Empowering Healthy Choices

July 23, 2007 


Meat   Lead    Meat Substitute     more     July 2007

Peanut Butter   SPINACH ALERT 

ALERTS 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5 

1.  **Obesity Epidemic July 2006 

The following studies reveal how high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) appears to play a large role in causing the condition known as "the metabolic syndrome": Obesity, type II diabetes, and insulin resistance. These conditions are reaching epidemic proportions according to health professionals. Obesity is affecting 60% of Americans, and over 30% of children. Please go to the study linked below and read this report NOW...

Fructose, insulin resistance, and metabolic dyslipidemia
Heather Basciano, and Khosrow Adeli
Clinical Biochemistry Division, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Nutrition & Metabolism 2005, 2:5 doi:10.1186/1743-7075-2-5



"Thus, emerging evidence from recent epidemiological and biochemical studies clearly suggests that the high dietary intake of fructose has rapidly become an important causative factor in the development of the metabolic syndrome. There is an urgent need for increased public awareness of the risks associated with high fructose consumption and greater efforts should be made to curb the supplementation of packaged foods with high fructose additives. The present review will discuss the trends in fructose consumption, the metabolic consequences of increased fructose intake, and the molecular mechanisms leading to fructose-induced lipogenesis, insulin resistance and metabolic dyslipidemia."

Now, start checking your pantry for labels of all products on hand and STOP purchasing those products with high fructose corn syrup. Write letters to the companies of any of your favorite brands to let them know why you are no longer purchasing their products anymore. Companies do listen to consumers that take the time to write.  Include the following studies and any others you find to see how they will respond. HFCS is not, of course, the only culprit. American adults are consuming about 100 extra calories a day compared to the 70's. Over a year's time, this would add 10 extra pounds if you did not increase your activity level.

FRUCTOSE HELPS MAKE YOU FAT. Very little is BURNED FOR IMMEDIATE ENERGY. The small amount WE CONSUME NATURALLY FROM FRUITS is enough to satisfy body needs.

Regular cane and beet sugar contains half glucose, the fuel of cells, and half fructose. It has to be reduced as well. Actually, cane sugar intake has decreased by 35% since 1970 but corn sweeteners (HFCS) have increased over 277%. High fructose corn syrup consumption has increased to over 60 grams a day. It contains 55% up to 90% fructose.

In researching childhood obesity, the obvious reasons of extra calories and less activity have not showed a consistent picture. It is the rapid increase in HFCS that shows the most consistant association. What might happen is that as children become obese, they are less active as a consequence. Fat intake has dropped which allowed room for increased carbohydrates usually in the simple fructose sugar form.  

A sensible program would be to lower HFCS intake by about 10% per month until you reach about a 65% reduction. It is still too widely distributed to realistically expect a greater reduction at this time. So many foods would be eliminated that it will take quite some time to find acceptable alternatives and before manufacturers are pressured to stop using HFCS. Come to think of it, by eliminating all the foods containing HFCS your health would benefit significantly. Regardless, everyone needs to reduce sugars of all types by about 35% back to below the 100 pound yearly level, or dramatically increase their activity and nutrient levels to balance caloric intake. 

Since the health food stores first championed the use of fructose, it would be most appropriate to start there. Hopefully they are or should be in the business of helping you become healthy and will gladly search out and stock healthy alternatives! Some better choices are starting to show up already.

The yearly total for all sugars consumed has increased to over 140 pounds per person. That is over 2 1/2 pounds per week. The body simply can't process that quantity and remain trim and healthy for a lifetime. The 100 pound cane and beet sugar level that existed for many years before 1972 presented far less problems. But, since 1972, the year fructose production methods made it available for mass use, the increasing percentage of fructose and higher total sugar consumption has become a disaster of major proportions. (Cane sugars have decreased over this period by 35%.)

Obesity rates are approaching 60% overall. Some of you may recall that fructose was first promoted by the health food industry as an answer to prevent the wide swings in insulin and blood glucose levels caused by high sugar consumption. Fructose slows down the insulin release because it can only be processed in the liver. This same thing happened to margarine. First they were heroes and now they are villains. Scientists are estimating that eliminating the trans-fat in margarine will save 10's of thousands of LIVES every year. And now the same can probably be said for the elimination of high fructose corn syrup. ref 1

SIDEBAR: When scientists need insulin resistant rats for diabetic research, they simply feed normal rats a high FRUCTOSE diet. *********************************************

2.  **Blood Thinners Remorse (or low Vitamin K in Osteoporosis and CVD) Jan 2007

Drugs (Warfarin ref) that thin the blood are given to prevent strokes and heart attacks by interrupting the clotting mechanism of vitamin K. This works quite well if the person can control their diet of foods containing vitamin K. These foods might interfere with the function of the drug. Unfortunately, this often creates a vitamin K deficiency with the added loss of many other needed nutrients associated with these K containing leafy vegetables. The loss of vitamin K functions not only affects coagulation to prevent excessive bleeding, but current research is showing this can have dramatic effects on bone and artery health as well. 

A new approach being studied is to use a consistent supplement of vitamin K and adjust the warfarin level to still get the desired result. This approach is giving more stability of blood clotting times. Consult with your doctor before making any changes if already on warfarin. A consistent amount of vitamin K seems to be the key rather than none at all so the amount of drug can be set to that level. 

Why is this important? Young rats on warfarin quickly exhibit artery calcification, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Older rats do not show this quick change. Since one of vitamin K functions is to activate Matrix Gla proteins that work to stop artery calcification, maybe having enough vitamin K still in the system is advantageous.

The process of artery calcification is similar to the process of bone formation. The drugs given to stop bone loss such as Fosamaxtm, are also showing protection of arteries against calcification. Could this be proof that low vitamin K levels are at the base of bone calcium loss and artery calcification processes? 

This is really new research I just discovered today, January 15, 2007. It could not wait for further research to verify. Blood thinners, which are antagonistic to vitamin K, have been found to increase the rate of artery calcification. Since they are given to prevent an immediate heart attack or stroke for those at high risk, long term effects may not have been taken under consideration. Since rats were found to rapidly calcify arteries when put on warfarin, this promoted a study to find out if this effect was also happening in humans. In the referenced study from Europe, this report looked at people who had been on warfarin for 25 months. They had 2 times more artery calcification compared to a control group.

Statin drugs are showing in many studies that they slow down the warfarin induced artery calcification. But not in all. The level of phosphorous is also involved, especially if kidney damage. Diabetics rapidly develop artery damage. Would vitamin K supplementation be a safe way to help maintain healthy arteries? ref  ref 2, ref  click on Research Program, then I Thrombosis and Haemoslasis, and then C Vascular Aspects (technical) ref ref 

Following is the summary from the ref 2.

"Summary: Vitamin K is essential for the activation of vitamin K-dependent proteins, which are involved not only in blood coagulation but in bone metabolism and the inhibition of arterial calcification. In humans, vitamin K is primarily a cofactor in the enzymatic reaction that converts glutamate residues into γ-carboxyglutamate residues in vitamin K-dependent proteins. Numerous studies have demonstrated the importance of vitamin K in bone health. The results of recent studies have suggested that concurrent use of menaquinone (K2) and vitamin D may substantially reduce bone loss. Menaquinone was also found to have a synergistic effect when administered with hormone therapy. Several epidemiologic and intervention studies have found that vitamin K deficiency causes reductions in bone mineral density and increases the risk of fractures. Arterial calcification is an active, cell-controlled process that shares many similarities with bone metabolism. Concurrent arterial calcification and osteoporosis have been called the "calcification paradox" and occur frequently in postmenopausal women. The results of two dose-response studies have indicated that the amount of vitamin K needed for optimal γ-carboxylation of osteocalcin is significantly higher than what is provided through diet alone and that current dosage recommendations should be increased to optimize bone mineralization. Few adverse effects have been reported from oral vitamin K.
Conclusion: Phytonadione and menaquinone may be effective for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis and arterial calcification."

3. ** High Vitamin E decreases vitamin K   New Sept 18, 2006

High vitamin E supplementation might be antagonistic to vitamin K status. Newly discovered functions for vitamin K show that it helps keep calcium in bones and out of arteries and other soft tissues. The Question that arises here is at what level does vitamin E hinder vitamin K status? One study lists it at over 400 IU's. Another finds less K at 600 IUs, and Ref2 links 1000 IUs. This is very new research. ref

Background: It has been known for some time that vitamin E interferes with blood thinning drugs. It increases the drug action and could cause internal bleeding. This might be one of the reasons behind the John Hopkins Vitamin E report showing a small increase in mortality of cardiovascular diseased subjects in the vitamin E taking group. Many of them were most likely also taking blood thinners.

The question scientists wanted to find an answer for concerned how does high vitamin E intake affect people not taking blood thinners with normal K levels? Until recently, it was held that it did not interfere at levels below the safe upper limit. But, since so many people are marginally K deficient, a new study found that there is indeed an effect even at normal K levels. This is potentially a very serious issue. The conditions where vitamin K has an influence are found in some of the highest rated diseases.

The issue is not that vitamin E changes the coagulation time regulated by vitamin K, but that in high dosages, it would lower vitamin K levels to limit the other important vitamin K functions. Have you seen warnings on high dosage vitamin E labels that it might interfere with blood thinners? Now, if people not on blood thinners are involved as well...Another reason to eat your greens to increase vitamin K and exercise synergistic caution with high vitamin E supplementation.

At this time, research does not have enough answers. The prudent approach is to stay under 400 iu for vitamin E. Better yet, only take the whole family of vitamin E as balanced in nature. Stay tuned for more. Reference Ref2 

Alert 4.  ***Spinach  Reference 1

5. ***Male Alert   - Prostate Cancer Chondroitin Connection

Here is what the Mayo Clinic had to say about this:

"Chondroitin: Is it linked to prostate cancer?

Provided by: MayoClinic.com
Last Updated: 01/28/2005
Q: Someone told my husband that he shouldn't take chondroitin supplements because they can cause prostate cancer. Is this true?
A: There's no evidence that chondroitin or chondroitin supplements cause prostate cancer. (There are many studies now showing a possible metabolic pathway that they do participate) ref  Chondroitin sulfate is a substance found naturally in your body. Researchers believe that it may help repair and maintain cartilage. Some preliminary research has found higher concentrations of chondroitin in cancerous prostate tissue than in normal prostate tissue. This research also suggests that higher concentrations in the tissue surrounding the prostate tumor may predict a more aggressive cancer. However, the study didn't identify the source of the chondroitin in the tumors. Simply because a substance is present in or around cancerous tissue doesn't by itself suggest that the substance is causing the cancer.

Further research is needed to identify any potential relationship between prostate cancer and chondroitin. If you're at increased risk of prostate cancer, it's reasonable to not take chondroitin supplements. If you take chondroitin for arthritis pain and are at high risk of prostate cancer, discuss alternative arthritis treatments with your doctor."

© 1998-2006 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "MayoClinic.com," "Mayo Clinic Health Information," "Reliable information for a healthier life" and the triple-shield Mayo logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.

Since Chondroitin is widely used for joint support, Don't you think it would be wise for this information to be more available to that portion of the general public at risk for prostate conditions????

Yes, there are many unanswered questions that research has to resolve. Such as how does ingested chondroitin influence the body's own production and quantities of chondroitin? Until that information is available, isn't it wiser to be safe than cancer????

1: Clin Cancer Res. 1997 Jun;3(6):983-92.Click here to read  Links

"Elevated stromal chondroitin sulfate glycosaminoglycan predicts progression in early-stage prostate cancer."

Departments of Surgery, Flinders University School of Medicine, Bedford Park, South Australia 5042.

"Curative therapies for clinically localized prostate cancer have significant morbidity, and those patients who might be cured by aggressive management are not easily identified using current clinical information. Better biomarkers of tumor behavior need to be identified to improve clinical outcome. Chondroitin sulfate (CS), a glycosaminoglycan, may be a potentially useful biomarker as it is known to influence cell growth and differentiation and might influence malignant progression. In this study, CS was immuno-localized to the periacinar and peritumoral fibromuscular stromal tissue of nonmalignant and malignant prostates. The CS concentration was increased in the prostate tissue of men with early-stage prostate cancer compared with tissue from men without cancer (P < 0.0001). Using Cox's univariate analysis, CS concentration, tumor grade, preoperative serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA), extracapsular extension of disease, positive surgical margins, and patient age were associated with an increased risk of PSA failure. The CS concentration was compared with the other features in two-variable regression analyses. CS and preoperative serum PSA concentrations were independent predictors of PSA failure. CS was a stronger prognostic feature than tumor grade and could predict outcome for patients with moderately differentiated tumors. Patients with a low CS concentration had significantly better progression-free survival following radical prostatectomy than patients with high levels of CS (Kaplan-Meier plot, 91% versus 49% PSA progression free at 5 years, respectively, P = 0.0038). Only postoperative pathological indices (extracapsular extension, surgical margins) were stronger predictors than CS. We conclude that measurement of prostatic CS concentrations at diagnosis may allow stratification of patients with early-stage prostate cancer for adjunctive or alternate therapies."

PMID: 9815775 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


More references on fructose and insulin

Magnesium and metabolic syndrome. This current study, funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, reports on the many benefits of magnesium in not only the metabolic syndrome but in cardiovascular health as well.

Another article published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition on Fructose and sugars. It's from the USDA at Davis Research. Somewhat technical.

Check out this one in Obesity researchFructose may be low on the glycemic index but has disastrous consequences.

Try this one, too on Carbohydrate Metabolism Very technical. See reference section for more studies.


The alert code status meanings:

* One star means you should be aware of this but it is not critical.

** Two stars represent important to health considerations but not needing immediate response, more of a long term lifestyle change.

*** Three stars require immediate attention with constant follow up. This would indicate a contaminated food that warranted emergency action to eliminate any product on hand to avoid possible adverse conditions.

There are recalls all the time that most people never find out about. Most are quite minor with wrong labels, or a slightly high heavy metal level, or under or over dosages of ingredients, etc. BUT, sometimes it is a bacterial contamination and could put life in jeopardy for some individuals; a media alert is usually announced.

foodsafety.gov/list.html  Center for Food Safety and applied nutrition of the FDA. Learn about the governments' role in regulating supplements. See if any recalls or warnings have been issued to vitamin companies and for what products.

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