Posts tagged cholesterol

The Top 10 Blood Tests for Vegans by Dr. J.E. Williams

This was sent to my email by Frederic Patenaude and it is important information to know what blood tests are crucial for those who are vegans.

The Top 10 Blood Tests for Vegans by Dr. J.E. Williams

I started my own personal experiment with vegetarianism and vegan lifestyle in 1972, and I also conceived and raised children as vegetarians (until they were pre-teen). I have 30 years of clinical experience in natural medicine, and for 25 years, I was a busy clinician in Southern California. Thus, I have earned my credentials and have seen it all.

I know through all of this that if you want to get your cholesterol and LDL (“bad” cholesterol) down to bare bones levels, go vegan. If you want to boost your folic acid and antioxidant levels to new heights, eat more plants. It is the same with reducing your risk for a heart attack to zero, and preventing many types of cancer. But, if you want to have strong vitamin B12 levels, and enough iron and albumin, vegetarians and vegans are vulnerable.

Today I want to discuss the basic laboratory tests most important for plant-based diets. Let’s look at the 10 most helpful ones for evaluating deficiencies and the consequences of not having adequate levels of certain nutrients.

1. CBC – Complete Blood Count with Differential and Platelets: This group of tests tells if you are anemic, immune deficient, or have an infection or allergies. Low RBC (red blood count), hemoglobin, and hematocrit are signs of anemia. The CBC helps determine your general health status. If have fatigue or weakness, or suspect an infection, this test can help determine what is the cause.

2. CMP – Comprehensive Metabolic Panel: The CMP is a group of 14 tests that provides information about the status of your kidneys, liver, and electrolyte and acid/base balance, as well as of your blood sugar (glucose) and blood proteins (total protein, albumin, and globulin).

Abnormal results, especially combinations of abnormal results, indicate a problem that needs to be addressed. Total protein below 6.5 and albumin below 3.9 are signs of protein deficiency. Glucose (blood sugar) is also tested in this panel. It is uncommon for plant-based eaters to be diabetic. Some times, however, glucose can be too low, suggesting hypoglycemia.

3. Ferritin: This test helps assess iron stores in the body. It is useful in combination with an iron and TIBC to evaluate the severity of iron deficiency or overload.

4. Folic Acid: This test gives an idea of your level of folate. It is rarely low in plant-based diets. However, higher than normal levels, common in vegetarians and vegans, combined with low vitamin B12 levels, magnifies vitamin B deficiency in the body. The amount of folate inside the red blood cell (folate, RBC) may also be measured and is normally higher inside the cell than in the serum.

5. Homocysteine: An elevated homocysteine level helps determine B12 or folate deficiency. Elevated levels of homocysteine (above 10 micromoles/liter) are associated with atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of the arteries) and suggest an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, blood clot formation, and Alzheimer’s disease. I want my patients to be lower than 9 micromoles/liter and optimally less than 6 micromoles/liter.

6. Iron – total and TIBC (total iron binding capacity): Vegetarians can have adequate iron levels if they eat quantities of iron-containing vegetables and fruits, like spinach and raisins. However, raw vegans often show low levels of red blood cells and iron deficiency in their tests. Early iron deficiency causes no physical effects, so you may not know you levels are going down; but, as hemoglobin levels drop below 10 g per deciliter, things can get challenging. As the iron-deficiency progresses, symptoms begin to develop, including fatigue and tiredness, weakness, dizziness, and headaches. As iron reserves continue to be depleted, you can experience shortness of breath, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), drowsiness, and irritability.

7. Lipid Profile: This group of tests measures your blood fats (total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, and triglycerides) to determine risk for coronary heart disease. Vegetarians typical have normal lipid profiles, but vegans may have cholesterol levels that are too low (less than 135 mg/dL). Cholesterol is essential for life. A waxy substance manufactured from raw materials supplied in the diet, it is used to produce hormones and cell membranes and is transported in the blood. Cholesterol is the primary building block for steroid hormones like estrogen and testosterone, and adequate levels are required for health.

8. MMA – Methylmalonic Acid, serum: MMA, along with homocysteine, help diagnose an early or mild B12 deficiency. If MMA and homocysteine levels are increased, then vitamin B12 deficiency may be present, indicating less available B12 at the tissue level. If only homocysteine is elevated, then folic acid may be low or not being metabolism properly. If MMA and homocysteine levels are normal, it is unlikely that there is a B12 deficiency.

9. Vitamin B12: Both B12 and folate are necessary for normal red blood cell formation, tissue and cellular repair, DNA synthesis, and for nerve health. A deficiency in either B12 or folate causes macrocytic anemia. Also called megaloblastic anemia, this type of anemia is characterized by the production of fewer – but larger – red blood cells called macrocytes, leading to fatigue, weakness, and all the other symptoms of anemia. If your levels are below 400 pg/mL, suspect B12 deficiency. I like my patients to be at least 600-900 pg/mL.

10. Vitamin D, 25-Hydroxy: This test determines vitamin D3 status. It tells if you are susceptible to bone weakness, bone malformation, or abnormal metabolism of calcium. Since vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and absorbed from the intestine like dietary fat, low-fat diets are prone to vitamin D deficiency. Also, people with conditions that interfere with fat absorption, such as cystic fibrosis and Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and Celiac disease are not able to absorb enough Vitamin D.

Dr. Williams’ Suggested Panels for Vegetarians/Vegans

Complete Blood Count with Differential and Platelets
Comprehensive Chemistry/Metabolic Panel
Ferritin
Folic Acid
Homocysteine
Iron, total and IBC
Lipid Panel
Methylmalonic Acid, Serum
Vitamin B12
Vitamin D3, 25 Hydroxy

What’s Next?

You need to be able to understand your tests. For that we highly recommend the Complete Blood Test Blueprint, by Dr. Williams.
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The program features 35 beautiful graphics that show you clinical, desirable and optimal ranges for blood tests and what to do if your levels are high or low.

Blood testing, if done correctly, can be your best ally in determining the right diet, the right supplements and the perfect health for you.

He also covers what to do when you get your tests back to bring your levels into optimal ranges.

To get the Complete Blood Test Blueprint, along with “How to Read Your Own Blood Tests”, go to:

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This is our most up-to-date program on blood tests… so if you were thinking about getting it, now’s a good time!

These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. All Rights Reserved. Advice and recommendations given in this website or in personal consultation by phone, email, in-person, online coaching, or otherwise, is at the reader’s sole discretion and risk. You should see a qualified, licensed doctor before starting any skin care, nutritional, diet, stretching, and/or exercise program. Information presented on this website is not to be interpreted as kind of attempt to prescribe or practice medicine. These statements and information have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. No product offerings are intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. You should always consult with a competent, fully-informed medical professional or health practitioner when making decisions having to do with your health. You are advised to investigate and educate yourself about any health related actions and choices you make.

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The TRUTH about aspirin, tylenol and other drugs from documented research

The truth about aspirin, tylenol and other drugs from documented research

1. People who take aspirin and tylenol decrease the bodies ability to produce antibodies to destroy the cold virus – Journal of Infectious Disease.

2. Low dose aspirin produced virtually no benefit and increased the risk of major hemorrhage, ulcers, anemia and risk of fatal intracranial adverse events – Journal of the American Medical Association.

3. Cholesterol lowering medications (i.e. statins) decrease helper t-cells (immune system cells) – Natural Medicine (Switzerland).

4. According to Dr. Gregg C. Fonarow, UCLA Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine – 75% of all heart attack patients have normal to low cholesterol.

5. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS) (i.e. ibuprofen, motrin, etc) caused greater that 10x increase in congestive heart failure – Archives of Internal Medicine.

6. 80,000 women ages 31-50 who started off non-hypertensive, and used NSAIDs 2 times per month, their risk of high blood pressure went up by 86% – Archives of Internal Medicine.

7. Antibiotic use increases the risk of non-hodgkins lymphoma (a type of blood cancer), especially those who were given antibiotics more than 10 times as children – American Journal of Epidemiology.

8. NSAID use increases the risk of non-hodgkins lymphoma (a type of blood cancer) – American Journal of Epidemiology.

9. According to the center of disease control (CDC), tylenol is the deadliest drug in America.

10. Aspirin is the leading cause of kidney disease and one of the leading causes of stroke. Daily use is also associated with pancreatic cancer in women – American Association of Cancer Research.

11. 16,500 die in hospitals alone, per year, from using NSAIDs – Journal of the American Medical Association.

12. Acetaminophen (tylenol) is linked to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD, i.e. asthma) and decreased lung function – American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

13. The Canadian Medical Association reviewed 20 studies over a period of 30 years which showed that the pneumonia vaccine is 0% effective.

14. The American Academy of Pediatrics no longer recommends antibiotics for ear “infections” as 93% of ear “infections” are effusions (a build up of fluid) and totally sterile.

15. 84% of women receiving spinal manipulative therapy reported relief of back pain during pregnancy – JMPT 1991 (FEB); 14(2): 116-118.

16. According to the manufacturer’s insert, the DPT shot can cause AUTISUM!! Doctors always say that there is no link…in less you talk to the people who make it!!

Go to page 11 under additional adverse reactions:
http://www.fda.gov/…/vaccines/approvedproducts/ucm101580.pdf

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5 Life-Changing Lectures (Advanced Study Weekend Review) by Frederic Patenaude

This was such great “eye opening” information I received in an email from Frederic that I am reposting it here to share with all of you.

Also, there are some great deals on Frederic’s health products, not to be missed and prices may change at any time, so check them out below.
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I attended the “Advanced Study Weekend” organized by Dr. John McDougall. He organizes this event twice a year and I have attended many times in the past. In my opinion, this is the best event organized anywhere in the world about health. The information is cutting-edge, free of hype and non-commercial in nature.

Here are my notes from this year’s event. I’m not going to review every single lecture, but instead focus on the ones that stood out for me.

Dr. McDougall on the New Dietary Guidelines

Dr. McDougall spent some time reviewing the latest USD guidelines for nutrition. He said that there were some wins but overall they obscure their recommendation using complicated language.
The guidelines are “guided” by industry. However, they are still a step forward if you read them carefully.

Even though they now removed the limit on cholesterol, they also write that one should make efforts to limit cholesterol. Go figure…

The reason many studies show that eating cholesterol has no effect on blood cholesterol is because of the design of the studies. When someone already eats a diet with over 400 mg of cholesterol, absorption is blocked for more. That’s why eggs show no effect on cholesterol in a diet that is already rich in animal products.

However, eggs will raise cholesterol levels in vegetarians.

T. Colin Campbell, PhD

Colin Campbell is the co-author of the China Study but also a relentless researcher. He was sitting just in front of me during the weekend, and I was amazed at his vitality at age 82. His conference was one of the most enlightening ones from the weekend.

The Supremacy of Protein – 200 Years – Has Anything Changed?
Dr. Campbell went through the history of protein from its discovery in the 1840s. Here are some highlights:

Studies were done in the 1870s established protein requirements to 52 grams a day but 120g/day was recommended instead.

As early as 1908 the overconsumption of protein was associated with cancer
Chittenden in 1905 discovered that physical endurance and strength increased on a low-protein, plant-based diet.

It’s the animal protein in the diet that causes heart disease, not just the saturated fat or cholesterol itself.

In the China Study, there was a 200X variation in rates of different cancers between the counties. It related to blood cholesterol levels. In China, the range was as low as 90 up to 170.
They thought that cholesterol was low enough in China, so why the increase in cancer at higher levels?

Because blood cholesterol levels was a result of animal protein consumption. It wasn’t the cholesterol itself, but the protein. Because animal protein raised cholesterol level, they could make the connection.

In animal studies, more animal protein promotes cancer growth. But you can consume as much plant protein as you want, doesn’t matter, because it’s different protein. It’s a whole food — it’s the full package.

Epidemiological studies done on different low-fat vs. high fat diets today are a mirage. They consider things like fiber, fat, etc. But NO large-scale study has ever been done on the type of diet we recommend, like the Ornish diet. A whole foods plant-based diet works not for one disease but every disease.

All the studies done compare 30% fat to 60% fat. Even from 20% to 60% there’s not much difference. It’s like comparing smokers with two packs or three packs a day. There are no studies done on the food that we recommend: whole foods, 100% plant-based, no oil.

Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn: Treating the Cause to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease

Another superstar speaker. He’s also 82 years old. He gave his usual lecture on becoming “heart attack-proof” with a few new twists. Here are a few highlights:

How do we get heart disease? It starts with inflammation of the endothelial cells lining the walls of our arteries. Cholesterol gets stuck there and goes under the lining. It gets oxidized, and the body tries to get rid of it. Progressively, plaque forms, and its content oozes out. This activates a clotting factor… we get a clot, and BOOM, a heart attack.

You can get heart-attack-proof for life in just three weeks. You have to change your chemistry and make sure nothing in your blood gets sticky.

Nitric oxide, discovered in 1980-1998 (and for which a Nobel Prize was awarded), is key. It’s a strong vessel dilator and prevents arteries from becoming thick.

A single meal at McDonalds can injure your endothelial cells and prevent artery dilation for several hours.

Caffeine in coffee injures the endothelial cells (but not in tea), as do olive, soybean and palm oils.

To improve nitric oxide function, cardiac patients should eat greens SIX TIMES a day! About fist-sized (once cooked), with balsamic vinegar, cooked for 4-5 minutes. For optimal results, no smoothies. Eat and chew your greens.

Never before in Medicine have we had something as powerful as a toolbox as we have with plant-based diet

Why Lunch Matters: Promotion and Prescribing – Adriane Fugh-Berman, MD

This lecture was not about lunch! It was about the marketing techniques used by pharmaceutical companies to promote their products. It was super enlightening! It focused on the pharmaceutical reps marketing to doctors directly.

(The “lunch” part of it comes from the fact that often these reps pay lunch or other small gifts to doctors. Doctors don’t feel it’s a gift, but they feel obligated to reciprocate. They discovered that small gifts work better than big ones!).

It will be tough to summarize the lecture, but I’ll give you a few highlights:

Pharmaceutical reps make 150-300K a year and provide a 13X return on investments to the company. They only work on three doctors!

Physicians are smart and naive, and more more susceptible to financial scams and manipulation from marketing techniques. Doctors believe that they haven’t been bought off, even when they have.

One fourth of doctors in the US doesn’t see reps from pharmaceutical company. Find a doctor who doesn’t.

Marketing of drugs starts seven years before they are on the marketing. It’s illegal to promote a drug before it’s approved but instead, they market a disease with a “disease awareness campaign.”
Many diseases have changed names or benign conditions have been redefined by pharmaceutical companies in preparation for a new drug, or a rebranding of an old drug.

Examples:

Pfizer renamed “impotence” “erectile dysfunction” to remove the stigma associated with the condition and prepare for the release of their drug.

Heartburn used to be a simple condition, and the advice was “don’t eat so much, don’t drink and take TUMS.” It’s been rebranded as “GERD” with drugs you need to take every day for the rest of your life.
Drugs are often renamed. When the Prozac patent came close to expiration, the same drug was rebranded as Sarafem.

Menopause has been turned from a normal life event to a medical condition. We promote hormone therapy even when menopause is not a disease.

For men, “Low testosterone” is the latest of those “new conditions.”

More info at http://www.PharmedOut.org

Dr. Milton Mills: Are Humans Designed to Eat Meat?

This was a fascinating lectures. When we hear that humans are “natural carnivores,” or even “omnivores,” we wonder what part of it is true.

Dr. Mills went through a detailed analysis of exactly what the differences are between true carnivores and plant eaters and proved that humans can’t be even part-time carnivores.

Here are a few highlights:

Carnivores are animals optimized for predation. They expend little effort to catch their food. They seek weak, diseased and defective animals because they are easier to catch.

Herbivores seek lush, verdant and beautiful food. Humans are trying to be carnivores with a herbivore mentality (we seek healthy meat). This beauty paradigm creates species destruction.

Hunting doesn’t add up regarding energy deficit for humans. We expend more energy hunting for meat than we get in calories. True carnivores only need to eat every 7-10 days and can eat up to 20-30% of their body weight in one meal.

Humans are designed for foraging and walking very long distances at a low energy cost. We’re the only animal efficiently designed for walking.

We’re not designed to run fast. We can run fast enough to escape insects and bees. We’re not fast enough to outrun any animal.

Hunter-Gatherers who outrun their prey expend more energy hunting than they get from the meat. they obtain most of their calories from plant foods. We can’t even eat enough in one meal to replace the energy expanded from just ONE hunt. Carnivores get enough to eat for a week.

Richard Oppenlander: Food Choices and Sustainability

Normally the lectures focus on human health, but this time Dr. McDougall had two lectures on environmental issues as they relate to food. Richard Oppenlander’s lecture was very enlightening about this very important topic that’s so misunderstood and abused.

We are 7.4 billion people on the planet but over 70 billion farm animals. This is unsustainable. Global warming is just one component of global depletion.

We can’t eliminate fossil fuels now, but we can change the food we eat. All animal food production systems are unsustainable.

It’s close to 51% of all greenhouse gas emissions that come from animal agriculture.

Climate change could be irreversible by 2017.

We need to change the words we use. Words like CSA, farm to table, traceable, local, organic, grass-fed, cage-free, Paleo, “humane”, real food, sustainable seafood… are all terribly misleading.

The “real food” movement is flawed. A vegan bar is considered processed and not “real” food, but fish and meat is considered “real food.

The movement to eat “less meat” is also flawed. It shifts the focus to seafood, which causes huge problems.

Every country in the world lacking fresh water is struggling but giving water to livestock.

In California, 60-70% of all the water goes to livestock. We’re told to watch our water consumption in the shower which might save 2-3 gallons of water, when not eating meat saves 2000 gallons of water a day.

If you love fish don’t eat it. The most important cause of coral death is overfishing.

The problem is not overfishing. The problem is fishing. We catch fish to feed farm fish, so even farmed salmon is not sustainable.

None of the environmental organizations say anything about eating meat, yet they keep throwing the word “sustainable” without defining what it means.

Michael Greger, M.D.

Dr. Michael Greger gave one of the best lectures of the weekend, but I’m not going to summarize it because you can download many of the lectures on his website for free.

Frederic Patenaude

Frederic Patenaude has been an important influence in the raw food and natural health movement since he started writing and publishing in 1998, first by being the editor of Just Eat an Apple magazine. He is the author of over 20 books, including The Raw Secrets, the Sunfood Cuisine and Raw Food Controversies. Since 2013 he’s been the Editor-in-Chief of Renegade Health.

Frederic loves to relentlessly debunk nutritional myths. He advocates a low-fat, plant-based diet and has had over 10 years of experience with raw vegan diets. He lives in Montreal, Canada.
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Becoming Heart Attack Proof – Written by Caldwell Esselstyn MD

Becoming Heart Attack Proof – Written by Caldwell Esselstyn MD
Jul 03, 2013 11:55 pm

Here are the facts. Coronary artery disease is the leading killer of men and women in Western civilization. In the United States alone, more than half a million people die of it every single year.

Three times that number suffer known heart attacks. And approximately three million more have “silent” heart attacks, experiencing minimal symptoms and having no idea, until well after the damage is done, that they are in mortal danger. In the course of a lifetime, one out of every two American men and one out of every three American women will have some form of the disease.

The cost of this epidemic is enormous—greater, by far, than that of any other disease. The United States spends more than $250 billion a year on heart disease. That’s about the same amount the nation spent on the first two and a half years of its military venture in Iraq, and fully twice as much as the federal government allocates annually for all research and development—including R&D for defense and national security.

But here is the truly shocking statistic: nearly all of that money is devoted to treating symptoms. It pays for cardiac drugs, for clot-dissolving medications, and for costly mechanical techniques that bypass clogged arteries or widen them with balloons, tiny rotating knives, lasers, and stents. All of these approaches carry significant risk of serious complications, including death. And even if they are successful, they provide only temporary relief from the symptoms. They do nothing at all to cure the underlying disease or to prevent its development in other potential victims.

I believe that we in the medical profession have taken the wrong course. It is as if we were simply standing by, watching millions of people march over a cliff, and then intervening in a desperate, last-minute attempt to save them once they have fallen over the edge. Instead, we should be teaching them how to avoid the chasm entirely, how to walk parallel to the precipice so that they will never fall at all.

I believe that coronary artery disease is preventable, and that even after it is underway, its progress can be stopped, its insidious effects reversed. I believe, and my work over the past twenty years has demonstrated, that all this can be accomplished without expensive mechanical intervention and with minimal use of drugs. The key lies in nutrition—specifically, in abandoning the toxic American diet and maintaining cholesterol levels well below those historically recommended by health policy experts.

The bottom line of the nutritional program I recommend is that it contains not a single item of any food known to cause or promote the development of vascular disease. I often ask patients to compare their coronary artery disease to a house fire. Your house is on fire because eating the wrong foods has given you heart disease. You are spraying gasoline on the fire by continuing to eat the very same foods that caused the disease in the first place.

I don’t want my patients to pour a single thimbleful of gasoline on the fire. Stopping the gasoline puts out the fire. Reforming the way you eat will end the heart disease.

Here are the rules of my program in their simplest form:
* You may not eat anything with a mother or a face (no meat, poultry, or fish).
* You cannot eat dairy products.
* You must not consume oil of any kind—not a drop. (Yes, you devotees of the Mediterranean Diet. That includes olive oil).
* Generally, you cannot eat nuts or avocado.

You can eat a wonderful variety of delicious, nutrient-dense foods:
* All vegetables except avocado.
* Leafy green vegetables, root vegetables, as well as veggies that are red, green, purple, orange, yellow and everything in between.
* All legumes: beans, peas, and lentils of all varieties.
* All whole grains and products, such as bread and pasta, that are made from them—as long as they do not contain added fats.
* All fruits.

It works. In the first continuous twelve-year study of the effects of nutrition in severely ill patients, which I will describe in my book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, those who complied with my program achieved total arrest of clinical progression and significant selective reversal of coronary artery disease. In fully compliant patients, we have seen angina disappear in a few weeks and abnormal stress test results return to normal.

The dietary changes that have helped my patients over the past twenty years can help you, too. They can actually make you immune to heart attacks. And there is considerable evidence that they have benefits far beyond coronary artery disease. If you eat to save your heart, you eat to save yourself from other diseases of nutritional extravagance: from strokes, hypertension, obesity, osteoporosis, adult-onset diabetes, and possibly senile mental impairment, as well. You gain protection from a host of other ailments that have been linked to dietary factors, including impotence and cancers of the breast, prostate, colon, rectum, uterus, and ovaries. And if you are eating for good health in this way, here’s a side benefit you might not have expected: for the rest of your life, you will never again have to count calories or worry about your weight.

An excerpt from Preventing and Reversing Heart Disease, Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr. M.D.
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There are really just 2 numbers you need to worry
about with respect to your cholesterol.

And they are…

1. HDL/Total Cholesterol should be 25% (more
important than basic LDL levels)

2. Triglyercides/HDL should be below 2.

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