Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Paleo Path

Our household has evolved over the last half-year of 2008, and it's been nothing short of monumental. Has it been worth it? Absolutely, without any doubts. The protection we are gaining against diabetes, devasting autoimmune diseases, heart disease, secondary stroke prevention, mental illness (anxiety, ADD, wheat-brain-damage, autism), stomach illness (IBS, leaky gut), joint aches, and obesity helps me sleep well at night. And hopefully my family as well.

The cat reports happy meowwsss (she gets more marrow and meat than me)!

The adults report improvement in all the above.

The children report less:
--stomach aches
--tantrums (OK, that's ME gratefully observing)
--worrying about little things
--itchy scratchy skin
--fatigue playing, running, biking, skiing
--warts (they all fell off; also we put a little vitamin A/D oil on them for 2-4wks)
--weight for my 'rounder' one (height/weight gains for my 'shorter' one)

How would I summarize our Paleo path?
--Play (random, high energy bursts, *haa* with laughter)
--Prescribe to some uncertainty
--Pavement-pounding (some hard weight-bearing work/CF)
--Pillow-pounding (SLEEP...uuumm what were you thinking?)
--Paleo eats (no wheat/rice/grains/legumes; mod-high fat diet, seafood/meat, veggies, nuts/seeds, minimal fruit; we're not entirely off dairy I have to admit)
--Poverty of food (2-3x per week 18-24h fasts/IF)
--Perpetuate love
--Plugged-in (to a real physical community... not... computer/iPod-aphasia... though I'm thoroughly guilty all the time)
--Pray (meditative focus)

Here is to you and your unique Paleo path to optimal health and longevity! May you celebrate an indelibly new, even happier year soon!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Vitamin D and Other TYP Basics

We use a lotta Vitamin D at Track Your Plaque. Everyone is deficient and everyone requires supplementation. Dr. Davis has found that Vitamin D revolutionized and accelerated coronary calcification reversal in addition to many other attributes:
--improved insulin resistance
--increase in HDL 20-30% (in 6-12mos)
--lowering of blood pressure
--increased testosterone (and I've noticed higher estrogen)
--protection from colds and infections

Vitamin D is a pro-hormone... powerful, potent, and paleo-to-the-core. Since pre-paleolithic times, Vitamin D has been produced in our skin from the UVB radiation of sunlight. The sun indeed powers nearly all life on earth. It is essential and signals reproduction, energy and longevity for not just humans but all land and marine plants, prokaryotes, and animals. The sun has been around the last ~4 Billion years and scientists estimated it will continue to burn another ~4 Billion years.

If you are taking vitamin D, then you are on 'bio-identical hormone replacement therapy' baby!

Typical Dose: 2000 to 10,000 IU daily (enough to achieve and maintain ideal blood ranges 60-70 ng/ml)

Typical Administration: Morning/Daytime

(many people report insomnia, including me, if taken in the evening *makes sense right?*)

Typical Lab Monitoring: Calcium, Magnesium, PTH, [25(OH)D] every 6 months once optimal levels are obtained

TYPical Goal: Blood [25(OH)D] = 60-70 ng/ml

Other TYP staples are:

--High to Ultra-high dose fish oil 6 to 10 g EPA + DHA daily (Depending on how much inflammation and Lp(a); low dose 3 g/day if no inflammation)

--Niacin, Vitamin B3 1-2 grams daily (we prefer Slo-Niacin which is EFFECTIVE and cheap $12.99 at Costco for #150 tabs)

Side benefits of all the above:
--diminished infections (and maybe incl HIV?)
--diminished immunosuppression
--diminished cancers, melanoma
--diminished wrinkles *twinkle*
--increases life span

Vitamin A (natural; not vitamin A precursors like beta-carotene)
Vitamin A helps all the above as well. I like Vitamin A esp because most rice-eating communities are deficient of vitamin A (Bamji MS Experientia Suppl. 1983;44:245-63.). On the Japanese diet, 20% of individuals were deficient in Vitamin A and Riboflavin B2. Going grain-free and eating Paleo easily ameliorates Vitamin A deficiency. In the mean time, supplementation provides a bridge until optimal health is achieved.

Read more about Vitamin A: HERE

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Shrinkage 101 (With Vitamin D)

Here is a post...tongue-in-cheek from our wonderful community on the Track Your Plaque forum from about a year ago (when I joined). How is shrinkage desirable on many levels? Vitamin D assists on reducing many things pertinent to plaque:
--coronary atherosclerotic plaque (and elsewhere, like the penile vasculature)
--belly fat, WAT (white adipose tissue)
--small dense LDL (atherogenic particles)
--small dense HDL (atherogenic particles)
--hypertensive tension in the circulation (perfect BP: 115/75 according to TYP)
--systemic inflammation
--autoimmune-related hypersensitivity

Just a note about the TYP Forum...Several categories exist with threads on-going. I believe there is a utility for a 'Newbie's Corner' for all the new members joining us. TYP is rather overwhelming in the beginning. Right? Please don't hesitate to inquire for any help. There are many helping hands!

**General Discussion
This forum is for topics of all types for all members.

**What Else is New? Interesting Finds from Other Places
This is the place to post interesting heart health news that you wish to share with other Members.
**Track Your Plaque 101 - Basic Q&AThis is the forum for basic questions about the Track Your Plaque Program and heart disease prevention and reversal. Questions should be short, specific, and of a nature that can be answered quickly so that our staff can address as many as possible. Questions will be prioritized on this basis. Please keep in mind that it is illegal to diagnose or prescribe treatment over the Internet. Replies are designed to be of a general nature and not meant to treat a specific individual or replace the advice of your physician.

**Advanced Discussion Forum
This forum exists to collect input and questions on advanced topics about heart disease, lipoproteins, prevention and regression. This forum is monitored for items of interest for upcoming articles and developing the Track Your Plaque program. Questions are typically not answered directly but may be answered generally if there is common interest among contributing members.

**Emerging Medicine
This is the forum for discussions and information on new and experimental heart disease theories and treatments. It was added by Member request to relieve the burden on the Advanced Discussion Forum and to provide easy access to posts on what the future may hold for heart disease prevention, detection, reversal, and cures.
**Who do you trust?Unfortunately, trusted sources of reliable heart health information can be darn hard to come by. Tell other Track Your Plaque Members about the doctors, scan centers, and other sources of information, products, and services that you've come to trust and have been helpful to your plaque control program.

**Tell us your story
Tell us about your successes, failures, horror stories, or come here to just converse with other Track Your Plaque Members. We love your testimonials!
**Recipe RepositoryMembers have asked for a place to share their favorite heart healthy recipes. This is it! In order to maintain uniformity please use the following format. Recipe Name, Short Description, Ingredient List (amount, unit of measure, description), preparation instructions, comments. Bon Appetite!

ggglll Posted: 1/26/2008 9:48:00 AM


I love classic Seinfeld...

Do you 'member the episode with George and shrinkage??!
(the accidental full Monty... and cold... *HEEEE HEEEE*)

Women are in the same boat, we have shrinkage as well... Sadly... and it has to do with vitamin D!

Accelerated Mammary Gland Development during Pregnancy and Delayed Postlactational Involution in Vitamin D3 Receptor Null Mice

Gals, recall after breastfeeding when the mammary glands (ie, b**bies -- can I say that here?) minimized from obscene-XXX sizes to negative(-)A's?

VDRs (vitamin D receptor and vit D) return them to non-lactating form (and rather hanging to the knees, shriveled like raisins; no one is upset... or in need of plastic surgery).

Of course, here on TYP, SHRINKAGE is the optimal outcome!!! PLAQUE shrinkage is a G-O-O-D thing (as well as colon, prostate, ovarian and breast cancer).

(another D E E P thought...)
(from the shallowest-thinking member)

DR. Davis' Comment
Posted: 1/27/2008 9:58:00 AM


Hi, G-- I believe that the authors' comment that vitamin D "is best known for its role in maintenance of calcium homeostasis, 1,25-(OH)2D also regulates epithelial cell proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis" is most telling. I remain very excited about the plaque-regressing, calcium-normalizing, and cancer-preventing properties of this fascinating hormone/nutrient.
----------------- Dr. William Davis Author, Track Your Plaque

Anonymous Posted: 1/28/2008 4:22:00 PM

g It shrinks? "YES, like a frightened turtle!" I don't know how you guys walk around with those things! Good luck with the vitamin D. Wonder if that's what Pamela Anderson used, and if so how many IU's of D per day

2009 update on the uummm mammaries...thanks to vitamin ADEK/TYP/hyperlipid/Paleo diet there is sustainable growth without unwanted shrinkage I'm glad to report (I suspect the synergy betw Vitamin D and Vitamin A and mod/high-fat-diet has improved my ummm...34-24-34 numbers the most).

Incidentally, the HDLs are up from 84 to 89 now (27% incr from 70 baseline) and body fat down to 19.5% (from 22%) (despite hormone issues and mild vit D insufficiency [25(OH)D]). I'm trying to beat Richard *hee* here at Free the Animal (HDL 104) and Stephan here at Whole Health Source (!! wow !! HDL 111). What brilliant beasts! OMG... wtf how amazing are these measurements... Of course these lab values (incl mine) are all Freidewald calculations -- and thus liable for some miscalculations and inaccuracies by ~10% or more (the lower the HDL, the more inaccurate, imo; the larger, too? I dunno?).

I'll show you how the new TYP tracking graphics work in a few wks...wow...they are beautific and will blow your mind... (after more shrinkage *ah haa* and better ABS and labs) !

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Physiologic Actions and Benefits of Vitamin D: DOSING

Many practitioners may be 'shy' when initiating vitamin D therapy for replacement. They may have learned in school (20-40 yrs ago) about risks of hypercalcemia (high blood calcium), kidney stones and other horrific adverse effects associated with toxicity. We'll debunk this myth in the next post.

Goal Vitamin D [25(OH)D]: 60 - 80 ng/ml

Magnesium goal: upper end of normal about 2.2 to 2.3 mg/dl (range 1.7 mg/dl-2.3 mg/dl)
Calcium goal: lower end of normal about 8.5 to 9.5 mg/dl (range 8.5-10.3 mg/dl)
Parathyroid hormone (PTH) goal: lower end of normal 10 to 20 pg/ml (range 10-65 pg/ml)

OTC Vitamin D costs me about $2 per month (Carlson's Solar D Gems 4000 IU-capsules ~$30/360 or NOW brand 5000 IU-capsules ~$8/120. Roughly 7 to 8 cents per day.

I don't need a doctor's prescription (so convenient for me).

For optimal multi-organ functioning and longevity, hey!, 7-8 cents/day is a fraction of the cost of the triple-shot-latte from Peet's coffee (~$5 + gas) I frequently indulge in (though much much less now BTW).

Of course Dr. Davis has already talked about the non-toxicity of Vitamin D in his practice (consisting of thousands of patients). Personally, I have never witnessed an elevated blood calcium (unless the patient had a parathyroid tumor and/or had very low Magnesium (less than 1.6-1.8 mg/dl) and/or low Free T4 T3).

Another expert on Vitamin D dosing is Dr. Cannell of the non-profit Vitamin D Council in California. Several years ago, he co-authored a fabulous CME (continuing medical education) piece for health care providers. Physicians (like RNs and PharmDs and RDs) need to collect educational units called CMEs annually to keep up with medical advances and treatments.

Great reference for Vitamin D:
By Alex Vasquez, DC, ND, Gilbert Manso, MD, John Cannell, MD

Here, Dr. Cannell reviews some basics about dosing and the studies that support using Vitamin D doses that are 10-fold higher than current recommendations (only 400 IU/day). He writes...

"Based on the research reviewed in this article, the current authors believe that assessment of vitamin D status and treatment of vitamin D deficiency with oral vitamin D supplements should be come routine component of clinical practice and preventive medicine. Vitamin D supplementation with doses of 4,000 IU/day for adults is clinically safe and physiologically reasonable since such doses are consistent with physiologic requirements. Higher doses up to 10,000 IU/day appear safe and produce blood levels of vitamin D that are common in sun-exposed equatorial populations. Periodic assessment of serum 25-OH-vitamin D [25(OH)D] and serum calcium (and I'd add M-A-G-N-E-S-I-U-M *wink*) will help to ensure that vitamin D levels are sufficient and safe for health maintenance and disease prevention."

If you live at the equator and stay outdoors the great majority of the time, then there is a slim chance you are NOT deficient. Even Hawaiians (who did not wear sunscreen for 30min daily) were found to be deficient.

Low vitamin D status despite abundant sun exposure.
Binkley N, Novotny R, Krueger D, Kawahara T, Daida YG, Lensmeyer G, Hollis BW, Drezner MK.
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Jun;92(6):2130-5.
PMID: 17426097

Severe vitamin D deficiency in Hawai'i: a case report.
Bornemann M.
Hawaii Med J. 2006 Jan;65(1):16-17, 20.
PMID: 16602611

Serum vitamin D metabolite levels and the subsequent development of prostate cancer (Hawaii, United States)
Nomura AM, Stemmermann GN, Lee J, Kolonel LN, Chen TC, Turner A, Holick MF.
Cancer Causes Control. 1998 Aug;9(4):425-32.
PMID: 9794175

A prospective investigation of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D and risk of lymphoid cancers.
Lim U, Freedman DM, Hollis BW, Horst RL, Purdue MP, Chatterjee N, Weinstein SJ, Morton LM, Schatzkin A, Virtamo J, Linet MS, Hartge P, Albanes D.
Int J Cancer. 2008 Sep 9;124(4):979-986. [Epub ahead of print]
PMID: 19035445

Contraindications to Vitamin D Supplementation
Certain conditions may exist where vitamin D is contraindicated. Dr. Cannell talks about Sarcoidosis, a granulomatous condition where the certain cells over produce activated vitamin D metabolites (1,25-OHD), which can lead to hypercalcification of soft-tissues.

Another condition would be where blood testing cannot be readily done. It is important to follow up and have blood level 'tracking' to not only make sure the levels are adequate but also to avoid excessive over-supplementation.

Individual variations, sunlight exposure, stress (mental, physical) and illnesses affect vitamin D levels. Individual genetic variations play a great role as well. Vitamin D is a hormone and the dosing appears to me widely variable when hormone imbalances exist (obesity, high cortisol, high wheat intake, disruption of omega-3 to omega-6 balance, high estrogen in men, high testosterone in women, etc). Optimal dosing depends on the initial blood vitamin D concentration (eg, [25(OH)D]) and then a repeat test in 8-12 weeks. The 1,25-OHD blood test is incorrect. This is a very short-lived metabolite and typically does not correspond to vitamin D blood levels (it may however be elevated in Sarcoidosis).

Blood Testing
How do you know you are vitamin D deficient (eg, blood level less than 60 ng/ml)? You don't. Testing is paramount. LEF offers a blood test which is sometimes on sale for $20. Otherwise most insurance companies cover this test now if the doctor orders it.

Magnesium Supplementation
As bones mineralize and become stronger, crosslinked and denser, minerals from our blood are drawn out to fortify the skeleton. A notably co-factor for about 375 different enzymatic reactions is Magnesium. Do you remember Mg++ ATPase from biology? (Mg is the elemental abbreviation) Magnesium it turns out acts like a STATIN -- yes indeedy -- it raises HDL cholesterol (the 'good' stuff), lowers sdLDL cholesterol and TG by affecting the rate-limiting step in cholesterol synthesis and desaturases (Seelig MS et al J Am Coll Nutr. 2004 Oct;23(5):501S-505S.). At this time in fact, Dr. Davis is debunking statins: Statin Drug Revolt. Do we all have a 'Statin-Deficiency'? No, but perhaps a Magnesium one! Magnesium also relaxes muscles including the light/thin muscle sheaths lining our arteries, which subsequently lead to lowering and modulation of the blood pressures. Magnesium is also important in other muscles like a major one, the heart which beats 100,000+ per day. A recent study showed that Magnesium supplementation alone prevented more mortality than conventional heart failure treatment (MACH study Int J Cardiol. 2008 Feb 15.). We deplete Mag in various ways: breathing, living, urinating, sweating to name a few. Magnesium is rapidly depleted via use of 'water pills' or diuretics (including...uuuummm.. caffeine...alcohol...uummm, haven't had any of these lately no000OOsirrreeee *ha*)

Signs of Magnesium depletion or insufficiency may include: headaches, migraines, restless leg syndrome, muscle cramping, Charley horses, irregular heart rates, chronic constipation, etc.

At TYP, various salt forms of Magnesium are used (orotate, oxide, amino acid chelate $$$, malate, citrate, et cetera). My sister likes CALM for its citrusy taste. Yes, MOM (milk of magnesia) and Citrate of Magnesia are laxatives -- so if you take too much, you'll be warming the loo/WC!

Remember to check your calcium and magnesium levels along with vitamin D later and periodically.

Financial Incentives For Health Insurance
There are financial incentives for health insurance companies to NOT ignore vitamin D Deficiency -- costs for treating 'expensive' conditions like cancer, autoimmune diseases and diabetes are estimated to be reduced by many experts, epidemiologists and scientists.

Avoidance of Prescription SYNTHETIC Vitamin D2 (Ergocalciferol)
All synthetic hormones and vitamins should be suspect. They are not identified, metabolized, activated or eliminated in the human/mammalian body as well as the naturally-occurring structures. In a few anecdotal references, Vitamin D2 (synthetic, fake) has been reported to not only less therapeutic in correcting and ameliorating secondary hyperparathyroidism (elevated PTH due to low vitamin D), but also in producing higher blood glucoses in individuals with a certain vitamin D polymorphism. Toxicity (when it does occur) is also reported significantly more with synthetic vitamin D2 compared with natural D3.
Vieth 1998 Am J Clin Nut Vitamin D3 1.7x more potent than D2 (but reported potency outdated)
Vieth R The Case Against Ergocalciferol (eg, Vitamin D2 fake/synthetic stuff)

Disclaimer: I have no financial ties to NOW, Carlson's, or LEF.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


'Don't throw your pearls before swine...'
--As quoted by my wise little Sister 'M'

Some people are not ready for embracing a new life.

I believe my sister is correct.

We can plant many seeds but pearls ought to be reserved for those who value a precious pebble. For me I've looked and looked in countless oysters (eg, health & fitness books, beauty mags, Elle, grapefruit-diets, this-diet-that-diet, ADA guidelines, carb-counting-baloney, etc).

I recognize a pearl when I see one. TYP is a beauty. And even more fair to live and breathe it.

I'm not stupid (or brain-damaged).

Or no longer wheat addicted! *hee*

(yes, they're equivalent imo)

Intelligence has nothing to do with regression or success either. The most persistent ones are the ones who reach their goals. Perservance can be measured by how quickly one gets up after falling (or eating that *evil* brain-damaging wheat).

Quitting wheat is like quitting smoking. Hardly anyone quits the first time. National statistics shows the national average of attempts before successful tobacco cessation is: SEVEN TIMES.

So get back on the bandwagon, buddy! Keep going and don't ever EVER give up.

Remember, it takes 6 months for auto-antibodies to wheat/grains/dairy to dissipate and vaporize:
--Six months for healing to begin.
--Six months for your body to stop its own private Oklahoma
--Six months for the brain fog to lift and rational thoughts to re-appear
--Six months for your brain, gut, joints/knees/wrists, thyroid, liver, coronary arteries, carotid arteries, corpus cavernosum, heart, gallbladder, pancreas, breasts, prostate, bones, etc to be free of auto-self-attacks
--HALF A YEAR for optimal health to kick in... and the struggles to end...for the bounty of life to align with yours...then you'll also find an urge to share/vomit pearls all over your friends and family (and unsuspecting strangers!)

Don't postpone your glorious life beginning.

Give Me Your Eyes
by Brandon Heath

Sunday, December 14, 2008


One the largest full moon will be observed next Friday night, it's reported. I still can't get wolves off my mind...esp since my children and I are completely mesmerized by the Planet Earth DVD series right now. One of my daughters was born in August -- the busiest time of the year for most OB/GYN/maternity wards around the country. As you know, we celebrated our first Paleo b-day party for her this year. Apparently she is hardly alone in celebrating a birthday in this month! In the U.S., August is the month with the highest birth rates according to a report by ABC News (we concur -- nearly got kicked out and diverted to another hospital the night of the impending birth since all the beds were full -- luckily one opened up *wink*):
Summertime Mystery: More Born, Less Die in August

If human mammals have 40-week gestation periods (10-lunar months) and you do the math....there are a lot of us participating in uuuummm...reproductive activities during this month of cheer, festivities, and mirth, December. How is Vitamin D vital to some of these uuummm 'processes' do you ever wonder?

Are we so different from wolves and bears? Obviously we are different species (bears, 38 chromosomes; wolves, 39; humans, 23) however hormonally we are very very similar:
--melatonin (from the pineal gland)
--progesterone (the 'pregnancy' hormone)
--vitamin D (sourced from sun and rich salmon catches; IDEAL: 60-70s ng/ml)
--PTH (breaks down bone to modulate blood calcium, esp when vitamin D is low; IDEAL PTH levels imo 10-20)
--thyroid hormones T3 T4 and related TRH (thyrotropin-releasing hormone) and TSH (thyrotropin)

Sex Hormones in Black Bears

Researchers of black bears compared sex hormone concentrations between between summer and winter seasons as well as pregnant v. non-pregnant bears. Guess what 3 things they discovered?

  • "We found that serum sex steroids measured in black and polar bears change independent of torpor. Therefore, our results suggest that photoperiod may be a more important regulator of serum steroid levels and reproduction than metabolic condition." (Bahr JM (no joke on the name) et al Biol Reprod. 1988 Jun;38(5):1044-50.)

  • "During starvation in summer, the bears could not inhibit the net production of urea but used lean body mass...The ability to preserve lean body mass during winter sleep apparently is a special mechanism associated with the induction of winter sleep. Bears cannot duplicate this feat during summertime starvation. In winter sleep, urea is formed and degraded but the nitrogen produced is conserved in some manner that maintains the total nitrogen pool constant....Arginase activity in liver increased in winter sleep; hepatic steatosis and inflammatory reactions were also noted." (Code CF et al. Mayo Clin Proc. 1975 Mar;50(3):141-6.)

  • "During winter sleep the black bear has decreased levels of serum total and free thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) and a prolonged, delayed response of serum thyrotropin (TSH) (bioassay) to thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH). Four weeks after the end of winter sleep, levels of serum thyroid hormones increase, and TSH response to TRH is short and brisk. Serum T4 and T3 rise after TRH administration both during and after winter sleep; however, the maximum increment in serum T3 is greater during winter sleep when the TSH rise is also prolonged and exaggerated. These observations suggest that transient hypothyroidism of possible hypothalamic origin occurs in bears during winter sleep." Nelson RA et al Effect of winter sleep on pituitary-thyroid axis in American black bear. Am J Physiol. 1979 Sep;237(3):E227-30.

Seasonality, Sex and Survival

The length of the day (photoperiod) triggers activation of Thyroid hormone in both the hypothalamus and the pituitary glands in the birds and the bees...well...specifically QUAILS as demonstrated in the latest scientific breakthrough in Nature (below). The same research group shows a similar outcome in mice...here in the prestigious PNAS Nov 2008.

  • Thyrotrophin in the pars tuberalis (PITUITARY) triggers photoperiodic response. "Molecular mechanisms regulating animal seasonal breeding in response to changing photoperiod are not well understood... Here we show cascades of gene expression in the quail MBH (hypothalamus) associated with the initiation of photoinduced secretion (read: UVB sunlight which also triggers vitamin D synthesis) of luteinizing hormone...Increased TSH in the pars tuberalis therefore seems to trigger long-day photoinduced seasonal breeding." Yoshimura T et al Nature. 2008 Mar 20;452(7185):317-22.

And yes in case you are wondering humans have VDRs (vitamin D receptors) all over the brain -- in the hypothalamus (McGrath JJ, J Chem Neuroanat 2005)and of course the pituitary (Diguez C Life Sci. 1997).

So what may signal an increase in Thyroid hormone in bears and humans? What extends the photoperiods and those warm, long, lazy summer days?

Did you know in humans, seasonality of Thyroid hormones are observed as they are in the above bear studies? HERE, HERE and HERE. The Pituitary-Thyroid-Hypothalamus-Gonad axis potently controls reproduction. I talk about the Pituitary and Hypothalamus a lot because these are the endocrine glands which produce the signals that impact the sex organs (gonads) to produce Estrogen, Progesterone, DHEA, Testosterone, etc. The sypmphony of hormone music is truly a monumental miracle -- all geared to produce one single event. Yes, it truly breaks down to one thing.

No...not the 'O'... silly, which aint a bad event...



Survival of the species...

More and more trials and studies are coming out demonstrating how Vitamin D synergistically affects this awesome baby-making health axis.

Dr. Davis has now discussed how both the hormone of light (Vitamin D) and the hormone of darkness (Melatonin) controls and optimizes the cardiovascular system. Indeed, they actually optimize every system including the reproductive.

Degeneration Associated with Vitamin D Deficiency

The role of vitamin D to me appears central and pivotal for signalling mammalian bodies to prepare for reproduction/survival. By survival, I'm referring to survival of our lineage and paternal/maternal DNA. There are a few things non-conducive to that achievement...for instance, death is one. Death of either parent would diminish chances of passing on beneficial genes I would guess. Myocardial infarction or erectile dysfunction might be another. How is our survival linked to nutrients and optimization of survival? Dr. Bruce Ames has discussed the importance of achieving optimal levels of ALL micro- and macronutritients to prevent DNA damage and cancer here in his famous/infamous PNAS article (Low micronutrient intake may accelerate the degenerative diseases of aging through allocation of scarce micronutrients by triage.PNAS 2006 Nov 21;103(47):17589-94.); Magnesium deficiency accelerates cellular senescence in cultured human fibroblasts. Killilea DW et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008). His research has shown that if even one nutrient (like, let's say folic acid) is omitted, DNA damage occurs in the lab animal just as if the lab animal sustained significant radiation damage. For heart disease, we at TYP understand the importance of obtaining nutrients for the benefits of reversal of atherosclerosis and plaque. This also absolutely extends to fertility and reproduction. I loved Dr. Schwalfenberg's organ review and the role of Vitamin D in every organ system HERE. Reproduction is one of the most important functions for survival (right?) and it was another organ system that unfortunately failed to get a mention (in addition to Parathyroid and Thyroid). So..."let's talk about S*X baby..." *wink*

Vitamin D From Sunlight

Do you feel sexier in the summer? High vitamin D (eg, long photoperiods/sunlight) appears to be correlated with high reproductive activities and characteristics which are conducive to reproduction, for example great skin/hair (estrogen), great muscles and physique (testosterone), amorous displays (testosterone) and libido (testosterone). Did you know that Vitamin D supplementation normalizes estrogen and testosterone (via aromatase)? In men with low testosterone, supplemenation can modulate and raise blood testosterone. In women, the same, with estrogen.

But let's be reasonable. Taking supplemental vitamin D is not going to make you an immortal god/goddess overnight.

But it will sure help.

Fertility and Survival

Both long-term survival (species) and short-term survival (individual) appear assured when both vitamin D and sex hormones are set within normal limits. At TYP, hormone replacement with vitamin D, bio-identical estrogen and testosterone have been shown to allow regression and eradication of plaque and heart disease successfully. Vitamin D of course is vital for reproductive health, and deficiency may have long-range survival consequences as we are finding out globally.

How many infertile couples do you know of? How many moms with PCOS (eg, wheat intolerance, insulin resistant, fish oil/vit D deficient) who can't naturally conceive? How many celebrity twins can you count being born annually? Or just the ones among your friends, family, acquaintenances and neighbors?

Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Infertility, Low Sperm Counts, Maternal Pre-eclampsia, Pre-emies, and Premature Births, SIDS, Infant Mortality

Vitamin D is necessary for optimal health. Unfortunately the corollary is true and supported by the established and emerging medical literature. Deficiency leads to suboptimal health and particularly poor reproductive health...which translates to discontinuation of genetic information for some folks. At the end of October, researchers from Australia prospectively showed that Vitamin D supplementation increased sperm counts in infertile males. A year ago, my OB had told me about the use of Vitamin D in the fertility clinics to improve sperm counts. I couldn't find any prospective studies at the time and just forgot about it. Until now. It entirely makes sense to me.

Vitamin D Plays Major Role in Male InfertilityIn a paper presented to this week's Fertility Society of Australia conference (10/21/2008 reported here by ABC), Dr Anne Clark shows Vitamin D deficiency may play a major role in male infertility. Clark, medical director at the Fertility First assisted reproduction clinic in Sydney, says blood screening of 794 men who visited the unit found more than a third of them had vitamin D deficiency.

They were also found to be deficient in folate and had elevated levels of homocysteine, an amino acid in the blood associated with cell toxicity.
Among the couples where the male completed treatment for their nutritional deficiencies, just over half conceived naturally or with minimal treatment.

The finding comes out of a study by
University of Sydney doctoral student Laura Thomson who is investigating DNA fragmentation of sperm, a significant factor in male infertility. DNA fragmentation of sperm is most often the result of cellular damage resulting from infection, smoking or advanced paternal age.

Clark says their findings add weight to a European study earlier this year that shows women's vitamin D levels strongly correlate with their ability to conceive.

Surprise"Vitamin D and folate deficiency are known to be associated with infertility in **women**, but the outcomes of the screening among men in our study group came as a complete surprise," she says.
She says concerns about skin cancer resulting from exposure to ultraviolet rays could be a contributing factor to vitamin D deficiency among men, along with work and lifestyle choices to avoid too much direct exposure to sunlight. "The amount of sun needed is just 10 to 15 minutes a day outside the heat of the day," she says. If workers had their morning tea break outside with their sleeves rolled up they would absorb sufficient vitamin D, Clark says. In response to the screening results, Clark says 123 of the men agreed to a program that included changes in lifestyle and diet such as quitting smoking, reducing caffeine and alcohol intake, and losing weight.

Results (sorry--couldn't find the paper -- don't know the vitamin D dose)
The men were also asked to take antioxidants and a multi-vitamin for two to three months, Clark says.
--She says the lifestyle changes led to a 75% reduction in the level of sperm fragmentation among the 123 men.
--"We also observed improvement in the shape of sperm, which can enhance conception," Clark says.
--Forty pregnancies had been achieved among the group, with more than half of those pregnancies occurring naturally or with minimal intervention such as intrauterine insemination.
--Clark says there were only three miscarriages (6%) among those pregnancies. This compares with an average 22% miscarriage rate among women using fertility treatment, she says.

Animal studies have long supported the important role of vitamin D in reproduction:

Pre-eclampsia is on the rise...like vitamin D deficiency is. Connection? yes. Preventable? absolutely yes. Pre-ecampsia is a life-threatening condition leading to hypertension and early kidney damage in pregnant women usually presenting in the 2nd or 3rd trimester. BP drugs and strict bedrest (eg, not even getting out of bed to pee, no joke).

If vitamin D is a steroid and during pregnancy, the pregnant woman is making 10-TIMES more steroids to grow, sustain, and harbor a growing fetus, what do you think occurs if the mom starts out vitamin D deficient? Or what if she starts out critically vitamin D deficient -- like many women who abhor the sun for vanity (I may be part of this group *wink* and because I was deathly allergic to sun when I was wheat-addicted) and/or wear sunscreen and makeup...what might occur? Can you imagine what might occur as the mom's body starts to run out of the raw materials (cholesterol and vitamin D) to make estrogen, progesterone and oxytocin?

Not good things?

Pre-eclampsia, pregnany-related hypertension, proteinuria, kidney failure, and potential maternal and/or fetal death to name a few.

Fetal neurologic and autoimmune disorders.

Perhaps sowing the seeds for future heart disease? Perhaps the vitamin D deficiency of OUR mothers is currently affecting OUR generation? And future generations.

As we reviewed in the last post, vitamin D regulates our blood pressure by affecting the angiotension-renin-kidney system. Pre-eclampsia is basically a critical hormone and vitamin D imbalance.

  • [Vitamin D deficiency in recently pregnant women] The authors enrolled n=89 pregnant and new moms and found 80% were vitamin D deficient with 25(OH)D less than 30 ng/ml (which means 99% were PROBABLY low less than 60 ng/ml). The scientists conclude that "Our data show that vitamin D supplementation of pregnant women (400 IU/day) is not enough and that 25VTD deficiency is not diagnosed in this high-risk population. Children born from deficient mothers will present a higher risk of suffering from bone mineral diseases as well as other pathologies, as type 1 diabetes or neurological disorders. Of course, this insufficiency will also have an impact on mother's bone reserve, but these mothers will also be at higher risk for preeclampsia." Emonts P et al. Rev Med Liege. 2008 Feb;63(2):87-91.

  • Vitamin D deficiency in pregnant New Zealand women. "RESULTS: 87% of women had 25-hydroxy vitamin D levels below 50 nmol/L (20 ng/ml). 61.2% of women had a vitamin D level below 25 nmol/L consistent with severe vitamin D deficiency. 10 women had an elevated parathyroid hormone consistent with secondary hyperparathyroidism. Only 22% of our patients were veiled, and included a diverse ethnic population, including African, Maori, European, Middle Eastern, and Polynesian women. CONCLUSIONS: Vitamin D deficiency is common in young pregnant women in this general practice, and it was not only confined to veiled women or women with dark skin. This highlights the magnitude of vitamin D deficiency in the pregnant population in a New Zealand setting; this vitamin D deficiency is responsible for the re-emergence of childhood rickets." Eagleton C et al N Z Med J. 2006 Sep 8;119(1241):U2144.
  • Pre-eclampsia: A challenge to public health teams worldwide to ensure that maternal diets contain adequate levels of folic acid, n3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin D at conception. Garratt FN.
    Public Health. 2008 Dec 4. [Epub ahead of print] No abstract available.
    PMID: 19058819 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
  • Does vitamin D supplementation in infancy reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia? The authors in Finland showed that: "We used data on 2969 women born in the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 of whom 68 (2.3%) had pre-eclampsia in their first pregnancy. Risk of pre-eclampsia was halved (OR 0.49, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.26-0.92) in participants who had received vitamin D supplementation regularly during the first year of life and this association was not affected by adjustment for own birth order, birth weight, gestational age, social class in 1966 and hospitalizations or pregnancy-induced hypertension of their mothers. Together with earlier observations on a reduced risk of type 1 diabetes after vitamin D supplementation, these data suggest that vitamin D intake in infancy may affect long-term programming of the immune response pattern." Pouta A et al. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2007 Sep;61(9):1136-9.
  • Prevention of preeclampsia with calcium supplementation and vitamin D3 in an antenatal protocol. Japanese researchers prospectively reduced 37% of pre-eclampsia in high risk cases (as identified by an angiontensin test) with calcium 152-312 mg/day and vitamin D3 supplementation (sorry--didn't understand their dosing 0.5 micrograms per/3 day?) Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 1994 Nov;47(2):115-20.

Actually little literature exists specifically on this subject (that I could find). SIDS is probably multi-factorial. In utero development of the innervation of the lungs and brain are likely key to susceptilibity factors. I did however find one report which showed low vitamin D levels in all cases of premature and infant death cases.

  • Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations in sudden infant death syndrome. The lower the vitamin D blood concentrations, the lower the survival rate in these unfortunate babies studied. The author was trying to show no association but if normal 25(OH)D is 60-70 ng/ml then these babies had severe vitamin D deficiency. The levels measured were: "25-OHD was 19.0 +/- 7.9 mg/ml in SIDS, 16.9 +/- 5.2 ng/ml in acute death control infants, and 11.9 +/- 4.4 ng/ml in in-hospital deaths. For four "near miss" infants the mean serum 25-OHD concentration was 21.1 +/- 4.1 ng/ml. The mean serum 25-OHD concentration of 39 living premature or small-for-gestational-age infants at 3 months of age was 26 +/- 9.9. " Haddad JG et al Pediatrics. 1980 Jun;65(6):1137-9.

Perez-Lopez ties it up well for me (Gynecol Endocrinol. 2007 Jan;23(1):13-24)

Vitamin D: the secosteroid hormone and human reproduction
"Vitamin D is a secosteroid with an endocrine mechanism of action which is sequentially synthesized in humans in the skin, liver and kidneys. The active hormone, 1alpha,25-dihydrocholecalciferol [1,25(OH)2D3], is often considered only in terms of its role in controlling calcium and phosphorus homeostasis. However, cumulative evidence points to the presence of vitamin D receptors in many tissues. The present article summarizes key points regarding the participation of vitamin D in pregnancy and breastfeeding. During pregnancy, sufficient vitamin D concentrations are needed not only to address the growing demand for calcium on the part of the fetus, but also to participate in fetal growth, development of the nervous system, lung maturation and fetal immune system function. Hypovitaminosis D has been related to the development of diabetes, pre-eclampsia and fetal neurological disorders. During pregnancy and lactation, calcium from the maternal skeleton is mobilized, with a rise in bone turnover and a reduction in bone mass. It is advisable for pregnant and nursing women to maintain adequate levels of vitamin D, through small doses of solar exposure to facilitate natural formation of the hormone or by ingesting appropriate vitamin supplements."

Next post: More Vitamin D Dosing and Non-toxicity

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Physiologic Actions and Benefits of Vitamin D: CARDIOVASCULAR

Dr. Schwalfenberg MD has written a wonderful review about the wide range implications of vitamin D insufficiency and the potential adverse impact on Canadian citizens. The above figure delineates how vitamin D affects all organ systems in humans. He however failed to list (1) the benefits for vascular atherosclerotic plaque remodeling which Dr. Davis has deep experience with, (2) Thyroid (he does discuss Parathyroid -- which the 2 are intimately related), and (3) modulation of the cholesterol/steroid/testosterone/estrogen reserves. Otherwise, I believe this is one the best comprehensive reviews done on the studies so far generated regarding vitamin D. Dr. Schwalfenberg has even included a brief mention about how medical residents were deficient due to long hours working indoors (Haney EM, Stadler D, Bliziotes MM. Vitamin D insufficiency in internal medicine residents. Calcif Tissue Int 2005;76(1):11-6.20). I liked that one.

Who is Vitamin D deficient?

He implies that nearly EVERYONE (greater than 50%) in Canada is either insufficient or deficient in Vitamin D due to the northern location of Canada relative to the equator. In Table 1, he cites a succint list (2 pages long) of the clinical trials and epidemiological studies on various subpopulations (including the medical residents). Below is Table 5 which lists Risk Factors for Low Serum Vitamin D levels.

The definition of 'insufficient' however begs a little argument. Less than 25 nmol/L (U.S.: 10 ng/ml) is considered clinically deficient at this time and less than 80 nmol/L (32 ng/ml) is clinically insufficient. Fortunately, the tides are changing and the awareness of the populace is increasingly demanding for this sunlight hormone. Costco warehouse carries the 1000 IU tablets and Long's and CVS pharmacies carry it as well; Oprah recently discussed vitamin D in reference to her recent-onset Hypothyroidism -- Oprah, honey, are you still consuming W-H-E-A-T ?? Oprah's magazine has a piece HERE about how various Maternal/fetal Vitamin D Deficiencies may determine our astrological zodiac behavior, characteristics and traits. Interesting, huh?? Science meets popular wisdom *hee* and it lights up Oprah's community board HERE.

At Track Your Plaque (and other expert communities), the optimal target goal for Vitamin D blood levels is 25(OH)D = 70 ng/ml (translates to: 70 * 2.5 = 175 nmol/L).

Cardiovascular Actions and Benefits of Vitamin D

With the addition of Vitamin D to the arteriosclerosis reversal program, Dr. Davis witnessed countless cases of regression of CAC/plaque (coronary artery calcium score) and improved benefits of many organ systems. For the LEF mag, he wrote a fantastic, complete review about the basics of Vitamin D and its role in cardiovascular health. HERE is the PDF for September 2007 Vitamin D’s Crucial Role in Cardiovascular Protection.

He writes about Vitamin D so frequently on HEARTSCANBLOG, it's a topic that certainly becomes hard to ignore, right? Assessing serum Vitamin D was actually my first introduction to the TrackYourPlaque program and why it is so effective in initiating and maintaining longevity and optimal health. Is the medical science and the establishment still millenium behind us? Or...suddenly are they starting to play catch up with Dr. Davis -- our favorite interventionalist and humble icon? The latest title from JACC: Holick MF. STATE-OF-THE-ART PAPER: Vitamin D Deficiency -- An Important, Common, and Easily Treatable Cardiovascular Risk Factor? J Am Coll Cardiol, 2008; 52:1949-1956. Wow, he finally got into JACC.

Let's review what the medical science so far says:

My Personal Experience with the Physiologic Actions and Benefits of Vitamin D

I never would've suspected that I had Vitamin D Deficiency -- I'm a tan Asian female who spends significant time in the sun esp in the summer Cali season when my children swam nearly everyday. I'm into skin cancer prevention so naturally in the past I lathered our bodies up with sunscreen (though as a kid my parents NEVER did b/c sunscreen did not exist, but then again we didn't wear seatbelts either). I didn't have an autoimmune disease I thought (although later I found out my asthma has autoimmune components -- oops -- I didn't learn that in school during the Pathophysiology of Diseases classes). After diligently reading the blog, PubMed (which confirmed what Dr. Davis and other experts like Holick, Heaney, Vieth, Cannell and others try to publicize), and some internet sources (ie, WAPF) for several weeks, I decided to get my 25(OH)D vitamin D blood level evaluated. In October 2007 my 25(OH)D was only ~20 ng/ml. The TYP recommendation at the time was 50-60 ng/ml. The current target by Dr. Davis is now 60-70 ng/ml. I started on 2000 IU daily for 4 weeks however my level didn't reach 50 and I didn't notice any benefits. I finally upped the level to 4000 IU daily in the AM (outside of the recommendation of the Endocrinologist that I -- against better judgement -- consulted individually with) and achieved > 60 ng/ml by December 2007.

The benefits I noticed were myriad and echo the things Dr. Davis talks about on his blog and other writings:
--better energy, mood, endurance
--more muscle growth
--resistance to colds and infections
--MY ASTHMA COMPLETELY WENT AWAY and I stopped having bronchitis every year (coughing for 4-8 wks at a time where antiobiotics and inhalers were useless and futile)
--my children's asthma resolved (no more inhalers for us) with supplementation 1000 IU daily in the AM (in addition to cod liver oil (CLO) + fish oil)
--20% increase in HDL (from 70 to 84 mg/dl)
--40% drop in TGs (from 50s to 30s)
--improvement in mild insulin resistance
--calmer and more regular heart rhythms
--improvement in my estrogen (despite the contraceptive suppressing most of it)
--resolution of SAD (seasonal affective disorder, 'winter blues')
--resolution of Reynaudy-type symptoms (cold extremities, poor circulation)
--reversal of periodontal gum disease
--reversal of the other plaque hopefully *fingers crossed*
--improvement in thyroid (my TSH has always been 1.3-1.9 and finally in Dec 07 TSH=1.0 perfect)
--faster growth of hair, skin, nails (I'm constantly clipping my nails in winter -- whereas before they essentially stopped growing during these months)
--more alertness
--more mental acuity and communication skills (*shock* I'm bloggin?)
--more IQ points *ha haa* (the fish oil also plays an adjunctive role as my brain's 'high speed internet' connection!!)
--better sense of smell (less allergies)
--better sense of balance (I trip around and fall far less now)
--better reflexes
--better hearing...NOT... according to the hubby
--better vision...NOT (d/t occupational + extracurricular hazards)
--better in bed *chortle* (I mean I sleep better)


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Wolves and Vampires

Have you read the transfixing and totally engrossing 4-part epic series called Twilight (recently released last weekend as the movie on Nov 21st -- same director of the Nativity story)? The final book in the series is called Breaking Dawn -- the final showdown between a mythical class of werewolves and immortal good/moralistic/'vegetarian' vampires. The wolf that's been in my thoughts lately is Robb Wolf and a blog from his archives about a medical condition called Porphyria Cutanea Tarda (PCT) which closely *hee* resembles Vampirism.

And naturally... it's represents yet another silent wheat-related celiac condition.

Of course!!

Triggers are described by Elder GH et al (J Inherit Metab Dis. 2005;28(3):277-86.) and Powell LW et al (J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 1999 Sep;14(9):838-43):
--exogenous estrogen, ie oral contraceptives, HRT, Premarin, pesticides, etc
--environmental factors that include alcohol and hepatotropic viruses (like hepatitis C) and fatty liver/NASH/steatohepatitis

What about wheat/gluten/grains/rice/maize/corn??

The general population this tends to affect are those of Northern European ancestry and among indigenous persons of the Asia-Pacific region (including Taiwan where my relatives are originally from, the Hakka people). PCT may also rarely affect other populations like the Bantu in South Africa (see end). Iron overload and higher blood Hct (hematocrit) are commonly the first signs other than photosensitivity (intense blistering and burning of the skin on exposure to sunlight). Since my 20s I've had a problem with being in the sunlight which I'd originally attributed to being inadvertently lighter and fairer from being indoors (spending several semesters in college recovering hard after one single semester of partying + academic probation at Cal Berkeley). I used to notice that the skin would erupt in red raised blistering-itchy witchy rashes wherever the UV-wavelengths kissed more than 10-20 minutes worth on the neck, belly, ribs, back or thighs (despite 35-50 SPF sunscreen). Several of my fair skinned Asian girlfriends experience the same sunsensitivity (and thus abhor the sun). Did my high wheat-intake have anything to do with PCT-related dermal eruptions (croissants, cafeteria food, cafe goodies, endless mochas/lattes, etc)?? I discussed with several Dermatologists my situation and of course promptly got the blank conventional-medicine stare. (they did however promptly prescribed sunscreen (duh) and potent halogenated steroid creams which really didn't help much)

If one becomes iron overloaded in the liver which effectively removes iron from systemic circulation, could one have crazy cravings for iron/meat/heme-sources... in the form of ... B - L - O - O - D ?

The only solution I've ever come across for my pseudo-vampirism and fear of the daylight was Robb's blog. (no... I never bit anyone or went for the jugular intentionally)

Other triggers that Robb discusses for this oddity of conditions is wheat and gluten (and dairy/opioid peptides) and an intimate association with hyperinsulinemia and glucose intolerance. Curing this individual of PCT is also discussed! For the first time in several DECADES she was able to travel and enjoy broad daylight after adopting the Paleo diet and doing Crossfit.

Wheat/gluten actually disturbs many metabolic, mitochrondrial and enzymatic pathyways including one of the most potent pathways: synthesis of vitamin D in the skin. Loren Cordain has data on this topic and it's clearly discussed from Cordain's own unpublished research in one of his newsletters according to Robb when I spoke to him (which requires a fee -- I have not indulged myself yet -- sorry) but HERE Peter of Hyperlipid (the biochem brain/KING) discusses the potential link between vitamin D deficiency and wheat intolerance/celiac.

Here is a new curious article describing how celiac children went from a deficient vitamin D state to 'normal' blood vitamin D concentrations after 6-mos of a gluten-free diet (Ventura A et al. Bone Metabolism in Celiac Disease J Pediatr. 2008 Aug;153(2):262-5; email me for the full PDF -- unfortunately they do not detail the final 25(OH)D concentration). I'm thankfully recovered now! This past summer I spent many hours laying out in the sun with no burning and nearly no photosensitive reactions (just mildly once in the early part of the summer -- when the hormones were still affecting perhaps). I was off exogenous wheat and synthetic hormones (levonorgestrol) and the vitamin D levels were normalized for 9-12mos (25OHD 60 to 80 ng/ml).

Is our global wheat-dominant (and industrialized rbGH-milk) lifestyles killing our Vitamin D concentrations? What will the downstream long-term consequences? Can we afford them?

Break the Dawn Remix

Gosh.. must be hard being Michelle Williams
Like beef c-a-k-e-s...? the beefier the better
**fangs bared DROOLING**

Courtesy of Youtube.com

Diet and alcohol effects on the manifestation of hepatic porphyrias.
Cripps DJ. Fed Proc. 1987 Apr;46(5):1894-900.
Porphyria cutanea tarda (PCT) is the most frequently reported type of porphyria. The average patient is male more than 40 years old with a history of alcohol consumption. In women the incidence of PCT has increased with use of estrogens for birth control. The cutaneous features are those of chronic porphyrin photosensitivity on the light-exposed area of the skin: pigmentation, hirsuitism and fragility, and vesiculobullae, which has prompted the expression bullosa actinica et mechanica. One-third of the patients have glucose intolerance. PCT has been reported frequently among the Bantu people in South Africa as resulting from combinations of alcohol and cooking in ironware. The average patient has a higher than normal hematocrit, which is used as a guide to treatment by phlebotomy ranging from 8 to 14 units removed every 2-4 wk. Chemically induced PCT has been reported with chlorinated hydrocarbons, the best-known of which is hexachlorobenzene (HCB). Porphyria was noted in more than 3,000 patients in southeast Turkey between 1955 and 1961, because of consumption of seed wheat treated with HCB. In addition, more than 1,000 children under the age of 1 year died because HCB was transferred from the mother, either via the placenta or through breast milk.
PMID: 3556614

Celiac disease or dermatitis herpetiformis in three patients with porphyria.
Reunala T et al. Dig Dis Sci. 1981 Jul;26(7):618-21.
Celiac disease was diagnosed in one patient with variegate porphyria, and dermatitis herpetiformis in two patients, one with acute intermittent porphyria and the other with erythropoietic protoporphyria. The probability that celiac disease or dermatitis herpetiformis should occur in three patients with porphyria in Finland is less than 0.2%. Neither a consistent HLA pattern nor any other explanation can be offered for the association between these diseases.
PMID: 7249897

Celiac disease in patients with variegate porphyria.
Peters TJ et al. Dig Dis Sci. 2001 Jul;46(7):1506-8. (no abstract)

A case of variegate porphyria with coeliac disease and beta-thalassaemia minor.
Rebora A et al. Dermatology. 2004;209(2):161-2. (no abstract)

Our liver (here's a past blog entry) certainly filters literally everything that we eat. Are all liver conditions predominatly just wheat-related afflictions (infectious, autoimmune liver diseases, metabolic diseases, congenital liver diseases (Wilson's disease, porphyria, hemochromatosis))? Are we entirely genetically maladapted to deal with grains and wheat? Some of us may be more on the 'spectrum' then others genetically. It appears to me that wheat behaves like other environmental toxins like occupational chemicals by pathologically affecting porphyria and heme synthesis (Doss MO. Porphyrinurias and occupational disease. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1987;514:204-18).

Will more cases and recognition of silent celiac disease occur in the coming years? Or more sunburns and fear of sunlight? More pseudo-vampires? Will the dogma of 'whole grains' continue to be promulgated by the processed food industries and blindly accepted by statin-pushing-pediatricans, dermatologists, physicians, academians, the ADA, the AHA, and government entities like Medicare, the USDA and other deeply bought-out groups?

Dr. Davis is accurately, stunningly correct as usual. For Y-E-A-R-S.

Develop a wheat-deficiency!

Protect your coronary arteries... and ALL your organs including the largest organ, your glorious skin!

-G (aka 'ggglll' on the TYP forum)

P.S. For you Twilight fans out there, does Dr. Davis remind you of anyone?? Humble and charismatic, moralistic Carlisle? The physician, healer, center/creater of the immortal band of vampires who eschew their natural prey/food source? Dr. Davis abhors (non-emergent) invasive interventional cardiovascular procedures (which he was trained to master and perform). You see why I am a Twilight- and TYP-FREAK.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Abs 2 Die 4...FAQs

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Evoke Tranquility...

J. L. Merlin

Courtesy of Youtube.com

Melatonin has been on my mind...ever since Dr. D got me turned on to it here a little while ago. I know several people who take it and TOTALLY swear by it for insomnia. How can this hormone have such far-reaching benefits and effects?

It's used for:
--jet lag
--inducing hGH secretion
--breast cancer prevention
--oxidative damage protection
--vasculature un-responsiveness (relaxation/constriction with ACh or adrenaline)
--migraine prevention
--modulation of behavior and sleep patterns in autistic children
--natural aromatase inhibitor -- prevents excessive conversion of Testosterone to Estradiol (E2) and Androstenedione to Estrone (excessive Estrone (E1) is not good -- 'storage' form of estrogen in our adipose tissues and linked to promotion of cancer...and ??perhaps heart disease?)

Melatonin also is the master hormone behind skin changes in amphibians and reptiles.

How about us humans? You know how teenagers get all moody and starting staying up late and waking up late? And how they may transform from sweet kids to stinky Twilight sulkiness? Melatonin drops as sexual maturation occurs and this may lead to disrupted sleep cycles. This researcher and author of the textbook Dev Bio notes that Melatonin is the suspected hormone that allows human metamorphosis to occur: "The various morphological and behavioral changes of puberty are due to the actions of these hormones on the various target tissues. As in metamorphosis, there appears to be a maturation-inhibiting hormone whose activity decreases to permit the reactivation of development. In humans, this hormone is probably MELATONIN, whose serum concentration decreases as that of LH rises (Waldhauser and Dietzel, 1985)."

So who may experience dysregulation of Melatonin? Which came first...the chicken or the egg? Dysregulation of the hypothalamus/pituitary/pineal axis with wheat-assaults, in utero maternal vitamin D deficiency and/or neonatal/developmental EPA-DHA deficiency?

Are we epigenetically pushing our species into extinction?

The medical literature shows that many types of individuals are deficient in melatonin in the diurnal secretion that normally occurs at night -- in the pitch black inkiness of the night as nature intended (of course unless the full moon is shining). Normally melatonin starts to rise at 7pm and peaks at 2am then gradually falls again by dawn. Seasonal rhythms obviously exist also. Anciently controlled tides that we may not even be conscious of. In Scotland, scientists have recently shown how "Melatonin acts directly on anterior-pituitary cells, and these then relay the photoperiodic message back into the hypothalamus to control neuroendocrine output...(to trigger increases in TSH which subsequently signals activation of T3 (active thyroid hormone from T4) for increased metabolism and reproduction)...In mammals this provides the missing link between the pineal melatonin signal and thyroid-dependent seasonal biology (Hazlerigg Curr Biol. 2008 Aug 5;18(15):1147-52).

--Autistic spectrum children -- they tend to also display a genetic polymorphism, a deletion for the gene encoding the last enzyme for the making of Melatonin
--Individuals with coronary artery disease
--Type 2 diabetes with cardiac autonomic neuropathy (stiff heart rate variability (HRV))
--Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome -- ie, brain-damage due to malnourishment -- seen in gastric bypass and alcoholics
--Sleep deprived individuals, swing shift workers, travel involving time zone shifts
--Hyperthyroid, hypothyroid (higher melatonin secretion but also higher elimination in the urine found)
--Environmental lighting conditions, drugs and other disease states: "Patients with alcoholism, migraine, postoperative pinealoma, panhypo-pituitarism, hereditary dystonia and schizophrenics on propranolol exhibited a decreased amplitude of their diurnal rhythm of melatonin." (Wetterberg L J Neural Transm Suppl. 1978;(13):289-310.)
--Fibromyalgia 31% less compared with healthy controls
--Alcohol consumption lowers Melatonin secretion 20% (HHHhhhmmmm...Patrone's+PEET*s apparently is a bad combo for my melatonin??? darn; don't worry -- light intake's fine)
--Obstructive sleep apnea

We are certainly learning a lot about the how all hormones are inter-related in the body. Like life, one disjointed connection can lead to impaired connections downstream. Are there ways to repair and strengthen the misconnected parts? I'm here at TYP...so I certainly believe in the plasticity of our bodies (and I aint referring to the wonders of silicon *wink*).

Thoughtful-mindfulness...meditation, prayer, yoga, tai-chi, massage, day-spa visits all achieve a level of control that is exerted on our 'third eye', the tiny pineal gland (see above; courtesy of here). I read a TIME magazine article ~2-3 yrs about how Buddhist monks were able to activate and light up parts of the brain on PET scans that normally are not associated with neural activity. They meditated (and according to the Dalai Lama teachings that I've read, this involves heightened awareness and enlightened empathy). Is this related to the Pineal Gland? Are there mechanisms that exist for synergizing our Pineal (found in the 3rd ventricle of the brain) with the rest of the brain, body and our deep unconsciousness? (like syncing an iPod to the computer?)

I dunno...but certainly other forms of meditation have been shown in small trials to result in significantly higher melatonin secretion from the Pineal Gland. Like a power nap an adequate night's slumber, how can plain old brain-power power up and protect our Pineal Gland? Apparently in very very very potent ways...! Maybe this justifies my addiction to day spas and yoga?

Tranquility is so super addictive.

Are we hard-wired for tranquility? Yes, I believe so once we are plugged into it.

Plaque-Busting Benefits of Yoga and Meditation
--"Experienced meditators practising either TM-Sidhi or another internationally well known form of yoga showed significantly higher plasma melatonin levels in the period immediately following meditation compared with the same period at the same time on a control night." (Sali A. Acute increases in night-time plasma melatonin levels following a period of meditation. Biol Psychol. 2000 May;53(1):69-78.)
--"Yogic practices for 3 months resulted in an improvement in cardiorespiratory performance (orthostatic tolerance, heart rate, BP, respiratory rate, dynamic lung function (such as forced vital capacity, forced expiratory volume in 1 second, forced expiratory volume percentage, peak expiratory flow rate, and maximum voluntary ventilation) and psychologic profile. The plasma melatonin also showed an increase after three months of yogic practices. The systolic BP, diastolic BP, mean arterial pressure, and orthostatic tolerance did not show any significant correlation with plasma melatonin. However, the maximum night time melatonin levels in yoga group showed a significant correlation (r = 0.71, p less than 0.05) with well-being score. Effects of Hatha yoga and Omkar meditation on cardiorespiratory performance, psychologic profile, and melatonin secretion. Sawhney RC J Altern Complement Med. 2004 Apr;10(2):261-8.)

Coronary/Vasculature Relationship and Role of Melatonin
Two publications from Northwestern med school recently reviewed the melatonin and the receptors that it binds and modulates: MT1, MT2, MT3. In one, the authors described the broad spectrum effects of Melatonin on a variety of organ systems (Masana MI Front Biosci. 2003 Sep 1;8:d1093-108. Molecular pharmacology, regulation and function of mammalian melatonin receptors). Like adrenaline (ie, NE/EPI) that binds beta- or alpha-receptors in various locations in our bodies, the end result can be inhibiting or stimulating activity; the physiological function depends on the location of the receptors as well. Likewise with Melatonin and the MT series, location and type of receptors determines function. Melatonin receptors affect every organ system: CNS (brain), hypothalamic-pituitary-pineal-thyroid-gonadal axis, cardiovascular, and immunity. The second article below describes inhibitory and activating effects of MT receptors.

Functional MT1 and MT2 melatonin receptors in mammals.
Dubocovich ML, Markowska M. Endocrine. 2005 Jul;27(2):101-10.

Melatonin, dubbed the hormone of darkness, is known to regulate a wide variety of physiological processes in mammals. This review describes well-defined functional responses mediated through activation of high-affinity MT1 and MT2 G protein-coupled receptors viewed as potential targets for drug discovery.

MT1 melatonin receptors modulate NEURONAL FIRING, ARTERIAL VASOCONSTRICTION, cell proliferation in cancer cells, and REPRODUCTIVE AND METABOLIC FUNCTIONS.

Activation of MT2 melatonin receptors phase shift circadian rhythms of neuronal firing in the suprachiasmatic nucleus, inhibit dopamine release in retina, INDUCE VASODILATION and inhibition of leukocyte rolling in arterial beds, and ENHANCE IMMUNE RESPONSES.

The melatonin-mediated responses elicited by activation of MT1 and MT2 native melatonin receptors are dependent on circadian time, duration and mode of exposure to endogenous or exogenous melatonin, and functional receptor sensitivity. Together, these studies underscore the importance of carefully linking each melatonin receptor type to specific functional responses in target tissues to facilitate the design and development of novel therapeutic agent. (OF COURSE! LET'S MAKE A PROFITABLE DRUG! ESP WHEN A CHEAP NATURAL ORIGINAL ALREADY EXISTS AND IS WIDELY AVAILABLE)
PMID: 16217123

And btw...STOP WHEAT
In polyglandular autoimmune thyroiditis (hypothyroidism), melatonin levels were naturally found to be low particularly when more fatigue was observed by the study participants. The more fatigue, additionally, the more auto-antibodies were found associated with more organs. The adrenals were attacked in addition to the ovaries, thyroid and/or TPO (thyroid peroxidase). It is not clear precisely the relationship between thyroid function, melatonin and auto-antibodies here... In trials looking at simple hypothyroidism, often melatonin levels are fine or mildly shifted. In the case where multiple glands/organs are affected, the melatonin effects appear more significant. I never realized we could make auto-antibodies to our adrenals. But the medical literature is chock full of stories of auto-antibodies produced against nearly ANYTHING in our bodies -- including our p450 enzymes and even...(!!) mitochondria (our little nuclear ATP powerhouses).

??Can we possibly produce auto-antibodies to our pineal? Or calcify it to rock or pebble? Why not? I believe we could...

Wheat as you aware is not only a common food allergen, but it increases gene expression (62 in this trial detected) of a variety of stress hormones, cytokine-chemokine–mediated immunity, and the interleukin pathway, and MMPs (metalloproteinases) (prior post on the FUNGENUT study). Does wheat trigger the increased production of auto-antibodies? Absolutely. Hypothyroidism is a common autoimmune manifestation of silent celiac disease, in other words wheat intolerance. Other organs or tissues frequently 'burnt to a toast' include: Fingers/Rheumatoid; Wrists/CTS; Knees/osteoarthritis; Gallbladder/biliary dz; Insulin receptors/Type 2 Diabetes; Pancreas/Type 1 Diabetes; Ovaries/infertility; Spit glands/Sjogrens; Myelin/MS; et cetera. How about Muscles/fibromyalgia? The Brain?? Consideration of complete wheat cessation is necessary I believe to prevent burning out multiple organs (including the coronary vasculature).

[The fatigue syndrome in autoimmune thyroiditis with polyglandular activation of autoimmunity][Article in Czech]
Zamrazil V et al.Vnitr Lek. 1998 Aug;44(8):456-60.

The authors compared in a group of 118 patients with autoimmune thyroiditis and a positive antibody titre against ovaries the grade of fatigue with the presence of organ specific and non-specific autoantibodies in the peripheral blood stream, antibodies against EBV and CMV, immunoglobulin concentrations, biochemical parameters of the lipid metabolism, glucose tolerance, ion balance and melatonin and serotonin levels. Patients with autoimmune thyroiditis were differentiated according to the degree of fatigue into three groups: 38 with fatigue typical for CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome), 30 with occasional fatigue and 50 without the feeling of fatigue. Fatigue of the CSF type was characterized by a significantly higher incidence of autoantibodies against the adrenals and a higher cholesterol level. Increased fatigue of the patients was associated with a lower melatonin level, a higher serotonin level and a lower M/S ratio as compared with patients without fatigue. In other indicators no differences were found. Fatigue in CFS could be associated, similarly as in autoimmune endocrinopathies, with impaired immunoendocrine regulation. In autoimmune thyroiditis, regardless of the concomitant presence of fatigue, in addition to antibodies against thyroid peroxidase most frequently antibodies against the ovaries were detected.
PMID: 10358448