The elections are upon us; I hope you get out and vote. However, I have little hope that the candidates on either side of the aisle will fix the mess we are in. In general, I feel they are all in the pocket of corporations and super-bankers. In particular, the health care system will continue to waste $756 billion a year by focusing on symptoms of diseases, not the roots (see blog.) Consequently, increasing access to a chaotic, wasteful system is a bitter-sweet answer that does not address the fundamental dysfunction inherent in the system: a serious lack of prevention, particularly in teaching patients the most fundamental issues in nutrition.
Hugo Rodier, MD
Butt issues and Diabetes
Most of us are tethered to a desk these days, sitting on our butt a little too long, in stark contrast to our forefathers’ lifestyles who worked hard with their hands before technology changed all that “for the better.” The consequences are obvious (more on last blog.) Now we have good evidence that just sitting around increases the risk of developing Diabetes. Try to walk around as much as possible while at work. See if you could set up your desk to stand a bit more. And, certainly, try to increase your exercise routine to at least an hour a day.
Another “butt” issue of sorts is the gut microbiota. As previously reported, an imbalance therein messes with your metabolism, how you handle obesogens (toxins in the environment that promote obesity,) metabolize food and drugs, handle emotional issues (metabolism of serotonin is mostly taking place in the gut,) and activate your immune system. The latter point has been featured prominently in the journal Diabetologia:
“Two questions have been particularly puzzling for researchers investigating type 1 diabetes: ‘Why is the incidence of type 1 diabetes rising so rapidly at a global level?’, and ‘What environmental agent(s) contribute to the pathogenesis of this disease?’ Answers to both questions have been quite elusive and, while many candidate hypotheses have been suggested (e.g. viral infections, dietary constituents, mode of infant feeding) none has been seen as either causative of diabetes or capable of modulating the immune response towards the destruction of beta cells. However, thanks in large part to pioneering studies examining the role of gut microbiota (i.e. microbial communities that exist within our digestive systems), investigators have turned their attention towards this as a potential mechanism underlying diabetes epidemiology and pathogenesis. The microbiome may, through its ability to modulate immune responses, be a key factor in the development of this autoimmune disease.”
I know; we have covered this issue ad nauseum, but, I cannot help highlighting cutting edge references since you and I have been ridiculed in the past for bringing attention to previous studies as good as this one. They have been in the literature for two decades now..
The moral of the story? Be cautions with antibiotics, acid blocking pills and processed foods: they lead to unhealthy microbiota, which compromises your immune system. Again, the immune system is mostly in the gut in the form of friendly bacteria, a fact that won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1908.. Eat lots of fiber (fruits and veggies,) and take probiotics for starters.
As much as we need pharmaceuticals, they are over prescribed, they only address the symptoms of diseases, and they have side effects. A more conservative approach is direly needed. It has become routine for the FDA to publish warnings after the drugs have been in the community for a while, instead of doing so in the initial investigative screening of said drugs. Could it be that the studies done before their release into the marketplace are manipulated to hide the problems that may have been found before their release? Last month, the FDA warned about several drugs raising the incidence of other problems; among them 4 that are commonly used:
Zyrtec and Quinolones like Cipro: eye problems
Acid-blockers like Prilosec: pneumonia
Olmesartan for hypertension: malabsorption, diarrhea
Reports recently published show that Beta blockers and ACEi like Lisinopril increase the risk of fractures, while cholesterol-lowering drugs may damage muscle while exercising. The latter may be effectively mitigated by preventing oxidation of said muscles; this may be done by supplementing antioxidants that protect the mitochondria in muscle by increasing levels of glutathione. In past issues we have discussed nutritional and supplemental mitochondrial antioxidants like cruciferous veggies, sardines and spinach, which have Alpha lipoic acid, CQ10, etc.
Catastrophic Health Care
There are many factors contributing to the chaotic nature of our Health Care system, most of which we have already discussed herein. Today I wish to focus on insurance coverage for routine visits, which I have intuitively questioned in the past; now there is research to back up my roguish approach. It turns out that routine screening check-ups don’t help lower the incidence of disease. This is yet another reason why many institutions are cutting back on screening, including pap smears which are now recommended every 3-5 years.
Perhaps it is best to pursue Universal coverage for all for only catastrophic conditions, leaving out coverage for routine check-ups and the treatment of minor conditions like colds, bumps and bruises. Also, I would leave out pharmaceutical coverage to incentivize the prescribing of dirt-cheap generic drugs. True, we would be still rationing Health Care, and no doubt miss out on early treatment of some conditions, but, with good education and free care by those extraordinary providers who are driven by charity, that problem could be minimized. But, we would all be covered for catastrophic health reverses that often lead to bankruptcy. There are 50 million Americans who have no coverage whatsoever right now.
Do you prefer better and more comprehensive coverage for all? So do I. For that we will need to stop financing other aspects of our economy, like the military, bankers and corporate welfare…
Why is it that some women are practically incapacitated by hot flashes as they go into menopause? Surely, such natural transition should not be so painful, or uncomfortable. Xenoestrogens, or chemicals in the environment that interfere with proper function of sex hormones is one of the reasons we have covered herein. Another is the food we eat, which not only interferes with proper liver, kidneys, and gut elimination of these toxins once we are exposed to them, but also interfere with the proper function of sex hormones. The mechanism for the latter is the subject of my 2010 book “Licking Sweet Death:” insulin resistance.
Hot flashes are often described as severe enough “to drive you crazy.” Wouldn’t you know it, hormonal replacement, which is OK during the first tough years of “the change,” has been shown to lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease. Of course, the best thing to do is to avoid exposure to xenoestrogens, exercise, and eat a plant-based diet low in refined foods, especially sugars. If you must satisfy your sweet tooth, rely on fruits, and legumes. The latter are a good idea for diabetics in particular; I also recommend them for everyone, especially pre diabetics. If you want to see if pre diabetes, or insulin resistance is behind your hot flashes, get your doctor to check a GlycoHemoglobin A1c (it should be under 5.7,) or an insulin level with a 2 hour Glucose Tolerance Test.
 “Endocrine-disrupting chemicals: associated disorders and mechanisms of action,”
- Environmental Public Health 2012;2012:713696
 “Does the gut microbiota have a role in type 1 diabetes?” J. Diabetologia 2012;55:2868
 Cover issue J. Science June 8th 2012
 “Promoting More Conservative Prescribing,” J. of the American Medical Association 2009;301:865
 “Principles of Conservative Prescribing,” J. Archives of Internal Medicine 2011;171:1433
 FDA adds drugs to watch list Oct 24th 2012
 “Financial conflicts of interest and the food and drug administration advisory committees,”
New England J. of Medicine 2005;353:116
 “Fracture Risk Increases After Antihypertensive Initiation,”
American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, 2012 Annual Meeting, Minneapolis
 “Effect of Statins on Skeletal Muscle,” J. Exercice & Sport Science Review 2012;40:188
 Epub October 17th 2012 in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
 “Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals and Public Health Protection: A Statement of Principles from
The Endocrine Society,” J. Endocrinology 2012;153:4097
 North American Menopause Society 23rd Annual Meeting, Orlando, Florida
 “Exercise helps preserve cognitive function,” J. Neurology2012;79:1802