Monday, August 31, 2015

Is Saturated Fat Bad for You?

A new review suggests that saturated fats, like those found in may dairy products and meat, may not be the big contributors to heart disease or early death that many think they are.

However, the Canadian researchers who did the review did find a clear link between heart troubles and trans fats, which are found in highly processed foods such as snacks, margarine and baked goods.

“Not all the studies we looked at reached the same conclusion, but generally what we found is that the association between a higher consumption of trans fats and a higher risk for heart disease and [early] death was very consistent,” said study author Russell de Souza.

“And because we found no evidence that trans fat offers any health benefit, removing it from the foods we eat is the right idea,” added de Souza, a registered dietician and an assistant professor of clinical epidemiology & biostatistics at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.

“On the other hand, the association between consuming saturated fat and a higher risk for similar health issues was variable and unclear,” he added.  “But we want to be careful.  We’re not saying that we’re confident that saturated fat is truly benign.”

De Souza and his colleagues reported their findings in the August 11 issues of the BMJ.

The study authors said that current dietary guidelines advocate limiting saturated fat consumption to less than 10% of total caloric intake, and limiting trans fats to less than 1% of one’s diet.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Wisdom Wednesday: Cruciferous Extract

Broccoli, kale, cauliflower, cabbage and arugula all belong to a group of foods known as the cruciferous vegetables.

There are several more lesser known vegetables in this group as well.  They are all high in sulfur content

Sulfur is a mineral that is not consumed in its elemental form.  We get the sulfur we need by eating foods that contain sulfur bearing amino acids.  Amino acids are the building blocks of protein.  Methionine and cysteine are examples of sulfur bearing amino acids.

The chemistry to remove the sulfur from these amino acids is well established.  In short, it involves vitamin B12, folic acid, vitamin B6, magnesium, betaine, and molybdenum as catalytic enzymes.

The free sulfur is then used to manufacture glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate used to repair connective tissue (muscle, ligament, bone, cartilage, tendon, and disc).  It also controls Candida in the bowel.  The third function of free sulfur is to facilitate phase II liver detoxification.

Phase II liver detoxification actually has ten known pathways.  Five of them are dependent on sulfur.  These pathways take spent hormones that have passed through phase I liver detoxification and make them water soluble so they can be eliminated from the body.  These pathways are vital as many hormones become carcinogenic after passing through phase I detox.

Monday, August 3, 2015

IV Omega-3 May Improve QOL for Cancer Patients

The addition of intravenous omega-3 fatty acids to anti-tumor medications for pancreatic cancer may improve the quality of life (QOL) and clinical response, according to researchers from the University Hospitals of Leicester, UK. The authors report that the first clinical trial of intravenous (IV) omega-3 FAs as a therapeutic agent in any cancer setting was very encouraging. The results warrant further study in large-scale randomized trials.

Patients were given 1,000 mg of gemcitabine weekly followed by up to 100 g of omega-3 lipid emulsion for three weeks followed by a rest week. This was continued for up to six cycles, progression, unacceptable toxicity, patient request, or death. The study found evidence of activity in response and disease stabilization rates, reduction in liver metastasis volume, and improved quality of liver scores in this group of patients.

The primary outcome measure was objective response rate, with secondary outcome measures of overall and progression free survival, QOL scores, and adverse events. QOL and pain scores appear to be improved by the combination of gemcitabine and IV omega 3 rich lipid infusion over baseline. Perhaps the most striking results are those of the proportion of patients with a 10% or better improvement in global health from baseline.