Dr. Fuhrman discusses nutritional research with Dr. Dean Ornish

 by Jerry Deutsch
Executive Director,Nutritional Research Foundation

 

A meeting of two of the most respected leaders in the field of nutrition and nutritional research took place last week when Dr. Fuhrman and Dr. Ornish met in California. 

Dr. Ornish and Dr. Fuhrman

 

As the Executive Director of the Nutritional Research Foundation I was very fortunate to attend this meeting and now write about it.  

As there are not many physicians and clinical nutrition researchers with their common interests and expertise, Dr. Fuhrman and Dr. Ornish had been communicating by phone and email.  It is hard to believe that it has taken this long for them to meet in person and become friends.  Last week Dr. Fuhrman visited Dr. Ornish’ s research facility in Sausalito,  California and discussed mutual research interests, and areas of agreement and those nutritional issues still in question.  Dr. Fuhrman presented and explained some new findings and research in this field as well as his vast clinical experience over 20 years and his findings. 

Dr. Ornish was enthusiastic about his own new areas of research and shared interesting findings in his ongoing and upcoming studies about cancer prevention and reversal, brain messaging and longevity that he is working on.  It was fascinating, promising and important work.  Dr. Fuhrman’s eyes lit up as he listened intently. Dr. Fuhrman shared his findings on nutritional density, fatty acids, the aging brain and maximizing disease reversal in various conditions and individuals with varying metabolic tendencies.  

They also talked about their families, personal interests and prior shared experiences; the good and the bad.  The time flew by and soon Dr. Fuhrman and I had to leave for some other meetings.  But before we left they both expressed a very strong desire to meet again soon.

Dr. Fuhrman and I then headed out to meet with other leading nutritional researchers in the Bay Area, including at CHORI (Children’s Hospital of Oakland Research Institute) and the BUCK institute. Dr. Fuhrman lectured, presented his findings to the scientists at CHORI and we had private meetings with many scientists doing cutting edge research in the health and nutrition fields.  We discussed a potential ground-breaking joint research project with Dr. Brian Kennedy (CEO of the Buck institute) and had more exciting and productive meetings with some of the country’s top scientists there.  What a great week of fun, sharing, learning and collaborating.  I must also say ‘thank you’ to Howard and Ellen Weiss for arranging these meetings.

The Nutritional Research Foundation is committed to supporting and funding research in the effects of a high nutrient dense style of eating.   We are currently raising funds for a Dr. Fuhrman inspired Breast Cancer Prevention Study.  Information about this and other studies is available at NutritionalResearch.org

 

 

 

Sleeping pills more than triple risk of death

Adequate sleep is crucial for good health, and Westerners lack sleep – about half of American adults experience one or more symptom of insomnia a few nights each week, and it is estimated that up to 10% of Americans took prescription sleep aids in 2010.1,2

Insomnia itself can be dangerous because in many cases it often causes daytime fatigue. However, new research has shown that the drugs used to treat insomnia are even more dangerous.

Drugs called “hypnotics” are prescribed to induce sleep in those experiencing insomnia. Some commonly prescribed hypnotics include zolpidem (Ambien), exzopiclone (Lunesta), temazepam (Restoril), and alprazolam (Xanax). These medications have been generally regarded as safe, especially when used only for short-term relief of insomnia.3

Pills. Flickr: melloveschallah

Elevated risk of death at low levels of use, and risk increases with number of pills taken
A recent study evaluated the relationship between hypnotic drug use and risk of death in a large sample of over 30,000 American adults. For participants taking any hypnotic drug, the elevated risk of death was substantial, and it was dose-dependent: the more pills taken, the higher the risk of death. Compared to no hypnotic drugs, even those in the lowest level of use (averaging 8 pills per year) more than tripled their risk of death within the 2.5-year follow-up period.

Use of hypnotic drugs: Increased risk of death compared to non-users: Increased risk of cancer compared to non-users:
0.4-18 pills/year (average 8) 260% -
18-132 pills/year (average 57) 343% 20%
More than 132 pills/year (average 469) 432% 30%

This is not the only study to report an increased risk of death associated with hypnotics. The authors cite 24 previous studies on the topic, of which 18 reported a significant increase in risk of death, plus 4 studies specifically reported increased risk of death from cancer.2

The results of this study means that anyone on these hypnotic medications must get off of them ASAP. In some cases, it could be harmful to stop them suddenly if using them daily. So with the help of a physician the dose should be lowered gradually and then discontinued.

How might hypnotics increase risk of death?

  • Side effects of hypnotics include daytime drowsiness, impaired motor and cognitive skills, and sleepwalking, all of which can lead to falls and accidents.2-5
  • Hypnotics have been linked to DNA damage, which may underlie their association with cancers.6

 

Effective, safe, and natural methods for improving sleep

Insomnia is often secondary to other conditions such as anxiety or depression, or a stressful life situation.1 Addressing these underlying factors by using my natural depression solution below plus establishing sleep-promoting habits will help to improve sleep.

My natural depression solutionhas produced excellent results, alleviating or eliminating symptoms for many depression sufferers. The interesting point here is that this same protocol is also effective for insomnia, even when the insomnia is not associated with depression.

  • High-nutrient diet. Excellent nutrition is key to excellent overall health, mood and sleep included. The high antioxidant load of a high-nutrient diet protects the brain, which is the organ most susceptible to oxidative stress. Depression is associated with high levels of oxidative stress and low intake of green vegetables.7-9
  • Exercise is as just as effective as medication at improving the symptoms of depression, and is also effective against anxiety disorders. Exercise fights these mood disorders by increasing the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of well-being. Regular physical activity is well-documented to promote healthy sleep, and exercise has also been shown to effectively improve sleep in insomnia sufferers, as well as improving mood and quality of life. 10-15
  • Morning light therapy is another strategy shown to be just as effective as antidepressants for depression. Morning light therapy is also effective at for seasonal affective disorder, and insomnia. Bright light applied first thing in the morning increases mood-elevating substances in the brain and helps to correct the biological clock, normalizing nighttime melatonin secretion and promoting a healthy sleep/wake cycle. 16-18
  • Vitamin D supplements. Low vitamin D levels are common in those with depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). There is some evidence that Vitamin D may regulate mood and daily biorhythms, and it has shown to be effective at improving feelings of well-being in those with SAD.19-22
  • Omega-3 fatty acids. Low omega-3 intake is associated with depression. DHA adequacy is important because DHA is a structural component of brain tissue, and EPA is effective at improving depression symptoms. 23

Some additional sleep-promoting strategies:

  • 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) supplements. Similar to exercise, 5-HTP works by increasing serotonin levels in the brain, and has been shown to be effective in depression, anxiety, and insomnia.24,25
  • Tart cherry juice at bedtime has been used as a sleep-promoting supplement, because of cherries’ high levels of natural melatonin.26
  • Stress management and relaxation techniques. For example, mindfulness meditation practices are associated with improved sleep quality.27,28
  • Improving sleep habits:4,29-31
    • Sleep restriction: reducing the amount of time spent in bed to be closer to actual sleep time, which increases sleep drive, over time making it easier to fall asleep.32
    • Stimulus control: if 20-30 minutes go by without falling asleep, get out of bed, move to a different room, and engage in relaxing activity until sleepy– this helps to eliminate the mental association between lying in bed and feeling awake, alert, and frustrated.
    • Establish a regular bedtime and wake time.
    • Make the bedroom quiet, totally dark, and comfortable.
    • Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
    • Avoid food and exercise within a few hours of bedtime.
    • Avoid bright light (including television and computer screens) close to bedtime. Consider reading with a dim light.

These natural sleep-promoting methods are certainly safer than hypnotic drugs, and simultaneously combining all of these methods will maximize the sleep-improving benefit, forming a comprehensive alternative treatment program for insomnia.

 

References:

1. National Sleep Foundation: Can't Sleep? What to Know About Insomnia [http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/sleep-related-problems/insomnia-and-sleep]
2. Kripke DF, Langer RD, Kline LE: Hypnotics' association with mortality or cancer: a matched cohort study. BMJ Open 2012;2:e000850.
3. MedlinePlus: Hypnotics [http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002376.htm]
4. Gustavsen I, Bramness JG, Skurtveit S, et al: Road traffic accident risk related to prescriptions of the hypnotics zopiclone, zolpidem, flunitrazepam and nitrazepam. Sleep Med 2008;9:818-822.
5. Dolder CR, Nelson MH: Hypnosedative-induced complex behaviours : incidence, mechanisms and management. CNS Drugs 2008;22:1021-1036.
6. Kripke DF: Possibility that certain hypnotics might cause cancer in skin. J Sleep Res 2008;17:245-250.
7. Tsuboi H, Shimoi K, Kinae N, et al: Depressive symptoms are independently correlated with lipid peroxidation in a female population: comparison with vitamins and carotenoids. J Psychosom Res 2004;56:53-58.
8. Ng TP, Feng L, Niti M, et al: Folate, vitamin B12, homocysteine, and depressive symptoms in a population sample of older Chinese adults. J Am Geriatr Soc 2009;57:871-876.
9. Sachdev PS, Parslow RA, Lux O, et al: Relationship of homocysteine, folic acid and vitamin B12 with depression in a middle-aged community sample. Psychol Med 2005;35:529-538.
10. Gill A, Womack R, Safranek S: Clinical Inquiries: Does exercise alleviate symptoms of depression? J Fam Pract 2010;59:530-531.
11. Uebelacker LA, Epstein-Lubow G, Gaudiano BA, et al: Hatha yoga for depression: critical review of the evidence for efficacy, plausible mechanisms of action, and directions for future research. J Psychiatr Pract 2010;16:22-33.
12. Saeed SA, Antonacci DJ, Bloch RM: Exercise, yoga, and meditation for depressive and anxiety disorders. Am Fam Physician 2010;81:981-986.
13. Ma Q: Beneficial effects of moderate voluntary physical exercise and its biological mechanisms on brain health. Neurosci Bull 2008;24:265-270.
14. Passos GS, Poyares D, Santana MG, et al: Effects of moderate aerobic exercise training on chronic primary insomnia. Sleep Med 2011;12:1018-1027.
15. O'Connor PJ, Youngstedt SD: Influence of exercise on human sleep. Exerc Sport Sci Rev 1995;23:105-134.
16. Golden RN, Gaynes BN, Ekstrom RD, et al: The efficacy of light therapy in the treatment of mood disorders: a review and meta-analysis of the evidence. Am J Psychiatry 2005;162:656-662.
17. Miller AL: Epidemiology, etiology, and natural treatment of seasonal affective disorder. Altern Med Rev 2005;10:5-13.
18. Shirani A, St Louis EK: Illuminating rationale and uses for light therapy. J Clin Sleep Med 2009;5:155-163.
19. Vieth R, Kimball S, Hu A, et al: Randomized comparison of the effects of the vitamin D3 adequate intake versus 100 mcg (4000 IU) per day on biochemical responses and the wellbeing of patients. Nutr J 2004;3:8.
20. Stumpf WE, Privette TH: Light, vitamin D and psychiatry. Role of 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D3 (soltriol) in etiology and therapy of seasonal affective disorder and other mental processes. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 1989;97:285-294.
21. Bertone-Johnson ER: Vitamin D and the occurrence of depression: causal association or circumstantial evidence? Nutr Rev 2009;67:481-492.
22. Murphy PK, Wagner CL: Vitamin D and mood disorders among women: an integrative review. J Midwifery Womens Health 2008;53:440-446.
23. Martins JG: EPA but not DHA appears to be responsible for the efficacy of omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation in depression: evidence from a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Am Coll Nutr 2009;28:525-542.
24. Birdsall TC: 5-Hydroxytryptophan: a clinically-effective serotonin precursor. Altern Med Rev 1998;3:271-280.
25. Turner EH, Loftis JM, Blackwell AD: Serotonin a la carte: supplementation with the serotonin precursor 5-hydroxytryptophan. Pharmacol Ther 2006;109:325-338.
26. Pigeon WR, Carr M, Gorman C, et al: Effects of a tart cherry juice beverage on the sleep of older adults with insomnia: a pilot study. J Med Food 2010;13:579-583.
27. Brand S, Holsboer-Trachsler E, Naranjo JR, et al: Influence of Mindfulness Practice on Cortisol and Sleep in Long-Term and Short-Term Meditators. Neuropsychobiology 2012;65:109-118.
28. Gross CR, Kreitzer MJ, Reilly-Spong M, et al: Mindfulness-based stress reduction versus pharmacotherapy for chronic primary insomnia: a randomized controlled clinical trial. Explore (NY) 2011;7:76-87.
29. Jacobs GD, Pace-Schott EF, Stickgold R, et al: Cognitive behavior therapy and pharmacotherapy for insomnia: a randomized controlled trial and direct comparison. Arch Intern Med 2004;164:1888-1896.
30. Sivertsen B, Omvik S, Pallesen S, et al: Cognitive behavioral therapy vs zopiclone for treatment of chronic primary insomnia in older adults: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA 2006;295:2851-2858.
31. Smith MT, Perlis ML, Park A, et al: Comparative meta-analysis of pharmacotherapy and behavior therapy for persistent insomnia. Am J Psychiatry 2002;159:5-11.
32. Kyle SD, Morgan K, Spiegelhalder K, et al: No pain, no gain: an exploratory within-subjects mixed-methods evaluation of the patient experience of sleep restriction therapy (SRT) for insomnia. Sleep Med 2011;12:735-747.

 

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Sleep. I bet you could use some.

Twenty-four hours in a day usually doesn’t seem like enough to “get everything done,” does it? Exercise and sleep are often sacrificed in our busy lives.

You may think that you’re tough – that you can “get by” on just a few hours of sleep. I assure you, you are wrong. Your “sleep debt” (the accumulated lack of sleep that causes daytime fatigue) will catch up with you.

Consider this statement: “the effects of sleep deprivation are actually so damaging that it is now prohibited as a method of interrogation in most countries.”1

And yet so many of us consistently deprive ourselves of sleep – by choice!

Photo of sleeping baby

Americans are sleepy people. Sleep studies have revealed that the average American’s sleep debt is likely close to 25-30 hours at any given time.2 According to the National Sleep Foundation’s most recent poll, 63% of American adults report that their sleep needs are not being met, and 43% report that they rarely or never get a good night’s sleep on weeknights. As a result, according to data from the CDC, 37.9% American adults report falling asleep unintentionally during the day in the preceding 30 days – a sign of being dangerously sleep-deprived.2

Daytime sleepiness is dangerous. Inadequate sleep is a health hazard; even worse, the resulting daytime fatigue impairs performance (just like alcohol). Sleep-deprived people perform tasks poorly, make more mistakes, and experience more accidents at work – it’s similar to being intoxicated.3 One Australian study showed that 24 hours without sleep is equivalent to a blood alcohol content of 0.1% (0.08% is legally drunk in most U.S. states) with regard to hand-eye coordination. Being awake for only 17-19 hours still impaired hand-eye coordination – this was equivalent to a blood alcohol content of 0.05%.4 Numerous accidents – of small and large scale – have been attributed to fatigue; from medical errors to plane crashes to the Exxon Valdez oil spill.2

More consequences of inadequate sleep:

  • Impaired immune response.5 The quality of sleep before becoming infected is a significant determinant of the severity of cold symptoms. Even one night of inadequate sleep reduces the number and activity of natural killer cells the next day.2
  • Impaired learning and cognitive function– blood oxygen levels in the brain are measurably lower after insufficient sleep.6,7
  • Increased snacking – lack of sleep results in dysregulation of hunger and satiety hormones.8,9
  • Weight gain, impaired insulin sensitivity, and increased risk of diabetes.10-13
  • Increased inflammation, high cholesterol, and hypertension.14,15
  • Diminished appearance - sleep-deprived people look less healthy and attractive than well-rested people.16
  • Emotional disturbances and excessive emotional reactivity.17
  • Increased risk of death.18

What is sleep and why is it so important?
The question ‘what is sleep?’ is still somewhat of a mystery. Sleep occurs in 90-minute cycles of REM (rapid eye movement) and non-REM sleep; REM sleep is thought to be the most restorative part of the sleep cycle; REM sleep is thought to contribute to brain development, and almost all dreaming occurs during REM sleep. Tissue repair and growth (in children) is heightened during sleep.2 Also during sleep, our brains ‘stabilize’ newly formed memories, which is one reason why lack of sleep can impair learning (caffeine does not help, by the way). This is thought to occur by the brain ‘replaying’ brain activity from waking experiences during sleep. Interestingly, the greatest impact of sleep deprivation is on memories associated with positive emotions, compared to those associated with neutral or negative emotions.17 Sleep is also thought to fuel creativity, since creativity is dependent on learning, memory, and motivation.2

Sleep, like good nutrition and exercise, is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle. Don’t try to be tough – practice self-care and make sleep a priority. Maybe you didn’t finish everything on your mile-long to-do list. Let it go - you owe yourself some rest!

 

References:

1. Hunter P: To sleep, perchance to live. Sleeping is vital for health, cognitive function, memory and long life. EMBO Rep 2008;9:1070-1073.
2. Dement WC, Vaughan C: The Promise of Sleep. New York: Delacorte Press; 1999.
3. Swanson LM, Arnedt JT, Rosekind MR, et al: Sleep disorders and work performance: findings from the 2008 National Sleep Foundation Sleep in America poll. J Sleep Res 2011;20:487-494.
4. Williamson AM, Feyer AM: Moderate sleep deprivation produces impairments in cognitive and motor performance equivalent to legally prescribed levels of alcohol intoxication. Occup Environ Med 2000;57:649-655.
5. Opp MR: Sleeping to fuel the immune system: mammalian sleep and resistance to parasites. BMC Evol Biol 2009;9:8.
6. Miyata S, Noda A, Ozaki N, et al: Insufficient sleep impairs driving performance and cognitive function. Neurosci Lett 2010;469:229-233.
7. Taras H, Potts-Datema W: Sleep and student performance at school. J Sch Health 2005;75:248-254.
8. Kim S, DeRoo LA, Sandler DP: Eating patterns and nutritional characteristics associated with sleep duration. Public health nutrition 2011;14:889-895.
9. Aldabal L, Bahammam AS: Metabolic, endocrine, and immune consequences of sleep deprivation. Open Respir Med J 2011;5:31-43.
10. Gangwisch JE, Heymsfield SB, Boden-Albala B, et al: Sleep duration as a risk factor for diabetes incidence in a large U.S. sample. Sleep 2007;30:1667-1673.
11. Spiegel K, Leproult R, Van Cauter E: Impact of sleep debt on metabolic and endocrine function. Lancet 1999;354:1435-1439.
12. Mozaffarian D, Hao T, Rimm EB, et al: Changes in diet and lifestyle and long-term weight gain in women and men. N Engl J Med 2011;364:2392-2404.
13. Patel SR, Malhotra A, White DP, et al: Association between reduced sleep and weight gain in women. Am J Epidemiol 2006;164:947-954.
14. Gangwisch JE, Malaspina D, Babiss LA, et al: Short sleep duration as a risk factor for hypercholesterolemia: analyses of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Sleep 2010;33:956-961.
15. Gangwisch JE, Heymsfield SB, Boden-Albala B, et al: Short sleep duration as a risk factor for hypertension: analyses of the first National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Hypertension 2006;47:833-839.
16. Axelsson J, Sundelin T, Ingre M, et al: Beauty sleep: experimental study on the perceived health and attractiveness of sleep deprived people. BMJ 2010;341:c6614.
17. Walker MP: The role of sleep in cognition and emotion. Ann N Y Acad Sci 2009;1156:168-197.
18. Cappuccio FP, D'Elia L, Strazzullo P, et al: Sleep duration and all-cause mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies. Sleep 2010;33:585-592.

 

Can a plant-based diet fuel performance in serious athletes?

Dr. Fuhrman was recently asked by the scientific journal Current Sports Medicine Reports to write a review of the literature and accordingly provide dietary recommendations for vegan athletes. His review was published in the July/August 2010 issue. An abstract of the article, "Fueling the Vegetarian (Vegan) Athlete", can be found on the American College of Sports Medicine's website here

Bicycle race

A complete summary of Dr. Fuhrman's specific recommendations, specific considerations, a menu plan and recipes for maximum performance can be found in Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times Newsletter Issue #42 (available free to Members in the Member Center library). Dr. Fuhrman discusses the links between diet and athletic performance, specifically the role of plant foods in maintaining the health and performance of serious athletes. 


Athletes have specific nutritional needs due to the long-term physical stress of daily intense physical activity.

Athletes require a greater amount of caloric energy than sedentary individuals in order to fuel their training, and are particularly susceptible to certain micronutrient deficiencies as well as viral infections. Dr. Fuhrman's review provides guidance on using dietary means to maintain immunocompetence and to avoid exercise-induced oxidative stress as well as supplementing properly to circumvent deficiencies.

There is a widely held belief that a large amount of animal protein is required in order to build significant muscle or to sustain intense physical activity.

Plant foods are health-promoting, but lower in caloric density than animal foods. They are therefore thought by many to be inferior forms of fuel for athletes, especially in size and strength sports such as bodybuilding. However, the micronutrients in plant foods are indispensable for overall health; maximizing long-term athletic performance requires much more than protein (macronutrient) adequacy, micronutrient density and adequacy are crucial as well. Dr. Fuhrman addresses these issues and gives recommendations for obtaining adequate but not excessive amounts of protein with whole plant foods and also discusses the potentially deleterious effects of excess protein consumption by athletes.

Read Dr. Fuhrman's Newsletter, Fueling the Vegan Athlete.

Prostate Cancer Over-Diagnosed - Lots of Money to Be Made

People are getting unnecessary medicals test that cost a ton of money? No, you don’t say! A new study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute reveals large-scale screening for prostate cancer using the prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, test has resulted in mass over-diagnosis and over-treatment:

The death rate from prostate cancer has fallen in the United States, but not necessarily because of mass screening, study co-author Dr. H. Gilbert Welch, a professor of medicine at the Dartmouth Medical School's Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice contended. "There are a number of reasons why mortality might fall, but the most obvious is that we have better treatment," he said. "Even without early detection, I expect mortality would fall."

Results of a European study reported earlier this year indicated that "to save the life of one man, 50 must be over-diagnosed," he said.

Guidelines for screening for blood levels of PSA -- a protein produced by the prostate gland -- differ widely. The American Cancer Society does not recommend PSA screening. But, the society says a PSA test can be offered to men, starting at age 50, during a discussion with their physician. That discussion should also include an explanation of the potential benefits and limitations of such screening.

It all comes down to money! I asked Dr. Fuhrman about it and he said, “It’s true. Prostate cancer screening in general is flawed, but it is big business and the business of medicine trumps science because of the money to be made.” And Dr. Fuhrman insists the PSA test does not accurately detect cancer anyway.

An important thing to remember is prevention, prevention, prevention! Reports come out all the time highlighting the benefits of plant foods on prostate cancer prevention:

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Fruits and Vegetables May Be More Powerful Than We Think!

I’ve heard Dr. Fuhrman say that we still don’t know all the healthful properties of plant foods, and a new study seems to confirm that, claiming scientists underestimate the amount of nutrients in fruits and vegetables:

While the polyphenol content of fruits usually refers to extractable polyphenols, new research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reports that the non-extractable polyphenol content is up to five times higher than extractable compounds.

According to studies with apple, peach and nectarine, previous measures to quantify polyphenols may have been limited by the extraction technique.

"These [non-extractable] polyphenols need to be treated with acid to extract them from the cell walls of fruit in the lab," said lead author Sara Arranz from the Spanish Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) in Madrid. "If non-extractable polyphenols are not considered, the levels of beneficial polyphenols such as proanthocyanidins, ellagic acid and catechin are substantially underestimated."

I asked Dr. Fuhrman about this and his quick answer was, “Repeat after me, fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts and beans! When you eat whole foods, you get much more than science has been able to measure so far.” And here Dr. Fuhrman explains why foods like green vegetables are so healthy:

While fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of nutrients, the consumption of vegetables is more helpful in reducing cancer because they contain much higher amounts of cancer-protective compounds--especially green vegetables. Among these green vegetables, the cruciferous family has demonstrated the most dramatic protection against cancer. Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, bok choy, collards, arugala, watercress, and cabbage) contain a symphony of phytonutrients with potent anti-cancer effects.

Isothiocyanates (ITCs), which are perhaps the best studied, have been shown to provide protection against environmental carcinogen exposure by inducing detoxification pathways, thereby neutralizing potential carcinogens. These vegetables also contain indole-3-carbinol (I3C). Indole-3-carbinol has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer by decreasing estrogen activity.

In related news, researchers determined nutrients and antioxidants in fruits and vegetables, like apples, broccoli and berries, help improve oxygen intake and exercise endurance.

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Ha Ha Ha! Low-Carb, High-Protein Diets Damage Arteries.

Oh, those silly low-carb diets. Will they ever learn! Here’s more bad news for low-carb. A new study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found low-carb, high-protein diets damage arties:

Diets based on eating lots of meat, fish and cheese, while restricting carbohydrates have grown in popularity in recent years.

But the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in the US found such habits caused artery damage in tests on mice.

The researchers and independent experts both agreed a balanced diet was the best option…

…Lead researcher Anthony Rosenzweig said the findings were so concerning to him that he decided to come off the low-carb diet he was following.

He added: "Our research suggests that, at least in animals, these diets could be having adverse cardiovascular effects.

"It appears that a moderate and balanced diet, coupled with regular exercise, is probably best for most people."

And in 2007, a study found low-carb diets, like Atkins, cause long-term damage to blood vessels. Dr. Fuhrman is no fan of high-protein diets, all that saturated fat and insufficient plant nutrients increases risk of heart disease and cancer:

The Atkins diet (and other diets rich in animal products and low in fruits and unrefined carbohydrates) is likely to significantly increase a person's risk of colon cancer. Scientific studies show a clear and strong relationship between cancers of the digestive tract, bladder, and prostate with low fruit consumption. What good is a diet that lowers your weight but also dramatically increases your chances of developing cancer?

A meat-based, low-fiber diet, like the one Atkins advocates, includes little or no fruit, no starchy vegetables, and no whole grains. Following Atkin's recommendations could more than double your risk of certain cancers, especially meat-sensitive cancers, such as epithelial cancers of the respiratory tract.1 For example, a study conducted by the National Cancer Institute looked at lung cancer in nonsmoking women so that smoking would not be a major variable. Researchers found that the relative risk of lung cancer was six times greater in women in the highest fifth of saturated-fat consumption than those in the lowest fifth.

I asked Dr. Fuhrman to comment on this study. He chuckled at the news, saying, “This study definitely proves once and for all that mice should not be eating the Atkins diet. They should get Jenny Craig. Furthermore, vegetables make pigs fat, so maybe we shouldn't eat them either.”

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Packing on the Pounds May Lead to "Severe Brain Degeneration"

This is creepy! A new study in the journal Human Brain Mapping claims obese people have 8% less brain train tissue than normal-weight people. I guess you really do have to be stupid to eat fast food:

Obese people had lost brain tissue in the frontal and temporal lobes, areas of the brain critical for planning and memory, and in the anterior cingulate gyrus (attention and executive functions), hippocampus (long-term memory) and basal ganglia (movement), the researchers said in a statement today. Overweight people showed brain loss in the basal ganglia, the corona radiata, white matter comprised of axons, and the parietal lobe (sensory lobe).

"The brains of obese people looked 16 years older than the brains of those who were lean, and in overweight people looked 8 years older," Paul Thompson, senior author of the study and a UCLA professor of neurology said.

No pun intended, but this is a no-brainer. Dr. Fuhrman insists its America’s poor diet that makes us overweight and sick with chronic disease, same goes for dementia:

The same factors that cause atherosclerosis, leading to heart attacks and strokes, also create dementia, and I am referring to both vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s. This includes the same diets that are high in animal fat and low in vitamins, minerals, fruits, and green vegetables.1 Of course, smoking and lack of physical exercise play a role in these common diseases, but the point is that it does not have to happen to you. These diseases, and others that plague modern America, are not the inevitable consequences of aging. They can actually resolve and improve with age or can be avoided entirely. They are simply the result of years of poor nutrition and an unhealthy lifestyle.

My hope for you is that through this eating-style, you, like my patients who have embraced this program, can rid yourself of migraine headaches, acne, autoimmune diseases, and diabetes. So many of my patients have restored their health after conventional physicians—and the conventional beliefs about the inevitability of disease— told them their problems were going to be life long. Their doctors were wrong.

So to help ensure your diet doesn’t make you demented. Dr. Fuhrman suggests eating plenty of nuts and seeds, like walnuts and pumpkin seeds. They’re packed with brain-building omega-3 fatty acids.

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Sunshine Vitamin - Vitamin D Helps Diabetics' Hearts

Not getting enough vitamin D can be harmful, just last week a report found lack of vitamin D heightens risk of metabolic syndrome and now researchers have found not getting enough vitamin D raises cholesterol.

[Researchers] obtained macrophage cells from diabetics and non-diabetics, with and without vitamin D deficiency. When the cells were exposed cells to cholesterol and low vitamin D levels, they found that low vitamin D levels in the culture dish resulted in fewer macrophages becoming foam cells.

On the other hand, when the human macrophages were placed in a vitamin D-rich environment, the uptake of cholesterol was suppressed, and they don't become foam cells, said Bernal-Mizrachi.

The researchers noted that it may be possible to delay or reverse the development of atherosclerosis in diabetics by helping them regain adequate vitamin D levels.

Recently, in a post of about children and their need for vitamin D, Dr. Fuhrman explains it get be difficult to get sufficient vitamin D from food, unless you are spending a lot time outdoors, and even then its tough.

A sufficient amount of vitamin D is difficult to obtain from dietary sources. It is possible to obtain vitamin D from direct sun exposure—without sunscreen (sunscreens block UV-B rays they in turn prevent the body from converting vitamin D). However, since the generous amount of sunshine necessary to assure sufficient vitamin D exposure is potentially harmful and because children often spend too much time indoors watching television, playing video games, or on the computer, it is advisable for all children to assure vitamin D levels with supplements, not sunshine.

To help you get your vitamin D, Dr. Fuhrman recommends his supplement Osteo-Sun, for both children and adults.

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Gardasil is Dangerous - Government Mandating it is Crazy

A new study in Journal of the American Medical Association sings the praises of the HPV vaccine Gardasil. Many doctors are hailing it, but others have common sense.

"I don't think we yet know the long term benefits or risks," ABC News Chief Medical Editor Dr. Timothy Johnson said. "I'm taking a pass on this one and saying to parents, 'Study the issue, read the editorial... talk to your doctor.'"

Those who search for more information on the vaccine may also find stories from other parents who say the vaccine had ill effects on their daughters. One of these parents, Emily Tarsell, started her daughter Christina on Gardasil -- a vaccine that protects against four of the most common cancer-causing strains of the human papilloma virus (HPV) -- after her first visit to a gynecologist and at the doctor's recommendation.

Eighteen days after Christina received her final vaccine shot, she died.

And the movement to push legislation requiring Gardasil vaccination in young girls is even more unbelievable. Dr. Fuhrman thinks it’s un-American, comparing it to the Taliban.

The point here is that in this country we allow legislatures to mandate which medications we must give our children? People are not allowed to have an opinion about drugs and vaccines different from the majority opinion, in spite of the controversies and poorly studied short and long-term risks.

Remember this is not about arguing about the effectiveness or value of vaccines, just whether we should mandate medical care and take another freedom away from Americans. We no longer have the freedom to take or not take medications. Sounds like the Taliban to me.

Dr. Fuhrman also points out that Gardasil only protects against 4 strains of the 100 strains of HPV. To learn more about Gardasil’s shortcomings, check out Questioning Gardasil's Safety.

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