Thursday, June 12, 2014

Nutrition and Cancer – Part 2 - Inflammation

Researchers are now considering the possibility that Silent Inflammation in the body may be the leading cause of major chronic diseases including cancer, diabetes, neuropathy, chronic pain, and more. “It is almost universally accepted that the most common underlying mechanism of many diseases is inflammation”, Frank Lipman, MD. “There’s a silent killer on the loose, and it’s called chronic inflammation”, Dr Barry Sears. “We don’t have an obesity epidemic, we have an inflammation epidemic”, Dr Rimm, Harvard Medical School. “Having high cholesterol is not the cause of chronic illness, but rather a symptom. The real problem, it turns out is an underlying inflammatory condition”, Dr Beverely Teeter. A new 2014 study published from Denmark lists Inflammation as the cause of Type 2 Diabetes. So what’s Silent and Chronic Inflammation all about?

We all understand classic inflammation. It hurts. You get a cut and it gets red, hot and hurts as part of the healing process. You sprain you ankle. It becomes swollen and hurts as it heals. Your body fights an infection and you develop a temperature as part of the healing process. In each instance your body is doing its job to remove infection, and repair cell damage. Silent inflammation on the other hand may or may not have telltale signs. Some of the outward signs that suggest silent inflammation at work include high blood sugar levels including diabetes, being overweight, craving carbohydrates, constant hunger, being tired especially after exercise, brittle fingernails, constipation, groggy thinking and difficulty concentrating, chronic headaches or chronic ‘unexplained’ pain. Silent inflammation presents itself at a cellular level and drains energy from your body as your body continuously tries to heal the condition. Through this process your immune system is weakened and becomes vulnerable to attack. As in our previous example, when the soldiers, firefighters, EMT responders, and trash collectors all are involved trying to clear up chronic silent inflammation, the infant stages of cancer cell development may be overlooked.

The really interesting part of this silent inflammation process is that we do it to ourselves. Just like pouring gasoline on a fire, the average American daily feeds their silent inflammation thus overwhelming their body’s defenses. Silent inflammation is created by Eicosanoids within the vary cells of our bodies. Eicosanoids are considered to be our 1st hormone, and a master hormone that controls other hormones. There have been more than 100 (and still counting) types of eicosanoids discovered. Their actions and level of activity, is directly controlled by the Omega-3 and Omega-6 in nearly everything you eat!

Omega-3 driven eicosanoids decrease blood clotting, widen blood vessels, are anti-inflammatory, enhance the immune system, increase oxygen flow, decrease cell proliferation, decrease pain, widen respiratory passages, and increase endurance. Omega-6 driven eicosanoids do the opposite. They increase blood clotting, narrow vessels, create inflammation, suppress the immune system, decrease oxygen flow, increase cell growth, increase pain, narrow respiratory passages, and lower endurance. YOU MUST HAVE BOTH OF THESE WORKING IN HARMONY TO SURVIVE AND BE HEALTHY. Omega-3 and Omega-6 only come from what we eat and are not made by our bodies. Because they are so important and necessary for life, they are called the ‘essential oils’. Humans were designed to run on an even balance of the two. Our ancestors lived with a 1:1 balance. Then came the agricultural revolution, and we gradually developed into consuming a 1:4 ratio, acceptable as our bodies adjusted. Beyond that, with processed foods flooding the market, our ratio today of Omega-3 to Omega-6 has jumped totally out of whack to 1:20 or 1:25. In fact there are some near death people consuming a ratio as high as 1:40.

So where are we getting all the extra Omega-6… mostly from the vegetable oils in the processed foods eaten today. One tablespoon of Sunflower oil has essentially no Omega-3 to around 4 grams of Omega-6 pending on the variety . Safflower oil is even worse with almost no Omega-3 to 10 grams of Omega-6. Canola oil ratios can vary, but much of it is in the 1:4 ratio ranges. All you need do is start reading labels, or go to nutritional internet sites, to see how much of these oils you consume daily. This of course doesn’t begin to consider the amount of these oils you consume in home cooked and fast foods. Consider french fries for example, and butter substitutes. Add to this the naturally high Omega-6 foods such as almonds (0g to 3.4g), walnuts (2.6g to 10.8g), soybean oil (0.4g to 4.7g), avocados (0.2g to 2.3g), etc. Nearly all foods have Omega-3 and Omega-6 at some levels. As a direct result of our modern processed food diet, Americans are overdosing on Omega-6, flooding their bodies with unnecessary pain and Silent Inflammation thereby opening the doors for cancer and all manner of chronic diseases.

But wait, there’s more, an over abundance of Omega-6 driven eicosanoids are not only creating silent inflammation throughout your body, they are thought to be the root cause of diabetes. Whereas supplementing with Omega-3 tends to reverse this process, in addition to reducing fat storage and fighting cancer. Through their process, inflammatory cells make pro-inflammatory proteins called cytokines. These cytokines then enter the pancreas and start to destroy its ability to make insulin. At the same time the Omega-6 eicosanoids affect the brain to artificially drive hunger and appetite to higher and higher levels. With high Omega-6 concentrations you find yourself hungry all the time while your body becomes insulin resistant. Over time you body turns into a fat storage machine and you find yourself joining the millions of Americans who are overweight or obese. This is just one more stressor to monopolize and overcome your body’s defenses allowing cancer its foothold.

Is there some good news in all of this? Yes, this deadly process is easily fixed. Start eating healthy whole foods, and stop eating the foods that are killing you. A study published December 25, 2013 emphasizes this point. Fourteen clinical trials were analyzed involving 32,656 participants over a varying 4.6 year period. Their results were conclusive. Participants receiving supplements of Omega-3 to bring their essential oil ratios back into balance had a significant reduction from dying of cardiac problems or ‘Any Other Causes’. So if you want to be healthy, live longer with less pain, reduce weight, avoid diabetes, and have a chance at fighting cancer, then reduce your intake of high Omega-6 fats and increase your Omega-3 fats to bring your body back into balance. This is the natural state in which it was originally designed to be.

When you start to think about it, reducing unnecessary Omega-6 fats is easy. Learn to read labels. Stop eating processed foods with the Sunflower, Safflower and Canola oils. Instead start using Cold Pressed, Extra Virgin Olive Oil. High in Omega-9 it lowers cholesterol, raises HDL, and keeps your heart healthy. You can also use Organic Flax seed oil high in Omega-3 with low temperature foods or as a supplement. For high temperature cooking Macadamia Nut Oil is high in Omega-9 with a balanced Omega-3/Omega-6 ratio, and coconut oil is an excellent choice. The best high temperature cooking oil appears to be Camelina oil. It's light, stable, has a delightful nutty taste, and is 34.2% Omega-3, 19.8% Omega-6, and 16.2% Omega-9 with a smoke point at 475ºF. (As an aside, If you like nuts, raw macadamia nuts for a snack appear to have the best Omega ratios in the nutty world.) It is important to note that these Omega-3's are plant based; therefore the Omega-3 is in its ALA (a-linolenic acid) form. Here’s the rub. Our bodies must convert the ALA into the more usable EPA and DHA forms of Omega-3 for it to be used properly. As we get older this becomes a harder process, and let’s face it prostate cancer is a more mature man’s concern. While it is very important to switch to high Omega-3 and Omega-9 plant based sources, it is even more important to supplement with a quality EPA and DHA supplement. The best sources of these appear to be marine fish oils from krill or fatty fish like wild Alaskan salmon. Omega-3 is found in abundance in fish oil from salmon and has multiple components: EPA, DHA, and DPA. The EPA (iecosapentaenoic acid) in fish oil acts to reduce inflammation, clot blood, and reduce heart attacks. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is essential for brain, nerve and eye tissue. It also assists the liver, kidneys, heart and muscles to stay healthy. DPA (docosapentaenoic acid) is found in blood vessel walls, reduces inflammation, and promotes wound healing. Not surprising, studies have shown that cancer patients who supplemented with Omega-3 fish oil had less inflammation and cancer proliferation

Many people are already taking fish oil to enhance their Omega-3 intake. Unfortunately there can be dangerous toxic substances allowed to remain in fish oil supplements on the market. You will want the purest, cleanest possible supplements. Here are a few hints to use in your quest to choose the best one that’s right for you.
            1) Start by looking for the highest ‘Total Omega-3’ to ‘Total Fat’ ratio.
                        An amount of 60% to 70% Omega-3 is desired.
            2) Raw fish oil may be full of toxins, heavy metals, and dangerous compounds.
                        Look for molecular distillation filtration, and independent quality batch testing.
            3) Make sure no chemicals or excessive heat is used in the manufacturing process.
            4) Look for an oxygen free environment for processing and storage.
I currently supplement with Nordic Naturals, Ultimate Omega Extra in liquid form. Because of its quality, there is no fish oil taste, or aftertaste.

So how much do you take as an Omega-3 supplement. That should be decided between you and your doctor or professional nutritional advisor. I hear that medical professionals suggest upwards of 2g per day for a healthy person, and as high as 6g to 8g per day for someone dealing with cancer. Since Omega-3 driven eicosanoids act upon so many bodily systems, be sure to consult a medical professional especially if you are taking prescription drugs or are scheduled for surgery.

Next step, let’s look at sugar, how it can cause and feed cancer, while fattening America.

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