Posts Tagged ‘antioxidants’

First – I would like anyone who is reading this to take a moment to send your good thoughts and a healing prayer to the people, animals, plants, ocean, and land in Japan.  They are all suffering an immense tragedy and even though it might feel far away, we are all changed because of this event.  While sending positive intentions may seem trite, our thoughts can alter the world as they set the stage for physical change.  It begins with one person and cascades from there.  Please believe that you can and do make a difference – no matter how small.

Second – I am being asked daily about our risks here as the radiation is headed this way.  For those who think that this is simple fear mongering or the concern of apocalyptic thinkers, please reconsider.  This is a link from the New York Times demonstrates how the Earth’s weather patterns are dispersing the radiation from Japan – note the West Coast of the US on the far right of the map:  http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/03/16/science/plume-graphic.html .  Scientists are saying that the amount reaching us will be minimal and pose little risk to our health.  In my opinion, we will never completely know the full range of health issues that occur from an incident such as this nuclear meltdown.  Hopefully, it will be minimally consequential but we must consider the bioaccumulation of radiation in our soils, oceans, and hence in the foods we consume.  In Japan measurable levels of the reactive elements such as uranium are already being found in eggs, animal milks, water sources, and the soil.

Let me make a very important point – the degree to which radiation will effect you depends on your previous health status. When working with people who are concerned about this meltdown there are many factors I have to take into consideration: iodine levels in the body PRIOR to exposure, antioxidant status, calcium status, ability of the organs of elimination to function, and so forth.  Dr. David Brownstein writes, “I believe this crisis should highlight the need for each of us to take a more active role in our own health care decisions. It is important to take the proper steps to achieve your optimal health before a crisis arises. Many times these steps include eating a healthy diet and taking the correct supplements. My experience has shown that ensuring an adequate iodine level is one piece of the puzzle to obtaining your optimal health.” I could not agree more.

Why are so many people talking about iodine levels?  We know that nuclear radiation causes an increase in thyroid cancer as was seen after the Chernobyl incident.  This occurs because our thyroid binds iodine – and if deficient will bind radioactive iodine present after a meltdown.  Our thyroid gland sits approximately 2/3 of the way down the front of our neck and is responsible for a multitude of actions in the body such as regulating metabolism.  Iodine receptors are also found throughout the body in many other tissues including breast, prostate, uterus, ovary, gastrointestinal, and adipose (fatty) – essentially every cell in our body uses iodine.  If a person is deficient in iodine there is an increased risk for the environmental radioactive iodine to bind to the cell and cause damage to the DNA.  Ultimately, DNA damage is what leads to cancer.

Radioactive iodine is, however, not the only concern from such an incident as we are witnessing in Japan.  Strontium-90 is part of a radioactive fallout as well.  If the strontium rains down on a herd of grazing cows for instance, it accumulates in their fatty tissue and eventually in their milk.  When that milk is consumed the strontium-90 is incorporated into our bones as it is used similarly to calcium.  As with radioactive iodine causing altered DNA, a similar situation occurs with the strontium potentially leading to bone cancer.

And finally ionizing radiation is also a concern.  We are all constantly exposed to this type of radiation from the environment, too much is a health hazard.  Once again we are concerned about alteration of the DNA and RNA which leads to cellular mutation and general disruption of biological function including the potential of cancer.

So the question becomes – what to do?  The first step is minimize exposure – through food choices, location, and activity.  The second step is assess your health – what are your iodine levels?  Calcium levels?  Antioxidant status?  Are you exposing yourself to environmental toxins daily that decrease your baseline health status – including chlorine, bromine, pesticides, fluorine, and so on?  As doctors we are recommending between 6-50mg of iodine (bioavailable) depending on your previous status, thyroid health, size, age, and overall demand.  Studies show that around 13mg a day is an average dose that will prevent consequences from radioactive iodine – this is over 100 times what the normal American consumes.  Our RDA (recommended daily allowance) is in the mcg – microgram – range.  In this situation we are talking about mgs or milligrams.  Contact your healthcare provider to discuss more on this topic as there are risks to taking too much iodine.

I hope that this information has proved helpful.  If you have any questions please contact me – Dr. Holcomb Johnston – at (406) 585-9113 or dr.holcomb@sweetgrassmedicine.com.  Below are a few links that will help you gather more information.  In peace…










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I was just reading an article by Dr. Mercola and came across this:

As Mark Hyman, M.D., editor-in-chief of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, wrote:

“As a species, we once ate a complex unrefined wild diet consisting of a wide variety of plant and animal foods rich in phytonutrients, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Now, our monotonous diet triggers different and diseased patterns of gene expression.

The USDA reports that the top nine foods eaten by Americans are:

  • Whole cow”s milk
  • 2 percent milk
  • Processed American cheese
  • White bread
  • White flour
  • White rolls
  • Refined sugar
  • Colas
  • Ground beef
  • All of these foods are foreign to our genome that evolved on a Paleolithic diet. This mono diet creates altered patterns of gene expression that lead to disease, including food allergy or sensitivity.”

    Whew!  That list completely overwhelmed me.  I am amazed (although it is not really a shock) that these are Americans’ top foods.  Where are the greens, the fresh fruit, anything that is not processed?  In this holiday season I ask you all, for your health, to make home-cooked meals and to add one ingredient that is new for you – and not processed!  Nourish yourself as you celebrate and see how it changes your world.

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    Plasma Antioxidants From Chocolate

    Dark chocolate may offer its consumers health benefits the milk variety cannot match.

    There is some speculation that dietary flavonoids from chocolate, in particular epicatechin, may promote cardiovascular health as a result of direct antioxidant effects or through antithrombotic mechanisms1–3. Here we show that consumption of plain, dark chocolate results in an increase in both the total antioxidant capacity and the epicatechin content of blood plasma, but that these effects are markedly reduced when the chocolate is consumed with milk or if milk is incorporated as milk chocolate. Our findings indicate that milk may interfere with the absorption of antioxidants from chocolate in vivo and may therefore negate the potential health benefits that can be derived from eating moderate amounts of dark chocolate.

    To determine the antioxidant content of different chocolate varieties, we took dark chocolate and milk chocolate prepared from the same batch of cocoa beans and defatted them twice with n-hexane before extracting them with a mixture of water, acetone and acetic acid (70.0:29.8:0.2 by volume). We measured their in vitro total antioxidant capacities using the ferric-reducing anti- oxidant potential (FRAP) assay4; FRAP values were 147.4.5 and 78.3.mol reduced iron per 100 g for dark and milk chocolate, respectively. Volunteers must therefore consume twice as much milk chocolate as dark chocolate to receive a similar intake of antioxidants.

    We recruited 12 healthy volunteers (7 women and 5 men with an average age of 32.1.0 years (range, 25–35 years). Sub- jects were non-smokers, had normal blood lipid levels, were taking no drugs or vitamin supplements, and had an average weight of 65.3.1 kg (range, 46.0–86.0 kg) and body-mass index of 21.0.4 kg 2 (range, 18.6–23.6 kg 2). On different days, following a crossover experimental design, subjects consumed 100 g dark chocolate, 100 g dark chocolate with 200 ml full-fat milk, or 200 g milk chocolate (containing the equivalent of up to 40 ml milk).

    One hour after subjects had ingested the chocolate, or chocolate and milk, we measured the total antioxidant capacity of their plasma by FRAP assay. Plasma anti- oxidant levels increased significantly after consumption of dark chocolate alone, from 103.5% to 118.3.5% (t-test, P<0.001), returning to baseline values (95.3.6%) after 4 h (Fig. 2a). There was no significant change in plasma FRAP values over the same period after ingestion of milk chocolate alone or of dark chocolate with milk.

    The areas under the curves of epicatechin plasma levels plotted against time were measured over the same 4-h period after ingestion for the three different conditions. Absorption of epicatechin into the bloodstream after ingestion of chocolate was significantly less when the chocolate was accompanied by milk 46.4.1%; analysis of variance (ANOVA), P<0.001) or if the chocolate itself contained milk (69.3.9%; ANOVA, P<0.001).

    Addition of milk, either during ingestion or in the manufacturing process, therefore inhibits the in vivo antioxidant activity of chocolate and the absorption into the bloodstream of epicatechin.  Unlike its milky counterpart, dark chocolate may provide more than just a treat for the tastebuds.

    Our findings highlight the possibility that the in vivo antioxidant activity of flavonoids could be impaired by other dietary constituents. Other food combinations may also counteract the absorption and protective effects of flavonoids. There is therefore a need to take into account dietary habits when designing studies to assess the association between flavonoid- rich foods, antioxidant activity and degenerative diseases.

    Mauro Serafini*, Rossana Bugianesi*, Giuseppe Maiani*, Silvia Valtuena*, Simone De Santis*, Alan Crozier† *Antioxidant Research Laboratory, Unit of Human Nutrition, National Institute for Food and Nutrition Research, Via Ardeatina 546, 00178 Rome, Italy e-mail: serafini@inran.it †Plant Products and Human Nutrition Group, Graham Kerr Building, Division of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Institute of Biomedical and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK 1. Rein, D. et al. J. Nutr. 130, 2109S–2114S (2000). 2. Holt,R.R.,Schramm,D.D.,Keen,C.L.,Lazarus,S.A.&

    Schmitz, H. H. J. Am. Med. Assoc. 287, 2212–2213 (2002). 3. Steinberg,F.M.,Bearden,M.N.&Keen,C.L.J.Am.Diet.Assoc.

    103, 215–223 (2003). 4. Benzie, I. F. F. & Strain, J. J. Anal. Biochem. 239, 229–240 (1996). 5. Maiani, G., Serafini, M., Salucci, M., Azzini, E. & Ferro-Luzzi, A.

    J. Chromatogr. B 692, 311–317 (1997). 6. Charlton, A. J. et al. J. Agric. Food Chem. 50, 1593–1601 (2002). 7. Serafini, M., Ghiselli, A. & Ferro-Luzzi, A. Eur. J. Clin. Nutr. 50,

    28–32 (1996). Competing financial interests: declared none.

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