A large part of being healthy depends on having a
body/mind/spirit that is stronger than those internal or external
factors that are stressful. How our body responds to these great variety
of stressors is called the General Adaptation Syndrome, or GAS.
This term was coined by Hans Selye well over 60 years ago.
In the chart below, I've shown the three phases of
- Alarm - Any physical or mental trauma causes a
sudden release of stress hormones, such as cortisol. Normal
levels of resistance are lowered, but if the stress is not severe or
long lasting, we bounce back and recover rapidly.
- Resistance - If the stress factor continues, our
body learns to tolerate or adapt to the stressful stimulus.
Resistance can be increased. This phase is a safe period, though
the immune and other systems are working overtime.
- Exhaustion - the power of resistance against
stress is not inexhaustible. At some time, following prolonged
or severe stress, the immune system and the ability to maintain health
will collapse. This is when we run into trouble.
Most of us tend to lessen the importance of stress as
a factor in our health, yet recent statistics from the American
Institute of Stress show that stress ins America's number one health
problem. In fact, 43% of all adults suffer from stress related adverse
health effects, 79-90% of all visits to primary care physicians are
related to stress induced complaints or disorders, and there are
1million absent workdays every day with stress related complaints.
Children are also adversely affected. Since
September 11, The New England Journal of Medicine reports that 47% of
parents interviewed report that children have become anxious about their
own personal safety or the safety of their family.
In normal conditions, stress is a good
thing. It enables us to deal with potentially life threatening
situations with greater physical and mental energy. However the
world in which we live is anything but normal, and stress has become a
way of being. We are exposed to environmental toxins, watch
horrors on the evening news, drive during rush hour, deal with
unpleasant people, are exposed to constant noise, live in chronic
unknowing of the future, and on and on. In reality, none of this
can be easily avoided.
In the initial stages of stress, many different
symptoms may arise. Anxiety, agitation, restless sleep, elevated
cholesterol, high blood pressure, loss of sexual desire, depression,
memory loss, digestive disorders, obesity, bone and muscle loss, skin
disorders, substance abuse, and kidney problems are a few of the
disorders that may occur.
As stress progresses and becomes more chronic, we
simply burn out. Fatigue, inability to perform normal tasks, inability
to cope, chronic pain, thyroid problems, and even allergies, asthma and
heart attacks can occur.
Yet, all of these problems need not be our fate.
On March 23, 2002, I will be giving an in-depth
seminar on how to use simple nutritional supplements, herbal
remedies, and physical and mental exercises to strengthen our body's
resistance to stress, that is, to make it more adaptable to the world in
which we live.
If you are suffering from any of the above symptoms or
want to avoid them, I urge you to invest in your health and the health
of your loved ones by attending this valuable afternoon. It will change,
and very possibly save your life.
Here for more information and to make reservations.
Case Study Shows Importance Of Urinary Metabolic Analysis
It was a mystery. For half a year, the two young brothers (aged 7 and
9), previously healthy and energetic, had suffered chronic headaches,
stomach and leg pains, fatigue, and weight loss. Their clinical histories
included nothing that could explain the onset of these puzzling symptoms.
Routine laboratory testing, as well, revealed no abnormalities - except
for one thing. Analysis of urine samples showed that the boys had
abnormally high levels of vanilmandelic acid (VMA).
Vanilmandelic acid (also spelled as "vanillylmandelic") is a
metabolite of catecholamines - powerful chemicals, like adrenaline and
norepinephrine, released in response to stress. The body is known to
unleash a flood of these substances in response to mercury toxicity. Thus,
high levels of VMA alerted the clinicians to the possibility that the boys
may have been exposed to this highly noxious toxin.
In fact, toxic element analysis in serum and urine confirmed that
mercury levels in both boys were extremely elevated. Faced with this
clinical evidence, the two brothers then confessed to having been in
contact with mercury (which they had previously denied): they had stolen
some mercury from a science laboratory and played with it regularly in
their rooms, hiding the fact to avoid punishment.
After chelation therapy was completed (monitoring with urinary
assessment showed a 10-fold rise in mercury excretion during treatment),
both boys recovered completely, with urinary mercury and VMA levels
returning to normal.
While not as common as it was before mercury was removed from many
objects used in daily life, acute mercury poisoning still occurs.
Nowadays, it happens most often when people are exposed to the contents of
broken thermometers, the case report authors observed.
NOTE: This case study, though uncommon, points to the importance of
thorough laboratory investigation of chronic "unexplained"
symptoms in patients. The Metabolic
Analysis Profile can reveal "below-the-surface"
abnormalities often missed by routine laboratory tests. In particular, it
can reveal hidden triggers of chronic pain and fatigue in patients who are
not responding to conventional modes of diagnosis and treatment.
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IN THE NEWS
By Deena Beasley
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Obesity exacts a higher toll on health and
healthcare costs than either smoking or drinking as serious
obesity-related problems like diabetes are near epidemic levels, according
to a study released on Tuesday.
"Smoking and drinking, which are on the decline, have been the
focus of research and policy work for years. Yet obesity, which can have
far more serious health consequences, has received far less interest"
said Roland Sturm, author of the study and a researcher at the UCLA/RAND
Managed Care Center for Psychiatric Disorders in Santa Monica, California.
The study found that obesity -- linked to health complications
including diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, strokes and certain cancers
-- raises a person's healthcare costs by 36 percent and medication costs
by 77 percent.
Smoking and drinking also cause serious health problems, but the study,
released by the journal Health Affairs, found that active smoking leads to
a more modest 21-percent rise in healthcare costs and 28-percent increase
in medication costs, with smaller effects seen for problem drinkers.
"Obesity is associated with a lot of chronic conditions, which
have a large impact on health costs. Diabetes needs constant care,"
Sturm said. Diabetes, a condition in which the body's ability to process
sugar is impaired, raises the risk of kidney failure, blindness, heart
disease and circulatory problems that can force amputations.
Sturm cited more and more hours in front of the television, less
physical activity and a car-obsessed culture, as significant causes of
American's growing obesity problem.
The U.S. Surgeon General in a December report placed the blame on diet
and urged people to cut back on sugar and fats. The recommendation was
criticized by the Sugar Association, which thought the report should have
stressed fitness more.
The RAND study, based on a 1998 U.S. household telephone survey of
about 10,000 adults, found that people who are obese have 30 percent to 50
percent more chronic medical problems than smokers or problem drinkers.
Health experts have said the number of diabetes cases in the U.S. could
nearly double over the next 50 years as a population fond of junk food and
prone to obesity ages.
Obesity rates in the United States nearly doubled in the 1990s -- from
around 12 percent in 1990 to 23 percent in 1998, when the study was
conducted. In comparison, daily smokers made up 19 percent of the
population and 6 percent were classified as heavy drinkers.
The recent Surgeon General's report said 27 percent of Americans are
obese, and 61 percent are overweight.
People with a body mass index -- a measure of weight in relation to
height -- of more than 30 are considered to be obese. For example,
somebody who is 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighs 197 pounds or more.
In terms of dollar amounts, the study found that obesity raised
healthcare costs by an average of $395 a year, while smoking increased
costs by $230 and heavy drinking is associated with a $150 annual
Sturm said higher taxes on cigarettes have played a big role in
deterring people from smoking, but a similar approach to weight control --
the so-called "twinkie tax" -- is unlikely to work.
"I don't think McDonald's is making people obese. We need to have
more of a public health angle, not just doctors telling people to lose
weight," Sturm said.
Note: Obesity, especially around the abdomen can be a symptom
of high cortisol symptoms associated with stress as well as uncontrolled
blood sugar. This can be a "which came first" story and is
likely why dieting so often doesn't work. Unless the underlying
causes are addressed, we just go up and down the weight loss to weight
gain roller coaster. Another serious aspect to weight loss is that too
often in a diet, lean tissue (muscle) is lost, more so than
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Australian researchers say acupuncture is now proven to work against
Trials were carried out on almost 600 volunteers who were less than 14
They found that just one acupuncture session is enough in some cases to
The study was carried out in Adelaide at the Women's and Children's
Hospital and Adelaide University. Experts gave 20 minute sessions of
acupuncture every week for four weeks.
Study Co-ordinator Dr Caroline Smith said: "Around 50% to 80% of
all pregnant women experience nausea or vomiting in early pregnancy.
"As a result, they can have poor quality of life - they feel lousy
and may be low in spirits, anxious and find it hard to do everyday
Traditional acupuncture reduced nausea throughout the trial while
another type of acupuncture, called p6, took around a week longer to work.
Traditional acupuncture uses a variety of acupuncture points on the
forearm or abdomen, whereas p6 acupuncture involves only one acupuncture
Dr Smith said: "I hope this exciting evidence that complementary
therapy does work, will open up new opportunities for funding future
research in women's health."
Note: I have seen acupuncture relieve nausea
of pregnancy over and over. It is good to see a medical study
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Melatonin may have the potential to treat Alzheimer’s disease because
of its capacity to reduce the development of a protein complex that is a
hallmark of the disease. The results of this in vitro study were published
in the American Chemical Society’s Biochemistry (40, 49:14995-5001,
Researchers from the Indiana University School of Medicine added
melatonin to animal and human cell cultures that contained the building
blocks of abnormal brain amyloid fibrils as well as human apoE4 a protein
associated with strong risk for developing Alzheimer’s. Inheritance of
apoE4 is a strong risk factor for the development of late-onset sporadic
Alzheimer’s, the researchers wrote. Several lines of evidence suggest
that apoE4 promotes formation of beta-sheet structures and amyloid
fibrils. Deposition of amyloid fibrils is a critical step in the
development of (the disease
Researchers reported that the addition of melatonin to brain cells in
the presence of apoE4 inhibited fibril formation more effectively than
melatonin alone. This result was, however, structure-dependent upon
melatonin and not related to melatonin’s antioxidant properties.
Our results clearly demonstrate the ability of melatonin to inhibit the
process of forming the ‘signature’ amyloid protein bundles seen in
Alzheimer’s disease, said Miguel Pappolla, M.D., a study researcher.
This activity attributed to the ‘indole’ structure of melatonin
appears to be specific. These exciting findings, however, mandate much
more research before we can convincingly state melatonin can halt or
prevent Alzheimer’s disease. This study was supported by a grant from
the National Institute on Ageing (www.nia.nih.gov
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LONDON (Reuters) - Eating fish can improve a woman's chances of having
a full-term pregnancy and a healthy, bouncy baby, Danish researchers said
They suspect that fish, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, can
increase the child's birth weight by prolonging the pregnancy and
preventing premature births.
He and his colleagues compared the diets of 8,000 Danish women during
pregnancy to determine if seafood had an impact on early births.
"Low consumption of fish was a strong risk factor for pre-term
delivery and low birth weight," said Sjurour Frooi Olsen, a
researcher at the Statens Serum Institute in Copenhagen.
In the study reported in the British Medical Journal, the women were
asked how often they ate fish during their pregnancy and whether it was in
a hot meal, salad or if they took a fish oil supplement.
The researchers found that women who ate the most fish had fewer
premature births and smaller babies than those who did not.
Pre-term deliveries fell from 7.1 percent in women who never ate fish
to 1.9 percent in expectant mothers who ate fish at least once a week.
Olsen said his findings agreed with previous studies which found a link
between fish consumption and full-term pregnancies.
Oily fish such as salmon, herring and mackerel are rich in omega-3
fatty acids, which have also been found to be effective in fighting
depression and in inhibiting the growth of prostate cancer cells.
Note: There are only several fish that I can recommend for
safe eating. Unfortunately, most fish are heavily contaminated with
heavy metals like Mercury, and other industrial contaminants. The FDA
recommends that pregnant women avoid the following fish. I think
it's a good idea for everyone to do so:
|Gulf Coast Oysters
Farm raised fish do not
have the same amount of Omega 3 fatty acids that wild fish have, and may
be fed really sub-optimal or even contaminated foods. The only fish
which I believe are safe in larger quantities are the following wild fish:
Wild Pacific Salmon
In order to really get the beneficial effects of the Omega 3's, I
recommend a good EPA/DHA supplement, such as EPA/DHA Complex from
Metagenics, or a good brand of Cod Liver Oil.
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Berkeley - Two dietary supplements straight off the health food store
shelf put the spark back into aging rats, and might do the same for aging
baby boomers, according to a study at the University of California,
Berkeley, and Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute.
A team of researchers led by Bruce N. Ames, professor of molecular and
cell biology at UC Berkeley, fed older rats two chemicals normally found
in the body's cells and available as dietary supplements:
acetyl-L-carnitine and an antioxidant, alpha-lipoic acid.
In three articles in the February 19 issue of Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences, Ames and his colleagues report the
surprising results. Not only did the older rats do better on memory tests,
they had more pep, and the energy-producing organelles in their cells
"With the two supplements together, these old rats got up and did
the Macarena," said Ames, also a researcher at Children's Hospital
Oakland Research Institute (CHORI). "The brain looks better, they are
full of energy - everything we looked at looks more like a young
"The animals seem to have much more vigor and are much more active
than animals not on this diet, signaling massive improvement to these
animals' health and well-being," said former UC Berkeley
post-doctoral fellow Tory M. Hagen, now an assistant professor at the
Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, Corvallis. "And
we also see a reversal in loss of memory. That is a dual-track improvement
that is significant and unique. This is really starting to explode and
move out of the realm of basic research into people."
Based on the group's earlier studies, the University of California
patented use of the combination of the two supplements to rejuvenate
cells. Ames, through the Bruce and Giovanna Ames Foundation, and Hagen
founded a company in 1999 called Juvenon to license the patent from the
university. Juvenon currently is engaged in human clinical trials of the
One of the three PNAS articles probes the reasons behind this
rejuvenation, concluding that the two chemicals "tune up" the
energy-producing organelles that power all cells, the mitochondria. Both
chemicals are normally used in mitochondria.
Ames calls mitochondria the "weak link in aging." Evidence
has been piling up, he said, that deterioration of mitochondria is an
important cause of aging. A significant cause of this deterioration, he
believes, is the accumulation of destructive free radicals - byproducts of
normal metabolism - that disable enzymes and other chemicals.
The combination therapy targets mitochondria to get rid of destructive
radicals and to boost the activity of a damaged enzyme, carnitine
acetyltransferase, that plays a key role in burning fuel in mitochondria.
The researchers hoped that the anti-oxidant alpha-lipoic acid would do the
former, and that flooding the cell with acetyl-L-carnitine, one of two
proteins that the enzyme acts on, would achieve the latter.
Experiments showed that this regimen worked. Associate researcher
Jiankang Liu of CHORI, UC Berkeley postdoctoral fellow David W. Killilea
and Ames demonstrated that the enzyme carnitine acetyltransferase is less
active in old rats than in young rats, and that it binds less tightly to
acetyl-L-carnitine in older rats.
Supplementation with acetyl-L-carnitine or a combination of
acetyl-L-carnitine and alpha-lipoic acid restored the enzyme's activity
nearly to that found in young rats and substantially restored binding to
"The acetyl-L-carnitine is protecting the protein and the higher
levels are enabling the protein to work, while alpha-lipoic acid knocks
down oxygen radicals," Ames said. "Each chemical solves a
different problem - the two together are better than either one
Ames and Hagen have long had an interest in mitochondria as they relate
to aging, and they were intrigued by a 1999 Italian study that showed
acetyl-L-carnitine, when fed to old rats, improved mitochondrial activity.
The two thought this might be a way to reverse the effects of aging on
mitochondria, and in various trials found it to work to some degree. Free
radicals were still damaging the cell, however, so they decided to pair it
with one of the few antioxidants that gets into mitochondria, alpha-lipoic
acid. Lipoic acid is produced by mitochondria and boosts levels of other
In the second of the PNAS studies, Hagen, Ames and colleagues compared
2- to 4-month-old rats to 24- to 28-month-old rats, all fed
acetyl-L-carnitine in their water and alpha-lipoic acid in their chow.
After as much as a month on the supplements, the old and lethargic rats
became more peppy, Ames said.
"We significantly reversed the decline in overall activity typical
of aged rats to what you see in a middle-aged to young adult rat 7 to 10
months of age," Hagen said. "This is equivalent to making a 75-
to 80-year-old person act middle-aged. We've only shown short-term
effects, but the results give us the rationale for looking at these things
They found also that the combination of lipoic acid and
acetyl-carnitine improved mitochondrial activity and thus cellular
metabolism, and increased levels of various chemicals known to decline
with age, including ascorbic acid, an antioxidant.
In a third study, Liu, Hagen, Ames and colleagues fed old rats a
similar diet of the two supplements and looked at memory function as
measured by the Morris water maze test and a peak procedure for assessing
temporal or time-based memory developed by Seth Roberts, professor of
psychology at UC Berkeley. They found that supplementation improved both
spatial and temporal memory, and reduced the amount of oxidative damage to
RNA in the brain's hippocampus, an area important in memory. In electron
microscope pictures of cells from the hippocampus, mitochondria showed
less structural decay in old rats that had a supplemented diet.
"We did two different tests for cognitive activity in rats, and in
both it made a big difference to feed them this mixture," Ames said.
"Memory degenerates with age, and this makes them better."
The analysis of nucleic acid damage in the brain was performed with
post-doctoral researcher Elizabeth Head and Carl W. Cotman, professor of
neurobiology and behavior, at the Institute for Brain Aging and Dementia
at UC Irvine. UC Berkeley psychology graduate student Afshin M. Gharib
worked with Liu to conduct the peak performance tests.
"In aging, you're oxidizing the proteins in mitochondria and they
lose activity," Ames explained. "If some of that lost activity
is due to binding for substrate or coenzyme - like binding of
acetyl-L-carnitine by carnitine acetyltransferase - and you can raise the
level of those, then you can reverse some of the loss.
"We showed, in fact, that that is what's happening with
acetyl-L-carnitine. Aldehydes from lipid oxidation are glomming onto that
protein, and that is what appears to cause the reduction in binding
activity. But if you raise the level of acetyl-L-carnitine, now it
Hagen added, "With aging, we see so many different things that are
occurring to mitochondria that then lead to consequences in the cell. If
you tune up mitochondria you may have a means of at least delaying the
onset of a number of age-related problems that we encounter, or we can in
some ways, hopefully, reverse what has already taken place."
The work was supported by grants from the Ellison Foundation, the
National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health, the
Wheeler Fund of the Dean of Biology at UC Berkeley, the Bruce and Giovanna
Ames Foundation and the National Institute of Environmental Health
Sciences Center at UC Berkeley.
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By Robert Short
Dietary intake of total trans-fatty acids is modestly associated with
heart attack. However, trans-isomers of linoelic acid show a larger
increase in the risk of a first heart attack.
These were the findings of a population-based case-control study
carried out in Seattle, Washington, United States. The investigators
looked specifically at the association of trans-fatty acid intake,
assessed through a biomarker, with the risk of primary cardiac arrest.
Dr Rozenn Lemaitre stressed that the associations they found in the
study between cardiac arrest and trans-isomers of linoleic acid need to be
confirmed in future studies that distinguish between trans-isomers of
linoleic acid and trans-isomers of oleic acid. Dr Lemaitre is based at the
Cardiovascular Health Research Unit, Department of Medicine, University of
In the study, 179 people aged 25 to 74 years who had cardiac arrests
out of hospital and were attended by paramedics, were compared with 285
matched community controls. All participants in the study were previously
free of clinically diagnosed heart disease.
It was found that higher total trans-fatty acids in red blood cell
membranes was associated with a modest increase in the risk of primary
cardiac arrest (after adjustment for medical and lifestyle risk factors.
The odds radio was 1.5.
However, trans-isomers of oleic acid were not associated with risk;
odds radio 0.8, whereas higher levels of trans-isomers of linoleic acid
were associated with a three-fold increase in risk; odds ratio 3.1.
Note: Trans fatty acids are poison and should never be
eaten. They have a negative effect on the circulatory system, the
nervous system, hormone balance, inflammation, premature aging, and other
areas of the body. In my mind their inclusion into the diet is a
criminal act. They are also called hydrogenated oils, partially
hydrogenated oils, and vegetable shortening.
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