Boosting Your Immune System: Forget the Supplements
The other day I saw an advertisement from a local supplement shop that provided lots of advice on how to boost my already terrific immune system. I printed out the ad, read through the seven recommendations, and was reminded of the covered wagons filled with elixirs that were driven around the developing United States by a snake-oil salesman. I also thought about how great Coca-Cola was in its infancy because it really did contain cocaine. No wonder it was so popular. Everyone who drank it got high as kites, suffered massive brain cell loss along with accelerated heart rates, but the instant euphoria was well worth it at the time. Well, maybe not. The FDA eventually put the kibosh on cocaine-laden Coke and turned it into a drink loaded with sugar and specific phosphatase that takes the rust off of metal. The truth is that I cringe whenever I see an advertisement for supplements because it has become a gazillion-dollar industry that plays on the fears of the masses. Let’s take a look at what this ad contained.
Step One was a reminder to maintain your Vitamin D levels of 50ng/ml. If you don’t know if you’re at their guideline level, you can spend a fortune by going next door to their store for expensive blood tests that will let you know. If you have low-D, you can bounce back to the supplement store and purchase some pricey supplements. Are you getting the picture? What a way to scam consumers. What if the blood test folks are so in cahoots with the supplement store that they skew your test results to encourage a sale? Scary proposition, but nothing would surprise me, including Step Two which insists you can double your immune system within 24 hours by taking Epicor. There’s no explanation for what Epicor is or what it actually does in the body. They just want you to buy it and take it. What if Epicor is in dosages meant for a man who is 6’3” and 200 pounds? You are 5’2” and 110 pounds. That should triple your immune system in far less time. How the heck do the manufacturers support their claims and show scientific proof when I was able to shoot holes in the whole concept by questioning dosage?
Step Three is a recommendation that you buy and take probiotics because the chlorine in your water and the antibiotics in the meat you eat destroy your body’s probiotics. Of course they claim their favorite brand is the best when a plant-based diet alone provides all the probiotics you need. Step Four insists that you must buy their herbal supplement and if you don’t like the taste, you can purchase Olive Leaf capsules and take six per day. The cost is mounting. Step Five almost mandates that you run next door to the blood-test folks and get a test for G6PD (with no explanation for what it is) so they can sell you intravenous Vitamin C. Do you see a scam yet?
Step Six insists that you buy and use a specific nasal spray every few hours when you’re exposed to someone who is sick or if you’re flying on an airplane. Evidently this wonder spray stops viruses and bacteria from adhering to your mucous membranes. Step Seven is a given: stop consuming simple sugars because they lower your immune system.
How much did they sock you for at the cash register? I would bet the farm I don’t own that it’s well over $100 in supplements and far more in blood tests which most insurance companies will not cover. Now let’s talk some truth about your immune system and diet so you don’t have to walk around in a state of fear. According to Steven Novella (2011), author of, You Too Can Be a Snake Oil Salesman, it doesn’t matter what supplement makers put in their products because it’s how the product is marketed that makes it sell. All they have to do is claim that the product “may help” or “will boost the immune system or support the body’s ability to heal from or deal with the condition” (Novella, 2011). Such claims are called “structure function” claims because they exist in a huge loophole that protects the industry and allows them to make those claims without any evidence to support them. Novella’s main advice is hilarious: “If you want to take the even easier route, don’t even bother with supplements. You can market anything—a silly piece of rubber and plastic—and make whatever structure function claims you wish. You can sell magic beans—whatever. It does not appear to matter” (2011).
The creation of those supplements is almost backwards. Companies research in which part of the body those supplements can be found and then make a claim that the product being peddled enhances the function of that part of the body. Of course it’s becoming easier to find a medical doctor or PhD type to endorse the products as long as only the MD makes the medical claims; and they do this by citing research that’s not even related. Time to move along.
Blogger Nick K (2014) stated that he studied immunology while in college and there are two “definitive facts” about immunology that he supports: “1) it is a largely unknown field of study, and 2) it is extremely complicated, even amongst other molecular biologists. These two facts do highlight the main problems of immune pills.” Your body’s immune system is made up of many different types of cells, organs and molecules that all work together in concert and in a complex way to keep the body safe from and eliminate pathogens that can lead to illness (Nick K., 2014). The immune system of a healthy person functions at top levels but if it’s weakened, that person become immune-deficient and if it’s over stimulated or over activated, it can lead to allergies or autoimmune conditions that seem to affect every second person today (Nick K., 2014). We don’t even know fully how the immune system operates, so how can supplement makers make any claims regarding boosting or supporting such a system? “Immune pills will typically claim that ‘this will support the immune system against viruses,’ but they never mention HOW. Will it increase immune cell numbers and if so, which subtype of an immune cell? Will it increase antibody serum levels and if so by how much and which subtype? Will the pills somehow result in an increase in inflammation? Which cells will be activated or suppressed? Such vague statements are more akin to snake oil sales pitches than actual medicine” (Nick K., 2014).
Before wasting money on and swallowing all the hype along with those pills, it is important to realize that eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, experiencing many good nights of sleep, limiting stress, eating healthy and truly nutritious food will do far more to “boost” the immune system than anything that comes in a capsule, pill, drink or shake. As Brian Dunning (2015) stated, “You see, health is not the result of a super powered immune system. Health is simply the absence of disease. Good health is the baseline. You can’t be healthier than baseline.” Wellness is more than just the absence of disease, as we’ve often discussed. Dunning went on to state, “Supplements, juices, or any products that claim to ‘boost your immune system’ are frauds. They are for-profit solutions to a problem that does not exist and was invented by clever marketers to scare you into buying the products. Don’t stand for anyone telling you that your balanced teeter totter can be brought into better balance by piling sandbags on one end” (2015).
Some alarming information regarding supplements came from Pitt Griffin (2013) who wrote, “Dietary or nutritional supplements present a paradox. Their manufacturers obviously want you to believe that they have a tremendously beneficial effect on health, but at same time they want you to believe that these supplements are benign.” Claims that they are harmless because they have the word “natural” on their labels doesn’t mean anything when we consider, as Griffin noted, that “the ‘destroying angel’ mushroom is also natural. That mushroom contains amatoxins which, “if eaten and [the patient is] not immediately treated, destroy liver and kidney tissue and cause death” (Griffin, 2013). Any product that reads “These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration [or this] product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease” is not worth one red cent because no health claims should be or can be made with such statements on the labels.
Annalisa Palmer (2014) believes that certain foods have the ability to boost your immune system because they contain “certain properties that not only target heart health, but also help improve gut bacteria, which in turn positively affects the immune system.” Such foods should be eaten on a regular basis and include garlic which protects against free radical damage via its antioxidant content. Onions contain flavonoid quercetin which also helps get rid of free radicals in the body by “inhibiting low-density lipoprotein oxidation, protecting and regenerating vitamin E, and inactivating the harmful effects of chelate metal ions” (Palmer, 2014).
Cabbage contains a concentration of flavonoids and antioxidants. “Fresh and pickled red cabbages have the highest total phenolic content of the different types of cabbage. The antioxidant capacity of raw and processed cabbages is highly correlated with their contents of polyphenols like kaempferol, quercetin, and apigenin ” (Palmer, 2014). Raw sauerkraut that is free of vinegar and is unpasteurized is the best fermented food because it’s loaded with good bacteria, probiotics, and lactic acid in each serving; and the lactic acid is the primary non-toxic and totally beneficial anti-viral component. Another good food similar to sauerkraut is kimchi, especially if it has been through two years or more of fermentation (Palmer, 2014).
Basil is part of the phenolics group that is also found in herbs, fruits, vegetables and even teas. Most of basil’s antioxidant components include vicenin, orientin, eugenol and anthocyanins. Again, Palmer notes that “to match these antioxidants, there is also antiviral properties that contain DNA protecting flavonoids . Among these flavonoids are estragole, linalool, cineole, eugenol, sabinene, myrcene, and limonene which are all capable of restricting the growth of numerous harmful bacteria , including listeria, staphylococcus, E. coli, yersinia enterocolitica, and pseudomonas aeruginosa” (2014).
Finally, ginger is known for its antibacterial properties and has been found to be more effective than antibiotics “against bacterial staph infections , killing cancer cells, having anti-inflammatory, resolving brain inflammations, and easing gut problems” (Palmer, 2014).
Clearly, buying and consuming supplements does not produce health and wellness, but it does affect your checkbook balance, your wallet, or the debt on your credit card while doing nothing for your body. Eat your way to health. Popping supplements is not the answer.
Dunning, B. (2015). Boost Your Immune System (or Not): Is "boosting your immune system" for real? Is that possible, and can you really buy it in a bottle? Retrieved from
Griffin, P. (2013). The Dietary Supplement Industry Proves that Snake Oil Salesmen Are Alive and Well. Retrieved from http://thecriticalmind.com/2013/03/the-dietary-supplement-industry-proves-that-snake-oil-salesmen-ar...
Nick K. (2014). Immune boosting pills: the latest snake oil? Retrieved from
Novella. S. (2011). You Too Can Be a Snake Oil Salesman. http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/you-too-can-be-a-snake-oil-salesman/
Palmer, A. (2014). Natural Plant-Based Foods to Boost Your Immune System! Retrieved from http://www.onegreenplanet.org/natural-health/natural-plant-based-foods-to-boost-your-immune-system/
The body’s health and wellness depends on the consumption of micronutrients and macronutrients—Protein, fats, complex carbohydrates, the vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, trace elements, and antioxidants needed by the body. However, the amount and quality of those nutrients depends on the foods you consume and the quality of those foods. For example, if your diet is comprised mostly of processed foods, you are taking in calories in the form of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates which sometimes destroy the micronutrients you need for optimal wellness (Bonfire, 2011).
Micronutrients such as vitamins, minerals and enzymes, benefit our bodies only if they co-exist in the right balance in a natural state. This means that they have to be in the presence of other key nutrients in the right balance to be activated and functional. For instance, vitamin C helps the gums and teeth, is needed by the immune system, is required to produce collagen, fights free radicals, increase the absorption of iron, increases the effectiveness of vitamins B-6, B-12, and Folic Acid, and works with vitamin E (Carlson Labs, n.d.).
No supplement manufacturer can mimic that delicate balance in
a pill, capsule, drink, or powder. It is for this reason that extracted vitamins
and other nutrients are either ineffective or harmful when they are not
surrounded by the correct nutrients in the right balance. The vitamins and
other nutritional supplements give the unsuspecting persons a false sense of
security which creates the diabetic, hypertensive, demented, cancer and the stroke
patients of tomorrow.
Assuming the truth of my assertions, why is the supplement business a multi-billion dollar industry, and why are consumers so gullible when it comes to their marketing schemes? According to Dr. Stef dela Cruz (2015), commercials abound on television touting the benefits of one multivitamin or another. The ads tells you the little micronutrient miracle contains “everything you need from, Vitamin A all the way to Zinc. After 30 to 60 seconds of boasting, they’ve convinced you that their product is the best thing since slice apple, even though they may not be good for you or your loved ones.
Dela Cruz explains that all those supplements have “no approved therapeutic claims” (2015). In fact, every supplement contains a disclaimer label because the companies that make them are not allowed to make therapeutic claims. “There is no evidence to justify the daily intake of a multivitamin preparation by healthy adults” or unhealthy ones, which is why medical professionals, “national health departments, or other respected health organizations” aren’t lining up to support taking supplements.
Take all the advertising hype with a grain of salt and save your money. Not only don’t supplements really do a thing to improve your health, there is also strong evidence that they could harm you. There is “no cookie-cutter answer that fits everyone; the supplements you need, will depend on your age, sex, and unique medical profile” (dela Cruz, 2015). After all, John Doe who is 6’5” in height and weighs 240 pounds won’t get much benefit from a one-size-fits-all supplement because the bottle recommends the same dosage for Jane Doe who is 5’2” tall and weighs 110 pounds. Tell me that’s logical and I’ll build you a bridge in the Sahara Desert.
The bountiful benefits of fresh produce will always crush the claims of pills and powders made in a lab or factory and those foods are needed for a balanced diet. A study conducted by the American Society for Clinical Nutrition in 2003, indicated that “the additive and synergistic effects of phytochemicals in fruit and vegetables are responsible for their potent antioxidant and anticancer activities,” (Liu, 2003). In other words, “one vitamin can amplify the effects of another if they are found together in the same fruit or vegetable” (dela Cruz, 2015).
The reality is there’s only one way to consume the nutrients you need, and that doesn’t include swallowing a handful of pills or capsules, drinking a power drink or beverages laced with synthetic vitamins. As Dela Cruz noted, “Take one look at the dietary guidelines for Americans and you’ll figure out the secret: You just might get the most benefits from micronutrients if they come from actual food” (2015).
Bonfire. (2011). Micronutrients vs. Macronutrients: The Secret to Understanding Food Breakdown. Retrieved from http://bonfirehealth.com/micronutrients-macronutrients-food-breakdown/
Carlson Labs. (n.d.). Vitamin & Mineral Facts. Retrieved from http://www.carlsonlabs.com/t-vitamin-and-mineral-facts.aspx
Dela Cruz, S., M.D. (2015). Multivitamin facts drug companies don’t want you to know. Retrieved from http://www.allvoices.com/article/100003155
Liu, R. H. (2003). Health benefits of fruit and vegetables are from additive and synergistic combinations of phytochemicals1,2,3,4. Retrieved from http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/78/3/517S.full��
I’m not going to beat the proverbial dead horse on this issue because it’s totally accurate to state that eating only raw fruits and vegetables benefits the human body in a myriad of ways; and one of the most important is getting a good night’s sleep. What stops this night of restful bliss is stress; and nutritional stress, like all other stressors, will trigger the production of cortisol, a hormone that lowers the ability to enjoy a deep sleep phase that restores the body. This produces poor sleep quality which leads to fatigue. It also leads to cravings for caffeine and/or sugar and changes hormone levels that make it harder to lose weight and keep muscles toned, even if you’re into physical fitness workouts.
In order to stop the cycle of sleep deprivation or poor sleep quality, you must switch to a plantarian diet as part of a lifestyle change. The plantarian diet focuses on whole foods that are unprocessed and contain no artificial ingredients—eating organic when possible—because nutritional stress is caused by eating highly processed foods and those that contain genetic modifications. It is almost logical that when you consume healthy foods such as raw fruits and vegetables, your body is taking in nutrient dense foods that lead to better and more effective periods of sleep.
The idea is to consume nourishing foods during the day via nutrient dense, plant-based foods. Green, leafy vegetables contain high amounts of magnesium and calcium, both of which help the body relax and enter into a restful and peaceful sleep. Further, the high quality of nutrients in raw fruits and vegetables allow the body and brain to heal and repair cells. For the brain, this is especially important because those nutrients are needed to produce good amino acids and the neurotransmitters that help during the process of sleeping. This also, as noted above, keeps cortisol levels down so you can sleep better; and better sleep means reduced cravings for sugars, processed foods, starches and a burst of energy.It’s not that you will sleep longer, it’s a way to sleep better and have more energy. Believe it or not, the simple banana has a calming effect on the body, and sweet potatoes, avocados, kale, spinach, squash, and broccoli are all high in vitamin B6, magnesium, and tryptophan all help produce a better and healthier cycle of sleep. And if you happen to be sleeping in the same room with someone who snores at earth shattering decibels, get that person on the plantarian diet with you. Both of you will sleep better, have more energy, and the snoring will stop.
J. Cohen Walker, Ed
When I first read Jessie Sholl’s 2012 article titled The Profits Of A Healthy Workplace, I was totally impressed. After all, there actually are companies out there that have gotten smart regarding the hiring and retention of healthy workers. They are also smart because they encourage health and wellness among their existing employees, which makes for a far happier and more responsible workforce. Let’s look at what made Sholl’s article so encouraging.
He spotlighted the dream of 33-year-old Jim Goodnight that started in the mid-1970s—starting a technology company that would treat its employees as the company’s most valuable asset. Goodnight had a dream of providing quality health benefits to his employees and creating a work environment that included racquetball and volleyball courts, eating areas that would provide healthy, low-cost meals, and a clinic that would provide medical and psychological services at no cost to employees (Sholl, 2012). In addition, Goodnight wanted flexible work schedules, an onsite daycare, and continuing education classes—all of which are the visions of a quintessential idealist. Costly, yes, but Goodnight’s dream didn’t just become a reality in 1976 with the founding of SAS (Statistical Analysis Systems) in North Carolina, it is now the world’s largest privately held software company that creates business analytics software with an annual revenue of $2.3 billion (Sholl, 2012).
Because of Goodnight’s vision regarding health and wellness, the employee turnover rate at SAS is under 4 percent, which Sholl says is 80 percent below the standard for the industry; a savings of approximately $70 million annually in hiring and training new employees. Further, while SAS employees have unlimited sick days, they take about two per year and the onsite healthcare facility, which does cost a pretty penny for the company, still saves on productivity cost losses because appointments are free. As Sholl noted, employees are more willing to see a doctor at the outset of a problem rather than waiting until it becomes serious and more expensive business; and they don’t have to take time off from working driving to and from a doctor’s office where wait times are often long and unbearable (2012). Annual savings for SAS is around $6.6 billion.
Corporate wellness is now in vogue because it’s about more than quitting smoking or getting an annual physical. It’s become a corporate mindset that encourages companies to be concerned about the total well-being of their workers. Berry, Maribito & Baun (2010) noted in a Harvard Business Review article titled What’s the Hard Return on Employee Wellness Programs? that when MD Anderson Cancer Center formed a workers’ compensation and injury care division in 2001 in the employee health and well-being department—complete with a physician and a nurse case manager—lost work days were reduced by 80 percent within six years and modified-duty days were lowered by 64 percent. This saved a total of $1.5 million and premiums for workers’ compensation were reduced by 50 percent (Berry, Maribito & Baun, 2010).
True wellness includes mental, physical, financial and spiritual health, but some employees will deal with getting help for stress but not take advice regarding healthy eating, which means helping people as they are to get them where they must go (Berry, Maribito & Baun, 2010). Shawn Achor, CEO of Good Think Inc., a corporate strategy company, believes that a good physical health and wellness program starts with first improving the happiness level of each employee (Berry, Maribito
& Baun, 2010). Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work (Crown Business, 2010), contends that if employees adopt a positive mindset first they will adopt and stick with a healthy-eating plan; and their emotional outlook also makes them more productive. Underscoring this assertion was a study published in the February 2010 issue of Health Affairs which “found that for every dollar invested in a comprehensive workplace wellness program, companies saved $3.27 in medical costs and $2.73 in costs related to absenteeism” (Sholl, 2012). In fact, when Goodnight founded SAS, “a robust program for supporting employee health, happiness and well-being was considered a luxury. Today it is increasingly considered a strategic imperative” (Sholl, 2012).
For example, Whole Foods Market is known for treating all their employees well and those who work more than 30 hours per week get healthcare benefits for a little as $10 per paycheck. Their Team Member Emergency Program provides employees with financial help and co-workers can even donate to the cause of an employee who needs help. The company’s Total Health Immersion program allows chosen participants to travel at no cost to different locations for three, five or 10 days of an intensive healthy-eating education and healthy-lifestyle experiences (Whole Foods, 2010).
Finally, the successful wellness program employed by Hypertherm, a Hanover, N.H. metal systems manufacturer, includes financial incentives and feedback. Employees receive $10 cash rewards/incentives each pay period ($260 per year) if they are involved in biometric health screenings that monitor their blood pressure, cholesterol levels, blood glucose, and weight/Body Mass Index. By 2011, the rate of participation in the program went from 11 to 79 percent (Sholl, 2012). The company also works with the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center to provide clinic services and health coaching at the company.
It’s really up to the corporate leaders to set the tone for optimal wellness at any company. Like Jim Goodnight who had a dream of creating a healthy workplace with healthy and happy employees, corporate leaders must realize that employees might appear to be dispensable and replaceable, but they are still people who want the best environment in which to work, and the best health and wellness to make that dream come true for them as well. If they are replaced, they will likely be replaced with equally unhealthy people which keeps the vicious cycle alive and well—and no one benefits as costs for companies that function in this matter continue to rise.
Berry, L.L. , Maribito, A.M. & Baun, W.B. (2010). What’s the Hard Return on Employee Wellness Programs? Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2010/12/whats-the-hard-return-on-employee-wellness-programs
Sholl, J. (2012). The Profits Of A Healthy Workplace. Retrieved from https://experiencelife.com/article/the-profits-of-a-healthy-workplace/
Whole Foods. (2014). Full Spoon by Whole Foods Market® brings wellness to the workplace. Retrieved from http://media.wholefoodsmarket.com/news/full-spoon
There is one main reason so many people are afflicted with one form of cancer or another. Their eating habits. The human body was not created to swallow pills, whether those pills are medications or vitamin supplements. It was created with a strong immune system that can withstand many assaults on its well-being, and body systems that thrive on the right types of foods. The problem most people face is a medical-pharmaceutical desire for sick people so they can make money. That means some form of doctor-sponsored medicine intake to keep the drug companies rolling in profits and the doctors busy.
Cancer is one disease for which there are only three medically supported and inter-related treatments—chemotherapy, radiation, and/surgery. Those are not options, they are measures born of desperation on the part of the patients and greed on the part of those treating them. While doctors love to spout words of wisdom regarding nutrition and nutritional intake, they are actually clueless when it comes to protecting the body from chronic illnesses, sicknesses and syndromes. All the traditional forms of ridding the body of cancer don’t work because of poor diets which causes the cancer to return even when doctors believe the patient is cancer free.
Let’s see what really causes cancer, in most cases, and what can reverse it when it does occur. The main cause of cancer is a lack of proper respiration of oxygen in normal body cells (CancerCompass, 2015). Almost all cancers—90 to 95 percent—are “directly related to poor diet, toxic overload, exposure to radiation, asbestos, smoking, alcohol consumption, obesity, lack of exercise, viruses, chronic inflammation, and chronic stress, all of which have the ability to compromise the immune system” (CancerCompass, 2015). When a body is in good health with a healthy immune system, it can find and destroy cancer cells before they continue to grow; but if the immune system is not in good shape or is bombarded with damaging influences, cancer cells can and will grow and spread in the body (CancerCompass, 2015).
When we speak of healthy cells, we mean cells that can burn oxygen and glucose to produce adenosine triphosphate (APT), which is the energy source for all cells. CancerCompass calls this process “aerobic respiration” which takes place during the Krebs cycle (2015). When that cycle is off kilt or is disrupted, the ability of the body to move oxygen to the cells is also disrupted and the cells cannot produce ATP. Instead they start to ferment blood sugars (glucose) which produces an inferior type of energy that causes the production of a lactic acid by-product that creates an acidic environment in the tissues surrounding the cells (CancerCompass, 2015).
As far back as 1931, Dr. Otto Warburg, a cancer biochemist who was a Nobel Laureate that same year, believed that “cancer occurs when there is hypoxia, or a lack of oxygen, at the cellular level . . .” which indicates that when cells lose 35 percent of their required oxygen over a two-day period, they turn cancerous (CancerCompass, 2015). What leads to this loss of oxygen and the acidic environment in the cells is the intake of foods that are high in processed sugars, dairy-based foods, meats, soft drinks, coffee, refined grains, processed and fast foods (CancerCompass, 2015).
According to Chris Woollams (2012), “a poor diet causes cancer to grow; a good diet stops it.” He went on to explain that a cancer-beating diet should keep in mind that research done in 2006 that revealed there is total proof that “diet, weight control and exercise” can prevent the return of cancer via consumption of foods high in
“suphoraphanes, resveratrol, curcumin, piperine, vitamin E, vitamin A, genistein, choline, theanine” all available via a plant-based diet (Woollams, 2012). Further, as with research by Dr. Warburg, evidence is increasing that supports the link of high plasma glucose levels to the growth of cancer cells. What’s also evident is that low-stress exercise along with a healthy diet also helps with survival for those afflicted with the disease. Those who are either overweight or obese tend to develop more cancers and have the lowest survival rate, but getting weight down to healthy levels increases the chances of survival (Woollams, 2012). Research done at NorthWestern Medical School indicated that getting weight back to healthy levels via a good diet increases the chances of reversal and survival.
Woollams also cites John Boik’s 2001 book Natural Compounds in Cancer Therapy, stating that Boik’s work proves that diet is essential in preventing and treating cancer. He explained that Boik believed that “cancer is a multi-step process—irritation, inflammation, pre-cancer cells, cancer cells, growth and growth hormone, a tumor, the need for blood supply, firing off cells around the body . . . (Woollams, 2012). Most of the foods we consume put our body into an acidic state which starts that entire process and keeps it going.
The key is to alkalize the body using plant-based foods. “Multi-strain probiotics are found in green vegetables, fibrous cruciferous vegetables, broccoli, alfa-alfa, and in natural herbs like aubergines, beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard, chicory, chives, cucumber, dandelion, dill, endive, fennel, green beans, kale, kelp, lettuce, mushrooms, parsnips, peppers, potatoes, radishes, sorrel, spinach, squash, turnips, and watercress” (CancerActive, 2012). Add to that long list “ginger, natural willow bark, garlic, onions, apples, curcumin/turmeric, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg” (CancerActive, 2012). Almost all fresh fruits are a must including “apples, apricot, avocado, blackberries, blackcurrants, cherries, cranberries, currants, figs, grapes, lemons, limes, lychees, mangoes, melon, olives, oregano, papaya, peaches, pears, raspberries, and redcurrants” (CancerActive, 2012). While some claim that citrus fruits are acidic, they do not produce an acidic effect when consumed.
Steer clear of the following foods and other ingestibles to ensure an alkalized body. Synthetic estrogens given in hormone replacement therapy and xenoestrogens, meat (mass-marketed red meat with high fat content), fruits and vegetables that are grown far away and picked before they’re ripe to survive shipping, shellfish (prawns, crabs, scallops), all processed canned foods which are high in sodium, dried meats filled with sodium, Chinese foods that contain MSG, dairy foods and dairy-based foods, all foods containing refined sugars/carbohydrates (CancerActive, 2012). Prepared smoothies and juices are high in sugar and “caffeine drinks stimulate the liver to release glucose into the blood stream” (CancerActive, 2012).
Perhaps this is why a pure plant-based diet of raw fruits and vegetables is the safest way to go for preventing and beating various forms of cancer. The choice is yours.
Canceractive.com. (2012). How to alkalise your acid body. Retrieved from
CancerCompass. (2015). Cancer Cannot Survive in an Oxygenated Alkaline Environment. Retrieved from http://cancercompassalternateroute.com/cancer-5/cancer-cannot-survive-in-an-oxygenated-alkaline-envi...
Woollams, C. (2012). A poor diet causes cancer to grow; a good diet stops it. Retrieved from http://www.canceractive.com/cancer-active-page-link.aspx?n=978
As more and more Americans ingest processed and junk foods, the aging population and even the young are developing diseases that lead to chronic illnesses such as heart disease, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diabetes; and all can lead to the development of Alzheimer’s Disease and/or dementia. Alzheimer’s.org estimates that over five million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s and “every 67 seconds another person in the U.S. develops the disease” (Golden, 20012-2015). It is the sixth leading cause of death in this country with about 500,000 people losing their lives to Alzheimer’s annually. About one of every three senior citizens die from the disease or some type of dementia and about two thirds of those affected are women (Golden, 20012-2015).
There are conditions that create a higher risk for cardiovascular disease including, but not limited to, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes; and, as noted above, those same illnesses increase the risk of being affected by Alzheimer’s or some form of dementia. Autopsies performed by researchers indicate that a startling 80 percent of those with Alzheimer’s also had cardiovascular disease (Golden, 20012-2015). Cardiovascular disease can cause a variety of heart or blood vessel complications that usually indicates damage to heart or blood vessels. This damage is caused by a buildup in fat-based plaque in the arteries, or atherosclerosis. When this occurs, the artery walls become stiffer and thicker which makes it harder for blood to move through those vessels and get to the body’s tissues and organs. Fortunately, it can be corrected and reversed via a healthy diet and exercise. This means that correcting and reversing heart disease could also stop the progression of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Researchers have also linked the occurrence of Alzheimer’s to chronic illnesses and diseases. According to Kristine Yaffe, Professor of Psychiatry, Neurology and Epidemiology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), “There is a growing body of evidence showing that other chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke and diabetes, as well as risk factors including depression, obesity and sleep, are associated with cognitive decline. If left unchecked, these chronic diseases can increase a person’s risk of developing dementia” (fightdementia.org, 2013). However, when brain health is maximized, the body has healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels as well as healthy blood pressure and body weight which helps lower the risk of incurring devastating chronic diseases including all forms of dementia (fightdementia.org, 2013).
Since Alzheimer's disease causes loss of brain cells in certain areas of the brain, some deterioration may be linked to neurotransmitters which are the messengers for the brain’s nerve cells. Those with Alzheimer’s or dementia, have areas of the brain that have faulty or sick neurotransmitters which some believe are caused by two abnormal issues affecting the brain: amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles (WebMd, 2014). “Amyloid plaques are clumps of a protein called beta amyloid. This plaque builds up around the cells in the brain that [should] communicate with each other” (WebMd, 2014). Neurofibrillary tangles are made from a protein called tau which also helps brain cells communicate (WebMd, 2014). Those with Alzheimer's disease have tangling and twists of the tau protein, and when those tangles clump together they interfere with communication in the brain (WebMd, 2014). Brain cells shrink when they die which leads to memory, intelligence, language, behavior, and judgement issues (WebMd, 2014). The bottom line is that those who do not have Alzheimer’s or dementia do not have those plaques and tangles in their brains but those with the disease do have them.
According to Accredited Practicing Dieticican Domenic Commisso (2012), “The link between diet and dementia became evident to researchers in the late 1990’s.” Scientists who led population-based studies noted that the “consistent intake of various foods were associated with better brain function than other foods” (Commisso, 2012). Food nutrients that are consumed affect the architecture of the brain as well as brain function. This led to a “recognized interconnection between chronic diseases and dementia, in particular diet and lifestyle related chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes and vascular diseases which includes high blood pressure and stroke” (Commisso, 2012).
A study published in the journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences), revealed how researchers spent nine months studying more than 90 older adults to assess how their mental abilities were affected by the amount of advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) in their bodies. The results also showed there is a link between AGEs and developing dementia in later life (Radcliffe, 2014). Those who consumed diets high in advanced glycation end-products had high levels of them in their blood serum; and it was those individuals who developed changes in cognition with defenses against such changes being suppressed (Radcliffe, 2014). Advanced glycation end-products in the blood and body tissues inhibit an enzyme that controls many body functions “including those related to the brain, immune system, and hormones. This enzyme—called SIRT1—is also low in people with brain or metabolic diseases, such as aging-related dementia and diabetes (Radcliffe, 2014).
Unlike many substances that harm the body, AGEs form naturally from the reaction of sugars with protein, fat, or nucleic acids” (Radcliffe, 2014). A high advanced glycation end-products level leads to inflammation because it damages both cells and nucleic acids, which leads to prediabetes, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and neurological disease (Radcliffe, 2014).
The traditional Western diet, filled with meats and foods containing high amounts of sugar and fats, is high in advanced glycation end-products, and cooking increases the amount in the foods. Although research is still ongoing, advanced glycation end-products in the diet have also been linked to chronic conditions such as metabolic syndrome and dementia (Radcliffe, 2014). A plant-based diet is the optimal diet to reduce such chemical disasters in the body. By reducing the amount of advanced glycation end-products, simple sugars, and consuming only foods that contain complex carbohydrates and a host of nutrients, those with chronic illnesses can reverse many of those conditions brought on specifically by the consumption of foods that provide little or no nutrition. For those with Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia, the changes could be startling. It is only by attempting to reverse those diseases, which has been done with several Back To Health Institute seniors, that the results of a plantarian diet will be documented as the way to prevent or reverse such conditions.
Commisso, D. (2012). The Link Between Nutrition and Dementia.Retrieved from http://daa.asn.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/The-Link-Between-Nutrition-and-Dementia.pdf
Fightdementia.org. (2013). Dangerous Links Between Chronic Diseases And Dementia. Retrieved from https://fightdementia.org.au/news/dangerous-links-between-chronic-diseases-and-dementia
Golden, C. (2012-2015). Is Alzheimer’s Disease Cardiovascular Disease?Retrieved from http://www.carlagoldenwellness.com/2015/03/02/is-alzheimers-disease-cardiovascular-disease/
Radcliffe, S. (2014). A compound that occurs naturally in food, and is increased by cooking, may contribute to chronic diseases like diabetes and dementia. Retrieved from
WebMd. (2014). Alzheimer's Disease – Cause: Alzheimer's Disease Guide.Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/alzheimers/tc/alzheimers-disease-cause