Monday, January 24, 2011

Nothing Fishy About That

Fish oils are weight-reducing and have other healthy benefits such as prevention of fatal and non-fatal arrhythmias, stroke, heart attacks, Alzheimers, depression and as a fringe benefit keeps the skin younger than it years. According to an article published in Lancet, fish oil (Omega 3 fatty acids) stabilized atherosclerotic plaques. Plaque is an accumulation of cells or cell debris that contain lipids (cholesterol and fatty acids), calcium, and a variable amount of fibrous connective tissue. Plaque is an unhealthy condition. Cardiovascular disease is related to plaque in blood vessels.

In half of all first heart attacks, plaque doesn’t block or occlude blood vessels. Plaque, which is inherently unstable, can release fragments that lodge in smaller blood vessels, causing hemorrhaging plus significant and sudden narrowing of the vessel. A clot that forms on top of a leaky plaque may occlude the vessel. Even though it may block 60 percent of the vessel, a stable plaque is not dangerous. By either direct pathologic examination or with assistance of ultrasound, doctors can classify a plaque as being stable (calcified) or unstable (soft).

In a well-designed double-blind clinical trial, a variety of fats were given to 162 patients scheduled to undergo a carotid endarterectomy for advanced arteriosclerosis. One-third of the patients were given Omega 3 fatty acids, another third were given Omega 6 (vegetable oil), and another third were given capsules that contained the mixtures of oils comparable to a typical Western diet. During surgery, sections were taken from the artery and classified by a cardiopathologist as either unstable or stable. The ones who consumed the westernized diet oils or the Omega 6’s had greater than 50 percent more unstable plaques compared to those who were given the Omega 3 fatty acids.

The bottom line is to increase dietary Omega fats by consuming oil bearing fish such as salmon or escolar, and as supplements. Although a capsule may have on the label 1000 or even 1200 mg, the active DHA and EPA may be together only 300mg! So one needs to consume 10 to 20 of them to get a decent dose. Although Krill Oil has been touted to be as good if not better than fish oil, I have found it not nearly as good. Omega 3s are also available in liquids. They are now not only very concentrated but even palatable. Also as noted above sea weed/algae are very high in these healthy oils. After all that is where the fish get theirs. The best Omega 3 is DHA (DexaHexinoic Acid) which is three times more beneficial than EPA (Eicospentoic Acoid). There also is ALA (Alpha Linolenic Acid) from flax and primrose. Although classified as an Omega 3, it is a pre Omega 3 and our metabolisim converts it into the active DHA and EPA if it can. Unfortunately, this is only true if we are young (under 25) and healthy.

Eating a high fat or protein diet is certainly better than eating high carbohydrate foods. But watch the type of fat you eat. It is said that eating one pound of hydrogenated fat will allow you to gain one pound since the body needs to dilute this bad fat by holding onto other fat. One pound of saturated fat will give a weight gain of one-quarter pound, but eating one pound of Omega 3s will cause one-quarter pound of weight loss in that it recycles into your cellular membranes and discharges the previous fat residing there for excretion into the bile. Now one can track their Omega 3s by a special red cell fatty acid test offered by Spectracel. This reflects three months of not only consumption but absorption and utilization of this life prolonging/saving nutrient.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Hunza is located in the far northeast of Pakistan, in a remote valley some 200 mi. long but only one mi. wide. It is situated at an elevation of 8,500' and is completely enclosed by mountain peaks including the western end of the Himalayas. The inhabitants, Hunzakuts, have the reputation of being the longest lived people in the world. They eat fresh, mostly raw fruits and vegetables and little meat. Of course there are no pesticides or preservatives in them. However it is generally accepted that the water the hunzas drink plays a major role in their great health and longevity.

This water comes from the melting of glaciers from the nearby mountains. These glaciers are hundreds of thousand of years old and grind the mountainous rock into extremely fine particles. In turn the fine particles of rock are suspended in this water and is called glacial milk because of its cloudy appearance by being so loaded with these minerals. Coming from glacial mountain streams and waterfalls this water carries a negative charge or negative ions and is called “living water.” This results in the water having an oxygen reduction potential and acts as an antioxidant in the body with the ability to neutralize free radicals. Also the negative charge makes minerals easily absorbable. Their crops are also irrigated with this colloidal alkalizing mineral water and thus unlike Western soils, hunza soils are not depleted of minerals.

This living water today can almost be duplicated today by Kangen which is a Japanese word, best translated into English as “Return to Original” which means several things when used to describe water. It is alkaline, ionized, anti-oxidant electron rich, restructured, micro clustered, active hydrogen saturated, and oxidation reduced. Water is first purified, then given an electrical charge to recreate
 electron rich water. This electrolysis process using a platinum catalyst on a titanium base is first put through a special charcoal filter. It contains the essential minerals and the pH can be set from 2.5 to 11.5, but for drinking purposes 8.5 is the best.

The very alkaline water (pH-11.5) is used in place of damaging chemicals for cleaning and disinfecting around the home especially the bathroom and kitchen. It is an emulsifier and used plain is a fantastic detergent to get the pesticides off fruits and vegtables, remove greasey grime and even to unclog drains. Topically, it can be used as a poultice on inflamed skin. On the other side of the pH, the acid (2.5) is a powerful disinfectant for bacteria, yeast, and viruses. For more information, call 918 636-5455.

Monday, January 10, 2011


We are exposed to a great number of xenobiotics (foreign compounds) during the course of our lifetime, including a variety of pharmaceuticals and food components. Many of these show little relationship to previously encountered chemicals or metabolites, and yet we are capable of managing environmental exposure by detoxifying them. To accomplish this task, our bodies have evolved a complex operation of detoxification enzymes. But in our toxic world these systems need help. The enzyme systems generally functioned adequately in the past to minimize the potential of damage from xenobiotics, but in our modern civilization, we are being overwhelmed by them. There is an association between impaired detoxification and illness, such as cancer, neurological disease, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue/immune dysfunction syndrome. Therefore, an individual's ability to remove toxins from the body plays a role in the cause or exacerbation of chronic conditions and new diseases. Natural helpers include the sulfuaranes found in crucifer vegetables such as Broccoli and the very best, Broccoli Sprouts. 

The following may be difficult to follow and without some education previously into biochemistry, skip to the last paragraph. Our detoxification systems are highly complex and show a great amount of individual variability. These are extremely responsive to a person’s environment, lifestyle, and genetic uniqueness. The liver is the principal organ of detoxification, although all tissue has some ability to metabolize foreign chemicals. The liver is the largest organ, and is the first body part perfused by chemicals absorbed in the gut. Also there are very high concentrations of most metabolizing enzyme systems relative to other tissues. When food or a drug is taken into the GI tract, it is taken apart in the gut. When it is absorbed into our body, it first enters the hepatic (liver) circulation through the portal vein. Here it is metabolized if possible before it can go into the rest of us, and eventually back to the liver again and again. This is the first pass effect. When the altered substance is fat soluble, it is excreted into the bile, then discharged into our intestine only to be reabsorbed again. This process is repeated many times. Therefore, the term, enterohepatic circulation.

Factors that affect the detoxification are age, individual variation (polymorphism), enterohepatic circulation, nutrition, intestinal flora, gender and drugs that person may be taking. Other sites of chemical metabolism/excretion include the gastrointestinal tract, lungs (volatile compounds), kidneys (water soluble molecules), and the skin (both lipid and water soluble chemicals). These sites at times could have localized toxicity reactions. The detoxification systems are complex. They are divided into three interacting parts or phases each of which can engage with itself or any of the other two to work in harmony defending our body from being acutely or slowly poisoned to death. At times it is overwhelmed and we rapidly or slowly die.

The three parts are termed Phases (I, II, and III) of Detoxication. Variation of activities of these can mean the difference between disease (drug adversity, cancer, arthritis, cardiovascular etc.) and health. To add to the complexity, the Phase System is orchestrated by our genetically endowed CYP 450 enzymes that steer or tune them (for better or for worse). The initial P450-mediated oxidation/Phase I metabolism if possible makes the ingested chemicals water soluble to later be eliminated by the kidney. The subsequent joining of the molecule with a lipid- conjugation is "Phase II" and is eliminated through the bile and eventually into our fecal stream. The newly discovered Phase III gets rid of the offending chemical by importing into a cell then exporting out into a storage or excretion system.

The major Cytochrome (CYP) P450 enzymes involved in metabolism of drugs or exogenous toxins are the CYP3A4, CYP1A1, CYP1A2, CYP2D6, and the CYP2C enzymes. The amount of each of these enzymes present in the liver reflects their importance in endogenous metabolites (hormones etc) and drug metabolism. The'CYP's is a host of enzymes that use iron to oxidize organic molecules, as part of the body's plan to dispose of potentially harmful substances by making them more water-soluble. Adding a hydroxyl group to a xenobiotic is the body's strategy to get rid of the 'drug' and is often followed by joining them to other molecular groups such as glucuronide to increase the solubility even further.

Most of the CYP in man is found in the liver, the main organ involved in drug and toxin removal, but a fair amount is also in the small intestine. CYP usually is found in the 'microsomal' part of the cytoplasm (endoplasmic reticulum). Metabolic clearance of drugs is not the only function of CYP. Recently, it has been found that CYP is involved in vascular autoregulation, particularly in the brain. CYP is involved in the formation of cholesterol, steroids and arachidonic acid metabolites. More on CYP later but let me amplify what I said above.

The Phase I System: The Phase I detoxification system, influenced by the cytochrome P450 supergene family of enzymes, noted above, is generally the first enzymatic defense against foreign compounds. They are nonsynthetic reactions involving oxidation, reduction, hydrolysis, cyclization, and decyclization. Most of our unwanted (detrimental) metabolites and pharmaceuticals are metabolized through these Phase I biotransformation of which is then excreted. At times reactive molecules, which sometimes may be more toxic than the parent molecule, are produced. If these reactive molecules are not further metabolized by Phase II conjugation, they cause damage to proteins, RNA, and DNA within the cell. 

The Phase II System: Phase II are conjugation reactions which generally follow Phase I activation, resulting in a xenobiotic that has been transformed into a fat-soluble compound that can be excreted through the bile. There are at least four types of conjugation reactions present in the body (glucuronidation, sulfation, glutathione and amino acid), These reactions require cofactors such as minerals and micronutrients which must be replenished through dietary sources.


Phase III System: Recently, antiporter activity has been defined as the Phase III detoxification system. It is an exchanger or counter-transporter on a membrane protein which is involved in active transport of two or more different molecules or ions across a phospholipid membrane in opposite directions. To make it even more complex there is a secondary active transport, one species of solute moves along its electrochemical gradient, allowing a different species to move against its own electrochemical gradient. This is in contrast to primary active transport, in which all solutes are moved against their concentration gradients, fueled by ATP. The antiporter is an energy-dependent efflux pump, which pumps chemical in question out of a cell, thereby decreasing the intracellular concentration of xenobiotics. Antiporter activity in the intestine appears to be co-regulated with intestinal Phase I Cyp enzymes. An example of the “porter” system is Iodide being actively transported into the thyroid.

Cytochrome P 450: Cytochrome P450 enzymes are present in most tissues of the body, and play important roles in hormone synthesis and breakdown (including estrogen and testosterone synthesis and metabolism), cholesterol synthesis, and vitamin D metabolism. Cytochrome P450 enzymes also function to metabolize potentially toxic compounds, including food chemicals, drugs and products of our natural molecules such as bilirubin, principally in the liver but so in our intestine. The Human Genome Project has identified 57 human genes coding for the various cytochrome P450 enzyme

These cytochrome proteins are located either in the inner membrane of mitochondria of our cells. CYPs metabolize thousands of internal and exogenous (food and drugs) chemicals. Some CYPs metabolize only one (or a very few), such as CYP19 (aromatase-turns testosterone to estrogen), while others may metabolize multiple substances. The CYPs are the major enzymes involved in drug metabolism, accounting for about 75% of them. Most drugs undergo deactivation by CYPs, either directly or by assisting excretion from the body. As noted, many substances are bioactivated or inactivated by CYPs. Drugs can also increase or decrease the activity of various CYP isozymes either by inducing the biosynthesis of an enzyme or by directly inhibiting the activity of one. This is a major source of adverse drug interactions, since changes in CYP enzyme activity may affect the metabolism and clearance of various of these chemicals. Naturally occurring compounds may also induce or inhibit CYP activity. For example, a bioactive compound (narragin) found in grapefruit juice inhibits CYP3A4-mediated metabolism of statins and calcium blocking antihypertensives, leading to the possibility of overdosing.

So if we cannot keep all the poisons out of our bodies, let us at least aid ourselves with helpers such as the natural inducers of the CYP detoxifiers like the crucifers or the active ingredients in them such as DIM or I3C. It will keep us more out of harm's way if we eat and drink to avoid the known toxins in our food and beverages.