those same cold-water fish that give you omega-3s. There's also vitamin D in egg yolks and orange juice.
If you need to take a vitamin D supplement, I recommend 2,000 IU a day.
1 Cong, Yusheng, Shay, Jerry W., "Actions of human telomerase beyond telomeres," Cell Research June 2008; 18:725-732
2 Simon, R., Chan, W. L., Blackburn, Elizabeth H., "Telomeres and telomerase," Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B 2004; 359, 109-121
3 Cawthon, R.M., Smith, K.R., O'Brien, E., et al, "Association between telomere length in food and mortality in people aged 60 years or older," Lancet 2003; 361(9355): 393-395
4 Sampson, M., Winterbone, M., et al, "Monocyte Telomere Shortening and Oxidative DNA Damage in Type 2 Diabetes," Diabetes Care 2006
5 Benetos, A., Gardner, J., et al, "Short Telomeres are Associated with Increased Carotid Atherosclerosis in Hypertensive Subjects," Hypertension 2004
6 Farfara, D., Lifshitz, V., et al, "Neuroprotective and neurotoxic properties of glial cells in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease," Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine 2008
7 Harley, C., Weimin, L., et al, "A Natural Product Telomerase Activator as Part of a Health Maintenance Program," Rejuvenation Research 2010
9 Ramin Farzaneh-Far, M.D., "Association of Marine Omega-3 Fatty Acid Levels with Telomeric Aging in Patients with Coronary Heart Disease," JAMA 2010; 303(3):250-257
10 Xu, Qun, Parks, Christine G., DeRoo, Lisa A., et al, "Multivitamin use and telomere length in women," Am J Clin Nutr March 2009; 89: 1857-1863, 2009
11 Richards, J Brent, et al, "Higher serum vitamin D concentrations are associated with longer leukocyte telomere length in women," Journal of Clinical Nutrition Nov. 2007; Vol. 86, No. 5, 1420-1425
Dr. Al Sears
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
We physicians with all our training, knowledge and authority
often acquire a rather large ego that tends to make it difficult to
admit we are wrong. So, here it is. I freely admit to being wrong. As a
heart surgeon with 25 years experience, having performed over
5,000 open-heart surgeries, today is my day to right the wrong
with medical and scientific fact.
I trained for many years with other prominent physicians labeled
“opinion makers.” Bombarded with scientific literature, continually
attending education seminars, we opinion makers insisted heart
disease resulted from the simple fact of elevated blood cholesterol.
The only accepted therapy was prescribing medications to lower
cholesterol and a diet that severely restricted fat intake. The
latter of course we insisted would lower cholesterol and heart
disease. Deviations from these recommendations were considered
heresy and could quite possibly result in malpractice.
It Is Not Working!
These recommendations are no longer scientifically or morally
defensible. The discovery a few years ago that inflammation in
the artery wall is the real cause of heart disease is slowly leading
to a paradigm shift in how heart disease and other chronic
ailments will be treated. The long-established dietary recommendations have created
epidemics of obesity and diabetes, the consequences of which dwarf any
historical plague in terms of mortality, human suffering and dire
Despite the fact that 25% of the population takes expensive
statin medications and despite the fact we have reduced the fat content
of our diets, more Americans will die this year of heart disease
than ever before.
Statistics from the American Heart Association show that 75
million Americans currently suffer from heart disease, 20 million
have diabetes and 57 million have pre-diabetes. These disorders
are affecting younger and younger people in greater numbers every
Simply stated, without inflammation being present in the body,
there is no way that cholesterol would accumulate in the wall of the
blood vessels and cause heart disease and strokes. Without inflammation,
cholesterol would move freely throughout the body as nature
intended. It is inflammation that causes cholesterol to become trapped.
Inflammation is not complicated -- it is quite simply your body's natural defence to a foreign invader such as bacteria, toxin or a virus. The cycle of inflammation is perfect in how it protects
your body from these bacterial and viral invaders. However, if we chronically expose the body to injury by toxins or foods the human body was never designed to process, a condition occurs called
Chronic inflammation is just as harmful as acute inflammation is beneficial.
What thoughtful person would willfully expose himself repeatedly to
foods or other substances that are known to cause injury to the body?
Well, smokers perhaps, but at least they made that choice
willfully. The rest of us have simply followed the recommended mainstream
diet that is low in fat and high in polyunsaturated fats and carbohydrates, not knowing we were causing repeated injury to our blood vessels. This repeated injury creates chronic inflammation
leading to heart disease, Stroke, diabetes and obesity.
Let me repeat that. The injury and inflammation in our blood
vessels is caused by the low fat diet recommended for years by mainstream medicine.
What are the biggest culprits of chronic inflammation? Quite
simply, they are the overload of simple, highly processed carbohydrates
(sugar, flour and all the products made from them) and the excess consumption of omega-6 vegetable oils like soybean, corn and sunflower that are found in many processed foods.
Take a moment to visualize rubbing a stiff brush repeatedly over soft skin until it becomes quite red and nearly bleeding. If you kept this up several times a day, every day for five years. If you could tolerate this painful brushing, you would have a bleeding, swollen
infected area that became worse with each repeated injury. This is a good way to visualize the inflammatory process that could be going on in your body right now.
Regardless of where the inflammatory process occurs, externally or internally, it is the same. I have peered inside thousands upon thousands of arteries. A diseased artery looks as if someone took a brush and scrubbed repeatedly against its wall. Several times a day every day, the foods we eat create small injuries compounding into more injuries, causing the body to respond continuously and appropriately with inflammation.
While we savor the tantalizing taste of a sweet roll, our bodies respond alarmingly as if a foreign invader arrived declaring war. Foods loaded with sugars and simple carbohydrates, or processed
with omega-6 oils for long shelf life have been the mainstay of the American diet for six decades. These foods have been slowly poisoning everyone.
How does eating a simple sweet roll create a cascade of inflammation to make you sick?
Imagine spilling syrup on your keyboard and you have a visual of what occurs inside the cell. When we consume simple carbohydrates such as sugar, blood sugar rises rapidly. In response, your pancreas secretes insulin whose primary purpose is to drive sugar into each cell
where it is stored for energy. If the cell is full and does not need glucose, it is rejected to avoid extra sugar gumming up the works. When your full cells reject the extra glucose, blood sugar rises
producing more insulin and the glucose converts to stored fat. What does all this have to do with inflammation? Blood sugar is controlled in a very narrow range. Extra sugar molecules attach
to a variety of proteins that in turn injure the blood vessel wall. This repeated injury to the blood vessel wall sets off inflammation. When you spike your blood sugar level several times a day, every day, it is exactly like taking sandpaper to the inside of your delicate blood vessels.
While you may not be able to see it, rest assured it is there. I saw it in over 5,000 surgical patients spanning 25 years who all shared one common denominator — inflammation in their arteries.
Let’s get back to the sweet roll. That innocent looking goody not only contains sugars, it is baked in one of many omega-6 oils such as soybean. Chips and fries are soaked in soybean oil; processed
foods are manufactured with omega-6 oils for longer shelf life. While omega-6’s are essential – they are part of every cell membrane controlling what goes in and out of the cell — they must be in the correct balance with omega-3’s.
If the balance shifts by consuming excessive omega-6, the cell membrane produces chemicals called cytokines that directly cause inflammation.
Today’s mainstream Standard American Diet (SAD) has produced an extreme imbalance of these two fats. The ratio of imbalance ranges from 15:1 to as high as 30:1 in favor of omega-6. That’s a
tremendous amount of cytokines causing inflammation. In today’s food environment, a 3:1 ratio would be optimal and healthy.
To make matters worse, the excess weight you are carrying from
eating these foods creates overloaded fat cells that pour out large quantities of pro-inflammatory chemicals that add to the injury caused by having high blood sugar. The process that began with a
sweet roll turns into a vicious cycle over time that creates heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and finally, Alzheimer’s disease, as the inflammatory process continues unabated.
There is no escaping the fact that the more we consume prepared and processed foods, the more we trip the inflammation switch little by little each day. The human body cannot process, nor was it designed to consume, foods packed with sugars and soaked in omega-6 oils.
There is but one answer to quieting inflammation, and that is returning to foods closer to their natural state. To build muscle, eat more protein but not grain fed beef. Choose carbohydrates
that are very complex such as colorful fruits and vegetables. Cut down
on or eliminate inflammation- causing omega-6 fats like corn and soybean oil and the processed foods that are made from them. One tablespoon of corn oil contains 7,280 mg of omega-6; soybean contains 6,940mg. Instead, use olive oil or butter from grass-fed beef.
By Dwight Lundell, MD
Friday, October 1, 2010
EFT. (Emotional Freedom Technique) is a “revolutionary healing aid” To quote EFT founder Gary Craig; “the cause of all negative emotions is a disruption in the body’s energy system.” This version of acupuncture without needles depends on tapping the end points of the Energy Meridians, a system first discovered by Chinese Medicine more than 5,000 years ago! Whilst tapping it is necessary to speak of and mentally tune into the causative uncomfortable or disruptive event. The results appear to be truly impressive!
In 1994, EFT founder Gary Craig and his associate Adrienne Fowlie were invited by the U.S. Veterans’ Administration in Los Angeles to spend six days using Craig’s new therapy to help treat a group of veterans from the Vietnam War. These men were still suffering from the traumas they had experienced more than twenty years previously.
“Rich” had served as a warrant officer in Cambodia. He had been released from the service in 1975 and had undergone treatment for his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder since 1978. His symptoms included a severe height phobia which had been induced largely by the 50 parachute jumps he had made whilst on active duty. As a result he was afraid to use elevators and would often feel uncomfortable on reaching the second floor of the local shopping mall. Remarkably his phobia disappeared after one fifteen-minute tapping session with Gary Craig. Craig made a video recording of this work with the ‘Vets’. The film shows “Rich” standing on top of the Administration building and waving over the fire escape to his friends below without feeling a hint of his old fear. A truly remarkable outcome which had not been matched by his sixteen years of treatment. Moreover, a little bit more work reduced his intrusive war time memories of entering villages literally littered with bodies to negligible proportions and his previous insomnia cleared up too! The interesting element here was, “Rich” treated himself. Yes, he was taught how to use “EFT” and despite his scepticism tapped on his fearsome memories until they all disappeared. What’s more, Gary Craig reassured the audience that such remarkable cures were usually permanent. In “Rich’s” case they checked back two months later and all was still well. He knew that if anything should resurface he now had in his possession “an awesome tool” which he could use to heal himself without recourse to any intrusive medication. EFT is easy to use and easy to learn. Anyone can get a result with it after a short course of instruction! As an AAMET registered EFT trainer, Alister Bredee is available to facilitate EFT trainings which range from beginner to professional level. If you would like to learn EFT either in Koh Samui or elsewhere, simply send Alister a message via Make Appointment and also be sure to look out for any scheduled trainings which will be featured on the site.
EFT has been used to startling effect on a very wide range of issues such as fears, phobias, anger, grief, anxiety, depression, traumatic memories, PTSD, physical pains, allergies, addictions and cravings, worry, guilt and all limiting emotions in sports, business and the performing arts. Its true potential is only just beginning to be explored. Gary Craig says “We are at the ground floor of a healing high-rise” and encourages people to “Try it on everything” – within the bounds of common sense of course!
EFT Materials – a note from Alister
“I heartily endorse EFT for emotional freedom, physical freedom and performance freedom. Based on impressive new discoveries regarding the body’s subtle energies, EFT has been proven successful in thousands of clinical cases. It applies to just about every problem you can name and it often works where nothing else will. My book “Full Circle, Banishing Fears and Phobias”, available from this website, gives a substantive introductory to Emotional Freedom Technique”, illustrates the tapping points and shows you how to use the technique to help overcome a host of problems in your life. I invite you to take a look.”