Gout can be found in dogs and other animals

Excessive amounts of uric acid in the bloodstream are not limited to only humans.  Gout can affect our loving canine and feline friends, as well.  Whereas humans are more likely to experience crystal deposits in the joint extremities, animals tend to grow uric acid crystals in their urine.  When animals are unable to assimilate calcium and other minerals, abnormal uric acid and calcium levels can also deposit into the paws, toes, elbows, neck, ears, and tongue.  This is know as calcified skin lesions, or Casinosis Cutis, and more common in breeds such as Boxers and Boston Terriers.  Calcium “Gout” can also create a chalky liquid that can ooze from the paws.

Gout can affects both cats and dogs, however, some breeds are more commonly predisposed by genetics.  These breeds include Dalmations, German Shepherds, English Pointers, Rottie’s, Labs, and Irish Wolfhounds.

Dalmations are unable to convert uric acid into allantoin.  The liver cells are unable to absorb uric acid further blocking the ability to excrete it through the urine.  This makes the breed highly susceptible to stone formations.

Canine gout symptoms include the chalky liquid oozing from lesions, bloody urine, lumps in the paws, bleeding of the paws, painful walk/gait, stiff and painful joints, mood and behavioral changes, lethargy, gritty urine, and/or frequent urinations in small amounts, and lumps on the neck.

Canine Gout is also linked to hip dysplasia and most commonly found in this form amongst German Shepherds.

These conditions are typically treated much like humans, with the same basic prescription drug approach that present themselves with a host of dangerous side effects.   Typically canines are treated with Allopurinol just like their human companions and suffer the same fate of effects that include cramping, vomiting, and diarrhea.  Sometimes Colchicine is prescribed, but must be specific for an animal as the human’s version is deadly.

There are ways to treat both human and animal inflammatory conditions safely and naturally.  Aside from better dietary options, herbal nutrition can help support and rebuild the very functions of the body that are misfiring and causing these issues.  Improving cellular health, blood flow, urine output, and enhancing both kidney and liver function can be done with the right combination of herbs.  This approach can greatly improve, even eliminate, these uric acid and calcium build ups.  There are some wonderful, all natural anti-inflammatories on the market that include just the right combination of herbs to attack these imbalances once and for all.  We’ve heard of great success treating both humans and animals the same with herbal combinations.  The only thing you need to be good at is tricking your furry companion into swallowing a capsule.  Easy peasy!

Is Distilled Water Good or Bad for you?

In a desperate search to consume a safer water source than the parasite, dioxin and chlorine ridden tap water, many resort to distilled water.  Contrary to popular belief, distilled water is acidic.  Distilled water is boiled until it evaporates. This vapor is then condensed back into liquid form.  Hypothetically, distilled water should present you with a neutral pH balance around 7 to provide you with an alkaline and purified drinking source.  However, carbon dioxide in the air dissolves into the water immediately upon exposure decreasing the pH and turning it acidic.  Couple this with the fact that the distillation process strips the water of its minerals and could lead to electrolyte imbalances in the body.  When you consume mineral free water over a long period of time the body will pull electrolytes from your tissues in order to function properly and eliminate waste.

Did you know that soda and other soft drinks are made with distilled water?  As if they aren’t already bad enough for us, heavy soda consumers are literally stripping and dumping large amounts of vital minerals (calcium, magnesium, and other trace minerals) into their urine.  Mineral loss can quickly lead to any number of degenerative diseases including coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, arrhythmia, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, hypothyroidism and more.  Minerals are essential to our body’s pH balance and acidic environments only speed up aging and disease development. 

In addition to the above dangers, the loss of calcium and magnesium can also lead to tooth decay.  Distilled water also lacks enzymes that are essential to the proper digestion of food and could cause acid reflux, as well as other digestive system complications.

What is the upside to consuming distilled water?  For short term use (no more than a few days to a week at a time), distilled water can be used as a detoxifier to draw toxins and heavy metals out of the body.  This is not to be confused with use during a fasting, but rather used to mildly cleanse.  Fasting already causes rapid loss of electrolytes and distilled water would be a dangerous combination.  Avoid cooking with distilled water as it can also leach minerals from your food.

Some believe by simply adding minerals back into their distilled water they’ll be able to counter the negative impacts of long-term consumption.  Studies have shown supplementation to help, but cannot fully eliminate the deficiency and acidic issues. 

Can distilled water help people with Gout?  The most important word in that question, is water.  Water is an essential key to uric acid removal, on many levels.  Proper hydration can reduce the amount of uric acid flowing through the bloodstream and making its way into the joints.  Water can help dilute the concentration of uric acid and help keep it in a soluble form to aid the kidneys in excreting it from the body through the urine and bowels.  Close to 30% of uric acid is eliminated through the bowels and dehydration can lead to constipation.  Distilled water specifically?  Distilled water is absorbed into the bloodstream quicker than others because there aren’t any minerals to slow it down.  Therefore, it does have the ability to dilute concentrations of oxalate, uric acid, calcium, and sodium faster than filtered, tap, or spring water.  In essence, distilled water can reduce the main causes of kidney stones and gout attacks.  However, as we’ve noted above, diseases, including Gout, are reliant upon a healthy pH balance in the body and essential mineral resources to prevent their growth.  This is much more important long-term.  Hydration is what truly matters and that can be achieved with healthier water.  Used for a few days to help quell an ensuing attack would be ok, but long-term use should avoided.

What should we be looking for as our main water source?  Ultimately, our water should not be too acidic or too alkaline, with a pH between 6.5 and 7.5.  It should be rich in minerals and free of toxins such as bacteria, viruses, and chemicals like chlorine and fluoride.  If you have access to a high-quality spring water, that would be best.  Water filtered through reverse osmosis can be used, but minerals will still need to be supplemented with this source.  It is also safe to install a good home water filtration system and drink that filtered water.  A good system can also be installed to the whole house to remove impurities such as chlorine from the water you bathe in.

 

New evidence of increased risk of death with Febuxostat (Uloric)

According to the latest CARES trial, the Gout drug Febuxostat (Uloric) failed up against Allopurinol when it came down to a combined rate of fatal and nonfatal adverse events for those that suffer with both Gout and Cardiovascular disease.  In fact, there was a significant increased risk of death for those that took this drug for Gout while also suffering from heart disease.

The trial was mandated by the FDA and consisted of 6,190 patients, 84% of which were men.  Cardiovascular risk is naturally increased in patients with Gout.  The study was attempting to look at any difference in outcome for these patients taking Febuxostat, a nonpurine xanthine oxidase inhibitor, or those taking Allopurinol, a purine base analogue xanthine oxidase inhibitor.  The patients were followed for a median of 32 months, and a maximum of 85 months.  Without diving into all of the ratio statistics, the all-cause and cardiovascular mortality rate was higher in the Febuxostat group, 34% and 22% higher respectively.

Xanthine oxidase inhibitors are designed to block the enzyme that helps your body make uric acid from xanthine.  This sounds great in theory, but begs the question, where do the purines go when they are halted from this natural conversion?  We do know purines can be stored in the fat, but where else might they go?  Although this hasn’t been theoretically proven, it is very common for the liver to become ‘fatty’ while taking this type of drug.  Could those newly developed storages be the “lost” purines?

Common side effects of taking Febuxostat include:

  • nausea
  • joint pain
  • rash
  • inaccurate liver function test results
  • gout flare ups
Call your doctor if these continue or are bothersome:
  • Changes in appetite
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Red, hot flush to face or skin
  • Stomach upset or pain
Call your doctor right away if these occur:
  • Allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
  • Breathing problems
  • Changes in vision
  • Chest pain
  • Confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Dizziness
  • Fast, irregular heartbeat
  • Feeling faint or lightheaded, falls
  • Gout pain
  • Muscle aches or pains
  • Severe headaches
  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg
  • Trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Unusually weak or tired
  • Yellowing of the eyes or skin

More serious complications can occur.  As noted above, cardiovascular risks are increased.  In addition to those risks, liver injury is also very possible.  If you have to resort to trying this drug, be sure to have your physician check your liver function before you begin and monitor thereafter.  It is important to know the symptoms and get help immediately.  These warning signs include:

  • Liver injury. Symptoms can include:
    • tiredness
    • lack of appetite
    • unexplained weight loss
    • discomfort in the upper right part of your abdomen
    • dark urine
    • jaundice (yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes)
  • Heart attack. Symptoms can include:
    • chest pain
    • shortness of breath
    • discomfort in your upper body
    • cold sweats
    • nausea
    • vomiting
    • sudden dizziness
    • sudden, unexplained tiredness
  • Stroke. Symptoms can include:
    • weakness or numbness in one part or side of your body
    • slurred speech
    • sudden confusion
    • trouble seeing in one or both of your eyes
    • sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination
    • sudden and unexplainable severe headache

Source: http://www.acc.org/latest-in-cardiology/articles/2018/03/07/15/53/mon-8am-cares-cv-safety-of-febuxostat-and-allopurinol-in-patients-with-gout-and-cv-comorbidities-acc-2018

Does Exercise Help Reduce Inflammation?

Regular physical activity can offer us a multitude of health benefits.  Recent studies show just 20 minutes a day can produce anti-inflammatory effects, adding to the already lengthy list of how fitness can support our bodies.  That’s right!  In addition to reducing heart disease, lowering blood pressure, reducing the risk of Diabetes type 2, reducing the risk of cancer, improving metabolism and weight loss, strengthening the heart, muscles, and bones — regular exercise can also reduce inflammation and your chances of suffering from other inflammatory conditions.

Twenty minutes a day is all it takes.  Researchers believe that exercise stimulates the sympathetic nervous system which increases the heart and breathing rate, releases certain hormones, and triggers the body’s anti-inflammatory responses.  This type of activity can help suppress the overproduction of monocytic cytokines.  Cytokines play a broad role to help our immune systems fight and respond to disease.  They can be helpful to ward off and attack dangerous pathogens.  However, an overabundance can actually CAUSE disease, chronic inflammatory diseases.

One cytokine in particular, TNF, can help cells proliferate and send pro-inflammatory cells to the site of an injury and/or threat to the body.  TNF can also kill cells, including cancerous ones.  This is one of the many cases where ‘too much of a good thing’ can be problematic.  Studies have shown exercise to reduce this specific cytokine, furthering the reduction of excessive inflammatory responses in the body.

Study after study has shown extended exercise programs to reduce markers of inflammation like C-reactive protein (CRP).  However, there are also studies that show acute spikes in inflammatory markers, namely stemming from strenuous endurance event training or simply working out too hard, too often. Chronic cardio, training and competing constantly for marathons/triathlons, daily Crossfit, etc. is an easy way to turn acute inflammation into chronic inflammation.  Like anything else in life, moderation and common sense is key.  The body needs activity, sometimes intense, but it also needs rest.  Over-training can be almost as dangerous as remaining inactive, especially when it comes to inflammation.  Generally, if you listen closely enough, your body will let you know which direction you are pushing it.

There are tons and tons of great workout options at your fingertips.  There are even low impact workouts that can really pack a caloric punch without killing and stressing those precious joints.  Low impact does not have to translate to low intensity.  Those suffering with joint pain, including Gout and Arthritis sufferers, know all too well how dangerous high impact exercise can be.  If you are able to perform high-impact exercises, be sure to limit them to 2 or 3 times a week, on non-consecutive days.  Be sure to also limit the amount of time you spend exercising on high-intensity days.  More than 20-30 minutes of high-intensity exercise will INCREASE inflammation.  Moderate exercise for up to 60 minutes can reduce the inflammatory markers.  Go for a brisk walk.  Go for a swim.  Take a nice bike ride.  Lift some light weights.  Learn yoga.  Start slowly, build up, increase your flexibility and mobility, be smart, stay hydrated — but GET MOVING!

Why is the liver so important?



This large, meaty organ sits on the right side of our belly and plays a vital role in the balancing of our metabolic system.  It is the largest organ and one of, if not the most, important.  We need the liver to process all of the nutrients in our food – protein, carbs, fats, vitamins, and minerals.  We need the liver to filter out all of the toxins that enter our body.  We rely on  the liver to convert food into energy, clean out poisons (including alcohol), help to digest our food, help produce hormones, store glycogen, and regulate generally every important function of our metabolic process.  The liver literally receives 30% of the blood circulating through your body every minute in order to perform its detoxifying and nutrient absorbing tasks.

The liver keeps you energized.  While carbohydrates can provide the body with energy, it is the liver that actually manages its distribution.  Once the gastrointestinal tract breaks the carbs down into glucose, the liver regulates and maintains the healthy levels.  The liver will actually store any excess amounts, in the form of glycogen, and convert it back to glucose whenever your body is in need.  Typically, this is necessary when you exercise, fast, or simply in between meals.

The liver also turns fat into energy.  This powerhouse organ breaks down fat, and its compounds, converts it into a form of a storage molecule, and pulls from that storage whenever your body is in need.  When energy levels are low the liver is able to convert these resources back into glycerol and fatty acids in order to provide an alternative energy source.  This liver is able to filter the blood and remove any harmful cells, microbes, and hormones.  This is done through the liver’s production of bile.  Bile is stored in the gallbladder.  Toxic invaders are neutralized and sent to the intestines or the kidneys to be excreted out of the body via the urine and bowels.

The liver does much of the same when it comes to protein by taking the amino acids that were broken down in the intestines and removing the nitrogen (which turns into ammonia), quickly converting it into urea, so this dangerous substance can be excreted through the urine.  The excess amino acids are then either turned into fat for storage, or used to create glucose when energy is needed.  The liver also stores all of our vitamins and minerals and can deliver them to the body whenever it is in need.

When it comes to Gout, liver function is essential key to the puzzle.  While the liver is busy with so many important jobs, it can leave something as natural as uric acid “on the backburner”.  Uric acid is not seen as foreign or dangerous by the body, and in fact is a necessary protector of our DNA.  If we are overloading the liver on a daily basis and it has to focus on all of the jobs we mentioned above, it simply won’t have the time to deal with uric acid.  Any excess will be stored and eventually attack you.  Gout occurs when the excess is unable to leave the body and builds up in storage areas including the liver, the blood, the fat, the tissues, and ultimately in the joints where it can attack.

The liver is hard at work for your body day in and day out.  Show your liver some love as taking care of this organ is the absolute best thing you can do for your body.  Eat right, exercise, take some liver-loving supplements, and do your best to avoid unnecessary damage to this essential organ.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and the hidden dangers

Acetaminophen (also labeled as Paracetamol, or more commonly known as Tylenol) is one of the most widely used OTC (over the counter) pain medications on the shelves today.  Most of us don’t even think twice about taking something we can readily obtain from a local store when the occasional ache or pain calls for such.  However, acetaminophen may just be one of the most dangerous choices on the market.  Even when taken as prescribed, acetaminophen can be potentially life-threatening.  As with many OTC medications, we tend to be a bit too liberal with dosage recommendations, rarely fearing taking 3 or 4 rather than the suggested 2 pills.  When it comes to this pain reliever, failing to adhere to the recommended dosages could prove to be lethal.  Severe health problems like liver damage and death have been reported even in so-called “mild” overdoses.  In fact, hospitals deal with more acetaminophen overdoses annually than they do opiate overdoses.  I can only imagine the shock and dismay, or your utter refusal to believe such a statistic — especially considering you’ve probably never heard of any of this…..

Each year acetaminophen is responsible for more than 56,000 ER visits, 2600 hospitalizations, and approximately 460 deaths due to acute liver failure.  It is THE leading cause for Poison Control calls, topping 100,000+ annually.  Nearly half of all acute liver failure cases in the US are due to acetaminophen poisoning, even when used as recommended daily over a few weeks time period.

Your risk of overdosing can dramatically increase if you mix a regular dose with any other narcotic such as hydrocodone and codeine, drink alcohol while taking acetaminophen, take more than the recommended dosage, and/or if you mix more than one medicine that contains acetaminophen.  It is important to be aware of how much of this pain-reliever is found in common cold medications.  Acetaminophen is also found in popular prescription drugs for pain such as Percocet and Vicodin.  If you are out after a night of drinking, you may want to consider reaching for a different medication in hopes of curbing the inevitable hangover headache.  Combining alcohol and acetaminophen can increase the risk of kidney damage by 123%.  If you have any college age children, be sure to pass this vital information along to them!

Sadly, the FDA has known about the seriousness of the dangers involved with even minor abuse of this medicine, yet continued to sweep it under the rug for over 30 years.  Finally, in 2009 warning labels were added to the product.  In fact, just recently the FDA decided to urge physicians to avoid prescribing any dosage containing more than 325mg as there was no evidence of its benefit vs. its risk of major liver damage.

How exactly does it cause liver damage?  Acetaminophen depletes levels of the body’s chief antioxidant, glutathione.  This antioxidant protects the cells from damage caused by free radicals.  In fact, rapid administration of N-acetylcysteine (an amino acid precursor to glutathione) can help curb acetaminophen’s toxicity and prevent death.  In addition to liver toxicity, Acetaminophen has been indicated in studies as altering our gut health, kidney and heart health, posing a cancer risk, showing an increased risk of autism, adhd, and altering brain health when used during pregnancy, altering reproductive function, and causing severe skin reaction and asthma.

When it comes to our specialty, Gout, the liver and kidneys are responsible for effectively eliminating uric acid from the body.  Due to the intense negative impact acetaminophen can have on both of these vital organs, many have experienced relentless attacks at the hands of this “pain-reliever”, and likely had no idea of its contribution.

It is crucial to remember that just because medicine like this is readily available without a prescription doesn’t make it safe.  Short term use at recommended levels can be helpful and necessary at times, just be smart.  If you are regularly using acetaminophen or any other pain reliever for chronic pain, consider alternative methods to obtain long-term goals of repair, rather than dangerous band-aids like Tylenol.  Enhancing your gut health with probiotics, increasing your inflammation fighting ability with omega-3 fatty acids from a high-quality Krill oil, maintaining proper levels of Vitamin D and other important nutrients, and considering all natural pain relievers such as Curcumin (Turmeric) and Boswellia can go a long way towards a much safer and healthier approach to repairing the underlying causes of your pain.

 

Gout, uric acid, and risk of death

Gout affects an estimated 4% of the population, or around 1 in 25 people.  Evidence suggests this number is growing and is certainly affecting a larger demographic than in the past.  A lot of confusion has surrounded the specifics on how high levels of uric acid may affect the heart and kidneys, even when acute Gout attacks are not present.

There have been studies attempting to separate the mortality rates of those with other risk factors, namely cardiovascular disease and diabetes, from those with just Gout and/or high uric acid levels.  The findings seem to suggest that Gout and high uric acid levels are independently responsible for higher death rates across most age, sex, and race subgroups independent of other pre-existing conditions.  The University in Limerick found those with the high serum uric acid levels displayed at 77% higher risk of death from all causes, and a 209% higher risk of cardiovascular death.  While pre-existing conditions such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, etc. are strongly associated with a higher death risk, the results did not decrease by much when those factors were removed.

What does this mean for the Gout sufferer?  Quite simply, it’s crucial to address this condition directly and avoid hiding behind prescription medications.  There is a long history of diet misconceptions, poor suggestions, lack of expertise when it comes to diagnosis and control, and general prescription drug dangers that only aim to Band-Aid, or worse, hide the symptoms.  While this condition was once seen as an extremely painful nuisance, its single-handed ability to increase one’s death risk makes it too critical to ignore.

If you do a search on the internet you will find all sorts of ‘information’.  Don’t eat this, drink apple cider vinegar, drink cherry juice, ask for an Allopurinol prescription, etc…..  We can tell you first hand, following some of the diet guidelines you will be given will have you eating flour and sugar while avoiding healthy “higher purine” foods such as Cauliflower.  This make no sense whatsoever.  Following a low purine diet will get you in trouble.  Purines only account for 30% of uric acid production.  The other 70% stems from other resources such as dying cells.  Do you think sugar alters healthy cells, or cauliflower?  Exactly.

If you are searching while under an attack, you will find yourself desperate for quick fixes.  No one could blame you.  However, long term goals need to include a full understanding of exactly how uric acid operates and what causes something your body needs (protects the DNA), to attack you so viciously.  DO NOT become complacent about Gout control and a strong maintenance program when the pain is not present.  Just ask anyone suffering from chronic Gout and large tophi deformities how important it is to always control it to avoid its detrimental development.  These people will be able to provide you the most accurate picture of just how devastating years of various Gout drugs and hiding from the inevitable can prove to be.

Is Soy Good or Bad?

Soy can provide a significant amount of protein, vitamins, minerals and polyunsaturated fatty acids.  The soybean is also a source of resveratrol, phytosterols, and isoflavones — all of which have been scientifically linked to providing benefits for a number of health conditions.

However, there is a dark side to soy, particularly unfermented soy products – dark enough to consider its inherent dangers to outweigh its benefits.  The Weston A. Price Foundation is a valuable source for accurate information about our nutrition and health.  They are dedicated to putting nutrient-dense foods back on our tables and have done a great job researching this subject to provide us with the truth and myths about soy.  Their website contains numerous studies, over several years, should you be interested diving in a bit deeper.  Weston A. Price summarizes soy dangers, myths, and truths as follow:

  • High levels of phytic acid in soy reduce assimilation of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc. Phytic acid in soy is not neutralized by ordinary preparation methods such as soaking, sprouting and long, slow cooking. High phytate diets have caused growth problems in children.
  • Trypsin inhibitors in soy interfere with protein digestion and may cause pancreatic disorders. In test animals soy containing trypsin inhibitors caused stunted growth.
  • Soy phytoestrogens disrupt endocrine function and have the potential to cause infertility and to promote breast cancer in adult women.
  • Soy phytoestrogens are potent antithyroid agents that cause hypothyroidism and may cause thyroid cancer. In infants, consumption of soy formula has been linked to autoimmune thyroid disease.
  • Vitamin B12 analogs in soy are not absorbed and actually increase the body’s requirement for B12.
  • Soy foods increase the body’s requirement for vitamin D.
  • Fragile proteins are denatured during high temperature processing to make soy protein isolate and textured vegetable protein.
  • Processing of soy protein results in the formation of toxic lysinoalanine and highly carcinogenic nitrosamines.
  • Free glutamic acid or MSG, a potent neurotoxin, is formed during soy food processing and additional amounts are added to many soy foods.
  • Soy foods contain high levels of aluminum which is toxic to the nervous system and the kidneys.

Myth: Use of soy as a food dates back many thousands of years.

Truth: Soy was first used as a food during the late Chou dynasty (1134-246 BC), only after the Chinese learned to ferment soy beans to make foods like tempeh, natto and tamari.

Myth: Asians consume large amounts of soy foods.

Truth: Average consumption of soy foods in Japan and China is 10 grams (about 2 teaspoons) per day. Asians consume soy foods in small amounts as a condiment, and not as a replacement for animal foods.

Myth: Modern soy foods confer the same health benefits as traditionally fermented soy foods.

Truth: Most modern soy foods are not fermented to neutralize toxins in soybeans, and are processed in a way that denatures proteins and increases levels of carcinogens.

Myth: Soy foods provide complete protein.

Truth: Like all legumes, soy beans are deficient in sulfur-containing amino acids methionine and cystine. In addition, modern processing denatures fragile lysine.

Myth: Fermented soy foods can provide vitamin B12 in vegetarian diets.

Truth: The compound that resembles vitamin B12 in soy cannot be used by the human body; in fact, soy foods cause the body to require more B12

Myth: Soy formula is safe for infants.

Truth: Soy foods contain trypsin inhibitors that inhibit protein digestion and affect pancreatic function. In test animals, diets high in trypsin inhibitors led to stunted growth and pancreatic disorders. Soy foods increase the body’s requirement for vitamin D, needed for strong bones and normal growth. Phytic acid in soy foods results in reduced bioavailabilty of iron and zinc which are required for the health and development of the brain and nervous system. Soy also lacks cholesterol, likewise essential for the development of the brain and nervous system. Megadoses of phytoestrogens in soy formula have been implicated in the current trend toward increasingly premature sexual development in girls and delayed or retarded sexual development in boys.

Myth: Soy foods can prevent osteoporosis.

Truth: Soy foods can cause deficiencies in calcium and vitamin D, both needed for healthy bones. Calcium from bone broths and vitamin D from seafood, lard and organ meats prevent osteoporosis in Asian countries—not soy foods.

Myth: Modern soy foods protect against many types of cancer.

Truth: A British government report concluded that there is little evidence that soy foods protect against breast cancer or any other forms of cancer. In fact, soy foods may result in an increased risk of cancer.

Myth: Soy foods protect against heart disease.

Truth: In some people, consumption of soy foods will lower cholesterol, but there is no evidence that lowering cholesterol with soy protein improves one’s risk of having heart disease.

Myth: Soy estrogens (isoflavones) are good for you.

Truth: Soy isoflavones are phyto-endocrine disrupters. At dietary levels, they can prevent ovulation and stimulate the growth of cancer cells. Eating as little as 30 grams (about 4 tablespoons) of soy per day can result in hypothyroidism with symptoms of lethargy, constipation, weight gain and fatigue.

Myth: Soy foods are safe and beneficial for women to use in their postmenopausal years.

Truth: Soy foods can stimulate the growth of estrogen-dependent tumors and cause thyroid problems. Low thyroid function is associated with difficulties in menopause.

Myth: Phytoestrogens in soy foods can enhance mental ability.

Truth: A recent study found that women with the highest levels of estrogen in their blood had the lowest levels of cognitive function; In Japanese Americans tofu consumption in mid-life is associated with the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease in later life.

Myth: Soy isoflavones and soy protein isolate have GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) status.

Truth: Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) recently withdrew its application to the FDA for GRAS status for soy isoflavones following an outpouring of protest from the scientific community. The FDA never approved GRAS status for soy protein isolate because of concern regarding the presence of toxins and carcinogens in processed soy.

Myth: Soy foods are good for your sex life.

Truth: Numerous animal studies show that soy foods cause infertility in animals. Soy consumption enhances hair growth in middle-aged men, indicating lowered testosterone levels. Japanese housewives feed tofu to their husbands frequently when they want to reduce his virility.

Myth: Soy beans are good for the environment.

Truth: Most soy beans grown in the US are genetically engineered to allow farmers to use large amounts of herbicides.

Myth: Soy beans are good for developing nations.

Truth: In third world countries, soybeans replace traditional crops and transfer the value-added of processing from the local population to multinational corporations.

In addition to all of the above concerns, over 90% of all soy grown in the United States is genetically modified.  Decades on marketing spins on this so called “health food” will take time to undo.  Try to take the time to study and learn all about Roundup ready genetically modified soy.  Look at all of the studies published on soy and you are likely to reach the same conclusion that its dangers well outweigh its benefits.  Put aside the comparison to Asian soy consumption.  Asians consume about 10 grams, around 2 teaspoons a day, as a condiment, and it is FERMENTED.  Soy manufacturers have encouraged Americans to consume 100 grams of soy protein each day – 10X that of the Asian consumption.  Asians also consume soy with nutrient dense foods and minerals that naturally support the thyroid, basically negating any potential negative impact.  However, the evidence is all there.

Is there a safe way to consume soy products?

ORGANIC, FERMENTED soy products such as tempeh, miso, natto, and soy sauce can safely be consumed in moderation and offer the health benefits you seek.  (*Please note, tofu is NOT a fermented soy product and is NOT a healthy protein option.*)  During the fermentation process the beneficial aspects of soy can become available to your system as the phytate and nutrient blocking properties are reduced.

If you are looking for a safe alternative to milk due to any intolerance, consider a coconut or almond milk.  Steer clear of the soy milk.  This lovely mix of soy protein, sugar, and vegetable is anything but healthy for you.  Remember, soy protein isn’t exactly yummy all by itself.  When manufacturers attempt to take a fake food and imitate something real, consider all of the additives that were needed to produce its copycat.  That soy burger may have the ability to trick your brain, but it certainly can’t trick your health.  Unfermented soy isn’t a real food, no matter how well you attempt to dress it up.

When it comes to Gout, we still see a lot of vegan/vegetarian sufferers.  After assessing their situation, we almost always find either an abundance of soy being consumed or general diet imbalances by not choosing healthy and creative ways of eating in the absence of meat.  Inflammation reducing diets do not have to be bland and boring.  Achieving balance through better diet resources and optimal supplement support, you can gain better control of your health.

 

The Danger of Artificial Sweeteners

Just how bad are fake sugars for you?  Let’s just start by making you aware that saccharin was discovered over 150 years ago by a chemist working with coal tar.  Coal tar — you know, a well-known carcinogenic material.  Studies dating back to the 1970’s concluded that saccharin was linked to bladder cancer in laboratory rats.  If that isn’t evidence enough……  Yet, a gazillion conflicting studies later and we still have an issue that remains under intense debate.  Saccharin is sold under brand names such as Sweet and Low®, Sweet Twin®, and Necta Sweet®.

In 2013, The European Food Safety Administration deemed aspartame “safe” at current usage and exposure levels, going as far as to say it won’t cause cancer.  However, the Center for Science in the Public Interest denounced this review stating it was a complete “whitewash” of the truth.

So what do we know for sure?  There have been enough studies to show these zero-calorie sweeteners are posing health risks, even if Cancer has been pushed aside, and they certainly are NOT helping people to lose weight.  Aside from the fact that many of these sweeteners are made from genetically modified crops, they literally trick our body in dangerous ways.  They mimic high calorie intake, in turn, tricking the gut and the way we taste food, while offering no true source of energy.  Artificial sweeteners have been linked to inflammation and inflammatory conditions such as IBD, Obesity, Diabetes, and more.

Sucralose is the additive marketed as Splenda®, a chemically altered version of our natural sucrose.  Sucralose is produced by chlorinating sucrose to change the molecule structure, trading three hydroxyl groups for three chlorine atoms.  You heard that right, we are allowing ourselves to consume another well-known carcinogen, chlorine, to rid of the calories.  I can’t for the life of me understand how exactly the FDA can allow for this to be used on our food and drinks, but I digress.

Aspartame, sold under the names of Equal®, NutraSweet® and Sugar Twin®, can be found in thousands upon thousands of products.  Evidently, some falsified reports from the Searle Company have come to light since their statute of limitations expired, shedding light on some serious discrepancies between what has been reported and the actual findings.  In fact, 80% of all food additive complaints involved NutraSweet.  Is this sweetener toxic?  Aspartame has been investigated as having possible links to headaches, dizziness, memory loss, fatigue, diarrhea, epilepsy, birth defects, mental retardation, Parkinson’s, Diabetes, Fibromyalgia, and brain tumors.

Acesulfame potassium, branded under Sunett® and Sweet One®, has been found to contain a carcinogenic chemical called Methylene chloride with long-term exposure being linked to headaches, depression, nausea, mental confusion, visual disturbances, kidney and liver problems, and even cancer.

These dangerous artificial sweeteners are lurking in many of our prepared foods, drinks, and even medications.  They have few limitations on how many different names they can assume and hide on our labels (see below).  They can be found in children’s vitamins, toothpaste, mouthwash, cough syrup, gum, zero-calories waters and other beverages, alcoholic drinks, candy, baked goods, yogurt, cereals, snack foods, prepared meats, salad dressings and more.  Please continue to follow research, learn as much as you can, and avoid them at all costs.  While the FDA may label these as “generally safe”, much of the information above says otherwise.  If you need to sweeten, go for the real thing.  While regular sugar, and anything that sweetens should remain in moderation, there are safe and natural alternatives including honey, natural maple, and stevia. In fact local honey (in major moderation) and all natural stevia have shown plenty of promise FOR your health, not against.

CHECK YOUR LABELS!  These toxic fake sugars are known to be listed under a number of different names including:

  • Aspartame
  • Acesulfame potassium
  • Alitame
  • Cyclamate
  • Dulcin
  • Equal
  • Glucin
  • Kaltame
  • Mogrosides
  • Neotame
  • NutraSweet
  • Nutrinova
  • Phenlalanine
  • Saccharin
  • Splenda
  • Sorbitol
  • Sucralose
  • Twinsweet
  • Sweet ‘N Low
  • Xylitol

Low-fat Diet Myths and Our Deteriorating Health

 

Is it just a coincidence that ever since we adopted low-fat and fat-free diet plans our health deteriorated?  The craze began back in the 70’s and 80’s, and by the early 90’s foods with little to no fat were flying off the shelves.  The American Heart Association, food manufacturers, physicians, and even drug manufacturers had convinced us that all saturated fats led to obesity and heart disease.  People began trading nuts for pretzels, whole milk for skim, potatoes -hold the sour cream, and even still buying cookies so long as they were labeled “fat free.”  Dietary fats and all cholesterol were deemed to be bad for our health.  Yet, over this same 30+ year time span of ‘healthier’ eating the incidences of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease have soared to alarming rates.  In addition to all of the fat-free products flying off of the shelves, so have the cholesterol-lowering and blood pressure lowering drugs.

So wait……the same industries whose research brought us into this craze have seen drastic profit increases from the very conditions they were said to be protecting us from?  I’m sure the conclusions were just a big mistake, I mean fat does sound bad.  Quite honestly, there must be some evidence that led to these conclusions, however misguided.  The real problem resides in the fact that we moved from one extreme to another, never fully evaluating the consequences of doing so.  Firstly, we demonized all fats, many of which are absolutely essential to our health.  Secondly, we made the mistake of accepting chemically-altered and sugar-laden foods as suitable, even worse, as ‘healthier’ low-fat alternatives.  We didn’t even trade calories!  Most of these same low-fat and fat-free foods contain the same calories as their full fat counterparts.  Instead we traded fats for carbs, namely in the form of sugar  — a mistake that has cost many their health.

As a matter of biology, we NEED fats in our diet.  Fats provide energy, building blocks for our cells, carriers for fat-soluble vitamins, and even help us avoid over-eating by slowing the absorption of a meal.  Conversely, higher refined carbs and sugar-laden alternatives have been shown to cause cravings and even lead to us consuming upwards of 500 extra calories a day yearning for that hunger satisfaction.  Fats are also necessary for hormone balance, blood-sugar balance, protein absorption, and cholesterol balance.  YES, cholesterol balance.

WE NEED CHOLESTEROL!  This is another sorely misunderstood and quite dangerous myth fed to us via propaganda.  Science has shown time and again that cholesterol does not cause Athersclerosis.  In fact, low blood cholesterol levels have been linked to depression, violence, dementia, Alzheimer’s, and even death.  This is not to be mistaken with the subtypes of LDL, the small and dense portions that ARE related to heart disease.  Healthy fats actually alter the dense LDL into the fluffy and health protecting sources that lead to the rise in HDL (good) cholesterol.  LDL is not ‘bad’, but the unhealthy dense version most certainly can be a problem, especially when HDL levels are low.

Another item that rose in popularity during our fat-free craze is none other than trans-fat.  When we shied away from animal fats, we turned more towards processed grains and vegetable oils.  Margarine replaced butter, cereal replaced eggs and bacon.  These trans-fats are directly responsible for our LDL cholesterol levels becoming thick and dangerous, while also thought to lower our HDL.  Our bodies are not programmed to process hydrogenated oils.  This is the type of fat that poses a serious risk to our health, especially our heart health.

Aside from the obvious dangers we have covered above, another modern illness we’ve seen on the rise is Gallbladder disease.  Could this also be related?  Gallbladders rely on fat in order to release the stored bile acids and break them down for proper digestion.  In the absence of this fat the gallbladder becomes not only congested from holding onto this thick, sticky bile, but more importantly, it becomes atrophied.  Ever heard of use it or lose it?  If the gallbladder becomes weak and used to such a low-fat diet, what do you think happens when a full fat splurge meal is suddenly consumed?  Can we say ‘gallbladder attack’?  Could this be the cause of such a sharp rise in gallbladder stones, attacks and removals?  Instead of adhering to the low-fat diet suggestions and rushing into the surgery room, try to SLOWLY reintroduce healthy fats back into the diet and allow the gallbladder to regain its strength.  Consider consulting a nutritional therapist before caving to its removal.  A part of the body attacking you is trying to tell you something, removing it doesn’t resolve why it happened in the first place.

And what about inflammation?  Inflammation is at the root of all diseases, from Arthritis and Gout to Heart Disease and Cancer.  Chronic inflammation of the liver has also risen dramatically and been linked to the Western diet, a diet full of unhealthy fats and candida bacteria feeding sugars.  There is undeniable evidence between our need for Omega-3 fatty acids and our ability to combat chronic inflammation.  Dietary fats play a vital role in our inflammatory responses.  Without enhancing our diet to remove these unhealthy fats and increasing the intake of the Omega 3-rich healthy fats we have been missing, we will continue to feed this trend of inflammation and disease.

Many scientists are getting behind the new findings, while some remain stubborn on the need for certain sources of saturated fat.  Food suggestions are changing.  We are seeing a shift in recommending full-fat products and natural, organic versions of animal fats.  What we need to be sure of, is finding balance.  Shifting over to a full-fat, highly saturated fat diet isn’t going to help this case.  Going back to enjoying bacon and steak in all meals isn’t the answer.  The diet, and each meal for that matter, should still contain a majority (70-80%) of healthy, alkaline foods — mostly fresh veggies, herbs, spices, some fruits, and fermented foods. The other 30% should come from a healthy protein source.  Grass-fed, free-range, and organic resources are important for our beef, poultry, eggs, seafood, and full-fat dairy products.  Do not avoid raw nuts (not cooked in unhealthy oils), seeds, coconut oil, avocados, egg yolks, olives, olive oil, organic butter.  They are NOT bad for you and should be a part of your healthy fat diet.  Move away from canola oil, sugar, fake sugars, refined grains, and processed foods in general.  Good fat and proper balance will not make you gain weight, in fact it will help manage your weight, support detox, boost your cholesterol profile, and support liver health.