Are we destroying our genetic future?

For most of us, genetic inheritance plays a limited role in determining our health. More important is where and how we live, work, and play — the quality of what we drink, eat, and breathe. From the time of conception, throughout development, and into early and late adulthood, environmental factors either directly impact biological tissues or influence gene expression and shape subsequent disease risks.

Although links between exposures to environmental contaminants and health impacts have been known for centuries, recent research documents an expanding list of previously unrecognized effects occur after fetal or infant exposures. The developing fetus and child are particularly vulnerable to toxic insults. During this time cells are rapidly dividing, and growth is dramatic. Various events, including development of the brain and endocrine, reproductive, and immune systems, are uniquely susceptible to
disruption that is often permanent. To compound the problem, pound for pound, children are often disproportionately exposed to toxic environmental agents because of the way they breathe, eat, drink, and play. Moreover, immature detoxification pathways in children frequently result in increased impacts of toxic exposures when compared to adults.

To the limited degree that health care providers address environmental factors at all, most focus nearly all of their attention on personal behaviors, like smoking, substance abuse, or use of sunscreens. These are more easily addressed by individuals than more complex problems like air and water pollution, hazardous waste sites, agricultural systems that inevitably result in farmworker pesticide exposures, and mercury contamination of dietary fish. Global environmental conditions, however, are changing, along with the changing pattern of disease and disability, and our increasing understanding of the importance of environmental factors in determining the health of individuals and populations places a new and special responsibility on the medical profession.

Consider that

** The release of ozone-depleting chemicals used for industrial and agricultural purposes has depleted the stratospheric ozone layer and is likely a major contributor to the increased incidence of malignant melanoma.

** Carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere has increased by nearly 30 percent in the last 150 years. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. Hazardous air pollution, in general, is the norm in most parts of the U.S. and elsewhere in the world.

** Humans are responsible for more atmospheric nitrogen fixation than all other sources combined. Nitrates contaminate groundwater, surface water, and air at toxic concentrations.

** Humans are responsible for most of the mercury deposition on the surface of the earth. Mercury makes its way into the food chain, where it bioconcentrates. In most states, freshwater and marine fish are sufficiently contaminated with mercury to require warnings to women of reproductive age to limit consumption because of risks to fetal brain development.

** In addition to naturally occurring products like lead and mercury that are mined from the earth, novel synthetic industrial chemicals contaminate the world’s ecosystems, its human and non-human inhabitants, their breast milk and egg yolk, ovarian follicles, amniotic fluid, and meconium. The toxicity of most is little known.

** Of the approximately 85,000 chemicals on the federal inventory, nearly 3,000 are produced in excess of 1 million pounds annually. For these high-production volume (HPV) chemicals, toxicity data are surprisingly sparse. Even basic toxicity testing results are not publicly available for 75 percent of them.In the U.S., according to the 2000 Toxics Release Inventory, over 6.2 billion pounds of the listed toxic chemicals, including 2 billion pounds of known or suspected neurotoxicants, were released into the environment by major emitters required by federal law to file reports. Emissions from
small industries and neighborhood shops are unquantified. The extent of exposure from these releases and from the use of various consumer products that contain them is also largely unknown, but population-based surveys give an indication of the ubiquity of exposures.

Small exposures to substances like lead, mercury, or polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which have no discernible impact on adults, can permanently damage the developing brain of a child, if the exposure occurs during a window of vulnerability. Early exposures to dioxin or polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), chemicals from industrial activities that bioaccumulate in dietary fat, damage the developing immune system, making the child more prone to infections, risks of asthma and high blood pressure are increased by early environmental exposures. Recent research from Sweden concludes not only that environmental factors play a more important role than genetic inheritance in the origin of most cancers, but also that cancer risk is largely established during the first 20 years of life.

Some birth defects, including disorders of the male reproductive system and some forms of congenital heart disease, are increasingly common. Sperm counts and fertility are in decline in some areas of the U.S. and other parts of the world. Asthma is more common and more severe than ever before. Genetic factors explain far less than half of the population variance for most of these conditions. Although smoking and sun exposure are well-recognized risk factors for some conditions, improved understanding of development of the brain and the immune, reproductive, respiratory, and cardiovascular systems leads to the conclusion that other environmental factors play a major role in determining current patterns of disease.

Be well
Dr Sundardas

Protecting Yourself against the Swine Flu.

A new study just published in the journal Postgraduate Medicine has good news about a way to help fight a potential flu pandemic, naturally. Researchers found that a specific strain of probiotics, which are beneficial microorganisms similar to the “friendly” bacteria found naturally in the body’s digestive system, increases the body’s immune response to the flu virus — specifically, to influenza A. And the currently much hyped and much feared so-called swine flu, also known as H1N1, is a variant of influenza A.

Although many mainstream medical doctors as well as natural health practitioners have long recognized that probiotics can often help people with digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diarrhea, gas, and bloating, the idea that taking probiotics could help healthy people stay that way has been controversial. But the new study could change that notion. It shows that taking probiotics regularly can boost the immune system in a specific way which helps the body give influenza A the boot. The probiotics strain, which has the scientific tongue-twister name of Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, PTA-6086, was found to cause significant increases in T-cell production of TNF-alpha, a key immune system activity marker, when health adults were exposed to influenza.

Researcher Mira Baron, MD, measured changes in blood TNF-alpha levels in 10 healthy adult volunteers before and after they took doses of the probiotic strain Bacillus coagulans (which is marketed under the trade name GanedenBC30 and found in various dietary supplements) daily and then were exposed to an influenza A virus. Results showed a huge 1709 percent increase in TNF-alpha levels upon viral challenge after the research participants had taken the probiotic for about a month. Dr. Baron noted in her study that the initial, dramatic increase in the body’s production of TNF-alpha in response to viral exposure shows a heightened immunological response aimed at protecting against infection.

The study did not evaluate an immune response to the specific swine flu virus, H1N1, currently causing much worry. However, there’s certainly reason to think that Bacillus coagulans could boost the body’s natural defenses to fight a variety of flu viruses, including swine flu. “These results demonstrate the ability of GanedenBC30 to boost the immune system of healthy adults against viruses that cause some of the most common human illnesses,” Dr. Baron said in a statement to the press. “The study helps support the long-suspected belief about the beneficial effects of GanedenBC30 on the immune system and adds to the emerging body of evidence that probiotics can benefit healthy people as well as those with specific health issues.”

According to Dr Peter D’Adamo, you should aim to protect the gut and respiratory passages. Elderberry should be used only by people under 15 or over 35. This is one of the useful herbs. The other herb that can be considered is licorice.

Also of course in order to keep your immune system at an all time high, you want to minimize your exposure to harmful lectins. If you are not quite sure what types of lectins are bad for you, please refer to my earlier blog on, “Why all diets are not equal”
Be wary of immune stimulants. Some of the products outlined above are part of a comprehensive protective program.

However in the event that you actually do get an infection, then you may want to consider a product called “lentin plus”. Lentin Plus 1000 is a dietary supplement, which contains Rice Bran Arabinoxylan Compound that has been scientifically shown to increase NK cell activity by as much as 300% in just a couple of weeks, whilst T and B cell activities are increased by 200 and 150% respectively. Research has also shown that it can help significantly boost natural antibody production, as well as other parameters of the immune system. It has been clinically proven to help powerfully enhance depleted immune systems and improve the quality of life. I have used this product for my patients and myself for the management of acute viral infections. The results have to be experienced to be believed.

It is also important to be sufficiently well hydrated. Research has shown that significant dehydration can have an impact on the immune system as well. There are certain white cells that are sensitive to histamine and that strongly inhibit the activity of the immune system in the bone marrow. There are twice as many of these white cells as there are cells that stimulate the immune system. Thus, dehydration that can cause the production and release of more than a certain amount of histamine may, in the long run, suppress the immune systems of the body at its central command station, the bone marrow.

One way the immune system relies on water is the same as for exercise. Dehydration causes the blood to become concentrated and torpid–not optimal conditions for immune cells to rush the invader. Furthermore, water helps regulate temperature–essential during fever–and flushes microbes and toxins out of the body. Remember, thirst is an indicator that you are already dehydrated.

Those who lead healthy lifestyles do not have to worry about the destruction done by smoking, alcohol and drug use, but toxic chemicals are present elsewhere and are harmful to our immune systems. Avoiding second-hand smoke is essential. Also important is the amount of non-organic foods you ingest. This is particularly true for children, because the EPA’s guidelines for safe pesticide levels are standardized for a large adult human male, not for children who are not only smaller but who metabolize chemicals at a different rate.

The cells that comprise the immune system–NK cells, macrophages, B-cells, T-cells, etc.–rely on a well functioning, strong circulatory and lymphatic system. A sedentary lifestyle leads to lethargic blood and lymph flow. By neglecting to take physical exercise, by overworking mind or body, we unbalance the nervous system.

Be well

Dr Sundardas

Sweet Poison.

In 1957, Dr. William Coda Martin tried to answer the question: When is a food a food and when is it a poison? His working definition of “poison” was: “Medically: Any substance applied to the body, ingested or developed within the body, which causes or may cause disease. Physically: Any substance which inhibits the activity of a catalyst which is a minor substance, chemical or enzyme that activates a reaction.”1 The dictionary gives an even broader definition for “poison”: “to exert a harmful influence on, or to pervert”.

Dr. Martin classified refined sugar as a poison because it has been depleted of its life forces, vitamins and minerals. “What is left consists of pure, refined carbohydrates. The body cannot utilize this refined starch and carbohydrate unless the depleted proteins, vitamins and minerals are present. Nature supplies these elements in each plant in quantities sufficient to metabolize the carbohydrate in that particular plant. There is no excess for other added carbohydrates. Incomplete carbohydrate metabolism results in the formation of ‘toxic metabolite’ such as pyruvic acid and abnormal sugars containing five carbon atoms. Pyruvic acid accumulates in the brain and nervous system and the abnormal sugars in the red blood cells.

These toxic metabolites interfere with the respiration of the cells. They cannot get sufficient oxygen to survive and function normally. In time, some of the cells die. This interferes with the function of a part of the body and is the beginning of degenerative disease.”

When the Muslims originally clashed with the Christian warriors in the Middle-east at the time of the Crusades they were formidable warriors.
As they slowly started capturing Christian territory and took over the sugar cane plantations and began to cultivate a “sweet tooth” they slowly lost their invincibility.

A molecule of sucrose requires 27 nutrients before it can be broken down to supply energy in the Kreb’s cycle. Which means that since white sugar is “empty” calories, every molecule of sugar will strip 27 nutrients from the body (normally from the nutrients stored in the liver for detoxification). When you smoke, you are exposed to about 4000 toxic items in the cigarette smoke which your body must use up nutrients from your liver to detox.

It is a noticeable trend that more and more food items have “low-sugar”
labels on them. With respect to human body needs, how much sugar do wereally need daily? Low sugar labels are fine. Sugar substitutes however can be even worse as in aspartame or nutrasweet. Refer to Andy Ho’s article a few years ago about aspartame being used to kill ants because of its neurotoxic properties.

The world (particularly East Asian) countries are facing an epidemic called “Syndrome X”. One of the major reasons for this is the introduction of refined carbohydrates and white sugar.

You need from 1200 calories for women to 1800 calories for men on a daily basis. You can get these calories from foods which are packed with nutrition or from foods with empty calories like white sugar. If you get them from nutrient rich food than as you meet your caloric needs, you are also meeting your nutritional needs for vitamins and minerals.

When carbohydrates from your diet are processed in you body they are broken down into glucose. You don’t need to take extra sugar, provided you meet your caloric needs.

There are different forms of sugars and sugar substitutes. Some of you may wonder what they are all about. Fructose is fruit sugar. Table sugar is sucrose which is the most common form of empty calories. Glucose is the form that all forms of carbohydrates and sugars are broken down in your body to naturally.

Molasses is what is obtained from sugar cane juice when itsconcentrated. Honey is from bees. These are probably the healthiest ways of getting your sugar, because they are often rich in nutrients.

Nutrasweet or aspartame – I have mentioned above is neurotoxic. One account states that diabetics who sued it found their diabetes hard to manage in the long term.

Many people experience craving for sugary items, e.g. cakes and cookies, when they are stressed, and they feel better after satisfying the craving. Some health reports point out that this is in fact very bad for health. This is often related to hypoglycemia. As they get stressed, the body overreacts and the sugar level plummets down.

So they take more sugar rich foods, which further strips the body of nutrition and upsets the body’s biochemistry. As they keep doing this, the cells become increasingly resistant to glucose so they move towards either Syndrome X or diabetes.

How does want start to reduce sugar in one’s diet? One teaspoonful of granulated sugar contains 15 calories, 8 teaspoonfuls of sugar is found in one can of coke. You don’t need to drink coke. If you must drink
coffee and tea, do it without sugar. This is one extreme. If you really
wanted to cut out totally empty calories, this is how you can do it. Instead of drinking coke, drink water.

For some, this feels like too much. So they can gradually cut down. If you drink one coke a day, do it on alternate days for one week, the next week once in three days. The week therafter, once in 4days, than once in five days and so on. Finally you drink only one can of coke a week.

Be well

Dr Sundardas

Why are we not biologically equal?

One of the major divides between Western Medicine and Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) is the concept of individuality. In Western medicine, if you have a flu, you are treated the same way. In CAM, depending on your practitioner you would be examined and analysed to discover what was the weakness that led to you developing the flu.

One man’s food is another man’s poison. Most people are eating foods that are not compatible with their biochemistry, and it is making them sick. Should you be a vegetarian or a meat eater? Are grains and dairy products compatible for you? What foods super charge your particular metabolism and what foods deplete your vitality?

According to the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Nutrition findings, most Americans are deficient in three or more essential nutrients. Nutritional experts tell us that it is more like twelve and some sick people being deficient in as many as fifty nutrients.

Are you toxic? Are any organs of your body being affected by toxins due to junk food, fast food, and devitalized food? Singaporeans are fast becoming toxic garbage dumps. In naturopathic medicine we believe that toxicity is the common denominator of all disease.

Most modern day diseases are degenerative in nature. It takes 10-20 years or more to develop diabetes, arthritis, stroke, cancer, heart disease, etc. Testing can predict your tendency towards particular disease and help to construct a nutritional and lifestyle program to prevent disease. The science is now available to prevent most degenerative disease at their earliest inception.

The newest Singaporean phenomena is popping pills. Everyone is popping vitamins these days, but does anyone know what they are doing? Now you can know exactly what you should be taking based on your individual biochemistry. No more guess work, no more trial and error, no more opinions, no more gurus. Now you can know exactly what vitamins to take based on your individual biochemistry.

As incredible and unbelievable as it may seem, doctors take blood, but never speak to you about your diet, vitamins or food supplements. Finally… you can learn what each and every blood bio-marker means to you nutritionally and what you should do about it.

Due to dietary improprieties, nutritional deficiencies, and toxicity, the bodies of many Singaporeans have become inefficient, low energy, fat storing, depots. Now you can convert your body into a highly efficient, energetic, fat burning dynamo. You can now stop storing fat and begin burning it.

Confusion is the order of the day in America. So much information, misinformation, and disinformation has bombarded us by the media, airwaves, and market place, that it is difficult for even intelligent people to sort it all out. Nutritional testing cuts through the information maze and hones in on your individual biochemistry.

The old allopathic medical model waited until a named disease developed, then fought the disease. Nutritional and functional medicine testing changes that model. You now become proactive and responsible for your health, rather than inactive and irresponsible. No longer do you wait for disease. You will now have the tools to aggressively build a state of high level wellness and nutritional soundness that allows you to live the abundant life, physically, mentally, and spiritually. This is what we believe preventive medicine is all about.

Nutritional testing and personal health evaluation is an educational experience. You get to learn how efficiently every gland, organ, and system of your body is working long before a named medical condition sets in. Over a hundred biodiagnostic markers can be evaluated to determine your wellness status. For many patients it is the first time their blood and urine results have been explained in such detail. You will learn what each individual test means. The clinical range used by orthodox medicine to diagnose medically named conditions,

At Natural Therapies Centre we believe we are what we eat. Testing will tell you what foods you need to eat more of to get the nutrients your body needs, and what foods you need to avoid.

I like to quote an example to illustrate the above concepts. I have been seeing this nice young man in his thirties. Lets call him James. James was being treated for hypertension. He came in to see me to sort out his chronic gastric condition. After a few months this condition was managed quite satisfactorily. Now many of the individuals I have helped with their gastric condition, do not go on to develop other complications. Almost a year later, James developed what turned out to be chronic pancreatitis. He had almost passed out, been admitted to hospital for observation and finally scoped, analysed ad nauseum and diagnosed.

James was in a state of shock. He had no idea why this had happened. The doctors in the hospital kept treating James like an alcoholic. Finally we did a DNA test on him. The results were very revealing. James tested positive for 8 out of 108 possible disease patterns. In other words if he had adopted a normal Singaporean reasonably lifestyle he might have had a stroke, heart failure (in three different possible ways) or developed cancer. Thanks to the test results, his life could take a different path. James now had the choice of making drastic changes that would enable him to have a high quality disease free life. This would give him a good chance of being able to watch his children grow up and have families.

Unfortunately, James’ father never had that chance. He had a stroke when James was still in his teens and had never recovered.

Be well

Dr Sundardas