In Defense of Coconut Oil: Rebuttal to USA Today

In Defense of Coconut Oil: Rebuttal to USA Today

Source: GreenMedInfo.com
Ali La Vere
June 20, 2017

By now, I’m sure you’ve seen the USA Today article entitled, “Coconut oil isn’t healthy. It’s never been healthy“. Fear-mongering, attention-grabbing headlines certainly sell copy, but do not make for evidence-informed, high quality science reporting.

As I expressed in my recent post on social media,

“The internet is full of erroneous claims. Science writers who forgo the nuances of empirical findings in the interest of sensational headlines.

False extrapolations made by people unequipped to interpret the research. Speculations by bloggers who missed the correlation-does-not-equal-causation lesson in epidemiology.

Over-generalizations from poorly designed, low quality in vitro and animal studies and studies that failed the test of statistical significance. Industry-funded, conflict-of-interest ridden rhetoric.

From eating for your blood type, to saturated fat causing heart disease, to heart-healthy whole wheat, to coffee causing gluten cross reactivity—in the natural and mainstream health communities alike, people take an idea and run with it without once going back to the primary and secondary literature to verify its scientific veracity.

The lack of scientific rigor that abounds in many corners of natural medicine is part of the reason that alternative medicine is marginalized by mainstream medicine. However, conventional medicine is equally culpable when it comes to its standards of care lacking a firm evidence-base.

I hope to fill this void, apply a scientific eye, and impart credence to therapeutic nutrition and holistic medicine by substantiating all my claims with high quality scientific data—instead of pulling statements out of thin air, which sadly is commonplace with headline-grabbing, yet substantive discussion-lacking online articles.”

The USA Today article, written in response to an American Heart Association (AHA) statement advising Americans to replace saturated fat with omega-6 rich polyunsaturated fatty acids from vegetable oils, exemplifies the lack of journalistic integrity, rushing to conclusions, and flagrant misrepresentation of the data to which I was referring.

The Omega-3 to Omega-6 Ratio Determines Inflammatory Potential

Contrary to the implications of this USA Today piece, the evidence has elucidated that omega-6 fatty acids, which occur in the corn, cottonseed, canola, safflower, sunflower, and soybean oil that the AHA was recommending, promote carcinogenesis, whereas omega-3 fatty acids inhibit cancer development (Seaman, 2002). Hence, the Standard American Diet, rich in omega-6 fatty acid consumption, generates the pro-inflammatory state that facilitates tumorigenesis (Rose, 1997).

The detrimental effects of omega-6s are articulated by Fernandes and Venkatraman (1993), with,

“The increased consumption of many vegetable oils particularly of the n-6 series is…viewed as pro-inflammatory and is suspected as one of the possible causes for the rise in certain malignant tumors, rheumatoid arthritis and autoimmune diseases primarily due to the increased production of pro-inflammatory cytokines” (p. S19).

In contrast, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids from wild-caught fatty seafood, such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) can modify dynamics of the lipid bilayer, including elastic compressability and membrane permeability, promote membrane fluidity, and favorably modify membrane-bound protein activity (Stillwell & Wassall, 2003).

Thus, DHA is preventive in many inflammatory disorders, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and neurodegenerative disease (Stillwell & Wassal, 2003). Specifically, DHA mitigates neuro-inflammation as it facilitates more efficient nerve cell communication (Crawford et al., 2013). The brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are deficient in DHA, and loss of structural and functional integrity of the brain correlates with loss of DHA concentrations in cell membranes in these patients (Seaman, 2002).

DHA and its long chain omega-3 precursor, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), are likewise involved in modulation of immune responses. In one study, supplementation of these fatty acids prolonged remission of systemic lupus erythematous (SLE) (Das, 1994). In another autoimmune disease, rheumatoid arthritis, omega-3 supplementation was found to suppress the production of inflammatory cytokines and eicosanoids involved in the pathogenesis of the disease (Morin, Blier, & Fortin, 2015). Mechanistically, long chain omega-3 fatty acids suppress proliferation of pathogenic T cells and inhibit synthesis of inflammatory cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF), interleukin-1 (IL-1), and interleukin-2 (IL-2) (Das, 1994).

The dietary balance of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, which compete for incorporation into the phospholipid bilayer of cellular membranes, is integral for restoration of immune health and for prevention of long-latency, chronic, and degenerative diseases.

In order to generate optimal ratios of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, ditch the toxic industrialized vegetable oils, and moderate consumption of grains and seeds as well, since they contain linoleic acid, the precursor to the omega-6 fatty acid arachidonic acid.

As I illustrated above, arachidonic acid is processed by the enzyme cyclooxygenase (COX) to produce pro-inflammatory signaling molecules called eicosanoids, including leukotrienes, prostaglandins, and thromboxanes. Omega-3 fatty acids, on the other hand, promote the production of less inflammatory mediators. Therefore, USA Today’s recommendation to increase consumption of pro-inflammatory vegetable oils, amidst an epidemic of inflammatory chronic diseases, is negligent and irresponsible.

Applying an Ethnographic and Evolutionary Biology Lens

Of all the diets, an ancestral paleolithic diet reminiscent of ancient foragers has the most optimal omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, of 1:1 (Simopoulos, 1991). Traditional hunter-gatherer cultures whose diets are composed of grass-fed game, pasture-raised poultry and eggs, wild-caught seafood, organic, local fruits and vegetables, roots and tubers, nuts and seeds are virtually free of the long-latency, degenerative diseases that plague Westerners.

Eskimos, for instance, who eat a high fish-based diet replete in omega-3s and very low in omega-6s, do not suffer from any of the diseases of modernity, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, diverticulitis, appendicitis, gallstones, or autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, or ulcerative colitis (Sinclair, 1981; Nettleton, 1995; Calder, 1998).

In contrast, the Standard American Diet, customary in Western cultures where non-communicable chronic diseases reach epidemic levels, has an omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio ranging from 10:1 to 25:1 (Simopoulos, 1991). This is largely due to the inclusion of pro-inflammatory, high-heat processed vegetable oils, which are subject to chemically-laden processes such as caustic refining, bleaching, and degumming, and then have to be chemically deodorized to negate rancidity.

In addition to minimizing vegetable oil intake, incorporating plenty of wild-caught, cold-water fatty fish, including mackerel, salmon, herring, caviar, and sardines, can enhance omega-3 levels. Crawford (1968) also demonstrated that wild animals eating their native diets have significantly more omega-3s compared to domesticated livestock. Grass-fed meat, for example, is replete in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants such as beta carotene and vitamin E compared to its conventional corn-fed counterparts, so incorporating grass-fed meat into your diet can restore balance in your fatty acid ratio (Daley et al., 2010).

Busting the Cholesterol Myth

Of note, is that the USA Today article vilified coconut oil on the basis that it raises LDL cholesterol. However, the most recent Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) removed dietary cholesterol as a nutrient of concern, given that there is “no appreciable relationship between dietary cholesterol and serum cholesterol or clinical cardiovascular events in general populations,” so cholesterol content should not deter you from consumption of saturated fat (Mozaffarian & Ludwig, 2015, p. 2421).

Low total cholesterol, formerly believed to be protective against cardiovascular disease, has been demonstrated to have a litany of ill effects. In particular, women with a total cholesterol below 195 mg/dL have a higher risk of mortality compared to women with cholesterol above this cut-off (Petrusson, Sigurdsson, Bengtsson, Nilsen, & Getz, 2012).

Low cholesterol has been correlated with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, suicide, homicide, accidental deaths, and morbid depression (Boscarino, Erlich, & Hoffman, 2009; Morgan, Palinkas, Barrett-Connor, & Wingard, 1993, Mielke et al., 2005; Seneff, Wainwright, & Mascitelli, 2011).

In a group of men 50 years and older, researchers found depression to be three times more common in the group with low plasma cholesterol (Morgan, Palinkas, Barrett-Connor, & Wingard, 1993). Shockingly, men with total cholesterol below 165 m/dL were also found to be seven times more likely to die prematurely from unnatural causes, including suicide and accidents (Boscarino, Erlich, & Hoffman, 2009).

In fact, Morgan, Palinkas, Barrett-Connor, and Winged (1993) articulate this with, “In several clinical trials of interventions designed to lower plasma cholesterol, reductions in coronary heart disease mortality have been offset by an unexplained rise in suicides and other violent deaths” (p. 75).

In essence, in progressive circles, the cholesterol-demonizing, artery-clogging model of heart disease has been redacted in favor of one where inflammation leads to endothelial and vascular smooth muscle dysfunction as well as oxidative stress. Like firefighters at a fire, cholesterol is present at the scene of the crime, but it is not the perpetrator—rather, it is a protective antioxidant element that repairs damage to arteries.

Moreover, cholesterol is an important precursor to our steroid hormones and bile acids, a membrane constituent that helps maintain structural integrity and fluidity, and an essential component for transmembrane transport, cell signaling, and nerve conduction.

Saturated Fat is Not Bad For You

Further, the recommendations of the AHA are especially surprising in light of the results of the Minnesota Coronary Experiment performed forty years ago, where the saturated fat in the diets of 9000 institutionalized mental patients was replaced with polyunsaturated fats in the form of corn oil. A 2010 re-evaluation of the data from this experiment was published in the British Medical Journal (Ramsden et al., 2016).

According to this re-analysis, these patients experienced a 22% higher risk of death for each 30 mg/dL reduction in serum cholesterol (Ramsden et al., 2016). Thus, although substituting omega-6 fats in place of saturated fat led to reductions in cholesterol, these patients suffered worse health outcomes, highlighting that cholesterol is not the villain it was formerly construed to be.

What’s more, although the USA Today article declares the dangers of saturated fat, a recent meta-analysis in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which compiled data from 21 studies including 347,747 people that were followed for an average of 14 years, concluded that there is no appreciable relationship between saturated fat consumption and incidence of cardiovascular disease or stroke (Siri-Tarino, Sun, Hu, & Krauss, 2010).

Another meta-analysis published in 2015 in the British Journal of Medicine concluded that there is no association between saturated fat and risk of cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, ischemic stroke, type 2 diabetes, or all-cause mortality (the risk of death from any cause) (de Souza et al., 2015).

Along similar lines, a trial published in the American Journal of Nutrition in 2016 showed that eating a high fat diet, and deriving a large proportion of calories from saturated fat, improved biomarkers of cardiometabolic risk and insulin resistance, such as insulin, HDL, triglycerides, C-peptide, and glycated hemoglobin (Veum et al., 2016). The researchers conclude, “Our data do not support the idea that dietary fat per se promotes ectopic adiposity and cardiometabolic syndrome in humans” (Veum et al., 2016).

In actuality, saturated fat has been demonstrated to exert beneficial effects on levels of triglycerides and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL), the latter of which has been characterized as the “good cholesterol” that scavenges or transports cholesterol deposited in the bloodstream back to the liver (Mensink, Zock, Kester, & Katan, 2003). Saturated fat has also been shown to elicit minimal effects on apolipoprotein B, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, relative to carbohydrates (Mensink, Zock, Kester, & Katan, 2003).

In addition, in a recent article in the Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, an expert panel held jointly between the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO) reviewed the relationship between saturated fat and coronary heart disease (CHD) (FAO/WHO, 2009).

From their examination of epidemiological studies, they found that saturated fatty acid intake was not significantly correlated with coronary heart disease events or mortality (FAO/WHO, 2009). Similarly, from their investigation of intervention studies, which are more powerful in that they can prove causality, they found that incidence of fatal coronary heart disease was not reduced by low-fat diets (FAO/WHO, 2009).

According to Mozaffarian and Ludwig (2015), “The 2015 DGAC report tacitly acknowledges the lack of convincing evidence to recommend low-fat–high-carbohydrate diets for the general public in the prevention or treatment of any major health outcome, including heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, or obesity” (p. 2422).

Part of this reversal in guidelines is based on the fact that replacing protein or carbohydrates with healthy fats in excess of the current 35% of the daily caloric fat limit reduces risk of cardiovascular disease (Appel et al., 2005; Estruch et al., 2013).

In a similar vein, “The 2015 DGAC report specifies that, ‘Consumption of ‘low-fat’ or ‘nonfat’ products with high amounts of refined grains and added sugars should be discouraged’” (Mozaffarian & Ludwig, 2015, p.2422). Despite new guidelines, the Nutrition Facts Panel still employs the outdated 30% limit on dietary fat, which Mozaffarian and Ludwig (2015) remark has been “obsolete for more than a decade” (p.2422).

Coconut Oil Doesn’t Negate Health—It Engenders It

Not only do these meta-analyses put the nail in the coffin as far as saturated fat causing heart disease, but a plethora of health benefits have been elucidated in the scientific literature regarding coconut oil consumption. For instance, the following studies, as catalogued in the GreenMedInfo database, have revealed metabolic, immunomodulatory, and cognitive benefits of the dietary inclusion of coconut oil.

For instance, extra virgin coconut oil consumption has been demonstrated to significantly reduce body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC) and produce significant increases in concentrations of HDL cholesterol in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) (Cardoso et al., 2015). Another study by Liau in colleagues (2011) concluded that virgin coconut oil is efficacious for the reduction of waist circumference, especially in a male cohort. Likewise, a study by Assunção and colleagues (2009) demonstrated that dietary coconut oil reduces visceral adiposity and elevates HDL cholesterol in women, thus improving both anthropometric and biochemical risk factors for metabolic syndrome.

In rodent models, dietary virgin coconut oil improves glycemic control in high fructose fed rats, and is postulated to be “an efficient nutraceutical in preventing the development of diet induced insulin resistance and associated complications possibly through its antioxidant efficacy” (Narayanankutty et al., 2016). Research supports the use of coconut oil for obesity, dyslipidemia, insulin resistance, hypertension, and pathologically elevated LDL, all of which constitute risk factors for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and Alzheimer’s, the last of which is being re-conceptualized as type 3 diabetes (Fernando et al., 2015).

In addition, in a prospective study of patients with Alzheimer’s, improvements in cognitive function were observed for patients administered extra virgin coconut oil, since “medium chain triglycerides are a direct source of cellular energy and can be a nonpharmacological alternative to the neuronal death for lack of it, that occurs in Alzheimer patients” (Yang et al., 2015). Notably, the hormones, or cytokinins, and phenolic compounds found in coconut may prevent aggregation of amyloid-β peptide into plaques, thus arresting a critical step in pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s (Fernando et al., 2015). Research also suggests that coconut oil may directly stimulate ketogenesis in astrocytes and provide fuel to neighboring neurons as a consequence, thus improving brain health (Nonaka et al., 2016). On a different note, coconut oil mitigates amyloid beta toxicity in cortical neurons by up-regulating signaling of cell survival pathways (Nafar, Clarke, & Mearow, 2017).

Lastly, studies have illuminated anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antibacterial, and anti-pyretic properties of virgin coconut oil (Intahphuak, Khonsung, & Panthong, 2010; Ogbolu et al., 2007). Thus, unless you are part of the minority of the population that carries the APOE4 allele, a polymorphism that confers increased risk with saturated fat consumption, there is no reason to avoid coconut oil or saturated fat (Barberger-Gateau et al., 2011). Thus, instead of trashing your coconut oil, do yourself a favor and eat an extra helping—your body will thank you.

Read more At: GreenMedInfo.com
__________________________________________________________________

References

Appel, L.J., Sacks, F.M., Carey, V.J., Obarzanek, E. Swain, J.F., Miller, E.R. 3rd,…OmniHeart Collaborative Research Group. (2005). Effects of protein, monounsaturated fat, and carbohydrate intake on blood pressure and serum lipids: results of the OmniHeart randomized trial. Journal of the American Medical Association, 294(19):2455-2464.

Assunção, M.L., Ferreira, H.S., dos Santos, A.F., Cabral, C.R., & Florêncio, T.M.M.T. (2009). Effects of dietary coconut oil on the biochemical and anthropometric profiles of women presenting abdominal obesity. Lipids, 44(7), 593-601.

Barberger-Gateua, P., Samieri, C., Feart, C., & Plourde, M. (2012). Dietary omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and Alzheimer’s disease: interaction with apolipoprotein E genotype. Current Alzheimer’s Research, 8(5), 479-491.

Calder, P.C. (1998). Dietary fatty acids and the immune system. Nutritional Reviews, II, S70-S83.

Cardoso et al. (2015). A coconut extra virgin oil-rich diet increases HDL cholesterol and decreases waist circumference and body mass in coronary artery disease patients. Nutrition Hospitals, 32(5), 2144-2152. doi: 10.3305/nh.2015.32.5.9642.

Crawford, M.A., Broadhurst, C.L., Guest, M., Nagar, A., Wang, Y., Ghebremeskel, K., & Schmidt, W. (2013). A quantum theory for the irreplaceable role of docosahexaenoic acid in neural cell signaling throughout evolution. Prostaglandins Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids, 88(1), 5-13.

Daley, C. A., Abbott, A., Doyle, P. S., Nader, G. A., & Larson, S. (2010). A review of fatty acid profiles and antioxidant content in grass-fed and grain-fed beef. Nutrition Journal, 9(1), 10.

Das, U.N. (1994). Beneficial effect of eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids in the management of systemic lupus erythematosus and its relationship to the cytokine network. Prostaglandins Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids, 51(3), 207-213.

de Souza et al. (2015). Intake of saturated and trans unsaturated fatty acids and risk of all cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-anlaysis of observational studies. British Medical Journal, 351.

Estruch, R., Ros, E., Salas-Salvado, J., Covas, M.I., Corella, D., Aros, F.,…PREDIMED Study Investigators. (2013). Primary prevention of cardiovascular disease with a Mediterranean diet. New England Journal of Medicine, 368(14), 1279-1290. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1200303

FAO/WHO. (2009). Fats and fatty acids in human nutrition. Proceedings of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation. November 10-14, 2008. Geneva, Switzerland. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, 55, 1-3.

Fernando, W.M.A.D.B., Martins, I.J., Goozee, K.G., Brennan, C.S., Jayasena, V., & Martins, R.N. (2015). The role of dietary coconut for the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease: potential mechanisms of action. British Journal of Nutrition, 1-14.
Intahphuak, S., Khonsung, P., & Panthong, A. (2010). Anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antipyretic activities of virgin coconut oil. Pharmacological Biology, 48(2), 151-157.

Kalmijn, S., Feskens, E.J.M., & Kromhout, D. (1997). Polyunsaturated fatty acids, antioxidants, and cognitive function in very old men. American journal of Epidemiology, 145, 33-41.

Liau, K.M., Lee, Y.Y., Chen, C.K., & Rasool, A.H.G. (2011). An open-label pilot study to assess the efficacy and safety of virgin coconut oil in reducing visceral adiposity. ISRN Pharmacology. doi: 10.5402/2011/949686
Mensink, R.P., Zock, P.L., Kester, A.D., & Katan, M.B. (2003). Effects of dietary fatty acids and carbohydrates on the ratio of serum total to HDL cholesterol and on serum lipids and apolipoproteins: a meta-analysis of 60 controlled trials. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 77(5), 1146-1155.

Mielke, M.M., Zandi, P.P., Sjogren, M., Gustafson, D., Ostling, S., Steen, B., & Skoog, I. (2005). High total cholesterol levels in late life associated with a reduced risk of dementia. Neurology, 64(10), 1689-1695.

Mozaffarian, D., & Ludwig, D.S. (2015). The 2015 US Dietary Guidelines: Lifting the Ban on Total Dietary Fat. Journal of the American Medical Association, 313(24), 2421-2422.

Morin, C., Blier, P.U., & Fortin, S. (2015). Eicosapentaenoic acid and docosapentaenoic acid monoglycerides are more potent than docosahexaenoic acid monoglyceride to resolve inflammation in a rheumatoid arthritis model. Arthritis Research Therapies, 17, 142. doi: 10.1186/s13075-015-0653-y.

Morgan, R.E., Palinkas, L.A., Barrett-Connor, E.L., & Wingard, D.L. (1993). Plasma cholesterol and depressive symptoms in older men. The Lancet, 341(8837), 75-79. doi:10.1016/0140-6736(93)92556-9

Nafar, F., Clarke, J.P., & Mearow, K.M. (2017). Coconut oil protects cortical neurons from amyloid beta toxicity by enhancing signaling of cell survival pathways. Neurochemical International, 105, 64-79. doi: 10.1016/j.neuint.2017.01.008.

Narayanankutty, A., Mukesh, R.K., Ayoob, S.K., Ramavarma, S.K., Suseela, I.M., Manalil, J.J.,…Raghavamenon, A.C. (2016). Virgin coconut oil maintains redox status and improves glycemic conditions in high fructose fed rats. Journal of Food Science and Technology, 53(1), 895-901.

Nettleton, J. (1995). omega-3 fatty acids and health. New York Chapman & Hall. p. 67-73.

Nonaka, Y., Takagi, T., Inai, M., Nishimura, S., Urashima, S., Honda, K.,…Terada, S. (2016). Lauric acid stimulates ketone body production in the KT-5 astrocyte cell line. Journal of Oleo Science, 65(8), 693-699.

Ogbolu, D.O., Oni, A.A., Daini, O.A., & Oloko, A.P. (2007). In vitro antimicrobial properties of coconut oil on Candida species in Ibadan, Nigeria. Journal of Medical Foods, 10(2), 384-387.

Petrusson, H., Sigurdsson, J.A., Bengtsson, C., Nilsen, T.I., & Getz, L. (2012). Is the use of cholesterol in mortality risk algorithms in clinical guidelines valid? Ten years prospective data from the Norwegian HUNT 2 study. Journal of the Evaluation of Clinical Practice, 18(1), 159-168.

Ramsden et al. (2016). Re-evaluation of the traditional diet-heart hypothesis: analysis of recovered data from Minnesota Coronary Experiment (1968-1973). British Medical Journal, 353.Simopoulos, A.P., & Salem Jr., N. (1992). Egg yolk as a source of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in infant feeding. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 55, 411-414.

Rose, D.P. (1997). Dietary fatty acids and cancer. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 66(suppl), 998S-1003S.

Seaman, D.R. (2002). The diet-induced pro-inflammatory state: a cause of chronic pain and other degenerative diseases? Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 25(3), 168-179.

Seneff, S., Wainwright, G., & Mascitelli, L. (2011). Nutrition and Alzheimer’s disease: The detrimental role of a high carbohydrate diet. European Journal of Internal Medicine, 1-7.

Simopoulos, A.P. (1991). Omega-3 fatty acids in health and disease and in growth and development. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 54, 483-463.

Sinclair, H. (1981). The relative importance of essential fatty acids of the linoleum and linolenic families: studies with an Eskimo diet. Progress in Lipid Research, 20, 897-899.

Siri-Tarino, P.W., Sun, Q., Hu, F.B., & Krauss, R.M. (2010). Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 91(3), 535-546.

Stillwell, W., & Wassall, S.R. (2003). Docosahexaenoic acid: membrane properties of a unique fatty acid. Chemistry and Physical Lipids, 126(1), 1-27.

Veum et al. (2016). Visceral adiposity and metabolic syndrome after very high-fat and low fat isocaloric diets: a randomized controlled trial. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. doi: 10.3945/​ajcn.115.123463

Yang, H.Y., de la Rubia Orti, J.E., Sabater, P.S., Castillo, S.S., Rochina, M.J., Ramon, N.M., & Montoya-Castilla, I. (2015). Coconut oil: Non-alternative drug treatment against Alzheimer’s disease. Nutrition in Hospitals, 32(6), 2822-2877.

Ali Le Vere holds dual Bachelor of Science degrees in Human Biology and Psychology, minors in Health Promotion and in Bioethics, Humanities, and Society, and is a Master of Science in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine candidate. Having contended with chronic illness, her mission is to educate the public about the transformative potential of therapeutic nutrition and to disseminate information on evidence-based, empirically rooted holistic healing modalities. Read more at @empoweredautoimmune on Instagram and at www.EmpoweredAutoimmune.com: Science-based natural remedies for autoimmune disease, dysautonomia, Lyme disease, and other chronic, inflammatory illnesses.

Acupuncture found to be a safe and effective alternative to dangerous painkiller drugs in hospitals

Image: Acupuncture found to be a safe and effective alternative to dangerous painkiller drugs in hospitals
Source: NaturalNews.com
Earl Garcia
June 23, 2017

A recent study published in MJA.com.au revealed that acupuncture may serve as a safe and effective alternative to pain-relieving drugs for patients arriving at a hospital’s emergency room. As part of the study, a team of researchers led by the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Australia that examined 528 patients with acute low back pain, migraine, or ankle sprains who were rushed to emergency rooms of various hospitals between January 2010 and December 2011.

The participants who rated their pain levels at four out of a 10-point scale received three types of treatment, which involved acupuncture alone, pharmacotherapy alone, or a combination of both. The study revealed that less than 40 percent of patients across all treatment groups reported significant reductions in pain after one hour of treatment, while more than 80 percent continued to have a pain rating of four. However, the research team noted that most patients rated their therapies acceptable after a treatment duration of 48 hours. According to the study, nearly 83 percent of patients in the acupuncture only-group said they would repeat the treatment, compared with only 78.2 percent in the pharmacotherapy-only group, and 80.8 percent in the combination treatment group.

“While acupuncture is widely used by practitioners in community settings for treating pain, it is rarely used in hospital emergency departments. Emergency nurses and doctors need a variety of pain-relieving options when treating patients, given the concerns around opioids such as morphine, which carry the risk of addiction when used long-term. Our study has shown acupuncture is a viable alternative, and would be especially beneficial for patients who are unable to take standard pain-relieving drugs because of other medical conditions. But it’s clear we need more research overall to develop better medical approaches to pain management, as the study also showed patients initially remained in some pain, no matter what treatment they received,” lead researcher Professor Marc Cohen quoted in ScienceDaily.com.

“Some Australian emergency departments already offer acupuncture when trained staff are available but further studies are needed on ways to improve pain management overall in emergency departments, and the potential role for acupuncture in this. We need to determine the conditions that are most responsive to acupuncture, the feasibility of including the treatment in emergency settings, and the training needed for doctors or allied health personnel,” Prof. Cohen stated in a separate article in DailyMail.co.uk.

More studies attesting to how acupuncture relieves pain

The recent study was only one of the many research indicating acupuncture’s efficacy in pain management. In fact, a meta-analysis published last year in MayoClinicProceedings.org revealed that acupuncture was among other complementary health practices that showed favorable results in alleviating common pain. To carry out the analysis, a team of researchers from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health at the National Institutes of Health reviewed 105 U.S.-based randomized controlled trials and identified treatment that will address one or more of five painful conditions including back pain, osteoarthritis, and neck pain as well as fibromyalgia, severe headaches, and migraine.

The research team found that acupuncture was highly effective in treating back pain. The study also revealed that the alternative treatment can be used in alleviating osteoarthritis of the knee. The results offer both patients and health providers information that is necessary for discussing non-drug approaches in pain management, the research team concluded.

Another study published in Health.USNews.com showed that acupuncture therapy was highly effective in relieving pain and improving the quality of life in patients with fibromyalgia. According to the study, the pain scores of patients who received acupuncture had an average decline of 41 percent at 10 weeks. In contrast, those who received a simulated acupuncture treatment had a 27 percent reduction in pain scores.

Read More At: NaturalNews.com

Sources include:

DailyMail.co.uk

ScienceDaily.com 1

ScienceDaily.com 2

Health.USNews.com

MayoClinic.com

MJA.com.au

7 Reasons to Get More Magnesium

Magnesium
Source: GreenMedInfo.com
Margie King, Health Coach
June 11, 2017

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body, and is the reason why vegetables are green.  But few people fully appreciate the importance of this miraculous mineral. 

The human genome project reveals that 3,751 human proteins have binding sites for magnesium.[i]  And so far we know this one essential mineral activates over 350 biochemical processes in the body to keep things flowing.

Plants are green because they contain the light-harvesting molecule chlorophyll which bears a striking resemblance to human hemoglobin (with the difference that the latter contains an oxygen-binding iron atom and not magnesium).

Here are just seven good reasons to get more magnesium-rich foods in your diet today.

1. Prevent Migraines.

According to University of Vermont Professor of Neurology and migraine expert Robert Shapiro, M.D., Ph.D., every year nearly one in five Americans experience some form of migraine attack.  One in 25 will have headaches lasting at least 15 days per month. These disabling attacks include severe one-sided, throbbing headaches, and sensitivity to light and sound.  They may also involve nasal congestion, cloudy thinking, and nausea.

In one study of 133 migraine patients, supplementing with 500 mg of magnesium oxide for just 12 weeks significantly improved the frequency and severity of migraines.[ii]

And a double blind, placebo controlled study from Kaiser Permanente showed that supplementing with magnesium significantly cut the number of days children suffered with a migraine.[iii]

2. Lower Heart Disease Mortality.  

A study in the journal Atherosclerosis found that people with low magnesium levels were more than twice as likely to die of heart disease.  They were also more than seven times as likely to die from all causes.[iv]

3. Manage Diabetes

Magnesium deficiency is common among type 2 diabetics, especially those with neuropathy or coronary disease.[v]  A Harvard study found that diabetics taking 320 mg of magnesium for up to 16 weeks significantly improved their fasting blood sugar levels as well as their HDL (good) cholesterol.[vi]

4. Relieve Symptoms of Fibromyalgia.

A double blind, placebo controlled study from the University of Texas showed that magnesium malate improves pain and tenderness in fibromyalgia patients.[vii]

5. Lower Risk of Colon Cancer.

Epidemiologic studies link low magnesium levels with higher rates of colorectal cancer.  And a meta-analysis from China confirms that higher magnesium intakes are associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer and especially colon cancer.

The Chinese researchers analyzed eight prospective studies covering 338,979 participants. Their results, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found the highest average intake of magnesium was associated with an 11% reduction in colorectal cancer risk compared to the lowest average intake.

In addition, for every 50 mg per day increase in magnesium, colon cancer was reduced by 7%.

An earlier meta-analysis by Imperial College London and Wageningen University found that for every 100 mg increase in magnesium, colorectal cancer decreased by 13%.

6. Build Strong Bones.

Studies find a significant association between bone density and magnesium levels.[viii]  But magnesium content of bones decreases with age.[ix]  In addition, sugar and alcohol cause magnesium to be lost through the urine.

Magnesium assists calcium in building bone strength,[x] but it does much more.  It stimulates the hormone calcitonin.  That helps draw calcium out of the blood and soft tissues and put it back into the bones. Too much calcium in the blood and tissues can increase the risk of arthritis, heart attack, and kidney stones, as well as osteoporosis.[xi]

And getting more magnesium may mean you need less than the government’s recommended 1,200 mg of calcium per day.  One study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that increasing magnesium while lowering calcium to 500 mg per day was enough to increase bone density.[xii]

7. Reduce Signs of Metabolic Syndrome

Mexican researchers looked at the effects of taking oral magnesium supplements on people they categorized as “metabolically obese, normal-weight (MONW) individuals.”

MONW individuals have a body mass index under 25 which is considered normal weight.  But they also have hyperinsulinemia and or insulin resistance.  And they have high triglycerides and high blood pressure.  As a result, these individuals are at higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

The researchers studied 47 MONW individuals who had low magnesium levels.  In a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial one group received a daily solution of 30 ml of magnesium (equivalent to 382 mg).  The control group received 30 ml of a placebo solution.

Their results were published in the Archives of Medical Research.  After only 4 months, markers of metabolic syndrome were significantly lower in the magnesium group.  They lowered their systolic pressure by 2.1 points and their diastolic pressure by 3.8 points.  Their fasting blood glucose levels dropped 12.3 points and their triglycerides plunged 47.4%.

Magnesium is also known to:

Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include constipation and other digestive problems, low energy, and irregularities in menstrual flow and reproductive health, and migraine headaches.

Magnesium also relaxes the body from tightness, tension, tics, spasms, cramps and stiffness.  And it helps prevent the buildup of plaque on your teeth, in your heart and arteries, and even in your brain.

The recommended daily allowance for magnesium is 420 mg for men or 320 mg for women.  But it’s estimated that between 80% and 90% of Americans are magnesium deficient.  One government study showed that 68% of American women do not consume the recommended daily amount of magnesium.  Almost 20% don’t even get half of the recommended amount.[xiii]

In addition, the use of oral contraceptives, diuretics, and laxa­tives can make magnesium deficiencies worse.

Magnesium deficiency is relatively easy to remedy with food.  One of the richest sources of magnesium is high quality chocolate. Dark chocolate has a whopping 176 mg of magnesium in a 3.5 ounce bar.  In fact, if you crave chocolate your body may be telling you it’s low in magnesium.

Other high magnesium foods include:

  • Dried seaweeds
  • Dark leafy greens (especially collards, spinach and Swiss chard)
  • Broccoli
  • Beans
  • Whole grains (especially millet, brown rice and quinoa)
  • Almonds, cashews, and filberts
  • Sesame seeds
  • Lentils
  • Avocados
  • Wheatgrass
  • Spirulina ​and chlorella​​

Magnesium supplements are also widely available. They come in many forms including oxide, citrate, carbonate, aspartate, and lactate.  Magnesium oxide is the least expensive but also the most difficult for the body to absorb.  Magnesium citrate helps with constipation.  Magnesium glycinate is a better choice if you don’t want the laxative effect.

Some people have difficulty absorbing magnesium in an oral supplement form.  If you eat a high fiber diet, for example, your body doesn’t absorb as much magnesium.  Also, taking diuretics, antibiotics or proton pump inhibitors for acid reflux all interfere with magnesium absorption.

For better absorption, try magnesium chloride, or a form known as iMCH, which can be applied topically.  It has been called the most effective form of magnesium for cellular detoxification and tissue purification.  It comes in the form of oil.  You can spray this directly on your skin or even soak your feet in it.  The liquid magnesium bypasses the intestines and is absorbed directly into the tissues of the body.

Visit GreenMedInfo’s page on magnesium documenting well over 100 health benefits of magnesium. Also, check out their cutting edge report on how chlorophyll (what makes veggies green!) can help your body to capture the energy of sunlight, with positive consequences to your health and well being.

Read More At: GreenMedInfo.com

________________________________________________________________________

Sources:

https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/magnesium-supplement-review/magnesium/

http://www.healthcentral.com/medications/r/medications/magnesium-chloride-oral-10702

http://www.ancient-mineral s.com/products/


[i] Damiano Piovesan, Giuseppe Profiti, Pier Luigi Martelli, Rita Casadio. 3,751 magnesium binding sites have been detected on human proteins. BMC Bioinformatics. 2012 ;13 Suppl 14:S10. Epub 2012 Sep 7. PMID: 23095498

[ii] Ali Tarighat Esfanjani, Reza Mahdavi, Mehrangiz Ebrahimi Mameghani, Mahnaz Talebi, Zeinab Nikniaz, Abdolrasool Safaiyan. The effects of magnesium, L-carnitine, and concurrent magnesium-L-carnitine supplementation in migraine prophylaxis. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2012 Dec ;150(1-3):42-8. Epub 2012 Aug 17. PMID: 22895810

[iii] Fong Wang, Stephen K Van Den Eeden, Lynn M Ackerson, Susan E Salk, Robyn H Reince, Ronald J Elin. Oral magnesium oxide prophylaxis of frequent migrainous headache in children: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Eur J Endocrinol. 2009 Apr;160(4):611-7. Epub 2009 Jan 29. PMID: 12786918

[iv] Thorsten Reffelmann, Till Ittermann, Marcus Dörr, Henry Völzke, Markus Reinthaler, Astrid Petersmann, Stephan B Felix. Low serum magnesium concentrations predict cardiovascular and all-cause mortality. Atherosclerosis. 2011 Jun 12. Epub 2011 Jun 12. PMID: 21703623

[v] M de Lordes Lima, T Cruz, J C Pousada, L E Rodrigues, K Barbosa, V Canguçu. The effect of magnesium supplementation in increasing doses on the control of type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 1998 May;21(5):682-6. PMID: 9589224

[vi] Y Song, K He, E B Levitan, J E Manson, S Liu. Effects of oral magnesium supplementation on glycaemic control in Type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis of randomized double-blind controlled trials. Cardiovasc Toxicol. 2008;8(3):115-25. Epub 2008 Jul 8. PMID: 16978367

[vii] I J Russell, J E Michalek, J D Flechas, G E Abraham. Treatment of fibromyalgia syndrome with Super Malic: a randomized, double blind, placebo controlled, crossover pilot study. J Rheumatol. 1995 May;22(5):953-8. PMID: 8587088

[viii] Ryder KM et al, Magnesium intake from food and supplements is associated with bone mineral density in healthy older white subjects.  J Am Geriatr Soc. 2005 Nov;53(11):1875-80. Pubmed 16274367

[ix] Jahnen-Dechent W., Ketteler M. “Magnesium basics.” Clin. Kidney J. 2012;5:i3–i14. doi: 10.1093/ndtplus/sfr163. [Cross Ref]

[x] Jones, G., M. Riley, and T. Dwyer, Maternal Diet during pregnancy is associated with bone mineral density in children: a longitudinal study. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2000. 54: p. 749-756

[xi] Zofková I, , Kancheva RL. The relationship between magnesium and calciotropic hormones. Magnes Res. 1995 Mar; 8 (1): 77-84. Pubmed 7669510

[xii] Nieves, J.W. 2005. Osteoporosis: The role of micronutrientsAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition 81 (5): 1232S-1239S. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/81/5/1232S.abstract

[xiii] King DE, Mainous AG 3rd, Geesey ME, Woolson RF. “Dietary magnesium and C-reactive protein levels.” J Am Coll Nutr. 2005 Jun 24(3):166-71.

Combination of antibiotic plus vitamin C found 100x more effective at killing cancer cells than chemotherapy

Image: Combination of antibiotic plus vitamin C found 100x more effective at killing cancer cells than chemotherapy
Source: NaturalNews.com
Isabelle Z.
June 14, 2017

Conventional wisdom says that increasing your vitamin C intake can help ward off colds, but now scientists believe it could be a powerful tool in a much bigger battle: The fight against cancer.

A study that was recently published in Oncotarget found that a combination of antibiotics and Vitamin C could be as much as 100 times more effective than chemotherapy when it comes to killing cancer cells in a mechanism that is essentially a “one-two punch.”

Scientists at the University of Salford subjected cancer cells to increasing doses of the antibiotic in question, doxycycline, over the course of three months and followed this up with Vitamin C, which restricts the cells’ energy source to only glucose. The Vitamin C inhibits most of the cells’ ability to make energy, leaving them alive but weak. When the glucose is then later taken away, the cells essentially starve to death. Unlike normal cells, cancer stem cells have the ability to produce energy using glucose through several pathways, which is one reason they can grow and replicate more efficiently than normal cells. Taking away the glucose prevents these cells from proliferating.

It is believed that this method could prevent cancer cells from developing resistance to treatment, and the results show how combo therapies can be used to help overcome drug resistance. The team also discovered a handful of other drugs with the potential to be used for the “second punch” after the antibiotics, including relatively non-toxic FDA-approved drugs and natural products like berberine, a salt that is found in several plants species.

In March, the same university found that vitamin C on its own is as much as 10 times more effective when it comes to halting the growth of cancer cells than drugs like 2-DG.

Safer alternative to chemotherapy

Having an effective way to fight cancer is good news under any circumstances, but it’s made even better when the solution entails something nontoxic like Vitamin C.

While Big Pharma would like you to believe that such treatments are dangerous and you have no choice but to buy their poisonous chemotherapy drugs, recent clinical trials concluded that regularly infusing lung and brain cancer patients with as much as 1,000 times the daily recommended intake of Vitamin C is safe as a strategy for improving the outcomes of standard treatments for cancer.

Contrast this with chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and cancer drugs, all of which carry with them their own set of risks. According to the Pharma Death Clock, chemotherapy has killed more than 17 million people in the U.S. since 2000. Moreover, aggressive cancer types do not always respond to these treatments. This means that cancer patients have an uphill battle and must accept a lot of risks when opting for conventional treatments, yet many feel they have little choice. If the efforts of the University of Salford scientists lead to the development of a safer and more effective treatment, it could save countless lives and spare these patients and their families the emotional distress that can accompany cancer.

While the doses of Vitamin C that are used in these treatments are much higher than you could get from your diet, there are still plenty of benefits to upping your intake of this nutrient, even if you don’t have cancer. In fact, it can help reduce the risk of getting certain cancers, like lung cancer, in the first place, and it has also been found to help prevent heart attacks and reduce your risk of stroke. Found naturally in foods like oranges, red peppers, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and kale, Vitamin C is a true powerhouse that could ultimately offer a solution to some of the biggest challenges facing the medical world today.

Read More at: NaturalNews.com
_________________________________________________________

Find more news on medical discoveries at Discoveries.news.

Sources:

DailyMail.co.uk

ScienceDaily.com

ScienceDaily.com

NaturalNews.com

NHS.uk

How Food Can Prevent Disease with Dr. Joel Fuhrman Spring Garden Tour

Source: GrowingYourGreens
June 13, 2017

John from http://www.growingyourgreens.com/ has a special guest, Dr. Joel Fuhrman, MD visit his garden for a special spring garden tour. In this episode, John will share with Dr. Fuhrman some of the special fruits, vegetables, and herbs he is growing. You will learn from Dr. Fuhrman why some of the vegetables that John is growing are non-optional plants you need to eat on a regular basis to prevent and reverse disease. You will discover the specific pathways in the body that require certain phytonutrients in these plant foods that prevent and reverse disease and can help keep you young and healthy. John will offer Dr. Fuhrman taste samples of many of the unique leafy greens, herbs, fruits, and vegetables growing in his garden so you can learn what a hard-core vegetable eater thinks about some of the unique varieties that John is growing. You will learn from both Dr. Fuhrman and John as they interact with each other in this educational, fun and inspiring one-of-a-kind spring backyard vegetable garden tour. After watching this episode, you will learn more about why some of the vegetables you are growing in your garden should be grown and eaten on a regular basis and in sufficient quantities. You will also discover many new varieties of edible plants that you may want to start growing. Joel Fuhrman, M.D. is a board-certified family physician, six-time New York Times best-selling author and internationally recognized expert on nutrition and natural healing, who specializes in preventing and reversing disease through nutritional methods. Dr. Fuhrman coined the term “Nutritarian” to describe his eating style, which is built around a diet of nutrient-dense, plant-rich foods.

Book Review: Fat For Fuel by Dr. Joseph Mercola | #SmartReads

FatForFuel
TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
May 22, 2017

“The food you eat can either be the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.”
– Ann Wigmore

“He who takes medicine and neglects diet wastes the skill of the physician.”
– Chinese Proverb

There are mainstream doctors, and there are open-minded doctors who are few, but dedicated, within the alternative health community.  Dr. Mercola is one of these select few who isn’t afraid to not only call it how it is, but back up what he says with significant contributions and hard work.

Anyone that has been reading Dr. Mercola’s work for quite some time knows what kind of quality of work they will get.  For those that might be newer, as all of us were at one time, Dr. Mercola has been putting in hard work on his website, and he has been dedicated to help others find truths within the sphere of health, no matter how uncomfortable they may be.

It is no surprise then that in Fat For Fuel, Dr. Mercola has come out once again pulling no punches with his new effort to show the truth behind the myths claiming fats being unhealthy.  Better yet, he goes beyond that to provide the ample benefits that are to be had by eating healthy fats, which harbor immense benefits.

Fat For Fuel is a veritable crash course on how to streamline your health.  Some of the most salient points in the book, which stand to help a lot of individuals, is that Dr. Mercola takes a very comprehensive approach into showing how to cut off the supply line for cancer cells, how to improve your overall health with simple dietary/lifestyle changes, and even discusses how to maintain healthy mitochondria, which helps maintain optimal health reducing the likelihood of cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Type 2 Diabetes and other diseases.

All of this comes about through what Dr. Mercola calls Mitochondrial Metabolic Therapy [MMT].  Essentially, what MMT does is target mitochondria, which aids in bringing about healing of chronic disease.  This is accomplished by making sure the body uses fat as a primary fuel, rather than using glucose, which is far less optimal.

The system that Mercola provides is rather comprehensive in its approach, while not overlooking common issues that individuals may face in their journey towards optimal health.  The book offers considerations like when to eat and how much time to leave between, what cooking oils to avoid that are deleterious to health, ways to help individuals self-monitor their own health, and much more.

Extensively covered as well are the many benefits of fasting.  Thankfully, there are a few fasting options offered, as well as many of the do’s and don’ts as well.  Also covered there in are Mercola’s own favorite fast, as well as other fasts which also help the body reach optimal health.

The book even covers many of the extensive issues that are prevalent within individuals with too much iron.  This part alone is quite salient since it couples directly too many other health issues like Cancer, Diabetes, Obesity, and more.

In its totality, Fat For Fuel is an in-depth look at how the marvel of the human body can achieve healing by providing it with the proper fuel source.  If you’re interested in healing yourself without having to deal with the myriad issues of that conventional medicine espouses, then consideration of this book should be done.  One thing is for sure, after reading Fat For Fuel people will never think of fats – healthy fats! – in the same way ever again.

___________________________________________________________
This article is free and open source.  All individuals are encouraged to share this content and have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.
___________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, researcher, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, humanitarian, and freelance writer who studies and mirrors regularly subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

His other blog, BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com features mainly his personal work, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information nigh always ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.