Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Cancer Alert: Your Best Defense - Go Cruciferous

by Dr. Joel Fuhrman

We may not have eaten so healthfully our entire lives. We may have a family history of breast, prostate or colon cancer. What should we do? Just wait until cancer is found?

Getting medical screenings is certainly a personal decision, but if you want to know what you can really do to protect yourself - eat lots of colorful vegetables, specifically including lots of green cruciferous vegetables.

Eating a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables is your best defense for fighting and preventing cancer.

If we really want to win the war against cancer, we must improve the nutritional quality of our diet.

We have all heard about the antioxidant effects our bodies derive from the phytochemicals in plant foods. However, the unique phytochemicals found in cruciferous vegetables offer superior benefits.

Cruciferous vegetables contain phytochemicals that have unique abilities to modify human hormones, detoxify compounds, and prevent toxic compounds from binding to human DNA, preventing toxins from causing DNA damage that could lead to cancer.

Studies have even shown that genetic defects that may lead to cancer are suppressed by the consumption of green cruciferous vegetables.

Certainly, many studies have shown that eating fresh fruits, beans, vegetables, seeds, and nuts reduces the occurrence of cancer.

I plotted cancer incidence in 25 countries against unrefined plant food intake and found that as vegetables, beans, and fruit consumption goes up 20% in a population, cancer rates typically drop 20%. But cruciferous vegetables are different; they have been shown to be twice as effective. As cruciferous vegetable intake goes up 20%, in a population, cancer rates drop 40%.

bok choy
broccoli rabe
brussels sprouts
mustard greens
red cabbage
turnip greens

Include them in both raw and cooked forms and eat a variety of them. These benefits cannot be duplicated by taking any one pre-formed compound or supplement.

The evidence is now overwhelming that cruciferous vegetables play a major and unique role in the widely recognized protective effects of natural plant foods against cancer--and are the most important players in this arena.

The biologically active compounds from raw and conservatively cooked green vegetables enhance the natural defenses of the human body against DNA damage and they even fuel the body's ability to block growth and replication of cells that are already damaged.

For those in the know, these foods are the most important nutritional factors to prevent common human cancers.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Sensible Sun Exposure

by Dr. Joel Fuhrman

As the weather gets warmer, the days longer, and spring breaks and plans for summer vacations are upon us - we need to be reminded of the potentially harmful effects of over exposure to the sun.

Certainly, given our thinning ozone, we want to avoid excessive sun exposure to protect ourselves from the free radical damage and wrinkling that can ensue and to minimize the risk of skin cancer.

Certainly sunshine can be a valuable source of vitamin D, but it can't be denied that sunshine exposure ages and wrinkles the skin and increases risk of skin cancer.

So, you need to be sensible about sun exposure.

Sensible means avoiding the midday sun and especially protecting those parts of the face that most easily can get overexposed such as the nose, cheeks and around the eyes, where most wrinkling occurs.

Since the generous amount of sunshine that can assure sufficient vitamin D exposure is potentially damaging and can cause skin cancers, and because most of us work indoors anyway, it is advisable for most people to assure their vitamin D adequacy with supplements, not sunshine.

When we are outside for longer periods of time, it is important to use the right kind of protection. Since what you put on your skin can be absorbed into your bloodstream, it is important to know what is really in your sun care products.

BEWARE: Sunscreens with a high SPF may not be protective & may be hazardous to your health!

Sunscreens versus Sunblocks

There are two types of sun protection: sunscreens and sunblocks.

Sunscreens absorb and deflect the sun's rays through a chemical reaction. They vary in their ability to protect against UV-B and UV-A rays depending on the ingredients used in the formulation.

Sunblocks create a physical barrier against the sun's rays. They physically block or scatter both UV-A and UV-B rays.1

While UV-B rays cause sunburn, UV-A rays penetrate deeper into the skin, lowering our resistance to skin cancers and causing skin to age.

The SPF number or Sun Protection Factor on sunscreens refers only to UV-B protection. A product with an SPF of 20 for example, would let a user remain in the sun 20 times longer without burning.

The FDA has no standards for measuring how well a sunscreen blocks UV-A rays. Many sunscreens do not even protect against UV-A rays. Ironically, a product with a high SPF factor, and no UV-A protection, could make you falsely believe that you can safely stay in the sun longer, overexposing yourself unprotected to UV-A rays.

Chemical sunscreens can dilute with sweat and burn your eyes. In addition, a number of studies have linked allergic reactions to chemical sunscreens, particularly oxybenzone.

Little is known about the potential harm of chronic sunscreen use and the systemically absorbed chemicals deposited after topical application.

The fact that red flags keep showing up regarding oxybenzone is of particular concern since it is a benzophenone commonly used to make sunscreens with especially high SPF factors.

Mineral sunblocks that contain titanium dioxide or zinc oxide are preferable to chemical sunscreens because rather than being absorbed into the skin, the minerals lie on top of the skin, reflecting UV rays before they cause damage.

To effectively block UV-A rays you need a physical sunblock such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. As a result, more sun care products are available that use titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, but there is more to the story. Serious concerns have been raised about the safety of these ingredients used in most commercially available sunscreen products.6

Often these sun care products use a form of titanium dioxide or zinc oxide which is micronized by nanotechnology. This technology is used to make the sunscreen more transparent - so it is better absorbed by the skin. These tiny nanoparticles, however, can penetrate biological membranes and easily reach cells.

Nanoparticles are smaller than anything humans have put into commercial products before.

These ultra small particles may even enter the bloodstream. Lab studies indicate that both of these nano-ingredients create free radicals that damage the DNA of cells and possibly cause other harm as well.7 Preliminary investigation into the ability of these nanoparticles to penetrate healthy skin has revealed conflicting results.

Public interest groups are currently asking the FDA to declare all currently available sunscreen products with nanoparticles a potential hazard to public health. Until complete safety-assessments are made, I recommend steering clear of products with these nanoparticles.

Most products, do not reveal the use of nanoparticles on their label. To make matters worse, there also are other ingredients found in sunscreen products that should be avoided such as: PABA, Benzophenone (homosalate and octy-methoxycinnamate), Parabens (butyl-,ethyl-,methyl-, propyl-), Padimate-O and Parsol 1789 (2-ethylhexyl-4-dimethylaminobenzoic acid and avobenzone).

So what is safe?

Sunblocks are the Safest

Overall, the physical sunblocks, with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, are the safest choices for sun protection. They are the least irritating, and they safely provide protection against
both UV-A and UV-B rays. Keep in mind, however, that titanium dioxide and zinc oxide products that contain nanoparticles should be avoided until more is known about the effects of this technology.

We've done our research and found a product-line which uses a form of nonmicronized titanium dioxide that is safe and effective at blocking both UV-A and UV-B rays without those harmful chemicals. Our Lavera sun care line protects against both UV-A and UV-B without the use of harmful chemicals and stays on the skin for an incredibly long time.

Remember, sun protection products must be applied liberally to insure you receive the SPF protection claimed on the label. Most people apply 25-75% less sunscreen than the amount used when the manufacturers test their products.8

Make the sun a healthy and enjoyable experience for you and your loved ones!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Leaders of the Vegan Movement Develop Parkinson's: Case Studies

by Dr. Joel Fuhrman

Editors Note:

I personally stick to a whole foods vegan diet. My blood tests, however,revealed I was low in vitamins D and B12.

Following Dr. Fuhrman's advice I have begun taking Vitamins D, B12 and omega 3.

In our effort to eat "naturally" we must not behave carelessly and ignore scientific evidence when it stares us in the face.

Please read this important article. Herbert Shelton and T.C. Frye were two leaders in the field of Natural Hygiene. Their writings had a significant influence on my dietary habits. They both died of nutritional deficiencies.

I am grateful to Dr. Fuhrman for bringing this vital information to our attention.

Leaders of the Vegan Movement Develop Parkinson's: Case Studies

Herbert Shelton (1895 - 1985) a naturopath and chiropractor and the influential founder of the American Natural Hygiene Society and Nature Cure movement in America and prolific health writer advocated a natural food vegetarian diet of mostly raw fruits, vegetables and nuts.

I read all of his highly motivating books, newsletters and writings in my teens.

He lived in Texas, was physically fit, grew lots of his own food and ate carefully and fasted periodically. Of course he did not get cancer, he did not get heart disease, but he died of Parkinson's disease and was so severely affected by the age of 78 that even walking was difficult.

In 1973 when I met him he was already severely hunched over and had a difficult time walking and caring for himself. Though he lived many years with this significant disability, the quality of his later years was extremely poor.

Prominent Vegetarian and Health Advocate - this leader in the natural health movement and a personal friend to me also suffered from and eventually died from a fall related to his Parkinson's disease.

During his young adult life he embarked on the path of healthy living and vegetarianism. A follower of Shelton's works, he operated a large health food store, one of the first to sell organic fruits and vegetables in America; he became a leader in the health food industry.

Of course he was not at risk of cancer or heart disease with his excellent diet, but he developed Parkinson's which limited the quality of his later years.

When he was developing his Parkinsonian tremors, I ordered blood tests and was shocked to see his blood results showing almost a zero DHA level on his fatty acid test, in spite of adequate ALA consumption from nuts and seeds eaten daily.

I had never seen a DHA level that low before. Since that time I have drawn DHA blood levels on other patients with Parkinson's and also found very low DHA levels.

Was it a coincidence, that these leaders in the natural food, vegetarian movement, who ate a very healthy vegan diet and no junk food would both develop Parkinson's?

I thought to myself--could it be that deficiencies in DHA predispose one to Parkinson's? Do men have worse ability to convert short chain omega-3 into long chain DHA? Is that why Parkinson's affects more men than women?

Is there evidence to suggest that DHA deficiencies lead to later life neurologic problems? Are there primate studies to show DHA deficiencies in monkeys leads to Parkinson's?

The answer to all of these questions is a resounding, yes.

More than 1 million Americans suffer from Parkinson's Disease (PD), a neurodegenerative disease that is clinically characterized by resting tremor, muscular rigidity, gait problems and impaired ability to initiate movements.

Recent scientific findings show diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids, in particular DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), have a protective effect on this type of neurodegenerative disease.

Studies in animals clearly show that supplementation of DHA can alter brain DHA concentrations and thereby modify brain functions leading to reduced risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.1

A recent study examined mice which were exposed to two diets; one group was fed a diet with DHA and other omega-3 fatty acids; while the other group was given ordinary food, lacking DHA. After a period of time they were given a dose of a chemical that causes the same damage to the brain as Parkinson's disease.

The mice on the DHA diet seemed to be immune to the effects of the chemical, whereas the mice that ate ordinary food developed symptoms of the disease.

According to the researchers, among the mice that had been given omega-3 supplementation - in particular DHA - omega-3 fatty acids replaced the omega-6 fatty acids in their brains.

Due to the fact that concentrations of other omega-3s (LNA and EPA) had maintained levels in both groups of mice, the researchers suggested that the protective effect against Parkinson's indeed came from DHA.2

Another conclusion drawn from this finding is that a brain containing a lot of omega-6 fatty acids may create a fertile ground for developing Parkinson's disease. These fatty acids, are abundant in foods rich in either vegetable oil or animal fat, which we already know contribute negatively to our health.

Another study observed the effect of DHA on monkeys treated with MPTP, a drug that induces Parkinson's like symptoms, and the results suggested that DHA can reduce the severity of, or delay the development of these drug-induced symptoms and therefore can offer therapeutic benefits in the treatment of Parkinson's. 3

Overall, this research provides evidence that DHA deficiencies can leave us vulnerable to developing diseases like Parkinson's and Alheizmer's.

If you are a nutritarian, flexitarain, vegan, or vegetarian and you are not taking DHA or confirming your levels are adequate with blood work you are being negligent, and potentially increasing your risk of such a disease in later life. All the good efforts on proper nutrition can be undone with one deficiency such as Vitamin D, B12, or DHA. I see this every week in my practice.

History Repeats Itself

Some authors, doctors and leaders of the vegan movement today are heavily biased towards the idea of not needing these supplements. They simply give inadequate nutritional advice and in spite of all the science they still pooh-pooh taking long-chain omega-3 DHA. They are risking the quality of their own lives and that of their followers.

Likewise, I have seen so many vegan-promoting doctors and authors negate the need for taking B12, as well as dismiss the need to take vitamin D, stating minimal sunshine is enough. They also deny the need for omega-3 supplementation. There is so much scientific literature available today pointing to the contrary, however, this irresponsible information keeps radiating from the podium of lecture halls.

It reminds me of all the statements in the past, that the need for B12 was exaggerated and that the small amount of bacteria on organic produce or in seaweed was sufficient.

TC Fry (1926 - 1996)- another long-term Natural Hygienist, raw foodest, vegetarian-fruitarian, advocated you did not need supplements as food contained all that we need. He died of an atherosclerotic-related embolism at the age of 70.

I saw his hospital record at his death and reviewed his blood work drawn immediately prior to his death. It was quite revealing. He had severe B12, deficiency, so long-standing that his B12 levels were almost undetectable and the lowest I have ever seen.

It is kind of interesting reading internet interpretations of why he died, such as "did not practice what he preached," "cheated on his diet," "too much sex," "ozone treatments for his vascular disease". He died prematurely simply because long-standing B12 deficiency leads to extremely high homocysteine levels, which can cause intra-vascular inflammation and cardiovascular disease.

I have seen this over and over again in vegans not supplementing with B12. I even had a patient with extremely severe hyper-homocysteinemia and vascular disease who flew in to see me from Scandinavia. When I diagnosed the problem and discussed how to solve it, she still refused to take the B12 supplements, stating that Dr. Shelton and Dr. Vetrano said that nature provided us with all that we need in natural plant foods.

She flew home angry that I disagreed. She died soon after.

Don't be fooled into thinking that by merely eating right you are doing all you can do to protect your health. People must be made aware that by neglecting to take the supplements that are essential to assuring nutritional excellence, they are putting themselves in harm's way. Specifically, not taking DHA, B12 and vitamin D can be potentially dangerous and even life threatening.

Dr. Fuhrman's DHA Purity is a pure, fresh, all vegan, concentrated liquid. This DHA is derived from algae grown under sanitary laboratory conditions.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Heart Disease and Impotence -Part II

by Dr. Joel Fuhrman

Lifesaving Information to Reverse Your Condition

I have been in practice for 14 years. I have cared for hundreds of men with erectile dysfunction that have reversed their condition with nutritional excellence.

I have cared for hundreds of heart patients with angina and advanced heart disease, who have turned their backs on invasive cardiac procedures, recovered from angina and opened up the closed blood vessels in their diseased hearts.

Out of thousands of men with advanced heart and erectile problems who have followed my nutritional advice, I have never had a patient suffer a heart attack or cardiac related death.

Both these conditions are predictably reversible with nutritional excellence and the judicious use of dietary supplements. This same program will just as effectively lower your weight, blood pressure and cholesterol and protect you against prostate cancer.

In fact, my nutritional program, when analyzed in the scientific studies, was shown to lower cholesterol levels more powerfully than drugs, without the risks and side effects.

Another study showed a forty percent increase of blood flow to the heart within one year of starting this program, as described in my books, Eat For Health or Eat For Health.

Of pertinent note is that, in the same study, the patients following a high protein Atkins’ diet decreased blood flow to the heart by forty percent in one year. These dangerous high protein diets are a certain path to erectile impotence and a premature cardiac death.

Furthermore, a recently completed study by the University of Southern California (soon to be published) showed that, out of one hundred patients presenting to my practice, the average weight loss (sustained for more than two years) was 49 pounds. This approach is simply the ideal way to live and eat if you want to maintain your youthfulness and health into your later years.

It is not for everybody, and I do not expect the masses to embrace a dietary approach this healthful. Nevertheless, many thousands of people have chosen and will choose to enjoy fantastic tasting food that can also be nutrient dense and offer dramatic protection against disease.

It is better to start early and not wait until you have advanced disease. Forty percent of all cardiac deaths occur in people who had no warning, no pain and no symptoms. Their first symptom of heart disease was their deadly first heart attack. Let’s have this not be you.

When it comes to combating heart disease, most information sources promote drugs and surgery as the only viable options. As a result, the demand for high-tech, expensive, but largely ineffective medical care is soaring, causing medical costs and insurance rates to skyrocket. This chase for "cures" is both financially devastating and futile. Morbidity and premature mortality from heart disease continue to rise, with no sign of abating.

Interventional cardiology offers only partial benefits, since these procedures do not remove the causes of the problem.

Attempts to intervene with invasive procedures or surgery after the damage already has been done have not been shown to offer a significant reduction in cardiac deaths. We need to keep in mind that angioplasty and bypass surgery have some significant adverse outcomes, including heart attacks, stroke and death.

These invasive procedures only attempt to treat a small segment of the diseased heart, usually with only a temporary benefit. The patients treated with angioplasty and bypass will continue to experience progressive disability and most often die a premature death as a result of their heart disease.

The average person is not aware that there are safer, more effective options available. Unfortunately, government agencies often are slow to respond to new scientific information and economic and political forces make it difficult for our population to receive clear information informing them that heart disease is nutritionally induced and totally avoidable with dietary excellence.

For example, six of the eleven members, including the chairman of the USDA's Dietary Guidelines Committee in the year 2000, had financial ties to the meat, dairy and egg industries. Not surprisingly, the foods these industries produce figure prominently in government dietary recommendations in spite of their documented links to increased health risks.

Similar problems exist in recommendations by many non-profit health organizations. Sadly, even the American Heart Association advocates a diet that has been shown to actually increase heart disease.

To help spread the message that real heart attack protection is available for all, I wrote a book specifically addressing this point, Cholesterol Protection for Life. It is available now as an e-book and as a paperback. In about 100 pages, it clearly outlines the methods, the plan and the evidence necessary to show how this program works so effectively. This information is the most powerful weapon we have to save millions of lives. Start with yours.

For additional resources for a healthier lifestyle visit Dr. Joel Fuhrman's Fitness Shop

To see Dr. Fuhrman's complete range of products, including books, DVD's, natural foods and more, click here: Store Home Page