Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Acupuncture relieves hot flashes in hormone-treated breast cancer patients.

This link is to a study that shows acupuncture is better than drugs in treating the hot flashes induced by estrogen-antagonist therapies in oncology.  Acupuncture reduces all the side effects of Western cancer treatment and should be a part of everyone's comprehensive cancer care. 

excerpt from lecture; White rice is better than brown

This is a video excerpt from a lecture in which I talk about eating healthfully according to Chinese wisdom.  This section pertains to Grains.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJBnd2cb0Ms

Saturday, December 26, 2009

My book referenced in Acupuncture Today article

The current issue (January 2010) of Acupuncture Today says some nice things about my book and its contents. Check it out, then tell all your friends to read it.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sorry vegetarians, plants want to live too

Interesting NY Times article http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/22/science/22angi.html?_r=1 about how plants try to protect themselves. This is something I argue in "The Asian Diet". I believe that God loves carrots too; and that a carrot would rather stay in the ground than be pulled up and chopped into my salad. It is not possible to Do No Harm and stay alive; so that is not the goal. The goal is to be thankful and mindful for everything that has to give it's life so that ours may continue.

Most Americans have way too much meat, and that is clearly not good. Vegetarians go just a little too far to the other extreme. Balance and moderation is best in most areas; including meat consumption. As one famous Chinese medical author wrote, "Vegetarianism is best suited for monks, living in the shelter of a temple and spending their days in seated meditation". Those of us with a more active lifestyle need a little bit of a more active food source.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Child diabetes blamed on food sweetener - Times Online

Thanks to my friend Graeme for this posting.

Child diabetes blamed on food sweetener - Times Online

Artificial and processed foods are foreign to the body. We need to get back to basics. Science has not served us well in instructing our diets. Read The Asian Diet.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Lowering Blood Sugar increases health risk in diabetics

New study finds that taking meds to lower blood sugar does not address the root cause. Turns out, it's diet. Chinese medicine is all about finding the root cause and addressing it. Western medicine is more focused on reducing symptoms. Symptoms are the way our bodies tell us that something is out of balance and needs to be changed. If we mask the symptom, then we can continue doing the damage to ourselves. The damage done in this case is an increase in heart attacks. Check out the link to read about the study.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Artifiial sweeteners linked to Kidney failure

Thanks to my friend Annette for this link. Drinking diet sodas not only increases appetite and decreases metabolism and contributes to diabetes, it also doubles your risk of kidney failure.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

disgusting anti-soda and commercial


Soda is definitely one of the greatest contributors to our obesity problem, so I appreciate the message of this commercial. But I disagree with the suggestion of Seltzer and Low-Fat milk. Milk is designed for nature to BUILD TISSUE. Most American adults do not want to get bigger. Your number one beverage should be ...water (body-temp is best, room-temp is good, ice-cold is worst), number two should be green tea. Everything else should be occasional. Carbonated beverages rob the body of calcium. And, surprisingly to some, dairy does too. The parts of the world with the highest rates of milk consumption have the highest rates of osteoporosis. No other animal on the planet has dairy after infancy; and their bones are just fine.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

New conspiracy theory- nothing to do with diet

As one who voted for Obama and is disappointed with the lack of "change" we have seen, I wonder how much "the system" is to blame and how little one man (or even a supermajority) can do to change the status quo.

It seems like Obama has changed a lot in the past few weeks. He dropped his pursuit of the public option, made his decision to escalate our military commitment, and is talking more about the Private Sector being the only means to helping our economy. So my wild theory is this:

When Obama got into office, he believed he could change things. The powers that be (Reps, Dems, both, and neither) told him he could not. Obama resisted and so the Powers increased their pressure. They threatened his family and his life. He asserted that he had nothing to worry about because the Secret Service would protect him. Enter the Salahi's. Not really a threat, but enough to show Obama "we can get to you". He really seems like a changed man since then.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

7 foods that the experts won't eat

The 7 foods experts won't eat

  • How healthy (or not) certain foods are—for us, for the environment—is a hotly debated topic among experts and consumers alike, and there are no easy answers. But when Prevention talked to the people at the forefront of food safety and asked them one simple question—“What foods do you avoid?”—we got some pretty interesting answers. Although these foods don’t necessarily make up a "banned” list, as you head into the holidays—and all the grocery shopping that comes with it—their answers are, well, food for thought:

20 ways to feed your family for $100 a week.

1. Canned Tomatoes

The expert: Fredrick vom Saal, PhD, an endocrinologist at the University of Missouri who studies bisphenol-A

The problem: The resin linings of tin cans contain bisphenol-A, a synthetic estrogen that has been linked to ailments ranging from reproductive problems to heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Unfortunately, acidity (a prominent characteristic of tomatoes) causes BPA to leach into your food. Studies show that the BPA in most people's body exceeds the amount that suppresses sperm production or causes chromosomal damage to the eggs of animals. "You can get 50 mcg of BPA per liter out of a tomato can, and that's a level that is going to impact people, particularly the young," says vom Saal. "I won't go near canned tomatoes."

The solution: Choose tomatoes in glass bottles (which do not need resin linings), such as the brands Bionaturae and Coluccio. You can also get several types in Tetra Pak boxes, like Trader Joe's and Pomi.

2. Corn-Fed Beef

The expert: Joel Salatin, co-owner of Polyface Farms and author of half a dozen books on sustainable farming

The problem: Cattle evolved to eat grass, not grains. But farmers today feed their animals corn and soybeans, which fatten up the animals faster for slaughter. More money for cattle farmers (and lower prices at the grocery store) means a lot less nutrition for us. A recent comprehensive study conducted by the USDA and researchers from Clemson University found that compared with corn-fed beef, grass-fed beef is higher in beta-carotene, vitamin E, omega-3s, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), calcium, magnesium, and potassium; lower in inflammatory omega-6s; and lower in saturated fats that have been linked to heart disease. "We need to respect the fact that cows are herbivores, and that does not mean feeding them corn and chicken manure," says Salatin.

The solution: Buy grass-fed beef, which can be found at specialty grocers, farmers' markets, and nationally at Whole Foods. It's usually labeled because it demands a premium, but if you don't see it, ask your butcher.

3. Microwave Popcorn

The expert: Olga Naidenko, PhD, a senior scientist for the Environmental Working Group,

The problem: Chemicals, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), in the lining of the bag, are part of a class of compounds that may be linked to infertility in humans, according to a recent study from UCLA. In animal testing, the chemicals cause liver, testicular, and pancreatic cancer. Studies show that microwaving causes the chemicals to vaporize—and migrate into your popcorn. "They stay in your body for years and accumulate there," says Naidenko, which is why researchers worry that levels in humans could approach the amounts causing cancers in laboratory animals. DuPont and other manufacturers have promised to phase out PFOA by 2015 under a voluntary EPA plan, but millions of bags of popcorn will be sold between now and then.

The solution: Pop natural kernels the old-fashioned way: in a skillet. For flavorings, you can add real butter or dried seasonings, such as dillweed, vegetable flakes, or soup mix.

4. Nonorganic Potatoes

The expert: Jeffrey Moyer, chair of the National Organic Standards Board

The problem: Root vegetables absorb herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides that wind up in soil. In the case of potatoes—the nation's most popular vegetable—they're treated with fungicides during the growing season, then sprayed with herbicides to kill off the fibrous vines before harvesting. After they're dug up, the potatoes are treated yet again to prevent them from sprouting. "Try this experiment: Buy a conventional potato in a store, and try to get it to sprout. It won't," says Moyer, who is also farm director of the Rodale Institute (also owned by Rodale Inc., the publisher of Prevention). "I've talked with potato growers who say point-blank they would never eat the potatoes they sell. They have separate plots where they grow potatoes for themselves without all the chemicals."

The solution: Buy organic potatoes. Washing isn't good enough if you're trying to remove chemicals that have been absorbed into the flesh.

5. Farmed Salmon

The expert: David Carpenter, MD, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany and publisher of a major study in the journal Science on contamination in fish.

The problem: Nature didn't intend for salmon to be crammed into pens and fed soy, poultry litter, and hydrolyzed chicken feathers. As a result, farmed salmon is lower in vitamin D and higher in contaminants, including carcinogens, PCBs, brominated flame retardants, and pesticides such as dioxin and DDT. According to Carpenter, the most contaminated fish come from Northern Europe, which can be found on American menus. "You can only safely eat one of these salmon dinners every 5 months without increasing your risk of cancer," says Carpenter, whose 2004 fish contamination study got broad media attention. "It's that bad." Preliminary science has also linked DDT to diabetes and obesity, but some nutritionists believe the benefits of omega-3s outweigh the risks. There is also concern about the high level of antibiotics and pesticides used to treat these fish. When you eat farmed salmon, you get dosed with the same drugs and chemicals.

The solution: Switch to wild-caught Alaska salmon. If the package says fresh Atlantic, it's farmed. There are no commercial fisheries left for wild Atlantic salmon.

6. Milk Produced with Artificial Hormones

The expert: Rick North, project director of the Campaign for Safe Food at the Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility and former CEO of the Oregon division of the American Cancer Society

The problem: Milk producers treat their dairy cattle with recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST, as it is also known) to boost milk production. But rBGH also increases udder infections and even pus in the milk. It also leads to higher levels of a hormone called insulin-like growth factor in milk. In people, high levels of IGF-1 may contribute to breast, prostate, and colon cancers. "When the government approved rBGH, it was thought that IGF-1 from milk would be broken down in the human digestive tract," says North. As it turns out, the casein in milk protects most of it, according to several independent studies. "There's not 100% proof that this is increasing cancer in humans," admits North. "However, it's banned in most industrialized countries."

The solution: Check labels for rBGH-free, rBST-free, produced without artificial hormones, or organic milk. These phrases indicate rBGH-free products.

Don’t be fooled by these 11 health food imposters.

7. Conventional Apples

The expert: Mark Kastel, former executive for agribusiness and codirector of the Cornucopia Institute, a farm-policy research group that supports organic foods

The problem: If fall fruits held a "most doused in pesticides contest," apples would win. Why? They are individually grafted (descended from a single tree) so that each variety maintains its distinctive flavor. As such, apples don't develop resistance to pests and are sprayed frequently. The industry maintains that these residues are not harmful. But Kastel counters that it's just common sense to minimize exposure by avoiding the most doused produce, like apples. "Farm workers have higher rates of many cancers," he says. And increasing numbers of studies are starting to link a higher body burden of pesticides (from all sources) with Parkinson's disease.

The solution: Buy organic apples. If you can't afford organic, be sure to wash and peel them first.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Complaints about Obama

The following are the three most common complaints that I hear about our President:
  1. He hasn't done anything
  2. He is continuing the failed policies of the last administration
  3. He has taken our country in a radical and wrong direction
I don't know how these can all work together.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Last night's dinner

As we were enjoying our dinner, it occurred to me that this would be a good recipe to share. (I'm sorry the picture's not great. I did not have time to stage it).

Salmon Wraps (maki made easy)

What you see to the left is:
Roughly 1 lb of wild caught salmon, baked at 360 for 11 minutes with an olive oil glaze; flaked and mixed with white rice, the juice of 1-2 lemons, a dollop or two of mayonnaise, and a dollop or two of spicy red pepper sauce, called Go Chu Jhaang (available at your local Asian market). Adjust the proportions of sauces to taste, you could use other flavors as well.

Nori is cut into quarters, and alfalfa (or other types of) sprouts go on the side.

To serve, take a forkful of the salmon-rice-mayo-gochujhaang mixture and put it into a piece of nori. Top it off with some sprouts and then roll it up like a cigar (or like Maki). Easy and healthy. The heat from the salmon warms the sprouts and makes them easier to digest. Seaweed (nori) is rich in minerals and most of us don't get enough. If you want to be fancy, you could roll them all ahead of time. But it's simple and fun to wrap them at the table as you go.
The soup is instant miso. It would be better to have homemade miso. The tea is green.

Don't screen for cancer: insurance companies get smart

So the recent news says that women no longer need as much cancer screening. Mammogram recommendations have changed to begin at 50, not 40, and to be done less frequently. The recommendations for cervical cancer tests have also been adjusted (reduced). We all know that it costs less to treat something in the initial stage, which is why early detection had been promoted so much. But it costs even less to not treat something, at any stage. Why pay for early screening, which then means you may have to pay for early treatment, when you can just drop someone off your insurance plan if they ever develop something? I have great concerns about the motivation behind these new recommendations. Especially since there was not one oncologist on the panel that produced the new recommendations for mammograms. I have dozens of patients who would not have known they had breast cancer if they had to wait until they were 50 to get their first mammogram.

Now, I am not a great fan of the mammogram nor the pap smear, but I am not sure that they are so useless and should not be performed. I wonder, if the recommended use of medical services is reduced, will our premiums reduce as well. It seems that, if these recommendations are followed, that insurance companies will be paying for half as many regular cancer screenings. Will they pass on those savings?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

2 radio interviews today

I just was contacted by my publicist. She received requests from two radio programs to interview me tonight about my book "The Asian Diet". One is America Tonight with Kate Delaney, which is nationally syndicated. The other is for a station in Pennsylvania for for which I am awaiting more information. If you get "America Tonight" in your area, check out my interview at 9:15 Pacific time.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

More about the dangers of microwaved food

This info is taken from http://www.leaflady.org/Microfood.htm

Hidden Dangers of Microwaved Food

Recent research shows that microwave oven-cooked food suffers severe molecular damage. When eaten, it causes abnormal changes in human blood and immune systems. Not surprisingly, the public has been denied details on these significant health dangers.

Back in May of 1989, after Tom Valentine first moved to St Paul, Minnesota, he heard on the car radio a short announcement that bolted him upright in the driver's seat. The announcement was sponsored by Young Families, the Minnesota Extension Service of the University of Minnesota: "Although microwaves heat food quickly, they are not recommended for heating a baby's bottle," the announcement said. The bottle may seem cool to the touch, but the liquid inside may become extremely hot and could burn the baby's mouth and throat. Also, the buildup of steam in a closed container such as a baby's bottle could cause it to explode. "Heating the bottle in a microwave can cause slight changes in the milk. In infant formulas, there may be a loss of some vitamins. In expressed breast milk, some protective properties may be destroyed." The report went on.

"Warming a bottle by holding it under tap water or by setting it in a bowl of warm water, then testing it on your wrist before feeding, may take a few minutes longer, but it is much safer."
Valentine asked himself: If an established institution like the University of Minnesota can warn about the loss of particular nutrient qualities in microwaved baby formula or mother's milk, then somebody must know something about microwaving they are not telling everybody.

A LAWSUIT - In early 1991, word leaked out about a lawsuit in Oklahoma. A woman named Norma Levitt had hip surgery, only to be killed by a simple blood transfusion when a nurse "warmed the blood for the transfusion in a microwave oven"!

Logic suggests that if heating or cooking is all there is to it, then it doesn't matter what mode of heating technology one uses. However, it is quite apparent that there is more to 'heating' with microwaves than we've been led to believe. Blood for transfusions is routinely warmed-but not in microwave ovens!
In the case of Mrs Levitt, the microwaving altered the blood and it killed her.

Does it not therefore follow that this form of heating does, indeed, do 'something different' to the substances being heated? Is it not prudent to determine what that 'something different' might do?
A funny thing happened on the way to the bank with all that microwave oven revenue: nobody thought about the obvious. Only 'health nuts' who are constantly aware of the value of quality nutrition discerned a problem with the widespread 'denaturing' of our food. Enter Hans Hertel.

In the tiny town of Wattenwil, near Basel in Switzerland, there lives a scientist who is alarmed at the lack of purity and naturalness in the many pursuits of modern mankind. He worked as a food scientist for several years with one of the many major Swiss food companies that do business on a global scale. A few years ago, he was fired from his job for questioning procedures in processing food because they denatured it.

"The world needs our help," Hans Hertel told Tom Valentine as they shared a fine meal at a resort hotel in Todtmoss, Germany.
"We, the scientists, carry the main responsibility for the present unacceptable conditions. It is therefore our job to correct the situation and bring the remedy to the world. I am striving to bring man and techniques back into harmony with nature. We can have wonderful technologies without violating nature."

Hans is an intense man, driven by personal knowledge of violations of nature by corporate man and his state-supported monopolies in science, technology and education. At the same time, as the two talked, his intensity shattered into a warm smile and he spoke of the way things could be if mankind's immense talent were to work with nature and not against her.

Hans Hertel is the first scientist to conceive of and carry out a quality study on the effects of microwaved nutrients on the blood and physiology of human beings. This small but well-controlled study pointed the firm finger at a degenerative force of microwave ovens and the food produced in them. The conclusion was clear:
microwave cooking changed the nutrients so that changes took place in the participants' blood; these were not healthy changes but were changes that could cause deterioration in the human systems.

Working with Bernard H. Blanc of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and the University Institute for Biochemistry, Hertel not only conceived of the study and carried it out, he was one of eight participants.

"To control as many variables as possible, we selected eight individuals who were strict macrobiotic diet participants from the Macrobiotic Institute at Kientel, Switzerland," Hertel explained. "We were all housed in the same hotel environment for eight weeks. There was no smoking, no alcohol and no sex."

One can readily see that this protocol makes sense. After all, how could you tell about subtle changes in a human's blood from eating microwaved food if smoking, booze, junk food, pollution, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and everything else in the common environment were also present?

"We had one American, one Canadian and six Europeans in the group. I was the oldest at 64 years, the others were in their 20s and 30s," Hertel added.

Valentine published the results of this study in Search for Health in the Spring of 1992. But the follow-up information is available only in a later edition, and also in Acres, USA.

In intervals of two to five days, the volunteers in the study received one of the food variants on an empty stomach. The food variants were: raw milk from a biofarm (no. 1); the same milk conventionally cooked (no. 2); pasteurised milk from Intermilk Berne (no. 3); the same raw milk cooked in a microwave oven (no. 4); raw vegetables from an organic farm (no. 5); the same vegetables cooked conventionally (no. 6); the same vegetables frozen and defrosted in the microwave oven (no. 7); and the same vegetables cooked in the microwave oven (no. 8). The overall experiment had some of the earmarks of the Pottenger cat studies, except that now human beings were test objects, the experiment's time-frame was shorter, and a new heat form was tested.

Once the volunteers were isolated at the resort hotel, the test began. Blood samples were taken from every volunteer immediately before eating. Then blood samples were taken at defined intervals after eating from the above-numbered milk or vegetable preparations.

Significant changes were discovered in the blood of the volunteers who consumed foods cooked in the microwave oven. These changes included a decrease in all haemoglobin values and cholesterol values, especially the HDL (good cholesterol) and LDL (bad cholesterol) values and ratio. Lymphocytes (white blood cells) showed a more distinct short-term decrease following the intake of microwaved food than after the intake of all the other variants. Each of these indicators point in a direction away from robust health and toward degeneration. Additionally, there was a highly significant association between the amount of microwave energy in the test foods and the luminous power of luminescent bacteria exposed to serum from test persons who ate that food. This led Hertel to the conclusion that such technically derived energies may, indeed, be passed along to man inductively via consumption of microwaved food.

"This process is based on physical principles and has already been confirmed in the literature," Hertel explained. The apparent additional energy exhibited by the luminescent bacteria was merely extra confirmation.

"There is extensive scientific literature concerning the hazardous effects of direct microwave radiation on living systems," Hertel continued. "It is astonishing, therefore, to realise how little effort has been made to replace this detrimental technique of microwaves with technology more in accordance with nature.
"Technically produced microwaves are based on the principle of alternating current. Atoms, molecules and cells hit by this hard electromagnetic radiation are forced to reverse polarity 1 to 100 billion times a second. There are no atoms, molecules or cells of any organic system able to withstand such a violent, destructive power for any extended period of time, not even in the low energy range of milliwatts.

"Of all the natural substances-which are polar-the oxygen of water molecules reacts most sensitively. This is how microwave cooking heat is generated-friction from this violence in water molecules. Structures of molecules are torn apart, molecules are forcefully deformed (called structural isomerism) and thus become impaired in quality.

"This is contrary to conventional heating of food, in which heat transfers convectionally from without to within. Cooking by microwaves begins within the cells and molecules where water is present and where the energy is transformed into frictional heat."
The question naturally arises: What about microwaves from the sun? Aren't they harmful?

Hertel responded: "The microwaves from the Sun are based on principles of pulsed direct current. These rays create no frictional heat in organic substance."

In addition to violent frictional heat effects (called thermic effects), there are also athermic effects which have hardly ever been taken into account, Hertel added.

"These athermic effects are not presently measurable, but they can also deform the structures of molecules and have qualitative consequences. For example, the weakening of cell membranes by microwaves is used in the field of gene altering technology. Because of the force involved, the cells are actually broken, thereby neutralising the electrical potentials-the very life of the cells-between the outer and inner sides of the cell membranes. Impaired cells become easy prey for viruses, fungi and other micro-organisms. The natural repair mechanisms are suppressed, and cells are forced to adapt to a state of energy emergency: they switch from aerobic to anaerobic respiration. Instead of water and carbon dioxide, hydrogen peroxide and carbon monoxide are produced."

It has long been pointed out in the literature that any reversal of healthy cell processes may occur because of a number of reasons, and our cells then revert from a "robust oxidation" to an unhealthy "fermentation".

The same violent friction and athermic deformations that can occur in our bodies when we are subjected to radar or microwaves, happens to the molecules in the food cooked in a microwave oven. In fact, when anyone microwaves food, the oven exerts a power input of about 1,000 watts or more. This radiation results in destruction and deformation of molecules of food, and in the formation of new compounds (called radiolytic compounds) unknown to man and nature.

Today's established science and technology argues forcefully that microwaved food and irradiated foods do not have any significantly higher "radiolytic compounds" than do broiled, baked or other conventionally cooked foods-but microwaving does produce more of these critters. Curiously, neither established science nor our ever-protective government has conducted tests-on the blood of the eaters-of the effects of eating various kinds of cooked foods. Hertel and his group did test it, and the indication is clear that something is amiss and that larger studies should be funded. The apparently toxic effects of microwave cooking is another in a long list of unnatural additives in our daily diets. However, the establishment has not taken kindly to this work.

"The first drawing of blood samples took place on an empty stomach at 7.45 each morning," Hertel explained. "The second drawing of blood took place 15 minutes after the food intake. The third drawing was two hours later."

From each sample, 50 millilitres of blood was used for the chemistry and five millimetres for the haematology and the luminescence. The haematological examinations took place immediately after drawing the samples. Erythrocytes, haemoglobin, mean haemoglobin concentration, mean haemoglobin content, leukocytes and lymphocytes were measured. The chemical analysis consisted of iron, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.

The results of erythrocyte, haemoglobin, haematocrit and leukocyte determinations were at the "lower limits of normal" in those tested following the eating of the microwaved samples.

"These results show anaemic tendencies. The situation became even more pronounced during the second month of the study," Hertel added. "And with those decreasing values, there was a corresponding increase of cholesterol values."

Hertel admits that stress factors, from getting punctured for the blood samples so often each day, for example, cannot be ruled out, but the established baseline for each individual became the "zero values" marker, and only changes from the zero values were statistically determined.

With only one round of test substances completed, the different effects between conventionally prepared food and microwaved food were marginal-although noticed as definite "tendencies". As the test continued, the differences in the blood markers became "statistically significant". The changes are generally considered to be signs of stress on the body. For example, erythrocytes tended to increase after eating vegetables from the microwave oven. Haemoglobin and both of the mean concentration and content haemoglobin markers also tended to decrease significantly after eating the microwaved substances.

"Leukocytosis," Hertel explained, "which cannot be accounted for by normal daily deviations such as following the intake of food, is taken seriously by haematologists. Leukocyte response is especially sensitive to stress. They are often signs of pathogenic effects on the living system, such as poisoning and cell damage. The increase of leukocytes with the microwaved foods was more pronounced than with all the other variants. It appears that these marked increases were caused entirely by ingesting the microwaved substances."

The cholesterol markers were very interesting, Hertel stressed:
"Common scientific belief states that cholesterol values usually alter slowly over longer periods of time. In this study, the markers increased rapidly after the consumption of the microwaved vegetables. However, with milk, the cholesterol values remained the same and even decreased with the raw milk significantly."

Hertel believes his study tends to confirm newer scientific data that suggest cholesterol may rapidly increase in the blood secondary to acute stress. "Also," he added, "blood cholesterol levels are less influenced by cholesterol content of food than by stress factors. Such stress-causing factors can apparently consist of foods which contain virtually no cholesterol-the microwaved vegetables."

It is plain to see that this individually financed and conducted study has enough meat in it to make anyone with a modicum of common sense sit up and take notice.

Food from the microwave oven caused abnormal changes, representing stress, to occur in the blood of all the test individuals. Biological individuality, a key variable that makes a mockery of many allegedly scientific studies, was well accounted for by the established baselines.

So, how has the brilliant world of modern technology, medicine and 'protect the public' government reacted to this impressive effort?

As soon as Hertel and Blanc announced their results, the hammer of authority slammed down on them. A powerful trade organisation, the Swiss Association of Dealers for Electroapparatuses for Households and Industry, known simply as FEA, struck swiftly. They forced the President of the Court of Seftigen, Kanton Bern, to issue a 'gag order' against Hertel and Blanc. The attack was so ferocious that Blanc quickly recanted his support-but it was too late. He had already put into writing his views on the validity of the studies where he concurred with the opinion that microwaved food caused the blood abnormalities.

Hertel stood his ground, and today is steadfastly demanding his rights to a trial. Preliminary hearings on the matter have been appealed to higher courts, and it's quite obvious the powers that be do not want a 'show trial' to erupt on this issue.

In March 1993, the court handed down this decision based upon the complaint of the FEA:

1. Request from the plaintiff (FEA) to prohibit the defendant (Dr Ing. Hans Hertel) from declaring that food prepared in the microwave oven shall be dangerous to health and lead to changes in the blood of consumers, giving reference to pathologic troubles as also indicative for the beginning of a cancerous process. The defendant shall be prohibited from repeating such a statement in publications and in public talks by punishment laid down in the law.

2. The jurisdiction of the judge is given according to law.

3. The active legitimacy of the plaintiff is given according to the law.

4. The passive legitimacy of the defendant is given by the fact that he is the author of the polemic [published study] in question, especially since the present new and revised law allows to exclude the necessity of a competitive situation, therefore delinquents may also be persons who are not co-competitors, but may damage the competing position of others by mere declarations.
[Apparently, Swiss corporations have lobbied in a law that nails "delinquents" who disparage products and might do damage to commerce by such remarks. So far, the US Constitution still preserves freedom of the press.]

5. Considering the relevant situation it is referred to three publications: the public renunciation [sic] of the so-called co-author Professor Bernard Blanc, the expertise of Professor Teuber [expert witness from the FEA] about the above-mentioned publication, the opinion of the public health authorities with regard to the present stage of research with microwave ovens as well as to repeated statements from the side of the defendant about the danger of such ovens.

6. It is not considered of importance whether or not the polemic of the defendant meets the approval of the public, because all that is necessary is that a possibility exists that such a statement could find approval with people not being experts themselves. Also, advertising involving fear is not allowed and is always disqualified by the law. The necessity for a fast interference is in no case more advised than in the processes of competition. Basically, the defendant has the right to defend himself against such accusations. This right, however, can be denied in cases of pressing danger with regard to impairing the rights of the plaintiff when this is requested.

Conclusion - O
n grounds of this pending request of the plaintiff, the court arrives at the conclusion that because of special presuppositions as in this case, a definite disadvantage for the plaintiff does exist, which may not easily be repaired, and therefore must be considered to be of immediate danger. The case thus warrants the request of the plaintiff to be justified, even without hearing the defendant. Also, because it is not known when the defendant will bring further statements into the public.

The judge is also of the opinion that because the publications are made up to appear as scientific, and therefore especially reliable-looking, they may cause additional bad disadvantages. It must be added that there does obviously not exist a just reason for this publication because there is no public interest for pseudo-scientific unproved declarations. Finally, these ordered measures do not prove to be disproportionate.

The defendant is prohibited, under punishment of up to F5,000, or up to one year in prison, to declare that food prepared in microwave ovens is dangerous to health and leads to pathologic troubles as also indicative for the beginning of a cancerous process.
The plaintiff pays the costs.
(Signed) President of the Court of Seftigen Kraemer."

If you cannot imagine this kind of decision coming from a court in the United States, you have not been paying attention to the advances of administrative law.

Hertel defied the court and has loudly demanded a fair hearing on the truth of his claims. The court has continued to delay, dodge, appeal and avoid any media-catching confrontation. As of this writing, Hans is still waiting for a hearing with media coverage-and he's still talking and publishing his findings.

"They have not been able to intimidate me into silence, and I will not accept their conditions," Hertel declared. "I have appeared at large seminars in Germany, and the study results have been well-received. Also, I think the authorities are aware that scientists at Ciba-Geigy [the world's largest pharmaceutical company, headquartered in Switzerland] have vowed to support me in court."
As those powerful special interests in Switzerland who desire to sell microwave ovens by the millions continued to suppress open debate on this vital issue for modern civilisation, new microwave developments blossomed in the United States.

microwave harms breast milk

This is reprinted from http://www.leaflady.org/Microfood.htm

In the journal Pediatrics (vol. 89, no. 4, April 1992), there appeared an article titled, "Effects of Microwave Radiation on Anti-infective Factors in Human Milk".

Richard Quan, M.D. from Dallas, Texas, was the lead name of the study team. John A. Kerner, M.D., from Stanford University, was also on the research team, and he was quoted in a summary article on the research that appeared in the 25 April 1992 issue of Science News.

To get the full flavour of what may lie ahead for microwaving, here is that summary article:
"Women who work outside the home can express and store breast milk for feedings when they are away. But parents and caregivers should be careful how they warm this milk. A new study shows that microwaving human milk-even at a low setting-can destroy some of its important disease-fighting capabilities.

"Breast milk can be refrigerated safely for a few days or frozen for up to a month; however, studies have shown that heating the milk well above body temperature-37°ree;C-can break down not only its antibodies to infectious agents, but also its lysozymes or bacteria-digesting enzymes. So, when paediatrician
John A. Kerner, Jr, witnessed neonatal nurses routinely thawing or reheating breast milk with the microwave oven in their lounge, he became concerned.

"In the April 1992 issue of Pediatrics (Part I), he and his Stanford University co-workers reported finding that unheated breast milk that was microwaved lost lysozyme activity, antibodies and fostered the growth of more potentially pathogenic bacteria. Milk heated at a high setting (72 degrees Celsius to 98 degrees C) lost
96 per cent of its immunoglobulin-A antibodies, agents that fend off invading microbes.

"What really surprised him, Kerner said, was finding some loss of anti-infective properties in the milk microwaved at a low setting-and to a mean of just 33.5 degrees C. Adverse changes at such low temperatures suggest 'microwaving itself may in fact cause some injury to the milk above and beyond the heating'.

"But Randall M. Goldblum of the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston disagrees, saying: 'I don't see any compelling evidence that the microwaves did any harm. It was the heating.' Lysozyme and antibody degradation in the coolest samples may simply reflect the development of small hot spots-potentially 60 degrees C or above-during microwaving, noted Madeleine Sigman-Grant of Pennsylvania State University, University Park. And that's to be expected, she said, because microwave heating is inherently uneven-and quite unpredictable when volumes less than four millilitres are involved, as was the case in the Kerner's study.
"Goldblum considers use of a microwave to thaw milk an especially bad idea, since it is likely to boil some of the milk before all has even liquefied. Stanford University Medical Center no longer microwaves breast milk, Kerner notes. And that's appropriate, Sigman-Grant believes, because of the small volumes of milk that hospitals typically serve newborns-especially premature infants."

Friday, November 13, 2009

Check out this page. My university in China, the Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, is promoting the fact that for the first time ever, they have American students in their foreign Ph.D Acupuncture program. This page has a picture of us taking our entrance exam. It was a 6-hour written exam, and it was 100 degrees, 70% humidity (no A/C). I am in the middle of the pic.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Today's lunch

Leftover rice in the rice cooker/warmer (everyone should get one of these things). A mix of white and brown rice, and beans. Throw in some kim chee, blanched vegetables (watercress, soybean sprouts, radish, carrots, sweet potato) and about 2 ounces of beef sauteed with garlic and onions. Mix it all up and let the heat from the rice warm up the veggies. Viola, simple and healthy meal adhering to the principles of The Asian Diet

Monday, November 9, 2009

question about my book

This is an email I received from a reader of The Asian Diet, and my response.

Dear Mr. Bussell,

I was re-reading a section of your book today on Grains. I agree with you about the common misconception that white rice is a simple carb, because it's classified by many Americans with white bread, when in fact it's just a stripped down version of brown rice, a complex carbohydrate.

My question to you is what other forms of complex carbs do you eat? You stated that it's easier for digestion if the food isn't processed which means that most noodles or pastas fall into that category. I know balance and moderation is key but I eat plenty of cooked noodles with vegetables in soups or alone and I don't think it's necessarily bad either. What do you think?

Also, I was reading an article about cold foods (http://www.hypnopuncture.co.uk/cold_food_blog.htm) and how they slow down weight loss. Do you agree with this article? I believe you stated that foods are best cooked and ate warm.

Thanks, Peter

Hello Peter,

This article has it right. Too much cold (temperature), cooling (energetic nature), and raw (never been cooked) foods will steal your energy to cook the food; and will slow your metabolism. Balance and moderation are the keys, so you can and should have some foods cold or raw, but you want the majority to be cooked and warm.

Complex carbs are found in vegetables. The following list of foods are all good sources of good, complex carbohydrates: Spinach, Whole Barley, Grapefruit, Greens (turnip, radish, mustard, collard), Sweet Potato, Buckwheat, Apples, Lettuce, Buckwheat bread, Prunes, Water Cress, Oat bran bread, Apricots, Dried Zucchini, Oatmeal, Pears, Asparagus, Oat bran cereal, Plums, Artichokes, Museli, Strawberries, Okra, Wild rice, Oranges, Cabbage, Brown rice, Yams, Celery, Multi-grain bread, Carrots, Cucumbers, Pinto beans, Potatoes, Dill Pickles, Yogurt, low fat Soybeans, Radishes, Skim milk, Lentils, Broccoli, Navy beans, Garbanzo beans, Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, Kidney beans, Eggplant, Soy milk, Lentils, Onions, Whole meal spelt bread, Split peas, and Tomatoes.

Bread and pastas are not bad, but they are a little more difficult for us to digest and should therefore represent a smaller proportion of your weekly intake. If the bread is made with sprouted grains (Alvarado Street and Ezekiel are brands that you find in the freezer case at whole foods) then it is better. If the Pasta is whole grain and made freshly, then that is the best way to have it. Both bread and pasta are still much better than crackers, cookies, snack bars, and other more-refined foods.

If you really like noodles, be sure to mix up the kind you have. There are rice noodles, buckwheat, semolina, egg, and bean thread noodles (and possibly more). But I'd also recommend getting a rice cooker/warmer and keeping it full with different types of simple grains. It's nice to always have hot rice or other grains on hand.

Jason Bussell

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Rural Chinese diet, compared with us

Rural Asian Diet

40% more carbs
54% less fat
300% more fiber
1/3 less protein
3x the plant protein

Rural Chinese women 80% less likely to die of heart disease
American men 1700% more likely to die of heart disease
Italian/Greek men 900% more likely to die of heart disease
China has the lowest breast cancer rate in the world

This information from Paul Pitchford, author of Healing with Whole Foods

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Why gay marriage must be kept illegal

I finally figured out why it is so important to the right wingers. It's just too darn appealing. No one could say no to being gay; it is like crack. The only way we can prevent the whole world from turning gay is by keeping it against the law. These conservatives need that law on the books. It is the only thing keeping them from donning their short-shorts and heading to the all night suck-fest at the highway rest stop. Thank you lawmakers for protecting my heterosexuality. BTW, I think its working. A few more years of the Defense Of Marriage Act and I'm sure everyone will give up their gayness and the world can again be as God intended; homogenous (no wait, that's got the word homo in it, damn).

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Difficulty conceiving in Chicago?

Ladies, if you're having trouble conceiving, come to the Fertility Boot Camp, Saturday Nov 14th 2009 at the Tiffani Kim Institute, 310 W. Superior. 9am-5:30 pm. My wife is the top fertility acupuncturist in the Midwest and she has put together an expert panel made up of herself, a reproductive endocrinologist, a nutritionist, a bodyworker, yoga instructor, and a psychologist. The team will answer all the questions you have and teach you how to nourish yourself in order to maximize your fertility. If you're up against the clock, there is no time to lose. Call and register today. Fertility friendly snacks and lunch will be served. $149 for the whole day. Space is limited.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Most doctors do not use their professional judgement

This is because they are not allowed to. Doctors are being used more as technicians than as critical thinkers and experts. The decisions are made by the insurance companies. I think this is a travesty and hurts a lot of patients.

The trend now is towards "evidence-based medicine" which means that we only want to use things that have been shown to work. Of course no one wants to spend time or money on a treatment that has no effect, but this approach has some serious drawbacks. If a treatment works for 51% of people, it will be then used for 100% of cases. Never mind that your doctor has seen this a thousand times before and knows that treatment B would probably work better for you. If treatment A works better for more people, then it must be used on all. This system reduces people to statistics and neglects individual differences.

And it is not always cost effective. I tore cartilage in my knee several years ago. My orthopedist told me, "We'll send you for an x-ray, and when that doesn't show anything, we'll send you for an MRI which will show me the location and extent of the tear." I asked him, "If you know the x-ray will be useless, why don't we skip straight to the MRI?" To which he answered, "that's the only way the insurance will pay for it". How many unnecessary tests are done in the hopes of avoiding other, more-expensive tests? How many patients wind up requiring more care in the end because the insurance company was trying to save money at the outset.

Yes, we want to reduce waste and inefficiency, but I don't think the evidence-based model is the best one to do this. Our doctors should be allowed to exercise their professional judgment and do what is best for each individual patient. We need to demand that insurance bureaucrats stop being in the position of making our medical decisions and put that responsibility back where it belongs, between the patient and his/her doctor.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

sugar guidelines set to fight obesity

My good fried Graeme sent me this link to a good article about how our increased sugar consumption has contributed to our obesity. It sounds like a no-brainer, but many of us are not aware of just how much extra sugar we are consuming.

My favorite radio personality Thom Hartman spoke recently of an ad agency he used to own and operate. He was commissioned to publish a booklet by Kellogg entitled "Sugar: the vital nutrient". This blatant propaganda at the expense of consumers' health was one of the factors that prompted him to sell the agency and change careers. This was many years ago. Once sugar got a bad rap, they took the word out of brand names such as Super Sugar Crips, but the sugar remains.

And to be sure, sugar substitutes like splenda, aspartame, saccharine, equal, and nutrasweet are not better. We should eat the food in it's natural state (although cooked is better than raw), without extra sweetness added. If you must sweeeten, use: Pure cane sugar, rapidura, agave nectar, stevia, honey, fruit juice, beet sugar, pure-cane molassas. All in moderation and in a rotation.

Monday, October 5, 2009

google analytics

I just set up google analytics for TheAsianDiet.com and it's cool to see from where people are viewing my site. In the past week, I have had visitors from all over the US, and Canada, the UK, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Romania, India, Turkey, Austraila, New Zealand, the Phillipines, and Japan. I am very excited to see its broad reach. I really believe that this information can change the world; but I am more concerned that it can help save America. Ailing health is our greatest nation's greatest liability; adopting the principles in my book will greatly reduce this burden on society.

Dean Ornish explains why the Asian Diet is preferrable

Video of Dean Ornish encouraging The Asian Diet. I'll need to send him a book.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Article about The Asian Diet picked up

I wrote an article summarizing the main points of my book "The Asian Diet: Simple secrets for eating right, losing weight, and being well" and it was just picked up for publication in the Fall issue of Balance Magazine. Look for it on newsstands and bookstores this fall.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Radio interview about The Asian Diet posted

I was interviewed about my book "The Asian Diet: Simple secrets for eating right, losing weight, and being well" by Sandie Sedgbeer of the Inspired Parent Radio Network and it aired today. To hear the podcast, click here.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The three threats to freedom

Ignorance, fanaticism, and tyranny.

birth control pill linked to health problems


Report on Yaz and Yasmin birth control pills causing blood clots and strokes.

The birth control pill is not as benign as we have been led to believe. My wife specializes in fertility and we have seen so many women who were not able to resume a normal menstrual cycle after being on the pill (not just Yaz or Yasmin). If you know your menstrual cycle, it is not too hard to avoid getting pregnant with the rhythm method. If you do not know your cycle, get to know it. Women in America are not educated enough about their bodies; and the menstrual cycle is treated like an abberation to normal physiologic functioning. No one talks about their cycle. Everyone describes theirs as "normal". We have women who bleed for one day and some who bleed for 9 days all say their flow is "normal". Cramping may or may not be present before, during, or after menstruation or ovulation. Clots, back pain, acne, diarrhea, all may or may not be present, but women still say their cycle is "normal". Pay attention to the monthly variations and get familiar with your cycle. Take notes to pick up trends.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The truth about cholesterol

This is a great article by Dr. Mark Hyman MD, found on www.Huffingtonpost.com

We have all been led to believe that cholesterol is bad and that lowering it is good. Because of extensive pharmaceutical marketing to both doctors and patients we think that using statin drugs is proven to work to lower the risk of heart attacks and death.

But on what scientific evidence is this based, what does that evidence really show?

Roger Williams once said something that is very applicable to how we commonly view the benefits of statins. "There are liars, damn liars, and statisticians."

We see prominent ads on television and in medical journals -- things like 36% reduction in risk of having a heart attack. But we don't look at the fine print. What does that REALLY mean and how does it affect decisions about who should really be using these drugs.

Before I explain that, here are some thought provoking findings to ponder.

• If you lower bad cholesterol (LDL) but have a low HDL (good cholesterol) there is no benefit to statins. (i)

• If you lower bad cholesterol (LDL) but don't reduce inflammation (marked by a test called C-reactive protein), there is no benefit to statins. (ii)

• If you are a healthy woman with high cholesterol, there is no proof that taking statins reduces your risk of heart attack or death. (iii)

• If you are a man or a woman over 69 years old with high cholesterol, there is no proof that taking statins reduces your risk of heart attack or death. (iv)

• Aggressive cholesterol treatment with two medications (Zocor and Zetia) lowered cholesterol much more than one drug alone, but led to more plaque build up in the arties and no fewer heart attacks. (v)

• 75% of people who have heart attacks have normal cholesterol

• Older patients with lower cholesterol have higher risks of death than those with higher cholesterol. (vi)

• Countries with higher average cholesterol than Americans such as the Swiss or Spanish have less heart disease.

• Recent evidence shows that it is likely statins' ability to lower inflammation it what accounts for the benefits of statins, not their ability to lower cholesterol.

So for whom do the statin drugs work for anyway? They work for people who have already had heart attacks to prevent more heart attacks or death. And they work slightly for middle-aged men who have many risk factors for heart disease like high blood pressure, obesity, or diabetes.

So why did the 2004 National Cholesterol Education Program guidelines expand the previous guidelines to recommend that more people take statins (from 13 million to 40 million) and that people who don't have heart disease should take them to prevent heart disease. Could it have been that 8 of the 9 experts on the panel who developed these guidelines had financial ties to the drug industry? Thirty-four other non-industry affiliated experts sent a petition to protest the recommendations to the National Institutes of Health saying the evidence was weak. It was like having a fox guard the chicken coop.

It's all in the spin. The spin of the statistics and numbers. And it's easy to get confused. Let me try to clear things up.

When you look under the hood of the research data you find that the touted "36% reduction" means a reduction of the number of people getting heart attacks or death from 3% to 2% (or about 30-40%).

And that data also shows that treatment only really works if you have heart disease already. In those who DON'T have documented heart disease, there is no benefit.

In those at high risk for heart disease about 50 people would need to be treated for 5 years to reduce one cardiovascular event. Just to put that in perspective: If a drug works, it has a very low NTT (number needed to treat). For example, if you have a urine infection and take an antibiotic, you will get near a 100% benefit. The number needed to treat is "1". So if you have an NTT of 50 like statins do for preventing heart disease in 75% of the people who take them, it is basically a crap shoot.

Yet at a cost of over $28 billion a year, 75% of all statin prescriptions are for exactly this type of unproven primary prevention. Simply applying the science over 10 years would save over $200 billion. This is just one example of reimbursed but unproven care. We need not only prevent disease but also prevent the wrong type of care.

If these medications were without side effects, then you may be able to justify the risk - but they cause muscle damage, sexual dysfunction, liver and nerve damag,e and other problems in 10-15% of patients who take them. Certainly not a free ride.

So if lowering cholesterol is not the great panacea that we thought, how do we treat heart disease, and how do we get the right kind of cholesterol - high HDL, low LDL and low triglycerides and have cholesterol particles that are large, light and fluffy rather than small, dense and hard, which is the type that actually causes heart disease and plaque build up.

We know what causes the damaging small cholesterol particles. And it isn't fat in the diet. It is sugar. Sugar in any form or refined carbohydrates (white food) drives the good cholesterol down, cause triglycerides to go up, creates small damaging cholesterol particles, and causes metabolic syndrome or pre-diabetes. That is the true cause of most heart attacks, NOT LDL cholesterol.

One of the reasons we don't hear about this is because there is no good drug to raise HDL. Statin drugs lower LDL -- and billions are spent advertising them, even though they are the wrong treatment.

If you're like most of the patients I see in my practice, you're convinced that cholesterol is the evil that causes heart disease. You may hope that if you monitor your cholesterol levels and avoid the foods that are purported to raise cholesterol, you'll be safe from America's number-one killer.

We are all terrified of cholesterol because for years well-meaning doctors, echoed by the media, have emphasized what they long believed is the intimate link between cholesterol and death by heart disease. If only it were so simple!

The truth is much more complex.

Cholesterol is only one factor of many -- and not even the most important -- that contribute to your risk of getting heart disease.

First of all, let's take a look at what cholesterol actually is. It's a fatty substance produced by the liver that is used to help perform thousands of bodily functions. The body uses it to help build your cell membranes, the covering of your nerve sheaths, and much of your brain. It's a key building block for our hormone production, and without it you would not be able to maintain adequate levels of testosterone, estrogen, progesterone and cortisol.

So if you think cholesterol is the enemy, think again. Without cholesterol, you would die.

In fact, people with the lowest cholesterol as they age are at highest risk of death. Under certain circumstances, higher cholesterol can actually help to increase life span.

To help clear the confusion, I will review many of the cholesterol myths our culture labors under and explain what the real factors are that lead to cardiovascular disease.

Cholesterol Myths

One of the biggest cholesterol myths out there has to do with dietary fat. Although most of us have been taught that a high-fat diet causes cholesterol problems, this isn't entirely true. Here's why: The type of fat that you eat is more important than the amount of fat. Trans fats or hydrogenated fats and saturated fats promote abnormal cholesterol, whereas omega-3 fats and monounsaturated fats actually improve the type and quantity of the cholesterol your body produces.

In reality, the biggest source of abnormal cholesterol is not fat at all -- it's sugar. The sugar you consume converts to fat in your body. And the worst culprit of all is high fructose corn syrup.

Consumption of high fructose corn syrup, which is present in sodas, many juices, and most processed foods, is the primary nutritional cause of most of the cholesterol issues we doctors see in our patients.

So the real concern isn't the amount of cholesterol you have, but the type of fats and sugar and refined carbohydrates in your diet that lead to abnormal cholesterol production.

Of course, many health-conscious people today know that total cholesterol is not as critical as the following:

• Your levels of HDL "good" cholesterol vs. LDL "bad" cholesterol

• Your triglyceride levels

• Your ratio of triglycerides to HDL

• Your ratio of total cholesterol to HDL

Many are also aware that there are different sizes of cholesterol particles. There are small and large particles of LDL, HDL, and triglycerides. The most dangerous are the small, dense particles that act like BB pellets, easily penetrating your arteries. Large, fluffy cholesterol particles are practically harmless--even if your total cholesterol is high. They function like beach balls and bounce off the arteries, causing no harm.

Another concern is whether or not your cholesterol is rancid. If so, the risk of arterial plaque is real.

Rancid or oxidized cholesterol results from oxidative stress and free radicals, which trigger a vicious cycle of inflammation and fat or plaque deposition under the artery walls. That is the real danger: When small dense LDL particles are oxidized they become dangerous and start the build up of plaque or cholesterol deposits in your arteries.

Now that we've explored when and how cholesterol becomes more problematic, let's take a look at other factors that play a more significant role in cardiovascular disease.

Prime Contributors to Cardiovascular Disease

First of all, cardiovascular illness results when key bodily functions go awry, causing inflammation, (vii) imbalances in blood sugar and insulin and oxidative stress.

To control these key biological functions and keep them in balance, you need to look at your overall health as well as your genetic predispositions, as these underlie the types of diseases you're most likely to develop. It is the interaction of your genes, lifestyle, and environment that ultimately determines your risks -- and the outcome of your life.

This is the science of nutrigenomics, or how food acts as information to stall or totally prevent some predisposed disease risks by turning on the right gene messages with our diet and lifestyle choices. That means some of the factors that unbalance bodily health are under your control, or could be.

These include diet, nutritional status, stress levels, and activity levels. Key tests can reveal problems with a person's blood sugar and insulin, inflammation level, level of folic acid, clotting factors, hormones, and other bodily systems that affect your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Particularly important are the causes if inflammation, which are many, and need to be assessed. Inflammation can arise from poor diet (too much sugar and trans and saturated fats), a sedentary lifestyle, stress, autoimmune disease, food allergies, hidden infections such as gum disease, and even toxins such as mercury. All of these causal factors need to be considered anytime there is inflammation.

Combined together, all of these factors determine your risk of heart disease. And I recommend that people undergo a comprehensive medical evaluation to see what their risk really is.

Zeroing in on Key Factors for Heart Disease

There's no doubt about it, inflammation is key contributor to heart disease. A major study done at Harvard found that people with high levels of a marker called C-reactive protein (CRP) had higher risks of heart disease than people with high cholesterol. Normal cholesterol levels were NOT protective to those with high CRP. The risks were greatest for those with high levels of both CRP and cholesterol.

Another predisposing factor to heart disease is insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome, which leads to an imbalance in the blood sugar and high levels of insulin. This may affect as many as half of Americans over age 65. Many younger people also have this condition, which is sometimes called pre-diabetes.

Although modern medicine sometimes loses sight of the interconnectedness of all our bodily systems, blood sugar imbalances like these impact your cholesterol levels too. If you have any of these conditions, they will cause your good cholesterol to go down, while your triglycerides rise, which further increases inflammation and oxidative stress. All of these fluctuations contribute to blood thickening, clotting, and other malfunctions -- leading to cardiovascular disease.

What's more, elevated levels of a substance called homocysteine (which is related to your body's levels of folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12) appears to correlate to cardiovascular illness. Although this is still somewhat controversial, I often see this inter-relationship in my practice. While genes may play a part, tests done as part of a comprehensive evaluation of cardiac risk can easily ascertain this factor. Where problematic levels occur, they can be easily addressed by adequate folic acid intake, along with vitamins B6 and B12.

Testing for Cardiovascular Risk Factors

Heart disease is not only about cholesterol. It is important to look at many factors that contribute to your overall risk. And it seems that insulin and blood sugar imbalances, and inflammation are proving to be more of a risk that cholesterol.

If you want to test your overall risk, you can consider asking your doctor to perform the following tests:

1. Total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. Your total cholesterol should be under 200. Your triglycerides should be under 100. Your HDL should be over 60. Your LDL should be ideally under 80. Your ratio of total cholesterol to HDL should be less than 3.0. Your ratio of triglycerides to HDL should be no greater than 4, which can indicate insulin resistance if elevated.

2. NMR Lipid Profile. This looks at your cholesterol under an MRI scan to assess the size of the particles, which can determine your cardiovascular risk. This is a very important test that can further differentiate the risk of your cholesterol and can be an important factor to track as your system improves and your cholesterol transforms from being small dense and dangerous to light and fluffy and innocuous. It is done by a company called Liposcience and is also available through LabCorp.

3. Glucose Insulin Tolerance Test. Measurements of fasting and 1 and 2 hour levels of glucose AND insulin helps identify pre-diabetes and excessively high levels of insulin, and even diabetes. Most doctors just check blood sugar and NOT insulin, which is the first thing to go up. By the time your blood sugar goes up, the train has left the station.

4. Hemaglobin A1c. This measures your average blood sugar level over the last 6 weeks. Anything over 5.5 is high.

5. Cardio C-reactive protein. This is a marker of inflammation in the body that is essential to understand in the context of overall risk. Your C-reactive protein level should be less than 1.

6. Homocysteine. Your homocysteine measures your folate status and should be between 6 and 8.

7. Lipid peroxides or TBARS test, which looks at the amount of oxidized or rancid fat. This should be within normal limits of the test and indicates whether or not you have oxidized cholesterol.

8. Fibrinogen, which is another test looking at clotting in the blood. It should be less than 300.

9. Lipoprotein (a), which is another factor that can promote the risk of heart disease, often in men. It should be less than 30.

10. Genes or SNPs may also be useful in terms of assessing your situation. A number of key genes regulate cholesterol and metabolism, including Apo E genes and the cholesterol ester transfer protein gene. The MTHFR gene, which regulates homocysteine is also important and may be part of an overall workup.

11. Get a high-speed CT or (EBT) scan of the heart if you are concerned that you have cardiovascular disease. This may be helpful to assess overall plaque burden and calcium score. A score higher than 100 is a concern, and a score higher than 400 indicates severe risk of cardiovascular disease.

Next week I will review how to lower your risk of heart disease and fix your cholesterol. We'll do this not by lowering the LDL, but by getting more light and fluffy LDL particles, which are protective and more HDL cholesterol, which is THE most important cholesterol.

Now I'd like to hear from you...

Have you been told that you need to lower your cholesterol?

If so, what were your told to do and how does that compare to what you've read here?

Does any of what you've read here come as a surprise?

Please share your thoughts by adding a comment below.

To your good health,

Mark Hyman, M.D.


(i) Barter P, Gotto AM, LaRosa JC, Maroni J, Szarek M, Grundy SM, Kastelein JJ, Bittner V, Fruchart JC; Treating to New Targets Investigators. HDL cholesterol, very low levels of LDL cholesterol, and cardiovascular events. N Engl J Med. 2007 Sep 27;357(13):1301-10.

(ii) Ridker PM, Danielson E, Fonseca FA, Genest J, Gotto AM Jr, Kastelein JJ, Koenig W, Libby P, Lorenzatti AJ, MacFadyen JG, Nordestgaard BG, Shepherd J, Willerson JT, Glynn RJ; JUPITER Study Group. Rosuvastatin to prevent vascular events in men and women with elevated C-reactive protein. N Engl J Med. 2008 Nov 20;359(21):2195-207.

(iii) Abramson J, Wright JM. Are lipid-lowering guidelines evidence-based? Lancet. 2007 Jan 20;369(9557):168-9

(iv) IBID

(v) Brown BG, Taylor AJ Does ENHANCE Diminish Confidence in Lowering LDL or in Ezetimibe? Engl J Med 358:1504, April 3, 2008 Editorial

(vi) Schatz IJ, Masaki K, Yano K, Chen R, Rodriguez BL, Curb JD. Cholesterol and all-cause mortality in elderly people from the Honolulu Heart Program: a cohort study. Lancet. 2001 Aug 4;358(9279):351-5.
(vii) Hansson GK Inflammation, Atherosclerosis, and Coronary Artery Disease N Engl J Med 352:1685, April 21, 2005

Mark Hyman, M.D. practicing physician and founder of The UltraWellness Center is a pioneer in functional medicine. Dr. Hyman is now sharing the 7 ways to tap into your body's natural ability to heal itself. You can follow him on Twitter, connect with him on LinkedIn, watch his videos on Youtube and become a fan on Facebook.

Follow Mark Hyman, MD on Twitter: www.twitter.com/markhymanmd

Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/why-cholesterol-may-not-b_b_290687.html

Foods we must eat organic and not

Of course, we should all have all organic produce all the time. We should not be overfarming and depleting the earth of the vital nutrients that we are supposed to get through our food. Organic food has more nutrients and will satisfy you and your hunger better. And we should not be single-crop farming; because that greatly increases the threat that pests can pose and creates a need for pesticide use.

Non-organic produce is not bad for you, it just is not as good for you. Pesticides and herbicides are bad for you. If something has pesticides, it cannot be labeled "organic". But just because something is not labeled "organic" does not mean that it does necessarily contain pesticide residue. This is one reason why it is great to shop at your local farmer's market; where you can actually ask the farmer about how it was grown. Just like it is in everything, politics plays a role here. Getting certified Organic costs money, and big Food industry is working hard to get the standards for "Organic" certification lowered. The best is to grow your own food if you can.

The following list shows which foods are more and less important to eat organic. This is only in refence to the liklihood, type, and amount of pesticide residue.

Items you must buy organic

Items you don’t have to buy organic



Bell Peppers






Imported Grapes



Corn (sweet, frozen)










Peas (sweet, frozen)