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Dr. Mercola and Dr. LaValley Discuss Curcumin

Dr. Mercola wrote a very interesting article about curcuma which I would like to share with you all. I hope you will enjoy it.

Best regards, Michiel Floris

By Dr. Mercola

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death. What if there was a safe, natural herb that could work for nearly every type of cancer?

According to Dr. William LaValley, who focuses most of his clinical work on the treatment of cancer, curcumin—a derivative of turmeric, and the pigment that gives the curry spice turmeric its yellow-orange color—may fit the bill. It’s a natural compound that has been extensively researched, and has been found to have numerous health applications.

Like me, Dr. LaValley was trained in general medicine, but he’s devoted a considerable amount of time to understanding the biochemical pathways that can support health nutritionally.

In 1982, he participated in an exchange program to the People’s Republic of China, where he got first-hand experience with the ancient practices of traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture.

“One of the important messages that I learned there was that natural products, natural molecules, from plants and animals that are already available in nature, have been used by the Chinese for at least hundreds, probably thousands of years. That deeply changed my perspective in the world of medicine,” he says.

“I came back to medical school, and thereafter, looked at how I could integrate the perspective of conventional pharmaceutical administration as well as natural extract, natural product administration.”

Curcumin Has Potent Anti-Cancer Activity

In 2005, he took a 75 percent sabbatical from clinical practice to immerse himself in the science of molecular biology, specifically the molecular biology of cancer. He also devoted approximately 9,000-9,500 hours building a relational database from the PubMed literature about the molecular biology of cancer.

One important lesson he learned through that venture is that the understanding of molecular biology can be applied across a range of diseases and symptoms described in the scientific literature. That knowledge can be applied by searching PubMed and other related databases, looking at the relevant molecular pathways involved.

“In learning the molecular biology of cancer pathways, and in learning that what the evidence actually shows for the effect of natural product extracts on various relevant molecular targets in various cancers, we see that there’s actually quite a large amount of evidence that supports using various molecules, natural products, and pharmaceuticals that are already approved and that have been around for a long time to affect anti-cancer activity along that pathway at that target. That’s called molecularly targeted anti-cancer treatment, and it’s widely practiced in oncology today.

What’s not widely practiced is the use of the natural products for the molecularly targeted anti-cancer activity. I provide that for my patients because the evidence base suggests and supports the use of these treatment recommendations.”

Curcumin—A ‘Universal’ Cancer Treatment?

Interestingly, curcumin appears to be universally useful for just about every type of cancer, which is really odd since cancer consists of a wide variety of different molecular pathologies. You wouldn’t necessarily suspect that there would be one herb that would work for most of them. Dr. LaValley explains how he came to this conclusion:

“I went back to the literature and looked at how I can support the decision-making process and the recommendations that I’m making for treatment from the scientific literature, including literature that goes from the treatment of humans with oral products like pharmaceuticals or natural products.

This is where I learned about this molecule called curcumin, all the way down to its use in animals and then its use in test tubes or petri dish… One of the amazing things about curcumin is that this molecule has some profound anti-inflammatory activity and has activity in many molecular targets.

There are molecules that are in the cells, and those molecules interact with each other along certain pathways or tracks. The traffic of that interaction, the signals that are transferred in that trafficking of information in the molecules, presents many different targets or molecular-specific complexes.”

As explained by Dr. LaValley, whether the curcumin molecule causes an increase in traffic or activity of a particular molecular target, or a decrease/inhibition of activity, studies repeatedly show that the end result is a potent anti-cancer activity. Furthermore, curcumin does not adversely affect healthy cells, suggesting it selectively targets cancer cells. Research has also shown that it works synergistically with certain chemotherapy drugs, enhancing the elimination of cancer cells.

Curcumin Destroys Cancer in Multiple Ways

Curcumin has the most evidence-based literature supporting its use against cancer of any nutrient, including vitamin D, which also has a robust base. Interestingly, this also includes the metabolite of curcumin and its derivatives, which are also anti-cancerous.

Curcumin has the ability to modulate genetic activity and expression—both by destroying cancer cells and by promoting healthy cell function. It also promotes anti-angiogenesis, meaning it helps prevent the development of additional blood supply necessary for cancer cell growth. As for its effect on molecular pathways, curcumin can affect more than 100 of them, once it gets into the cell. More specifically, curcumin has been found to:

Inhibit the proliferation of tumor cells Decrease inflammation
Inhibit the transformation of cells from normal to tumor Inhibit the synthesis of a protein thought to be instrumental in tumor formation
Help your body destroy mutated cancer cells so they cannot spread throughout your body Help prevent the development of additional blood supply necessary for cancer cell growth (angiogenesis)

Why Whole Turmeric Is Ineffective

Unfortunately, while there’s some curcumin in whole turmeric, there’s not enough in the regular spice to achieve clinically relevant results. The turmeric root itself contains only about three percent curcumin concentration. Another major limitation of curcumin as a therapeutic agent is that it is poorly absorbed. When taken in its raw form, you’re only absorbing about one percent of the available curcumin.

“The natural product industry has developed a standard of a 95-percent concentration of curcumin,” Dr. LaValley explains. “Initially, years ago, that was what we had available for patients. Even at that, taking a 95-percent concentration orally in a capsule, only one percent of that could be absorbed. In order to get amounts of curcumin in the bloodstream that are reasonable to have therapeutic effect, people had to take large amounts of curcumin…

In searching the literature, I found that a way to change that, to dramatically increase the bioavailability, is actually a very simple process of bringing water to a boil, putting those capsules or some dry powder (I use it by the teaspoon), and boiling it for 10 to 12 minutes. That increases the amount of curcumin dissolved in water from that one-percent amount up to 12 percent or so. That amount is a vast number of curcumin molecules that are now in a bioavailable or absorbable form.”

However, while this is certainly doable, it’s really inconvenient, and great care must be taken to prevent staining your clothes and kitchen surfaces. It’s a significant enough problem to have been dubbed “yellow kitchen syndrome,” as it’s virtually impossible to get the stains out. Turmeric is in fact an excellent dyeing agent for fabrics, rendering them a yellow-orange color.

Convenience and efficiency has driven many of the changes in the forms of curcumin in later years. Because it’s a fat-loving or lipophilic molecule, many newer preparations now include some sort of oil or fat, which improves its absorbability and bioavailability. Such preparations typically have seven to eight times higher absorption than the raw, unprocessed 95-percent-concentration of dry powder. There are also newer sustained release preparations, which Dr. LaValley prefers and recommends.

The Connection Between Cancer and Insulin Resistance

If you are overweight, or have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and/or diabetes, then in all likelihood insulin and leptin resistance is a factor. Insulin and leptin resistance is also a very common factor among cancer patients. From my perspective, a ketogenic diet (with or without intermittent fasting) would be a prudent treatment strategy to resolve that underlying problem. Once you’ve normalized your insulin and leptin, you don’t necessarily need to maintain a ketogenic diet, if you find it too restrictive.

“I agree with you that a ketogenic diet is really appropriate in many cases, probably the significant majority of cases,” Dr. LaValley says. “It’s been known for probably 80 years or longer that solid tumors, and some of the blood cancers, are sugar-loving. Another term is that they are addicted to sugar.

I use [a] PET scan to demonstrate to patients that here is objective proof that the tumors you have in your body are sugar-avid. They’re taking up sugar at a rate much higher than the other regular healthy cells. I want to drive home that message, so that they are motivated to alter their diet to have a low, low carb intake, causing their body to generate additional nutrient supply molecules called ketones…

What that means is that we’re trying to provide an anti-cancer antagonistic pressure on the cancer cells by reducing the amount of sugar that’s readily available for uptake by reducing the easily available sugar in the diet and compensating for the nutrient reduction and sugar [reduction] by increasing healthy fats.”

Cutting Down on Protein May Be Particularly Useful for Cancer Patients

It would also be prudent to assess your protein intake. Many Americans eat far more protein than required for optimal health. The reason for this is because your body can actually use excess protein (you do need some) to stimulate carbohydrate production. Excess protein also stimulates the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathways, which are useful for building muscles but can be detrimental when treating cancer, as mTOR is a pathway that increases cellular proliferation. (Interestingly, the pharmaceutical drug Metformin, which has anti-cancer activity, also inhibits mTOR, and it turns out that curcumin has a very similar effect.)

The formula I recommend for assessing how much protein you might need in your diet is from Dr. Rosedale, which calls for one gram of high-quality protein per kilogram of lean body mass, or about half a gram per pound of lean body mass.

As an example, if your body fat mass is 20 percent, your lean mass is 80 percent of your total body weight. So, if your total weight is 200 pounds; you would then divide 160 by 2.2 to convert pounds to kilograms and come up with 72.7 grams of protein. If you are doing vigorous exercises or are pregnant, you can add up to another 25 percent or another 18 grams in this illustration to increase your total to 90 grams per day.

More Information

Dr. LaValley is available for consultation on a wide variety of health challenges, including cancer, and he’s licensed to practice medicine in the US and Canada. His medical clinic is located in Chester, Nova Scotia, where he sees patients. Americans can fly there either through Chicago or Newark. His office number is 902-275-4555. He also spends time in Austin, Texas, where he conducts research. When there, he’s available to consult for other physicians and their patients.

“For instance, if a patient has pancreatic cancer and the physician wants to implement one of the protocols that I provide, I will do a consultation with that physician’s patient and then make recommendations to that physician for implementation,” he explains. “In that way, patients are able to get it locally without having to travel to Nova Scotia…

It’s a challenge right now because there’s so much information that’s not readily known by so many physicians that they become afraid. I think one of the biggest issues, certainly in US and Canada, is that when a physician wants to administer one of these natural products, or several of them, as well as some of the off-label pharmaceuticals for their anti-cancer usage, they are afraid of recriminations or disciplinary actions.

That is, I think, very unfortunate, because the evidence base does exist for it, and it’s consistent with the way that other types of conventional medicine or practice using off-label pharmaceuticals as well. I think that the most important movement that needs to occur is for the patients to recognize their own value in the decision-making process and demand that they have access to these therapeutic choices because they’re available, they’re supported in the evidence base, and they have the right to ask for them rather than to just accept whatever the physician is otherwise offering in the conventional realm.”

Source: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/03/02/curcumin-benefits.aspx

 

 

Sugar is as dangerous as alcohol and tobacco, warn health experts

Britain’s obesity crisis could be reversed within five years if food companies reduced sugar in products by 30 per cent, health experts claim as they launch a new campaign to cut intake.

Sugar has become as dangerous as alcohol or tobacco, academics have said as they call on the food industry to cut 30 per cent from processed in Britons’ cupboards. Health experts claim the reduction could shave 100 calories from each person’s daily intake and reverse the UK’s growing obesity epidemic. Later a group of health experts and academics come together to launch ‘Action on Sugar’, a campaign which is calling on the food producers to dramatically reduce levels of sugar in everyday products.

They are also asking companies to stop advertising sugary drinks and snacks to   children claiming sugar has become ‘the alcohol of childhood.’ And they are calling on the government to fine those who do not meet reduction targets or impose a Sugar Tax. Professor of Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Liverpool, UK, Simon   Capewell says, “ Sugar is the new tobacco”. “Everywhere, sugary drinks and junk foods are now pressed on unsuspecting   parents and children by a cynical industry focussed on profit not health.

“The obesity epidemic is already generating a huge burden of disease and death.” One in four adults in England is obese and these figures are set to climb to   60 per cent of men, 50 per cent of women, and 25 per cent of children by   2050. Three in every 10 children aged between two and 15 are overweight or obese. Obesity and diabetes already costs the UK over £5billion every year which is   likely to rise to £50 billion in the next 36 years. Although sugary drinks are known to be a problem scientists say many people   are unaware that flavoured waters, soups, ketchup and ready meals also   contain large amounts of hidden sugars. A can of Heinz tomato soup contains the equivalent of four teaspoons of sugar   while a mug of Cadbury’s drinking chocolate holds six teaspoonfuls. A Yeo Valley vanilla yoghurt contains five teaspoons of sugar. Last year a study by Oxford University suggested that a 12p tax on fizzy drinks would cut consumption by 15 per cent and mean 180,000 fewer obese   adults. The experts have calculated that reducing sugar in processed foods by between 20 and 30 per cent over the next three to five years they could remove 100   calories a day from diets, enough to halt or reverse the obesity epidemic. They highlight children as a particularly vulnerable group because of the   heavy marketing of sweets and sugary drinks towards youngsters.

Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Ottawa, Canada, Yoni   Freedhoff; “Not only has added sugar found its way into virtually everything   we eat, but worse still, the use of sugar as a means to pacify, entertain   and reward children has become normalized to the point that questioning our   current sugary status quo often inspires anger and outrage.

“We need to re-relegate sugar to the role of occasional treat rather than its   current role of everyday, anytime, crutch”. Professor of Paediatric Endocrinology at the University Of California, San   Francisco Robert Lustig added: “Children are the primary targets of   marketing campaigns, and the least able to resist the messaging. “That makes sugary drinks like the “alcohol of childhood”,   which makes them obese.”

Many companies have already signed up to the government’s Responsibility Deal   to cut sugar by 10 per cent from their products but academics say it does   not go far enough. “We must now tackle the obesity epidemic both in the UK and worldwide,” said   Professor Graham MacGregor, “The present government and Department of Health Responsibility Deal has been   shown to have had no effect on calorie intake and we must start a coherent   and structured plan to slowly reduce the amount of calories people consume   by slowly taking out added sugar from foods and soft drinks.”

Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/10559671/Sugar-is-as-dangerous-as-alcohol-and-tobacco-warn-health-experts.html

WHO cuts sugar intake recommendation in half!

suiker

Published March 05, 2014 /Associated Press

Just try sugar-coating this: The World Health Organization says your daily sugar intake should be just 5 percent of your total calories – half of what the agency previously recommended, according to new draft guidelines published Wednesday.

After a review of about 9,000 studies, WHO’s expert panel says dropping sugar intake to that level will combat obesity and cavities. That includes sugars added to foods and those present in honey, syrups and fruit juices, but not those occurring naturally in fruits.

Americans and others in the West eat a lot more sugar than that: Their average sugar intake would have to drop by two-thirds to meet WHO’s suggested limit.

WHO’s new guidelines have been published online and the agency is inviting the public to comment via its website until the end of March.

Many doctors applauded the U.N. agency’s attempt to limit the global sweet tooth.

“The less sugar you’re eating, the better,” said Dr. Robert Lustig, a professor of pediatrics at the University of California and author of a book about the dangers of sugar. “If the sugar threshold is lowered, I think breakfast cereal is going to have a really hard time justifying its existence,” he said, referring to sweetened cereals often targeted to children.

When WHO last revised its sugar guidelines more than a decade ago, it recommended sugar should be less than 10 percent of daily calories. The U.S. sugar industry was so incensed it lobbied Congress to threaten to withdraw millions of dollars in funding to WHO. A contentious reference to the sugar limit was removed from a global diet strategy but the recommendation passed.

Lustig said WHO’s new guidelines could alter the food environment by forcing manufacturers to rethink how they’re using sugar in processed foods like bread, soups, pasta sauces and even salad dressings. He called the amount of sugar in processed food an “absolute, unmitigated disaster.”

WHO’s expert group found high sugar consumption is strongly linked to obesity and tooth decay. It noted that heavy people have a higher risk of chronic diseases, responsible for more than 60 percent of global deaths. Dental care costs up to 10 percent of health budgets in Western countries and cause significant problems in the developing world.

WHO warned many of the sugars eaten today are hidden in processed foods, pointing out that one tablespoon of ketchup contains about one teaspoon of sugar.

There is no universally agreed consensus on how much sugar is too much.

The American Heart Association advises limiting sugar to about 8 percent of your diet, or six teaspoons a day for women and nine for men. A study led by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published last month found too much sugar can raise the chances of fatal heart problems. Researchers found the average American gets about 15 percent of their calories from sugar, similar to other Western nations.

New nutrition labels proposed in the U.S. will also require food manufacturers to list any added sugars, plus a more prominent calorie count.

Earlier this week, Britain’s chief medical officer, Dr. Sally Davies, said she thought sugar might be addictive and that the government should consider introducing a sugar tax to curb bulging waistlines; the U.K. has one of the fattest populations in Western Europe.

“We have a generation of children who, because they’re overweight … may not live as long as my generation,” she told a health committee. “They will be the first generation that lives less and that is of great concern.”

From: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/03/05/who-cuts-sugar-intake-advice-to-5-percent-daily-energy/