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Mainely Tipping Points

Posts Tagged ‘Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride

Interesting Information: New Breakthrough: Roundup DOES Harm Humans

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Interesting Information:  January 21, 2013

New Breakthrough:  Roundup® DOES Harm Humans

 

Roundup®, which is mostly the chemical glyphosate, is “the most popular herbicide used on the planet,” according to Stephanie Seneff, PhD, in “Roundup®:  The `Nontoxic’ Chemical that May Be Destroying our Health,” Wise Traditions, Fall 2013, 30-38.

Roundup® is produced by Monsanto (it went off patent in 2000), and Monsanto has claimed that Roundup® is nontoxic for humans–even though glyphosate is “an established endocrine disruptor.”

Yet, there are many real-world examples of people sickened in all kinds of ways by exposure to Roundup.   But up to now, that I know of, there’s not be an explanation for HOW glyphosate affects humans that can stand up to industry’s insistence on using it.

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The “nontoxic for humans” argument is that glyphosate kills weeds by “interfering with what is called the shikimate pathway–which is “essential in plants for the synthesis of a class of amino acids called the `aromatics.’ ”

The shikimate pathway is “nonexistent in any mammalian cell.”

BUT, BUT, BUT…AND HERE’S THE BREAKTHROUGH–“all of the microbes that take up residence in our digestive tract do have this shikimate pathway, and exposure to glyphosate…will cause them serious stress as a consequence.”

And, hopefully, each of you has become aware of the rapidly increasing knowledge of how important these gut “flora and fauna” are to human health.  And, how, if the opportunistic microbes get out of balance in our systems (sugar), they can be a real wrecking crew to your health.  This knowledge is the basis of Natasha Campbell-McBride’s work with the GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome).

Studies have shown that glyphosate disrupts the gut bacteria in chickens, cows, and pigs, causing inflammation in the gut along with an overgrowth of pathogenic forms and concurrent loss of beneficial bacteria.  It is now becoming apparent that our gut bacteria, which outnumber our own cells by a factor of ten to one, play many important roles in supplying nutrients and protecting us from toxins.  There’s also an intricate connection between the gut and the brain, such that an unhealthy digestive system translates into pathologies in the brain.

AND we are NOT healthy in America–likely at least in part because we–unlike western Europe–are awash with chemicals like glyphosate.

Despite spending nearly two and a half times as much on health care as our peer nations, the U.S. lags behind many of these other nations in basic metrics like infant mortality and life expectancy.  The most recent figures for infant mortality place the U.S. at number forty-six, behind Cuba and Guam.  Clearly we are doing something wrong, and our wholesale embrace of GMOs is an obvious candidate.

Autism used to be rare, affecting one in ten thousand children.  The latest numbers put out by the CDC in March 2013, show one in fifty.  This is an alarming number, and, what is even more alarming is how quickly the number has been rising in recent years.

Ninety percent of the GMO crops (GMO corn, soy, cotton, sugar beets, and canola) are engineered to be “Roundup Ready,” which means that they can be sprayed with Roundup and they will happily soak it up into their tissues.  The practice of “desiccating”crops like wheat and sugar cane just before the harvest by spraying them with Roundup is also becoming more and more popular as a way to reduce the amount of vegetation that needs to be cleared in preparation for planting next year’s crop.  These two changes in agricultural practices almost certainly mean that Roundup is entering our food supply in record amounts.

Here’s more on the mechanics of why the shikimate pathway in our gut microbes affect us, but it’s not the whole description Seneff discusses as it is complex and too long to synthesize here:

Plants and microbes use the shikimate pathway to produce the aromatic amino acids, tryptophan, tyrosine and phenylalanine.  Because they don’t have this pathway, mammals can’t produce these essential nutrients, and therefore we depend on plants and microbes to provide them for us.  So it is logical that glyphosate, by interfering with this pathway, would lead to a deficiency in these nutrients.  Tryptophan is the sole precursor to serotonin, and serotonin deficiency is implicated in a litany of diseases and conditions that are prevalent today, including autism, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, suicide, and homicidal behavior.  Serotonin is an appetite suppressant so it’s hard not to overeat when it is in short supply.

Autism is associated with two comorbidities that may yield hints as to its underlying etiology:  disrupted gut bacteria and impaired sulfur metabolism.  A characteristic feature of children with autism is an overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria in the gut, which can lead to neurological defects arising from exposure of the brain to toxins produced by these bacteria.

Two pathogens exist in our gut, and they can play a beneficial role if kept under control by other microbes:  Clostridia difficile and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.  (Both are “causing a major crisis in hospitals in the U.S. and elsewhere due to their increased prevalence and multiple antibiotic resistance.)  Pseudomonas aeruginosa can metabolize glyphosate.  BUT, formaldehyde, “a known carcinogen and neurotoxin,” is the by-product.  Clostridia diff. is a yeast pathogen that thrives on sugar.  It can punch holes in your gut that let food particles escape into the bloodstream which, in turn, cause all sorts of food allergies and autoimmune problems.  BUT, in terms of autism, Seneff has a long, involved explanation of how this pathogen is connected to sulfate transport and autism.

So, what can you do?

Eat organic foods.  Refuse to buy industrially grown, poisoned, monocrop, and/or GMO foods.  Insist on labeling of GMO foods.  And tell people who question WHY, what’s at stake.

And you can also tell them that chronic illnesses are incredibly, incredibly expensive.

Dr. Seneff works at the intersection of technology and biology.  She is a Senior Research Scientist at MITs Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.  She has a Bachelor’s degree from MIT in biology with a minor in food and nutrition, and her PhD from MIT is in computer science.  She has done groundbreaking work with the importance of sulfur in foods humans eat–and sulfur has seriously diminished with industrially grown produce.

Here’s her heavily researched article in total–where you can see all her citations:

Roundup: The “Nontoxic” Chemical that May Be Destroying our Health – Weston A Price Foundation.

Interesting Information: Sugar and Inflammation

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Interesting Information:  November 22, 2013

Sugar and Inflammation

Ellen Davis promotes ketogenic diets, which is a diet where fats provide most of the calories.  She has an article in the July/August 2012 issue of Well Being Journal entitled “Ketogenic Diets:  A Key to Excellent Health” (20-23).  Davis supports the ketogenic diet because she used it to reverse her own metabolic syndrome and to regain her health.  In the process, she lost over 80 pounds.  Her web site is www.healthy-eating-politics.com.  (I’ve written about metabolic syndrome in the essays on this blog.)

I am drawn to more of a balanced diet approach–as long as there are not digestive issues.  If there are digestive issues, then one needs to eat in a healing way for some time.  This ketogenic diet is very like Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s GAPS protocol–which has a lot of good science and clinical practice results behind it.  (GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome, and there are essays on this blog about GAPS.)

I do think that most Americans are eating way, way too many carbs–that their eating so many carbs is out-of-balance and is causing chronic disease.  (This statement does not address, also, the toll that toxic poisons in and on American foods, takes.)

And I do think that eating a lot of carbs is causing inflammation in the body–which is one root cause of disease.  For instance, Davis points out that a bagel “breaks down into about sixteen teaspoons of sugar in the bloodstream” (21).  So if you are going to eat one, be sure to put a lot of cream cheese or butter on it to help cut the sugar load–just as you would with a baked potato.  And remember that the cream cheese or the butter is not going to make you fat, but that the bagel will because it turns to sugar in your system.

Davis writes that “oxidative stress is what causes metal to rust, and cooking oils to go rancid when exposed to the air.”  This oxidative stress “can create molecules called reactive oxygen species, or ROS.  These molecules, commonly called free radicals, are chemically reactive and can damage internal cellular structures” (21)

She writes that “if inflammation is present, excessive amounts of ROS are created and overwhelm the cell’s defenses, causing accelerated damage and eventually cell death.  This is why inflammation is linked with so many types of disease processes.”

So, food choices are very important, says Davis:  “…high-carbohydrate foods provide much more glucose than the human body can handle efficiently.  Blood glucose is basically liquid sugar, and if you have ever spilled fruit juice or syrup on your hands, you know how sticky it can be.  In the body, this stickiness’ is called glycation.”  The process of glycation starts a chain of events that increases inflammation and creates “substances called advanced glycation-end-products (AGEs)”–which “interfere with cellular function, and are linked to the progression of many disease processes, including Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and autism.”  The “higher the blood sugar, the more serious the damage” (21).  And I wonder if there is a connection between inflammation in the body and the start of cancer–which may get a toehold when the immune system is overloaded.

Davis quotes Ron Rosedale, MD, from his book Burn Fat, Not Sugar to Lose Weight:

“Health and lifespan are determined by the proportion of fat versus sugar people burn throughout their lifetime.  The more fat that one burns as fuel, the healthier the person will be, and the more likely they will live a long time.  The more sugar a person burns, the more disease ridden and the shorter a lifespan a person is likely to have.”

While I am always leery of MDs who are writing about nutrition–since most have had no nutritional training whatsoever–what Rosedale is saying about fat being healthy is a fit with Dr. Mary Enig’s stance on fat in Eat Fat, Lose Fat, written with Sally Fallon Morell, both of The Weston A. Price Foundation.  Dr. Enig is an internationally recognized expert on dietary fats, and I have written about her work in many places on this blog.

And Rosedale’s statement is a fit with Gary Taube’s work on the hormonal conditions caused by eating too many carbs, in Why We Get Fat.

So, there you have it…

Some interesting information…

Turkey Tracks: Elderberry Tincture

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Turkey Tracks:  October 22, 2013

Elderberry Tincture

I almost missed the elderberry harvest again this year.

you really have to keep a sharp eye on the berries because they are near ripe one day and gone (birds) the next.

So, back in September some time, I got what remained on the two bushes I have.  One is almost a tree, and when we first came, I kept cutting it down as it’s growing in the rock wall below the house.  (Harvesting it is…dicey.)  The other is a bush I planted two years ago, and those berries are plumper and bigger than the wild berries.

Anyway, you cut off the berry clusters and strip off the berries in the kitchen.  You can see elderberries are TINY little purple berries.  And you can see how the clusters grow on the plant from the last one I’m stripping in this picture.

Elderberries

I make a tincture.  And, tinctures are alcohol based.  I use vodka.  Next time you are in Whole Paycheck or a health food store, see what a little bottle of elderberry tincture costs, and you’ll have newfound respect for my efforts.

I fill a quart jar with berries and pour the vodka over the berries to fill the jar.  I freeze the berries I have left.  Then I let the mixture sit out on the counter until the berries go white–as all their purple goodness is leached out.  At that point, I strain off the old berries and put in new ones and pour the now-purple vodka back into the jar.  Last year I did this process three times.  And can I tell you that that tincture was incredibly powerful.

Elderberry Tincture 2013

This year, I will probably do only two leachings since I don’t have that many berries.  Maybe I’ll leave the second batch of berries inside the liquid–they would provide fiber at least.

This tincture is dynamite for anyone coming down with a cold or the flu or anything that seems like it will become an illness.

Another use for frozen elderberries is to just thaw a few in a spoon overnight and eat them in the morning.  Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride–of the GAPS protocol–which I’ve written about many times on this blog–recommends eating a few berries over the fall and winter to support your immune system.

Elderberry bushes are easy to locate and to forage, in the late summer.  FInd them in the spring when they have big white flat cluster blooms, flat like a Queen Anne’s Lace flower.  Google them for an image?  They like damp places.  If you don’t have access to the countryside, plant a bush in your yard somewhere.

Interesting Information: Food is the Best Medicine – YouTube

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Interesting Information:  September 25, 2013

Friends sent me this video of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, who is a Russian/British neurosurgeon and nutritionist who is on the cutting edge of understanding the importance of the relationship of gut integrity to being healthy.  I’ve written about her GAPS work many times on this blog.  She is a heroine of mine.

Get a cup of coffee or tea, pull up a chair, and treat yourself to 45 minutes or so of real wisdom.  This woman cured her child of autism and has a clinical practice in Britain where she has cured so many people sick with neurological diseases or food allergies.

There are other, longer videos of her speaking on utube if you want to go further, for longer.  But this video is a very good start if this topic is new to you or if she is new to you.

Enjoy!

Food is the Best Medicine – YouTube.

Written by louisaenright

September 25, 2013 at 5:04 pm

Mainely Tipping Points Essay 43: Part III: Paleo Diet: What’s Wrong With Legumes?

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Mainely Tipping Points Essay 43:  November 16, 2012

Paleo Diet, Part III:  What’s Wrong With Legumes?

 

To recap from Parts I and II, Paleo Diet advocates argue that humans are genetically wired to eat meat, foraged vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds.  Paleo peoples, they argue, did not eat grains, legumes, or dairy and were superbly healthy.

 But, what’s wrong with beans and peanuts, also known as legumes?

 Rob Wolf, in “The Paleo Solution,” puts it simply:  “dairy and legumes have problems similar to grains:  gut irritating proteins, antinutrients…protease inhibitors, and inflammation.”  Antinutrients, like phytates, bind to metal ions, like magnesium, zinc, iron, calcium, and copper, which make them unavailable for absorption by our bodies.  Protease inhibitors prevent the breakdown of proteins which means your body cannot “effectively digest the protein in your meal” (98-99, 93).  In other words, antinutrients and protease inhibitors cause malabsorption and disease.    

 

Nora T. Gedgaudas, C.N.S., C.N.T., in “Grains:  Are They Really a Health Food?:  Adverse Effects of Gluten Grains” (“Well Being Journal,” May/June 2012), notes that “legumes typically contain 60 percent starch and only relatively small amounts of incomplete protein, and they also contain potent protease inhibitors, which can damage one’s ability to properly digest and use dietary protein and can also potentially damage the pancreas over time, when one is overly dependent on them as a source of calories.”  (Gedgaudas’ web site is http://www.primalbody-primalmind.com.) 

 William Davis, MD, in “Wheat Belly,” notes that the carbohydrate in legumes contains amylopectin C, which is the least digestible of the amylopectins—which leads to the chant “Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart, the more you eat ‘em, the more you…”.  Yet, the reality of the indigestible matter is not so funny:  “undigested amylopectin makes its way to the colon, whereupon the symbiotic bacteria happily dwelling there feast on the undigested starches and generate gases such as nitrogen and hydrogen, making the sugars unavailable for you to digest” (33).

 Davis goes on to note that amylopectin B is “the form found in bananas and potatoes and, while more digestible than bean amylopectin C, still resists digestion to some degree.  Remember that wheat has amylopectin A, which is the most digestible form of the amlopectins and, thus, can raise blood sugars more than eating a sugar-sweetened soda or a sugary candy bar.  The lesson here is that “not all complex carbohydrates are created equal….”   And Davis cautions that as the carbohydrate load of legumes “can be excessive if consumed in large quantities,” it’s best to limit servings to about a ½ cup size (33, 213). 

 Wolf is less compromising when it comes to combining plant-based foods, like beans and rice, to obtain essential amino acids—which we must eat as we cannot make them on our own.  The eight essential amino acids are “plentiful in animal sources and lacking to various degrees in plant sources.”  Wolf notes that “many agricultural societies found that certain combinations (like beans and rice) can prevent protein malnutrition.”  But, relying on the work of anthropologists who have compared them, Wolf notes that “most vegetarian societies…are less healthy than hunter-gathers and pastoralists.”  That’s because “plant sources of protein, even when combined to provide all the essential amino acids, are far too heavy in carbohydrate, irritate the gut, and steal vitamins and minerals from the body via anti-nutrients.”  Wolfs’ final assessment:  “Beans and rice, nuts and seeds, are what I call “Third World proteins.’  They will keep you alive, they will not allow you to thrive” (208-209).

 Wolf cautions that unless you are lean and healthy, don’t eat fruit.  He adds, further, that “there is no nutrient in fruit that is not available in veggies, and fruit may have too many carbs for you” (214)

 Dr.  Natasha Campbell-McBride expanded on the 1950s Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) of Dr. Sidney Valentine Haas and created the “Gut and Psychology Syndrome” (GAPS) diet.  (That history is in my Mainely Tipping Points Essay 31 on my blog:  https://louisaenright.wordpress.com.)  Haas recognized the connections between diet and disease, especially in the debilitating digestive disorders, and put patients on a diet that eliminated dairy, grains, legumes, and starchy vegetables, like potatoes.  (Dairy is slowly added back after healing has started, beginning with cultured forms, like yogurt.  But, some patients are not able to tolerate dairy permanently.)  Haas’s SCD diet emphasized bone broths, meat stews that included animal fat, vegetables, and some fruits.  The results were, and are, amazing. 

 Dr. Campbell-McBride was one of many now, like Wolf and Davis, who made the further connection that too many starchy carbohydrates foment conditions in the gut that allow out-of-control yeasts to degrade the gut lining—which allows food particles to escape into the blood stream and trigger autoimmune reactions.  Campbell-McBride is one of the first to realize that these out-of-control yeast populations produce toxins that affect the brain and create problematic behavior.  Conditions like autism, for instance, might not really be autism, but effects of inappropriate diet and malfunctioning body systems. 

 Sally Fallon Morell and Mary G. Enig, Ph. D. of The Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) hold a place in their 1999 “Nourishing Traditions,” for most legumes—if properly soaked and cooked so that phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors are destroyed and difficult-to-digest complex sugars are made more digestible and if legumes are cooked and eaten with at least small amounts of animal protein and animal fat. 

 Morell and Enig write that soybeans, however, should only be eaten sparingly and only after fermentation into miso, tempeh, and natto because the chemical package in soy is so powerful and so dangerous (495-496).  A  commercial method has never been fully developed that renders soy completely safe.  But, more on soy in Mainely Tipping Points 44 .  (Note that tofu is not a fermented soy food.) 

 Morell and Enig are careful to caution that “vegetable protein alone cannot sustain healthy life because it does not contain enough of all of the amino acids that are essential.”  Indeed, “most all plants lack methionine, one of the essential amino acids” (495-496).  Further, both Morell and Enig have made clear repeatedly in the WAPF journal “Wise Traditions” that the current government support for plant-based diets is dangerous and unscientific.          

 In the end, what Paleo diet advocates are asking is why, in the first place eat foods with such high carbohydrate loads, inferior protein, and so many dangerous chemicals —especially when a diet of meat, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds supplies nutrients in dense, safe, satisfying forms. 

 This Paleo question is especially good to contemplate if one is overweight and experiencing the attendant health issues that accompany that condition and are trying to make changes.  Or, if one has ongoing digestive disorders which really must be addressed. 

 

Books: Internal Bliss

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Books:  October 12, 2011

Internal Bliss

The GAPS folks–Gut and Psychology Syndrome–have a cookbook out that helps those needing the GAPS diet–which is likely most of us these days–learn how to cook without using grains, sugars, and starchy vegetables.  You can order the main GAPS book and this new cookbook together on the GAPS diet web site:  http://www.gapsdiet.com/.  Or, you can order the cookbook alone.  The original GAPS book also has a lot of menus and recipes.  The main GAPS web site, which deals more with the GAPS problem at large, is  http://gaps.me.

I have written about the GAPS history and program in Mainely Tipping Points Essays 31 and 32, available on this blog.

Written by louisaenright

October 12, 2011 at 5:11 pm

Turkey Tracks and Interesting Information: Elderberries

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Turkey Tracks and Interesting Information:  September 19, 2011

Elderberries

When we first moved to Maine, we were fairly focused on keeping trees from growing in the rock wall that buttresses our hill–between the front yard and the tiny meadow below the house.  We kept cutting back this one tree, which had roots deep into the wall and refused to die.

Some years later, Margaret Rauenhorst told me how beneficial elderberries were.  She makes elderberry jam, tinctures, and wine from them.  One day early last spring she made a gorgeous pie with the berries she’d frozen last fall that she shared with us.  Margaret and Ronald have a lot of the bushes on their property and are planting more.   Other friends also set about collecting the berries in the fall, Steve and Barb Melchiskey for instance.

While with Margaret one day last fall, I bought an elderberry tree and planted it on the slope next to our driveway.  Elderberries like wet feet apparently.  It’s thriving, bloomed this spring, and I was able to get about 1 cup of berries from it this year.

Not long after, I realized–from seeing the leaves on our purchased elderberry–that the pesky tree on the wall was also an elderberry.  So, we left it alone I collected those berries as well.  Here they are in my kitchen sink–ready to be picked off their stems and frozen:

Here’s what Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride says about elderberries in GUT AND PSYCHOLOGY SYNDROME:

“Black elderberry is a small tree, which grows pretty much everywhere from cold to very warm climates.  In spring it bears clusters of tiny whitish flowers, which at the end of the summer turn into small juicy black berries.  Medicinal properties of this plant have been appreciated for centuries.  Its flowers, berries, leaves and bark were traditionally used for treating colds, pneumonia, flu, sore throat, hay fever, wounds, eye infections and many other ailments….Black elderberry has strong immune-stimulating properties and it is one of the most powerful anti-viral remedies known to man….You do not have to be an experienced herbalist to use this plant….From the end of summer/beginning of autumn make it your bedtime routine to take 1-2 tablespoons [for family of four] of berries out of the freezer and leave them at room temperature to defrost over night.  In the morning juice them together with pineapple, carrot or any other fruit and vegetables you planned to use.  If you do it every day or every other day throughout the cold season your family will not have any colds.”

Dr. McBride goes on to say that for one person 1 teaspoon of the berries daily is a good dose.

Here in Maine we can buy Avena herbs elderberry tincture, and I always keep it on hand.  And, I keep an elderberry tea on hand as well.  At the first sign of anything going wrong, I start using the tincture and drinking the tea.  Knock on wood, but I can’t remember when I had a cold last.