Balance being a central tenant of Integration, I wish to report an eye popping positive development in the Pharmaceutical industry. Glaxo has announced they will no longer pay doctors to promote their prescription drugs. It will also stop requiring their good-looking drug representatives to meet quotas on the number of prescriptions doctors in their territories prescribe.
No doubt some cynics will come up with a sinister motive behind this announcement. In my opinion any step in the right direction is welcome. As Hegel said, “First, we do the right thing for the wrong reason; then, we do the wrong thing for the right reason. Finally, we do the right thing for the right reason.”
Hugo Rodier, MD
I am sure you have seen people carrying a bottle of water wherever they go. You may be one of them; if, so, you may not like what you are about to read. For over a decade now very good researchers at major universities including Dr. Askew at the University of Utah have shown the ineffectiveness of this questionable habit. I interviewed him on my radio show a while back. He is considered one of the leading authorities on how much water we need to drink each day. Dr. Askew and many others have shown that the old advice to drink 8 glasses a day was not based on reproducible science nor does it promote better health.1
The only exception studies cite is kidney stones. I would add two more. (1) Detoxifying. If you are contemplating a detoxifying program or diet, be sure to drink plenty of water. (2) You may indeed need that much water if your diet is too refined and processed. Astronaut food is desiccated, packaged and marketed with much less water found in fresh and natural foods. Remember that real food is 70% water, the same as your body. So, eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, whole grains, legumes and lean meats provides most of the water intake you require.
Despite these studies I anticipate that many readers will continue to carry a bottle of water everywhere they go. Nevertheless, I hope some will feel liberated from this awkward habit. At times I get the impression the fancy bottle is a not-so-subtle sign the carrier wishes to be known as a very health conscious person. Nothing wrong with that, unless it is meant to get a leg up on “peers.” Yeah, they pee more…
Here is another instance where Hegel’s advice is timely. Speaking of philosophy, one of my favorite philosophers, George Carlin, might have said, “Why do you think you have a pair of $%&#~ kidneys for?!”
Mammograms do not reduce mortality?
A recent study concluded that:
“Annual mammography in women aged 40-59 does not reduce mortality from breast cancer beyond that of physical examination or usual care when adjuvant therapy for breast cancer is freely available. Overall, 22% (106/484) of screen detected invasive breast cancers were over-diagnosed, representing one over-diagnosed breast cancer for every 424 women who received mammography screening in the trial.”2
Naturally, the study has been slammed by those who provide mammograms. Perhaps a middle-of-the-road approach is best: comply with the US Preventive Task Force and other conservative researchers who recommend mammograms every other year after the age of 50. In my opinion nothing is better than “Primary Prevention:” work on the root of breast cancer-the environment.3Google the word “xenoestrogens” if you have not been reading this newsletter; they are over 800 environmental chemicals (pesticides, BPA, phthalates, heavy metals, chlorinated products, etc.) that have an estrogen effect. Exposure to them and poor detoxification due to bad diets and compromised gut and liver function4are the roots of breast cancer.5
By the way, one out of six women will get Alzheimer’s disease. The chances of breast cancer are half of that. Yet, funding for the latter is four times higher.6Don’t think about it too much; it may drive you crazy….
As previously reported we waste $750 billion each year in health care.7Part of the problem is excessive testing8and a system that focuses on the treatment of symptoms,9not the root of diseases.10You are likely to be one of many patients and health care workers who are gradually more aware of these problems. A group of concerned consumers has launched a“Choosing Wisely” campaign. They recommend that you take the time to make your ordering doctor aware that you do not welcome “defensive testing.” As you know, a significant proportion of tests are ordered to “C.Y.A.” If that is the case, consider refusing the test.
Keep in mind that some tests can be dangerous. For example, CT scans-which the campaign noted above is highlighting- have been shown to radiate you with 1/2 the radiation Hiroshima victims were exposed to.11This is why they have been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer,12brain cancer, leukemia13and many other problems:
- “Discussing Radiation Risks Associated With CT Scans With Patients,”14
- “Computed Tomography: an increasing source of radiation exposure,”15
- “Second Thoughts About CT Imaging,”16
- “Cancer Risks and Radiation Exposure From Computed Tomographic Scans: How Can We Be Sure That the Benefits Outweigh the Risks?”17
- “Projected Cancer Risks From Computed Tomographic Scans Performed in the United States in 2007.”18
Other than that CTs are pretty safe…
I will never forget the father who brought his son in for some gut related problem. I told him that if his son was not much better soon he may need a CT of the abdomen: “Never” he shot back. I asked him if he knew anything of the risks outlined above. “I do,” he replied. “I sell those things…”
With all this in mind you will not be surprised to read that,
“None of the three common osteoporosis screening strategies is optimal for younger postmenopausal women, and the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) strategy is the worst, according to research using data from the Women’s Health Initiative.”19
We have reported previously that the Bone Densitometry test is overused and the treatment of bone thinning too aggressive, fraught with side effects and of questionable efficacy. If you want to have strong bones give up animal protein, soda, processed sugars and eat lots of plant based foods. Strengthening gut absorption of minerals is the real answer. We have also reported that one of the many roles of vitamin D, other than maximizing the absorption of calcium is to strengthen the function of the gut flora20and vice-versa.21
“Diets naturally rich in polyphenols improve fasting and postprandial dyslipidemia and reduce oxidative stress: a randomized controlled trial.”22Cholesterol is not the problem; oxidized cholesterol is-it becomes as sticky as the lining of your arteries, unless you eat plant based foods.
“Flavonoid-rich fruit and vegetables improve microvascular reactivity and inflammatory status in men at risk of cardiovascular disease-FLAVURS: a randomized controlled trial.”23Inflammation=oxidation. More proof for above statement. BTW, half of heart attacks have clean arteries and normal cholesterol…
1“Fluid intake and all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality, and kidney function: a population-based longitudinal cohort study,” J. Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2014 Jan 6. [Epub ahead of print]
2“Twenty five year follow-up for breast cancer incidence and mortality of the Canadian National Breast Screening Study: randomised screening trial,” British Medical Journal 2014;348:g366
3“Combating Environmental Causes of Cancer,” New England J. of Medicine 2011;364:7991
4“Emerging roles of the microbiome in cancer,” J. Carcinogenesis (2014) 35 (2): 249
5“Xenoestrogens as preventable causes of breast cancer,” J. Environmental Health Perspectives 2003;101:372
6CBS News March 19th 2014
7Institute of Health September 6th 2012
8“The Harms of Screening: new attention to an old concern,” JAMA 2012;307:565
9“Too much medicine,” British Medical Journal 2013;346:f1328
10“Bridging the divide between health and health care,” JAMA 2013;309:1121
11J. Radiology 2004;232:735
12“Environmental Causes of Breast Cancer and Radiation From Medical ImagingFindings From the Institute of Medicine Report,” J. Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(13):1023
13J. Lancet, June 7th 2012 Epub
16J. Science 25 February 2011: 1002
17J. Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(22):2049
18J. Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(22):2071
19J Bone Mineral Research 2014
20“Vitamin D regulates the gut microbiome and protects mice from dextran sodium sulfate-induced colitis,” J. Nutrition 2013 Oct;143(10):1679-86. doi: 10.3945/jn.113.180794. Epub 2013 Aug 21
21“Oral Supplementation With Probiotic L. reuteri NCIMB 30242 Increases Mean Circulating 25-Hydroxyvitamin D: A Post Hoc Analysis of a Randomized Controlled Trial,” J. Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 2013;98:2944
22Am J Clin Nutr 2014 99: 463
23Am J Clin Nutr 2014 99: 479