Alzheimer’s Disease & Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Dr. Edward Thorpe
Alzheimer’s Disease & Omega-3 Fatty Acids

DrThorpemicrophoneExciting new research indicates Omega-3 fatty acids may forestall Alzheimer’s disease. Enquire about these developments with Dr. Thorpe at Kripps Pharmacy and obtain our “Inflammation Protocol”. Also, see Nutrition Alert by Stephen Kripps, Ph.C., available at the pharmacy, which comprehensively discusses this research.

Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that already affects millions of North Americans and one that is expected to affect millions more as the number of people over 50 continues to increase. Scientific research indicates that Alzheimer’s occurs when nerve cells in several key areas of the brain are damaged or destroyed. These changes disrupt the normal flow of information between the body and the brain resulting in a steady decline in mental function. This mental destruction is most likely caused by the formation of the neurofibrillary tangles (knots) and senile plaques (clumps) that only occur in the areas of the brain that control memory and the retention of learned information. If you forgot where you put your glasses there is no great cause for concern … but if you have forgotten you wear glasses you have significant reason to worry about your memory problem.

At the October 2000 Conference of the American College for the Advancement of Medicine researchers emphasized the role of chronic inflammation as a causative factor in the development of Alzheimer’s. When doctors treating Alzheimer’s patients took a closer look at who seemed to be succumbing to the disease, they uncovered a tantalizing clue: those who were already taking anti-inflammatory drugs for arthritis or heart disease tended to develop the disorder later than those who were not. Perhaps the immune system mistakenly saw the characteristic plaques and tangles that build up in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients as damaged tissue that needed to be cleared out. If so, the ensuing inflammatory reaction was doing more harm than good. Blocking it with anti-inflammatories might limit, or at least delay, any damage to cognitive functions.

It appears that some people are more sensitive to plaques and tangles than others. Perhaps they have a genetic predisposition. Perhaps a long-running bacterial infection, like gum disease, keeps the internal fires burning and tips the balance toward chronic inflammation.

Preliminary research suggests that low-dose aspirin and fish-oil capsules (E. C., enteric coated) – both of which are known to reduce inflammatory cytokine – seem to reduce a person’s risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Unfortunately, most of these preventive measures need to be started well before any neurological problems develop.
Recognizing the unique benefits of the omega 3 fatty acids EPA, and DHA and the serious consequences of a deficiency, the US National Institutes of Health recently published Recommended Daily Intakes of fatty acids. They recommend a total daily intake of 650 mg of EPA and DHA, 2.22 g/day of alpha-linolenic acid and 4.44 g/day of linoleic acid.
Kripps Protocol for Protection Against Alzheimer’s

1. Fishol E.C. 1000: pharmacologically distilled, tested and guaranteed to be free of mercury and heavy-metals, supplies 380 mg of EPA, DPA, and DHA. The capsule hermetically seals the contents from degradation by air oxidation. It contains oils from North Atlantic wild salmon, the best natural source for the essential omega-3 acid family of eicosapentaenoiic acid (EPA), docosapentaenoic acid (DPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Additionally, each capsule has a special enteric coating (E.C.) that protects the contents from digestive stomach juices. This ensures that a high proportion of the valuable essential fatty acids survive intact to reach the intestines where assimilation into the body occurs, and it ensures there is no disagreeable aftertaste.
Take 3 capsules daily, with food.

2. CO Q10 60 mg, 1 capsule twice daily
3. Acetyl-L-Carnitine 500 mg, 1 capsule two times daily
4. R (+) Alpha Lipoic Acid 100 mg, 1 capsule two times daily
5. Carnosine EC, 500 mg, 1 capsule two times daily
6. N-Acetyl Cysteine 500 mg, 1 capsule up to three times daily
7. Vitamin E 400 IU, I capsule twice daily, with or without food
8. Vitamin B12 as Methylcobalamin 5000 mcg, 1 capsule daily
9. Vitamin C SR (slow release) 1000 mg, 1 tablet three times daily
10. Vitamin D3, ¼ teaspoon, twice daily
11. Turmeric 500 mg, I capsule 3 times daily
12. Ibuprofen E.C. 600 mg, I tablet daily

Contraindications and Disclaimer: There are no known contraindications to use of the Omega 3’s, unless you are allergic to fish. Please note: as always, consult your physician prior to beginning any therapeutic nutritional program. Kripps Pharmacy Ltd. offers this article for educational purposes only and can not accept liability for generic prescriptive advice indiscriminate of its individual customers.

To contact Dr. Thorpe, or Kripps Pharmacy,
Visit us at 5413 West Boulevard, Vancouver, BC, V6M 3W5
Call us at 604.687.2564; Fax 604.685.9721
Email us at altermed@portal.ca
See us at www.krippspharmacy.com

Inflammation: The 21 Century Disease

Inflammation: The 21 Century Disease
Dr. Edward Thorpe

Inflammation is the most significant factor contributing to the development of strokes, heart disease, macular degeneration, aging skin, diabetes, digestive disorders, Alzheimer’s and autoimmune disorders such as lupus, MS, rheumatoid arthritis and asthma. Inflammation is the body’s defense against bacteria, viruses and foreign substances. But, as we age the ability to control inflammation decreases. Inflammation becomes “chronic” and the body’s immune system attacks every cell and every organic system. This problem may be compounded by poor diet, obesity, genetic and environmental factors.

The best way to test the inflammatory status is a blood test to determine the level of C-reactive protein. Levels should be below 1.3 mg/liter of blood. Blood levels of 3 or higher give rise to a greater risk of stroke, heart attack and certain types of cancer, such as colon or esophageal.

KRIPPS Pharmacy has developed a program to help protect against excessive or chronic inflammation.
a) Whatever you eat plays an important role: be nutrition-conscious, daily.
b) Reduce consumption of foods high in arachidonic acid (a polyunsaturated, Omega 6 oil), such as beef, egg yolks or dairy products.
c) Generally, completely avoid trans-fat unsaturated fats (used in the preparation of commercial junk foods), reduce consumption of long-chain saturated fats (those fats that are solid at your body temperature), and increase consumption of superunsaturated oils (those that are liquid at your body temperature), such as those found in Omega 3 foods (e.g. walnuts, flax seeds, pumpkin, hemp & canola oils, salmon, sardines, herring, dark green leafy vegetables).
d) Avoid consumption of foods C whether proteins, sugars, or fats – cooked at high temperatures, such as junk foods or fried foods, which cause glycation. Glycation causes arterial shifting, cataracts, neural impairment, aging skin, and is implicated in DNA damage.
e) Consume lower glycemic-index foods, such as complex grains, versus products made from refined flours. Reduce all forms of refined, or otherwise concentrated, sugars.
f) Exercise regularly, drink lots of water, and get a genuinely restful amount of sleep.

Supplement your diet with these KRIPPS products:

1.Fishol 1000 mg E.C. (Enteric Coated) Omega 3 essential fatty acid: take two capsules, twice daily, at any time.
2.Acetyl-L-Carnitine 500 mg – take 1 capsule, twice daily, with or without food.
3.R(+) alpha Lipoic Acid Slow Release 100 mg – take 1 capsule twice daily, with food.
4.Mega Vitamin Kit – 1 of each capsule once daily, with food.
5.D3 1000 iu C take 1 capsule three times, daily
6.Super Phytogenol Forte – take 1 capsule, 3 x day, with Vitamin C.
7.Tumeric, 500 mg C take 1 capsule three times daily
8.Carnosine E.C. 500 mg – take 1 capsule, twice daily.
9.Glutathione E.C. 250 mg C tale 1 capsule, twice daily.
10.N-Acetyl Cysteine 500 mg – take 1 capsule, 3 times day

Remember, also, what is good for your skin is good for your body. Your skin is the largest organ of your body (up to 58% of your body weight!). To help keep the youthful appearance of skin, use KRIPPS Hypoallergenic Moisturizers &
Anti-Wrinkle cream.

1.DMAE Plus: Cream or Serum.
2.Dew Drops (Hyaluronic Acid serum), or De-Lite Cream.
3.Soluble Serum C
4.D3 Cream

To contact Dr. Thorpe, or Kripps Pharmacy,
Visit us at 5413 West Boulevard, Vancouver, BC, V6M 3W5
Call us at 604.687.2564; Fax 604.685.9721
Email us at altermed@portal.ca
See us at www.krippspharmacy.com

Come hear Dr. Edward Thorpe speak further on Inflammation at the Vancouver Health Show, Sunday, Oct. 17, 1:-2: p.m. Visit us at Booth # 609 within the Health Show at Canada Place.

Contraindications and Disclaimer: There are no known contraindications with the regime specified above. Please note: as always, consult your physician prior to beginning any therapeutic nutritional program. Kripps Pharmacy Ltd. offers this article for educational purposes only; it is not intended as a substitute for diagnosis or treatment by a qualified health care professional.

Aging and Low Thyroid Function

Aging and Low Thyroid Function
Dr. Edward Thorpe

Approximately one in twenty Canadians suffer from thyroid disorders, and women are more prone to these disorders than men. The current literature indicates that at least one woman in every ten may have signs of faulty thyroid by the age of fifty. There are two main causes of thyroid disorders. HYPERTHYROIDISM means an overactive thyroid – too much thyroid hormone is being produced, causing such symptoms as nervousness, increased sweating, palpitations, weight loss, insomnia, weakness and frequent bowel movements.
HYPOTHYROIDISM, or underactive thyroid, means not enough thyroid hormone is produced by the thyroid or absorbed into the body’s cells. The symptoms and signs of underactive thyroid are subtle in origin and insidious in onset. It often takes years and sometimes decades to reach a stage where it is diagnosed. Throughout these years one may not be clinically sick, but neither is one very well. Symptoms may come and go, they may be individually treated in isolation, or they may be totally ignored. The individual and his / her physician may not suspect the culprit. Some of the causes of underactive thyroid are: childbirth, stress from divorce or death of loved ones, drugs (Lithium, Cortisol and/or Amiodarone), infection of the thyroid gland, pituitary tumors, excessive x-rays, low carbohydrate diets, age related changes, and/or genetically predisposed thyroid disorder. If someone in the family has thyroid trouble or has had a thyroid problem in the past, it may be caused genetically; the individual’s physician needs to be aware of a possible genetic predisposition.

There are many symptoms and signs of hypothyroidism. Cold extremities (hands and feet), hypothermia (body temperature may drop below 37?C), dry skin, dull facial expressions, puffiness, drooping eyelids, sparse, coarse and thinning hair, forgetfulness, constipation, leg cramps, paresthesias of hands and feet, menorrhagia (menstrual irregularities are prominent), ingestion-digestion disorders, drowsiness, sleepiness, general feelings of cold, headaches, fatigue, and/or weakness. If you have any of the above symptoms, especially low body temperature (below 37?C) with cold hands and feet, fatigue, headaches and gastrointestinal disorders, you may have low thyroid function. Laboratory tests are not always conclusive.

KRIPPS PHARMACY LTD. HAS DEVELOPED A PROGRAM TO ASSIST YOUR NORMAL THYROID FUNCTIONUse a glass thermometer, preferably a Basal Thermometer, three hours after awakening. If it registers below 36.7 or 98.2, then have your thyroid checked by your physician.

1. Hypoglycemic Diet: Carefully follow this diet. It is designed to prevent hyperinsulinemia (high insulin levels) High insulin levels produce a potentially deleterious prostaglandin Series 2 (PGE2) eicosanoid-compromising cascade. Do not get hungry; if you do, it is too late. Have 3 parts of protein to 4 parts of unrefined carbohydrates including fruits and vegetables. Use only virgin olive oil.
2. Digestive Aid: If you are prone to gas, bloating or constipation use Mega-Zyme capsules and Carb-ase E.C. To start, take one capsule of each just before food and increase Mega-Zyme only to 2,3 or 4 capsules. Avoid taking liquids ½ hour before, during or after food. But drink plenty of liquids between meals. Always eat protein first at every meal.
3. Chromium: Take one 250 mcg capsule daily. This helps to stabilize the sugar level.
4. Tyrosine: Take 500 mg 3 times a day. The amino acid tyrosine is an essential constituent of the thyroid hormone.
5. Guggulipid: Take one capsule twice daily and increase to two capsules twice daily. A natural herb, shown to exhibit thyroid-stimulating activity, guggulipid has significant ability to lower serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
6. Supplementation: Take a multiple vitamin and mineral supplement such as two BEST tablets daily, or one of each Mega-Vitamin Kit capsules daily.
7. Omega-3: Take two FISHOL E.C. daily. This is the best source of activated Omega-3 and the fish oil is protected from stomach acids by enteric coating.
8. B 12 supplement: One capsule of Mega-B12 1000 to 2000 mcg (methylcobalamin with folic acid) sublingual SR.
9. Avoid undue stress, environmental pollution, alcohol, coffee, tea, sugar and white flour.
10. Exercise regularly in moderation.For more information, read Thyroid Awareness, a publication by Stephen Kripps, which is obtainable at Kripps Pharmacy.

To contact Dr. Thorpe, or Kripps Pharmacy,
Visit us at 5413 West Boulevard, Vancouver, BC, V6M 3W5
Call us at 604.687.2564; Fax 604.685.9721
Email us at altermed@portal.ca
See us at www.krippspharmacy.com

DISCLAIMER:
The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for diagnosis or treatment with a qualified health care practitioner.

Exciting New Findings about Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Exciting New Findings about Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Dr. Edward Thorpe

DrThorpemicrophoneA remarkable new study has shown that a combination of Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) and Acetyl l-Carnitine (ALC) can reverse aging. Please speak to Dr.Thorpe at Kripps Pharmacy for references to this exciting research.
Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) is both a coenzyme necessary for the metabolism of energy from food and also a powerful scavenger of free radicals. It is called a universal antioxidant because it is both water and fat (lipid) soluble and therefore it can provide protection both in the lipid environment of the cell membrane and in the aqueous environment in the interior of the cell. Also, ALA appears to enhance the activity of a network of antioxidants including: Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and glutathione. Free radicals are major factors in many diseases, including cardiovascular, cancers, diabetes, Alzheimers, etc. This powerful antioxidant destroys free radicals and helps prevent these diseases, or alleviates their side effects.

Alpha Lipoic Acid supplementation also reduces damage to proteins and normalizes blood sugar levels.However, there is one problem in getting optimal protection from ALA. This nutrient is quickly absorbed by the body and is also quickly excreted. Thus, one gets protection for only part of the day. Kripps Pharmacy has solved this problem. Kripps Pharmacy provides ALA in a slow release base, which extends the protective power continuously through the day. R(+) Alpha Lipoic Acid is the natural form of Alpha Lipoic Acid. Acetyl l-Carnitine [ALC]: This nutrient is an important transport molecule in mitochondrial energy production, resulting in improved cellular oxygenation and the prevention of cellular damage. It can cross the blood-brain barrier, where it acts as a source of acetyl groups for synthesis of acetylcholine. It also decreases lactic acid accumulation and spares glycogen, and therefore plays a role in delaying fatigue.

ALC has beneficial effects in maintaining cardiovascular wellness and maintaining healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels. ALCs other properties include restorative and protective actions against aging processes and neuro-degeneration, which makes it effective for syndromes such as Alzheimers, Depression, and Parkinsons.The combination of Alpha Lipoic Acid and Acetyl L-Carnitine has extraordinary effects, which were shown in a study by biochemist Bruce Ames, Ph.D., at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Ames believes that the production of energy in the mitochondria in human cells is highly efficient; nonetheless, minor elements of inefficiency release free radicals that are a primary cause of aging. Dr. Ames found that Acetyl l-Carnitine helps the cells produce more energy, although they still generate free radicals. Furthermore, as people age the free radicals reduce the effectiveness of the mitochondrial energy production, thus releasing even more free radicals. However, ALA offsets these free radicals. Dr. Ames commented in the article on the effectiveness of a combination of ALC and ALA combination: With these two supplements, these old rats got up and did the Macarena. The brain looked better, they were full of energy. It was the equivalent of making an 80 year-old person look and act middle-aged[Readers Digest, November, 2003].

Suggested Protocol as a supplement combination:
1. Acetyl-L-Carnitine 500 mg capsule: Take one twice daily, with or without food.
2. R(+) Alpha Lipoic Acid Slow Release 100 mg: Take one 100 mg capsule of twice daily with or without food. {Natural R(+) Alpha Lipoic is 100% active}
3. Take two FISHOL E.C. Omega-3 essential fatty acid capsules twice daily at any time.Contraindications and Disclaimer: There are no known contraindications. Please note: as always, consult your physician prior to beginning any therapeutic nutritional program. Kripps Pharmacy Ltd. offers this article for educational purposes only; it is not intended as a substitute for diagnosis or treatment with a qualified health care professional.

To contact Dr. Thorpe, or Kripps Pharmacy,
Visit us at 5413 West Boulevard, Vancouver, BC, V6M 3W5
Call us at 604.687.2564; Fax 604.685.9721
Email us at altermed@portal.ca
See us at www.krippspharmacy.com

Aging Reversed?

Aging Reversed?
By Dr. Edward Thorpe

A remarkable new study has shown that a combination of Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) and Acetyl l-Carnitine (ALC) can reverse aging. Please speak to Dr.Thorpe at Kripps Pharmacy for references to this exciting research.

Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) is both a coenzyme necessary for the metabolism of energy from food and also a powerful scavenger of free radicals. It is called a universal antioxidant because it is both water and fat (lipid) soluble and therefore it can provide protection both in the lipid environment of the cell membrane and in the aqueous environment in the interior of the cell. Also, ALA appears to enhance the activity of a network of antioxidants including: Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and glutathione. Free radicals are major factors in many diseases, including cardiovascular, cancers, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, etc. This powerful antioxidant destroys free radicals and helps prevent these diseases, or alleviates their side effects. Alpha Lipoic Acid supplementation also reduces damage to proteins and normalizes blood sugar levels.However, there is one problem in getting optimal protection from ALA. This nutrient is quickly absorbed by the body and is also quickly excreted. Thus, one gets protection for only part of the day.

Kripps Pharmacy has solved this problem. Kripps Pharmacy provides ALA in a slow release base, which extends the protective power continuously through the day. R(+) Alpha Lipoic Acid is the natural form of Alpha Lipoic Acid. Acetyl l-Carnitine [ALC]: This nutrient is an important transport molecule in mitochondrial energy production, resulting in improved cellular oxygenation and the prevention of cellular damage. It can cross the blood-brain barrier, where it acts as a source of acetyl groups for synthesis of acetylcholine. It also decreases lactic acid accumulation and spares glycogen, and therefore plays a role in delaying fatigue. ALC has beneficial effects in maintaining cardiovascular wellness and maintaining healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels. ALCs other properties include restorative and protective actions against aging processes and neuro-degeneration, which makes it effective for syndromes such as Alzheimers, Depression, and Parkinsons.The combination of Alpha Lipoic Acid and Acetyl L-Carnitine has extraordinary effects, which were shown in a study by biochemist Bruce Ames, Ph.D., at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Ames believes that the production of energy in the mitochondria in human cells is highly efficient; nonetheless, minor elements of inefficiency release free radicals that are a primary cause of aging. Dr. Ames found that Acetyl l-Carnitine helps the cells produce more energy, although they still generate free radicals. Furthermore, as people age the free radicals reduce the effectiveness of the mitochondrial energy production, thus releasing even more free radicals. However, ALA offsets these free radicals. Dr. Ames commented in the article on the effectiveness of a combination of ALC and ALA combination: With these two supplements, these old rats got up and did the Macarena. The brain looked better, they were full of energy. It was the equivalent of making an 80 year-old person look and act middle-aged[Readers Digest, November, 2003].

Suggested Protocol as a supplement combination:
1. Acetyl-L-Carnitine 500 mg capsule: Take one twice daily, with or without food.
2. R(+) Alpha Lipoic Acid Slow Release 100 mg: Take one 100 mg capsule of twice daily with or without food. {Natural R(+) Alpha Lipoic is 100% active}
3. Take two FISHOL E.C. Omega-3 essential fatty acid capsules twice daily at any time.Contraindications and Disclaimer: There are no known contraindications. Please note: as always, consult your physician prior to beginning any therapeutic nutritional program. Kripps Pharmacy Ltd. offers this article for educational purposes only; it is not intended as a substitute for diagnosis or treatment with a qualified health care professional.

To contact Dr. Thorpe, or Kripps Pharmacy,
Visit us at 5413 West Boulevard, Vancouver, BC, V6M 3W5
Call us at 604.687.2564; Fax 604.685.9721
Email us at altermed@portal.ca
See us at www.krippspharmacy.com

Lycopene Isomers

Lycopene Isomers

A link between Diet, Breast and Prostate Cancer
One idea being evaluated is decidedly low-tech: nutritional intervention, especially adoption of low-fat diet and Lycopene.Conceivably, nutritional intervention might also prevent the development of symptomiatic primary tumors.

One idea being evaluated is decidedly low-tech: nutritional intervention, especially adoption of low-fat diet and Lycopene.Conceivably, nutritional intervention might also prevent the development of symptomiatic primary tumors.

Epidemiological studies comparing the eating habits of populations having high and low rates of prostate and breast cancer indicate that a fatty diet, particularly one featuring a lot of red meat, favors the growing of prostate and breast tumors.High consumption of fat is already infamous for promoting breast and colon cancers. The U.S. and western European nations, which ingest the most fat also have the highest prostate and breast cancer mortality rates.

Laboratory experiments offer even more convincing evidence of a link between fat intake prostate and breast cancer. Fair and his co-workers at Sloan-Kettering have transplanted human tumors into mice and divided the animals into groups fed different amounts of fat. The tumors grew fastest in the groups having diets highest in fat.

Another dietary component that seems to influence prostate and breast cancer-this time as an inhibitor of growth-is soy protein. Soy reduces the amount of testosterone circulating in the blood and also inhibits an enzyme that converts testosterone to its more potent form in prostate cells. Strong evidence implies that tomato products and Lycopene capsules, vitamin E and mineral selenium can inhibit tumor growth as well. Other components of food are also being explored as potential contributors to, or shields against, prostate and breast cancer or its recurrence.

Summary:

Reduce red meat, eat more cold water fish.Supplement Omega 3 with Fishol E.C. and freshly ground flaxseed.
Eliminate all vegetable oils except virgin olive oil and no margarine.
Increase Soy products, especially Soy-Isoflavone and tomato products.
Supplement Vitamin E, Selenium, Zinc, increase tomato products and take two Lycopene capsules daily.

Prepared by Stephen Kripps Ph.C. Pharmaceutical Chemist for:
Kripps Pharmacy,
5413 West Boulevard, Vancouver, BC, V6M 3W5
at 604.687.2564; Fax 604.685.9721
Email us at altermed@portal.ca
See us at www.krippspharmacy.com

Soy-Isoflavones (phytoestrogens)

Soy-Isoflavones (phytoestrogens)

Phytoestrogens are the most exciting substances found in soybeans. They exhibit powerful anti-cancer effects in hormone-related malignancies.They are similar in structure to the female hormone estrogen, but are very weak. Excessive estrogen levels have been linked as a major factor in the cause of breast, ovarian, uterine, and cervical cancer in women.
Consumption of isoflavones may help prevent hormone-related cancers. It has been repeatedly shown that isoflavones have the ability to block the uptake of estrogen by estrogen sensitive tissues, thereby acting as anti-estrogens. There is also evidence that they can block the negative effects of androgens on the prostate gland.

Genestin & Isoflavones

Of the various isoflavones found in soy, none have been studied as extensively as genistein and found to have the following benefits:
As with other isoflavones,acts as an anti-estrogen by blocking the uptake of estrogen.
Prevents cancer cell growth by inhibiting the activity of tyrosine protein kinase, and enzyme created by oncogenes.
Inhibits other enzymes involved in cancer progression.
Causes cancer cells to differentiate and change back to normal cells.
Inhibits angiogenesis- the ingrowth of capillaries stimulated by a malignant tumor.
Acts as a poweful anti-oxidant, protecting cells from free radical attack.
There is also evidence that genistein may reduce the symptoms assocciated with menopause, bone loss, hot flashes, and possibly be a replacement for estrogen supplements.

Genistein has also been shown to inhibit platelet aggregation and thrombosis and thus may be helpful in preventing strokes and heart attacks and the development of atherosclerosis. Genistein has been found to exhibit strong anti-inflammatory properties.
Daily intake of Soy-Isoflavones is recommended.

Prepared by Stephen Kripps Ph. C. for: Kripps Pharmacy Ltd.

Vitamin D Medical Research

GlobeandMailVitamin D

MEDICAL RESEARCH

Vitamin D casts cancer prevention in new light

Bombshell U.S. study will tie incidence rate to lack of sunshine rather than pollutants

MARTIN MITTELSTAEDT

ENVIRONMENT REPORTER

For decades, researchers have puzzled over why rich northern countries have cancer rates many times higher than those in developing countries — and many have laid the blame on dangerous pollutants spewed out by industry.

But research into vitamin D is suggesting both a plausible answer to this medical puzzle and a heretical notion: that cancers and other disorders in rich countries aren’t caused mainly by pollutants but by a vitamin deficiency known to be less acute or even non-existent in poor nations.

Those trying to brand contaminants as the key factor behind cancer in the West are “looking for a bogeyman that doesn’t exist,” argues Reinhold Vieth, professor at the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto and one of the world’s top vitamin D experts. Instead, he says, the critical factor “is more likely a lack of vitamin D.”

What’s more, researchers are linking low vitamin D status to a host of other serious ailments, including multiple sclerosis, juvenile diabetes, influenza, osteoporosis and bone fractures among the elderly.

Not everyone is willing to jump on the vitamin D bandwagon just yet. Smoking and some pollutants, such as benzene and asbestos, irrefutably cause many cancers.

But perhaps the biggest bombshell about vitamin D’s effects is about to go off. In June, U.S. researchers will announce the first direct link between cancer prevention and the sunshine vitamin. Their results are nothing short of astounding.

A four-year clinical trial involving 1,200 women found those taking the vitamin had about a 60-per-cent reduction in cancer incidence, compared with those who didn’t take it, a drop so large — twice the impact on cancer attributed to smoking — it almost looks like a typographical error.

And in an era of pricey medical advances, the reduction seems even more remarkable because it was achieved with an over-the-counter supplement costing pennies a day.

One of the researchers who made the discovery, professor of medicine Robert Heaney of Creighton University in Nebraska, says vitamin D deficiency is showing up in so many illnesses besides cancer that nearly all disease figures in Canada and the U.S. will need to be re-evaluated. “We don’t really know what the status of chronic disease is in the North American population,” he said, “until we normalize vitamin D status.”

Sunshine vitamin

For decades, vitamin D has been the Rodney Dangerfield of the supplement world. It’s the vitamin most Canadians never give a second thought to because it was assumed the only thing it did was prevent childhood rickets, a debilitating bone disease. But the days of no respect could be numbered. If vitamin D deficiency becomes accepted as the major cause of cancer and other serious illnesses, it will ignite the medical equivalent of a five-alarm blaze on the Canadian health front.

For many reasons, Canadians are among the people most at risk of not having enough vitamin D. This is due to a quirk of geography, to modern lifestyles and to the country’s health authorities, who have unwittingly, if with the best of intentions, played a role in creating the vitamin deficiency.

Authorities are implicated because the main way humans achieve healthy levels of vitamin D isn’t through diet but through sun exposure. People make vitamin D whenever naked skin is exposed to bright sunshine. By an unfortunate coincidence, the strong sunshine able to produce vitamin D is the same ultraviolet B light that can also causes sunburns and, eventually, skin cancer.

Only brief full-body exposures to bright summer sunshine – of 10 or 15 minutes a day – are needed to make high amounts of the vitamin. But most authorities, including Health Canada, have urged a total avoidance of strong sunlight or, alternatively, heavy use of sunscreen. Both recommendations will block almost all vitamin D synthesis.

Those studying the vitamin say the hide-from-sunlight advice has amounted to the health equivalent of a foolish poker trade. Anyone practising sun avoidance has traded the benefit of a reduced risk of skin cancer – which is easy to detect and treat and seldom fatal – for an increased risk of the scary, high-body-count cancers, such as breast, prostate and colon, that appear linked to vitamin D shortages.

The sun advice has been misguided information “of just breathtaking proportions,” said John Cannell, head of the Vitamin D Council, a non-profit, California-based organization.

“Fifteen hundred Americans die every year from [skin cancers]. Fifteen hundred Americans die every day from the serious cancers.”

Health Canada denies its advice might be dangerous. In an e-mailed statement, it said that most people don’t apply sunscreen thoroughly, leaving some skin exposed, and that people spend enough time outside without skin protection to make adequate amounts of vitamin D.

However, the Canadian Cancer Society last year quietly tweaked its recommendation to recognize that limited amounts of sun exposure are essential for vitamin D levels.

Avoiding most bright sunlight wouldn’t be so serious if it weren’t for a second factor: The main determinant of whether sunshine is strong enough to make vitamin D is latitude. Living in the north is bad, the south is better, and near the equator is best of all.

Canadians have drawn the short straw on the world’s latitude lottery: From October to March, sunlight is too feeble for vitamin D production. During this time, our bodies draw down stores built by summer sunshine, and whatever is acquired from supplements or diet.

Government regulations require foods such as milk and margarine to have small amounts of added vitamin D to prevent rickets.

Other foods, such as salmon, naturally contain some, as does the cod liver oil once commonly given to children in the days before milk fortification. But the amounts from food are minuscule compared to what is needed for cancer prevention and what humans naturally can make in their skin.

Vitamin D levels in Canada are also being compromised by a lifestyle change. Unlike previous generations that farmed or otherwise worked outside, most people now spend little time outdoors.

One survey published in 2001 estimated office- and homebound Canadians and Americans spend 93 per cent of waking time in buildings or cars, both of which block ultraviolet light.

Consequently, by mid-winter most Canadians have depleted vitamin D status. “We’re all a bit abnormal in terms of our vitamin D,” said Dr. Vieth, who has tested scores of Canadians, something done with a simple blood test.

How much is enough?

Just how much vitamin D is required for optimum health is the subject of intense scientific inquiry.

Dr. Vieth has approached the matter by asking: What vitamin D level would humans have if they were still living outside, in the wild, near the equator, with its attendant year-round bright sunshine? “Picture the natural human as a nudist in environments south of Florida,” he says.

He estimates humans in a state of nature probably had about 125 to 150 nanomoles/litre of vitamin D in their blood all year long – levels now achieved for only a few months a year by the minority of adult Canadians who spend a lot of time in the sun, such as lifeguards or farmers.

For the rest of the population, vitamin D levels tend to be lower, and crash in winter. In testing office workers in Toronto in winter, Dr. Vieth found the average was only about 40 nanomoles/L, or about one-quarter to one-third of what humans would have in the wild.

The avalanche of surprising research on the beneficial effects of vitamin D could affect dietary recommendations as well. Health Canada says that, in light of the findings, it intends to study whether recommended dietary levels need to be revised, although the review is likely to be years away.

A joint Canadian-U.S. health panel last studied vitamin D levels in 1997, concluding the relatively low amounts in people’s blood were normal. At the time, there was speculation vitamin D had an anti-cancer effect, but more conclusive evidence has only emerged since.

“There needs to be a comprehensive review undertaken and that is planned,” says Mary Bush, director general of Health Canada’s office of nutrition policy and promotion.

But Ms. Bush said the government doesn’t want to move hastily, out of concern that there may be unknown risks associated with taking more of the vitamin.

Those who worry about low vitamin D, however, say this stand is too conservative – that the government’s caution may itself be a health hazard.

To achieve the vitamin D doses used for cancer prevention through foods, people would need to drink about three litres of milk a day, which is unrealistic.

If health authorities accept the new research, they would have to order a substantial increase in food fortification or supplement-taking to affect disease trends. As it is, the 400 IU dosage included in most multivitamins is too low to be an effective cancer fighter.

Dr. Vieth said any new recommendations will also have to reflect the racial and cultural factors connected to vitamin D. Blacks, South Asians and women who wear veils are at far higher risks of vitamin D deficiencies than are whites.

Although humans carry a lot of cultural baggage on the subject of skin hue, colour is the way nature dealt with the vagaries of high or low vitamin D production by latitude.

Those with very dark skins, whose ancestors originated in tropical, light-rich environments, have pigmentation that filters out more of the sunshine responsible for vitamin D; in northern latitudes, they need more sun exposure – often 10 times as much – to produce the same amount of the vitamin as whites.

Dr. Vieth says it is urgent to provide information about the need for extra vitamin D in Canada’s growing non-white population to avoid a future of high illness rates in this group.

Researchers suspect vitamin D plays such a crucial role in diseases as unrelated as cancer and osteoporosis because the chemical originated in the early days of animal evolution as a way for cells to signal that they were being exposed to daylight.

Even though living things have evolved since then, almost all cells, even those deep in our bodies, have kept this primitive light-signalling system.

In the body, vitamin D is converted into a steroid hormone, and genes responding to it play a crucial role in fixing damaged cells and maintaining good cell health. “There is no better anti-cancer agent than activated vitamin D. I mean, it does everything you’d want,” said Dr. Cannell of the Vitamin D Council.

Some may view the sunshine-vitamin story as too good to be true, particularly given that the number of previous claims of vitamin cure-alls that subsequently flopped. “The floor of modern medicine is littered with the claims of vitamins that didn’t turn out,” Dr. Cannell allowed.

But the big difference is that vitamin D, unlike other vitamins, is turned into a hormone, making it far more biologically active. As well, it is “operating independently in hundreds of tissues in your body,” Dr. Cannell said.

Referring to Linus Pauling, the famous U.S. advocate of vitamin C use as a cure for many illnesses, he said: “Basically, Linus Pauling was right, but he was off by one letter.”