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 !

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Tripping Over the Truth about Cancer

Tripping Over theTruth: The Return of the Metabolic Theory of Cancer Illuminates a New and Hopeful Path to a Cure by Travis Christofferson is a surprisingly interesting collection of stories about the history and findings of cancer research.

One of the stories in the book is about Dr. Warburg who in 1924 discovered that cancer cells can only live on glycogen (sugar) and later that cancer cells have fewer mitochondria than healthy cells. Dr. Warburg’s  extraordinary brilliance, his personal sacrifices to contribute to understanding cancer, and the dedication of his students make the story an inspiring read.

The book describes three shocking revelations from recent discoveries made at the multinational Cancer Genome Atlas project funded by the National Cancer Institute, started in 2006.

First: most cancers are not caused by genetic damage to DNA, which mainstream medicine believes (except Dr. Warburg and his students) to be the primary cause of cancer since the discovery of DNA in the 1950s.

Second: the body does a remarkably good job of repairing DNA; most cancer cells have far less DNA damage than anyone realized, which destroyed the accepted model of cancer known as the “Somatic Theory of Cancer“.

Third: tumors are rarely comprised of just one type of cancer cell and instead consist of thousands of genetically different cancer cells. This explains why cancer growths are so resistance to chemotherapy and radiation. Cancer growths with thousands of versions of DNA are far more likely to survive compared to a mass of cells with the same DNA. Sadly, it also explains why if cancer returns it is much harder to treat; the cancer cells that survived initial treatments are not affected by the same subsequent treatments.

The book describes a discovery in 1978 that strongly pointed to cell mitochondria damage being the cause of cancer. Cancer researcher Cyril Darlington found that  x-rays with enough energy to damage the DNA in the cell nucleus did not cause cancer, yet when the energy in x-rays was increased enough to damage cell mitochondria, it did cause cancer. Sadly this research was totally ignored until Thomas Seyfried wrote his landmark book in 2012 “Cancer as a metabolic disease”. Mitochondria controls cellular growth rates, apoptosis (programmed cellular death), and intracellular communications. When the mitochondria of cells are damaged, it causes rapid cell replication (from days to hours), the cells become immortal and never die, and they tell nearby cells to redirect the blood flow to support their rapid growth.

One of the strangest discoveries the book describes is that when the cell’s mitochondria is damaged, it sends an emergency message (known as a “retrograde response”) to the cell’s nucleus. The nucleus attempts to help the mitochondria by sending it pieces of DNA to help it survive without oxygen. These pieces of DNA activate some cell functions like high-growth and deactivate other functions like DNA repair which can cause cancer cells to replicate. Ironically, these changes can also damage the DNA of the cell nucleus because it is no longer being repaired. Cancer researchers who thought that DNA damage was the cause of cancer didn’t realize it was just a side effect of mitochondria damage.

One disturbing fact is that despite the number of smokers being cut by 50% in the last 40 years, cancer incidence is going up as is cancer mortality. In fact, the mortality rates are increasing so fast that the author predicts cancer will soon over take heart disease as the number one cause of death. This contradicts what I had been hearing from the media, about most cancers having effective cures and that a cure to all cancers was very close.

Despite the bad news, the author has a positive view of future cancer treatment because of an experimental diet that promotes low blood sugar. The diet basically consists of no sugar, very low carbohydrates, limited protein, and huge amounts of saturated fat.  This diet is known as the ketogenic diet. There are several trials going on around the world and there have been some extraordinary results with many people surviving previously incurable forms of cancer.  

I find it exciting to think that a diet could be the cure to cancer. Imagine getting diagnosed with cancer and instead of surgery, radiation treatment, and chemo therapy, the doctor just makes you an appointment with a dietitian. I highly recommend this book, five stars.

Friday, October 21, 2016

2017 Year of the Fire Rooster

It is time for our annual predictions based on the Chinese lunar calendar for 2017 Year of the Fire Rooster.  As we predicted, the current 2016 Fire Monkey year has been crazy and disorderly. The Monkey Year has seen lawlessness, extreme attitudes and deception. Unfortunately, the 2016's Star of Illness of the Flying Star Feng Shui chart brought us Zika, Hep A and other diseases spreading the globe. In contrast, the 2017 Rooster Year will be a time of rebirth, transformation, and growth.

The Rooster New Year starts January 28, 2017. It will focus on justice and efficiency and bring harmony, less violence, and more resources for growth.  Organizations like the police and military will regain favor. Loyalty, commitment, punctuality, hard work, patience, practicality, family values, and good physical appearances will be rewarded this year.

Replacing the Star of Illness at the center of the Flying Star Feng Shui chart will be the Victory Star which will make 2017 a great year for change and positive results.

During the last Fire Rooster Year, 60 years ago (1957) the Frisbee and portable typewriter were introduced, B52 airplanes flew the 1st non-stop flight around the world and set a record at 45 hours and 19 minutes, US Congress accepted the Eisenhower doctrine (which allowed a country to request American economic assistance and/or aid from U.S. military forces if it was threatened by armed aggression from another state), Mao expounded his ideals in his speech “on correct handling of contradictions among people”, Great Britain became the 3rd nation (after the US and USSR) to test nuclear bombs, the US army sold off their last homing pigeons, NYC and other cities ended their trolley service, the US Supreme Courts ruled that obscenity was not protected by the First Amendment, the link between smoking and lung cancer was published, the 1st submarine designed to fire guided missiles was launched, the element 102 (Nobelium) was discovered, the 1st rocket with a nuclear warhead was fired in Arizona, the 1st American ran the mile in less than 4 minutes, the 1st commercial building was heated by the sun in Albuquerque, the US Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1957, Ford introduced the Edsel, B52 bombers started flying full time in preparation for a USSR attack, “In God We Trust” 1st appeared on US paper currency, the USSR launched Sputnik with Laika the dog on board, the1st US large scale nuclear power plant started generating electricity in Pennsylvania, the 1st Fair Housing Practices Law was passed in NYC, the 1st pneumatic pump operation on a dog proved an artificial heart was possible, an Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile test was successful, and Elvis Presley was drafted into the US Army,

The 2017 Rooster Year will be a substantial change of pace from the crazy Monkey year with sanity and order restored in the world. Even better, the year will be dominated by the Victory Star, so you can expect success in competition, business, and your career  This is the year to work hard, keep your nose to the grindstone, and achieve your goals.