About Me

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I homeschool and have a health ministry for friends, family, and health lovers world-wide. I'm totally into all-natural and avoid chemicals, food additives, etc. even in my cosmetics. I am working toward eating Vegan, Organic, and raw as much as possible (my family too). I'm married, and have two small kids and two grown step kids. Optimal Health - God's Way ".....and the fruit thereof shall be for meat (FOOD), and the leaf for MEDICINE." Ezekiel 47:12 KJV

Monday, May 23, 2011

The health benefits of phytochemicals

Friday, May 20, 2011
by: Neev M. Arnell

(NaturalNews) Phytonutrients, the chemicals that help plants defend against environmental challenges, such as damage from pests or ultraviolet light, appear to provide humans with protection as well. Mounting research shows their effectiveness in preventing and treating a range of conditions including everything from cancer and heart disease to diabetes and high blood pressure. But current law dictates that if anyone advertises health benefits without FDA approval, it is automatically considered an illegal health claim, even for everyday foods, such as walnuts.

Phytochemicals are thought to be responsible for much of the disease protection granted by diets high in fruits, vegetables, beans, cereals, and plant-based beverages such as tea and wine, according to a University of California, Davis report (http://chnr.ucdavis.edu/content/Fac...).

Although it has become widely accepted that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains reduces the risk of cancer, heart disease, and other illnesses, scientists have only recently begun researching the effects of the different phytonutrients those foods contain.

Previous evidence has come from observations of cultures that eat plant-based diets and have lower rates of certain types of cancer and heart disease. The relatively low rates of breast and endometrial cancers in some Asian cultures, for example, are credited partly to dietary habits. These cancers are much more common in the United States, possibly because the typical American diet is higher in fat and lower in fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains, according to American Cancer Society.

Many experts suggest that people can reduce their risk of cancer significantly by eating the foods that contain phytonutrients, according to American Cancer Society (http://www.cancer.org/Treatment/Tre...). Evidence shows that they may work by helping to prevent the formation of potential carcinogens, blocking the action of carcinogens on their target organs or tissue, or acting on cells to suppress cancer development.

Research suggests that flavonoids, the most diverse group of phytochemicals, may be a key phytochemical group that contributes to the reduced mortality rates observed in people consuming high levels of plant-based foods, according to the UC Davis report. In the Zutphen Elderly Study, myocardial infarction was found to decrease as falvonoid intake increased. Similarly, the Seven Countries Study, which compared the diets of men living in various Western countries including the U.S., suggested that consumption of flavonoids was responsible for 25 percent of the observed difference in mortality rates in the different countries.

University of Minnesota Hormel Institute researchers say phytonutrients could be used in effective cancer prevention therapy, so much so that they eventually aim to develop phytochemical-derived anticancer drugs, Dr. Sigang Dong told The Austin Daily Herald (http://www.austindailyherald.com/20...).

"In the future, personalized prevention methods using photochemical could have a crucial role in cancer prevention, especially in high-risk populations," Dong said. "We will continue our rigorous research in identifying molecular targets and aim for conducting human studies with phytocehemicals - this would provide the path for an enhanced approach to personalized cancer prevention."

FDA monopoly on health

Evidence favoring the health benefits of phytonutrients is growing every day, so much so that the biotech industry is already researching transgenic and non-transgenic ways to vastly increase the phytonutrient levels in plants that already contain high levels of the chemicals, according the 2009 book Recent Advances in Biotechnology (http://books.google.com/books?id=Sl...).

Yet, even as the science bounds ahead, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration refuses to allow food producers to put the facts on their labels.

The agency has structured the rules to categorize anything that treats or prevents disease as a drug. If you eat walnuts, which are shown to lower high cholesterol -- according to Natural News, the FDA declares your walnuts to be a drug. Furthermore, if anything is advertised as providing health benefits without FDA approval, it's automatically considered to be an "unapproved drug", even if it's a common, everyday food like walnuts, cherries, grapes or orange (http://www.fda.gov/ICECI/Enforcemen...).

Shockingly, even references to peer-reviewed scientific studies are a no-no without FDA permission. So if you sell walnuts, and your website merely links to such studies, then you can be threatened, arrested, imprisoned and fined millions of dollars by the FDA for selling "unapproved drugs." (http://www.naturalnews.com/027750_G...)

The Alliance for Natural Health, a non-profit organization committed to protecting integrative medicine, is fighting these FDA mandates with The Free Speech About Science Act. The congressional bill, HR 4913, is designed to stop government censorship of truthful, scientific health claims about natural foods and herbs, and restore free speech to natural health (http://www.naturalnews.com/028879_c...). If the bill passes, it will allow manufacturers and producers to reference peer-reviewed, scientific studies that highlight the health benefits of food products that they grow or sell.

Understanding Phytonutrients

Some researchers estimate up to 40,000 phytonutrients will someday be fully catalogued and understood. In just the last 30 years, many hundreds of these compounds have been identified and are currently being investigated for their health-promoting qualities, according to The George Mateljan Foundation for the World's Healthiest Foods.

Phytonutrients are classified by their chemical structure and categorized into families based on the similarities in their structures. The phenols, or polyphenols is one family that has received attention in the scientific literature. They include the anthocyanidins, which give blueberries and grapes their dark blue and purple color, and the catechins, found in tea and wine, which provide the bitter taste as well as the tawny coloring in these foods (http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?...).

Flavonoids are also commonly considered phenols, although the term "flavonoids" can refer to many phytonutrients. Isoflavones are usually categorized as members of this family. They are found in soy, kudzu, red clover, flax and rye, and have been researched extensively for their ability to protect against hormone-dependent cancers, such as breast cancer.

Other phytonutrients include the organosulfur compounds, such as the glucosinolates and indoles from brassica vegetables like broccoli, and the allylic sulfides from garlic and onions, all of which have been found to support our ability to detoxify noxious foreign compounds like pesticides and other environmental toxins.

Integrating phytonutrients into your diet

A recommended intake of phytochemicals does not exist today, according to the UC Davis report. The Standing Committee on the Scientific Evaluation of Dietary Reference Intakes and its Panel on Dietary Antioxidants and Related Compounds chose not to create a Dietary Reference Intake due to the lack of food composition data and a true understanding of the absorption and metabolism of phytonutrients. In the absence of such a DRI, many health authorities such as the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association recommend consuming a diet high in fruits and vegetables to
ensure that people get an adequate amount of phytochemical compounds.

Available scientific evidence does not support claims that taking phytochemical supplements is as helpful as consuming the fruits, vegetables, beans, and grains from which they are taken, according to the American Cancer Society (http://www.cancer.org/Treatment/Tre...). So, the best choice, according to O Magazine, is to head to the local farmers' market for the season's freshest produce packed with those precious chemicals. Typically, fruit travels more than 675 miles before hitting your table and it is leeching phytonutrients all the way.

And don't forget to look beyond produce to the other phytonutrient-dense foods like beans and spices.

Beans are a miracle food, according to The Daily Times. They lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar and insulin production, promote digestive health, and protect against cancer. If you think of fiber, protein, and antioxidants and immediately think whole grains, meat, and fruit, think again - beans offer all three in a single package.

Turmeric, ginger, coriander, cumin and fennel are just a few of the spices containing phytonutrients, according to The Detroit News. Cinnamon has been found to help control blood sugar and improve insulin resistance in diabetics. Paprika may help raise good cholesterol, and ginger, coriander and cumin may promote healthy digestion. (http://www.detnews.com/article/2011...).

Sources for this article include:


Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/032463_phytochemicals_health_benefits.html#ixzz1NBoHjIgO

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/032463_phytochemicals_health_benefits.html#ixzz1NBo86QiV


Childhood Obesity News

Excellent article on our childhood obesity epidemic:

Could This Superfruit Compound Be the New Resveratrol?

May 23, 2011
Posted by John Phillip

It’s likely you have never heard of pterostilbene. This natural compound is most commonly found in purple fruits like blueberries and grapes and is a cousin to the well-known anti-aging nutrient, resveratrol. Similar in chemical structure, the two nutrients perform different functions in the blood and at the cellular level to lower the risk from heart disease, diabetes, cancer and the aging process itself. Pterostilbene is easily able to enter the cellular matrix to prevent the accumulation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) that fuel aging and metabolic decline. Both nutrients can be obtained from a well balanced diet, but supplementation may be necessary to optimize a myriad of health benefits.

Pterostilbene Reverses Insulin Resistance and Metabolic Dysfunction

Known as a stilbenoid, pterostilbene participates in anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory reactions to protect the delicate insulin secreting beta cells in the pancreas. This helps to prevent damaging blood sugar surges that promote metabolic dysfunction and diabetes. In addition, the nutrient works in synergy with resveratrol to lower triglycerides and moderate the small dense LDL cholesterol particles that become trapped in the arterial walls and result in heart-clogging plaque.

Reporting in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition, researchers found that pterostilbene was capable of assisting beta cell regranulation that helps regulate the normal secretion of insulin in response to blood sugar fluctuations. Scientists demonstrated that the compound neutralized the effect of free radicals that damage beta cells after a meal high in sugar and refined carbohydrates. This capability helped to increase insulin response and reverse the damaging effects of insulin resistance commonly seen in diabetics.

Super Nutrient Inhibits Arterial Plaque Formation

Atherosclerosis is characterized by the abnormal proliferation of cells within the endothelial lining of the coronary arteries that lead to plaque formation. Pterostilbene has been shown to inhibit this deadly process in a study published in the journal Vascular Pharmacology. Researchers found that the compound regulated DNA of the smooth muscles that make up the inner lining of the arteries so plaque was less likely to accumulate. The study authors concluded that “pterostilbene may be a potential anti-proliferative agent for the treatment of atherosclerosis.”

Pterostilbene Regulates Normal Cell Death, Prevents Many Cancer Lines

Pterostilbene is emerging as a powerful ally in the fight against many cancer lines due to its small molecular size that allows the nutrient to easily gain access to cancer cells. Researchers publishing in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that pterostilbene “damages a cancer cell`s membrane and DNA and induces death signals causing self-destruction.” The nutrient has demonstrated the ability to suppress the energy-producing system within the cancer cell to protect against cancers of the breast, prostate, colon, lung and liver.

Pterostilbene functions by affecting multiple cellular mechanisms to enhance human health and lower risk from diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Like its close relative resveratrol, this super nutrient is found in small concentrations in muscadine and red varietal grapes as well as many members of the dark berry family including blueberries and cranberries. Health-minded individuals may want to consider supplementation to obtain the higher research dosage (.125 mg) shown to prevent chronic disease and extend healthy lifespan.



John Phillip is a diet, health and nutrition researcher and writer with a passion for understanding weight loss challenges and encouraging health modification through natural diet, lifestyle and targeted supplementation. John’s passion is to research and write about the cutting edge alternative health technologies that affect our lives.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

5 Reasons High Fructose Corn Syrup Will Kill You

Article by Dr. Mark Hyman

—Harry Truman

The current media debate about the benefits (or lack of harm) of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in our diet misses the obvious. The average American increased their consumption of HFCS (mostly from sugar sweetened drinks and processed food) from zero to over 60 pounds per person per year. During that time period, obesity rates have more than tripled and diabetes incidence has increased more than seven fold. Not perhaps the only cause, but a fact that cannot be ignored.
Doubt and confusion are the currency of deception, and they sow the seeds of complacency. These are used skillfully through massive print and television advertising campaigns by the Corn Refiners Association’s attempt to dispel the “myth” that HFCS is harmful and assert through the opinion of “medical and nutrition experts” that it is no different than cane sugar. It is a “natural” product that is a healthy part of our diet when used in moderation.
Except for one problem. When used in moderation it is a major cause of heart disease, obesity, cancer, dementia, liver failure, tooth decay and more.
Why is the corn industry spending millions on misinformation campaigns to convince consumers and health care professionals of the safety of their product? Could it be that the food industry comprises 17 percent of our economy?
The Lengths the Corn Industry Will Go To
The goal of the corn industry is to call into question any claim of harm from consuming high fructose corn syrup, and to confuse and deflect by calling their product natural “corn sugar”. That’s like calling tobacco in cigarettes natural herbal medicine. Watch the slick ad where a caring father walks hand in hand with his four-year-old daughter through a big question mark carved in an idyllic cornfield.
In the ad, the father tells us:
“Like any parent I have questions about the food my daughter eats – like high fructose corn syrup. So I started looking for answers from medical and nutrition experts, and what I discovered whether it’s corn sugar or cane sugar your body can’t tell the difference. Sugar is sugar. Knowing that makes me feel better about what she eats and that’s one less thing to worry about.”
Physicians are also targeted directly. I received a 12-page color glossy monograph from the Corn Refiners Association reviewing the “science” that HFCS was safe and no different than cane sugar. I assume the other 700,000 physicians in America received the same propaganda at who knows what cost.
In addition to this, I received a special “personal” letter from the Corn Refiner’s Association outlining every mention of the problems with HCFS in our diet – whether in print, blogs, books, radio or television. They warned me of the errors of my ways and put me on “notice”. For what I am not sure. To think they are tracking this (and me) that closely gives me an Orwellian chill.
New websites like www.sweetsurprise.com and www.cornsugar.com help “set us straight” about HFCS with quotes from professors of nutrition and medicine and thought leaders from Harvard and other stellar institutions.
Why is the corn industry spending millions on misinformation campaigns to convince consumers and health care professionals of the safety of their product? Could it be that the food industry comprises 17 percent of our economy?
But are these twisted sweet lies or a sweet surprise, as the Corn Refiners Association websites claim?
What the Science Says about HFCS
Let’s examine the science and insert some common sense into the conversation. These facts may indeed come as a sweet surprise. The ads suggest getting your nutrition advice from your doctor (who, unfortunately, probably knows less about nutrition than most grandmothers). Having studied this for over a decade, and having read, interviewed or personally talked with most of the “medical and nutrition experts” used to bolster the claim that “corn sugar” and cane sugar are essentially the same, quite a different picture emerges and the role of HCFS in promoting obesity, disease and death across the globe becomes clear.
Last week over lunch with Dr. Bruce Ames, one of the foremost nutritional scientists in the world and Dr. Jeffrey Bland, a nutritional biochemist, a student of Linus Pauling and I reviewed the existing science, and Dr. Ames shared shocking new evidence from his research center on how HFCS can trigger body-wide inflammation and obesity.

Here are 5 reasons you should stay way from any product containing high fructose corn syrup and why it may kill you.

1. Sugar in any form causes obesity and disease when consumed in pharmacologic doses.
Cane sugar and high fructose corn syrup are indeed both harmful when consumed in pharmacologic doses of 140 pounds per person per year. When one 20 ounce HFCS sweetened soda, sports drink or tea has 17 teaspoons of sugar (and the average teenager often consumes two drinks a day) we are conducting a largely uncontrolled experiment on the human species. Our hunter gather ancestors consumed the equivalent of 20 teaspoons per year, not per day. In this sense, I would agree with the corn industry that sugar is sugar. Quantity matters. But there are some important differences.

2. HFCS and cane sugar are NOT biochemically identical or processed the same way by the body.
High fructose corn syrup is an industrial food product and far from “natural” or a naturally occurring substance. It is extracted from corn stalks through a process so secret that Archer Daniels Midland and Carghill would not allow the investigative journalist, Michael Pollan to observe it for his book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma. The sugars are extracted through a chemical enzymatic process resulting in a chemically and biologically novel compound called HFCS.
Some basic biochemistry will help you understand this. Regular cane sugar (sucrose) is made of two-sugar molecules bound tightly together – glucose and fructose in equal amounts. The enzymes in your digestive tract must break down the sucrose into glucose and fructose, which are then absorbed into the body.
HFCS also consists of glucose and fructose, not in a 50-50 ratio, but a 55-45 fructose to glucose ratio in an unbound form. Fructose is sweeter than glucose. And HCFS is cheaper than sugar because of the government farm bill corn subsidies. Products with HFCS are sweeter and cheaper than products made with cane sugar. This allowed for the average soda size to balloon from 8 ounces to 20 ounces with little financial costs to manufacturers but great human costs of increased obesity, diabetes and chronic disease.
Now back to biochemistry. Since there is there is no chemical bond between them, no digestion is required so they are more rapidly absorbed into your blood stream. Fructose goes right to the liver and triggers lipogenesis (the production of fats like triglycerides and cholesterol) this is why it is the major cause of liver damage in this country and causes a condition called “fatty liver” which affects 70 million people. The rapidly absorbed glucose triggers big spikes in insulin – our body’s major fat storage hormone. Both these features of HFCS lead to increased metabolic disturbances that drive increases in appetite, weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia and more.
But there was one more thing I learned during lunch with Dr. Bruce Ames. Research done by his group at the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute found that free fructose from HFCS requires more energy to be absorbed by the gut and soaks up two phosphorous molecules from ATP (our body’s energy source). This depletes the energy fuel source or ATP in our gut required to maintain the integrity of our intestinal lining. Little “tight junctions” cement each intestinal cell together preventing food and bacteria from “leaking” across the intestinal membrane and triggering an immune reaction and body wide inflammation.
High doses of free fructose have been proven to literally punch holes in the intestinal lining allowing nasty byproducts of toxic gut bacteria and partially digested food proteins to enter your blood stream and trigger the inflammation that we know is at the root of obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, dementia and accelerated aging. Naturally occurring fructose in fruit is part of a complex of nutrients and fiber that doesn’t exhibit the same biological effects as the free high fructose doses found in “corn sugar”.
The takeaway: Cane sugar and the industrially produced, euphemistically named “corn sugar” are not biochemically or physiologically the same.

3. HFCS contains contaminants including mercury that are not regulated or measured by the FDA
An FDA researcher asked corn producers to ship a barrel of high fructose corn syrup in order to test for contaminants. Her repeated requests were refused until she claimed she represented a newly created soft drink company. She was then promptly shipped a big vat of HFCS that was used as part of the study that showed that HFCS often contains toxic levels of mercury because of chlor-alkali products used in its manufacturing.(i) Poisoned sugar is certainly not “natural”.
When HFCS is run through a chemical analyzer or a chromatograph, strange chemical peaks show up that are not glucose or fructose. What are they? Who knows? This certainly calls into question the purity of this processed form of super sugar. The exact nature, effects and toxicity of these funny compounds have not been fully explained, but shouldn’t we be protected from the presence of untested chemical compounds in our food supply, especially when the contaminated food product comprises up to 15-20 percent of the average American’s daily calorie intake?

4. Independent medical and nutrition experts DO NOT support the use of HCFS in our diet, despite the assertions of the corn industry.
The corn industry’s happy looking websites www.cornsugar.com and www.sweetsurprise.com bolster their position that cane sugar and corn sugar are the same by quoting experts, or should we say mis-quoting …
Barry M. Popkin, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Nutrition, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has published widely on the dangers of sugar-sweetened drinks and their contribution to the obesity epidemic. In a review of HFCS in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,(ii) he explains the mechanism by which the free fructose may contribute to obesity. He states that:
“The digestion, absorption, and metabolism of fructose differ from those of glucose. Hepatic metabolism of fructose favors de novo lipogenesis [production of fat in the liver]. In addition, unlike glucose, fructose does not stimulate insulin secretion or enhance leptin production. Because insulin and leptin act as key afferent signals in the regulation of food intake and body weight [to control appetite], this suggests that dietary fructose may contribute to increased energy intake and weight gain. Furthermore, calorically sweetened beverages may enhance caloric overconsumption.”
He states that HFCS is absorbed more rapidly than regular sugar, and that it doesn’t stimulate insulin or leptin production. This prevents you from triggering the body’s signals for being full and may lead to overconsumption of total calories.
He concludes by saying that:
“… the increase in consumption of HFCS has a temporal relation to the epidemic of obesity, and the overconsumption of HFCS in calorically sweetened beverages may play a role in the epidemic of obesity.”
The corn industry takes his comments out of context to support their position. “All sugar you eat is the same.”
True pharmacologic doses of any kind of sugar are harmful, but the biochemistry of different kinds of sugar and their respective effects on absorption, appetite and metabolism are different, and Dr. Popkin knows that.
David S. Ludwig, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, and a personal friend has published extensively on the dangers and the obesogenic properties of sugar-sweetened beverages. He was quoted as saying that “high fructose corn syrup is one of the most misunderstood products in the food industry.” When I asked him why he supported the corn industry, he told me he didn’t and that his comments were taken totally out of context.
Misrepresenting science is one thing, misrepresenting scientists who have been at the forefront of the fight against obesity and high fructose sugar sweetened beverages is quite another.

5. HCFS is almost always a marker of poor-quality, nutrient-poor disease creating industrial food products or “food-like substances”.
The last reason to avoid products that contain HFCS is that they are a marker for poor-quality, nutritionally depleted, processed industrial food full of empty calories and artificial ingredients. If you find “high fructose corn syrup” on the label you can be sure it is not a whole, real, fresh food full of fiber, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and antioxidants. Stay away if you want to stay healthy. We still must reduce our overall consumption of sugar, but with this one simple dietary change you can radically reduce your health risks and improve your health.

While debate may rage about the biochemistry and physiology of cane sugar vs. corn sugar, this is in fact beside the point (despite the finer points of my scientific analysis above). The conversation has been diverted to a simple assertion that cane sugar and corn sugar are not different.
The real issues are only two.
We are consuming HFCS and sugar in pharmacologic quantities never before experienced in human history — 140 pounds a year vs. 20 teaspoons a year 10,000 years ago.
High fructose corn syrup is always found in very poor quality foods that are nutritionally vacuous and filled with all sorts of other disease promoting compounds, fats, salt, chemicals and even mercury.
These critical ideas should be the heart of the national conversation, not the meaningless confusing ads and statements by the corn industry in the media and online that attempt to assure the public that the biochemistry of real sugar and industrially produced sugar from corn are the same.
Know I’d like to hear from you …
Do you think there is an association between the introduction of HFCS in our diet and the obesity epidemic?
What reason do you think the Corn Refiners Association has for running such ads and publishing websites like those listed in this article?
What do you think of the science presented here and the general effects of HFCS on the American diet?
Please leave your thoughts by adding a comment below.
To your good health,
Mark Hyman, MD
(i) Dufault, R., LeBlanc, B., Schnoll, R. et al. 2009. Mercury from chlor-alkali plants: Measured concentrations in food product sugar. Environ Health. 26(8):2.
(ii) Bray, G.A., Nielsen, S.J., and B.M. Popkin. 2004. Consumption of high-fructose corn syrup in beverages may play a role in the epidemic of obesity. Am J Clin Nutr. 79(4):537-43. Review.


Is there glue in your beef, chicken, and pork? Check out this news report!

It's incredible how far we've gone just to make another $1!

Click here to watch a shocking video:

Monday, May 16, 2011

Delightful Apple Salad recipe

Delightful Apple Salad

This delicious apple salad can be eaten as is, but is even better when topped with Rhonda’s Apple Salad Dressing (see below)! I made the creamy version of the dressing in my Blendtec and loved it!


2 cups mixed salad greens
2 cups spinach
1 cup Granny Smith apples (cut into small chunks)
1 cup Fuji or Braeburn apples (cut into small chunks)
1 celery rib (cut finely across the rib)
¼ cup walnuts or pecans (coarsely chopped)
¼ cup raisins


Combine all ingredients in a bowl, mix well and serve.

Rhonda’s Apple Salad Dressing

A perfect complement to Rhonda's Delightful Apple Salad.


½ cup organic apple juice
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp raw unfiltered honey
¼ tsp Celtic or Himalayan salt
Pinch of paprika
Pinch of cayenne (optional)


Place all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine or in a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake to mix well.

To make this a creamier dressing and to add flavor, add ¼ cup soaked walnuts or pecans to recipe and place in a Vita-Mix or other powerful blender and process until creamy.

Find more awesome vegan recipes on:

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Little-Known Longevity Factor in the Japanese Diet (Fucoidan)

By Tiesha Johnson, RN

Over the past decade, a quiet revolution in aging research has unfolded, its focus centered on little-known molecules known as fucoidans. These molecules play a crucial role across a broad range of physiological mechanisms.

Fucoidans are found almost exclusively in certain kinds of seaweed. Their anti-aging potential emerged in several analyses of the Japanese diet, particularly among inhabitants of the island of Okinawa, long known for its high concentration of people at least a century old (centenarians).1-5

Virtually no one in the West obtains enough of these critical molecules, which have been shown to facilitate tissue regeneration, immune function, and cell-to-cell communication.6-8

In this article, you will discover how fucoidans work to combat cancer, metabolic syndrome, and other degenerative disorders.9,10

Filling the Nutritional Gap

The Japanese enjoy a long life expectancy that is among the highest in the world.3,11 For many years, life expectancy at birth on the islands that comprise the Okinawa prefecture was even higher than on the mainland.1-5 At the same time, the Japanese enjoy far lower incidence of most chronic, age-related diseases than Western populations.5,12,13 Multiple factors contribute to their successful aging and healthy life span, including a diet low in calories and rich in fruits, vegetables, and fish.2,5 In addition, in Japan, there is a widely held cultural belief that “food is medicine.”1 However, one dietary factor stands out that is virtually unique to the Japanese diet: regular consumption of seaweed, as much as 4-6 grams per day.10

There are many varieties of edible seaweed, which in Japan go by the common names of wakame, mekabu, and kombu, among others. Strictly speaking, “seaweed” is not a plant but rather an amalgam of algae, or single- and multi-cellular marine organisms that group into clumps or mats.14 These particular species contain high concentrations of long chain molecules collectively known as fucoidans.15

Scientists have discovered that fucoidans are a source of necessary components of cell-surface molecules that facilitate cell-to-cell signaling, the core regulatory process responsible for everything from immunity and cardiovascular function to healthy cellular proliferation.6,16-19 Researchers believe that the shorter life and health spans observed in Western populations result in part from the near-total absence of dietary fucoidans.1,2

How Fucoidans Work

Much of the world’s literature on fucoidans originates in Japan, given their abundance in the Japanese diet. Even some drug companies are investigating their therapeutic potential.15

The strongest scientific evidence on fucoidans is derived from studies of the species Undaria pinnatifida.20 It has been shown that fucoidan-rich Undaria, once ingested, can bind to toxins such as dioxin within the mammalian body and facilitate its excretion. The effect is noteworthy enough that some clinicians believe it could hold promise as a therapeutic intervention in humans exposed to dioxin.21

Laboratory and animal studies further reveal that fucoidans prevent certain infectious diseases, and block cancer cells from spreading and trigger their early death.9,10

Fucoidans also modulate growth factors required for healing and tissue regeneration, while blocking those associated with visible aging.22,23 This is largely the result of their immune-modulating capabilities: they simultaneously downregulate inflammation while boosting appropriate recognition and destruction of invaders.7,24

Immune Modulator, Cancer Fighter

Through their beneficial interaction with cell surface proteins, fucoidans exert beneficial effects on cells within the immune system, where glycoproteins serve as vital receptors and detectors of changes in the internal environment. Undaria extracts stimulate beneficial immune responses while suppressing those that could lead to tissue damage.

Immune stimulation by fucoidans enhances activity of both the cellular and the antibody-based components of the immune system, boosting protection not only against bacteria and viruses, but also against many nascent cancers.25-29 In one animal model, Undaria fucoidans enhanced survival and inhibited tumor growth in experimentally induced cancer, the result of enhanced activity of cancer-destroying natural killer cells.14,30

In early stage, experimental cell studies, fucoidans demonstrated potential for preventing infection with numerous malevolent microorganisms, including the malaria parasite and herpes viruses. In laboratory studies, they block cell surface receptors those invaders need in order to attach themselves and enter human cells, preventing infection from taking hold.31,32 Viruses in particular can attach to a cell membrane receptor and then enter the cell interior, where their genetic material replicates and produces destructive effects on host cells.

Undaria fucoidan extract has been shown to inhibit replication of herpes by stimulating ingestion of the virus by macrophage cells and boosting numbers of antibody-producing B cells.33,34 All of these experiments show great promise for future applications of fucoidans in protecting against various pathogens.

In an early phase, open-label trial, oral Undaria fucoidan was administered to 15 individuals of various ages (from under age 10 to age 72) suffering from herpetic infections including herpes type 1 (cold sores), herpes type 2 (genital herpes), herpes zoster (chicken pox; shingles), and Epstein-Barr virus (mononucleosis). The Undaria dosage approximated typical daily seaweed intake in Japan. Undaria increased the healing rates of active herpes virus infections in all 15 subjects. Individuals with chicken pox and shingles noted reduced pain and more rapid resolution of skin lesions. In the laboratory, scientists found that the Undaria extract increased the growth of infection-fighting T-cells in cell culture. The scientists postulated that Undaria’s ability to increase T-cell growth in the laboratory may be related to its ability to enhance immunity in human subjects.20


Over the past decade, a quiet revolution in the science of anti-aging has unfolded, centered on the discovery of beneficial molecules that facilitate core physiological mechanisms and ward off degenerative disease.
The study of their effects has given rise to the field of glycobiology.
Fucoidans are long-chain molecules found primarily in seaweed.
Researchers believe that fucoidans are partly responsible for the extraordinary longevity observed in Japanese populations, where organic, unpolluted seaweeds form a significant dietary component.
Fucoidans enhance immune function, combating infectious diseases and cancer.
Fucoidans show great promise in thwarting viral infection by preventing binding to host cells and blocking viral replication in laboratory research.
Fucoidans also combat metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease by modulating glucose and insulin levels, disrupting formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs), and lowering triglycerides.
Laboratory studies of the same fucoidan preparation revealed potent antiviral activities against human herpes virus types 1 and 2, and against cytomegalovirus, a common infection in individuals with compromised immune systems.31,35 Animal studies reveal that Undaria fucoidans prevent virus binding with host cells and inhibit viral replication, while simultaneously stimulating host-defensive immune responses.36,37

Undaria extracts have also been shown to enhance the natural cancer cell-destroying activity of immune cells in experimental animals, while increasing survival rates.14,19,30 In one animal model, it suppresses proliferation of tumors of the breast—a telling finding given that breast cancer rates in humans are substantially lower in Japan than in US populations.38,39 Importantly, while the extracts induce apoptosis in cancer cells in the lab, they have no such cell-destructive effects on healthy human mammary tissue.39

Combating Cardiovascular Disease and Metabolic Syndrome

Incidence of metabolic syndrome is on the rise around the world, though its prevalence lags behind in some Asian countries that consume a traditional diet rich in seaweed. This phenomenon has recently been attributed in part to the high dietary intake of Undaria and other brown seaweeds.10 Metabolic syndrome, triggered by—and also a cause of—accumulated advanced glycation end products (AGEs), is associated with type 2 diabetes and high cardiovascular disease risk.40-43 Fucoidans hold tremendous promise in disrupting the processes that lead to metabolic syndrome and its cardiovascular consequences.10

Undaria exerts anti-diabetic effects by stabilizing and slowing the digestion of starch from processed carbohydrates, which may reduce the likelihood of dangerous postprandial glucose and insulin spikes.44

Undaria Pinnatifida
Diabetic patients also suffer from diminished peripheral blood flow, leading to skin ulceration and poor wound healing. In one compelling study, researchers discovered that fucoidan supplementation could restore normal control of capillary blood flow in diabetic animals.45 Some of this benefit may arise from the fact that fucoidans can inhibit binding of AGEs to the cellular receptors that trigger many of their damaging effects.46

Undaria also defuses cardiac risk factors by stimulating enzymes that break down fats in the liver and lower triglyceride levels.47 Undaria operates synergistically with fish oils to protect cardiovascular health.48

Cardiovascular disease risk is directly related to blood pressure. In a landmark 2009 study, consumption of dried Undaria at 4-6 grams per day (typical for the Japanese diet) significantly reduced systolic blood pressure in all patients. Individuals who consumed 4 grams of Undaria daily for 1 month, followed by 6 grams of Undaria for an additional month, saw their systolic blood pressure decrease by 10.5 mmHg. This effect occurred primarily in those who had high-normal baseline blood pressure levels.10

Relieving Arthritis Pain

Fucoidans may also prove a potent intervention to combat arthritis. There are many different kinds of arthritis, with a variety of causes. Their unifying characteristic is painful joint swelling with inflammation and increased production of pro-inflammatory cytokines (cell-signaling molecules).

Fucoidan treatment reduces cytokine production and infiltration of white blood cells in experimental arthritis, thereby reducing overall severity.49-51 Fucoidans also reduce pain perception.52 Selectin inhibition by fucoidans also reduces the severity of early bacterially induced arthritis.53 Together these properties make fucoidans tremendously promising in the management of painful arthritis.51


Researchers believe fucoidans are partly responsible for the extraordinary longevity observed in Japanese populations, where organic, unpolluted seaweeds form a significant dietary component.

Fucoidans enhance immune function, combat infectious diseases, and support defense against cancer. Fucoidans also combat metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease by modulating glucose and insulin, disrupting formation of advanced glycation end products, and lowering triglyceride levels. In human studies, fucoidans (extract from seaweed) demonstrate beneficial effects at doses of 75-300 mg daily.20,54

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Health Advisor at

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18. Freguin-Bouilland C, Alkhatib B, David N, et al. Low molecular weight fucoidan prevents neointimal hyperplasia after aortic allografting. Transplantation. 2007 May 15;83(9):1234-41.

19. Furusawa E, Furusawa S. Anticancer activity of a natural product, viva-natural, extracted from Undaria pinnantifida on intraperitoneally implanted Lewis lung carcinoma. Oncology. 1985;42(6):364-9.

20. Cooper R, Dragar C, Elliot K, Fitton JH, Godwin J, Thompson K. GFS, a preparation of Tasmanian Undaria pinnatifida is associated with healing and inhibition of reactivation of Herpes. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2002 Nov 20;2:11.

21. Morita K, Nakano T. Seaweed accelerates the excretion of dioxin stored in rats. J Agric Food Chem. 2002 Feb 13;50(4):910-7.

22. Fukuta K, Nakamura T. Induction of hepatocyte growth factor by fucoidan and fucoidan-derived oligosaccharides. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2008 Apr;60(4):499-503.

23. Moon HJ, Lee SH, Ku MJ, et al. Fucoidan inhibits UVB-induced MMP-1 promoter expression and down regulation of type I procollagen synthesis in human skin fibroblasts. Eur J Dermatol. 2009 Mar-Apr;19(2):129-34.

24. Tanaka K, Ito M, Kodama M, et al. Sulfated polysaccharide fucoidan ameliorates experimental autoimmune myocarditis in rats. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol Ther. 2010 Dec 30.

25. Zapopozhets TS, Besednova NN, Loenko Iu N. Antibacterial and immunomodulating activity of fucoidan. Antibiot Khimioter. 1995 Feb;40(2):9-13.

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27. Itoh H, Noda H, Amano H, Ito H. Immunological analysis of inhibition of lung metastases by fucoidan (GIV-A) prepared from brown seaweed Sargassum thunbergii. Anticancer Res. 1995 Sep-Oct;15(5B):1937-47.

28. Choi EM, Kim AJ, Kim YO, Hwang JK. Immunomodulating activity of arabinogalactan and fucoidan in vitro. J Med Food. 2005 Winter;8(4):446-53.

29. Kim MH, Joo HG. Immunostimulatory effects of fucoidan on bone marrow-derived dendritic cells. Immunol Lett. 2008 Jan 29;115(2):138-43.

30. Maruyama H, Tamauchi H, Hashimoto M, Nakano T. Antitumor activity and immune response of Mekabu fucoidan extracted from sporophyll of Undaria pinnatifida. In Vivo. 2003 May-Jun;17(3):245-9.

31. Lee JB, Hayashi K, Hashimoto M, Nakano T, Hayashi T. Novel antiviral fucoidan from sporophyll of Undaria pinnatifida (Mekabu). Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 2004 Sep;52(9):1091-4.

32. Dalton JP, Hudson D, Adams JH, Miller LH. Blocking of the receptor-mediated invasion of erythrocytes by Plasmodium knowlesi malaria with sulfated polysaccharides and glycosaminoglycans. Eur J Biochem. 1991 Feb 14;195(3):789-94.

33. Hayashi K, Nakano T, Hashimoto M, Kanekiyo K, Hayashi T. Defensive effects of a fucoidan from brown alga Undaria pinnatifida against herpes simplex virus infection. Int Immunopharmacol. 2008 Jan;8(1):109-16.

34. Maruyama H, Tanaka M, Hashimoto M, Inoue M, Sasahara T. The suppressive effect of Mekabu fucoidan on an attachment of Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts to the intestinal epithelial cells in neonatal mice. Life Sci. 2007 Jan 30;80(8):775-81.

35. Thompson KD, Dragar C. Antiviral activity of Undaria pinnatifida against herpes simplex virus. Phytother Res. 2004 Jul;18(7):551-5.

36. Chen JH, Lim JD, Sohn EH, Choi YS, Han ET. Growth-inhibitory effect of a fucoidan from brown seaweed Undaria pinnatifida on Plasmodium parasites. Parasitol Res. 2009 Jan;104(2):245-50.

37. Harden EA, Falshaw R, Carnachan SM, Kern ER, Prichard MN. Virucidal activity of polysaccharide extracts from four algal species against herpes simplex virus. Antiviral Res. 2009 Sep;83(3):282-9.

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39. Funahashi H, Imai T, Mase T, et al. Seaweed prevents breast cancer? Jpn J Cancer Res. 2001 May;92(5):483-7.

40. Rader DJ.Effect of insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, and intra-abdominal adiposity on the development of cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus. Am J Med. 2007 Mar;120(3 Suppl 1):S12-8.

41. Robert L, Labat-Robert J. The metabolic syndrome and the Maillard reaction. An introduction. Pathol Biol (Paris). 2006 Sep;54(7):371-4.

42. Soldatos G, Cooper ME, Jandeleit-Dahm KA. Advanced-glycation end products in insulin-resistant states. Curr Hypertens Rep. 2005 Apr;7(2):96-102.

43. Otani H.Oxidative Stress as Pathogenesis of Cardiovascular Risk Associated with Metabolic Syndrome. Antioxid Redox Signal. 2010 Dec 2.

44. Goni I, Valdivieso L, Gudiel-Urbano M. Capacity of edible seaweeds to modify in vitro starch digestibility of wheat bread. Nahrung. 2002 Feb;46(1):18-20.

45. Nellore K, Harris NR. Inhibition of leukocyte adherence enables venular control of capillary perfusion in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Microcirculation. 2004 Dec;11(8):645-54.

46. Tamura Y, Adachi H, Osuga J, et al. FEEL-1 and FEEL-2 are endocytic receptors for advanced glycation end products. J Biol Chem. 2003 Apr 11;278(15):12613-7.

47. Murata M, Ishihara K, Saito H. Hepatic fatty acid oxidation enzyme activities are stimulated in rats fed the brown seaweed, Undaria pinnatifida (wakame). J Nutr. 1999 Jan;129(1):146-51.

48. Murata M, Sano Y, Ishihara K, Uchida M. Dietary fish oil and Undaria pinnatifida (wakame) synergistically decrease rat serum and liver triacylglycerol. J Nutr. 2002 Apr;132(4):742-7.

49. Bartlett MR, Warren HS, Cowden WB, Parish CR. Effects of the anti-inflammatory compounds castanospermine, mannose-6-phosphate and fucoidan on allograft rejection and elicited peritoneal exudates. Immunol Cell Biol. 1994 Oct;72(5):367-74.

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Friday, May 6, 2011

Almond Hummus (raw) recipe

Almond Hummus (raw)
by Karen the Raw Food Coach

Traditionally hummous is made with chickpeas. In raw food cuisine it's made with sprouted chickpeas - or at least it is by those who like it! For those that don't (and I sometimes do, sometimes don't...) then here's a fabulous alternative.

By swapping the chickpeas for almonds and adding in a few fresh herbs, here's a recipe that you'll find delicious, will fill you up, will be good in a salad, wrap or spread on crackers and will keep in the fridge for about five days.

Equipment: Food processor or homogenising juicer.


2 cups soaked almonds
½ cup tahini
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 large lemons, juice of
¼ to ½ teaspoons Celtic sea salt (to taste)
1 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley
1 teaspoon basil

Break down the almonds using your homogenising juicer with the blank plate, or, even better a high-powered food processor such as the Cuisinart. If you have neither, with sufficient time and patience you could use a hand blender, but take care with it as this is hard work.
Put the broken down almonds into a food processor along with all the other ingredients. Try to achieve a smooth consistency. Add a little water if necessary.
Process until you have it the way you like it. Some people like chunky bits of nut to remain, while others like it smooth - or you could take half out while chunky and process the rest to smoothness - they actually do taste a little different!

Serve with green vegetables, such as lettuce, cabbage, and kale, or spread on flax crackers. Also good, of course, as a dip – great for taking on board a plane as it remains stable on a long flight, and good for car trips.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Think Before You Pink (what's behind the Pink Ribbon campaigns?)

January 5th, 2011

by Allyson Drosten-Brooks

Our country is currently facing a breast cancer epidemic. More women have died of breast cancer in the last 20 years than the number of Americans killed in World War I, World War II, and the Korean and Vietnam Wars combined. Breast cancer used to be seen predominantly in postmenopausal women but now it is the second leading cause of death in women age 25-54.

What’s going on?

Increasing evidence shows environmental factors are to blame. Breast cancer rates are much higher in industrialized countries such as North America and northern Europe than in developing countries. According to State of the Evidence 2006: What Is the Connection between the Environment and Breast Cancer?, a report that summarizes more than 350 studies on the environmental links to breast cancer, “Compelling scientific evidence points to some of the 100,000 synthetic chemicals in use today as contributing to the development of breast cancer, either by altering hormone function or gene expression”.

Some chemicals of concern are those that mimic estrogen in the body. Scientific evidence has shown that higher exposure to estrogens over a woman’s lifetime leads to a higher risk of developing breast cancer. The culprit? Hormone-containing personal care products. Parabens, a common ingredient found in lotions, shampoos, and other cosmetic products, are chemical preservatives that have been identified as estrogenic and disruptive of normal hormone function.

Pinkwashing: a term used to describe the activities of companies and groups that position themselves as leaders in the struggle to eradicate breast cancer while engaging in practices that may be contributing to the rising rates of the disease.

Many corporations today run campaigns to raise money for breast cancer awareness, which is great. But where is that money going? Avon claims to be the largest corporate supporter of the breast cancer cause in the US. Estée Lauder’s Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign, known as “The Power of a Pink Promise” and Revlon’s 5K Run/Walk are high-profile efforts to raise money for the cause. The problem is that all 3 of these companies opposed a California bill that would require cosmetic companies to disclose their use of chemicals linked to cancer or birth defects. In a 2005 report including a list of “Top 20 Brands of Concern” based on toxicity, the Revlon and Estée Lauder brands were ranked 8 and 9 on the list, respectively. None of the three companies have signed the Compact for Safe Cosmetics, a pledge to remove hazardous chemicals and replace them with safer alternatives. Instead, they fight to keep the cosmetic industry unregulated.

Seems strange that these companies refuse to address that their products contain ingredients linked to breast cancer, all the while presenting themselves as leaders in raising money for the cause. If these companies were authentic in their support for the cause, they would take steps towards using safer ingredients instead of defending their use of hazardous chemicals. Jeanne Rizzo of the Breast Cancer Fund puts it best: “It points out a lack of sincerity about the issue. They chose breast cancer because it’s women and that’s their market”.

Rizzo does point out that having an iconic symbol like the pink ribbon is not a bad idea. For many women, wearing the pink ribbon and participating in community events is important and validating. But the pink ribbon focuses on “awareness” and “hoping for the cure”, not prevention. With a disease as widespread as breast cancer, step one should be preventing women from getting the disease in the first place. After prevention comes detection and treatment.

The co-founder and major sponsor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month is AstraZeneca (formerly Zeneca), the world’s third largest drug company and manufacturer of the cancer drug tamoxifen. Tamoxifen is the most widely prescribed breast cancer drug to date. When National Breast Cancer Month was created in 1985, Zeneca was owned by Imperial Chemical Industries, a multi-billion-dollar producer of pesticides, paper and plastics. In 1990, the company was named in a federal government lawsuit for allegedly dumping DDT and PCBs into the Los Angeles and Long Beach harbors.

What we have here is a serious conflict of interest. AstraZeneca, a spin-off of one of the world’s biggest manufacturer of carcinogenic chemicals, not only has control of breast cancer treatment and chemoprevention studies, but control of the message of National Breast Cancer Month as well. The message? Focus on early detection and treatment. Detection and treatment are undeniably important for women who currently have cancer but the message does not address the equally important factor of preventing women from getting breast cancer in the first place. They make the chemicals and run the treatment centers. No wonder they don’t tell you about breast cancer prevention.

While it seems that at first glance cosmetic companies with pink ribbon campaigns and pharmaceutical companies with treatment options are committed to supporting breast cancer awareness, why won’t they promote prevention? According to the Think Before You Pink campaign, pink ribbon campaigns actually do more for a company’s profits than they do for the breast cancer cause. Even the American Cancer Society has exhibited questionable behavior towards cancer prevention strategies. They are frequently quoted in the press urging cautious interpretation of evidence linking chemicals to breast cancer stating “there are real uncertainties about animal studies”, despite the fact that the US National Toxicology Program says animal studies on phthalates (a harmful chemical found in many personal care products) are likely to predict negative reproductive effects in humans.

Cancer is everywhere and it has become everyone’s problem, but everyone needs to be part of the solution too, especially wealthy corporations who brand themselves to breast cancer. Before you purchase a “pink ribbon” product, ask yourself a few things. What is the company doing to assure that its products are not actually contributing to the breast cancer epidemic? To what breast cancer organization does the money go and what types of programs does it support? How much money from your purchase actually goes toward breast cancer? Is the amount clearly stated on the package?

We want to win the fight against breast cancer but to get there we need to start with prevention. Take the necessary steps to remove hazardous personal care products from your daily routine. Support and donate to campaigns focused on preventing the disease. And of course, don’t be fooled by the pink ribbon packaging.