Sunday, January 15, 2017

IP6 - a non-toxic Treatment for Cancer

I became interested in the nutrient “inositol hexaphosphate”, known as IP6, after finding out that it reduced toxic levels of iron in the blood and organs. Initially, my research on IP6 concerned me as many health websites identify IP6 as an anti-nutrient  since it removes iron, copper, selenium, zinc and other metals from the body. If I had not just read the about the dangers of iron and learned that older adults frequently have toxic levels of iron, I would not have considered taking IP6 as a supplement.

IP6 is a natural substance found in the bran of grains, cereals, seeds and nuts. Since bran is now removed from most grains, Americans are getting very little IP6 compared to their grandparents. Long term studies have shown lower rates of cancer in individuals who consume lots of foods with high levels of IP6. More recent studies of IP6 consumption have also shown significantly lower cancer rates in countries that consume IP6 rich foods. Unfortunately, IP6 tends to bond with proteins in the grain which reduces how much the body can absorb from foods and makes it difficult to get the amount of IP6 into the bloodstream that was used in studies that cured cancer in mice.  The book recommends IP6 supplements be taken on an empty stomach to get the best benefit and avoid the IP6 bonding with food.

IP6 provides key nutrients to the mitochondria and cell membrane. Since the mitochondria control cellular reproduction rate, cellular death, intercellular communication, and cell differentiation of new cells, it is critical for them to receive nutrients to function properly.  I learned from Tripping Over the Truth that cancers are caused by damage to mitochondria, not damage to the cell nucleus DNA which was believed for decades.  The nutrition from IP6 curtails the mitochondria from initiating increased blood flow to support cancer cells rapid growth, slows cell reproduction rates, and increases cell differentiation. Cancer cells are rapidly reproducing cells that are immortal (no apoptosis) caused by damaged mitochondria.  In late stage cancer, cancer cells replicate so fast that the cells are not differentiated enough to be recognized as a specific type of cell like a breast or liver cell. Undifferentiated cancer cells (known as cancer stem cells) can be transported in the blood stream to other organs in the body where they are not recognized as being foreign by the immune system and can continue to replicate and create a metastasized cancer site.

The book described the many other benefits of IP6 that researchers are discovering:

  • reduces excess iron in cells;
  • reduces xanthine oxidase, an enzyme that makes uric acid. Uric acid causes gout so reducing xanthine oxidase could offer relief to gout suffers;
  • helps people with Type II Diabetes because getting inositol into the cell makes cells more responsive to insulin;
  • appears to reduce blood sugar levels in the blood and help repair damage blood vessels from high glucose levels in diabetics;
  • helps reduce kidney stones by binding to and removing excess calcium.
  • improves the immune system, increases bone density, reduces anxiety attacks, reduces obsessive compulsive behavior, and increases energy by recharging the potassium in  ATP cycle.

IP6 looks like it may be an effective nontoxic treatment for cancer as well as a nutrient to prevent cancer. (The author did mention that he has a patent on IP6.) The book convinced me that there were enough benefits of taking IP6 to risk any side effects of lowering my metal levels. I have been taking it as a supplement for about two weeks and I have noticed that it has improved my energy level and seems to be making my skin look better (something not predicted by this book but mentioned in the Dumping Iron book).

In addition to IP6, the book covers many other topics about cancer. For example, there was a review of what is wrong with the methods used to diagnosis and treat bowel cancer. The current method of looking for blood in fecal matter results in a large percentage of false positives which requires expensive, painful, and dangerous procedures to confirm if the diagnosis is accurate or not. Even worse, this entire system of diagnosis only detects 20% of colon cancers, so 80% of colon cancer cases go undetected. The author proposes using a less invasive mucus test that is 78 to 90% effective for finding all colon cancers. Similar cases are made for breast cancer and lung cancer diagnoses using more accurate and less costly diagnostic tests that are currently available.

Although this book was not an easy read and written for people with a bioscience background, I recommend it to anyone wanting to learn more about how to improve their health through better nutrition. A lot of the information and topics were understandable to an average reader like me. Highly recommended. Five stars.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Iron, The Secret Killer

I became concerned about iron in my body after reading an article by a researcher at Duke on the “Golden Age of Iron Biology”.  I then read, “Dumping Iron: How to Ditch this Secret Killer and Reclaim Your Health” by P.D. Mangan, an excellent book on recent research about the negative effects of high levels of iron in the body.  In simple language a non-biologist like me can understand, the book explains astonishing new discoveries of why high iron concentrations in the body degrades health and shortens lives.  

According to the book, iron starts accumulating in men at age 19 and in most women starting at about age 50 after the end of their menses. At 50, the average man has 4 times as much iron in his body as the average women; he also has 4 times the mortality from diseases that appear to be caused by high iron. Women’s mortality increases as their iron levels reach the same high levels as men. Though women live 4 years longer than men, at their death the average iron levels of women are the same as the average men's level. The author notes that the majority of the oldest people alive have had low levels of iron most of their lives and populations that are long lived have low levels of iron in their blood.

According to the book, there was a dramatic rise in iron levels in the US population due to the addition of iron to grains and cereals, which has caused the average person to have higher levels of iron than is healthy. One of the issues with iron is that the body has no natural way to get rid of it so it builds up first in the liver, then in the pancreas, then other organs including the heart and brain. To make matters worse, sugar and fructose increase iron absorption significantly. So all the sugary drinks and foods people have added to their diet over the past few decades has further increased their iron levels.

High iron levels damages cellular mitochondria and is suspected to cause cancer. Even more interesting, cancer cells need large amounts of iron to grow and spread. Tumors in people with low iron tend to be very small and grow slowly.

Iron is also implicated in cancer reoccurring after treatments of chemotherapy and radiation because iron is needed for cancer stem cells to form. Cancer stem cells are special cancer cells that can travel throughout the body and restart cancer growth after treatment. Low levels of iron in the blood may prevent them from forming.

I was surprised to learn that high iron levels are needed for invasive bacteria to grow in the body and low iron levels actually increase immunity to bacteria. Even viruses, like colds and flu, need lots of iron to grow so low iron levels are also antiviral. It helps explains why people with low levels of iron live so long.

Evidence is also growing that high iron levels contribute to obesity because it destroys the hormone leptin, the key hormone that reduces hunger after eating. High iron levels can make you insatiably hungry which can lead to obesity.

The author believes that the best blood iron level is just over what would normally be considered anemia. He recommends that people keep their iron levels much lower than the normal ranges and consume things that both remove iron from the body and take things that decrease iron absorption from the foods you eat. What is really interesting about this is that most of the things that decrease iron absorption are considered life-extending like green tea, dark chocolate, red wine, low dose aspirin, low calorie diets, high fiber, vegetarian diets, and exercise.

I highly recommend this book for anyone wanting to improve the quality of their health and longevity using recent discoveries about iron biology. Five stars!!!!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Keto Clarity, A Guide to Low-Carb, High-Fat Diet

The book, Keto Clarity: Your Definitive Guide to the Benefits of a Low-Carb, High-Fat Diet, is blogger Jimmy Moore's personal story of losing weight on the ketogenic diet.  Jimmy began his blog in 2011 at the of age 32 while losing 180 pounds on a ketogenic diet. The success he had losing weight made him a big fan of the diet and his blog became popular with others wanting to lose weight. He interviewed experts on the ketogenic diet and wrote about all the issues and concerns with living long term on the diet. The book is a combination of his personal experiences on a ketogenic diet for 13 years and the advice and experiences of 21 experts in the ketogenic field, mostly doctors, dietitians and researchers.

Interesting details about being on a ketogenic diet (some new to me) from the book were:
1. Being in ketosis can cause you to test positive for alcohol on a breathalyzer.
2. When you get into ketosis it can cause a huge surge in Uric acid in the body which could bring about a gout attack; the Uric acid levels will usually normalize in 4 to 8 weeks.
3. Living in ketosis can improve your fertility and increase your sex drive from better hormone production.
5. Using urine ketone strips to test for ketosis has several draw backs: 1) it does not test for the critical ketone of beta-hydroxybutyrate but instead for acetoacetate so it does not tell you if you are producing the right ketones; 2) after several months in ketosis your kidneys may stop releasing ketones in the urine so you could be in deep ketosis and not tell from a urine strip.
6. A better way to test for ketosis is by using a home kit that analyzes a pin prick of blood for the right ketones.
7. It is possible to produce ketones and still have high blood sugar levels, something you want to avoid. The best way to avoid this is to use a home kit to test a pin prick of blood for glucose so you can monitor your blood glucose level to make sure it is going down as your ketones go up.
9. Being in ketosis improves your brain’s functioning and your mental energy.
10. Being in ketosis also improves your overall energy and heart functioning.
11. Carbohydrates are not an essential nutrient. If you don’t eat any, your body will produce them by breaking down protein. You actually have to limit your protein intake to stay in ketosis, although the amount varies from person to person.
13. Living on a ketogenic diet reduces inflammation.
14. There is solid scientific evidence that ketogenic diets work therapeutically for epilepsy, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, polycystic ovary syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, GERD and heartburn, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. There is also good evidence of the benefits from ketosis for Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, narcolepsy and other sleep disorders. Emerging areas of research that look very promising are cancer, autism, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, migraines, traumatic brain injury, stroke, gum disease, tooth decay, acne, eyesight, Lou Gehrig’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Huntington’s disease, kidney disease, restless leg syndrome, and aging.

Although it is hard for me to imagine how so many chronic diseases could be cured or improved by a ketogenic diet, it has been suggested that these diseases are all made worse by high levels of insulin in the blood and since the ketogenic diet cuts out all sugar, the reduction of insulin as a result could be the primary factor.

We have been on a ketogenic diet for a while, but the book inspired us to cut back on our protein intake and to get a blood sugar analyzer. We also ordered a ketone blood analyzer to determine the ratio of glucose and ketones in our blood.

Overall this was a great book that was easy to read and did a great job of explaining very abstract concepts. It was the best book on ketogenic living I have read, (and  I have read a dozen or more). I highly recommend the book for anyone interested in their health. Five stars !