Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My cardiologist says.....

In answer to a question about cholesterol.

Q - I'm ... confused about getting cholesterol numbers down. In my reading I've discovered that there is a "cholesterol myth" - Uffe Ravnskov, Gary Taubes, etc. that says that cholesterol does not cause heart disease. Why am I trying to get these numbers if cholesterol does not cause heart disease? I cannot take statins so I'm concerned about this subject.

A - That's right: The issue is not cholesterol, nor was it ever cholesterol.

The issue is the kinds, numbers, and behavior of the complex particles in the blood that can contribute to atherogenesis, i.e, atherosclerotic plaque formation. They contain cholesterol, but the cholesterol component is not the crucial causal factor. These are, of course, lipoproteins.

Small LDL particles, for instance, have a unique conformation that makes the lysine residues on the resident apo B molecule more prone to glycation. Glycated small LDL particles are more prone to oxidation. The resultant glycoxidated small LDL molecule, in turn, is more readily able to cross intercellular barriers, is more adherent to the components of plaque, are poorly recognized by the liver receptor for LDL particles and thereby "lives" in the bloodstream much longer than larger LDL particles, and are avidly taken up by inflammatory cells.

So viewing this as a "cholesterol" problem is an incredible oversimplification that tends to focus on the wrongs things, such as statin drugs alone to "reduce cholesterol."


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Dr. Michael R. Eades endorses Wheat Belly

"Wheat Belly hit the New York Times Bestseller list shortly after it came out (and has been there for two weeks now), which I can tell you from experience, is not an easy thing to do. As a result (because being on the NY Times list means a book has had big sales numbers), the wheat producers have not taken their hits lying down. They’re fighting back with full venom, because a book like this one can do them serious economic damage."

Read Dr. Michael R. Eades complete review here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

HeartHawk examines the Scientific Advisory Board of the Grain Foods Foundation

The "Big-Wheat" Empire Strikes Back: Attack Begins on Dr. Davis and Wheat Belly

The Grain Foods Foundation, Wheat Foods Council, Go with the Grain, GrainPower, SixServings, you know them by many names but they all have one goal. To fatten you you up with wheat before the slaughter - by your own bagel-laden hand - while making a buck in the process.

This collection of dubious organizations has recently gone after Dr. William R. Davis and his new book "Wheat Belly" in what I believe will be a vain attempt to discredit him before the truth gets out. A truth that could cost them billions of dollars. Judging by the overwhelming online response and support of Doc Davis they may have bitten off more than they can chew. Here is the link.


After reading it I though I would do a quick investigation into their so-called "Scientific Advisory Board." It ain't pretty. This is what passes for independent scientific advice? Yikes!

Glenn Gaesser, PhD: Author of "Big Fat Lies" a book that promotes the concept that actual weight (how fat you are) is not as important as (surprise) dietary fat. Not surprisingly, the book recommends a diet of complex carbohydrates. Most humorously, it rails against the so-called "experts" who produce healthy weight/height charts. Gee, isn't it the Grain Foods Council who admonishes us to believe the "experts?"

James R. Gavin III, MD, PhD: This disclosure gem is precious. "Served as an advisor or consultant for: sanofi-aventis; LifeScan, Inc.; Eli Lilly and Company; Daiichi Sankyo, Inc.; Abbott Diabetes Care; AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP; Served as a speaker or a member of a speakers bureau for: Novo Nordisk; Bristol-Myers Squibb Company; AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP; sanofi-aventis: Owns stock, stock options, or bonds from: Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Served as member of the Board of Directors for: Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Inc." Care to guess on what ALL the above drug companies have in common? Surprise, surprise, surprise, they make diabetes drugs! LifeScan, Inc. makes blood glucose monitors. Hmmm, does it seem that ANY of these companies is particularly interested in reducing the number of diabetics?

Ronald Kleinman, MD: Yeah, it gets better! Kleinman, who is known to accept compensation for his opinion, "serves on scientific advisory boards for General Mills, the Grain Foods Foundation and Burger King. He is a member of the Board of Directors for Project Bread in Boston; a member of the Board of Directors Global Child Health Foundation; and a consultant for Mead Johnson Nutritionals." Hey, guess who owned Mead Johnson for 42 years? Bristol-Myers Squibb! Guess what the first item is in the Mead Johnson Food Pyramid For Pregnant Women. If guessed "grains" give yourself a gold star! And whats with: General Mills? Burger King? Project Bread? LMAO! You're kidding, right?

Robert S. Rosenson, MD: The beat goes on. He "Served as an advisor or consultant for: Abbott Laboratories; Amarin Corporation plc; Amgen Inc.; Genentech, Inc.; LipoScience Inc.; Roche; sanofi-aventis; Received grants for clinical research from: Amgen Inc.; Genentech, Inc.; Roche. We covered some of the other drug makers. Amarin is finalizing development of drug to treat high triglycerides. Guess what one of the leading causes of high-TGs is. Roche make anti-diabetes drugs and the famous Accu-Check blood glucose monitor.

Shelley Case, RD: Can't say much about Ms. Case. Her financials are clean but her laser-like focus and expertise is restricted to the gluten protein and celiac disease. What about all those other proteins manufactured by the extra 28 chromosomes in the cross-bred and genetically engineered "Frranken-food" we call wheat. To quote Ms. Case, "Patients should be thoroughly tested for Celiac if they present with conditions such as anemia, bone issues, thyroid and liver dysfunction, and arthritis." Hmmm, any chance those conditions - as mentioned in Wheat Belly - could be due to one of the other proteins in wheat?

Julie Miller Jones, PhD, LN, CNS: This quote from Ms. Jones and a group of her cronies enlisted by grain growers in repsonse to the USDA altering the food pyramid logo says it all. " ... we will provide input on the science behind the new icon and ways to achieve the key goal of getting consumers to eat more healthfully, ensuring they are getting their six servings of grains daily, making at least half their grains whole and the rest enriched grains." Does that include celiacs? Do you suppose Ms. Case and Ms. Jones ever talk?

Sylvia Melendez-Klinger, MS, RD, LD: From Ms. Klingers corporate website, "Ms. Klinger is also culinary consultant to food and beverage companies such as The Coca-Cola Company, Kellogg’s, Hormel Foods, Ross Laboratories, GlaxoSmithKline, Dannon, AztraZeneca, Uniliver, Mc Neil Nutritionals, and Weight Watchers International were she completed numerous administrative and communications projects." I think that just about covers Ms. Melendez-Klinger's credentials as an "independent" expert!

Bruce Young, MD: Dr.Young is an obstetrician and gynecologist with credentials in programs for mid-wifery and fetal medicine but I have no idea what his standing is as a grain expert. Best I can tell "Big-Wheat" wants so-called experts to push wheat from conception to our untimely and miserable deaths.

Yeah, if this is an "independent" board then I'm Batman (I'd settle for Bruce Wayne, hell, I'd settle for Adam West). But what did you expect? Let the battle begin. If this is the best the competition can offer I'm betting on Doc Davis!

Looking out for your health,


Monday, September 12, 2011

Fat Head interviews Dr. William R. Davis

Interview with ‘Wheat Belly’ Author Dr. William Davis

Posted by Tom Naughton in Good Science, News and Reviews
You all (or y’all, as we say around these parts) submitted so many good questions for Wheat Belly author Dr. William Davis, we decided to make this a two-part Q & A. We’ll probably have part two ready early next week.

Fat Head: You’re a cardiologist by profession, and yet you just wrote an in-depth book about the negative health effects of consuming wheat. How did wheat end up on your radar? What first made you suspect wheat might be behind many of our modern health problems?

Dr. Davis: It started several years ago when I asked patients in my office to consider eliminating all wheat from their diet. I did this because of some very simple logic: If foods made from wheat raise blood sugar higher than nearly all other foods (due to its high-glycemic index), including table sugar, then removing wheat should reduce blood sugar. I was concerned about high blood sugar since around 80% of the people coming to my office had diabetes, pre-diabetes, or what I call “pre-pre-diabetes.” In short, the vast majority of people showed abnormal metabolic markers.
I provided patients with a simple two-page handout on how to do this, i.e., how to eliminate wheat and replace the lost calories with healthy foods like more vegetables, raw nuts, meats, eggs, avocados, olives, olive oil, etc. They’d come back three months later with lower fasting blood sugars, lower hemoglobin A1c (a reflection of the previous 60 days’ blood sugar); some diabetics became non-diabetics, pre-diabetics became non-pre-diabetic. They’d also be around 30 pounds lighter.
Then they began to tell me about other experiences: relief from arthritis and joint pains, chronic rashes disappearing, asthma improved sufficiently to stop inhalers, chronic sinus infections gone, leg swelling gone, migraine headaches gone for the first time in decades, acid reflux and irritable bowel symptoms relieved. At first, I told patients it was just an odd coincidence. But it happened so many times to so many people that it became clear that this was no coincidence; this was a real and reproducible phenomenon.
That’s when I began to systematically remove wheat from everyone’s diet and continued to witness similar turnarounds in health across dozens of conditions. There has been no turning back since.

Fat Head: You cite quite a bit of academic research in your book, but you also cite case histories from your medical practice. So, as a chicken-or-the-egg issue, which came first? Did you start noticing that patients who consumed a lot of wheat had more health problems and then go looking for the research to back up your suspicions, or did you come across research that prompted you to take notice of what your patients were eating?

Dr. Davis: The real-world experience came first. But what surprised me was that there already was an extensive medical literature documenting all of this, but it was largely ignored or didn’t reach mainstream consciousness nor the consciousness of most of my colleagues. And a lot of the documentation comes from the agricultural genetics literature, an area, I can assure you, my colleagues do not study. But I dug into this area of science and talked to people at the USDA and in agriculture departments in universities to gain a full understanding of all the issues.
One of the difficulties that partly explains why much of this information has not previously seen the light of day is that agricultural geneticists work on plants, not humans. There is a broad and pervasive assumption followed by these well-meaning scientists: No matter how extreme the techniques used to alter the genetics of a plant like wheat, it is still just fine for human consumption …no questions asked. I believe that is flat wrong and underlies much of the suffering inflicted on humans consuming this modern product of genetics research still called, misleadingly, “wheat.”

Fat Head: So after pinpointing wheat as a driver of various health problems, you started counseling your patients to eliminate wheat from their diets. What inspired you take the extra step – and it’s a big step – of writing a book?

Dr. Davis: What I witnessed in the thousands of people removing wheat from their diet was nothing short of incredible. When I saw weight loss of 70 pounds in six months, energy and mood surging, reversal of inflammatory diseases such as ulcerative colitis and rheumatoid arthritis, relief from chronic rashes and arthritis — and the effects were consistent over and over again — I realized that I could not just let this issue pass quietly in my office practice.
Admittedly, the world is going to need more confirmatory data before wheat, or at least the modern genetically-altered version of wheat we are being sold, is removed from the world’s dinner plate. But the data that are already available are more than enough, I believe, to bring this information to the public for people to make the decision themselves. I liken this situation to living in a village where everyone drinks water from the same well. Nine out of 10 people get sick when they drink water from the well; all recover when they stop drinking from it. Drink from the same well, they all get sick again; stop, they get better. With such a consistent and reproducible cause-and-effect relationship, do we need a clinical trial to prove it to us? I don’t.
This is going to be a long, hard battle in the public arena. Wheat comprises 20% of all human calories. It requires a huge infrastructure to grow, harvest, collect seeds, fertilize, herbicide, process, and distribute. This message is going to potentially hurt the livelihoods of thousands, perhaps millions, of people who are part of the infrastructure. It reminds me of the battles that were fought (and still being fought today) when it became widely accepted that smoking cigarettes was bad. When people within the tobacco industry were asked how they could work for a company that destroyed people’s health, they replied, “I had to support my family and pay my mortgage.” The eliminate-all-wheat-in-the-human-diet argument that I make will hurt many people where it counts: right in the pocketbook. But, personally, I am not willing to sacrifice my own health, the health of my family, friends, neighbors, patients, and the nation to allow the incredibly unhealthy status quo to continue.
Fat Head: The more of the book I read, the more I found myself thinking, “Wow, I knew wheat was bad for us, but it’s even worse than I thought.” Did you have the same reaction while researching the book? Were you surprised at how many physical and mental problems wheat can cause?

Dr. Davis: Yes. I knew wheat was bad from the start of this project. And there were times when I wondered if I was missing something, given the unanimous embracing of this grain by agribusiness, farmers, agricultural scientists, the USDA, FDA, American Dietetic Association, etc. But the opposite happened: The deeper I got into it, this thing being sold to us called “wheat” appeared worse … and worse, and worse, the farther I got.
I am mindful of the “For a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail” trap we can all fall into, but when you see disease condition after disease condition vanish with elimination of wheat, you can’t help but become convinced that it plays a crucial role in hundreds, literally hundreds, of common conditions.

Fat Head: You described in your book how today’s wheat is the product of energetic cross-breeding. Is cross-breeding inherently bad? Doesn’t cross-breeding take place in nature all the time?

Dr. Davis: Yes, it does. Humans, along with all plants and animals, are the product of cross-breeding or hybridization. Love, sex, and cross-breeding make the world go ‘round and make life interesting. The problem is that these terms are used very loosely by geneticists.
For example, if I subject wheat seeds and embryos to the potent industrial poison sodium azide, I can induce mutations in the plant’s genetic code. First, let me tell you about sodium azide. If ingested, the poison control people at the Centers for Disease Control advise you to not resuscitate the person who ingested it and stopped breathing as a result —just let the victim die—because the rescuer can die, too. And, if the victim vomits, don’t throw the vomit in the sink because it can explode (this has actually happened). So, expose wheat seeds and embryos to sodium azide and you obtain mutations. This is called chemical mutagenesis. Seeds and embryos can also be exposed to gamma irradiation and high-dose x-ray radiation. All of these techniques fall under the umbrella of hybridization or, even more misleading, traditional breeding techniques. I don’t know about you, but cross-breeding among the humans I know doesn’t involve slipping each other chemical poisons or a romantic evening in the cyclotron to induce mutations in our offspring.
These “traditional breeding techniques,” by the way, are markedly more disruptive to the plant’s genetics than genetic engineering. Americans are up in arms about genetically-modified (GMO) foods (i.e., the insertion or deletion of a single gene). The great irony is that genetic engineering is a substantial improvement over “traditional breeding techniques” that have gone on for decades and are still going on.
[Note from Tom: I tried talking my wife into stepping into a cyclotron with me on our honeymoon. She told me to stop drinking the champagne and go to sleep.]

Fat Head: I met you in person over a year ago, and you’re a very lean guy, so I was surprised to learn from the book that you used to carry around your very own wheat belly. Describe the differences between you as a wheat-eater and you now, both in terms of your physique and your health.

Dr. Davis: Thirty pounds ago, while I was still an enthusiastic consumer of “healthy whole grains,” I struggled with constant difficulties in maintaining focus and energy. I relied on pots of coffee or walking and exercise just to battle the constant stuporous haze. My cholesterol values reflected my wheat-consuming habits: HDL 27 mg/dl (very low), triglycerides 350 mg/dl (VERY high), and blood sugars in the diabetic range (161 mg/dl). I had high blood pressure, running values around 150/90. And all my excess weight was around my middle—yes, my very own wheat belly.
Saying goodbye to wheat has helped me shed the weight around the middle; my cholesterol values: HDL 63 mg/dl, triglycerides 50 mg/dl, LDL 70 mg/dl, blood sugar 84 mg/dl, BP 114/74—using no drugs. In other words, everything reversed. Everything reversed including the struggle to maintain attention and focus. I can now concentrate and focus on something for so long that my wife yells for me to stop.
All in all, I feel better today at age 54 than I felt at age 30.

Fat Head: How has learning what you now know about wheat and other grains changed your medical practice?

Dr. Davis: It has catapulted success in helping people regain health into the stratosphere. Among people following this diet, i.e., eliminate wheat and limit other carbohydrates (along with the other heart-healthy strategies I advocate, including omega-3 fatty acid supplementation with fish oil, vitamin D supplementation to achieve a desirable 25-hydroxy vitamin D level of 60-70 ng/ml, iodine supplementation and normalization of thyroid dysfunction), I no longer see heart attacks. The only heart attacks I see are people whom I’ve just met or those who, for one reason or another (usually lack of interest) don’t follow the diet. A priest I take care of, for instance, a wonderful and generous man, couldn’t bring himself to turn down the muffins, pies, and breads his parishioners brought him every day; he had a heart attack despite doing everything else right.
This diet approach, though it seems quirky on the surface, is extremely powerful. What diet, after all, causes substantial weight loss, corrects the causes of heart disease such as small LDL particles, reverses diabetes and pre-diabetes, and improves or cures multiple conditions ranging from rheumatoid arthritis to acid reflux?

Fat Head: You’ve seen hundreds of your own patients become cured of supposedly incurable diseases after giving up wheat. Describe one or two of the most dramatic examples.

Dr. Davis: Two people are on my mind nearly every day, mostly because I am especially gratified about the magnitude of their response and because I shudder to think what their lives would have been like had they not engaged in this diet change.
I describe Wendy’s story in the book, a 36-year mother and schoolteacher who had nearly incapacitating ulcerative colitis; so bad that, despite three medications, she continued to suffer constant cramps, diarrhea, and bleeding sufficient to require blood transfusions. When I met Wendy, she told me that her gastroenterologist and surgeon had scheduled her for colon removal and creation of an ileostomy bag. These would be lifelong changes; she would be consigned to wearing a bag to catch stool at the surface for the rest of her life. I urged her to remove wheat. At first, she objected, since her intestinal biopsies and blood work all failed to suggest celiac disease. But, having seen many amazing things happen with removal of wheat, I suggested that there was nothing to lose. She did it. Three months later, not only had she lost 38 pounds, but all the cramps, diarrhea, and bleeding had stopped. It’s now been two years. She’s off all drugs with no sign of the disease left—colon intact, no ileostomy bag. She is cured.
The second case is Jason, also described in the book, a 26-year old software programmer, in this case incapacitated by joint pains and arthritis. Consultations with three rheumatologists failed to yield a diagnosis; all prescribed anti-inflammatory drugs and pain medication, while Jason continued to hobble around, unable to engage in much more than short walks. Within five days of removing all wheat, Jason was 100% free of joint pains. He told that he found this absolutely ridiculous and refused to believe it. So he had a sandwich: Joint pains rushed right back. He’s now strictly wheat-free and pain-free.

Fat Head: Your patients are lucky – you’d rather change a patient’s diet than write a prescription whenever possible. Unfortunately, you’re in the minority. As I recounted on my blog recently, a co-worker’s wife was finally cured of her pounding headaches when an acquaintance suggested she stop eating grains. She’d been to several doctors who merely prescribed medications. So … why are so few doctors aware of how grains can affect our health?

Dr. Davis: I believe healthcare has detoured towards high-tech, high revenue-producing procedures, medications, and catastrophic care. Too many in healthcare have lost the vision of helping people and fulfilling their mission to heal. While that sounds old-fashioned, I believe it is a bad trend for healthcare to be reduced to a financial transaction bound by legal constraints. It needs to be restored to a relationship of healing.
I believe that many in healthcare have also been disenchanted with the ineffectiveness of dietary advice. Because dietary “wisdom” has been wrong on so many counts over the past 50 years, people have become soured on the ability of nutrition and natural methods to improve health. From what I’ve witnessed, however, nutrition and natural methods have enormous power to heal—if the right methods are applied.

Fat Head: Do you hope your book will educate more doctors on the topic, or is this one of those situations where the public will have to ignore their doctors and educate themselves?

Dr. Davis: Regrettably, many people will read the message in Wheat Belly, experience the life-changing health and weight transformations that can result, then they will then tell their doctors, who will declare their success “coincidence,” “mind over matter,” “placebo effect,” or some other dismissal. Many of my colleagues refuse to recognize the power of diet even when confronted with powerful results. That can only change over a very long time.
Thankfully, more and more of my colleagues are beginning to see the light and not look for the answer in drugs and procedures. These are the healthcare providers that I hope will emerge to assist people as advocates and coaches in conducting an experience like that described in Wheat Belly.

Fat Head: If more doctors were informed of the issues you wrote about in Wheat Belly, do you think they’d change their dietary advice, or is the “fat is bad, grains are good” mentality too ingrained in the profession?

Dr. Davis: There is absolutely no question that the “fat is bad, grains are good” argument will persist in the minds of many of my colleagues for many years. However, I believe if they were to read the arguments laid out logically in Wheat Belly, they would first come to recognize that “wheat” is no longer wheat but an incredibly transformed product of genetics research. Then they would begin to follow the logic and understand that the long menu of problems associated with consumption of modern “wheat” begins to explain why we’ve all been witnessing an explosion in common diseases. That’s when I hope we all hear a collective “Aha!”

Bad Science Used To Push Cholesterol-Reducing Drugs

By Cholesterol Truth

Dr. John Briffa

I had a patient in my practice this week who was seeking advice about the prevention of heart disease. He’d been on a statin for several years, and then started to get what he felt might be side-effects.
He stopped the statin and the side-effects went away. As he rightly pointed out, the relief from his symptoms might have been entirely coincidental and nothing to do with the fact that he stopped his statin medication. However, he was disinclined to restart. My patient told me that he expects his doctor to be up in arms about this. He has, apparently, an unbridled enthusiasm for statins and believes ‘everyone should be taking them’.

As I pointed out to my patient, the reality is the vast majority of people who take statins are destined not to benefit from them. And then we have the problem, of course, of toxicity and side effects.
Not to mention the cost. What is it then, that causes doctors to be so enthusiastic about drugs that, on balance, have limited benefits and can cause serious harm?

Well, some of this has to do with the fact that doctors make money from cholesterol reduction. In private medicine, the cholesterol concept suddenly makes ‘patients’ out of essentially healthy people.
Here in the UK, national health general practitioners are remunerated for their cholesterol-reducing efforts with patients.

But a major part of the problem too, I think, has to do with how the ‘benefits’ of statins and other drugs are communicated to doctors by drug companies. As I’ve pointed out before, the emphasis is usually on reductions in the ‘relative risk’ of, say, heart disease. But if the overall risk is small, the real reduction in risk (known as the ‘absolute risk’ reduction) becomes vanishingly small.
Another problem is that data can be presented to doctors that gives a misleading account of a drug’s effects for the unwary. I spotted a prime example of this recently in the on-line version of the GP magazine Pulse here.
The title of this piece reads: Ezetimibe plus statin ‘halves death risk’. What the piece is really about is that some primary care trusts have banned GPs from prescribing ezetimibe (a cholesterol-reducing drug), supposedly on the basis of cost. Some doctors, it seems, are upset about this. The piece cites some evidence in which individuals taking ezetimibe plus the statin simvastatin were about half as likely to die compared to those taking simvastatin alone. In case you haven’t clicked through to the actual piece, here’s how the opening paragraph of the piece reads: ‘A cholesterol-lowering drug that has been blacklisted by some PCTs on financial grounds has been shown to reduce mortality in patients following a first acute myocardial infarction.’
One problem: the study that purportedly shows that ezetimibe saves lives actually does nothing of the sort. The study is ‘epidemiological’ in nature, and can only tell us that ezetimibe is associated with a reduced risk of death. You see, individuals who take ezetimibe may have a reduced risk of death that has nothing to do with ezetimibe. Maybe, for example, they’re particularly health conscious and in addition to pressing their doctors for more and stronger medication, they’re also active and eat good diets.

The fact that the study in question here is epidemiological means that the statement that ‘A cholesterol-lowering drug…has been shown to reduce mortality…’ is simply wrong and misleading.
To know if ezetimibe really does save lives, we need clinical ‘intervention’ studies. We now have several of these. And here’s what you and your doctor need to know: Not one of them has shown that ezetimibe benefits health or health markers. Some of the studies actually suggest the ezetimibe does more harm than good.

The Pulse piece ends with the following paragraph: ‘Dr Peter Fellowes, a GP in Lydney, Gloucestershire and a member of the GPC clinical and prescribing subcommittee, said: ‘I don't think it should be blacklisted. It is very useful in patients who are statin intolerant. The arguments against ezetimibe and the more potent statins are entirely cost based as I see it, and that is a sorry state of affairs.'’

I’ll tell you what’s a ‘sorry state of affairs’: When a doctor is advocating the use of an expensive and potentially toxic drug that has no proven benefits on health. And it doesn’t help that a magazine for GPs presents information on cholesterol-reducing drugs in a misleading and utterly imbalanced way, either.

To your good health,
Dr. John Briffa
for The Cholesterol truth
Read the full article here.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Getting a CT Heart Scan - Dr William R Davis

Wheat Belly author Dr. William Davis answering questions about getting a CT Heart Scan.

Dr. William Davis from http://www.trackyourplaque.com/blog appeared as a guest on Jimmy Moore's "The Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Show" podcast http://www.thelivinlowcarbshow.com/shownotes and answers questions about why he believes the calcium heart scan is an effective means for heart disease prevention, which CT Heart Scan is the correct one to get done and where to go to do it, and why it's a simple, safe and effective means for knowing where you stand.

Why Statins Do More Harm Than Good - Stephanie Seneff

by Stephanie Seneff

Senior Research Scientist at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Americans have been well trained over the past few decades to avoid dietary fat and cholesterol and to stay out of the sun. Their conscientious implementation of this misguided advice has led to an epidemic in obesity and heart disease, along with a host of other debilitating conditions like arthritis and Alzheimer's disease.

Cholesterol is to animals as chlorophyll is to plants. Cholesterol, absent from plants, is what gives animals mobility and a nervous system. It is therefore not surprising that statin drug side effects mainly impact muscles and the nervous system.

The heart, as a muscle, is not exempt from statin toxicity. This is why the incidence of heart failure has steadily risen in step with the widespread adoption of statin therapy, now displacing cardiovascular disease as the number one killer. In this article I am going to take you on a whirlwind tour of the 60,000 foot view of my understanding of the principle causes of the current health crisis in America.
My extensive research has caused me to hypothesize a remarkable feat that the human body can perform in the presence of sunlight, which is to extract sulfur from hydrogen sulfide in the air and convert it to sulfate, taking advantage of the sun's energy to catalyze the reaction.

This process takes place in the skin upon sun exposure, and also in the endothelial cells lining blood vessels, and in the red blood cells, platelets, and mast cells in the blood. This feat is performed by a very interesting molecule called "endothelial nitric oxide synthase,'' a misnomer, since its main responsibility is to synthesize sulfate rather than nitric oxide.

The sulfate so produced plays a huge role in cardiovascular health, both by preventing blood clots and by keeping pathogenic microbes (bacteria and viruses) at bay. But it also plays another role that is just as important, which is to give cholesterol (as well as vitamin D and other sterols) a free ride through the blood stream.

Vitamin D3 (a highly touted nutrient) is synthesized in the skin from cholesterol (a highly demonized nutrient) and its chemical structure is almost identical to that of cholesterol. By attaching to cholesterol or vitamin D3, sulfate makes the molecule water soluble, and this means that it no longer has to travel packaged up inside an LDL particle. LDL, as you probably know, is the so-called "bad'' cholesterol, which will cause doctors to prescribe statins if the level is too high.

A great way to lower LDL levels is to get adequate sun exposure. It's not going to work to take a vitamin D supplement: you have to go outside and soak up the sun, because supplements are never sulfated and vitamin D is not cholesterol. Raw cow's milk is the only dietary source I know of that actually supplies sulfated vitamin D3, but even that is still not cholesterol sulfate.

Because most Americans have inadequate cholesterol in their skin and grossly inadequate amounts of sun exposure, they suffer from a huge deficiency in cholesterol and sulfate supply to the tissues. Not surprisingly, most impacted are the muscles and nervous system.

Because the heart muscle is indispensible, the body has developed a back-up strategy to give it special treatment, which is to synthesize cholesterol sulfate from LDL and homocysteine in the fatty deposits (plaque) that build up in arteries supplying the heart. The macrophages in the plaque extract cholesterol from damaged small dense LDL particles, and export it to HDL-A1. The platelets in the plaque will only accept cholesterol from HDL-A1, which they then convert to cholesterol sulfate.

They obtain the sulfate through yet another process which requires energy and oxidizing agents, extracting the sulfur from homocysteine. With insufficient homocysteine, the sulfur will most likely be extracted from cartilage, which gets its strength from extensive disulfide bonds. This, in my view, is the main cause of arthritis -- depletion of sulfur from the cartilage in the joints. So now you have both cardiovascular disease and arthritis as a consequence of a low-fat diet and aggressive sun avoidance.

Statin drugs dramatically lower LDL levels by interfering with cholesterol synthesis, and this wreaks havoc on the liver, the main back-up supplier of cholesterol to the tissues when cholesterol intake and cholesterol sulfate production are down. With the American diet, the liver has another huge task, which is to convert fructose to fat.

The fat cannot be stored or shipped (via LDL) if there is insufficient cholesterol. As a consequence, the liver abandons this task, and the fructose builds up in the blood, causing extensive glycation damage to blood proteins. One of the impacted proteins is the apoB in LDL, which interferes with LDL's ability to deliver its goods to the tissues, including cholesterol, fats, vitamins A, D, E, and K, and antioxidants. So LDL levels fall sharply with statins, and so does the bioavailability of all these nutrients.

Muscle cells come to the rescue, heroically, by extracting excess fructose from the blood and converting it to lactate, using anaerobic metabolism. They have to switch over to anaerobic metabolism anyway, because coenzyme Q10, another casualty of statin therapy, is in low supply. Coenzyme Q10 is crucial for aerobic metabolism.

Lactate is a great fuel for the heart and liver, but the problem is that the muscle cells get wrecked in the process, due to massive overdoses of fructose, in the context of inadequate cholesterol, which would have offered some protection. This is a principle contributor to the excessive muscle pain and weakness associated with statins. Eventually, the muscles can't do it any more, and you're now on the verge towards heart failure.

People on long-term statin therapy start to notice that their hair is receding faster, they're developing cataracts, they can't hear as well as they used to, they keep forgetting things, they can't open the pickle jar any more, and perhaps they'll need rotator cuff surgery soon, as their shoulders are so sore. They think it's just because they're growing old, but these are all side effects that my research, together with my students at MIT, has uncovered, by comparing statin drug side effects with side effects associated with other drugs in age-matched reviews.

Even more alarming are the rare but debilitating and even life-threatening side effects we've detected, such as ALS and Parkinson's disease, heart and liver failure, neuropathy and severe muscle damage. A 17-year study on the elderly confirmed what I already suspected: low serum cholesterol is associated with increased frailty, accelerated mental decline, and early death. (Ref 1.)

Statins are not the answer for anyone seeking to avoid cardiovascular disease. The answer, instead, is to modify the diet to include foods that are rich in cholesterol and saturated fat, to avoid empty carbohydrates, especially high fructose corn syrup, to eat foods that are good sources of sulfur, and, most especially, to spend plenty of time outdoors in the sun.

Stephanie Seneff is a Senior Research Scientist at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.
She has a Batchelor's degree from MIT in biology with a minor in food and nutrition, and a PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, also from MIT. Her website at MIT: people.csail.mit.edu/seneff
Her blog: stephanie-on-health.blogspot.com

Ref 1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21254906

September 2011
Please visit Spacedoc.com to read this and other related and very credible articles.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Fat Head's take on The Grain Producers Respond to ‘Wheat Belly’

Here is part of his article.

Not surprisingly, the U.S. grain industry isn’t happy with Dr. William Davis and his just-released book Wheat Belly. The Grain Foods Foundation responded to the book with a press release and a blog post explaining why we all need grains to be healthy. Here are some quotes from their blog post.

Don’t be fooled by catchy terms like “wheat belly” and “bagel butt”….a fad diet is still a fad diet, no matter how you dress it up.

That’s why I’m no longer on a low-fat, grain-based diet. What a stupid fad that was. Granted, I’d love to think avoiding the grains that make us fat and sick is the hottest new fad, but I’m pretty sure getting a tattoo on your (bagel) butt is still comfortably in the lead.

That’s exactly the story behind the new book Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health that was released today.

Actually, the story behind Wheat Belly is that wheat (especially today’s genetically modified wheat) pretty much sucks from a health standpoint.

As the old saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

What exactly is “too good to be true” about telling people they’ll have to give up a food that makes up a major portion of their diets – a food many of them love? Dr. Davis has had people leave his office in tears after telling them they couldn’t handle wheat and needed to stop eating it. I doubt many of them were thinking, “Well, this is just too good to be true!”

Cutting out one specific food is not only unrealistic, it’s dangerous.

Really? So if I cut refined sugar from my diet, that would be dangerous? I’m a dead man walking.

Omitting wheat entirely removes the essential (and disease-fighting!) nutrients it provides including fiber, antioxidants, iron and B vitamins.

Ahhh, that would explain why humans became extinct during the hundreds of thousands of years we didn’t consume wheat. Thank goodness those friendly aliens came to earth, planted wheat fields, then resurrected human life from some DNA samples they’d kept frozen.

Besides this, the advice dished out by Dr. Davis is completely counter to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the gold standard of scientifically-sound nutrition advice.


Last time I checked, the gold standard in research consisted of randomized clinical studies in which the data actually supports the investigators’ conclusions. But if you folks want to re-define “gold standard” to consist of observational studies that often contradict the very advice they’re cited to support, be my guest … although I’d consider that more of a tin standard.

The Guidelines call for the average healthy American to consume six one-ounce servings of grain foods daily, half of which should come from whole grains and the other half from enriched grains.

So the government agency whose mission is to sell grains is telling us to eat grains. Well, that’s all the proof I need.

Wheat is the basis for a number of healthful whole and enriched grain foods including breads, cereal, pasta and wheat berries that provide valuable nutrients to the American diet and have been shown to help with weight maintenance.

Can’t argue with that one. Wheat will definitely help you maintain your weight … at, say, 40 pounds above where you’d like to be.

So, let common sense prevail. When it comes to nutrition advice, look to the real experts and remember that weight control is all about one key equation: calories in must equal calories out.

Use common sense? Look to the real experts? I thought you said you wanted us to listen to the USDA Dietary Guidelines Committee! Make up your minds already.

The good news is that there were dozens of comments on the post, nearly all of them negative, with many citing examples of how eliminating wheat caused health problems to vanish. Others pointed out that the Grain Foods Foundation didn’t actually dispute any of the science in Wheat Belly, which is true.
Thanks Tom.
Read his complete respons here.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Epic Saturated Fat Experiment

Read the full article here.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Epic Saturated Fat Experiment
The Effects of 15 days of 100 Grams of Saturated Fat Per Day on Cholesterol Levels in a healthy adult male.
By: Bryan Stell: BS West Chester University PA Exercise Science/Nutrition

Objective: It is widely believed that saturated fat in the diet increases blood cholesterol levels, promotes poor health as well as the progression of heart disease and atherosclerosis. The goal of this experiment is to compare pre and post bloodwork following 15 days of ~100g/saturated fat consumption per day to determine if there is any merit in this widely held belief.

Introduction: Saturated fat and cholesterol have long been avoided in the diet due to their believed link to heart disease and atherosclerosis. When saturated fat crosses the lips, some ignorant fool may shout " OMG, Yer gonna have a heart attack!" Or, "that bacon is clogging your arteries." For some 50 years food marketers and pharmaceutical companies have perpetuated these ideas, even though science is demonstrating that total cholesterol is an awful predictor of coronary heart disease (CHD) and that total LDL cholesterol or "bad" cholesterol is not much better. Furthermore, the entire case against saturated fat is inextricably linked to the idea that high cholesterol causes heart disease and that saturated fat in the diet increases blood cholesterol levels.
The USDA's 2010 dietary guidelines continue with the vilification of saturated fats by recommending they make up no more than 7% of one's daily caloric intake. This is down from a previously recommended upper limit of 10%. Instead they recommend replacing saturated fats with more mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats as well as carbohydrates. *Even though polyunsaturated fats (vegetable oils) lower HDL (good cholesterol), cause inflammation, and perhaps cancer (14). Furthermore, the governments recommendation for replacing saturated fats with a higher carbohydrate intake can exacerbate the atherogenic dyslipidemia associated with insulin resistance and obesity, increased triglycerides, small LDL particles (the "bad-bad" cholesterol) and reduced HDL ((the "good" cholesterol)16), especially if the carbohydrates are the refined variety.

 It hasn't always been this way. Saturated fats where once a staple of a healthy diet. Our paleolithic ancestors prized animal fat and would preferentially consume it over leaner animal tissue(1). Our great grandfathers and their grandfathers would enjoy cholesterol rich foods such as eggs and bacon daily without thinking twice about their arteries clogging.
Results: Positive or Anti-atherogenic results:
Total LDL dropped from 111 to 106 mg/dl.
IDL dropped from 17 to 6 mg/dl.
HDL increased from 60 to 76 mg/dl.
HDL2 increased from 17 to 24 mg/dl.
HDL3 increased from 43 to 52 mg/dl.
Total VLDL decreased from 22 to 18 mg/dl.
VLDL3 decreased from 13 to 11 mg/dl mg/dl.
Triglycerides decreased from 100 to 66 mg/dl.
Non-HDL cholesterol decreased from 133 to 124 mg/dl.
Remnant lipoproteins IDL+VLD3 decreased from 30 to 19mg/dl.
Testosterone increased from 586 to 841 ng/dl.
Results: Negative or potentially atherogenic:
Total Cholesterol increased from 192 to 200 mg/dl.
Lipoprotein A increased from 6 to 8 mg/dl.
In summary, the ONLY negative blood marker found could be lipoprotein A, which is one of the "bad-bad" LDL cholesterols increased from 6-8 mg/dl. Total cholesterol did increase by 8 mg/dl but the overall picture of total cholesterol was by all accounts greatly improved. Most significantly, Testosterone increased ~70%, from 586-841 and triglycerides decreased 34%, dropping from 100 to 66. HDL also increased ~27%, from 60 to 76.

Trigylcerides to HDL ("the good cholesterol") ratio has statistically shown to be one of the most potent predictors of heart disease (17, 18), and also all cause mortality (19). A Harvard study found that people with the highest ratio of triglycerides to HDL had 16x the risk of heart attack as those with the lowest ratio. Furthermore, high triglycerides alone increased the risk by 3x. Triglycerides/HDL was found to be a better predictor of heart disease than HDL/LDL and certainly total cholesterol. So in terms of the triglyceride to HDL ratio:
  • 2 or less is considered ideal
  • 2-4 is at risk
  • 4-6 high risk
  • 6+ plan a funeral
Our subjects Triglyceride/HDL ratio pre-bacon rich diet was (100/60) or 1.6 which is considered ideal. Post SFA and cholesterol rich diet intervention his ratio improved to 66/76 or .87 which is better than ideal.

 Read the full article here.

Latest Study: Cholesterol Theory is Still Rubbish - Anthony Colpo

Latest Study: Cholesterol Theory is Still Rubbish

Anthony Colpo | Wednesday, September 7th, 2011 | Comments Off
Cholesterol-lowering: Probably the biggest wank in the history of medicine.
A soon-to-be published article in the journal Atherosclerosis adds to the vast sum of research contradicting the cholesterol theory of cardiovascular disease.

In this study, researchers tracked 82,380 participants with no known history of cardiovascular disease for an average of eight years (during the period 1994–2004) as part of the Health Survey for England. Mean age of the subjects was 55.4 and the male:female ratio was 45:55.

Given that we’ve been told ad naseum cholesterol causes heart disease, you’d expect blood cholesterol to assert itself as a robust risk factor for heart disease in such a large study. With 82,380 participants followed for almost a decade, and with 806 and 1346 subsequent deaths from stroke and IHD deaths, respectively, cholesterol had every opportunity to leave its allegedly deadly mark.
But it didn’t.

Total cholesterol levels didn’t make a whit of difference to coronary heart disease risk, and were in fact associated with a lower risk of stroke[1].

Oops. Bet this study won’t be getting the extravagant media coverage given to all those shonky Big Pharma-sponsored statin studies that are prematurely ended whilst the “miracle” drug is still showing a piddling but “statistically significant” advantage…

So what factors were associated with increased stroke and heart attack risk?
Only age, smoking, systolic BP, diabetes and physical activity were predictive of stroke, while age, male gender (get those iron levels checked fellas…), smoking, systolic blood pressure, HDL cholesterol, diabetes, BMI, physical activity, CRP, and fibrinogen were predictive of coronary heart disease.

Bottom line: Don’t smoke, do some regular exercise, avoid high blood sugar levels, keep a healthy weight, and keep your serum ferritin between 30-75 (depending on your activity levels). And give cholesterol-phobia a good swift kick in its fraudulent backside.

1. Hamer M, et al. Comparison of risk factors for fatal stroke and ischemic heart disease: A prospective follow up of the health survey for England. Atherosclerosis (2011), doi:10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2011.08.016

Monday, September 5, 2011

Enjoy Eating Saturated Fats: They're Good for You.

Enjoy Eating Saturated Fats: They're Good for You. Donald W. Miller, Jr., M.D. 
Dr. Miller is professor of surgery, cardiothoracic division, Univ. Washington, and writes frequently for http://www.Lewrockwell.com.

Watch this nearly 1 hour presentation by Dr Miller.


Sunday, September 4, 2011

An open letter to the Grain Foods Foundation

An open letter to the Grain Foods Foundation

from Heart Scan Blog
Ms. Ashley Reynolds
490 Bear Cub Drive
Ridgway, CO 81432
Phone: 617.226.9927

Ms. Reynolds:

I am writing in response to the press release from the Grain Foods Foundation that describes your effort to “discredit” the assertions made in my book, Wheat Belly: Lose the wheat, lose the weight and find your path back to health. I’d like to address several of the criticisms of the book made in the release:

” . . . the author relies on anecdotal observations rather than scientific studies.”
While I do indeed have a large anecdotal experience removing wheat in thousands of people, witnessing incredible and unprecedented weight loss and health benefits, I also draw from the experiences already documented in clinical studies. Several hundred of these studies are cited in the book (of the thousands available) and listed in the Reference section over 16 pages. These are studies that document the neurologic impairment unique to wheat, including cerebellar ataxia and dementia; heart disease via provocation of the small LDL pattern; visceral fat accumulation and all its attendant health consequences; the process of glycation via amylopectin A of wheat that leads to cataracts, diabetes, and arthritis; among others. There are, in fact, a wealth of studies documenting the adverse, often crippling, effects of wheat consumption in humans and I draw from these published studies.
“Wheat elimination ‘means missing out on a wealth of essential nutrients.’”
This is true–if the calories of wheat are replaced with candy, soft drinks, and fast food. But if lost wheat calories are replaced by healthy foods like vegetables, nuts, healthy oils, meats, eggs, cheese, avocados, and olives, then there is no nutrient deficiency that develops with elimination of wheat. There is no deficiency of any vitamin, including thiamine, folate, B12, iron, and B6; no mineral, including selenium, magnesium, and zinc; no polyphenol, flavonoid, or antioxidant; no lack of fiber. With regards to fiber, please note that the original studies documenting the health benefits of high fiber intake were fibers from vegetables, fruits, and nuts, not wheat or grains.
People with celiac disease do indeed experience deficiencies of multiple vitamins and minerals after they eliminate all wheat and gluten from the diet. But this is not due to a diet lacking valuable nutrients, but from the incomplete healing of the gastrointestinal tract (such as the lining of the duodenum and proximal jejunum). In these people, the destructive effects of wheat are so overpowering that, unfortunately, some people never heal completely. These people do indeed require vitamin and mineral supplementation, as well as probiotics and pancreatic enzyme supplementation.

I pose several questions to you and your organization:

Why is the high-glycemic index of wheat products ignored?

Due to the unique properties of amylopectin A, two slices of whole wheat bread increase blood sugar higher than many candy bars. High blood glucose leads to the process of glycation that, in turn, causes arthritis (cartilage glycation), cataracts (lens protein glycation), diabetes (glycotoxicity of pancreatic beta cells), hepatic de novo lipogenesis that increases triglycerides and, thereby, increases expression of atherogenic (heart disease-causing) small LDL particles, leading to heart attacks. Repetitive high blood sugars that develop from a grain-rich diet are, in my view, very destructive and lead to weight gain (specifically visceral fat), insulin resistance, leptin resistance (leading to obesity), and many of the health struggles Americans now experience.

How do you account for the psychologic and neurologic effects of the wheat protein, gliadin?
Wheat gliadin has been associated with cerebellar ataxia, peripheral neuropathy, gluten encephalopathy (dementia), behavioral outbursts in children with ADHD and autism, and paranoid delusions and auditory hallucinations in people with schizophrenia, severe and incapacitating effects for people suffering from these conditions.

How do you explain the quadrupling of celiac disease over the last 50 years and its doubling over the last 20 years?
I submit to you that, while this is indeed my speculation, it is the changes in genetic code and, thereby, antigenic profile, of the high-yield semi-dwarf wheat cultivars now on the market that account for the marked increase in celiac potential nationwide. As you know, “hybridization” techniques, including chemical mutagenesis to induce selective mutations, leads to development of unique strains that are not subject to animal or human safety testing–they are just brought to market and sold.

Why does the wheat industry continue to call chemical mutagenesis, gamma irradiation, and x-ray irradiation “traditional breeding techniques” that you distinguish from genetic engineering? Chemical mutagenesis using the toxic mutagen, sodium azide, of course, is the method used to generate BASF’s Clearfield herbicide-resistant wheat strain. These methods are being used on a wide scale to generate unique genetic strains that are, without question from the FDA or USDA, assumed to be safe for human consumption.

In short, my view on the situation is that the U.S. government, with its repeated advice to “eat more healthy whole grains,” transmitted via vehicles like the USDA Food Pyramid and Food Plate, coupled with the extensive genetic transformations of the wheat plant introduced by agricultural geneticists, underlie an incredible deterioration in American health. I propose that you and your organization, as well as the wheat industry and its supporters, are at risk for legal liability on a scale not seen since the tobacco industry was brought to task to pay for the countless millions who died at their product’s hands.

I would be happy and willing to talk to you personally. I would also welcome the opportunity to debate you or any of your experts in a public forum.

Wiliam Davis, MD
Author, Wheat Belly: Lose the wheat, lose the weight and find your path back to health (Rodale, 2011)