Health Points: Wednesday


Eating locally raised food is a growing trend. But who has time to get to the farmer’s market, let alone plant a garden?

That is where Trevor Paque comes in. For a fee, Mr. Paque, who lives in San Francisco, will build an organic garden in your backyard, weed it weekly and even harvest the bounty, gently placing a box of vegetables on the back porch when he leaves.

Call them the lazy locavores — city dwellers who insist on eating food grown close to home but have no inclination to get their hands dirty. Mr. Paque is typical of a new breed of business owner serving their needs.
In a study published in the latest issue of the journal Neurology, taking Topamax (topiramate) during pregnancy was associated with a birth defect risk within the range of risk seen in other anti-epileptic drugs, researchers reported.


But the incidence of birth defects seen when Topamax was taken with other anti-epileptic drugs was higher than expected.

The study was small, but it is among the first to link Topamax to birth defects in humans, confirming what has been seen in previous animal studies.

"More research needs to be done to confirm these results, especially since it was a small study," researcher John Craig, MRCP, of the Royal Group of Hospitals in Belfast, Northern Ireland said in a news release.

I am the mother of two young children, and extremely grateful to my own parents for looking after them for a few hours now and then. My problem is that they stuff the kids with chocolates, crisps and ice cream. This is not good for the children, their behavior and my own efforts to feed them something nutritious. Why do the grandparents have such a different philosophy, and can I do anything to change their thinking…


… Rather than reasoning with your parents, you must change their incentives. Unfortunately, this is not easy. You could try to bribe your parents, but threats will be useless because they are doing you a favor.

Perhaps your best bet is to try to arrange for longer bouts of childcare. Your parents will have a fresh perspective on the merits of carrots after trying to put a three-year-old to bed in the midst of a sugar high.
"There is some evidence suggesting culturally tailored health education can improve some clinical outcomes in the short-term," co-author Dr. Yolanda Robles of Cardiff University the UK told Reuters Health. However, "further research is needed to assess long-term effects," Robles said.


Language and cultural barriers may hinder the delivery of quality diabetes health education to ethnic minorities, yet education is a vital aspect of diabetes care, Robles and colleagues report in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews from The Cochrane Collaboration.

To assess the overall efficacy of culturally tailored diabetes education versus the "usual" care, the researchers combined findings from 11 published research articles that compared the two approaches among minority groups living in middle- or high-income countries. All of the 1,603 study participants were older than 16 years.
  • U.S. inspectors believe a single jalapeño pepper may have caused salmonella outbreak. More from Lauran Neergaard of the Associated Press:

They found the same bacteria strain on a single Mexican-grown jalapeno pepper handled in Texas -- and issued a stronger warning for consumers to avoid fresh jalapenos.


But Monday's discovery, the equivalent of a fingerprint, doesn't solve the mystery: Authorities still don't know where the pepper became tainted -- on the farm, or in the McAllen, Texas, plant, or at some stop in between, such as a packing house.

Nor are they saying the tainted pepper exonerates tomatoes sold earlier in the spring that consumers until last week had been told were the prime suspect.

Still, "this genetic match is a very important break in the case," said Dr. David Acheson, the Food and Drug Administration's food safety chief.
Fully aware of the irony here, biologist Ronald Levy of Stanford University and his team used tobacco plants to grow the vaccine, which would act against follicular B-cell lymphoma. This chronic, incurable form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma strikes some 16,000 people in the United States each year. For all its horrors, however, follicular B-cell lymphoma just may be tailor-made for a cancer vaccine: all of the malignant cells are the descendants of a single bad actor and have an identical molecule on their surface. But the molecular signature of one patient’s cancer cells is slightly different from every other patient’s; hence the need for potentially expensive personalized vaccines.


The scientists therefore spliced the DNA for the molecular sequences of the antibodies from each of the 16 patients into tobacco cells. The DNA triggered production of antibodies in the tobacco plants’ leaves which were tailor-made for each patient’s lymphoma cells. The scientists ground up the leaves and isolated the antibodies, injecting them into each patient.

The patients’ immune systems got cracking: 70 percent of the patients developed an immune response to the plant-produced vaccine, and 47 percent produced a response specific to the antigen.

"We saw that for women there is still some negative societal fallout to having tattoos", said study author Myrna L. Armstrong, a professor in the school of nursing at Texas Tech University's Health Sciences Center, in Lubbock, Texas. "This isn't a problem for men. Society supports men, because tattoos are related to a macho image, so we don't question it. But for women, having a tattoo seems to be a transgression of gender boundaries."


Armstrong and her colleagues outlined their observations in the July issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

The authors pointed out that about one-quarter of Americans between the ages of 18 and 30 have a tattoo, and women constitute between 45 percent and 65 percent of the tattoo market.

Prior studies show that more than 80 percent of the inked crowd are pleased with their decision to get a tattoo. Among the fifth that are not, about 6 percent ultimately remove their marking.
Almost half of the obstetricians interviewed said they did not routinely ask about alcohol consumption in pregnancy.


An editorial by Professor Elizabeth Elliot from the University of Sydney titled "Alcohol and Pregnancy: the Pivotal Role of the Obstetrician", discusses the state of awareness about the adverse effects of alcohol consumption during pregnancy and the obstetricians’ participation in educating against maternal drinking.

Only 16% of the obstetricians routinely provided information about the consequences of alcohol in pregnancy, while only 5% gave advice which were consistent with the latest guidelines of The National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC) - which states that, for pregnant women, ‘no drinking is the safest option’.

Migraines, What Sets Off the Pain?


CBS News identifies some possible triggers for migraine headaches. Take a look:
Tyramine:
Mechanism: amino acid and vasodilator
Found in: aged cheese, wine, chocolate, smoked, cured or pickled meat, processed meats, tofu, some fruits and vegetables such as eggplant, avocado, bananas and raspberries

Food Additives: Nitrites, MSG:
Mechanism: preservative that excites neurons and has been linked to the onset of migraines; research is inconclusive.
Found in: Chinese food, cheese powders such as Doritos, Campbell's soups, potato chips, frozen meals, and some salad dressings

Aspartame:
Mechanism: artificial sweetener that research has linked to onset of migraines, though mechanism is unknown. Some believe it's linked to serotonin. It's been shown to cause neurons to fire spasmodically, burning out neurons.
Found in: diet drinks and foods

Alcohol: contsains Histamines
Mechanism: histamines stimulate the immune system
Found in: wine and beer, some cheese, beef, pork, bananas
Now, Dr. Fuhrman is all about using nutrition to overcome migraines. He explains:
I see many patients who have come to me after seeing neurologists and headache specialists who had given MRI’s and multiple drug regiments. Frequently, these patients suffer from the side effects of the medications, yet they continue to experience ongoing headaches. I spend lots of time with these patients explaining that a complete cure, without the need for medication, is possible. They can elevate their health with nutritional excellence. They can be slowly weaned off their medication and eventually achieve complete resolution of their recurrent headache problems.
And things like MSG and aspartame AREN'T part of excellent nutrition! For more on this , check out:  Retained Toxins are the Major Cause of Headaches.

Eating and Headaches

When I was a kid I used to get a lot of headaches—not sure why—but ever since I upgraded my diet I NEVER get them anymore. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I had one. I wonder why? Here’s Dr. Fuhrman on the subject:
The major cause of both tension headaches and migraines is the retention of toxins or tissue irritants within the central nervous system. These chemical irritants may cause an oversensitivity of nerve tissue to other stimuli. It has also been shown that tissue waste, such as nitric oxide and other irritating chemicals, can be released from both the nerves and blood vessels in the central nervous systems.1 These recent findings illustrate the biochemical players associated with detoxification in the central nervous systems. Withdrawal from toxins either taken orally or self-produced within the body is a form of detoxification. This merely means the body is actively engaged in an effort to lower the levels of waste retained in our cells. Sometimes this release of waste from cells can be painful; nevertheless, it has a positive benefit to the body. Our cells and the tissue they comprise must continually strive to maintain their purity to prevent early cellular degeneration and premature cell death.


The relationship between food triggers and migraines has been the subject of much debate, with varying results from medical researchers. Headache specialists such as Seymour Diamond, director of the Diamond Headache Clinic of Columbus Hospital, report that about 30 percent of patients can identify food triggers.2

My experience in treating migraine and severe-headache patients with a more comprehensive nutritional approach has shown that 90 to 95 percent of patients are able to remain headache-free after the first three-month period. These patients avoid common migraine triggers, but also in the healing phase they adhere to a strict natural-food vegan diet of primarily fruits and vegetables rich in natural starches like potatoes and brown rice. These patients must avoid all packaged and processed foods, which are notorious for containing hidden food additives, even though they are not disclosed on the labels. They also avoid all added salt.
Hungry for more headache info? Check out this post from The New York Times blog Domestic Disturbances. Here’s Judith Warner with The Migraine Diet:
All this because I had a migraine. In fact, I was on day six of a migraine that would, by day seven, have me dissolving into tears in between the taped segments of my radio show. (Think Holly Hunter. Think “Broadcast News.” The show went on, seamlessly.)


I was suffering like this because I was Taking Control of my life. I’d recently read “Heal Your Headache,” by the Johns Hopkins University neurologist David Buchholz. And now I was following his “1-2-3 Program for Taking Charge of Your Pain.”

In Dr. Buchholz’s view, chronic migraine sufferers like me — I average around seven to twelve headaches a month — are, very often, victims of their own past treatment successes. Triptans, the new-ish class of drugs that bind to serotonin receptors and can work wonders when taken early in migraine attacks, cause rebound headaches, he says, if you take them more than two days a month. So do over-the-counter painkillers and stronger stuff like codeine and oxycodone.

Step 1 in his plan, then, involves removing such “quick fix” drugs from your life. Step 2 is about recognizing your migraine “triggers” and removing the ones – like certain foods, alcohol and caffeine – that you can do something about. (As opposed to the ones – like changes in barometric pressure, work deadlines and mothers-in-law — that you can’t do anything about.) Step 3 is daily preventive medicine – but the idea, in Buchholz’s book, is that if you do well enough at Steps 1 and 2, you might not have to go to Step 3.
I’m not sure whether or not Dr. Fuhrman would agree with everything Dr. Buchholz’s is talking about, but, its good to see some attention being paid to diet as a cause of chronic headaches and migraines—don’t you think?
Continue Reading...

Kids and Migraine Headaches

This ABC News report attempts to explain why kids get migraines, and, I think it does a good job, but, I wish they talked more about food triggers and less about medication treatment options. What do you think? Take a look:


Now, Dr. Fuhrman treats migraine suffers by focusing on their diet. He talks about it in Eat to Live. Here’s an excerpt:
My experience in treating migraine and severe-headache patients with a more comprehensive nutritional approach has shown that 90 to 95 percent of patients are able to remain headache-free after the first three-month period. These patients avoid common migraine triggers, but also in the healing phase they adhere to a strict natural-food vegan diet of primarily fruits and vegetables rich in natural starches like potatoes and brown rice. These patients must avoid all packaged and processed foods, which are notorious for containing hidden food additives, even though they are not disclosed on the labels. They also avoid all added salt.
Oh, and be sure to check out today’s post Retained Toxins are the Major Cause of Headaches.

Retained Toxins are the Major Cause of Headaches

From Dr. Fuhrman’s book Fasting and Eating for Health:

The standard theory that tension headaches are caused by widening of the blood vessels and migraines are caused by constriction of the blood vessels has been disproven in recent investigations.1 The evidence now illustrates that similarities between migraine and other types of headaches rather than the differences. The major cause of both tension headaches and migraines is the retention of toxins or tissue irritants within the central nervous system. These chemical irritants may cause an oversensitivity of nerve tissue to other stimuli.

It has also been shown that tissue waste, such as nitric oxide and other irritating chemicals, can be released from both the nerves and blood vessels in the central nervous systems.2 These recent findings illustrate the biochemical players associated with detoxification in the central nervous systems. Withdrawal from toxins either taken orally or self-produced within the body is a form of detoxification. This merely means the body is actively engaged in an effort to lower the levels of waste retained in our cells. Sometimes this release of waste from cells can be painful; nevertheless, it has a positive benefit to the body. Our cells and the tissue they comprise must continually strive to maintain their purity to prevent early cellular degeneration and premature cell death.
Continue Reading...

Headaches and Migraines: Knock Them Out

Headaches are just awful. They can ruin your day before it even gets started. One of the pluses of Eating to Live is you hardly ever get a headache. At least I don’t. How about you? And here’s a good reason to stay headache-free. Apparently migraines are being linked to brain damage. Maggie Fox of Reuters reports:
People with migraines also may be suffering from some brain damage as brain cells swell and become starved of oxygen -- a finding that may help explain why migraine sufferers have a higher risk of stroke, researchers reported on Sunday.


Similar brain damage can occur with concussions and after strokes, the researchers said in this week's issue of the journal Nature Neuroscience.

They said their findings suggest that migraine sufferers should not simply get pain relief but should take drugs that prevent the migraine, which is often preceded by "aura" -- a series of visual disturbances that can include flashes of light or black spots.
Now, for years I thought headaches were just one of those things. Don’t know what causes them, just got to deal with them. Not so, according to Dr. Fuhrman. He’ll tell you, nutrition excellence knocks headaches and migraines right out of the box. From Eat to Live:
Recurrent headaches are not much different. They are almost always the result of nutritional folly and, like other reasons that keep doctors' offices busy, are completely avoidable.

The relationship between food triggers and migraines has been the subject of much debate, with varying results from medical researchers. Headache specialists such as Seymour Diamond, director of the Diamond Headache Clinic of Columbus Hospital, report that about 30 percent of patients can identify food triggers.1

My experience in treating migraine and severe-headache patients with a more comprehensive nutritional approach has shown that 90 to 95 percent of patients are able to remain headache-free after the first three-month period. These patients avoid common migraine triggers, but also in the healing phase they adhere to a strict natural-food vegan diet of primarily fruits and vegetables rich in natural starches like potatoes and brown rice. These patients must avoid all packaged and processed foods, which are notorious for containing hidden food additives, even though they are not disclosed on the labels. They also avoid all added salt.
I don’t know about you, but, I’d rather eat lots wholesome natural food instead of popping handfuls of high-dose ibuprofens any day of the week. Now, Dr. Fuhrman has had a lot of success treating headache and migraine suffers with nutritional excellence. Here are couple stories:
Still want to know more? Back in January Dr. Fuhrman discussed banishing your headaches on his radio show Nutritional Wisdom. Here’s the show summary:
You can travel to one headache specialist after another and try a hundred different remedies. But if you want to understand why you get headaches and how to beat them forever listen in to this fascinating show! Dr. Fuhrman explains how eating a high-nutrient diet can alleviate headaches, which are usually associated with other health-related problems.
Continue Reading...

Food Triggers and Migraines

From Dr. Fuhrman's book Eat to Live:

Recurrent headaches are not much different. They are almost always the result of nutritional folly and, like other reasons that keep doctors' offices busy, are completely avoidable.

The relationship between food triggers and migraines has been the subject of much debate, with varying results from medical researchers. Headache specialists such as Seymour Diamond, director of the Diamond Headache Clinic of Columbus Hospital, report that about 30 percent of patients can identify food triggers.1

My experience in treating migraine and severe-headache patients with a more comprehensive nutritional approach has shown that 90 to 95 percent of patients are able to remain headache-free after the first three-month period. These patients avoid common migraine triggers, but also in the healing phase they adhere to a strict natural-food vegan diet of primarily fruits and vegetables rich in natural starches like potatoes and brown rice. These patients must avoid all packaged and processed foods, which are notorious for containing hidden food additives, even though they are not disclosed on the labels. They also avoid all added salt.

15 Common Migraine Triggers
sweetsdairy and cheesesalted or pickled foods
fermented foodschocolatevinegar
pizzasmoked meatsalcohol
monosodium glutamatenutsfood additives
yeasthydrolyzed proteinbaked goods

Continue Reading...

Glucosamine and Chondroitin in the News

The New England Journal of Medicine recently published a study claiming that two popular arthritis supplements don't work. Gina Kolata of The New York Times reports that despite the $734 million Americans spent on glucosamine and chondroitin in 2004, trials revealed few results.

In the member section of his website, Dr. Fuhrman has said "I think glucosamine and chondroitin are safe and have some clinical evidence to show they are mildly helpful. So if they are helping you, great."

He is more interested in looking at the bigger picture. He says that poor diets can cause rheumatoid arthritis and similar conditions. Adopting a nutrient rich vegetable based diet offers you the chance to eradicate it. This is from Dr. Fuhrman's book Eat to Live:

Some people, especially other physicians, may be skeptical. There are so many exaggerated and false claims made in health field, especially by those selling so-called natural remedies. Nevertheless, it is wrong to underestimate the results obtainable through appropriate nutritional intervention. Even many of my patients with autoimmune illnesses (such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and hyperthyrodism) are able to recover and throw away their medications.


When one of my patients who had a severe case of rheumatoid arthritis went back to her previous physician, a rheumatologist, and told him she was now well and did not require any medication, he replied, "It must just be that you are resting more." She said, "I'm not resting more. In fact, I am more active than ever because my pain is gone, and I stopped the drugs." He replied, "It's just a temporary remission; you'll be back soon with another crisis." She never went back.

He also includes this table of diseases that can be caused by poor diet.

Dietary-Caused Illnesses with High Prevalence
acneallergiesangina
appendicitisasthmaarthritis
atherosclerosisconstipationcolonic polyps
diabetes(adult)diverticulosisesophagitis
fibromyalgiagallstonesgastritis
goutheadacheshemorrhoids
high blood pressurehypoglycemic symptomsindigestion
irritable bowel syndromekidney stoneslumbar spine syndromes
macular degenerationmusculoskeletal painosteoperosis
sexual dysfunctionstrokeuterine fibroids

Renee Puts a Headlock on Her Headaches

To follow up the migraine talk of yesterday, here's a success story from high school freshman Renee who conquered her chronic migraines with nutritional excellence.

When I first met Dr. Fuhrman in the end of April, let's just say I was skeptical. After seeing six neurologists and countless other doctors, I wasn't very optimistic. You see my life was turned upside down three and a half years ago.

March of 2001 I started to experience migraines that became so severe I was admitted to the hospital that August for a treatment. By that time, I had already seen many doctors and had been put on more medications than I could count.

That whole August I was unable to get a restful sleep. I was tired all the time and had a single migraine for five months straight.

I was re-admitted into the hospital the next March, that following September, and then that January with the treatment helping less and less each time. All of this caused me to miss out on most of my middle school years because I had to be tutored while in bed with my illness.

I then saw a chiropractor who thought I should go see Dr. Fuhrman. I was very skeptical when Dr. Fuhrman told me I would start to see improvements in my illness within a few months if I followed his nutritional advice. That month wasn't pretty as it included some of the worst migraines I had experienced, but as the month came to an end I started to feel a whole lot better. As the months went on I was able to attend summer camp this past summer and have spent more time with my friends then I had in years.

Today I take no medication and attend private high school as a freshman and have only missed two days because of migraines, which is amazing. Although my migraines occasionally return if I veer too much from Dr. Fuhrman's nutritional advice, I have learned that being sick is not just bad luck. I've had excellent health results from nutritional excellence.

Battling Migraine Headaches with Diet

Dr. Fuhrman has had strong results treating migraine headaches with a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and seeds as described in his books. Recently, some particularly tough cases were discussed in the member center of his website. Read the results for yourself:

Question (Posted on the forums 11/2/05)
Hi Dr. Fuhrman,

I've been following Eat to Live for 10 months now with great results. I was off blood pressure medication within six weeks (after having been on it for 10 years), and I've lost 20 pounds (I now weigh what I did when I was 22). At age 47, I feel more athletic and healthier than I have since I was in my mid twenties.

My final area of health struggle is migraine headaches. I've had them since high school. When I was on BP medication, the beta blockers largely suppressed the migraines. If they didn't, I would take aspirin to knock them out, or if they got really bad, I would use Imitrex. Since coming off the BP medication in February, my migraines have returned. I have followed your advice and have quit all medications. I have "gutted it out" through a lot of migraines in the past 10 months.

I have twice gone on your "headache diet" with limited results (I did a three day, and five day fast before going on the headache diet). My frequency of headaches has not diminished at all (about once a week). The duration time of the headaches seems to be lessening. However, it often seems like a small consolation. After reading your book on "Fasting and Eating for Health", I was hoping my headaches would go away quickly.

I work in corporate sales, and I cannot continue to be sidelined by migraines. Fortunately, I often work from a home office. So, I can apply pressure and ice treatment that I couldn't do in an office, but I have to figure out a way to get rid of these things.

I hope you are right about migraines, but I haven't seen anywhere near the results that I expected after such great results with BP and weight loss. Do you have any suggestions?

Thanks for all your help so far. If your diet gets me through migraines, I'll be your #1 evangelist! Doug (a.k.a. doubled on Dr. Fuhrman's forums)

Answer
I promise you that I can get rid of your migraines now, because you have improved your health so much already and have been following the plan and are off meds. The last piece of the puzzle for you is to increase the detoxification potential by using cruciferous juices and blended salads to increase the intake of raw cruciferous compounds from watercress, brocolli, arugula, parsley, bok choy, and others. Have the green stuff in a base of carrots sometimes and tomatoes at other times. Have the raw baby bok choy, the raw broccoli, and shredded cabbage every day and then have fresh squeezed juice twice a day. Call me for a phone consult if you need me to review the whole menu with you.

Reply
I started juicing the cruciferous veggies on November 30th, and haven't had a hint of a headache in 17 days. I used to get them roughly once per week. So, the plan is working! I am thrilled.

I didn't realize until today what a "blended" salad was. I haven't been blending my salads, just eating a ton of raw salad. I'll need to try that next.
Thanks again.
Doug

Question(Posted on the forums 1/16/2005)
After following the E2L diet for a year, my niece (a.k.a. nutmeg on Dr. Fuhrman's forums) is still experiencing severe migraines and nausea in conjunction with her periods. She has read your book and your article on banishing headaches and migraines. She experiences these headaches and severe nausea ONLY during her periods. Headaches strike on the 2nd day of her period along with severe cramps. Both headaches and cramps last for 3 to 4 days every month and have been that way since she was a teenager. She's in her 40's now. She does take Advil for the cramps, but she says it doesn't touch the headaches. The only time in her life that she has been without the headaches at this time was a couple of years ago when she was on xanax, but she doesn't want to take drugs again. Do you have any further advice?
Donna

Answer
I find this hard to believe because it is exceedingly rare that headaches are not banished after so much time eating so healthfully. She might want to call me for a phone consultation so that I can help her uncover a potential factor which she is overlooking. Is she still overweight? Sleeping enough? Consuming any salt? Under psychological stress?

Reply by nutmeg
I did a one day fast, the E2L diet perfectly, and NO SALT whatsoever:

I made it through the week without a headache! The diet and mostly the NO SALT rule must have done the trick. Now, I'll duplicate it for the next few months to be sure! What a relief it is not to have that hang over feeling from the headache that always lasted a few days too, feeling crappy and out of it. I've never had a week this good for a "time of the month" ever, ever, ever!

Follow-Up by nutmeg 10/12/05
I wanted to follow up on this... it has now been 9 months and NO monthly migraines! The "no salt" rule followed very carefully has truly done the trick, and I couldn't be more pleased.
Thank you again Dr. Fuhrman, and anyone else reading this who has the same problem. Please, get all added salt out of your diet!