Onions and garlic: not only anti-cancer, anti-arthritis too

The Allium family of vegetables, which includes onions, garlic, leeks, shallots, chives, and scallions add more than just flavor to your diet, they also add anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant compounds.

Onions Flickr: SoraZG

Epidemiological studies have found that increased consumption of Allium vegetables is associated with lower risk of gastric and prostate cancers, and this is thought to be due to their organosulfur compounds, which are released when the vegetables are chopped, crushed, or chewed. These compounds prevent the development of cancers by detoxifying carcinogens, halting cancer cell growth, and preventing tumors from obtaining a blood supply.[1]

New research suggests that the organosulfur compounds in Allium family members may also have anti-inflammatory actions that protect against osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is characterized by painful degradation of the cartilage in the joints of the knees, hands, hips, back, and/or neck. Osteoarthritis is a common chronic condition among middle-aged and elderly persons, a progressive disease affecting nearly 27 million Americans. It is the most common cause of disability in the U.S. [2]

Excess weight is a risk factor for osteoarthritis (particularly in the knee), and scientists hypothesized that in addition to mechanical pressure on the joints in overweight individuals, a diet low in micronutrients may also contribute to the progression of osteoarthritis. Oxidative stress is known to contribute to osteoarthritis by damaging cartilage[3], and levels of endogenous antioxidants are suppressed in the fluid of arthritic joints compared to joints with intact cartilage. [4] Dietary antioxidants are thought to be protective against osteoarthritis, but other micronutrients have not yet been studied.

Dietary patterns and osteoarthritis were assessed in a study of 1086 women. After adjustment for age, body mass index, and physical activity, the ‘fruit and vegetable’ dietary pattern, which was characterized by frequent intake of fruit, Allium vegetables, and cruciferous vegetables and low intake of fried potatoes, was protective for hip osteoarthritis. Two specific food groups also had strong beneficial effects: non-citrus fruits and Allium vegetables.

To investigate a potential mechanism by which Allium vegetables might protect the joints from cartilage damage, researchers then tested diallyl disulphide (DADS; an organosulfur compound) for its effects on inflammation-induced cartilage damage in vitro. DADS suppressed the expression of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) – MMPs are elevated in response to inflammatory signals and contribute to the cartilage degradation characteristic of osteoarthritis.[5] These results suggest that organosulfur compounds in Allium vegetables can help to prevent or halt the progression of osteoarthritis.

DADS is just one of many phytochemicals present in Allium vegetables – when we eat these vegetables, thousands of organosulfur compounds, antioxidants, and other micronutrients work together to prevent disease. And when we use garlic and onion to flavor a dish of greens, beans, and mushrooms, the additive nutritional benefits that we receive are remarkable. A nutritarian dietary approach is designed to maximize anti-cancer and disease-protective benefits. If you choose otherwise, eat at your own risk.

 

 

References:

1. Powolny, A. and S. Singh, Multitargeted prevention and therapy of cancer by diallyl trisulfide and related Allium vegetable-derived organosulfur compounds. Cancer Letters, 2008. 269(2): p. 305-314.
2. Arthritis Foundation: Osteoarthritis Fact Sheet. 2008.
3. Henrotin, Y. and B. Kurz, Antioxidant to treat osteoarthritis: dream or reality? Curr Drug Targets, 2007. 8(2): p. 347-57.
4. Regan, E.A., R.P. Bowler, and J.D. Crapo, Joint fluid antioxidants are decreased in osteoarthritic joints compared to joints with macroscopically intact cartilage and subacute injury. Osteoarthritis Cartilage, 2008. 16(4): p. 515-21.
5. Williams, F.M., et al., Dietary garlic and hip osteoarthritis: evidence of a protective effect and putative mechanism of action. BMC Musculoskelet Disord, 2010. 11(1): p. 280.

 

Glucosamine supplements fail to improve knee osteoarthritis

knee x-ray

A previous meta-analysis of clinical trials had suggested that the benefits of glucosamine supplements were exaggerated, and noted that most of the studies had been carried out by manufacturers of the supplements.1

Now, a recent study called “Joints on Glucosamine,” presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology has concluded that glucosamine has no beneficial effects on osteoarthritis of the knee. The 201 participants, given either glucosamine or placebo, were subject to MRI at baseline and after 6 months to structurally assess arthritic conditions. The odds of worsening of the cartilage were the same in the control and treatment groups, indicating that glucosamine did not slow the damage to the cartilage.2

In a news story covering this study, Eric Matteson, MD, chair of rheumatology and professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic, commented:

"We do know that glucosamine therapy does not appear to be harmful, but there is no evidence it is helpful."3

In October, in a review of the literature on glucosamine and chondroitin supplements, the Center for Science in the Public Interest reported that the evidence for each of these supplements (and combined glucosamine and chondroitin) were inconclusive.4 They also note that for arthritis symptoms, the placebo effect is particularly strong – the author of the article, David Schardt states:

“Studies show that a sugar pill relieves arthritis pain in up to 60% of patients.”

This fact highlights the importance of the results of this new study – the scientists quantified cartilage damage via MRI, rather than relying on the subjects’ reports of knee pain.

Like so many other diseases, the best way to prevent and treat osteoarthritis is to remove the cause. A recent meta-analysis of 85 studies on the risk factors for osteoarthritis found that being overweight posed the greatest risk.5 For most of us, reaching and then maintaining a healthy weight with nutritional excellence is the best protection against osteoarthritis.

 

References:

1. McAlindon TE et al. Glucosamine and chondroitin for treatment of osteoarthritis: a systematic quality assessment and meta-analysis. JAMA. 2000 Mar 15;283(11):1469-75.

2. http://acr.confex.com/acr/2009/webprogram/Paper15123.html

3. http://www.medpagetoday.com/MeetingCoverage/ACR/16561

4. Schardt, David. “Do arthritis supplements work? Don’t bet your joints on it.” Center for Science in the Public Interest: Nutrition Action Healthletter, October 2009

5. Blagojevic M et al. Risk factors for onset of osteoarthritis of the knee in older adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2009 Sep 2. [Epub ahead of print]

 

Osteoporosis Raises Risk of Bone Fractures - You Need Osteoporosis Protection for Life!

No one wants creaky bones, but the number of hospitalizations for osteoporosis-related fractures has increased in the United States, jumping 55% since 1995. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality says more than 254,000 hospital stays are due to injuries stemming from osteoporosis.

That’s why Dr. Fuhrman made a DVD called Osteoporosis Protection for Life. In it he explains what you can do to keep your bones strong and healthy, with exercise, improved diet and supplements.

Most people mistakenly are led to believe that drugs are the answer to treating osteopenia and osteoporosis. However, studies reveal that the bisphosphonates, like Actonel, Fosamax, Boniva, and Reclast, commonly prescribed for osteoporosis, are not as effective as we have been led to believe. As more and more research data comes out about the long-term risks of these medications, we are finding out that they are more dangerous than we had previously thought.

I want to give people the information they need to put an effective plan into action. In this video, I offer my advice regarding diet, supplements, and exercise. I am joined by my wife, Lisa, and staff to demonstrate the best exercises to effectively build your strength and bone mass. We've even added a fun 15 minute workout to start you on your way. Now is the time to take control of your health destiny!

For more, here’s a preview clip of Osteoporosis Protection for Life.

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Soy Might Help Men Not Forget Things

I’m a guy. I forget things, little things, like birthdays, where I left my car keys, or to put on underwear. Luckily, some soy might fix that.

According to a new study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, isoflavones in soy could help improve men’s mental function and memory.

Researchers recruited 34 healthy men and participants were given a daily dose of 116 milligrams of soy isoflavones. Then men were tested on memory, mental function and visual-spatial processing.

Data showed guys getting the soy isoflavones committed 23% fewer errors and needed 17% less time to complete tasks. So ladies, if your man is a big dummy. Go get him some soymilk.

Soy is a super food! Previous reports have found it lowers risk of breast cancer, improves heart health and helps build strong bones, but don’t go soy crazy. Dr. Fuhrman says no diet should be based on just one food, not even soy.

Via Nutra Ingredients.

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Protect Your Bones Without Drugs!

Most people mistakenly are led to believe that drugs are the answer to treating osteopenia and osteoporosis. However, studies reveal that the bisphosphonates, like Actonel, Fosamax, Boniva, and Reclast, commonly prescribed for osteoporosis, are not as effective as we have been led to believe. As more and more research data comes out about the long-term risks of these medications, we are finding out that they are more dangerous than we had previously thought.

I want to give people the information they need to put an effective plan into action. In this video, I offer my advice regarding diet, supplements, and exercise. I am joined by my wife, Lisa, and staff to demonstrate the best exercises to effectively build your strength and bone mass. We've even added a fun 15 minute workout to start you on your way. Now is the time to take control of your health destiny!

You’ll learn more in my DVD Osteoporosis Protection for Life:

  • Get the best bone building exercises to do anywhere
  • Build strong muscles
  • Avoid high risk medications
  • Learn common dietary causes of bone loss

Start building healthier, stronger bones now! Here’s a preview clip of Osteoporosis Protection for Life.

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Low Vitamin D May Harm Knees

More kudos for vitamin D! A new study in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism claims insufficient vitamin D may cause cartilage loss in knee joints. For the study, involving 880 men and women, ages 51 to 79, scientists measured blood levels of vitamin D and knee cartilage volume. And 3 years later, retesting of 353 people revealed 58% had changes in knee cartilage and worsening osteoarthritis, both men and women with low vitamin D had less knee cartilage; Reuters reports.

Vitamin D is strong medicine and we get vitamin D from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Vitamin D functions as a hormone, telling our intestines to absorb calcium and phosphorus, which builds strong bones and prevents things like rickets, depression and even difficulty thinking!

In his DVD Osteoporosis Protection for Life, Dr. Fuhrman explains why vitamin D is so critical, the importance of proper diet and he demonstrates a number of bone strengthening exercises.

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Vitamin D for Cancer Protection, Strong Bones and More!

Vitamin D is more effective than calcium for protecting and building bone, plus it powerfully protects against cancer. Too much calcium can actually interfere with the conversion of vitamin D into its biologically active form, but some extra calcium taken with the Vitamin D has been shown in studies to aid bone health. The main issue is that most people still take too much calcium and do not have adequate levels of vitamin D in their tissues and this places them at a dramatic increased risk of osteoporosis and other diseases. A multivitamin containing the RDA for D is simply not sufficient to bring blood levels up to the ideal range, especially as we age.

My recommended dosage of Vitamin D varies based on individual need, but my supplement Osteo-Sun is designed so most people will be in the ideal range from the intake of 3 per day, in addition to one's multivitamin. Some may require more and some may not need as much as 3, however, the amount that is right for you can best be determined by a blood test screening for vitamin D 25 hydroxy. Most people, over 80 percent, taking a typical multivitamin that contains 400 IUs of vitamin D are still deficient when tested.

I recommend that people take 2 of my Gentle Care Formula daily supplement, with 800 IUs of vitamin D, plus 3 of the Osteo-Sun. Then at some point, just to make sure the standard recommendation is right for you, have your vitamin D levels checked with a blood test. Then the supplement dose can be adjusted up or down depending on the results. Take one extra if your level is below 35 and take one less if your level is above 50.

My vitamin D supplement is designed to have most people fall in this ideal range, not too much and not too little. For those getting more daily sun exposure, generally, taking only 2 daily is adequate. Plus, it has silica for stronger bones, hair and nails! Osteo-Sun gives you the extra vitamin D you need and just the right levels of calcium and magnesium to maximize bone health. It comes in two formulas:

Osteo-Sun: Contains vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol, derived from sheep wool and is the most potent and efficient form of vitamin D.

Osteo-Sun Vegan: Utilizes vitamin D2, or ergocalciferol, a form of the vitamin which is obtained only from plant sources. Higher levels of vitamin D2 are used in this product to adjust for its lower hormonal activity. Even though it may have a shorter half life, in daily use, this higher dose, taken regularly, is just as effective.

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Constant Daylight Leads to Insomnia, Suicide

New research in the journal BMC Psychiatry claims constant sunlight may cause sleep disturbances, leading to insomnia and ultimately raising suicide risk. For the study, scientists analyzed suicides in Greenland between 1968 and 2002, finding a cluster of suicides during summer months when the days are longer. Experts speculate days of constant sunlight may cause an imbalance of brain chemicals linked to mood and when paired with lack of sleep, could be deadly; Reuters investigates.

I’d have to put tinfoil on the windows! Dr. Fuhrman told me it’s about balance. Sunlight is necessary, our bodies convert the sun’s ultraviolet rays into vitamin D, which improves bone health, but sleep is important too. When we sleep our body removes brain waste and this allows for normal function of the nervous and endocrine systems.

In related news, expectant mothers getting enough sun are more likely to have children with stronger bones and sunlight helps older people avoid depression.

 

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Health-Points: Friday 5.1.09

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Pomegranates Fight Cell Inflammation

A new study in Journal of Inflammation claims polyphenols, plant nutrients that reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, contained in pomegranate extract inhibit the production of inflammatory compounds, potentially preventing chronic inflammation associated with heart disease, Alzheimer's, osteoporosis, diabetes and arthritis. For the study, scientists stimulated cells to prompt an inflammatory response and then incubated the cells with pomegranate. Results showed pomegranate extract decreased pro-inflammatory reaction; Bakery and Snacks investigates.

Pomegranates are the real deal. Dr. Fuhrman calls them potent disease-fighters, especially for prostate cancer. In 2006, a study revealed men drinking pomegranate juice had better PSA scores. And pomegranates have also been found to help prevent atherosclerosis and diabetes.

In related news, the term “antioxidants” is resonating with consumers and increasing their willingness to try products including them. Maybe that’s the why the pomegranate phone is so darn cool.

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