Tuesday, October 31, 2017

New theory on a possible nutrition modification to lessen chance of developing thyroid cancer

Silicon (Si, atomic number 14) as a micronutrient is likely about to get new attention. This year, researchers announced that they had identified "a mammalian efflux Si transporter, namely Slc34a2 (also termed NaPi-2B) a known sodium-phosphate co-transporter, which was upregulated in the kidney following chronic dietary Si deprivation." (http://ajpcell.physiology.org/content/early/2017/02/08/ajpcell.00219.2015) Slc34a2 is highly expressed in thyroid cancer, lung cancer, endometrial cancer, ovarian cancer, and kidney cancer. (https://www.proteinatlas.org/ENSG00000157765-SLC34A2/pathology) There has been recent work on using an anti-Slc34a2 antibody drug-conjugate to fight ovarian cancer. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26156394) What if another way to decrease Slc34a2 expression is simply to make sure there is enough Si in the diet? Might that not work to fight/prevent cancer in the thyroid/ovaries/uterus/kidneys/lungs?

There is circumstantial evidence to support that dietary silicon intake is protective against developing at least one of those types of cancer. Specifically, beer intake tends to decrease the risk of developing thyroid cancer (http://www.nature.com/bjc/journal/v101/n9/full/6605337a.html), and beer is a great dietary source of silicon. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7904687) The silicon in beer comes mostly from barley husks (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100208091922.htm), which during the mashing process are immersed in hot water for hours; this water is separated from the barley and subsequently turned into barley malt extract and/or fermented. The good news for alcohol avoiders (like me) is that no fermentation is necessary to get silicon from barley malt extract. One can make their own wort (i.e., the liquid obtained from mixing hot water with milled malted barley and then filtering out the solids) and use it unfermented to make beverages--I did that a few days ago, mixing my homemade sweet wort ("sweet" = without hops) with lemonade--or purchase barley malt extract and mix it in other beverages, such as warm milk.

Silicon is also quite bioavailable from grains and grain products. (http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/75/5/887.long) Besides possibly helping prevent some cancers, per the hypothesis set forth above, silicon shows potential to help prevent nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28446627) I've never been on the "grains are evil" bandwagon, and the more I learn about our bodies, the more I think that it's probably very unhealthy to avoid all grains permanently. (There's a big difference between a Krispy Kreme donut and pumpernickel bread. Feel free to avoid the donuts forever.)

Monday, October 30, 2017

The Obesity Code, glucose, insulin, and intermittent fasting

I recently read Dr. Jason Fung's book, The Obesity Code, and found it very informative. His basic premise is that weight gain and type 2 diabetes are caused by insulin resistance and insulin. I liked his hypothesis, for I have thought for the past several months that type 2 diabetes is an attempt to protect the body wherein the body combats a surfeit of insulin by shutting down the insulin-secreting cells in the pancreas.* Dr. Fung's recommendations for better health are to 1) decrease insulin resistance by steering clear (mostly--he understands the human need for occasional celebrations) of highly processed carbohydrates and snacking, and 2) lose weight as needed via intermittent fasting.

Intake of highly processed carbohydrates causes blood glucose and then insulin to spike, and eventually the body becomes resistant to insulin, if I rightly understand the studies cited by Dr. Fung. To minimize insulin spikes, I've been looking into natural sources of compounds that slow down absorption of sugar in order to utilize them more in my diet. With each meal, I now consume some ellagic acid--in the form of red raspberry seed meal--because ellagic acid (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20522017) is an alpha glucosidase inhibitor (i.e., it reduces the rate of digestion of carbohydrates) that tastes good and is easy to find. Giving up bread and cold breakfast cereal isn't currently a realistic option for my family, especially since only one older child and myself are overweight.

The story of how that one child started her life overweight is a point of evidence in support of Dr. Fung's hypothesis. I'm generally a fairly healthy eater. But while I was pregnant with her, I ate far too many simple carbohydrates because that was the set meal served in my workplace cafeteria. Lunch, my main meal, was usually rice, potatoes/pasta, a small portion of meat, a dessert, and "jugito," which was basically Kool-aid with a little dried fruit added. During my workday, I snacked on dinner rolls that I'd made at home out of white flour and sugar. I only worked at that location for two years, but unfortunately my pregnancy with that child fell entirely within those two years. She was born weighing 9.5 pounds and broke her collarbone during birth because of her size. And she has remained overweight her whole life despite attempts at dietary restriction and extracurricular sports. It appears, per Dr. Fung's hypothesis, that I passed on my excessive insulin levels to her in utero and made her insulin resistant. None of her siblings are overweight, and I ate far less in the way of simple carbohydrates during their gestational periods.

She has been eating the red raspberry seed meal with me at mealtimes. She and I also already do a monthly fast because of our religion (LDS), but we have recently added additional fasting for breakfast on Sundays. Just to keep the fast from being too unpleasant--and ourselves from gorging on simple carbohydrates at Sunday lunch--we are drinking a little extra virgin olive oil as a breakfast substitute because it has some calories but doesn't raise insulin levels.

* I wonder if the same paradigm could be used to help explain Hashimoto's thyroiditis eventually....

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Doing well while those around us puke and feel miserable

Tuesday, my oldest and I started to feel as though we had caught the "stomach bug" going around our school/babysitting environment (https://petticoatgovernment.blogspot.com/2017/10/vomiting-avoided-happy-me.html), so we took molybdenum and we were fine afterward--a little lingering discomfort in the gut, but then we only took 500 mcg, which is the same amount I'd given the seven-year-old. Thursday morning, the toddler (3 years old) announced that her tummy hurt. She got some powdered molybdenum glycinate mixed in her milk bottle and drank it up. She made no further complaints and never threw up.

So maybe this is just not a very bad stomach bug? No, it is a bad one. It sent the principal of my children's school home all day yesterday. She's a very dedicated principal and wouldn't have gone home over something little. She tried to work and had to give up, leaving the school at 8:10 a.m. and not returning. And last week, the stomach bug put my toddler's babysitter's teenage daughter in bed for a day.

We are escaping the nausea and vomiting that accompanies this stomach bug. If you think I'm exaggerating, just test it for yourself. Have molybdenum on hand (it's cheap) and take it (preferably powdered for fast utilization) the next time your stomach lets you know you picked up a gastrointestinal illness. Then--assuming it works, which I have no reason to to doubt yet--spread the word.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

As the stomach bug moves...

We've been having fun playing "epidemiologist" with my second grader's classroom since she had her short bout with a stomach bug five days ago. (https://petticoatgovernment.blogspot.com/2017/10/vomiting-avoided-happy-me.html) My second grader gets to observe who is out sick each day and where they sit in relation to those who have already been out sick. The illness is short-lived--everyone is only missing one day of school and then they're back...to share--but it is still a nuisance.

Two children of a teacher were out sick yesterday, and their parent told me that it was because of vomiting. The children were back in school today, so there will probably be several other children in their classes missing tomorrow.

In the meantime, I highly recommend having a molybdenum supplement on hand for such occasions. In fact, my eighth grader and I just took some after school today because apparently it's our turn to play "host."

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Vomiting avoided, happy me!

Today is Saturday. On Thursday, my 2nd grader started feeling sick to her stomach in the afternoon. I immediately ran for the molybdenum and gave her 500 mcg* of powdered molybdenum glycinate mixed in a beverage. She drank it all up. She rested on the couch after that for a while, and then she felt better and went about her evening as normal. When questioned about whether any classmates had been absent from school recently, she reported that one classmate had been gone just the day before but was already back in school Thursday. And that particular classmate had literally licked my daughter's hand early that afternoon (she and her classmates play at pretending to be cats frequently).

Because my daughter felt better after drinking the molybdenum, I let her go to school on Friday. She never threw up and is totally back to normal now. However, another one of her classmates was absent on Friday...coincidentally, a classmate who sits right next to the one who was absent on Wednesday.

Experiences like this keep me talking about molybdenum to anyone who'll listen. It stops nausea and vomiting.

* 500 mcg is below the tolerable upper intake level for children her age.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A report of 2/3 migraine reduction from taking 70 mcg of molybdenum nightly

My husband met with someone a few weeks ago who had been dealing with regular migraines. Being an admirable husband who pays attention to his wife, he immediately thought of molybdenum and suggested it to his acquaintance. She tried a couple molybdenum supplement capsules, and since she thought they helped her avoid getting a migraine, she ordered her own bottle of molybdenum. Here is her report on how her personal molybdenum experiment has been going:
I had planned to email you after taking molybdenum for 1 month.  I’ve been taking 70 mcg of molybdenum each night before bed for three weeks now.  As I mentioned when we spoke, I have chronic migraines almost every day, and most often the onset is during the night.  So, I figured I’d take the molybdenum before bed and see what happens.  In the last three weeks, I have only woken up with 1 headache – it is amazing!!!  Interestingly, the one morning I woke up with a headache was also the one night I didn’t drink Sleepytime tea with the molybdenum.  Could be a total coincidence… or not?  At any rate, I have felt better overall.  My headaches that arrive during the daytime have also been cut by 2/3 at least.  It’s truly incredible to feel this good for so long – THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for making the suggestion.   I was waiting until the 1-month mark to give it time and see if the decreased headaches continue (I have taken things in the past that made me feel better for a couple weeks but then stopped).

She has been diagnosed in the past as being sensitive to sulfites, so I think her experience tends to support sulfite oxidase being the most important molybdoenzyme connected to migraine relief. But there are four other known molybdoenzymes in the human body, and I don't exclude them from possible involvement with migraines.

An interesting part of this anecdote is how low the amount of molybdenum supplementation is. One bowl of lentils has more than 70 mcg of molybdenum. She is probably a small woman.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Humility

I just finished looking over a recently-published book titled Humility Is the New Smart: Rethinking Human Excellence in the Smart Machine Age, by Edward D. Hess and Katherine Ludwig. One quote stood out to me:
We define humility as a mindset about oneself that is open-minded, self-accurate, and "not all about me," and that enables one to embrace the world as it "is" in the pursuit of human excellence. 

Humility seems to come down to a willingness to seek the truth of objective facts, individual feelings, and any combination of the two even when one's ego is screaming "Stop!" I recommend this book.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Nutrition vs. IQ-racism

Occasionally on the internet, I run across commenters who posit that intelligence is genetic, the IQs of some racial/ethnic groups are widely different, and that nothing can be done to close the gaps. I strongly disagree with at least one of those claims.

I do think that that genes play a large role in intelligence. After all, they play roles in height, cancer, sociability, athletic ability, artistic talent, autism, and so on. Why then should memory capacity be singularly unaffected by genes?

Secondly, where accurate testing reveals current differences in average intellectual ability between some groups, we must deal honestly with those test results no matter how distasteful and unfortunate we consider them. Willful ignorance of current realities will never help the human family to progress, and hopefully physical and mental betterment for everyone is a commonly-held goal.

However, I reject claims that group IQ gaps are unchangeable. DNA is merely a code of starting instructions, not unalterable destiny; figure out exactly how the code affects IQ, and you can use that information to help everyone have higher IQs, regardless of their underlying genotypes. The more I learn about nutrition, the more convinced I become that nutrition and exposure to toxins (lead, meth, cannabis, betel, alcohol, tobacco, some medications, etc.) are large factors in producing observed differences in group IQs. It thus follows that much can be done to increase intelligence via cessation of substance abuse and targeted nutrition modifications during pregnancy.

Why am I so firmly convinced that this is possible? I have observed marked differences in height and health between similar heritage groups that were nurtured differently. For example, I was an LDS missionary in western Poland for 18 months soon after communism there was ended. I worked with dozens of young European-ancestry American men (some even of Polish ancestry), many of whose parents and grandparents had due to their religion eschewed alcohol, tobacco, and other harmful substances and apparently fed their offspring on high-protein, high-variety diets. As a group, the American LDS young men were quite tall and healthy-looking compared to the Polish young men, who'd been born into communism-caused scarcity, industrial pollution, and Eastern European alcohol abuse. The young Polish men I've seen in more recent years seem to be significantly taller and healthier than I remember their counterparts being in the 1990s. A 2016 article reports that Polish men, similar to many other population groups world over, have grown taller by 5.35 inches on average in the past century. (https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/jul/26/tall-story-men-and-women-have-grown-taller-over-last-century-study-shows) If improved nutrition can make such a large difference in physical appearance in just a century, then why not in brain development?

We know that, among other things, protein deficiency, iodine deficiency, and alcohol abuse during pregnancy tend to decrease the intelligence of the children affected. If we can extrapolate from mice, the deleterious effects of fetal alcohol syndrome may well extend out three generations or more. (https://www.upi.com/Health_News/2017/07/07/Alcohol-in-pregnancy-may-have-transgenerational-effects/3951499434939/) I probably owe much of my current health and cognitive ability to my non-drinking mother, health-conscious maternal grandmother, and my non-drinking great-grandmothers (at least two of four). As for iodine, I have a "white privilege" in that I can enjoy consuming milk as an adult; milk and yogurt are the main foods in which American women tend to get iodine in their diet, and people of European heritage are almost the only people in the world who don't become lactose intolerant with age (although even some of them develop lactose intolerance). Guess who else gets plenty of iodine, though? The seaweed eaters of East Asia, who coincidentally keep topping the charts in international academic tests. And then there's protein....All you have to do is read a bit about kwashiorkor to see that grave, lasting harm to cognitive ability is inflicted by not getting enough protein during early childhood. (http://www.nature.com/pr/journal/v5/n11/abs/pr1971371a.html)

I wish I could take every potential parent in the world and sit down with them to discuss the probable effects of their substance use and family dietary choices on their progeny. Well-informed diet and lifestyle choices by parents appear to have the potential to help equalize cognitive ability between groups.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Some personal anecdotes of home remedies that seemed to help and things that didn't

I like to be healthy and to help my family to be healthy. Unfortunately, there are many small ailments for which medicine doesn't have a sure-fire cure. So when some cold virus or other health annoyance affects my family, I like to look for ways to be healthy that don't involve going to the doctor. If it's a virus, the doctor can't do much anyway, and the doctor's office doesn't need us there to share our sniffles or tie up their resources with our minor afflictions.

So here are some things I've tried with me and my family that don't seem to have worked:
  • Getting rid of a cold sooner with melatonin. While the melatonin helped the sick people fall asleep, it didn't seem to shorten the duration of the cold noticeably.
  • Weight control by increasing the amount of catalase in our diet. While oxidative stress, diabetes, and weight issues go hand-in-hand, simply increasing catalase in the diet didn't seem to help me or my one child who struggles with weight.
  • Weight control by eating dessert before the main dish. This one was a long shot, but it was fun and odd to eat dessert out of order for a week or two.
  • Neti pot for sinus infections. I haven't used my neti pot for over five years because it made my head feel waterlogged and didn't help much (if at all) with the underlying sinus complaint.

And here are some things I've tried that do seem to have a beneficial effect:
  • Chewable vitamin C for avoiding colds. Like the doctor who recently discovered that intravenous ascorbic acid can help cure sepsis (http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/03/23/521096488/doctor-turns-up-possible-treatment-for-deadly-sepsis), I reasoned that ascorbic acid might be more effective if directly delivered to where it's needed rather than relying only on absorption via the digestive system and subsequent transport throughout the entire body. Chewed vitamins get aerosolized to a small degree and so can be carried by breathing to other locations within the respiratory tract. After one bad week of colds at the beginning of this school year, I bought a 500 tablet container of chewable vitamin C and now we regularly give one tablet to family members if they sneeze. No one has come down with a cold since we started doing that. But we are only in October....
  • Oral exposure to pomegranate juice/powder in order to kill flu viruses. This one I'm less confident of, but the two times I've tried it for possible incipient flu infections, it seems to have been beneficial. The reason I think it might work is the pomegranate compound punicalagin, which has been observed in vitro to have a significant effect in inhibiting influenza virus replication. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19586764)
  • Avoiding sinus headaches by manually moving the upper nasal tissues around. Snot apparently causes sinus issues. (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050730100344.htm) I got the idea to try massage a couple of months ago from this website--http://www.wikihow.com/Massage-Your-Sinuses--which told of a "nose rub" technique to help sinuses drain. The women in my family tend to have narrow noses with sinuses that too often stop up, so why not do something that addresses snot buildup in our particular nose structure? Doing the "nose rub" as described on the website made me feel like little Tabitha on the show "Bewitched," just wiggling my nose tip back and forth; so instead when I feel a little sinus congestion starting, I stick my thumb up each nostril in turn and using my index and middle fingers to grip the outside of my nose, I move the upper tissues of my nose in a few circles in both directions. It works to help my sinuses drain themselves. Usually I experience at least one really bad sinus headache each month, but this last month I was able to avoid getting a sinus headache. I caution anyone who tries this to 1) have clipped, smooth thumbnails and 2) don't do it in public. :)
  • Avoiding heme overdosing in order to not have restless legs syndrome. I'm not prone to RLS, but I did seem accidentally to give it to myself by eating around 2 dozen+ canned oysters, which are high in heme. (https://petticoatgovernment.blogspot.com/2017/09/oyster-heme-possible-rls.htmlNot eating additional high doses of heme--plus possibly the hydroxocobalamin and ascorbic acid I took the next day--appears to have been efficacious in limiting my RLS episode to just one night.