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20 ways to keep the doctor at bay

MagazineJune 2009 (Vol. 20 Issue 3)20 ways to keep the doctor at bay

Customize your diet to match your biochemistry

Customize your diet to match your biochemistry. William Wolcott, the world's leading authority on meta-bolic typing, and co-author, with Trish Fahey, of The Metabolic Typing Diet (New York: Doubleday, 2000), followed in cancer pioneer Dr William Kelley's footsteps by assuming that there's no one-size-fits-all approach to good nutrition and treating illness. Wolcott discovered that, by customizing a person's diet according to metabolic type, many of those who have serious illnesses-including cancer-regained their health.
The sympathetic and parasympa-thetic branches of the nervous system each regulates a different set of metabolic activities and, thus, differ-ent organs and glands. But, according to Kelley's theory, most of us are influenced more strongly by one or the other neurological system. This means that every one of us has different diet-related physical, behavioural and psychological characteristics, depend-ing on whether we are 'sympathetic-dominant' or 'parasympathetic-dominant'.
These inherited and environmental-ly influenced differences help to define our biochemical individuality. So, one man's meat is literally another man's poison. A high-protein diet has one effect on a 'protein' type, but a totally different effect on a 'carbohydrate' type. For a detailed test to determine your metabolic type, go to www. healthexcel.com.

Check your acid/alkaline balance-but in relation to your metabolic type. The conventional wisdom is that proteins from meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts and high-protein grains are acid-forming, as are carbonated soft drinks. The alkali-forming foods are mostly fruits and vegetables. Although nutritionists believe that certain foods are inherently acidic or alkalizing, this ignores the fact that a food's effect on the body depends upon the body's many homeostatic controls, including the autonomic nervous system, the master controller of metabolism-including oxygen metabolism-within the cells.
But according to William Wolcott, vegetables alkalinize an autonomic-dominant person, but acidify an oxidative-dominant type, whose oxida-tive system is the controlling force.
To maintain a slightly alkaline status, the best route is to determine and eat for your metabolic type.

Don't limit saturated fats, and avoid 'low-fat' or hydrogenated food. Evidence shows that a reasonable amount of saturated fats in the daily diet may be essential for health and longevity, preventing heart disease, osteoporosis and even cancer.
According to fats specialist Dr Mary Enig, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) data show that the supposedly 'good fats'-polyunsat-urated fats from vegetable oils (corn, soy, safflower and the like)-appear to predispose people to cancer, whereas animal fats may be protective.
A three-year study of postmenopausal women with heart disease found that, contrary to the negative dogma, those who regularly consumed more saturated fats had less disease progression than those who followed a diet higher in polyunsaturated fats and carbs (Am J Clin Nutr, 2004; 80: 1175-84).
A follow-up of the Swedish Malmo Diet and Cancer Study, which studied the fat intakes of 28,000 middle-aged people for five years, observed no ill effects with high saturated-fat intakes (J Intern Med, 2005; 258: 153-65).
Saturated fats may even be cardio-protective. Although coconut oil is a major constituent in the traditional diets of the Pukapuka and Tokelau Polynesians, vascular disease is not commonly found in either population (Am J Clin Nutr, 1981; 34: 1552-61).
Furthermore, there's a link between milk and prostate cancer, and the real problem is processed low-fat dairy. Indeed, two studies have confirmed a link between low-fat dairy and cancer (Am J Clin Nutr, 2005; 81: 1147-54).
The other culprits are trans fats, produced by 'hydrogenation', where hydrogen is added to liquid vegetable oil to make it a solid. Trans fats raise levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or 'bad') cholesterol, while lowering levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or 'good') cholesterol, leading to greater risks of heart disease and stroke (J Am Coll Nutr, 1996; 15: 325-39).

Keep your weight steady with a glycaemic-index diet, and don't count calories. The prestigious Cochrane Review has concluded that the best way to lose weight is by adopting a low-glycaemic-index (or low-GI) diet.
The diet ranks carbs according to their effect on blood glucose levels. Carbs with a low GI produce only small fluctuations in blood sugar and insulin levels, whereas high-GI foods cause a sudden sugar rush.
High-GI foods include all processed foods such as white bread and rice, fried foods and potatoes. In contrast, low-GI foods, such as pulses (beans) and most vegetables, bring about a slower release of sugar into the blood.
In six randomized, controlled trials of the GI diet vs diets that included foods with a higher GI count, the low-GI diet was the best, especially for people who were obese, as it allowed them to eat many 'normal' foods.
People who stayed on the diet also saw their body mass index (BMI), and total and LDL cholesterols, fall dram-atically (Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 2007; 3: CD005105).

Make a resolution that most of what you put in your mouth will be organic and chemical-free. Organically reared meat and produce not only contain substantially more of the basic nutrients than the intensively farmed variety, but they also contain up to 10,000 secondary nutrients that are essential for human health. Aside from organic fruit and veg, ensure that your meat supply is from organically reared stock fed on grass (what they're meant to eat) and not grains. However, organic bacon and sausages may still include nitrates (carcinogens), so purchase them from sources that guarantee them as free of nitrates.
Eat fish with caution. All sources of fish are now poisoned with industrial waste and high levels of mercury, including 'farmed' fish, which have been fed inappropriately with grains. Also, avoid swordfish, tuna and other deepwater fish, which are more likely to contain more mercury than smaller varieties from shallower waters.
Although it is now virtually impossible to avoid pollutants in our diets, rotating your protein sources will help to minimize your exposure to specific chemicals.

Drink filtered water or glass-bottled water, and learn to drink the right amount by listening to your body. Our drinking water is not simply hazardous because of toxic chemicals, industrial waste, disease-carrying microorganisms, chlorine and fluoride. The latest concern is that a cocktail of pharmaceutical drugs-including antibiotics, anticonvulsants and mood stabilizers-is now found in the public water supplies of the US and UK. Up to 100 different agents have been detected in the water supply as well as in reservoirs, lakes and rivers.
The drugs are getting there from human waste, and from people who dispose of their unused drugs by flushing them down the toilet.
Anabolic steroids, given to cattle to 'pump them up', are also getting into our drinking water. And millions of Americans are regularly drinking water, and eating foods and drinks, contaminated by rocket fuel from the country's 12,000 military bases, where fuel seepage goes unchecked-as it has done for years.
The water supply of 22 States contains perchlorate, a toxic chemical found in fuel, so farms and dairies near these bases are shipping contaminated produce across the US. A Food and Drug Administration survey found that 93 per cent of all lettuce and milk sold in the US is thus contaminated.
Pregnant women drinking tap water risk giving birth to a child with serious defects such as heart problems, cleft palate and serious brain defects. The water supplied to one in six homes in the UK is so heavily chlorinated that it doubles the risk of such birth defects.
Chlorine contains chemicals called 'trihalomethanes', or THMs, and these increase the risk of holes in the heart (septal defects), cleft palate and anencephalus, where parts of the brain, skull and scalp fail to fully develop (Environmental Health, 2008; 7: 23).
Your best bet for healthier drinking water is to install a reverse osmosis filter with an added carbon filter, which will remove all chemicals, para-sites, viruses, fluoride and chlorine. However, it also removes all natural minerals found in water, so be sure to supplement.
Be wary of water in plastic bottles, which contain oestrogen-mimicking phthalates. Measurable quantities of what's found in plastic have been detected in the water the bottles contain. Phthalates, in particular, have been linked with gender issues in boys (Environ Health Perspect, 2005; 113: 926-33; Environ Health Perspect, 2006; 114: 805-9).
As for how much water you should drink, the Mayo Clinic recently found that the eight-glasses-a-day guideline is based on nothing more than an urban myth conjured up in the 1990s.
In fact, drinking too much water can result in 'hypochloraemia', where our electrolytes drop dangerously low, causing fatigue, irritability and cramps. At least seven athletes have died after drinking too much liquid, and another 250 have needed hospital treatment.
Drinking too much water also dilutes our natural levels of sodium and chloride, which are also lost in sweat. Trying to correct this loss too quickly by drinking lots of water can result in brain damage.
Athletes and soldiers are now told not to drink too much fluid, and the number of water stations set up along a marathon run has now been halved.
As usual, common sense should prevail; drink when you're thirsty, and don't overdo it. It may be best to follow what your body tells you (BMJ, 2003; 327: 113-4; Lancet, 2008; 372: 782-4).

Avoid imbalance between omega-3 and -6 essential fatty acids (EFAs). As a general rule, increase your intake of omega-3s (alpha-linolenic acid) and reduce your omega-6s (linoleic acid and arachidonic acid).
The crucial factor in the development of many degenerative diseases, and breast and colon cancers, for example, is not hydrogenation, but the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats. The optimal ratio is 1 to 1 (Prev Med, 1987; 16: 493-500). In the Western diet, however, the ratio is currently around 1 to 20.
Because of the popularity of using vegetable oils (such as safflower, sunflower and corn oils) in cooking, salad dressings, margarines and spreads, most of us already get plenty of omega-6 oils. But only one vegetable oil is truly rich in omega-3: food-grade flaxseed (or linseed) oil. This is 60-per-cent omega-3s and 20 per cent omega-6s. Soybean, walnut and wheatgerm oils may contain useful amounts of omega-3, provided that their source plants were grown in a cold climate, and that they are fresh and cold-pressed (not hydrogenated). Other good sources of omega-3s are cod liver oil and fresh cold-water oily fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring and sardines (but see number 5).
Also, chemicals derived from arachidonic acid (omega-6) produce a variety of metabolites that can initiate and promote the formation and spread of tumours, cell proliferation, tissue invasiveness and immune suppression (Pelton R, Overholser L. Alternatives in Cancer Therapy. New York: Fireside Books, 1994).
An imbalance of EFAs may be significant because these nutrients are the precursors of prostaglandins in the body, an important group of hormone-like chemicals that regulate every major bodily function.
Also, an imbalance between omega-3 and omega-6 can be found in non-organically produced foods such as battery-produced eggs (not free-range).

Make sure you are getting enough vitamin D. People who regularly supplement with vitamin D increase their longevity by 7 per cent. The vitamin offers natural protection against most cancers, and stops cancer-cell proliferation. It may also boost the immune system and vascular function.
Supplementing with 600-1000 IU each day can protect against a range of diseases, including heart disease. Take it along with all the usual helpful vitamins and minerals.
Ensure that your children take vitamin D supplements as well. As children don't get out enough these days-outdoor play has been replaced by TV and computer games-more than half of all infants and toddlers have low levels of vitamin D, some with levels below those needed to maintain and grow healthy bones (Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med, 2008; 162: 538-43).
Around one-third of the general population is vitamin D-deficient, and the problem is worsened in epileptics because of the antiepileptic drugs they have to take.
Vitamin D is found in milk and yoghurt, eggs, fatty fish and yeast, and the body naturally produces it when exposed to sunlight (Arch Intern Med, 2007; 167: 1709-10). Indeed, getting just 10-15 minutes of sunshine a day, without sunscreen, will promote an adequate buildup of vitamin D (BMJ, 2003; 327: 1228).
Sensible exposure, and supple-menting with antioxidants such as selenium, lycopene, beta-carotene, and vitamins C and E, will enable you to enjoy the sun safely without the need for potentially harmful chemical sunscreens.

Get seven good hours of sleep a night, rather than eight, and have chronic insomnia treated. Seven hours appears to be the ideal amount of sleep that we should aim for every night-and it may even keep us trim. In a Spanish study, people who slept significantly more or less than seven hours were overweight or even obese. The people most likely to be over-weight were those who slept five hours or less, or nine hours or more (Am J Clin Nutr, 2008; 87: 310-6).
Besides regular exercise, seven hours of sleep may 'significantly' reduce the risk of cancer. Research examining the lifestyles of around 6000 women over a 10-year period found that those who regularly had sleepless nights were 47-per-cent more likely to have cancer (presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Seventh Annual International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research, Washington, DC, November 16-18, 2008).
Lack of sleep may even help to bring on diabetes. Just one week of sleep deprivation altered hormone levels and the capacity to metabolize carbohydrates, and the secretion and response to insulin.
Although women who sleep too little or too much are more likely to suffer a stroke, the greatest risk (70 per cent or more) is among those who sleep for nine hours or more.

Eat a 'power breakfast' that includes oatmeal. When we eat influences how much we eat, and those who ate a large proportion of their total calorie intake in the morning ate significantly less over the course of the day. In contrast, when these same people ate a high proportion of their total intake in the evening, all ate significantly more over the entire day. So, a diet with large amounts of food in the morning and less in the evening can reduce overall food intake and help to treat or prevent obesity (J Nutr, 2004; 134: 104-11).
As for what to eat, a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast every morning may well be the healthiest start to the day you can have. This wholegrain cereal can reduce cholesterol, and lower the risk of high blood pressure, weight gain and type 2 diabetes.
Total cholesterol levels are lowered by eating oats, and it reduces LDL (the 'bad' type of cholesterol) without lowering levels of HDL (the 'good' cholesterol).
In addition, oatmeal contains simple unique compounds that can protect against premature hardening of the arteries, or atherosclerosis. Oatmeal is also one of the few glutens often tolerated by those with coeliac disease (Am J Lifestyle Med, 2008; 2: 51-7).

For exercise, walk, especially if you are a woman, do core exercises and use free weights, rather than machines. Many of us believe that to be fit, we must take part in structured physical activity several times a week-and preferably one that makes us puff and sweat. But you can get just as much benefit from walking around the block a few times or climbing up and down the stairs more often than usual.
On comparing a traditional exercise programme (up to one hour of aerobic activity three to five times a week) with activities such as walking around the local shopping mall for at least half an hour, seven days a week, both resulted in significant-and similar-improve-ment in cardiorespiratory fitness and blood pressure. Although neither led to significant weight loss, both showed similar reductions in the percentage of body fat (JAMA, 1999; 281: 327-34).
Indeed, walking at even a moderate pace (3 miles per hour) provides every benefit that running does in staving off degenerative disease or cardiovascular events. In fact, power walking (at 5 mph or more) burns off more calories than running at a similar speed.
While there is little evidence of a risk of arthritis in male joggers, studies of elite British female athletes show a higher risk of osteoarthritis in the hips and knees of runners than in non-runners. But both genders risk injury to the ligaments that attach to the knee, as well as stress fractures or shin splints. Running appears to especially affect articular cartilage.
Be sure to include some exercises to work your 'core'-the muscles of the trunk, front and back-as this has beneficial effects on the abdominal muscles that encase the spine, the hip muscles running into the legs and the muscles of the buttocks. A strong core affects every other muscle group because movement is dynamic, continually changing from one muscle group to another.
For this reason, it's best to opt for free weights over machines, which do nothing to help strengthen the body holistically.

Allow your body to self-help by not interfering with a fever, unless it is so high that it may cause permanent damage. Fever is the body's natural way of killing disease, and taking anti-inflammatories and other such drugs interferes with that process.
In the vast majority of cases, spontaneous remission of cancer occurs after a high fever caused by an infection. This includes some 80 per cent of cases of spontaneous regress-ion of leukaemia in children.
Extreme heat-whether generated internally following an infection or externally by hyperthermia-appears to kill cancer cells and to kickstart the healing process. In one test-tube experiment, cancer cells began to produce immune-building T cells when subjected to a fever-like heat of 41 degrees C over a six-hour period.

Ensure that you are breathing through your nose. Breathing incorrectly can contribute to asthma (BMJ, 2001; 322: 1098-100), and breathing problems and snoring are now seriously being considered as a possible cause of attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and learning difficulties.
Scientists have discovered that 'sleep-disordered breathing' (SDB)- as it's officially known-may be the unsuspected cause of ADHD-spect-rum problems and may even be mis-diagnosed as ADHD.
Look out for laboured breathing, snorting or gasping; other sufferers adopt unusual sleeping positions, or have nightmares about drowning or choking.
If you don't breathe correctly, the Buteyko method of correct breathing may help (J Asthma, 2000; 37: 557-64), as can the breathing exercises (prana-yama) practised in yoga (J Asthma, 1991; 28: 437-42).

Keep your brain active, stay curious and maintain goals-even purely physical ones. According to Dr Jaak Panksepp, professor emeritus of psychobiology at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, and currently the head of affective neuroscience research at the Chicago Institute for Neurosurgery and Neuroresearch, one of the most important basic human instincts is our 'seeking' mode. This describes a nature that remains interested in having a snoop or a sniff around, that is intensely engaged in the search or the puzzle, or is simply curious about something new.
'Seeking' means being fully present and engaged in life at every moment, and avoiding our usual habits of attentional blindness.
Vary your activities and ensure that you engage in activities that involve problem-solving. Many studies of longevity show that one of its most essential components is maintaining a sense of curiosity about what's new. Routine is not only deadening to the senses, but can actually make us ill.
Every study of longevity shows that those who live into a ripe old age set themselves goals and targets. In a study of long-lived Civil War nurses, an interest in new things and change seemed to be at the root of their longevity (Nurse Forum, 1991; 26: 9-16).

Find your tribe. In our study of stress, we found that the greatest cause of modern-day stress was not finances, divorce, moving house or any of the usual indicators of upheaval and change so much as isolation.
Various studies have revealed that the root emotions of stress are a sense of helplessness and loneliness, and that anything that can help to re-establish connections-with family, with the community, with God-is the most potent healer.
In a recent study, a sampling of Americans in the US' lowest income brackets suffered from virtually no stress concerning their financial circumstances so long as they had two means of support: a strong spiritual connection, and a strong sense of community (Health Soc Work, 2008; 33: 9-21). Clearly, even when engaged in the daily struggle of living, these individuals were able to manage so long as they didn't do so alone.
If you don't have a close family, then assemble one-either through your church, or through work or leisure organizations. Meet and share regularly.
Erase your old inner emotional tapes through one of the new energy-psychology methods. No matter how healthy your diet and environment, you will never be well if you harbour toxic emotions of any variety. For this, there are now many new energy-psychology methods with excellent evidence of success. Unlike drugs or lengthy talking cures, these techniques claim to heal psychological problems by eliminating the negative 'information' about relationships that lie embedded in the patient.
Thought Field Therapy (TFT) is a 'needle-free' form of acupuncture in which the therapist 'taps' on various meridians of the body while making a series of statements about the patient. In a study of 12 patients suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome-considered to be extremely difficult to treat-TFT reduced stress by more than half (Traumatology, 1999; 5: article 4).
TFT's most astonishing success story concerns treating the mentally wounded survivors of war-torn Kosovo-Albanian refugees who had fled to Norway and who were suffering from severe PTSD. A team of TFT practitioners treated a large number of patients, including some of the most traumatized of the refugees. Treatment was often given in family groups, and the therapy sessions were sometimes as brief as five minutes.
The results were nothing short of astonishing-with every patient cured and smiling within minutes. The practitioners themselves were over-whelmed by the 100-per-cent response.
Other promising modalities include Emotional Freedom Techniques and Psych K.

Cultivate a ready ability to empathize and forgive. One of the greatest anti-dotes to stress is heartfelt forgiveness and empathy.
When a group of volunteers with psychological problems underwent an 'emotional education programme' for one year, the group showed large reductions in depression and stress at the end of the course, and greater empathy, emotional intelligence and ability to forgive (Explore [NY], 2006; 2: 498-508).
The editors of WDDTY

Avoid a long-term drug solution for any chronic illness. After 20 years, we're still searching for one single drug out there, besides antibiotics, that actually cures an illness. We still haven't found one. Virtually all drugs are maintenance drugs-that is, they manage, lessen or suppress symptoms, but they do not cure. In spite of assurances from the pharmaceutical industry that there are drugs that can target certain receptors in the body with laser-like efficiency, the fact is that many unrelated systems in the body have identical receptors-which is why drugs invariably affect parts of the body indiscriminately and cause side-effects.
There is a better alternative solution to virtually every health problem except emergency medicine, which is where orthodox medicine comes into its own. If you are shot, stabbed or run over, or suffer a heart attack or stroke, then modern Western medicine is simply without parallel for fixing you.
Otherwise, here are the drugs to particularly avoid:
- statins, as they may cause cancer
- Prozac and other antidepressants, which can cause rebound anxiety, suicide and addiction, and have been sold to us on a faulty premise
- TNF-blockers, which cause tuberculosis and cancer
- the new antipsychotic drugs, which are no better than the older variety, and can cause Alzheimer's disease and hasten decline in the elderly
- vaccines for anything that isn't a rampant epidemic such as cervical cancer or hepatitis C
- bisphosphonates, the osteoporosis drugs, which halt bone rebuilding
- aspirin, which actually causes stroke
- hormone replacement therapy and the Pill, as their cancer connection is finally indisputable
- minocycline, the anti-acne drug linked to liver damage and lupus
- antiepileptic drugs, which have been shown to lead to suicide
- Zetia and other second-generation cholesterol drugs, as they not only don't work, but are hard on the liver
- anticholinergic drugs, which bring on dementia
- NSAIDs, which now carry warnings regarding their cardiovascular and gastrointestinal risks.

Work to keep your home and environment free of every chemical you can. The typical house contains a toxic soup of organic chemical compounds, electromagnetic fields, combustion gases and other pollutants.
Indeed, studies have found that indoor air often contains more hazardous chemicals than outdoor air, even in highly industrialized areas. Indoor air chemicals were between five and 10 times higher than the levels outside (Environ Res, 1987; 43: 290-307).
Whenever you can, choose products for your home without the most harmful chemicals such as chemical-free carpets, eco-friendly paints, chemical-free sham-poos, and toiletries free of sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) and other widely used chemicals.
Here are the most important environmental pollutants to avoid:
- ordinary paints
- MDF and other outgassing 'wood compounds'
- gas heaters or ovens inside the home
- air fresheners, which are chemical cocktails
- all cleaners that contain SLS cocktails
- bleach
- shampoos and other toiletries using TEA (triethanolamine), DEA (diethanolamine) and SLS
- electromagnetic fields (EMFs) near your bedroom
(TV sets, telephones and computers)
- wireless connections and 'dirty electricity'
- fluorescent lighting
- excessive perfumes in your products
- nanotechnology cosmetics
- pesticides and insecticides
- hair dyes
- materials impregnated with flame retardants
- cars running on diesel fuels
excessive consumption of foods in tins and plastic bottles, which leach bisphenol A
- excessive mobile-phone use.

Prevent your children from being exposed to unnecessary chemicals and drugs. These include:
- overuse of antibiotics, which have been linked to diabetes
- unnecessary vaccination, including the MMR, cervical cancer vaccine, Hib vaccine (against Haemophilus influenzae type b), hepatitis C vaccine and those for all other sexually transmitted diseases
- cold and flu medications, which don't work and are harmful
- steroids, responsible for many deaths
- Ritalin and other drugs for hyperactivity, as the latest evidence shows that they can increase cardiovascular risk and cause new psychiatric symptoms, including sudden death
- plastic toys containing phthalates, which have clear evidence of causing 'feminization' and abnormal gonadal development in boys
- processed meat that is not organic, as this contains nitrates that can cause cancer even in small doses
- puffer medications such as salbuterol for asthma, which has been shown not to work and to aggravate the condition
- high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which contains mercury
- fake sugars such as aspartame and other excitotoxins such as monosodium glutamate (MSG)
- overuse of non-eco-friendly makeup and nail-polish remover, especially by preteen and teenage girls, as ordinary cosmetics are laden with chemicals and carcinogens, which are stored in fat tissue.


Power training off the cuff

Minocycline

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