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LMU 242 – Turkey Tail Mushroom Enhances Immune Function in Breast Cancer Patients After Radiation Treatment

Turkey Tail Mushroom Enhances Immune Function in Breast Cancer Patients After Radiation Treatment

Source: Journal Oncology (2012)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (May 11, 2022)

There has been some fascinating research published over the years showing the ability of certain medicinal mushrooms to support the body’s immune system. Medicinal mushrooms include such mushrooms as reishi, shiitake, maitake, cordyceps, and others including Tramates Versicolor, also known as Turkey Tail. An eye-opening study using Turkey Tail supplementation with breast cancer patients was published in the journal Oncology in May 2012 that caught my attention. This study showed that in breast cancer patients who had just undergone surgery, radiation treatment, and in some cases chemotherapy, supplementation with Turkey Tail mushroom significantly increased many aspects of their immune system that are typically damaged or suppressed by chemo and radiation treatments .

As the researchers stated this study was an extension of previous preclinical animal studies and preliminary human clinical data, which support the hypothesis that constituents in Turkey Tail mushroom may be beneficial in the treatment of both estrogen receptor-negative and estrogen receptor-positive breast cancers by mitigating immunologic depressive effects of treatment and enhancing disease-free survival via enhancement of immunological surveillance and overcoming tumor antigen tolerance. As the researchers point out, Turkey Tail has a long history of use in traditional Asian medicine. Studies show that two proteoglycan fractions, found in Turkey Tail, polysaccharide-K (PSK) and Polysaccharide-peptide (PSP), show anticancer activity.

In Japan, PSK is prescribed to cancer patients routinely, both during and after radiation and chemotherapy. I is also a common practice among many naturopathic physicians (NDs) and integrative oncologists (MDs) in the US to prescribe Turkey Tail supplements to breast cancer patients. Its immunologic activity is hypothesized to be the main underlying mechanism responsible for its antitumor effects as well as its impact on survival rates, as Turkey Tail supplementation has been shown to enhance both innate and adaptive immune responses. The dosage used in the 2012 study, published in the journal Oncology, was 3,6 or 9 gm per day, depending on the patient. Best results were seen in patients provided 6 or 9 gm per day of Turkey Tail. (1-2 teaspoons of Turkey Tail ground powder)

I personally think that everyone over the age of 50 should consider supplementing with medicinal mushrooms of some type to help prevent the typical age-related decline in immune system function that occurs at this stage in life. There are many supplements that contain medicinal mushrooms like reishi, maitake, shiitake, cordyceps, turkey tail, etc. The studies I am citing today appear to indicate that breast cancer survivors may want to seek out a supplement that contains a meaningful amount of the Turkey Tail mushroom to help keep their immune system strong.

I have included the reference for this research paper in the text below.


Reference:

Torkelson C.J., et al. Phase I clinical trial of tramates versicolor in women with breast cancer. Oncology. 2012: 251632. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3369477/

 

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,

Dr. Meschino

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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LMU 241 – The Longevity Diet

The Longevity Diet

Source: Journal Cell (April 2022)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (May 4, 2022)

An article published April 2022, in the journal Cell, reviewed all the available research on diet and longevity from studies examining the link between nutrients, fasting, genes, longevity in short-lived species, and connected these links to clinical and observational studies in primates and humans, including studies of human centenarians. The result is what they call the “Longevity Diet”. The authors concluded that the key characteristics of the optimal diet for longevity appear to include moderate to high carbohydrate intake from non-refined sources, low but sufficient protein from largely plant-based sources, and enough plant-based fats to provide about 30 percent of energy needs.

Ideally, the day’s meals would all occur within a window of 11-12 hours, allowing for a daily period of fasting, and a 5-day cycle of a fasting or fasting-mimicking diet every 3-4 months, which may also help reduce insulin resistance, blood pressure and other risk factors for individuals with increased of diabetes or high blood pressure. In short, the longevity diet includes lots of legumes, whole grains, and vegetables; some fish; no red meat or processed meat and very low white meat (chicken and turkey breast), low sugar and refined grains; good levels of nuts and olive oil, and some dark chocolate.

The longevity diet bears both similarities and differences to the Mediterranean-style diets often seen in super-aging “Blue Zones,” including Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; and Loma Linda, California. Common diets in these communities known for a high number of people ages 100 or older are often largely plant-based or pescatarian and are relatively low in protein. The longevity diet represents an evolution of these “centenarian diets,” but with further modification of limiting food consumption to 12 hours per day and having several short fasting periods each year. Study researcher, Dr. Longo stated, “The longevity diet is not a dietary restriction intended to only cause weight loss, but a lifestyle focused on slowing aging, which can complement standard healthcare and taken as a preventative measure, will aid in avoiding morbidity and sustaining health into advanced age.”

The next step is to apply the principles of the longevity diet in a 500-person intervention study scheduled to take place in southern Italy. So, we will wait and see what the results of this study reveal. In the meantime, I believe these researchers have provided a good overall dietary template for health promotion and disease prevention. What is not factored into this discussion, unfortunately, is the importance of physical exercise and the use of some key supplements shown to counter certain aspects of aging, such as Coenzyme Q10, CDP-choline, glucosamine, immune-modulating agents (medicinal mushrooms, astragalus), melatonin and several other supplements of importance after the age of 40 or 45.

I have included the reference for this article in the text below.


References:

1. Valter D. Longo, Rozalyn M. Anderson. Nutrition, longevity and disease: From molecular mechanisms to interventions. Cell, 2022; 185 (9): 1455 10.1016/j.cell.2022.04.002

2. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/04/220428125433.htm

 

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,

Dr. Meschino

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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LMU 48 – Sulfurophane (from broccoli) Shown to Decrease Cancer via Epigenetic Effect: Breakthrough study

LMU 48 - Sulfurophane (from broccoli) Shown to Decrease Cancer via Epigenetic Effect: Breakthrough study

Source: The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry (April 2017)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (March 23, 2017)

The research I’m citing today is published in the April 2017 edition of the journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. The study lends further support to the already compelling evidence that a medicinal ingredient found in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, cauliflower, Bok choy, Brussels sprouts, turnips) possess significant anti-cancer properties. This study, for the first time to my knowledge, showed that sulfurophane (obtained from these vegetables) exerted a key epigenetic effect that greatly inhibited human prostate cancer cells from forming colonies, in an important experimental study. But many other cancers are linked to the same epigenetic switch, suggesting that sulfurophane may also provide protection against brain, lung, colon, breast, and stomach cancer, as well as chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

To be more specific, studies in recent years have shown that a specific long, non-coding RNA called LINC01116 is very active or as scientists say, up-regulated, in a common form of human prostate cancer. The activity of this long, non-coding RNA (LINC01116) has been shown to have direct genetic effects that promote cancer development. The April 2017 study showed that sulforphane (from cruciferous vegetables) decreased the expression or normalize the expression of this specific, long, non-coding RNA and in doing so, greatly inhibiting prostate cancer cells from forming colonies by a factor of four-fold. Worth noting, the researchers expressed, is that an increased consumption of cruciferous vegetables appears to be associated with a lower risk of developing prostate cancer in human studies. Normalizing the impact of this epigenetic factor, or long, non-coding RNA, appears to be one more way that consuming cruciferous vegetables helps to lower prostate cancer risk. But regular consumption of cruciferous vegetables is also associated with a reduced risk of many other cancers as well. So, in my view, it makes sense for men and women to have a cruciferous vegetable serving at least three times a week, and just about every day if possible.

 It’s very interesting. Long, non-coding RNA, which is used to describe RNA strands that don’t promote the synthesis of proteins within the cell (which is what RNA is most famous for), was thought for many years to be part of what’s called junk DNA. In other words, a bunch of genetic material left over from our ancient ancestors that does not do anything, or at least, anything of importance. But we have begun to discover that much of this so-called junk DNA is important epigenetic material that tells the DNA (our genes) what to do and how to behave – turning on and turning off certain genes and modifying the make of others. The same way that your computer software enables your computer hardware to do or not do certain things, the body’s epigenetic activity influences our DNA hardware in a similar way – turning on and off certain genes and even altering our gene make-up and function over time, as it senses changes to our environment, nutritional status, exposures to toxins and other factors.

Some scientists suggest that the rise in conditions like autism incidence in recent years is a direct result of our epigenetic material being influenced by our exposure to the build-up of many undesirable environment agents and rapid changes to our food composition, which in turn has altered our DNA gene expression. More on that another time.

For today, let’s focus on the study at hand, showing that sulforphane from cruciferous vegetables was shown to help prevent the development of prostate cancer colonies from forming via decreasing expression of a specific long, non-coding RNA, in a break-through experimental study, involving a common type of human prostate cancer cells. Studies have shown for a long time that sulfurophane (from cruciferous vegetables) also inhibits cancer development in other ways, such as through improved detoxification of cancer causing agents and inducing cell death of emerging cancer cells (apoptosis). It appears that sulfurophane may also help prevent certain cancers by also acting on an epigenetic level. This is the first time we have seen this.

My recommendation remains unchanged, “Eat a cruciferous vegetable serving 3-7 times per week”. I personally aim for at least one serving a day, but usually end up around 5 servings per week, on average.

I’ve included a link to the study in the text below.

References

1. Beaver L.M., Kuintzle R, Buchanan A, Wiley MW,Glasser S.T. et al. JNB (the journal of nutritional biochemistry) April 207, vol 42:72-83  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6141106/

 

2. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170316141117.htm

 

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,


Dr. Meschino

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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LMU 46 – Natural Heavy Metal Detoxification: A Review

LMU 46 - Natural Heavy Metal Detoxification: A Review

Source: The Scientific World Journal (2013)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (March 15, 2017)

The research paper I am citing today was published in the Scientific World Journal in 2013, by Margaret Sears from the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute in Ottawa, Canada. The paper is titled, “Chelation: Harnessing and Enhancing Heavy Metal Detoxification – A Review”.

In modern society, we are constantly exposed to heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. These heavy metals have no essential biochemical roles in our body and can conversely cause us a great deal of harm if they build up to toxic levels. These heavy metals bind to our tissues, create damaging free radicals (oxidative stress), disrupt our endocrine (hormonal system) and interfere with the absorption and function of important minerals such as magnesium and zinc. Cadmium is classified as a possible carcinogen. Lead can damage the nervous system and be particularly harmful to the developing brains of young children. Mercury is also known to damage the brain and nervous system, and there is an increasing number of people being affected by its bioaccumulation in the food chain, especially in regards to fish and seafood consumption.

As such, the FDA and EPA have developed guidelines about eating fish and seafood to help reduce the risk of serious mercury accumulation and nervous system damage in our bodies. Nevertheless, all of us ingest a certain amount, to some extent, of mercury and other heavy metals like cadmium and lead on a regular basis. The good news is, in addition to working to reduce our exposure and intake of these toxic metals, there are some natural things we can do to help remove, or detoxify and eliminate, some of the heavy metals already in our body, and block the absorption of some heavy metals from our intestinal tract.

So, what natural things can we do to help detoxify these heavy metals and/or block their absorption to some degree? Certain foods that are high in sulfur have been shown to be useful, as heavy metals have an affinity to bind sulfur. Sulfur also makes this heavy metal complex more soluble, enabling the body to more easily eliminate heavy metals in the urine or via the fecal route. Really great sulfur-containing foods are garlic and onions (and the allium vegetables, as they are known) and also the brassica family of vegetables, including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy, and turnips. These are also known as the cruciferous vegetable. These vegetables contain sulfur-containing sulforaphane, as well as indole-3 carbinol, both of which also possess impressive anti-cancer properties. Garlic has prevented cadmium-induced kidney damage and decreased free radical damage due to lead in rat experiments.

Fiber ingested from whole grains and fruits has reduced levels of mercury in the brain and in blood. The use of psyllium husk fiber (the active ingredient in Metamucil) has been shown to block the re-absorption of heavy metals back into the body, once secreted into the gut via the liver and gallbladder, following a meal (this is known as interrupting the enterohepatic circulation). The ingestion of healthy minerals such as calcium, selenium and iron, at optimal nutritional levels, has also been shown to block the absorption of heavy metals into the body. Selenium supplementation is also shown to increase mercury excretion from the body and reduce mercury-induced free radical damage, in a study of 103 mercury exposed villagers. Calcium is known to help block the absorption of cadmium and has reduced lead mobilization from the bones of women during their pregnancy and period of lactation. In children, nutritional iron has blunted lead accumulation. In addition, certain dietary supplements can be helpful as heavy metal detoxifiers.

It is well documented that the mini-protein known as glutathione helps remove heavy metals from body tissues and excrete them from the body. Our bodies naturally make glutathione from the ingestion of three amino acids found in food (glutamic acid, cysteine, and glycine). The problem is, much of our glutathione gets used up by acting as an antioxidant in our cells, and as a conjugating agent for various substances (including acetaminophen) in the detoxification of a variety of agents. This often leaves an insufficient amount of glutathione available to maximize its heavy metal detoxifying function.

However, studies suggest that we can optimize our glutathione status by taking a supplement that boosts glutathione synthesis. These ingredients include alpha-lipoic acid, N-acetyl cysteine, L-glutamine and milk thistle, which contain a glutathione-raising flavonoid known as silymarin. Taking glutathione in its preformed state has not been shown to be useful, as it is poorly absorbed from the gut. However, supplementing with these glutathione-boosting agents appears to be a good way to help optimize glutathione status and thus heavy metal detoxification. In fact, alpha-lipoic acid has its own heavy metal detoxifying properties, over and above its role in raising glutathione. N-acetyl cysteine also has its own unique heavy metal detoxifying properties. So, I really like the combination of these glutathione precursors, to be taken as a daily supplement, if you are trying to boost heavy metal detoxification.

There are other sulfur-containing amino acids that can also be helpful, which include taurine and methionine. Your body normally has ample methionine if you eat standard protein foods and ingest sufficient amounts of the B-vitamin’s folic acid and vitamin B12. Taurine is the most abundant amino acid in the heart muscle and it may play a key role in helping to prevent congestive heart failure, as it serves a multi-purpose function in the heart muscle. Researchers are still looking into its role in heart health, but it certainly has some detoxification ability regarding heavy metals.

For individuals with serious heavy metal toxicities, doctors can administer intravenous pharmaceutical chelating agents, which help remove various heavy metals from body tissues. But this is not something that is typically done as a standard preventive measure on everyday patients seen in clinical practice.

So, what does a heavy metal prevention and detoxification strategy look like for most of us? Well, first and foremost, do your best to reduce your exposure to heavy metals in the environment and the food you eat. With respect to detoxification of heavy metals, try to regularly consume whole grains and fruits, and at least 5 servings per week of a cruciferous vegetable. Add garlic and onions to the foods you prepare, and possibly consider a fiber supplement containing psyllium husk fiber. As for supplements, I like the idea of a high-potency multiple vitamin and mineral that is enriched with the antioxidants vitamin C, vitamin E, and selenium, which help to preserve and/or raise glutathione levels.

With respect to calcium, using a multiple vitamin supplement, or an additional calcium supplement, plus the food you eat each day, you should aim for at least 1,000 mg of calcium per day, and in many cases, more optimally between 1,200 and 1,500 mg per day. As for selenium, a good multiple vitamin supplement should contain 100-200 mcg of selenium. That is plenty. Taking a multiple vitamin supplement can also help ensure more optimal intake of folic acid and vitamin B12 to help optimize methionine synthesis. And there is some preliminary evidence that a probiotic supplement may also be helpful.

You may want to consider taking a supplement with glutathione boosters and detoxifiers that contains alpha-lipoic acid, N-acetylcysteine, L-glutamate, and Milk thistle – standardized to 80% silymarin content. One last thing, sweating with exercise, or by using a sauna, may be a benefit as well, as toxic metals are also excreted in sweat. So, regular exercise is also a natural detoxifier, along with providing a multitude of other health benefits. Another reason to keep doing aerobic exercise.

Ok, that’s my report for this week. I hope you found it helpful.

I provided the main reference in the text below along with a more in-depth research review paper on mercury, and another on glutathione, for those who are interested.

References:

1. (Main Reference): Sears, S.E., Chelation: Harnessing and Enhancing Heavy Metal Detoxification – A Review. Scientific World Journal, 2013. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2013/219840

2. Mercury – https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jeph/2012/460508

3. Glutathione: http://www.dynamicchiropractic.com/mpacms/dc/article.php?id=54358

4. EPA and Mercury: https://www.epa.gov/mercury/basic-information-about-mercury

 

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great!

Dr. Meschino

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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LMU 41 – Vitamin D May Protect Lung Function in Smokers

LMU 41 - Vitamin D May Protect Lung Function in Smokers

Source: American Thoracic Society (July 20, 2012)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (February 6, 2017)

I want to bring forward a study today, published by the American Thoracic Society on July 20, 2012. The study showed that smokers who had higher vitamin D blood levels showed better lung function over a 20-year period, compared to smokers who have lower vitamin D blood levels. Here’s how the study was done:

As part of the Normative Aging Study, researchers examined the relationship between vitamin D blood levels and the rate of lung function decline in smokers over a 20-yr period. The study involved 626 caucasian male smokers. The researchers noted that vitamin D sufficiency (defined as serum vitamin D levels of >20 ng/ml or approximately 50 nmol/L) had a protective effect on lung function and the rate of lung function decline. These findings were based on vitamin D levels that were assessed at three different time points between 1984 and 2003, and lung function, which was assessed concurrently using spirometry testing.

According to the researchers, “results suggest that vitamin D might modify the damaging effects of smoking on lung function. These effects might be due to vitamin D’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.” The researchers did not comment on the ability of vitamin D to reduce the risk of lung cancer, but the study suggested that sufficient vitamin D status appears to slow the decline in lung function associated with smoking. This has important implications regarding the prevention of smoking-related emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. As such, it appears that smokers should have their blood vitamin D levels evaluated. If the level is below 20ng/ml (50nmol/L), vitamin D supplements are likely required to raise the level to above 20ng/ml (50nmol/L).

Of course, the best thing a smoker can do is quit smoking. It’s unlikely that higher vitamin D status can prevent lung cancer. Remember that 87% of lung cancer is linked to cigarette smoking, so smoking cessation is always the ultimate goal. However, until smoking cessation occurs, smokers should know that achieving a vitamin D blood level of at least 50 mmol/L may help to slow or prevent the decline in lung function linked to emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

As a final comment, many studies show that it is best to have a blood vitamin D level (25-hydroxycholecalciferol) at or above 85 nmol/L (35 ng/ml) in regards to the prevention of cancer in general, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis and some other degenerative diseases. I think all adults should aim for a blood level in this range. Note that vitamin D toxicity occurs at a blood level around 250nmol/l (100 ng/ml).

I’ve included a link to the research study in the text below

Reference:

American Thoracic Society (ATS) (2012, July 20). Vitamin D may protect lung function in smokers. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120720081843.htm

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great!

Dr. James Meschino

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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LMU 40 – Vitamin D Supplementation Reduces Asthma Attack Frequency and Severity in Adults

LMU 40 - Vitamin D Supplementation Reduces Asthma Attack Frequency and Severity in Adults

Source: European Respiratory Society International Congress, 2016

Lifestyle Medicine Update (January 31, 2017)

In this edition of the Lifestyle Medicine Update, I want to highlight a September, 2016 review paper that showed the addition of vitamin D supplements to standard asthma medication can lead to fewer severe asthma attacks in patients with mild to moderate asthma. The review assessed nine, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials that involved 435 children and 658 adults with predominantly mild to moderate asthma. Overall, vitamin D supplementation was associated with a significant reduction in the rate of asthma exacerbations treated with systemic steroid drugs. In the vitamin D-treated group, the average number of annual attacks decreased from 0.44 to 0.22 per person.

That’s a 50% reduction in the number of asthma attacks. Vitamin D supplementation also decreased the risk for asthma attacks requiring hospitalization or a visit to the emergency department from six to around three per 100 patients. That’s also a 50% reduction. However, this data only applied to adults. Researchers are unsure, at this time, if these findings extend to children or the pediatric management of asthma.

If you are an adult with asthma or know someone who is, the doctor should be encouraged to assess the patient’s blood level of vitamin D. Individuals with vitamin D blood level below 75 nmol/L, appear to stand the best chance of benefiting from vitamin D supplementation with respect to asthma control it seems. The truth is, the majority of people have vitamin D blood levels below 75 nmol/L. As one of the researchers stated, “At this point, it would be perfectly legitimate for general practitioners, pediatricians, and even pulmonologists, who are following people with asthma, to put them all on 500 to 1000 IU’s of vitamin D a day.” They continued, “For adults who have persistent exacerbations, measuring vitamin D levels would also be justified, and if they have low levels, you could give them even more (vitamin D)”.

So, how might vitamin D help to reduce the frequency and severity of asthma attacks? The researchers explained that vitamin D has an anti-inflammatory effect on the lungs and induces innate antimicrobial mechanisms – meaning that it helps to block the replication of bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms that are often found in the respiratory secretions of those with asthma. I think these findings are significant, as the prevalence of asthma in Canada has been increasing over the last 20 years, and it is estimated that currently, over 3 million Canadians have asthma. In the United States, one in 12 people (that’s about 25 million, or 8% of the U.S. population) had asthma in 2009, compared with 1 in 14 (or 7%) in 2001. Slightly more children than adults suffer from asthma.

In my view, if more optimal vitamin D levels can help reduce the frequency and severity of asthma attacks, it makes sense to explore this option with your doctor. I have included a link to the research in the text below.

References:

European Respiratory Society (ERS) International Congress, 2016: Abstract PA4112. Presented the September 6, 2016.

http://paleolivingmag.com/vitamin-d3/

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/868575

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great!

Dr. Meschino

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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LMU 38 – Omega-3 fats and antioxidant supplements prompt breakdown of beta-amyloid plaque, via monocytes, in brains of patients with mild cognitive impairment

Omega-3 fats and antioxidant supplements prompt breakdown of beta-amyloid plaque, via monocytes, in brains of patients with mild cognitive impairment

Source: FASEB journal July 2015.

Lifestyle Medicine Update (January 16, 2017)

Today’s research paper appeared in the journal Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology in July of 2015. It was a groundbreaking human study showing the effects of certain supplements on preventing key aspects in Alzheimer’s disease development. Because there is at present no known cure for Alzheimer’s Disease, prevention is considered a first-line defense against this mind-robbing disorder. One of the hallmark features of Alzheimer’s disease is the presence of beta-amyloid plaque build-up in the brain. Beta-amyloid plaque is not only a feature of the disease, but it is thought to generate free radicals that speed up the progression of the disease by destroying brain cells.

There has been some previous evidence to show that certain omega-3 fats, especially DHA from fish and fish oil, can decrease the production of beta-amyloid plaque in the brain.  As well, population studies have shown that those who consume the most omega-3 fats over their lifetime (in the range of about 500 mg per day), have a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease as they age. In addition, several studies have shown that Vitamin E supplementation (2,000 IU) per day, has slowed the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, either by itself, or when used in conjunction with standard Alzheimer’s medications.

The FASEB journal study by Milan Fiala, from the University of California/Los Angeles, and colleagues investigated the effects of supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants in 12 patients with minor cognitive impairment, 2 patients with pre-mild cognitive impairment, and 7 patients with Alzheimer disease, over a 4 to 17-month period. Their study showed that supplementation with omega-3 fats and antioxidants prompted certain body immune cells to ingest and destroy the beta-amyloid plaque in the brain at an increased rate. Certain white blood cells, known as monocytes, upon omega-3 and antioxidant stimulation, began digesting and breaking up the plaque in the brains of these patients. The net result was reduced amounts of beta-amyloid plaque in these high-risk patients. The patients who already had Alzheimer’s disease showed a much-reduced effect. The efficacy was much greater for those with mild clinical impairment and pre-mild clinical impairment – in other words, those with early memory loss problems, who do did not yet have full-blown Alzheimer’s disease showed the best results.

The study authors concluded: “Our study is the first to show significant immune and biochemical effects of [omega]-3 fatty acids with antioxidants in patients with [minor cognitive impairment].” The takeaway message from this seems to suggest that omega-3 fats, together with certain antioxidants, may help to prevent the build-up of beta-amyloid plaque in the brain. This is an outcome we should all strive to achieve as a means to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and may be especially helpful for those in the early stages of memory loss or mild cognitive impairment.

This study builds on some of the previous studies we have seen that suggest similar benefits of omega-3 fats and certain antioxidants in Alzheimer’s disease prevention. In this study the participants ingested a smart drink containing:

1000 mg DHA, 1000 mg EPA, as well as antioxidants from pomegranate, chokeberry and resveratrol, and 400 IU of Vitamin D.

In the text below I have provided the reference for this groundbreaking human study

Reference:

Omega-3 supplementation increases amyloid-beta phagocytosis and resolving d1 in patients with minor cognitive impairment

July 25, 2015 The FASEB journal vol 29 no.7:2681-2689. http://www.fasebj.org/content/29/7/2681.full.pdf+html

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Dr. James Meschino

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

DC, MS, ROHP
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino is an associate professor in the division of physiology and biochemistry at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, where he has taught nutrition and biochemistry since 1984. He has also taught the second and third nutrition courses at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine and has been a faculty member of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine and the American Council on Exercise (ACE).  Dr Meschino has authored four nutrition/wellness/anti-aging books, and is the principal educator for the Global Integrative Medicine Academy (www.gim-academy.com). Dr. Meschino has lectured extensively throughout North America and is the formulator for Adeeva Nutritionals Canada Inc – a professional line of supplements dispensed by many healthcare practitioners and natural health product retailers (www.adeevainfo.com).

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LMU 240 – CDP-choline Supplementation Improves Memory in 50–85-year-old Subjects

CDP-choline Supplementation Improves Memory in 50–85-year-old Subjects

Source: J Nutrition (2021)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (April 27, 2022)

I’m a big fan of the nutritional supplement known as CDP-choline (Citicoline), as studies have shown that it can help reverse early-stage memory loss, improve concussion management, and improve symptoms in some cases of Parkinson’s disease. A 2021 study published in the journal Nutrition has further substantiated the benefit of supplementing with CDP-choline after the age of 55 to help prevent and reverse memory loss in subjects diagnosed with age-associated memory impairment (AAMI). In this study, a total of 100 healthy men and women with age-associated memory loss, ages 50-85 years old, participated in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

Half the subjects were randomly selected to ingest a 500 mg supplement of CDP-choline each day for 12 weeks and the placebo group ingested an identical-looking pill for the same12-week period. The results showed that after 12 weeks, compared to the placebo group, the subjects ingesting the CDP-choline supplement showed significantly greater improvements in episodic memory and composite memory. Episodic memory means the ability to recall and mentally re-experience specific episodes from one’s past and to give them context. Composite memory means the ability for verbal learning, working memory and, the ability to sequence auditory information.  The researchers concluded, “dietary supplementation of citicoline for 12-wk improved overall memory performance, especially episodic memory, in healthy older males and females with AAMI. The findings suggest that regular consumption of citicoline may be safe and potentially beneficial against memory loss due to aging.”

I couldn’t agree more with their conclusion. After age 55 the transporter that pumps choline into the brain from the bloodstream becomes very sluggish, which results in lower concentrations of brain levels of choline. This is very problematic as the brain needs choline to make the memory chemical (neurotransmitter) acetylcholine. So, as we age the brain slowly runs out of acetylcholine and our memory becomes impaired. CDP-choline is one of the few medicinal agents that has been shown to increase brain choline and acetylcholine levels and improve memory function in older, as well as younger individuals (people in the early 20’s – as shown in the 2020 study published in the journal Basic Clinical Neuroscience) I personally feel that by age 55 everyone should consider taking CDP-choline in a supplement that contains other proven memory support nutrients including, Phosphatidylserine, Huperzine A, and Bacopa monnieri.  A supplement like this shows promise in helping to prevent age-related decline in memory function. For individuals with early-stage memory loss problems, they need higher doses of this supplement, along with in many cases, an additional 500 mg of CDP-choline as a booster, in my opinion.

I have included the reference for this study in the text below.
 

References:

1. Main Reference: Nakazaki E et al. Citcholine and memory function in healthy older adults: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Nutrition. 2021; 151(8(: 2153-2160. https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/151/8/2153/6274469

2. Splers P.A. et al. Citicoline improves verbal memory in aging. JAMA. 1996; 53(5): 441-448. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaneurology/article-abstract/594018

3. Maldonado V.C., Effects of CDP-choline on the recovery of patients with head injuries. J Neurol Sci. 1991; 103, Supplement: 15-18. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0022510X9190003P

4. Al-kuraishy H., et al. Citicoline improves human vigilance and visual working memory: The role of neuronal activation and oxidative stress. Basic Clin Neurosci. 2020; 11(4): 423-432.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7878037/


Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,

Dr. Meschino

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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LMU 239 – Vitamin E Supplementation Enhances Cancer Immunotherapy Treatment Leading to Improved Survival in Cancer Patients

Vitamin E Supplementation Enhances Cancer Immunotherapy Treatment Leading to Improved Survival in Cancer Patients

Source: MD Anderson Cancer Center (2022)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (April 20, 2022)

A 2022 study from MD Anderson Cancer Center showed that Vitamin E supplementation can improve the therapeutic action of immunotherapy drugs in cancer patients being treated for melanoma (a lethal form of skin cancer). In fact, the patients treated with vitamin E supplements showed much higher survival rates than those treated with immunotherapy drugs alone. This finding was replicated in other patients who were being treated for breast, colon, and kidney cancers. The researchers indicated that dietary supplements are thought to boost immunity, but little is known about the effects of supplements on immunotherapy activity when they are combined to treat cancer patients.

In this study the researchers showed that in the patients who received vitamin E supplementation, their immune cells, called dendritic cells, sprung back into action, enabling them to kill and devour tumor cells much more efficiently than in patients treated with immunotherapy drugs alone. Dendritic cells are very important immune cells not only to fight existing cancers but to help prevent the development of cancer in the first place. Dendritic cells are part of the innate immune system, meaning they can kill invading viruses and other pathogens on contact, and can also kill emerging cancer cells in the body. They also stimulate other immune cells to mount an attack against invading viruses or cancer cells within the body.

As we get older, our immune cells become less efficient, but this study at MD Anderson Cancer Center has shown that dendritic cells can spring back to life in the presence of vitamin E supplementation, even in patients with cancer, such as melanoma. A precautionary note is that vitamin E should not be taken by patients undergoing many conventional cancer treatments (vitamin E succinate may be the exception, but that is a topic for another day). Regular vitamin E supplements may counter the effects of some standard chemotherapy drugs and radiation treatment. But in patients receiving immunotherapy (a different kind of cancer treatment aimed at boosting the body’s immune system to fight cancer) vitamin E supplementation appears to be very desirable I think the take-home message is that taking vitamin E supplements during your adult life makes sense to help keep your immune system strong and working properly to help defend against cancer and virulent infections. Many other nutrients also support your body’s immune system, such as vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin A, zinc, and selenium. As such, I recommend taking a high potency multiple vitamin and mineral each day that includes 400 IU of vitamin E. My preference is for the product to contain vitamin E in the form of vitamin E succinate, which is the most promising form of vitamin E to help defend against cancer. I have included the reference from the MD Anderson Cancer Center study in the text below.

References:

1. Xiangliang Yuan, Yimin Duan, Yi Xiao, Kai Sun, Yutao Qi, Yuan Zhang, Zamal Ahmed, Davide Moiani, Jun Yao, Hongzhong Li, Lin Zhang, Arseniy E. Yuzhalin, Ping Li, Chenyu Zhang, Akosua Badu-Nkansah, Yohei Saito, Xianghua Liu, Wen-Ling Kuo, Haoqiang Ying, Shao-Cong Sun, Jenny C. Chang, John A. Tainer, Dihua Yu. Vitamin E Enhances Cancer Immunotherapy by Reinvigorating Dendritic Cells via Targeting Checkpoint SHP1. Cancer Discovery, 2022. https://aacrjournals.org/cancerdiscovery/article-abstract/doi/10.1158/2159-8290.CD-21-0900/694258/Vitamin-E-Enhances-Cancer-Immunotherapy-by?redirectedFrom=fulltext

 

2. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/04/220414110858.htm

 

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,


Dr. Meschino

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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LMU 238 – Just One Alcoholic Drink A Day Shown to Shrink Brain Size

Just One Alcoholic Drink A Day Shown to Shrink Brain Size

Source: Medscape Publication (April 13, 2022)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (April 14, 2022)

As reported by Medscape on April 13, 2022, new evidence suggests that even one drink per day of an alcoholic beverage is linked to detectable changes in the brain. Researchers examined functional MRI brain scans from 36,678 healthy adults, ages 40 to 69, in the United Kingdom and compared those findings to the participants’ weekly alcohol consumption, accounting for differences in things like age, sex, height, socioeconomic status, and country of residence, among other factors. In line with past studies, the researchers found that the more alcohol one consumes the faster the brain shrinks, or as they put it, you see reduced gray and white matter brain volume.

As they stated, “as a person’s alcohol intake increased, their gray matter and white matter volume decreased, getting worse the more weekly drinks they had.” But the researchers also noted that they could tell the difference between brain images of people who never drank alcohol and those who drank just 1 or 2 drinks a day.  They showed that consuming just one alcoholic drink daily could be associated with changes in gray matter volume and white matter volume in the brain and going from one unit of alcohol to two—about a pint of beer—was linked to changes equal to that of two years of brain aging.  Of course, heavier drinkers face more rapid brain deterioration. Previous research has found that people with alcohol abuse disorder are shown to have structural changes in their brains such as reduced gray matter and white matter volume, compared to healthy people’s brains. But those findings were in people with a history of heavy drinking, defined by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism as more than four drinks a day for men and more than three drinks a day for women.

So, this new research is quite eye-opening, which showed that as little as one alcoholic drink per day speeds the shrinkage of the brain or brain volume compared to non-drinkers. This is important because a number of studies have shown that the rate of brain shrinkage is directly related to the rate or memory loss, cognitive impairment, and increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. As I have stated in many Lifestyle Medicine Updates, the research from the fields of cancer, heart disease, memory loss, brain dysfunction, weakened immunity, and other research areas, continue to show that alcohol consumption, even at low levels, poses a significant threat to human health. So, from a wellness and healthy life expectancy standpoint, I suggest that you pay heed to the risks of alcohol. Avoid it altogether if you can or use it very judiciously.

I have provided the reference for this study in the text below.

Reference:

Just one extra drink a day may change the brain. Medscape, April 13, 2022. https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/970355?uac=342474MN&faf=1&sso=true&impID=4143181&src=wnl_tp10n_220407_mscpedit


Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,

Dr. Meschino

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.