Here it is.. another Monday and another research grab-bag.
Five daily portions of fruits and vegetables raise serum antioxidants in three months
To explore the effects of increasing fruit and vegetable intake and the resulting effects on levels of circulating micronutrients in a community-dwelling population with an already high consumption of fruits and vegetables, 112 volunteers (86% women) underwent targeted dietary counseling for three months. At the beginning of the study and after 4, 8 and 12 weeks a food frequency questionnaire was filled in, and plasma levels of dietary antioxidants as well as biomarkers of oxidative lipid and protein damage were determined. Compared to baseline, especially the intake of fruits was significantly improved after 3 months of intervention, and mean plasma levels of lutein, zeaxanthin, β-cryptoxanthin, lycopene, α- and β-carotene, retinol, α-tocopherol, vitamin C and vitamin B6 were increased. Biomarkers of oxidative stress remained unchanged. Thus, a nutritional counseling program is capable of improving plasma levels of antioxidants even in a health-conscious population.
What is especially interesting about this study was that they used individuals who were already eating a pretty healthy diet, which just goes to show that even if you follow the BTD or GTD in terms of food choices, something as basic as making sure that you get the required amounts of recommended fruits and vegetables can make a big difference.
Schizophrenia, gluten, and low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diets
We report the unexpected resolution of longstanding schizophrenic symptoms after starting a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet. After a review of the literature, possible reasons for this include the metabolic consequences from the elimination of gluten from the diet, and the modulation of the disease of schizophrenia at the cellular level.
Previously, Dohan (Acta Psych Scand 1966, 42(2):125-152) observed a decrease in hospital admissions for schizophrenia in countries that had limited bread consumption during World War II, which suggested a possible relationship between bread and schizophrenia. Early work with lectins clearly showed that the brains of schizophrenics bind lectins differently than the brain tissue of non-schizoprhenics, which appears to make sense in that the carbohydrate content of schizophrenic brain tissue (in addition to dementia and a few other illnesses) revealed the existence of spherical deposits in the inner and middle molecular layers of the dentate gyrus in the hippocampal formation which contained fucose, galactose, N-acetyl galactosamine, N-acetyl glucosamine, sialic acid, mannose and chondroitin sulfate; many of these blood group active carbohydrates with known lectin binding affinities (link).
Over the years some of the most stirring letters I've received from book readers have centered around improvements in family members with schizophrenia. Almost all of these letters have been from or about blood type O schizophrenics, which may mean that the nutritional approach to schizophrenia might necessarily differ by foods and blood type. We are now only beginning to understand the effects of tissue glycosylation on the development and maintenance of brain neural networks (in particular those utilizing the blood group O specific antigen fucose).
Lectin-epithelial interactions in the human colon.
Similar changes in glycosylation occur in the colonic epithelium in inflammatory conditions such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease and also in colon cancer and precancerous adenomatous polyps...Tools are now available to allow fast and accurate elucidation of glycosylation changes in epithelial disease, characterization of their potential lectin ligands, whether dietary, microbial or human, and determination of the functional significance of their interactions. This should prove a very fruitful area for future research with relevance to infectious, inflammatory and cancerous diseases of the epithelia.
In years past I've written about the effects of some dietary lectins on the cells of the colon, in particular the lectins found in mushrooms, fava beans and jackfruit. Most of the plant lectins are specific for the Thomsen-Friedenreich Antigen (T antigen) a pseudo blood group antigen which is often expressed in pre-malignant cells of the colon.
Here is a quote from a study examining fava (broad) bean lectin:
VFA stimulated an undifferentiated colon cancer cell line to differentiate into gland like structures. The adhesion molecule epCAM is involved in this. Dietary or therapeutic VFA may slow progression of colon cancer.
Here is a quote from a study examining standard commercial supermarket mushroom lectin:
Agaricus bisporus agglutinin (ABA) isolated from edible mushroom has a potent anti-proliferative effect on malignant colon cells with considerable therapeutic potential as an anti-neoplastic agent.
Here is a quote from a study examining jackfruit lectin:
(Jacalin) Lectin binding to human colonocytes can predict the presence of malignant and premalignant lesions of the colon, and has potential as a noninvasive screening tool for colorectal neoplasms.
If you have a family history of colon cancer, or have been diagnosed with colon abnormalities (such as polyps) you may want to investigate adding more of these foods to you diet (using the BTD as a guide to which would be best for you)
Human pseudogenes of the ABO family show a complex evolutionary dynamics and loss of function.
The GT6 glycosyltransferases gene family, that includes the AB0 blood group, shows a complex evolution pattern, with multiple events of gain and loss in different mammal species.These results suggest that some of these GT6 human pseudogenes may still be functional and retain some valuable unknown function in humans, in some case even at the protein level. The evolutionary analysis of all members of the GT6 family in humans allows an insight in their functional history, a process likely due to the interaction of the host glycans that they synthesize with pathogens; the past process that can be unravelled through the footprints left by natural selection in the extant genome variation.
Pseudogenes have been defined as nonfunctional sequences of genomic DNA originally derived from functional genes and are sometimes referred to as 'Junk DNA.' However new finding are suggestive that these areas of non-coding DNA and RNA may be involved in developmental changes which differentiate the functions linked to the blood type genes that occur between the various species.
Another nail in the coffin for the 'animals have blood types and don't eat right for their type' criticism of the Blood Type Diet by the nincompoop Andrew Weil.
The Effect of ABO Blood Types on Periodontal Status.
A relatively higher percentage of A group patients was found in gingivitis group and relatively higher percentage of O group patients was found in periodontitis group. A significant relationship was also determined between Rh factor and gingivitis. ABO blood subgroups and Rh factor may constitute a risk factor on the development of periodontal disease. However, long-term studies are needed to make a more comprehensive assessment of the effects of ABO group on periodontal diseases.
I'm sure that secretor status had something to do with these results, since it has an effect on pellicle formation (link) I do however, agree with the results. In my own patients I have seen periodontal disease resolve easily in many type A's by simply getting their gingivitis under control. Type O's on the other hand have a harder time of things, especially if their protein intake is not adequate.
That's about it for this week.
A bit of news: I would be willing to entertain questions about topics that might be of interest to this community. Just drop a comment (link is below). I will not however, respond to questions of a personal medical nature, nor give medical advice. Thanks for respecting this caveat.
From Percept Mot Skills. 2008 Dec;107(3):737-46.
Twin and family study findings indicate a substantial heritability of digit ratio (2D:4D), a putative marker for the masculinizing effects of prenatal androgen exposure. Functional polymorphisms of the X-linked androgen receptor gene, i.e., androgen sensitivity, contribute somewhat to the expression of 2D:4D in men, but otherwise the genetics of 2D:4D is unknown. This study investigated differences in 2D:4D by self-reported ABO blood type and Rhesus factor, two easily collectible genetic traits, in two samples (combined N=1273). Effects of blood groups on 2D:4D were small and not significant in all tests in both samples; however, two consistent patterns emerged across samples. Of the ABO types, AB had the lowest right-hand 2D:4D, the highest left-hand 2D:4D, and the lowest right-minus-left difference in 2D:4D, and Rhesus factor Rh- had higher left-hand 2D:4D and lower right-minus-left difference in 2D:4D than Rh+. If replicable, this may suggest genes contributing to the expression of 2D:4D reside in the vicinity of the gene loci (chromosomal locations: 9q34.2 and 1p36.11) of these blood groups or pleiotropic effects of the blood-group genes.
As if I needed further convinced that epigenetics (the control of gene expression through nutrition) is the great wave of the future, a pre-publication results of a study released to members of The Epigenetic Society should satisfy for quite a while.
In a study soon to be published in the Journal Biological Psychiatry, researchers looked at the epigenetic effects of childhood maltreatment and early trauma. Using laboratory rats (whose epigenetic mechanisms are very similar to humans) the researchers exposed infant rats to stressed caretakers who predominately displayed abusive behaviors.
They found that early maltreatment produced persistent changes in the methylation of a gene called BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor) that is responsible for the developmental health of the cerebral cortex.
In addition, they observed disturbed BDNF methylation in the offspring of females that had previously experienced the maltreatment regimen, indicating that the epigenetic effects of abuse, trauma and neglect were carried from one generation to the next.
The GenoType Diet carries the promise of a genetic redemption of sorts, since as in the words of one researcher “Unlike defective genes, which are damaged for life, methylated genes can be demethylated. And, methyl tags that are knocked off can be regained via nutrients, drugs, and enriching experiences.” (2)
- Tania L. Roth TL, Farah D. Lubin FD, Adam J. Funk and J. David Sweatt. Lasting Epigenetic Influence of Early-life Adversity on the BDNF Gene. Biological Psychiatry, In Press
- Asim K. Duttaroy Evolution, Epigenetics, and Maternal Nutrition 2006 Darwin Day Celebration.
As is typical of this time of year, it’s been a very active time for your humble physician-author-blogger.
January started off with a whirlwind visit out to Arizona for a daylong presentation to the Arizona Naturopathic Medical Association. This was followed by a two week intensive period of website redesign, overhauling the website of The D’Adamo Clinic in addition to the navigation system for North American Pharmacal. The Clinic website is a simple white design that I like very much and it conveys what being inside the Clinic feels like to me. I’m not normally a fan of all-white walls, but in the Clinic it works.
One problem you come across again and again when you program for the Internet is cross-browser support. I’ve learned the hard way that a web page that works and looks good in Firefox for the Mac may not necessarily look or work the same way in Internet Explorer for Windows. Many, many times it’s been a last minute check on an outdated browser running Windows 95 that kiboshed a terrific idea.
Putting the final touches on the SWAMI software. I’ve decided to port it to two platforms. One will be the traditional SWAMI GenoType for professionals, the other will be a SWAMI Xpress that will be available online. Introduction of the SWAMIGenoType will be linked to the IfHI 2009 Conference, where Tom Greenfield, Natalie Colicci and I will have the time to take the attendees through the interface, filters and matrices. If you are a physician or IFHI certified educator planning to use SWAMI GenoType in your practice, you’ll need to attend IfHI 2009 to get the full training.
SWAMI Xpress will contain all the base programs of his more muscular brother, but is being designed for general-purpose use. SWAMI GenoType has advanced filters and controls that allow a physician to exert complete control over the client diet and is geared to practitioners who want to have a more micrometric control over things. Introduction of SWAMI Xpress will be as part of NAP’s “Do It For A Month” program.
On the lecture horizon, I’ve got a webinar with the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy on March 31 and an upcoming Grand Rounds presentation at the University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine on February 11. After that things calm down until the IfHI 2009 Conference June 5. IfHI should be challenging. I’ve scheduled myself for something like 9 hours of lecture time, and if you could believe it I’m stressing out about not having enough time to do justice to the material. Figured out how to control my slide show from an iPhone, which is very cool. I should be able to pace around the room and use the iPhone to cue the next slide.
After completing a few movies/animations I’ll be pretty much done preparing material for the conference, leaving plenty of time to perfect the software and get the 1971 VW Camper ready.
Got lucky yesterday. Found a site that had the entire LP of the 1974 classic The Portsmouth Sinfonia Plays The Popular Classics available as a download. I certainly don’t support intellectual property theft but this album has never made it to CD and I think the original record label is now extinct. The Portsmouth Sinfonia is the ultimate ode to amateurism: Take a bunch of English art school students --who either cannot play a musical instrument or are willing to play one they are unfamiliar with-- and put them into an orchestra. The only rules being that you had to come to rehearsal and you could not purposely play the wrong notes.
What resulted were renditions of the popular classics (Peer Gynt Suite, The Blue Danube Waltz, The William Tell Overture, etc) in which the inexperience and lack of talent produces a series of acoustic near-misses that collect into this cloud-like approximation of what the proper pitch and notes should sound like. Popular classics were selected on purpose since everyone in the orchestra would know the music and could at least aspire to what the piece should resemble--or at the very minimum whether they should be sounding higher or lower pitched notes.
Here is their rendition of Blue Danube Waltz, Op. 314 (Johann Strauss)
Beethoven was supposedly fond of listening to amateur productions of his work, and I’ve often thought that this would be among the most perfect of medical education paradigms.
This has been a busy time of things lecture-wise. Last month I lectured on 'Cancer Survivorship' at Backus Hospital in Norwich Connecticut, as part of their Fall Oncology Support Series. I really appreciate that Amy, the program coordinator (Center for Healthcare Integration) took the time to write a very nice thank you note:
Thank you so very much for the wonderful program you offered at Backus last week. Your use of metaphors to translate the scientific research is so effective and at the same time so much fun to listen to. I had many a-ha moments and between that lots of laughter. You are truly a gifted teacher.
It is a great support program from an imaginative hospital.
Immediately after this I lectured to a large group of doctors and nurses over at Soundview Medical Associates in Norwalk, Connecticut. This lecture was pretty much straight blood group science and physiology and despite some early technical glitches I was made most welcome, treated to an attentive and lively audience, and had a great time.
Early October featured a lecture at the Annual Conference of the New York Association of Naturopathic Physicians in Manhattan. This lecture was entitle 'Verisimilitude and Malignancy' and discussed how cancer systems often elude the immune system by posing as quasi blood type markers. Most naturopathic physicians were new to this type of information and as I looked out into the audience all I saw was a sea of heads pointed down as they furtively scribbled note after note.
At the conference I bumped into my old friend Dr. Russell Marz, one of the top naturopathic nutrition educators, whose 'Nutrition from Marz' is a standard nutrition text in the schools. Russell also write the nutrition reviews for NPLEX (the Naturopathic Licensing Exams). We're both expatriate New Yorkers and Russell always brings out the Brooklyn kid in me. Got a nice note afterward:
Good to see you and I just wanted to tell you how much I have appreciated your work. You really have created a whole new dimension in the field of nutrition and I believe especially in the area of cancer.
As I write this I'm preparing to leave for the airport and fly to Nashville, Tennessee for the first IFHI Micro Conference. I'll be lecturing for 3-4 hours throughout the day tomorrow. Hopefully the larynx holds up. Dr. Natalie Colicci is coming along to help with the certification, and tells me that she has already packed the lozenges.
After Tennessee things calm down a bit, which is great since I've discovered a few new veins of research that I want to pursue, and have just purchase a 1971 Volkswagon Bus that I am itching to restore.
Looming on the horizon is IFHI 2009, our biannual master conference. Unlike the prior 2005 and 2007 conferences I'll be doing most of the lecturing (something like nine hours total) by myself, with assistance from Drs. Tom Greenfield and Natalie Colicci. Again and again the feedback from prior conferences has been that, although the attendees have enjoyed the guest speakers, they would prefer that I spend more time on core curriculum and training. So here it is. I'm challenged by the idea of encapsulating an entire lifespan of work into such an information intensive format.
For the first time IFHI 2009 will be held on the east coast of the US (Norwalk Connecticut). It is close to our base of operations and affords a more easy access for the EU attendees, who comprise a rather large share of the audience. Proximity to NYC also allows folks to do some Manhattan site-seeing before or after the conference. Unlike prior conferences which held about 350 attendees, IFHI 2009 is limited to 125 on site and about 25 off site attendees. Also unlike the Buttes in Phoenix, the conference price is a 'soup to nuts package.'
I designed this little flyer for the conference. Almost prophetically it is the exact same model VW Bus that I'll be restoring. However my bus in in something over 1000 parts in over 50 crates.
I thought a recent abstract from one of the premiere nutrition journals did a pretty good job of catching up to, and explaining the theory behind The GenoType Diet:
Epigenetics encompasses changes to marks on the genome that are copied from one cell generation to the next, which may alter gene expression but which do not involve changes in the primary DNA sequence. These marks include DNA methylation and post-translational modifications (acetylation, methylation, phosphorylation and ubiquitination) of the histone tails protruding from nucleosome cores. The sum of genome-wide epigenetic patterns is known as the epigenome. It is hypothesised that altered epigenetic marking is a means through which evidence of environmental exposures (including nutritional status and dietary exposure) is received and recorded by the genome. At least some of these epigenetic marks are remembered through multiple cell generations and their effects may be revealed in altered gene expression and cell function. Altered epigenetic marking allows plasticity of phenotype in a fixed genotype. Despite their identical genotypes, monozygotic twins show increasing epigenetic diversity with age and with divergent lifestyles. Differences in epigenetic markings may explain some inter-individual variation in disease risk and in response to nutritional interventions.
Session 2: Personalised nutrition. Epigenomics: a basis for understanding individual differences? Mathers JC. Proc Nutr Soc. 2008 Nov;67(4):390-4.