Rational Wellness Podcast 044: Lyme Disease with Dr. William Rawls

Dr. William Rawls talks with Dr. Ben Weitz about Lyme Disease and how to effectively treat it. 

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Podcast Highlights

3:12  Dr. Rawls explains his journey from OBGYN to chronic Lyme disease patient. He was originally diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

5:58 Testing for Lyme Disease.  “When I see someone, and they have all the symptoms of Lyme Disease, I put them in the category of having Lyme Disease no matter what that testing might show.”

10:10  Dr. Rawls explained that we all have lots of microbes in us, but it is not until our immune system is disrupted that infections with Lyme Disease or Babesia or Mycoplasma cause you to become sick. Dr. Rawls explains that Lyme Disease is really a condition of immune dysfunction.

11:52  Dr. Rawls explains his seven different categories of immune system disruptors: 1. Poor diet, 2. Toxins, 3. Emotional stress, 4. Physical stress, 5. Oxidative stress, 6. Artificial radiation, 7. Microbiome dysbiosis/Leaky gut

15:43  I asked Dr. Rawls, “Do you think there’s an increase in the number of people that are contracting Lyme or is it more the case that our modern lifestyle is leading people to become sick from Lyme disease?” Dr. Rawls explained that while it is true that with global warming there are more ticks, he feels that it is more related to our modern lifestyle.

20:45  Dr. Rawls explains that antibiotics are not particularly effective for chronic infections and they are indiscriminate killers that damage our microbiome and our mitochondria.  Dr. Rawls finds herbal therapy to be more effective for chronic intracellular infections like Lyme Disease and Bartonella. 

30:32  Dr. Rawls mentions that magnesium, esp. at higher dosages, tends to be problematic for patients with Lyme Disease by making symptoms worse. 

32:10 I asked Dr. Rawls if he uses detox protocols in his treatments and he said that rather than including a separate detox phase of the treatment, he regards the whole recovery from Lyme process as a form of detox. 

 

 



Dr. William Rawls is available for consultations and speaking and can be contacted at his website where you can find lots of information about Lyme Disease  https://rawlsmd.com/          You can get information about his herbal protocols at https://vitalplan.com/.

Dr. Ben Weitz is available for nutrition consultations specializing in Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders like IBS/SIBO and Reflux and also specializing in Cardiometabolic Risk Factors like elevated lipids, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure as well as chiropractic work by calling the office 310-395-3111.


 

Podcast Transcripts

Dr Weitz:             This is Doctor Ben Weitz with the Rational Wellness Podcast bringing you the cutting edge information on health and nutrition from the latest scientific research, and by interviewing the top experts in the field.  Please, subscribe to the Rational Wellness Podcast on iTunes, and YouTube. Sign up for my free ebook on my website by going to drweitz.com. Let’s get started on your road to better health.

Dr Weitz:             Hey, Rational Wellness podcasters, thank you so much for joining me again today, and we have such an important topic. We are going to talk about Chronic Lyme Disease. Lyme disease is a very complicated, and confusing disease. It starts with an acute infection from a tick bite, but it can become chronic, and go on for years, and years.  The tick bite results in an infection with a corkscrew-like bacteria, typically known as Borrelia burgdorferi. Since it was first discovered, we’ve learned that there are a number of different variations, and species of Borrelia.  After this initial infection, it can create a chronic condition, and this chronic condition is really what we want to focus on, that’s really the condition that creates the most problems. It’s difficult to detect, it’s difficult to treat. Many of the patients who have Chronic Lyme Disease are not even aware that they were bitten by a tick bite. Or the exposure could’ve been years ago, and it’s not connected up to when they actually got sick.

                                The Centers for Disease Control estimates that there are approximately 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease per year in the US, and it seems to be increasing.

                                Our special guest today is Dr. William Rawls. He was a practicing OB-GYN for 15 years when he found himself dealing with Fibromyalgia and Lyme disease, likely from a tick bite years earlier. He discovered that antibiotics made him worse, and he found that herbs worked better, though his medical training had him very biased against the idea of using herbs. He dug into the literature about Lyme Disease, and he discovered through trial and error how to restore his health. He ended up dedicating himself to treating patients with Lyme Disease, and he wrote three books, including his latest, which is Unlocking Lyme, which is the most informative and well-written book on Lyme Disease that I have ever read. Doctor Rawls, thank you for joining us today.

Dr Rawls:             Thank you very much, it’s my pleasure.

Dr Weitz:             Can you explain what happened when you found yourself not feeling well? How did you figure out that you had Lyme Disease? How did you go about correcting yourself?

Dr Rawls:             Like most everyone with a Lyme Disease story, it was convoluted. My health gradually deteriorated, I didn’t have any memory of a tick bite, other than I got bitten by ticks almost continually when I was younger. I chose the profession of OB-GYN because it was a field of medicine that was wellness oriented, it wasn’t drug heavy, which just … it jived well with my personality.  The downside was the call. I went to a small town, and ended up taking call every second to third night. That went on for about 15 years.

Dr Weitz:             By the way, taking call means that you’re on call at a hospital if there’s an emergency.

Dr Rawls:             On call, yeah. If someone is in labor, or in the emergency room, you get called. Most of the time, virtually, every time I was on call, I was at least waking up, and a lot of times I was up all night long. That went on for 15 years. I got to the point that I couldn’t sleep when I wasn’t on call, and my body was just deteriorating.  At first, you go to your local physician, and other physicians in the community, and find that they really don’t know what’s going on. You end up with this diagnosis of fibromyalgia. I considered Lyme Disease, but I did the initial screening test and it was negative.  Because, I had all the symptoms of fibromyalgia, which are basically the same as Chronic Lyme, which are basically the same as the early stages of most Chronic Illnesses.

Dr Weitz:             What were those symptoms?

Dr Rawls:             Fatigue, feeling like you have a flu every day, aches and pains all over, weird neurological symptoms, pins and needles, burning feet, blurry vision, it just went on, and on, and on. Basically, my whole body was collapsing.  It was later after I started taking my health in my own hands that I ultimately discovered that it was, and I did have a positive test for Borrelia, but have come to know Chronic Lyme quite a bit differently than I think most people do.

Dr Weitz:             What do you think is the best way to test for Lyme, or do you think it’s even worth testing for it?

Dr Rawls:             It’s always a loaded question. Our testing right now is fair at best. Something to know about the testing is, all the labs that are doing testing for these microbes that we found to be associated with Chronic Lyme, the standard of testing is for acute infection, in other words, when it’s a brand new infection, the microbe has just entered the body, and the reaction of the immune system is strong, and the microbe levels are high. But, most everybody being tested has chronic infection, where the immune system has these responses been attenuated, and the microbe levels are really, really low.  When you look at the rate of testing an acute infection, which may be a sensitivity, or ability to find the microbe, as high as 95%, it probably drops to around 20% or less with Chronic infection.  Often, the testing is marginally valuable. When I see someone, and they have all the symptoms of Lyme Disease, I put them in the category of having Lyme Disease no matter what that testing might show. But, then you have to come around to defining what exactly is Lyme Disease.

Dr Weitz:             What do you think about Doctor Vojdani’s lab, which does the antibody testing, do you think that’s a little more accurate?

Dr Rawls:             There are two ways to test. One is you can test directly for particles of the microbe, typically DNA from the microbe, or you can test for the reaction of the body to the microbe. But in either case, when you’re looking for a chronic infection, you’re talking about very low levels of microbe, and an immune response that’s been attenuated, pushed down by the microbes themselves.  The testing becomes less, and less valuable. I think we’re going to get better, and as we do, I think what we’re going to find is there are a whole lot more forms of Borrelia than just Borrelia burgdorferi, we already know that there are about 12+ worldwide.

Dr Weitz:             12, wow.

Dr Rawls:             Probably a lot more. Then, there are all the other microbes that are associated with Lyme beyond Borrelia. As we get better testing, what we’re going to find is an awful lot of people are carrying these microbes that aren’t sick. It’s a lot more widespread than most people realize.

Dr Weitz:             Why are there always associated other microbes like babesia, and mycoplasma, why does that exist?

Dr Rawls:             Because we all have them, quite frankly. That goes beyond that basic definition of what Lyme Disease is. When you look at humans, we are wonderful microbe collectors. We start at birth, we pick up the microbiome, the collection of microbes from our mother, and we add to that throughout life.  When you look at insects like ticks, and mosquitoes, and all the other insects, and all the other ways you can get microbes, we’re constantly picking up microbes throughout our lifetime.  A high percentage of people, mycoplasma, 75% of people with Lyme have mycoplasma. Well, if you look at any general population worldwide, somewhere between a third and three quarters of any population, healthy or otherwise, will have mycoplasma.  Same is true with all these other microbes, bartonella, babesia, all of these things. All of us pick these things up, it’s not until your immune system gets disrupted that these things start to become a problem, and that’s what happened in my case. I didn’t get ill until I trashed my immune system.

Dr Weitz:             Interesting. I guess that’s why you write that Lyme Disease is really not so much an infection as a disease of immune dysfunction.

Dr Rawls:             Yeah. When I look at fibromyalgia, and Lyme Disease, and all of the chronic autoimmune type diseases, I see a lot of commonality there. I think, ultimately, we’re going to see more and more associations between most chronic illnesses and these things that I call stealth microbes. The characteristics of all the microbes that are associated with Lyme and so many of these others things are that they live inside cells, and they infect white blood cells, and through doing that, they are able to manipulate the immune system.

                                They are doing a couple of things. They’re pushing the immune system away from being able to take care of inner-cellular microbes. Microbes that have infected cells, they suppress that part of the immune system. But they gear up other parts of the immune system that cause this systemic inflammation, and that helps break down tissues to have access for food sources. Because that’s basically what these microbes want, is they just want nutrients to survive.

Dr Weitz:             You write in your book about seven different categories of immune system disruptors, can you go into those for us?

Dr Rawls:             Sure, yeah. That was the initial part of my change in approach. When you look at conventional medicine, we do a great job of treating acute situations. Our whole system is based on acute illness. Most drugs treat things acutely.  It wasn’t until about 1960 that we started focusing on chronic illness, and trying to find drugs that treated chronic illness, but still, if you look at it, we treat chronic illness acutely, in most cases.  It appeared to be a fundamental flaw of through instead of treating the illness, why are we not looking at it and say “Why is the patient sick? What made this person sick?” For a few things, broken leg, heart attack, stroke, that cause is very evident, but when you look at chronic illnesses, it’s less so. It’s usually a combination of things that come together.  They’re pretty obvious, I think most people can pick these things up, if you sit in a group and ask people “What do you think causes illness?” The first thing most people talk about is food. We’re eating an abysmally bad diet for humans, 200,000 years we ate forage food, and now we’re eating all these processed grain products, and it’s just not good for us, it suppresses immune function in a variety of ways.

                                Toxins, we live in a pretty toxic environment. There’s subtle toxins throughout all of our food, and air, and water. Stress, living in the modern world causes stress, really uncomfortable. Just sedentary lifestyle. We’re built to move, and we now sit in front of computers all day, and it’s just not good for us.  One that’s a little harder to define is what the effect these computers, and cellphones, and all the things that are surrounding you right now have. But there’s no doubt that they do disrupt our energy flow, and our normal energy pathways.

                                Free radicals, when we metabolize food, we generate free radicals, but inflammation itself is free radicals. Then, the microbes, we all pick up microbes and some are worse than others. People that don’t pick up Borrelia and some of the things that come with Lyme Disease are less apt to get a chronic illness, but again, I think there are lots of people out there that have these microbes but aren’t ill, because they haven’t had those other factors come together to set the stage for the immune disruption that allows these microbes to flourish.

                                In other words, I had these things in my body for years, and years, and it wasn’t until that I ate bad food, didn’t sleep for years, and years, was under constant stress with a busy, busy practice, that’s when these things started to flourish, and started to compromise my health. It wasn’t one thing.  These things are distributed throughout all the tissues in the body, it’s not like a pneumonia where you have an infection in the lung, it’s throughout your entire body. Everything breaks down. That’s what Chronic Lyme is.

Dr Weitz:             Do you think there’s an increase in the number of people that are contracting Lyme or is it more the case that our modern lifestyle is leading people to become sick from Lyme disease?

Dr Rawls:             Yeah. That’s a difficult question to answer, absolutely. There is no doubt that with global warming, there are more ticks.

Dr Weitz:             Okay, that makes sense.

Dr Rawls:             When I was studying this, I pulled studies that they were looking at well-established tick populations in the arctic that were 10 or 20 years ago, and [crosstalk 00:16:23] the tropics. Everywhere there are warm-blooded animals, there are ticks, and other biting insects.  Maybe there are more ticks, maybe ranges of ticks are changing, but I would say submit that these things have been present for a very, very long time. Looking back, historically, you can pick a lot of people, it’s interesting, I was reading on Darwin recently, and he had all these chronic symptoms throughout his lifetime. He was a guy that was definitely in the forest, in the woods, exposed to a lot of different insects, he had all symptoms of Lyme Disease, it was really interesting.  These things have been going on, it’s just that we haven’t recognized it, and our testing … you know, you look back, there’s no reference point. The testing 20 years ago, or 30 years ago, was terrible, absolutely terrible. It’s getting better, but it’s fair at best. Without a reference point, and without good testing, how do you have any idea whether the incidents of this microbe is increasing?  Plus, people are becoming more aware. People are starting to put together these symptoms, they’re starting to get tested. A lot more people are becoming aware of Lyme Disease, a lot more people are being tested. That increases the incidents artificially, who’s to say that all those people back 40, or 50 years ago didn’t have this? Honestly, my grandfather was an outdoorsman, and he had all the symptoms of Lyme Disease. But, he didn’t he had Lyme Disease back then because nobody knew what Lyme Disease was.  I think that’s, somewhat, at least at this point, an unanswerable question.

Dr Weitz:             Do you think Lyme Disease can be transmitted by anything other than a tick bite? Do you think it can be transmitted by sexual contact, or saliva, or any other vectors?

Dr Rawls:             I think it’s possible, but what you find is microbe specialize. Let’s look at two corkscrew bacteria. One is Borrelia, causes Lyme Disease, the other one is Syphilis. There are a lot of similarities between those two illnesses, and they’re both very similar microbes.  Syphilis is primarily, when that microbe evolved, it found a niche that it could be easily transmitted sexually in human populations. It specialized in that. That isn’t to say that syphilis couldn’t be transmitted by a tick, but it specialized in being concentrated in sperm, and vaginal fluids, so it would be easily transferred between humans. Basically, all these microbes want to do is transfer from one host to another.

                                Borrelia on the other hand chose ticks, there’s very good evidence that it’s been doing that for not thousands of years, but absolutely millions of years. Possibly all the way back to the dinosaurs.  Yes, it is possible that it is transmitted sexually, and it is possible that it is carried in other microbes. It has been found in mosquitoes. I’ve seen too many families that have, whole families Lyme Disease to suggest that it isn’t spread sexually or in utero.  But, it doesn’t particularly specialize in that. You don’t typically find high concentrations of Borrelia in seminal fluid or vaginal fluid. I didn’t say it can’t, it’s just if you gave it a chance, it rather work with a tick. The tick, it has a really cozy relationship that it helps the tick in the tick helps it. It’s predominantly tick borne, no doubt.

Dr Weitz:             You’ve written that you didn’t find, and you don’t find with your patients antibiotics to be particularly helpful, and you’ve found herbal therapies to be much more effective, and other nutritional protocols. Can you talk about why antibiotics are not particularly effective for Lyme? What sorts of herbal protocols you find effective?

Dr Rawls:             Sure. Yeah, we could talk about this for an hour, but I’ll condense it here. Antibiotics like most drugs, are designed for acute infections. You have someone with pneumonia, they have an extra cellular microbe, that doesn’t live inside cells, it’s consolidated in one area of the body, it’s growing very rapidly, it’s turning over generations very rapidly. That’s what antibiotics are built for. You put that person in the hospital, and they’re going to turn the corner in a day or two, and be well in a couple of weeks. 

The problem with antibiotics is that they’re indiscriminate. When you’re going to hit the fastest growing microbes the most, but the longer you use them, the more you’re going to affect all of the microbes in the body. What tends to happen is you suppress your normal, friendly flora, and you grow out pathogens in the gut.  I always look at antibiotic therapy as being a race. Are you going to kill the offending microbes before you disrupt the entire microbiome and suppress immune system functions even more?

                                Other things with antibiotics is they actually, they destroy our mitochondria, mitochondria are ancient bacteria that we incorporated into our cells eons ago. They disrupt biofilms in the colon. When we talk about biofilms, everybody’s worried about biofilms. Your immune system deals with biofilms quite well, and actually, you want to protect some biofilms. You have a biofilm in your colon that is protective, and it’s very important. Antibiotics disrupt that biofilm.

                                There’s a whole list of reasons why when you apply these things to a chronic, intra-cellular infection, it just doesn’t work as well. Because when you look at these microbes, Borrelia, mycoplasma, bartonella, all of these things, they’re intracellular, they’re growing very slowly, they’re distributed throughout tissues in the whole body.  When you hit them with antibiotics, you end up hitting your normal flora harder than you hit these microbes. Typically, the solution that most people follow is “Well, we’re not going to get them in days or weeks like with pneumonia. You’re going to have to hit them for months, or years.” You lose the race almost every time. Not to say that there aren’t people that do recover with antibiotic therapy, but I’ve seen all too many people that had squandered their life savings on expensive, intravenous antibiotic therapy just to be much, much worse than when they started.

                                The advantage of herbal therapy is that you’re talking about a whole different thing. Plant medicine, you’re talking about a spectrum of substances that the plant is producing to protect itself. The plant has to figure out the friend versus foe problem also. Plants have to deal with these threatening kinds of microbes, but they have to protect their normal flora.  One of the interesting things that I’ve found about herbs is they typically don’t disrupt the gut. But they are more suppressive. I wouldn’t use herbs to treat an acute pneumonia, but for the stealth microbes you have the suppressive effect without disrupting your normal flora, and you’re enhancing immune, you’re rebalancing immune system function at the same time. You can literally use these things for months and years.  I’ve been taking herbs almost continually for 10 years, and things just keep getting better every year. It’s a gradual thing, you do have to create long-term, but herbs, because they suppress the stealth microbes, they don’t disrupt the normal flora, and they restore normal immune function, are just a really nice choice.  

Dr Weitz:             Now, can you talk about some of your favorite herbs for Lyme Disease?

Dr Rawls:             Fortunately, there are a lot of them. Early on I happen to read a book by a guy named Stephen Buhner, who wrote Healing Lyme, it was a well-known book. I used that core protocol starting out, but then I built out beyond that.  What you find is, virtually, all herbs has some anti-microbial and immune enhancing properties. His initial protocol, the top of the list, was Andrographis, which is a really nice herb, has some really nice antiviral properties too, especially for flu, it’s probably one of the best things out there for flu.  Cat’s claw, which is from the Amazon, another great herb that was used for syphilis, so we know it has some activity against Borrelia, which is really important.  Then, we have so many other, the Japanese knotweed, sarsaparilla, but the list goes on and on. Neem is a good antimicrobial, has some really nice properties. One I’m looking at now is mimosa pudica, which is an excellent herb. The list just goes on and on.

Dr Weitz:             Is that from the mimosa tree?

Dr Rawls:             Pardon?

Dr Weitz:             Is that from the mimosa tree? Right? There’s a tree.

Dr Rawls:             Right. No, this is a mimosa plant, the leaf looks like mimosa, but it’s a ground cover. But it’s the touch-me-not plant, if you touch it, it folds its leaves up. It’s a really cool plant. Turns out that it just has some fantastic medicinal properties, a wide range of properties. There are just unlimited number of things that we can use.

Dr Weitz:             Japanese knotweed resveratrol is interesting. We use that as part of an antiaging protocol for its polyphenol properties. I never knew that it had antimicrobial effects as well.

Dr Rawls:             Well, yeah, no doubt about it. There are other places you can get resveratrol, grapes, the muscadine grape we have in North Carolina has some really nice properties. But when you look at the whole herb, Japanese knotweed, or all of the other chemicals that come in grape seed, or in grapes in general, you’re not talking about just resveratrol.

Dr Weitz:             I agree.

Dr Rawls:             Resveratrol by itself does have antimicrobial properties that has some really nice antiaging properties, but the herbs also have a full spectrum of other components that are really important. But when you talk about anti-aging, those system disruptors that I talked about, those are the things that are causing us to age.  When you look at herbs, they’re counteracting all of those things. They’re loaded with antioxidants. They balance the immune system. They balance the microbiome and suppress the stealth microbes that I think are part of all of aging and illness, in a chronic illness.   All the herbs, if you’re looking at an anti-aging protocol, it matches what we would do for Chronic Lyme almost to the tee, it’s really interesting.

Dr Weitz:             One thing I find interesting is, I deal a lot with patients with SIBO, Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, and there’s a series of herbs, antimicrobials, that we typically use for those patients, and it includes berberine, oregano and thyme oil, garlic, and those don’t seem to be effective against Lyme, I guess, because I don’t see those in the list of herbs recommended for Lyme, typically.

Dr Rawls:             Berberine and your berberine containing herbs, goldenseal, coptis, so many others. Berberine is the predominant one that I find to be top of the list for SIBO. The others that you mentioned are also excellent. But they’re not absorbed systemically as well. That’s the thing about berberine, it gets absorbed into the urinary tract, you get it into your GI tract, so it’s good for urinary things, it’s good for GI things. It’s not as good for systemic infections. But it is just exceedingly good for so many things.  Really great for balancing the gut, I think it’s better than a probiotic for balancing the microbiome in the gut.

Dr Weitz:             Interesting. You write in your book that magnesium can make Lyme symptoms worse, I thought that was kind of an interesting … I often recommend magnesium, we find a lot of patients are low in magnesium. How can magnesium be a negative for Lyme?

Dr Rawls:             That one it’s hard to answer. I’ve heard it theorized, the microbe use magnesium, and therefore if fuels the infection. I’m not sure whether I buy that or not, I’m not sure whether it causes micro imbalances in our minerals in the body, but I have noted it personally, and noted it with other people.  When I took high doses of magnesium, after a while, after I used it, my symptoms just got worse and worse until I stop the magnesium. That is really common. I’m choosy, I think a lot of people can take magnesium, probably a lot of people need magnesium, but it’s still you have to be careful with.

Dr Weitz:             Interesting. Do you ever use IV vitamins?

Dr Rawls:             I don’t personally, and I haven’t in my practice, but for somebody who’s really ill, I think there can be some benefit to get you there a little bit faster, which I think is a fairly reasonable thing to do. But glutathione and vitamin C, especially, seem to be beneficial.

Dr Weitz:             Do you use detox protocols in your treatments? We had Melanie Gisler speak at one of our meetings about Lyme Disease. She likes to include detox into her protocols.

Dr Rawls:             Yeah, I just did a webinar pretty recently on detox, and really did a deep dive on what we’re doing. My conclusion was when you look at Lyme recovery, it is detox, the whole thing. This concept of just doing this protocol, and I’m done with that, and I’ll move on to other parts of recovery, nah, it’s an initiation.  But the whole recovery process is detoxing. When you look at detox, it’s really clean food, it’s lots and lots of vegetables. But if you look for one thing that detoxes the body better than anything on the face of the earth, it’s vegetables. Lots, and lots of fresh vegetables.

                                No matter what diet you choose, I think that the golden rule for any healthy diet is it needs to be at least half vegetables, or more. Eat more vegetables than anything else. Because the vegetables are binding the toxins, pulling them out of the body, and vegetables are going to be lower in toxins than a lot of other kinds of processed foods. That’s really important.  The vegetables help enhance liver function. Then you throw in the herbs on top of that, you know, we’re talking about berberine, berberine is a really nice bile-stimulant, you got to get your liver moving. You throw some andrographis in there, which is another bile-stimulant, and really enhances liver function, and protects the liver. Throw in some milk thistle too if you like.

                                So many of our herbs are doing the things that we want to do with detoxification. Then, cleaning up air. I’m spending a lot of time studying research that I can find on negative ions, and negative ion generators, and essential oils for just cleaning up the air, making our air better, filtering water.  I don’t see detox as a thing that’s done, I think detox is something you embrace for a lifetime. A detox protocol is a way to get initiated in that, but it becomes “This is how you live your life.” You live a clean life, and that’s what enhances immune function. That is not only what’s going to help you recover from chronic illness, but it’s also going to help you slow down the processes of aging in general.

Dr Weitz:             Cool. What do you think about ozone? That’s very popular in LA for Lyme protocols, is using some form of ozone.

Dr Rawls:             Yeah, I think if you have asked me five years ago, I would say “That’s crazy. Ozone is just really toxic.” But, I’ve since come around, there has been enough literature out there, and I have been to enough lectures and really studied it enough to recognize that I think it does have value. All of these microbes are very oxygen sensitive, basically, we’re infusing high reactivity oxygen species that are free radicals. They do have a pretty strong effect on the microbes.  Of the types, you can either inject ozone, or you can run someone’s blood to a hyperbaric chamber with ozone that pushes ozone into the blood, and then back in the body, and that circulates over and over. I think it does have an effect.  Are you going to eradicate all the microbes? No, because they’re so deep in the tissues, and they’re inner-cellular, you’re not. But I think it has value.  

Here’s the thing; I think it’s important to put in perspective. If I have someone that is doing all the things that they need to do to rebuild their immune system, they’ve cleaned up their diet, they’ve cleaned up their lifestyle, they’re living a clean lifestyle, they’re embracing the herbs, and they’re not quite getting there, or they want to get there a little faster. You know, their immune system is on the rebound. Then ozone can be beneficial. It might be what I call a heroic therapy that might get them there a little bit quicker.

                                Whereas, I’ve met all too many people that aren’t doing those things, and are going for ozone, and they might feel better for a week or two, or a month. But, then they’re right back where they started. Then, they’re doing it again, and again.  It’s expensive, and every time you use it, every time you use it, you’re going to do more damage to your blood vessels. There’s a certain amount of toxicity with it. You’ve got to be really frugal in that use.  The message with ozone is do all the things that you need to do first to rebuild your immune system, then if you want to get there quicker, or if it’s not quite getting all the way there, then I think ozone is a consideration. But, as a stand alone therapy, I don’t think that’s a good choice.

Dr Weitz:             Great. Great. This was really good information Doctor Rawls. Is there any final thoughts you’d like to tell our listeners and viewers?

Dr Rawls:             Let’s see. The big thing is, when you look at Chronic Lyme Disease, I think you’re fundamentally looking at a model of all chronic illness. More and more, as I searched the literature, I find that we’ve lost connections to our ancient past. The food we’re eating is abnormal, our world is full of toxins, our microbiome is less diverse, and it contains more pathogens than it ever has. Herbs are part of the missing link.

                                I’ve been thinking about it, it was very differently as of late. I’ve just rewrote our diet guide, and you study, and humans ate foraged food for 200,000 years. It wasn’t until about 10,000 years ago that we started adopting grains. Really, most intensely 100 years ago.  That foraged food was roots, and leaves, and stems, and bark off of trees, it was anything that might have some calories. Humans ate a lot of it. It was very bitter. When you look at the concept of digestion, bitter is really, that’s what initiates our digestion, because all the food was bitter for several hundred thousand years.  But all of that food was loaded with phytochemicals, these substances that we find in herbs. Those things are typically very bitter, they don’t taste good. We selectively bred all of those things out of our food now.  Our food tastes better, it’s higher in carbohydrate, it doesn’t have the bitterness typically, and we like it better. But it’s missing that spectrum of phytochemicals. The only way you can really get it back now is herbs, because herbs have been cultivated to actually enhance the presence of those things.  I’m starting to see herbs not as something you do therapeutically, but as a true deficiency, something that is really, really missing. When you look at paleo diets, and other things, people are eating a paleo diet because they’re not foraging food out in the woods, and they’re still missing those ancient phytochemicals that are so important for our health.  Whether you’re talking about treating Lyme disease, or antiaging, or virtually anything else, I see herbs as really an essential component of what people should be doing.

Dr Weitz:             That’s a great clinical pearl. How can viewers get a hold of you?

Dr Rawls:             We’ve got an informational website called rawlsmd.com, I got a lot of information about Lyme disease, connections to the book, and that sort of thing. Then, we also have a website called Vital Plan, that we do carry some products and things on that. Either way, they can find lots of other information, and yeah, it’s important.

Dr Weitz:             Are you available for consultations?

Dr Rawls:             I am. I do do consultations. I’m spending more of my time just writing, though, at this point, because I can reach so many more people writing, and doing webinars, and doing shows like this. We can connect, and I can get this information out there in a bigger way.

Dr Weitz:             That’s great. Thank you, Doctor Rawls.

Dr Rawls:             Thank you very much for having me, it was a real pleasure.

Dr Weitz:             Excellent, I enjoyed it too.

 

Improve Your Thyroid Function With Proper Nutritional Supplementation

 

Improve Your Thyroid Function With Proper Nutritional Supplementation 
Approximately .4% of people in the United States have hypothyroidism, an under-functioning thyroid gland, and an additional 4-8% of people in the US have a mild form of hypothyroidism known as subclinical hypothyroidism, meaning that they have an elevated Thyroid Stimulating Hormone but don’t have significant symptoms of low thyroid. The most common symptoms of hypothyroidism are fatigue, hair loss, dry skin, feeling cold, poor memory, brain fog, constipation, and weight gain. When screening for thyroid, the Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) is most commonly tested, however, we find it helpful to also run free T3, free T4, and the thyroid antibodies, TPO and TG. Over 90% of patients in the US with hypothyroid have autoimmune hypothyroid, referred to as Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, so we find it helpful to run the thyroid antibodies to see what level of autoimmune disease is present. If autoimmune disease is present, it is important to try to discover some of the triggers and causes of of it and not just take thyroid hormone and forget about the cause of the problem.
 

Studies show that there are a group of nutrients that are important for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland, including iodine, selenium, zinc, iron, vitamin D, magnesium, and Coenzyme Q10. Some of these nutrients are important for the production of thyroid hormone as well as for the conversion of the inactive T4 thyroid hormone produced by the thyroid into the active T3 form mostly in the peripheral tissues, especially in the liver, gut, skeletal muscle, and the brain, but also in the thyroid gland itself. There are a number of triggers that can set off or exacerbate autoimmune disease, including the nutrient deficiencies just mentioned. There are other factors that are important for thyroid health and which can be triggers for thyroid autoimmune disease (Hashimoto’s), including adrenal status (esp. if cortisol levels are too low or too high), chronic infections, leaky or unhealthy  gut, heavy metals and other toxins, including flouride, chlorine, and bromide, estrogen fluctuations, PCOS, imbalances of the TH1/TH2 immune system, as well as a number of prescription drugs. Medications that can interfere with thyroid function and T4 to T3 conversion include the following:

               1.  antibiotics & antifungals (i.e. sulfonamides, rifampin, keoconazole),
               2.  anti-diabetics (Orinase, Diabinese),
               3.  diuretics (Lasix),
               4.  stimulants (amphetamines),
               5.  cholesterol lowering medications (Colestid, Atromid, LoCholest, Questran, etc.),
               6.  anti-arrhythmia medications (Cordarone, Inderal, Propanolol, Regitine, etc.),
               7.  hormone replacement (Premarin, anabolic steroids, growth hormone, etc.),
               8.  pain medication (morphine, Kadian, MS Contin, etc.),
               9.  antacids (aluminum hydroxides like Mylanta, etc.) and
               10. psychoactive medications (Lithium, Thorazine, etc.).
 

You can see Dr. Weitz for a comprehensive nutrition consultation and after going through a detailed history with him, he can prescribe recommended laboratory testing to try to help determine some of the underlying triggers for your autoimmune thyroid disorder. These could include functional stool analysis, other gastrointestinal testing, such as SIBO breath testing and/or testing for H. pylori, provocative urine or serum testing for heavy metals or other toxins, testing for chronic viral infections, nutrition testing, hormone testing, or organic acid urine testing.

Low Vitamin B6 Status in Kidney Transplant Patients is Associated with Increased Mortality

When functional levels of Vitamin B6 are measured to be lower in kidney transplant patients, they have a higher rate of dying (mortality), particularly due to cancer or infection.  This correlates with other research associating low B6 levels with increased risk of mortality, cancer, and infection. 
 

Vitamin B6 deficiency is common in renal transplant patients. Functional B6 status is measured by looking at levels of pyridoxal 5′-phosphate, the biologically active form of vitamin B6. and the ratio of plasma 3-hydroxykynurenine and xanthurenic acid. Such functional measurements of vitamin B6 status are a more accurate assessment of vitamin B6 status than trying to measure direct B6 levels in the blood.  

 
This goes to show that such functional vitamin deficiencies or insufficiencies can be a factor that increases your risk of chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease and for longevity.  Consider seeing Dr. Weitz for a nutritional consultation and having him run a full functional vitamin, mineral, antioxidant, amino acid, and fatty acid analysis through Genova or Spectracell.  You need to know that the blood panels run by your MD for annual physical do not assess the functional status of vitamins and other nutrients, other than perhaps iron if an iron panel is included or vitamin D if this optional test is included.  Optimize your intake of nutrients to reduce the likelihood of or to help control chronic diseases, like heart disease, cancer, and autoimmune diseases. 
 
 
Minovic I, Van Der Veen A, Van Faassen M, et al. Functional vitamin B-6 status and long-term mortality in renal transplant recipients. Am J Clin Nutr. December 2017. vol. 106 (6):1366-1374
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Rational Wellness Podcast 034: Maximizing Fitness with Nutrition with James LaValle

Pharmacist James LaValle discusses how to maximize your fitness levels by following the optimal nutrition program with Dr. Ben Weitz.

[If you enjoy this podcast, please give us a positive review on Itunes, so more people will find The Rational Wellness Podcast]

 

Podcast Details

I started the discussion by asking James LaValle to comment about high intensity forms of exercise, such as Tabatas, which might involve doing high intensity exercise, such as sprinting for 30 seconds to one minute, followed by a 1 minute or longer rest, and the whole workout may take 5 or 10 minutes.  I asked Jim if this is enough exercise to get someone into shape?  James said that while he likes high intensity exercise like Tabatas, it is not enough, esp. not for a type II diabetic or someone who is really overweight. They have to burn it off over a period of time to affect their blood sugar and their cortisol levels. One of the problems is that we need to be careful not to say that everyone should train one way. For people’s different metabolic demands, they will need different programs. James explained that the football player’s nutrition program should be different than the hockey player’s and may have different metabolic demands than the baseball player or the gymnast. But for the average person, you just have to get them moving. They are too sedentary.

3:59 I asked isn’t it the case that just getting them to get up and move around at work and not just sit all day is beneficial. James answered that it’s not ok to just go the gym for 30 minutes per day and be sedentary the other 23 1/2 hours.  We need to be active and move and keep our bodies in the shape that we need to be able to exercise and train.

4:40 I asked if he likes any of these wearable devices that help you track your steps? James said that anything that brings awareness is great, but people tend to burn out using them after a while. He said that the device he likes the most for sleep is the Oura Ring, but some of the other devices are less accurate for tracking sleep. Tracking can be helpful when you are trying to create a new habit.

5:35 I asked what he thinks about monitoring heart rate variability, such as for measuring overtraining in athletes? James explained that heart rate variability is incredibly important because when you lose heart rate variability, you lose vagal tone, which is the balance between your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. When you lose that balance, your blood vessels stay stiff and you don’t get compensatory relaxation when you need it and you get dizzy upon standing and in the worst case you get POTTS, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia. For monitoring heart rate variability, he recommends an app called Inner Balance for his patients. Also, if you are sympathetic dominance, then you are catabolic, and muscle is the currency for aging.

7:05 I pointed out that with respect to heart rate variability, you want more heart rate variability, which signals health. James explained that there is a rhythm between the brain and the heart and there is a built in variability in it. When the variability shrinks, that means that the nervous system is miscommunicating with the heart and the neurovascular network. There are strong correlations between performance and also with what you eat and your heart rate variability. 

8:21 I asked if any of the wearables are accurate for heart rate variability?  James explained that if you are going industrial, a lot of the sports teams are using the omega wave. If not, then Interbalance from HeartWave has a real simple device using an ear clip on that’s a medical device and can be helpful.

9:20 I said that I read that James was not a fan of sports drinks. Don’t they help with replenishing electrolytes? James responded that the typical sports drink has a lot of sugar with very little electrolytes. And 

 

James LaValle can be contacted through his website, http://jimlavalle.com/ where you can order his latest book, Cracking the Metabolic Code.       

Dr. Ben Weitz is available for nutrition consultations. Dr. Weitz specializes in Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders like IBS/SIBO and Reflux and he also specializes in helping you to reduce Cardiometabolic Risk Factors like elevated lipids, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure as well as chiropractic work by calling the office 310-395-3111.

Roasted Carrot and Red Quinoa Salad
Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 large carrots, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup red quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 5 ounces mixed salad greens
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
How to Make It

Step 1
Preheat the oven to 400°. In a small bowl, whisk the paprika with the turmeric, cumin, ginger, coriander, cinnamon, cayenne, cardamom and 1 teaspoon each of salt and black pepper. In a medium bowl, toss the carrots with the onion and 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add 1 tablespoon of the spice mix and toss to coat. Spread the vegetables on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring once or twice, until tender.
Step 2
Meanwhile, spread the walnuts in a pie plate and bake for about 7 minutes, until golden. Let cool, then coarsely chop.
Step 3
In a medium saucepan, combine the quinoa with 2 teaspoons of the spice mix and the water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, about 17 minutes. Uncover, fluff with a fork and let cool slightly.
Step 4
In a large bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons of the oil with 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice and season with salt and black pepper. Add the salad greens and toss to coat. Spread the greens on a large platter. In the same bowl, whisk the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil with the remaining 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and the zest, mustard and 1 teaspoon of the spice mix; season with salt. Add the quinoa, walnuts, cranberries, parsley and roasted vegetables and toss well. Spoon the quinoa salad on the greens and serve.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is Treatable

 

For many years, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) has been thought of as a condition that is stress related and can only be managed with drugs that reduce symptoms. But most cases of IBS are caused by an infection in your small intestine, known as Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). This can be diagnosed with a Glucose or a Lactulose Hydrogen/Methane Breath Test that we can prescribe for you. Up to 84% of patients with IBS have been shown to test positive for SIBO with a lactulose breath test.(1)

 

However, IBS is usually treated as a condition with no known cause that can only be treated with drugs that reduce symptoms, like constipation or diarrhea.  Medications for constipation are many and can include magnesium, MiraLax, stimulant laxatives like Senokot, and other medications like Linzess and Amatiza. Medications for diarrhea include calcium, charcoal, Imodium, Lomotil, bile acid binding agents like cholestyramine, and also Lotronex, among others. But these medications do not attempt to correct the underlying causes of the symptoms.

After carefully going through your health history and doing a breath test and a stool sample, we can hopefully find the underlying cause of your symptoms and correct that. Occasionally other testing, such as food sensitivity testing can be very helpful. If you test positive for SIBO/IBS, this can be effectively treated in many patients with a special dietary regimen, natural, herbal anti-microbials and a few other nutritional strategies, including specific probiotics. There are certain prescription antibiotics that can also be very effective, but some of the herbal anti-microbials that have been shown in studies to be as effective as the antibiotics, and these are usually safer.(2)  If you choose to go with antibiotics, I will refer you to a gastroenterologist.  For an effective treatment, we must also restore proper intestinal motility, which can be accomplished nutritionally as well, as long as there are no structural barriers. Unfortunately, not everyone is better after the first month of care. An additional round may be necessary, perhaps with a different choice of herbs. We may need to change the dietary approach as well. Sometimes another type of diet is necessary, such as a few weeks of the elemental diet.

After phase one of our treatment, which is to Remove the overgrown bacteria and restore the intestinal motility, we then need to Rebuild our intestinal health using certain other nutritional strategies. This Rebuild is the second phase and is necessary in reducing the likelihood that it will return. We also need to broaden our nutrition out from the specialized diet we have been following while trying to eradicate the SIBO. This should be done in a gradual manner, checking to see if any of these foods create a reaction.  A percentage of patients continue to have some symptoms and may want to repeat the breath test and possibly repeat a cycle of care every so many months or may do well with a low dose of herbs on a daily basis. But there is a good chance that we will be able to identify the underlying cause of your discomfort and correct that, rather than just treating your symptoms.

 
References:

Fish Oil Supplements Help Stabilize Chronic Kidney Disease

Patients with both diabetes and coronary artery disease often develop chronic kidney disease. Increasing levels of a protein, albumin, in the urine is one of the key indicators of the development and progression of chronic kidney disease. This is referred to as albuminuria. Normal, healthy kidneys filter out large protein molecules and do not allow them to pass into the urine. The presence of albumin in the urine is an indicator of improperly functioning kidneys. This is best measured by looking at the albumin to creatinine ratio (ACR) in the urine. 

72.3% of patients with diabetes and coronary artery disease saw an increase in their ACR over a one year period, meaning that they had a decline in their kidney function. Only 63.3% of those patients who were treated with either an angiotensin-converting enzyme-inhibitor (ACE) or angiotensin-receptor blocker (ARB) (both types of blood pressure medications) experienced an increase in their albumin to creatinine ratio.  However, those patients with both diabetes and coronary heart disease who took fish oil (2.3 gm of EPA and DHA) had no change in their ACR.  In fact, not only did these patients not see a decline in their kidney function, some of the patients who took fish oil saw an improvement in their kidney function via a decrease in their ACR, whereas none of the patients who took ACEs or ARBs saw such a reversal.  

My interpretation of this paper is that fish oil essentially reduced to zero the likelihood that patients with both coronary artery disease and diabetes would progress to chronic kidney disease, at least over a one year period, which patients taking the drugs that are the current standard of care–ACEs or ARBs did not experience. In fact, some of these patients saw an improvement of kidney function, which the blood pressure meds were unable to accomplish.  If this is not enough to demonstrate a significant benefit of fish oil supplementation, then I don’t know what is.  If fish oil was a prescription drug, it would become a billion dollar drug.

Reference:

Elajami TKAlfaddagh ALakshminarayan D, et al..  Eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids attenuate progression of albuminuria in patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and Coronary Artery Disease.  

http://jaha.ahajournals.org/content/6/7/e004740.long

Statins (cholesterol lowering drugs) Not Effective for Those Over 65 Years Old

Statin drugs, such as Lipitor and Pravastatin, have been recommended to prevent heart attacks in patients with elevated cholesterol. Some cardiologists have touted the benefits ot these drugs and have even suggested putting it in the water supply.  When Pravastatin was tested on adults 65 years of age and older who had not had a prior heart attack but whom had LDL levels between 120 and 189 and whom also had hypertension, there was no preventative benefit.(1) The drug was given to them to prevent them from getting heart disease, but it was ineffective. For those adults 75 years of age or older, there was a slight increase in all cause mortality.

Most of the research indicates that statin (cholesterol lowering) medications are either of no preventative benefit or of very little benefit for most patients. But older individuals are more liable to suffer side effects from these medications, including a decline in physical and mental function, as the authors of this paper point out in the discussion section. Older adults are at increased risk of muscle problems from taking statins. Statins may also have cause fatigue with exertion and a loss of cognitive function.(2) Such effects can make older individuals less active, which can result in a negative impact on their health. Based on my reading of the studies, unless they have had a prior heart attack or stroke, older individuals probably should not take statins, but this decision should be made by you and your primary MD or your cardiologist.

If you want to lower your cholesterol levels naturally without taking statins, speak to Dr Weitz about a heart healthy nutrition program and some natural supplements that will not have the same downside as statins. These could include niacin, plant sterols, red yeast rice, tocotrienols, panthenol, berberine, hops, and vitamin K2, among others. You should have a blood test called an advanced lipid profile, such as the cardiometabolic profile from Spectracell Labs that Dr. Weitz can send you for, and then see Dr. Weitz for a nutrition consultation to map out a nutrition and lifestyle plan for you.

 

References:

1. Han BH, Sutin D, Williamson JD, et al. Effect of Statin Treatment vs Usual Care on Primary Cardiovascular Prevention Among Older Adults: The ALLHAT-LLT Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Intern Med. 2017;177(7):955-965.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/articles/28531241/
2. Golomb BA, Evans MA, Dimsdale JE, White HL. Effects of statins on energy and fatigue with exertion: results from a randomized controlled trial. Arch Intern Med. 2012; 172(15): 1180-1182

 

Response to American Heart Association Paper that Saturated Fat and Coconut Oil are Bad

You’ve probably seen the headlines like “Coconut Oil is Actually Terrible For You” that were seen after the American Heart Association (AHA) paper was published in the medical journal, Circulation, on June 15, 2017 that argues that saturated fat is the cause of heart disease. Most of these newspaper and magazine articles refer to the new study that presents this new evidence. But there is no new study!  All that happened is that these American Heart Association doctors published what amounts to an opinion piece based on old research.  After reviewing what they consider the four most important studies, all from the 1960s, they conclude that heart disease is caused by consuming foods with saturated fats, like meat, cheese, and coconut oil, and the answer is to substitute vegetable oils, like corn, soybean, and canola oil.

These doctors do not present any new evidence to support this older theory that our focus with diet should be to avoid saturated fats, like butter, cheese, red meat, and coconut oil and we should substitute polyunsaturated vegetable oils like soybean and corn oil. But these studies from the 1960s have problems with them, including that when you substitute vegetable oils, like soybean oil that are very high in omega 6 fats, you get an increased rate of death from cancer. This is because omega 6 fats promote inflammation. Thus, while the Los Angeles Veteran’s trial, one of their 4 core studies, showed lower rates of death from heart disease, there was actually no lower rate of death because the increased rate of death from cancer and other diseases made up for it.

The American Heart Association also ignored the recently published Minnesota Coronary Experiment that was conducted 40 years ago but was just recently published that found that for every 30 mg/dL reduction in serum cholesterol resulted in a 22% higher risk of death.  And the AHA also dismissed several meta-analyses that have been published recently that demonstrate that there is no association between saturated fat intake and heart disease or stroke.

The AHA conclusion that coconut oil is unhealthy is based on the fact that it contains mostly saturated fats, which they claim are the primary cause of heart disease through raising LDL levels. As I mentioned, saturated fat intake if it is part of a high carbohydrate diet, esp. processed carbs, can increase atherosclerosis risk, but if part of a healthy, low glycemic program, coconut oil does not increase heart disease risk.  While coconut oil is mostly saturated fat, the primary saturated fat is lauric acid, which is directly absorbed by intestinal enterocytes and may prevent fat deposition in blood vessels.

 Further, there are quite a number of proven benefits of coconut oil, including that it is a good, high heat cooking oil, it was shown in several studies to help with weight loss, it raises HDL levels (the “good” cholesterol), and improvements in cognitive function, including in patients with Alzheimer’s Disease. I’m still using my coconut oil to cook my eggs and on my roasted vegetables.  It is a much better choice than to use soybean oil.  If you want to modify your diet and lifestyle to put you on a path that lowers your risk of heart disease, make an appointment with Dr. Weitz for a Functional Nutrition consultation.

Broccoli Prevents Cancer

Broccoli Prevents Cancer

 

In the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, a new study shows that sulforaphane from broccoli may have a positive impact on genetics and prostate cancer risk.(1)  Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of death in men in the US and more targeted preventative strategies are needed.

What is sulforaphane? Sulforaphane is a major phytochemical found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, brussel sprouts, radishes and others.  The highest concentration is found in broccoli sprouts.  Sulforaphane is formed when an enzyme myrosinase helps to break down glucoraphanin, a glucosinolate, into sulforaphane during the chewing phase of digestion.

Phytochemicals like sulforaphane can act as a protectant to our cells.  It’s a cell’s primary defensive system.  Sulforaphane has been shown in other research to have anticancer effects.(2) So far, sulforaphane has been shown to exert it’s positive effects through the activation of Nrf2 signaling pathway.(3) This study provides another pathway through which sulforaphane exerts its potent cancer protective effects.

The recent paper mentioned above explains that researchers recognized a pathway where sulforaphane can affect long, non-coding RNAs. Ribonucleic acids (RNA) are long molecular chains responsible for transmitting genetic material.  RNAs are crucial for cellular growth and can be negatively expressed, which can trigger chronic diseases like cancer.

Ingesting sulforaphane positively expresses your genes by decreasing the long non-coding RNA four fold, thereby normalizing it during upregulation in prostate cancer, possibly preventing the progression of cancer and in some cases preventing it altogether.  It turns out that the current kale craze may not be so crazy after all.  Or maybe we are going to see a broccoli sprouts craze! Break out your gas mask.

You should include cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and kale in your daily diet and you should also consider adding a sulforaphane supplement from broccoli sprouts.  Most broccoli sprout supplements contain glucoraphanin, but this still has to be converted by the body into sulforaphane.  Metagenics has developed a nutraceutical product called SulforaClear that not only contains 204 mg of the powerful phytochemical, sulforaphane, but it also contains the myrosinase enzyme, derived from the broccoli florets, which facilitates the production of the active ingredient in the body.   Sulforaphane should be part of your anti-cancer regimen, esp. if you have a family history or a genetic profile that increases your cancer risk.

 

References:

  1. Beavera LM, Kuintzlec R, Buchanan A, et al. Long noncoding RNAs and sulforaphane: a target for chemoprevention and suppression of prostate cancer. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry 42 (2017) 72–83.
  2. Zhang Y, Talalay P, Cho C, Posner G. A major inducer of anticarcinogenic protective enzymes from broccoli: Isolation and elucidation of structure. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 1992; (89), 2399-2403.
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4789124/