Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress as a major cause of age-related diseases and cancer

This recent abstract succinctly sums up what Drs. Wentz, McNamara, Strand and others have long been telling us about free radicals as the source of disease. The study refers to our antioxidant system and the role that antioxidants play in disease prevention.

Recent Pat Inflamm Allergy Drug Discov. 2009;3(1):73-80.

Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress as a major cause of age-related diseases and cancer.

Khansari N, Shakiba Y, Mahmoudi M. Department of Immunology, School of Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

Chronic inflammation is a pathological condition characterized by continued active inflammation response and tissue destruction. Many of the immune cells including macrophages, neutrophils and eosinophils are involved directly or by production of inflammatory cytokine production in pathology of chronic inflammation. From literatures, it is appear that there is a general concept that chronic inflammation can be a major cause of cancers and express aging processes. Moreover, many studies suggest that chronic inflammation could have serious role in wide variety of age-related diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases. Inflammatory process induces oxidative stress and reduces cellular antioxidant capacity. Overproduced free radicals react with cell membrane fatty acids and proteins impairing their function permanently. In addition, free radicals can lead to mutation and DNA damage that can be a predisposing factor for cancer and age-related disorders. This article reviews the antioxidant defense systems, free radicals production and their role in cancer and age related diseases and also some of the recent patent relevant to the field. Study of the role of free radicals in human diseases can help the investigators to consider the antioxidants as proper agents in preventive medicine, especially for cancer and aging processes.

There are many antioxidants and they all work in slightly different ways. Some like vitamin C will reactivate vitamin E and work together. So when you’re looking at your diet and supplements, don’t just take one antioxidant and think you’re good, take a wide range, and some of these are simple vitamins like A, C, E, etc.

Some companies have a single product, or juice, which they claim is all you need. Not that they are bad, but a fruit juice only provides a couple antioxidants and not the full spectrum of necessary antioxidant vitamins and other phytonutrients.

U.S. Supplement Use Strong, but are we using the best products?

Almost 70% of US adults report using supplements on a regular basis based on a recent study from the Council for Responsible Nutrition. For the past several years supplement use has been fairly consistent fluctuating between 65% and 70%.

Multivitamins lead the pack of reported usage and it is higher in older users. 86% of the survey respondents reported being confident with the safety of the products available.
What wasn’t explored in the study were the brands of supplements people were using. Sadly the largest selling products, with probably 80% of the market share are the very low cost, low quality, and poorly absorbed products like Centrum, Kirkland, One-a-Day, etc.  
What is worrisome is that 70% of the population are taking supplement to improve, or maintain, their health, but most are choosing products which provide little benefit.  Talk to a nurse or sewage plant worker and you’ll hear reports of “Bedpan Bullets” these are undisolved supplements, and for those brave enough to look closely, I’ve heard reports of them still being able to read “Centrum” on the tablet. You’ll find the same from sewage plants where they have screens to capture solids in the sewage, and most are undisolved vitamins. It isn’t just cheap multivitamins, but even prescription products. One study at the University of Maryland sought to analyze 9 different brands of prescription prenatal vitamins – what they found though was that six out of the nine didn’t even dissolve. So if your supplement doesn’t dissolve, you can’t absorb what nutrients are in it.
So good news is many people are concerned about improving their health, but bad news is many aren’t using products which are capable of helping.  The Comparative Guide to Nutritional Supplements analyzed over 1,600 different multivitamins available in North America and only 4 received the highest ratings and it dropped off very quickly with only 20 products being in the top 20%, but over a thousand in the lower 20%. I’m reassured to know that I’m using the #1 rated product, the same product that thousands of professional and olympic athletes trust as well.

What they don’t tell you about the latest “Scientific” research

Did you ever notice how many reports there are on the news about nutiritonal supplements not working, organic food is no better, and if you remember way back, that smoking wasn’t harmfull either.  But then there is another whole segment of the population (like me) who do say supplements can make a difference, organic is better, etc. So who is right?

This is all about the design of studies and the statistics they use. Lets look at each of these:

Design of Research Studies

Without going into great detail, lets just say that if someone has a preconceived idea of how they want the results to turn out they can design the study to support that. For example:

  • A study a year ago said that calcium didn’t promote bone growth as well as the popular prescription drugs for osteoporosis. The recommendation – Get off of calcium and just take the drugs.  The study looked at people supplementing with just calcium, or calcium plus vitamin D. The result, little bone regrowth. What they left out of the design was including magnesium, boron, silicon, and vitamin K. To regrow bone you need these in addition to calcium and vitamin D.  Had they included all these ingredients in the supplements, then the results would have been much different as many other studies have shown.
  • A recent study said that supplementing with calcium led to increased risk of arteriolosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Same as the study above, they left out several key ingredients like magnesium. If calcium and magnesium are taken in a 2:1 ratio, then there is no arterial hardening, or much less.
  • How the subjects are selected. There was a very widely published study several years ago saying vitamin E had no effect on heart health. There were two problems here, one was they only looked at people who already had had a heart attack and could vitamin E alone prevent a second heart attack over a fairly short time. The other common problem is that they look at a single vitamin in isolation like they were studying a drug. You never eat a food that has only vitamin E, foods have a whole range of vitamins and minerals. For example vitamin E and C work in conjunction with each other.

Fun with statistics

Statistics are very complex and few people are truly experts at statistics and statistical model design. You many times hear about some results on the 5:00 news. If you look at the summary of the study they will often say “Researchers found that in a meta-analysis of……”  They key word there is meta analysis.
Meta analysis isn’t a separate study, but what the researchers have done is culled over a number of other  studies and then done some analysis on the combined results of those studies. Meta analysis isn’t inherently bad, but like above, it is often how they select the studies for inclusion in the analysis. Their selection criteria can swing the results any way they want.

Follow the Money

Now the real root of the problem with many studies – Who paid for the study.  There was a study done of medical research studies and how often the results turned out supporting the sponsors product or company. If you look at many of the studies which find that vitamins and minerals don’t work, they are often funded by a pharmaceutical company.  Pharmaceutical companies know that high quality supplements can be very effective against a number of conditions, but they want the public to take their highly profitable drugs, so they commission a study and guess what, if someone pays you $300,000 to study something, you’re probably going to give them the results they want, so you get another $300,000 to study something else.
Like the recent study which came out of Stanford a few weeks ago which said that organic foods are no healthier than conventionally grown foods. Guess who funded his study? Yep, the food industry which does not want to list Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) on the label. If a food is contains GMO ingredients it can’t be labeled organic, so if they can dissuade people from buying organic, then they can hope they can get one step closer to defeating the California ballot measure to require disclosing GMO ingredients.  This was the same researcher who back in teh 60’s was publishing studies which said smoking cigerates wasn’t harmful – he was funded by the tobacco industry then.

Money and your health

We all know that a good diet, exercise, quality supplements, and a clean environment are essential for your health, but what does money have to do with it?  Well what happens when your money runs out before the end of the month? Stress. I won’t go into the physiology of stress, but stress from worrying about how to pay the bills, can undo all the benefits of diet and exercise.

I shake my head every time I hear the jobs report, or some politician pledging to create jobs. I know very bright technical and professional people who hang their head in sorrow after they’ve lost their job and can’t find another job for months or years.
Sadly many jobs are are gone and will never return. Below are a few jobs which have left the planet and will never come back. It isn’t that they’ve been shipped to China or elsewheres, they are gone for ever:
  • Farming jobs – 100 years ago the majority of people worked in farming. But with the advances in farming and automated harvesting now one person can do what once required hundreds.  The only glimmer of hope in this sector is possibly the rise of organic farming which takes a little more manual effort vs conventional farming.
  • Administrative Assistants or Secretaries – Before every executive had a laptop on their desk if they needed to send a letter, schedule a meeting, book a flight, do research, etc. they called their admin to type the letter, arrange meetings, etc. Now that every executive has a laptop, iPad, and smart phone with them 24/7 they write their own letters, do their own PowerPoints, book their own flights, etc. They days of hundreds of secretaries in the typing pool are over and never coming back.
  • Newspapers & Magazines – I remember when I was a kid the first job we had was a paper boy.  Those days are long gone. The creative part of this industry is still there. We’ll always have writers and graphic artists, but all the related industries are rapidly vanishing. Printers, paper mills, printing press manufactures, truckers to deliver the roll paper and haul away the printed papers or magazines. I personally read the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and the Denver Post on my iPad. I also read several magazines electronically as well and waiting for the last one or two to go 100% digital.
  • Books – Like the category above, physical books are vanishing and going digital. Along with the physical book printing and distribution this also impacts retail jobs. Book stores are no longer the destination for many people when they want to buy a book. They pick up their Kindle, iPad, Nook, etc, browse the book, read a sample, and download it without leaving home.
  • Travel Agents – 10-20 years ago if you wanted to take a trip, you w
  • Entertainment Media – When was the last time you bought an LP? Do you even know what an LP record is?  How about a CD? Maybe a DVD?  Not long ago you went to the record store and bought an LP, 8-Track, Cassette, or CD. Now you go to iTunes and just download it. Same for movies, though a bit slower. now you can stream the movie on demand.  So the whole media industry is vanishing. The plastic manufactures, CD/DVD manufactures, the printing companies, distribution, all vanishing.
  • Post Office – We’ve been hearing of the post offices financial woes for years, but when was the last time you wrote a letter and mailed it? Most every financial institution is offering paperless statement options. You pay your bills electronically. The post office, in some form, will exist, but route careers will diminish. We may go to every other day mail delivery, or you may be forced to use a PO box and possibly pay a monthly charge if you want delivery to your house.
  • Blue collar workers – Yes many of these jobs have gone overseas where labor is a few dollars a day, but here in the US increasing industrial automation is eliminating factory jobs as well as changing designs that require fewer parts to be assembled, or quicker assembly. Also shifts in technology.  With the shift to iPads and tablets, look at the number of parts in an iPad vs a laptop vs a desktop PC? fewer parts means less time required to assemble.  As labor rates increase in low cost countries, automation will make its way onto those assembly lines as well.
  • Advertising – We are saturated by advertising every waking hour, but we are very good at ignoring it, or with our DVR, simply skipping over it.  Advertising is becoming more expensive and less effective.
On the flip side there are areas of growth. As digital and online media increases there is a growing need for programmers, and technicians to maintain the infrastructure (cell towers, internet cable, etc.) But for every 100 jobs that have vanished above, probably only one new job is created.
What areas won’t change. There are many, but basic service jobs. Restaurant jobs, barbers, auto mechanics, grocery stores, etc. Places where you go to have a person provide a service, or those that come to you like house cleaners, landscapers, etc.
What will increase:
  • Health care – Actually illness care. Even with all I try and promote our society is getting older and sicker. Out children are overweight and will be in worse shape than the baby boomers unless they change quickly.  We’ll be filling hospitals to capacity.
  • Direct Sales – With advertising becoming very expensive and ineffective and retail shelves disappearing, many companies are embracing good old fashioned word of mouth advertising.

How is your food made? What do the labels hide?

In my line of business I do consulting to pharmaceutical, nutriceutical, food, and beverage companies to help them improve their manufacturing operations and improved their new product development process. So I’ve seen a lot of plants and R&D labs.

So focusing this time on foods, there are some good companies out there who really want to produce good nutritious food, but they are the exception. Most strive to use the lowest cost ingredients, no matter how they are grown or the source and to produce a product which is tasty, looks good, and smells good. Of course how do you make something taste better? Add fat, sugar, and/or salt – None of which is healthy, but they sure taste good. You can also add some food coloring to brighten up under ripe foods, or make them look more appealing.

Very often the brand name is simply just marketing. I’ve seen frozen meals which touted healthy claims all over the box and it was really no more than a conventional frozen meal just a smaller portion, but at a premium price. When you pick up a package in the grocery store assume that what is inside is the cheapest ingredients available and optimized to meet minimal requirements at the lowest cost.  I’m sure many times that more development costs go into the packaging and artwork than into the recipe.

I’ll call out one company as an example of doing it as it should be done – Amy’s Kitchen. They source the best ingredients, even to the extent of controlling the raising of the crops. They insure the ingredients are top quality, all organic, and their first concern is for the quality, purity, and then the taste – of course they are very tasty.

You’d think that you could just look at the labels on the box, bottle, or bag and know if it was good or bad. Sadly all the FDA regulates is the nutrition fact panel and the Ingredient Statement, but they can still play games there.

Lets start with the front of the package.  Aside from the USDA Organic logo and a couple other official logos they can put anything they want, that is theirs space for marketing and it doesn’t have to have any connection to the truth. For example I was looking for some healthy tortillas. the store I was at didn’t have my usual brand so I found one that had a hugh letters on the front saying “16 grams of Fiber” and “100% Whole Wheat” Ok that sounded good, but looking at the fact panel it said the serving size was 1 tortilla. So OK. Then it it said the amount of fiber per serving was 2 grams.  So looking at the front you’d be led to believe that each tortilla had 16g of fiber. Then their 100% whole wheat claim, again looking at the back the ingredient statement started “Whole Wheat, ……”  so they didn’t use 100% whole wheat, but really said that 100% of the wheat they use is Whole Wheat – quite different.

While I’m on the whole wheat there are three levels:

  1. Wheat flour – this can be bleached or unbleached, but it is the highly refined flour that hits your blood stream like sugar and has no food value and almost no fiber. Avoid this except for your once a year birthday cake.
  2. Whole Wheat flour – This only has to be 51% or more of 100% whole wheat flour, the rest is plain old wheat flour. Better, but still not good.
  3. 100% whole wheat flour – this is what you want to look for. This is the whole wheat kernel, bran, wheat germ, etc milled into a flour. It has all the nutrients and fiber still in it.
Ok, so you’ve learned to look at the Nutrient Fact Panel and the list of ingredients. Yes these are under FDA control and there are very complex rules and regulations about what they can display here, but the FDA is very good friends of the food and drug industries, so they bend the rules to their favor. So on the fact panel there are rounding rules. So in a nutshell they can round down the bad things and round up the good things. So if there are 75 calories, they can call if 70 calories. If there are 2.5g of fiber, they can call it 3g per serving.  That is the other key, look at the serving size. It may be a can of energy drink that everyone will drink as a serving, but on the back it says serving size is 2/3rds of a can. Look at some candy and what most would consider one bar, may be 4 or 6 servings. So you look and see that it only has 50 calories, and think that isn’t bad, but when you eat that bar you really just ate 300 calories.
The most extreem I’ve seen was a mint type of candy, small little pea size bites. Huge text on the front “0 calories, 0 fat, 0 sugar….”  the serving size was one piece so using the rounding down rules they could round down to zero, ever though there were calories, fat, and sugar.  When you look at what a normal person would eat in one serving it was no different than eating a candy bar. So pay close attention to the serving size and keep the potential rousing rules in mind that zero isn’t necessarily zero.
The last official piece of labeling is the Ingredient Statement. This is a list of all ingredients listed in descending order by weight. That should be straight forward right? Nope. Some of the creative things allowed are:
  • Combining ingredients. you can for example combine different types of sweeteners into one name, so corn syrup, HFCS, sugar, etc. could be combined and just called sugar or sweetener. In practice though they will keep these separate so they are further downy he list, but they could take different kinds of protein, group them together as “Protein Blend” so that several different types would come together and move higher up the list. For example you may see this like “Protein Blend(pea protein, whey, soy protein)” so the groups position would be based not eh combined weight of the three different proteins. Then within the (…) those ingredients are in defending order, os pea, then whey, then soy.
  • Split ingredients. they can take and ingredients and “Reconstitute” other ingredients. So where water may be the #1 ingredient, you may not want to pay that much for a jar of water so using the grouping like the protein above they can burry the water in different things. Like “Tomato sauce(Tomato puree, water, salt, etc), Noodles(wheat flour, water, eggs), Meatballs(beef, spices, salt, water).  so you may see water occurring multiple times in the label. If they pulled all the water together it may be the #1 ingredient, but using grouping they can keep it away from the top.
  • Omitting ingredients. Yes, they can omit ingredients. Some are legitimate, like say alcohol if it is baked out of a rum cake. There are other ingredients more chemical in nature which in theory bake out, or don’t make it into the final product. But if an ingredient just comes with the raw ingrient, and they didn’t specify it, they don’t have to declare it. For example, Genetically modified corn or soy.  they can just call it corn or soy. plants are typically genetically modified to make them immune to weed killers so that the fields can be sprayed with herbicides to kill the weeds, but the crop isn’t affected. Doesn’t sound bad, but that week killer, usually Monsanto’s RoundUp, is absorbed by the plant and is present in the grain. So do a chemical analysis on that bowl of corn flakes and you’ll find RoundUp, but they don’t list it, or any other chemicals on the label because they purchased corn and didn’t purchase corn with RoundUp.  The one way to insure you aren’t feeding your family pesticides and herbicides is to buy only Organic products.  It is safe to assume that any product with corn or soy is Genetically Modified and has herbicide and pesticide residues in it.
I hope this helps a bit. I’m not a food scientist so I can’t deep into the rules of the FDA labels, but bottom line, read the nutrition fact panel and the ingredient statements, then read between the lines.  Best is to buy fresh fruit and vegetables from known local sources, or best your back yard.

Going to Exercise, Have a Healthy Sports Drink

Sports drinks contain a fairly large amount of energy—a little more than half as many calories as the average soft drink. And, like soft drinks, sports drinks get most of their calories from sugar. These facts inspire many label-conscious runners to avoid using sports drinks during training. They see their workouts as opportunities to burn a lot of calories, and they don’t want to “counteract” that effect by taking in a lot of calories at the same time.
This is a reasonable way to think, but it’s mistaken, for more than one reason. First, research has shown that when people consume carbohydrate (such as the carbs in sports drinks) during exercise, they eat less during the remainder of the day. For example, at study conducted at Colorado State University found that when subjects consumed no carbohydrate during a workout, they ate 777 calories at their next meal. But when they took in 45 grams of carbs during a workout, they ate only 683 calories in their next meal. What’s more, the subjects consumed fewer total calories—including workout carbs—during the day in which they exercised with carbs than they did during the day when they exercised without carbs.
A second reason not to avoid using a sports drink during your runs simply because of the calories they contain is that the carbs in sports drinks enable you to run faster and longer, so you burn more calories in you workouts. Runners choose their pace by perception of effort. Consuming carbs during runs reduces perceived effort, so that the runner automatically runs faster at his or her chosen effort level. Studies have shown that athletes self-selected faster workout speeds when they consume carbs during exercise and thus burn more calories in a given time period.
Recently some runners have begun to avoid sports drinks during exercise not because of weight concerns but for a different reason. When carbs are consumed during exercise, the muscles burn less fat. Some runners fear that relying on sports drinks habitually during workouts will artificially limit the general increases in muscular fat-burning capacity that occur in training. This could conceivably limit endurance and hamper performance in longer races such as marathons.
Again, while such reasoning can’t be faulted, it is unfounded. This was proven in a recent study performed at the Australian Institute of Sport. Researchers divided a pool of trained cyclists and triathletes into separate groups and had each of them go through a 28-day block of training, with one group consuming carbs during every workout and the other group abstaining from carbohydrate intake during workouts. Performance was measured before and at the end of the training block in a cycling time trial. The researchers found that performance improved equally—7 percent on average—in both groups despite greater increases in fat-burning capacity in the no-carb group.
While this short-term study found that training with carbohydrate improved simulated race performance by the same amount as training without carbohydrate, literally scores of studies have found that consuming carbohydrate in races and time trials significantly enhances performance compared to competing without carbs. This fact points to one more reason not to avoid using sports drinks in training. Unless you don’t care about your finish time, you’re definitely going to use a sports drink during your races. Naturally, you’re not going to do anything during a race that you haven’t practiced in training. The more often you use a sports drink during training, the more comfortable you will be doing the same in races.
To summarize, there are no fewer than four reasons to go ahead and use a sports drink in your training runs “despite” the calories it contains:
  1. It will reduce the amount you eat the rest of the day;
  2. It will make you run faster and burn more calories;
  3. It will not impede improvements in your fitness by limiting your muscles’ fat-burning capacity; and
  4. It will give you valuable practice for using a sports drinks during races, which is essential.

Age Related Macular Degeneration

Cindy Smith was driving down a country road in Kansas a couple of years ago when she noticed something odd. The telephone poles all had kinks in them.

“I thought, ‘Wow, what’s all that about?'” says Smith, a marketing consultant. “They all had distinctive bends in the middle.”

She pulled off the road and called a friend. “I knew something bad was happening,” she says. “It was nothing I could ignore.”

Her friend referred Smith to an eye specialists. Smith made an appointment and was diagnosed as having age-related macular degeneration.

AMD is a disease that causes significant vision loss in 1.75 million Americans. More than 10 million suffer from various forms of this potentially sight-stealing disease, more than glaucoma and cataracts combined, according to the American Macular Degeneration Foundation.

By 2020, as the population ages, that number is expected to double.

In addition, says Dr. Karl of the Retina Foundation of the Southwest, “more severe forms will be more of an issue.”

“People who are in their 70s and 80s are extremely active,” says Dr. Karl, head of the foundation’s Harrington Molecular Laboratory and an ophthalmologist with Texas Retina Associates. “If you had even a relatively small disturbance in vision, that could be extremely devastating in terms of what you’re used to doing.”

Some vision disturbances, such as difficulty reading small print, are inherent with aging. The lenses of our eyes change and can no longer focus close up, so we rely on reading glasses.

Macular degeneration goes beyond the normal aging process. It affects the center of the retina; specifically, the 0.1 percent that’s responsible for 99.9 percent of our fine vision, Csaky says.

“Unfortunately,” Csaky says, “the central part is what gives you quality of life, the ability to read, drive, play golf, to discern faces.”

He uses the analogy of a camera to explain the difference between normal eye aging and macular degeneration.

“The lens of the eye is like the lens of a camera,” he says. “Cataracts are when the lens of the camera gets cloudy and the picture gets fuzzy. The solution? Change your lens, which is what cataract surgery is.

“In macular degeneration, your film has gotten old. We can change lenses, put in a special lens, and still have a bad picture because the film is starting to decay.”

Macular degeneration has no cure, but those involved in studying and treating it point out glimmers of hope:

Though it may cause legal blindness, rendering some victims unable to drive or read, it won’t cause total blindness.

Most kinds never progress past the initial stage. Diagnosis is not “a death sentence for vision,” Csaky says.

Treatments can slow down and sometimes reverse the more severe cases of the condition.

Diagnostic tools can catch it in its early stages.

To check for it, “We dilate your eyes, use a lens and look for yellow spots (drusen) or pigmentation changes or bleeding,” says Dr. Yuguang He, associate professor of ophthalmology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and a specialist in age-related macular degeneration. “It’s not like it takes a blood test or X-ray to diagnose. We just look at it.”

The sooner it’s found, the better, he says. “There is a window in which we can do treatments.”

Most treatments are geared toward the more advanced form called wet macular degeneration. The early stage is called dry, which can progress to late-severe dry and sometimes lead to wet.

Progression from the dry form to wet can be rapid. Tyler went to a doctor when she first had symptoms, so he was able to diagnose the disease early. Thus, she’s been able to receive a relatively new and often successful treatment: a monthly shot directly into each of her eyes.

“It’s psychologically and emotionally very draining,” says Tyler, whose father has the dry variety of the disease.

The shot, explains Csaky, her doctor, inhibits a protein responsible for blood vessels growing and bleeding under the retina.

“We’re not curing the disease,” he says. “We’re inhibiting, with a drug, a protein that’s constantly being made, and with the injection it disappears for four to six weeks. The blood vessels are still there in a dormant state. If you don’t treat them, they start to grow back.”

It’s not comfortable, but patients tolerate it well, he says, though occasionally “we have a loved one faint who’s watching. We use a topical anesthetic and a very, very small needle.”

Although there is no surefire way to prevent the disease, studies have shown that eating fish two or more times per week helps reduce the risk, he says. “I take fish oil. I’m 54 years old and take it not only to prevent AMD but also to protect my heart, help my cholesterol. I tell patients, something good for your heart has to be good for your eyes.”

He also points out the Age-Related Eye Disease study of the National Eye Institution. Participants took large quantities of vitamins A and C, as well as zinc, copper and beta carotene. The regimen neither prevents the disease nor, in the study, did it have any effect on the dry form, but it “slowed the progression of the wet variety by 20 percent,” he says.

Tyler, who declined to give her age, manages her ailment as best she can, getting injections and participating in a study. She is constantly aware of her surroundings, on the lookout for any line in a grid that appears curvy or wavy. She checks the spindles on her staircase, “whatever’s around me,” for possible distortion.

“It was never even in my mind, as driven and focused as I am in my career, that I wouldn’t be responsive to it,” she says. “It’s your vision for heaven’s sake. How scary is that?

“You can work with it and make it a positive thing, or it can devastate you. You make these choices in life. What am I going to do about it? Is it going to define me, or am I going to help define it?”


Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the No. 1 cause of irreversible vision loss among senior citizens, according to the Retina Foundation of the Southwest. Some risk factors:

Caucasians are more likely to contract AMD than other races.

“If you’re a Caucasian older than 65, there’s a 20 percent chance you’ll get it,” says Dr. Yuguang He, associate professor of ophthalmology at UT Southwestern Medical Center. “If you’re Chinese or Japanese, less than 5 percent. African-Americans have it much less than Caucasians.”

Yet, “as the Japanese adopted our diet, their incidence has gone up,” says Dr. Karl Csaky of the Retina Foundation of the Southwest and Texas Retina Associates.

Smoking increases incidence.

“Cigarette smokers are 20 times more likely to develop AMD than nonsmokers,” he says. “The chances are very, very high.”

If one eye is affected, the other eye will be, too.

It’s important to periodically cover up the eye that has it to see whether the other eye is seeing distortions, too.

Genetics play a factor.

“If your parents have it, there’s an increased risk you’ll get it, but it’s not a guarantee,” he says. “We’re still struggling with the practical implications of these genetic associations other than scaring people.”

Big Pharma Funded Recent anti Multivitamin Study

Below are the names of two of the pharmaceutical companies who were some of sponsors that funded the study I wrote about yesterday that Multivitamins are not effective against cancer and heart disease.

Author Affiliations: Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Inc, San Diego, California (Dr Patterson); and Medstar Research Institute, Washington, DC (Dr Thomas).


Regarding Medstar, they are involved in research and development of new drugs to treat a variety of diseases.
Here are a few statements taken from their own web page under research.


Perhaps most important is the chance to help scientists discover new medicines. evaluating if an investigation drug or device is better than one that is currently in use.
There may be some risk in participating in a trial. There may be unanticipated unpleasant or life threatening side effects to the treatment being studied. Because effectiveness is often what is being studied, the trial may conclude the experimental treatment may not be as effective as the established therapy.
So perhaps there is some conflict with complementary medicine, as many mds. do not believe in the benefits of supplements but are committed to the use of pharmaceuticals.

The Truth about a recent study about MultiVitamins and Cancer & Heart Disease

by Joan E. Baumann, NutriSeach
Dramatic, misleading headlines such as the one above are so frequently picked up and run by the press.
I decided to check out the source in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

At the bottom of the abstract there was a clinical trials Identifier Number: Trial Registration Number NCT0000611.

The identifying number gave a clearer picture of the criteria. Here is what the Government Trials website stated as to eligibility:

Ages Eligible for Study: 50 Years to 79 Years

Genders Eligible for Study: Female

Accepts Healthy Volunteers: No


Postmenopausal women ages 50 to 79.

The Trial Criteria allowed for Postmenopausal Women Ages 50 – 79 BUT excluded healthy volunteers!

The women were asked if they took multivitamins, and a detailed record of their vitamin of choice was kept. The Data regarding their vitamin use was accepted even if they took their multivitamin as infrequently as once a week!

SomeBIG IFSbecame apparent: if they took one of the heavier advertised brands, with their minimal amounts of basic nutrients,if their vitamin contained nutrients that were not optimal in quality, such as synthetic vitamin E instead of the natural form,if it contained very low levels of vitamin C,if it did not include nutrients such as inositol, choline, alpha lipoic acid, quercetin, flavonoids, n-acetyl L-cysteine, coenzymeQ10, beta-carotene instead of vitamin A, optimal levels of Folic Acid ……..then one would expect the outcome the study announced. Too many IFS! There was no apparent baseline for either levels or quality of nutrients.
Daniel Fabricant, Ph.D., vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs for the Natural Products Association, a non-profit organization, had a few interesting comments on the study.
Fabricant said it is “unprincipled” that the authors arbitrarily lumped supplement types into generalized categories that do not represent nutrient intake accurately. And when coupled with the fact that nutrient intake through the diet was not accounted for, Fabricant explained, the study has no means of establishing a baseline for which to draw any comparisons or eliminate bias.

He further stated: “ Taken as whole, the research on dietary supplements in the prevention of chronic diseases, is strong and consistent. To suggest that taking vitamins and minerals with a demonstrated health benefit is unnecessary sends the wrong public health message.”

There are literally thousands of research studies which have shown the benefits of many nutrients, from food and/or supplements. To ignore such a large body of research and depend solely upon our food supply to provide the level of nutrition that can keep us healthy makes absolutely no sense.

We can trust in the science and integrity of a company like Usana; the longer we maintain the health of our cells on a regular basis, the greater the benefit as we age.

In health,

Joan E. Baumann

Thank you Joan for this excellent replay to a headline which received too much press. We must realize that there are many companies who want to keep these sorts of headlines in front of the public. There are thousands of medical studies which show that optimal levels of high quality nutritional supplements can have a tremendous impact on preventing or reversing almost every degenerative disease. If this were brought to the public’s attention it could cost big pharmaceutical companies billions and billions of dollars. Yet headlines such as this help insure big pharma’s monoply of our medical system.
NutriSearch has evaluated over 1,500 different multivitamins available in the US and Canada. Usana Health Sciences has received their top rating for for the past 9 years.