Thursday, 19 February 2009

The future: I just saw it.

Today is Thursday 19th February 2009. I've just read an article in The New York Review of Books 'Drug Companies & Doctors': An Exchange dated 26th February 2009. I don't even possess a Flux Capacitor!

The above article was linked from Drug Companies & Doctors: A Story of Corruption which I found on The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics (THINCS).

"Because drug companies insist as a condition of providing funding that they be intimately involved in all aspects of the research they sponsor, they can easily introduce bias in order to make their drugs look better and safer than they are. Before the 1980s, they generally gave faculty investigators total responsibility for the conduct of the work, but now company employees or their agents often design the studies, perform the analysis, write the papers, and decide whether and in what form to publish the results. Sometimes the medical faculty who serve as investigators are little more than hired hands, supplying patients and collecting data according to instructions from the company.

In view of this control and the conflicts of interest that permeate the enterprise, it is not surprising that industry-sponsored trials published in medical journals consistently favor sponsors' drugs—largely because negative results are not published, positive results are repeatedly published in slightly different forms, and a positive spin is put on even negative results. A review of seventy-four clinical trials of antidepressants, for example, found that thirty-seven of thirty-eight positive studies were published. But of the thirty-six negative studies, thirty-three were either not published or published in a form that conveyed a positive outcome. It is not unusual for a published paper to shift the focus from the drug's intended effect to a secondary effect that seems more favorable."

Oh dear!

Sunday, 15 February 2009

A slight hitch.

On Friday 13th February, my mum collapsed and had to go to hospital. She's stable but completely incoherent at the moment, due to a combination of a) having a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) and b) discontinuing her anti-dementia medication last week in the (mistaken) belief that it was giving her hallucinations.

It's hard to believe just how rapidly mental function in an old person can decline due to a UTI, but mum had a Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) score of 26 out of 30 on Monday 12th January. It would have been 0 last Friday.

Normal Blogging will be resumed when mum's infection has been treated and she is back on her medication. I will be getting mum to use D-mannose in her juice in future, as this is effective against E. coli and Klebsiella.

Continued on A slight hitch, Part 2.

Thursday, 12 February 2009


By request, I'm writing about cancer. I didn't know this, but cancer is now the No.1 killer of men in the UK. I previously thought that coronary heart disease was the No.1 killer.

Cancer is such a huge subject that, rather than oversimplify it, I'll put a link to Wikipedia. Warning: Pictures of tumours.

Vitamins get a mention, particularly Vitamin D, but EFAs aren't mentioned. This is odd, as typing "Omega-3 Cancer" into PubMed yields 612 human studies going back to 1984. Here are some of them:-

Some effects of the essential fatty acids linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid and of their metabolites gamma-linolenic acid, arachidonic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid, docosahexaenoic acid, and of prostaglandins A1 and E1 on the proliferation of human osteogenic sarcoma cells in culture.

Selective killing of human cancer cells by polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Chronic arachidonic acid eicosanoid imbalance: a common feature in coronary artery disease, hypercholesterolemia, cancer and other important diseases. Significance of desaturase enzyme inhibition and of the arachidonic acid desaturase-independent pathway.

n-3 fatty acids and cancer.

Fish consumption and breast cancer risk: an ecological study.

Effect of docosahexaenoic acid on rate of differentiation of HL-60 human leukemia.

N-3 and N-6 fatty acids in breast adipose tissue and relative risk of breast cancer in a case-control study in Tours, France.

Opposing effects of dietary n-3 and n-6 fatty acids on mammary carcinogenesis: The Singapore Chinese Health Study.

Induction of apoptosis in human pancreatic cancer cells by docosahexaenoic acid.

Dietary intakes of omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and the risk of breast cancer.

Nutritional knowledge of primary health care physicians in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

13.12.09: Some newer studies:-

A systemic review of the roles of n-3 fatty acids in health and disease.

Anticancer actions of omega-3 fatty acids--current state and future perspectives.

The effect of omega-3 FAs on tumour angiogenesis and their therapeutic potential.

Therapeutic potential of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in disease.

Fish oil enhances the antiproliferative effect of 1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 on liver cancer cells.

EDIT: I've been reading about a substance called methylglyoxal, a glycolysis inhibitor. As many types of malignant cancer cells rely on the glycolysis pathway for energy, methylglyoxal looks like a promising anti-cancer agent.

In vivo assessment of toxicity and pharmacokinetics of methylglyoxal. Augmentation of the curative effect of methylglyoxal on cancer-bearing mice by ascorbic acid and creatine,

A brief critical overview of the biological effects of methylglyoxal and further evaluation of a methylglyoxal-based anticancer formulation in treating cancer patients,

Selective inhibition of mitochondrial respiration and glycolysis in human leukaemic leucocytes by methylglyoxal and

Critical evaluation of toxic versus beneficial effects of methylglyoxal.

It looks like the Indians are ahead of everyone else on this stuff.
Well, well, well.

"Methylglyoxal is a regular chemical, not cleared for human use. It is made without conforming to sound manufacturing practices and widely respected codes of good laboratory practices followed throughout the world." O, RLY? See below.

"The IACS' main supplier of Methylglyoxal is an American warehouse corporation, Sigma Medical Company, which sells it for research purposes at $1 to 2 per gramme and specifically states that none of its chemicals is meant for medical use." If everyone stuck to the "rules", humankind would never make any progress.

The principal scientist involved is Professor Manju Ray, a biochemist, not a pharmacologist or cancer specialist."
Biochemists know how cells work, so I would say that's a plus point, not a minus point. It's also argumentum ad-hominem.

"The "secret" of the "miracle" lies in the anti-tumour effect of Methylglyoxal - a property shared by hundreds of toxic chemicals. Methylglyoxal, it is claimed, inhibits electron flows in cancerous cells and blocks a crucial step necessary for the production of ATP, the cellular energy "currency". Methylglyoxal isn't anywhere near as toxic as standard chemotherapy drugs. Someone needs to learn some basic biochemistry!

"A critical ingredient, a control group with which the treated patients are compared, is absent from the study." It's unethical to have one group denied a treatment that might save their lives. The Lyon Diet-Heart trial was discontinued because the control group had a much higher mortality than the treated group.

"The researchers treated 24 patients, mostly in highly advanced stages of cancer, with oral administration of Methylglyoxal, with Vitamin C, over eight to 10 weeks. They claim that after treatment, 11 were in "excellent physical condition" and five were in a condition that "can be considered stable". "The rest either opted out of treatment or died during the course of study." This is disturbing enough." You left out the creatine and 0 out of 24 would almost certainly have survived without treatment

"The study does not show how, through what process, the "cure" occurs." That's not the purpose of the study.

"What is equally astonishing is that the drug should be used in clinical trials on human beings in the first place. Such trials are permissible only after the pharmaco-kinetics (the way and the speed with which the body will handle the drug) is properly understood, and trials on experimental animals have been carried out. In this case, the first criterion was not fulfilled. And there is no mention of animal trials." An animal trial had been done. See the 1st study above.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Supplements: Who needs 'em?

According to Health Professionals, nobody. Apparently, we get all of the vitamins, minerals & other nutrients that we need from a "Healthy Balanced Diet" (whatever that is!).

According to me, just about everybody. Due to modern farming methods, food ain't what it used to be. Dammit, even nostalgia ain't what it used to be! Due to changes in lifestyle:-

a) People are more sedentary than they used to be. This means that they require less food than they used to in order to not get fat. Less food, coupled with less nutrients in the food = dietary deficiencies.

b) People don't get as much sun on their skin as they used to, as they now work, play & live mostly indoors and when they do go outside, they are encouraged to Slip Slop Slap (slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen and slap on a hat). This results in hypovitaminosis D, as only an Eskimo's diet contains enough dietary Vitamin D. The RDA of 200/400/600iu/day (depending on age) is woefully inadequate and totally out of touch with modern research.

c) Many people don't eat much oily fish. Also, animal & vegetable produce now contains more omega-6 & less omega-3 than it used to. This can result in a large imbalance. I eat two 120g cans of mackerel in spicy sauce a day. This also provides protein.

d) Diets low in dark green vegetables & fruits lack Magnesium & Potassium.

e) Diets low in fermented foods lack Vitamin K2.

I currently supplement with:-
400mg/day of Magnesium, as 4g/day Epsom Salts dissolved in water & the solution added to drinks.
5,000iu/day of Vitamin D3.
15mg/day of Vitamin K2.

See also The usual suspects.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Research shows.....

....that people who eat a low-fat breakfast like Special K are more likely to be slimmer than those who don't.

So states the Special K advert. I wonder whether the researchers used a control group who ate a high-fat breakfast? Somehow, I doubt it. I eat a high-fat breakfast, if you look at the Blog post immediately below this one and I am slimmer than when I didn't eat breakfast. Skipping breakfast causes low blood glucose, which encourages over-eating later-on. Therefore, people who eat breakfast are more likely to be slimmer than those who don't.

That's the problem with "Research". It usually shows what people want it to show. By omitting control groups, such research is utterly worthless. While I'm on a mini-rant, "Clinically proven" is another phrase often bandied about in advertisements. I have news for you. Clinical studies can only disprove something. The best that a clinical study can do is provide evidence that something is beneficial to some or most of the people in the study only. It cannot be extrapolated to the rest of the population.

Food Porn.

It's the only porn you're going to get on this Blog! :-p

I was looking at Richard Nikoley's Blog at and I couldn't help but notice all of the pictures of yummy food on it. When I mention to people that I am on an "Atkins-style" diet, they usually say "Oh, so all you eat is bacon & eggs and those expensive low-carb bars, right?" I have yet to buy a low-carb bar.

This post should give you an idea of what I eat. Some of my meals contain Burgen soya & linseed bread and even sweetcorn. These foods are relatively high in starchy carbohydrate, but my body can tolerate them thanks to Vitamin D.

The first picture is what I often (but not always, as variety is important) have in the morning. It's basically coffee with extra oomph provided by a 60cc scoop of powdered linseeds (in the storage jar) and a 60cc scoop of unflavoured whey protein (a milk protein). Vanilla flavouring, brown sugar & Splenda improve the flavour of this concoction, which has the consistency of wallpaper paste!

I do eat bacon & eggs but not for breakfast. I usually have it for lunch, accompanied by chopped onions & mushrooms microwaved with Lo Salt, Lee & Perrins & Extra-Virgin Olive oil. A big squirt of tomato ketchup gives me my third portion of vegetables! The whole lot sits on top of a slice of Burgen toast.

For afternoon tea, I may have something salmony. Here's a simple smoked salmon sarnie made with ~100g of smoked salmon and a couple of slices of raw onion.

I have a friend who hates the skin & bones in tinned salmon. As this is where a lot of the omega-3 fat & minerals are, I tried an experiment to see if I could disguise them. I blended a 213g tin of wild red salmon with a couple of dollops of Hellman's Real Mayonnaise & a little "juice" from a tin of sweetcorn. I then mixed sweetcorn with the salmon mayonnaise. I dumped a load of the salmon & sweetcorn mayonnaise mix onto a slice of Burgen buttered with Anchor. A little sliced tomato & cucumber completed the ensemble.

Sometimes. I just dump everything on a plate!

For supper, I usually microwave something meaty with something vegetabley. Here are some Somerfield "Best Ever" Pork & Chorizo sausages microwaved with chopped onions & mushrooms in a Lea & Perrins-based gravy.

Here's an Aldi quarter-pounder beefburger with microwaved chopped onions, mushrooms & English mustard.

Here's an Aldi chicken jambonette in a sun-dried tomato, balsamic & sweet basil sauce microwaved with peas & mixed veg. The sauce went everywhere!

Here's an Aldi lamb shank in a mint & red wine-flavoured sauce. The shank was in a bag, so the sauce didn't go everywhere when I microwaved it on the plate alongside the peas & mixed veg. The vegetables look a little strange as I microwaved them as they were with a little Lo Salt (and no added water), but they tasted just fine. Not adding any water means that there is no loss of minerals.

And finally, here's an Aldi pork shank in sweet & sour sauce cooked as per the lamb shank. Aldi have a lot of different varieties of chicken jambonettes, lamb & pork shanks and I will be trying them out as they are very reasonably priced.

So, can I spend the rest of my life on this sort of diet? Oh, yes yes yes yes yes!

If you're worried that microwaving foods destroys nutrients, see Do Microwaves Destroy Flavonoids?

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

The Firefox a.k.a. Red Panda.

My browser is named after this little fella (or girl, I can't tell!).

I left Red Pandas out of my previous Blog post as they are not Bears (Ursidae), but are in a family of their own (Ailuridae).

Like Giant Pandas, Red Pandas have a false thumb which helps them to grip bamboo shoots & leaves. They also spend most of their lives eating, pooing (as they also can't digest cellulose) and sleeping!

That's how I used to spend a lot of my life when I ate a high-carb diet. Since I've been eating more salmon, I've been more active than usual. It's not yet 8am and I'm on-line, typing this.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

The Bear Essentials.

I'm writing about bears. Why? I was having a discussion, oh alright then, argument with a vegan lady. There was a thread on a message board about the slaughter of pigs and she argued that humans are not designed/evolved/w.h.y. to eat meat based on the following list:

Meat-eaters: have claws
Herbivores: no claws
Humans: no claws

Meat-eaters: have no skin pores and perspire through the tongue
Herbivores: perspire through skin pores
Humans: perspire through skin pores

Meat-eaters: have sharp front teeth for tearing, with no flat molar teeth for grinding
Herbivores: no sharp front teeth, but flat rear molars for grinding
Humans: no sharp front teeth, but flat rear molars for grinding

Meat-eaters: have intestinal tract that is only 3 times their body length so that rapidly decaying meat can pass through quickly
Herbivores: have intestinal tract 10-12 times their body length.
Humans: have intestinal tract 10-12 times their body length.

Meat-eaters: have strong hydrochloric acid in stomach to digest meat
Herbivores: have stomach acid that is 20 times weaker than that of a meat-eater
Humans: have stomach acid that is 20 times weaker than that of a meat-eater

Meat-eaters: salivary glands in mouth not needed to pre-digest grains and fruits.
Herbivores: well-developed salivary glands which are necessary to pre-digest grains and fruits
Humans: well-developed salivary glands, which are necessary to pre-digest, grains and fruits

Meat-eaters: have acid saliva with no enzyme ptyalin to pre-digest grains
Herbivores: have alkaline saliva with ptyalin to pre-digest grains
Humans: have alkaline saliva with ptyalin to pre-digest grains

Based on a chart by A.D. Andrews, Fit Food for Men, (Chicago: American Hygiene Society, 1970)

The fact that humans can't digest cellulose (the stuff that plant cell walls are made of) seemed to have been conveniently left off the above list, so I pointed out that if she wanted to play the list game, perhaps she should read Someone then posted a link to Humans are Omnivores. Humans are omnivores. End of.

Then I had a thought. Bears have a digestive system similar to ours. Here's a list of some bears and their characteristics:

Polar Bears: Body composition: Variable (they have a layer of blubber for thermal insulation and they gain body fat when food is plentiful to sustain them through times when food is unavailable). Activity: Very active (pregnant females hibernate). Fertility: On average 2 cubs every year. Diet: 99% meat (there may be some vegetable matter in the guts of the animals that they eat).

American Black Bears: Body composition: Leaner than Polar Bears as ambient temperatures are higher. Activity: Very active (even active when hibernating). Fertility: 2-3 cubs every 2 years. Diet: 10-15% meat, insects & plants.

Brown Bears: Body composition: Leaner than Polar Bears as ambient temperatures are higher. Activity: Very active (even active when hibernating). Fertility: On average 2 cubs every year. Diet: 90% plants, insects, fish and small mammals.

Giant Pandas: Body composition: Fat. Activity: Sedentary. Fertility: 1 cub every 2 years (if the mother has two cubs, she lets one of them die, as she can only raise one cub at a time). Diet: 99% bamboo shoots, but will eat meat, fish and eggs when made available by humans.

Do you see a pattern, here?

Ignorance, apathy & bone-idleness...

...are not attractive traits in people. But do you know what? I don't know, I don't care and quite frankly, I can't be bothered!

Each day, I surf a lot of message boards and I read a lot of messages. People who post messages on message boards obviously have access to the Internet. So when I saw:
"Didn't Atkins die from a heart attack with high cholesterol?", I just had to reply:
"Yeah! Course he did. Everybody knows that. See Everybody knows.........Part 1" to which I got the reply:
"There's no need for your sarcasm, Nigeepoo - pack it in. I was only asking a question" to which I replied:
"Sorry. Did I come across as sarcastic? This is sarcasm Let me Google that"

When I saw "Asparagus. How good is it for you and why?", I just had to reply:
"Let me Google that"

And when I saw "What is PSMF?", well I'm sure you can guess what I replied. I am such a bad boy!

So, next time you want to find out something, try Google, Wikipedia or (if it's a study) PubMed.