Essential Fatty Acids

Eczema Has Been a Recognized Skin Disease for Millennia

By Ben Fuchs | PharmacistBen

Eczema Has Been a Recognized Skin Disease for Millennia

Eczema or Dermatitis of the hand. Image credit: James Heilman, MD (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL ], via Wikimedia

(PharmacistBen) One of the most interesting aspects of the cells that make up the surface of the skin is their multi-functionality. While mostly known for their protective barrier properties, the living beings colloquially known as “skin cells” (and more technically as “keratinocytes” in honor of their most prolific extrusion, the fingernail like protein called keratin) are much more than a cellular shield. “Skin cells” are biochemical dynamos, each one producing, secreting and becoming ultimately a wide range of very functional chemicals.

“Skin cells” make vitamin D, they produce prodigious quantities of skin fats (lipids), and they are also the source of many hormone chemicals. Some, like cortisol, are involved in obvious skin functions like protection. Others, like the nervous system’s serotonin and dopamine, make the skin a type of brain appendage. Not to forget pheromones, which are involved in less obvious skin functions, like signaling, sexual attraction and fertility.

One of the less apparent roles of keratinocytes (“skin cells”) involves the production of inflammatory chemicals known as prostaglandins and cytokines. Although these chemicals are supposed help keep local invaders sequestered, they also can be produced and activated in a less specific way by systemic immune responses to foods or other ingested substances. When this occurs, regulation and control of skin cell production and development can be impaired. They can cause cells to grow in a messed up, chaotic, out-of-control fashion. This is at least partially the genesis of many skin health issues, including acne and psoriasis.

One of the more troubling inflammatory skin health issues is eczema, an itchy, unpleasant condition that affects tens of millions of people worldwide. Here in the USA, a substantial proportion of the population suffers from the uncomfortable and sometimes unattractive symptoms of eczema. According to the American Eczema Association, one out of ten (nearly 32 million people) have the disease, which is characterized by defects in the development of the skin surface barrier. It’s most notably caused by the inflammation associated with the secretion of defensive prostaglandins and cytokines, stimulated by perceived threats, whether introduced to the skin internally from the food toxicity and digestive difficulties via the blood or occasionally by topical contact.

Although eczema has been a recognized skin disease for millennia, (ancient Egyptian recommendations recorded on papyrus suggest honey salves as a treatment), the medical model remains so mystified by how to address it, that most modern treatments available today (typically steroid creams) haven’t substantially changed in decades.

The inflammatory aspect of eczema makes it a classic type defensive skin disease. Inflammation is the calling card of the immune system, and eczematous skin is a sign that the body is protecting itself. This protective response is what we call inflammation, and it affects how skin cells grow and ultimately how surface barrier is formed. The end result is the raw, rashy symptomology of eczema.

While the dermatologist strategy for dealing with this distress and discomfort involves suppression of the defenses with steroid creams and ointments, at best this can only give temporary and symptomatic relief. The most effective, intelligent and non-medical way to address eczema is to eliminate the stimulus of the defensive response by first asking the logical question: what is the offending agent? Food and digestion are almost always involved, and yes, gluten is a possible suspect. But there’s no way of knowing what you are reacting to without linking skin flare-ups and digestive symptoms (like gas, constipation or heartburn) to specific foods.

Nutritional supplements can be helpful too. Essential fatty acids, fatty vitamins, especially A, (20, 000 iu daily), D (5000 iu daily), lots of sunshine exposure are important. While minerals like zinc picolinate (50mg daily) and selenium Monomethionine or chelate (400 mcg daily) can be helpful too. I hope that helps. Also, it’s important to keep in mind: It’s not just what you “take”, it’s also what you absorb. Digestive distress and malabsorbtion (especially fat mal-absorption) often accompany eczema as well as other skin conditions.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Skin Care

Osteoporosis, Blood Sugar and Insulin

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

Osteoporosis is a textbook example of degenerative disease and affects nearly one out of 8 people in this country, mostly women. Degenerative disease is the leading cause of illness in this country, and a condition that affects nearly 70 percent of Americans. While awareness of the condition has increased dramatically over the last few years, which has seemed to lower the incidence of this potentially life threatening disease, it continues to escalate steadily in this country, and around the world.

Osteoporosis

By James Heilman, MD, via Wikimedia Commons

These days, even the most nutritionally obtuse person can tell you that taking calcium supplements can help strengthen the bone. More sophisticated aware nutrition minded folks may tell you about Magnesium and Vitamin D, and a so-called expert may even mention the importance of Vitamin K, zinc, and protein.
However, one of most significant keys to dealing with osteoporosis involves blood sugar and insulin, and hardly anyone ever addresses the importance of these two key health markers. Yet, in an article published in Annals of Endocrinology from December 2012, researchers bluntly remarked that “Diabetic osteoporosis (OP) is increasingly recognized as a significant co-morbidity of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2-DM)” , and further stated ”…elderly patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus are prone to develop OP. The insufficiency of insulin, the decreased insulin sensitivity….is important causes for OP in the patients with type 2 diabetes.”

Dysglycemia (a fancy way of saying messed up blood sugar) is tragic, and pervasive biochemical pathology with involvement in almost all degenerative disease. But, because blood sugar and insulin can be manipulated and controlled by our food choices, for better or worse, this is actually good news. In other words, if we change the way we eat we can change our blood sugar too!

And, as far as osteoporosis goes, it means one of the most important things you can do to keep bones from dissolving (which is essentially what osteoporosis is) is to stop eating the pasta! And the grains, and bread, and the cereal, and the fruit juice, and all the other blood sugar busting foods that form such a significant part of the Standard American Diet. And It wouldn’t hurt to throw in sugar metabolizing nutrients either. Alpha lipoic acid 200mg-400mg is a great blood sugar stabilizing supplement. Magnesium, zinc, and Vitamin A can help too. And then there are the B-Vitamins, best added to water and sipped on throughout the day.

Of course there’s more to building bone than just controlling sugar. Even if you just want to prevent osteoporosis, in addition to calcium, there’s lots of great under-appreciated and underutilized nutritional supplements that will help build and strengthen bone. Check out my favorites below. While by no means complete, it represents a great place to start if you’re looking to start an anti-osteoporosis nutritional program.

1. Protein – especially whey and egg. Bone soup is a good way to get bone building protein too.
2. Magnesium – the glycinate form is great. Use 1200mg a day.
3. Vitamin D3 – cod liver oil and adequate sun exposure (maybe 10-15 minutes a day 3 or 4 days a week) are the best ways to get this important nutrient.
4. Vitamin K2 – 5,000mcg daily. It’s a calcium magnet that helps harden bones.
5. Chromium Picolinate – helps stabilize blood sugar – 200mcg after meals.
6. B-Complex – use a powder form (Sanitas B-complex Power Blend or Youngevity’s Beyond Tangy Tangerine are both good sources) and add to water and sip all day.
7. Essential Fatty Acids – Udo’s Blend or Youngevity’s ultimate EFA caps are both good sources.
8. Vitamin C – Bones are 30% collagen, and you can’t make collagen without Vitamin C.-Take 5,000 to 10,000 mg a day.
9. Silica – Abkit Liquid Silica Gel is a good source, take maybe 1-2 tablespoons a day.
10. Hyaluronic acid capsules – 100 to 200mg a day. Your nails and hair will benefit too!
11. MSM (Sulfur) – 1000 mg a day. Extra benefit: it’s great for liver detox.
12. Vitamin A – Take 20,000 i.u daily. I call it Vitamin Anabolic. Important for building bone tissue and protein utilization. Take it with fatty foods or meals.
13. Zinc Picolinate 50mg a day – works synergistically with Vitamin A. It’s the anabolic mineral.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

Omega-3 Supplements

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

A couple of weeks ago in a study that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and plastered all over the internet and the mainstream media,  investigators found that that was correlation between prostate cancer and high levels of an essential fatty acid derivative  called DHA.

Here’s my take:

Omega-3 SupplementsFats are like women, they’re complicated!  Highly complicated!   Thus, to make sense of the nonsense associated with the incendiary headlines like: “Fish oil supplements linked to prostate cancer” (Health News) and “Men who take omega-3 supplements at 71 percent higher risk of prostate cancer” (NY Daily News) or “Omega-3 supplements may trigger prostate cancer” (Nursing Times) we have to digress slightly and talk about fats and fatty acid supplements.

In the world of nutrition there’s different kinds fats (technically called “lipids”), classes of fats you might say.  For example there are plant lipids like beta carotene and bioflavonoids, which are nutritional terms most people have heard of, and you’ll find fat soluble compounds like phytoestrogens and resins in vegetation as well as the fatty vitamins D, E,A and K.

Then there the fatty acids.  There’s a bunch of them but two stand out in importance.  And the reason they stand out is because they are “essential”.    That means that along with amino acids and vitamins and minerals, these two very special types of acid made out of fat must be ingested on a regular basis at the risk of facing significant health challenges including the biggies: heart disease and cancer .  They’re called essential fatty acids, we know them as Omega-3 and Omega-6 and by definition, they are absolute requirements in the human diet.  You’re dead in the water without them and heading in the direction and degeneration and disease to the degree you’re deficient.  Your brain is especially dependent on them as is the blood and circulatory system.  Every single cell in the body contains appreciable amounts of EFAs, mostly omega-6s, except for the nervous system and the eyes which contain large amount of the omega-3 variety and their derivatives.

In the JAMA article what was noticed was a relationship between high blood levels of a specific breakdown product of Omega-3 called DHA and the incidence of prostate cancer.  Now DHA is vital stuff.   It’s an especially important part of the brain and eyes.   In fact, right now, as you read this article, light from the page you’re looking at is hitting your eyes and activating the DHA embedded in the eye cell membranes, which in turn is causing chemical reactions that create the visual experience in your brain.  The world we see is literally constructed out of DHA (at least partially) right now.

But here’s the catch:  DHA is very active.  What makes it so potent is its very activity.  In the world of nutrition, activity is always associated with instability and from a health perspective instability is not necessarily a good thing.  This is why oils are so problematic.  They’re volatile and fragile.  Remember we said fats are complicated.  You need them but you have to be careful!   This combination of instability and potency must be accounted for with balancing and protecting nutrients.  In other words, you don’t want to ingest high levels of one fat with corresponding balancing FATS and balancing NUTRIENTS.   For example you don’t want to be using Vitamin A without Vitamin D.  And Vitamin E should to be stabilized with selenium, alpha lipoic acid Vitamin C.   And when it comes to Omega 3 and omega 6 essential fatty acids EFAs, they need to be taken together and they need to be balanced with each other.   Most nutritionists recommend 3 parts Omega-6 fatty acids for every one part Omega-3 fatty acids.  And, all EFAs should always be taken with protective 400 i.u of Vitamin E.   In the case of DHA, Omega-6s, Vitamin E and A and selenium all work together to shield this sensitive and vulnerable nutritional lipid.  In the JAMA study, the only parameter that was measured was DHA levels.  Were these patients using Vitamin E, selenium?  We don’t know.  How about Vitamin A and alpha lipoic acid?  Again, we don’t know.    How about balancing Omega 6’s and Omega 3’s?  Once again, we don’t know.   And, without this information, any causal conclusions drawn between this important fish oil component and development cancer must be considered dubious at best.

The most significant flaw the JAMA study was the fact that investigators examined patients who already had cancer!   And, some of the men had a family history of prostate cancer, a known risk factor for carcinogenesis.  This was a population of men who were prostate cancer cases waiting to happen.  We don’t know if the existing cancer caused elevations in DHA or if it was that the DHA that resulted in the cancer.  Or if there’s any correlation at all.   In other words, the two factors (high plasma DHA and prostate cancer) may be completely UN-related.

Even worse, the tests were one-time-only each patient and measured only the blood plasma content of DHA.  Plasma levels fluctuate and vary.  A fish sandwich eaten an hour prior to a blood test would cause an elevated DHA score even if a patient had never eaten seafood or ingested fish oil before or since.  That means that elevated DHA measurements merely provided a one-time picture of what was in the body, temporarily, at the moment the blood was drawn and in no way indicative of how much DHA a person was getting and storing!   Of course, no one thought to check what these patients were eating, when they were eating it or what kind and how much DHA or fish oil supplements they were using.  In fact, despite the alarming headlines no one knows if they were even using fish oil supplements at all!

Finally, a quick internet search will reveal numerous studies that associate fish oil and DHA with a decreased risk of cancer.  In one for example, from Tuscia University in Italy, researchers concluded that:  “DHA can exert antitumor activity” and can function as “an effective adjuvant in cancer chemotherapy”.   In another study from the University of California at Davis researchers showed that “omega-3 dietary fatty acids (fish oil) reduce the risk of…cancers” although “the mechanisms by which these omega-3 lipids inhibit… (tumor formation)…are poorly understood”.  And in yet another study, published in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Pathology in January of this year investigators found that “DHA inhibited (cancer) cell migration, a marker of metastasis and that stated that  “DHA, a ω-3 fatty acid, could play a beneficial inhibition of the incidence and progress of a series of human including cancer (italics mine)”.

The bottom line and incontrovertible, undeniable fact remains that Omega-3 fatty acids are essential.  That means they’re required for health and survival.  There are NOT optional.  And, while their instability and thus their potential for becoming degraded and perhaps unhealthy is  equally undeniable, given their  must-have nature, that simply means they must used with great care, with balancing nutrients and with as little heat and processing as possible.  And any studies that suggest avoiding these vital substances need to be examined closely and in my opinion, with skepticism.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Nutrition

Most Notorious of Statin Induced Symptoms

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

If you’re one of the tens of millions of Americans taking a statin drug you should know that yet another study was released yesterday, this one published online in the venerable Journal of the American Medical Association, implicating  these best-selling  billion-dollar babies  in the development of muscle weakness and pain.

The heart and statins

By Ed Yourdon (Flickr: Jogging couple) via Wikimedia Commons

Apparently, according to the study, which analyzed data gleaned from the health records of San Antonio-based beneficiaries (i.e. victims) of the U.S military health care system, statin drug use is associated with an “increased likelihood of diagnosis of musculoskeletal conditions”. In English, that means that if you’re on statins your likely to mess up your muscles.

Now if anyone is surprised by this kind of finding which mimics the results found many other studies and corroborates the information on the drug company own insert that’s included in all statin drug packages, they’re clearly not paying attention to biochemistry, medicinal  mechanisms  or for that matter the news.  Even mainstream media outlets like Fox News http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/05/statins-linked-to-muscle-pain-sprains/ and CNN http://www.cnn.com/HEALTH/library/statin-side-effects/MY00205.html  have weighed in on this most notorious of statin induced symptoms.  At this point, a quarter century after their release on an unsuspecting and unfortunately sometimes gullible public, no medical practioner worth his salt can plead ignorance to the muscle pain and weakness that is clearly associated with long-term statin use.

Now when most of us think of muscles we tend to think of biceps, triceps, quadriceps and other body structures connected to the skeleton, i.e. what is generally referred to as the musculoskeletal system.  What is often forgotten however, is the fact that that one of the largest, strongest and certainly the most important muscles in the body is … the heart!

How ironic that a drug that is a supposed to be used to protect against cardiovascular disease boasts as a primary side effect toxicity to the heart, the very organ the poison (medicine) is supposed be treating!  What’s even worse, last month in an article published on the website Medical New Today, researchers from the British Medical Journal reported on evidence that statin use can increase the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.  And the most notable system affected by this serious life-threatening disease?  You guessed it, the heart. Again the supposed structure that statin drugs are supposed to be supporting.

Look, it’s not complicated:  the human body cannot function in a healthy fashion unless it can make cholesterol and a lot of it.   This important raw material for hormones and cells is arguably the most critical chemical in the body and the molecule that singularly distinguishes animal life from plant life.  Put another way, cholesterol is the quintessential molecule of animal life. If you mess around with the body’s ability to make this stuff you are playing with fire and the longer you poison cholesterol manufacturing bio-machinery the more likely you are going to be to be dealing with toxicity and side effects.

If you’re concerned about cardiovascular disease or if you’ve had a heart attack and want to prevent another one there are numerous non-toxic, non-pharmaceutical strategies that you can use to keep yourself out of the cardiologist’s office and out from under his knife.  Magnesium Glycinate,   Essential Fatty Acids, Taurine, Arginine and Sulfur (MSM) are just a few gentle, benign and multi-functional nutritional supplements that you can use to keep heart healthy and strong.  And Niacin is a great supplement that can reduce cholesterol production just as effectively as any statin drug without the side effects.   Perhaps the most important cardiovascular health strategy is to stay away from insulin spiking foods.  Excess ingestion bread, pasta cereal, cakes candies fruits and fruit juices and many other mainstays of the Standard American Diet (SAD) are a sure fire way to mess up your heart and circulatory system.  Staying off of these foods is way better heart-healthy strategy than taking a poison anti- cholesterol drug.  You won’t have to worry about side effects and you’ll lose weight too.  You’re likely to lower your blood pressure and increase your longevity to boot. And unlike the deadly drugs dispensed by your doctor you’ll actually drop your risk diabetes.

 

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

What Really Causes Cancer?

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

What Really Causes Cancer There is no more significant unknown Nobel laureate in the world of health than Dr. Otto Warburg. This brilliant German biochemist, who garnered the prize in 1931 for his work with respiratory (oxygen) enzymes, clearly demonstrated the distinguishing feature of all cancers as being changes in cellular respiration.

What this means is Dr. Warburg discovered that deficiencies in oxygen make cells cancerous. The fundamental property, according to his well researched findings, of cancer tumors are disorders of oxygen utilization. Cancer cells are normal cells that are suffocating.

Two of the best ways to improve cellular oxygen are to take generous quantities of Omega 6 and Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids, which function as storage and transport forms for oxygen. And, make sure your breathing deeply and powerfully whenever possible.

Otto Heinrich Warburg (October 8, 1883 – August 1, 1970), son of physicist Emil Warburg, was a German physiologist, medical doctor and Nobel laureate. He served as an officer in the elite Ulan (cavalry regiment) during the First World War, and won the Iron Cross (1st Class) for bravery. Warburg was one of the 20th century’s leading biochemists. He won the Nobel Prize of 1931. In total, he was nominated an unprecedented three times for the Nobel prize for three separate achievements. [Wikipedia]

Warburg Hypothesis
The Warburg Theory of Cancer or “Warburg hypothesis” (as distinguished from the Warburg effect) postulates that the driver of tumorigenesis is an insufficient cellular respiration caused by insult to mitochondria. The Warburg Effect describes the observation that cancer cells, and many cells grown in-vitro, exhibit glucose fermentation even when enough oxygen is present to properly respire. In other words, instead of fully respiring in the presence of adequate oxygen, cancer cells ferment. The current popular opinion is that cancer cells ferment glucose while keeping up the same level of respiration that was present before the process of carcinogenesis, and thus the Warburg Effect would be defined as the observation that cancer cells exhibit glycolysis with lactate secretion and mitochondrial respiration even in the presence of oxygen. [Wikipedia]

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

Treating Dry Skin From the Inside Out

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

Human skin is not supposed to be dry. Yet despite this biochemical fact, billions of consumer dollars are spent every year on product that are supposed to moisturize the skin.

Treating Dry SkinAs someone who has been formulating skin care products a skin products for over 25 years, I can tell you there is no possible way a topically applied product, which is typically composed of water, oil, wax and some miscellaneous chemicals, can cause any changes in skin moisture content. Miniaturization is strictly the job of nutrients that are found in foods and supplements.

If you have dry skin, you’re better off spending your hard-earned dollars on Essential Fatty Acids, Vitamin A and Vitamin C instead of topical skin care products. You’ll be helping improve your skin’s condition the way nature nature intended you to and you’ll get the additional benefits that come along with strategic nutritional supplementation.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Skin Care

Secrets of Fat Loss & Super Health

Secrets of Fat Loss & Super HealthInfowars Nightly News co-host Aaron Dykes talks with pharmacist and radio talk show host Ben Fuchs about the Secrets of fat Loss and Super Health.

Highlights

* How to incorporate the 8 Chapters of Good Nutrition into your life.

PROTEINS
* The need for protein is huge. It’s one of the single best foods.
* 1/2 gram to gram of protein per pound of body weight.
* The only way to get this is to supplement. The best is whey.
* Potein has Lactoferrin (Natural antibiotics) and Immunoglobulins.
* Desire for sugar can mean lack of protein.
* Protein is a dieters best friend.
Your brain scans the blood for nutrients to determine if you are hungry.
Looks for specific proteins. Tryptophan and glutamine. Amino acids.
If those nutrients are present, brain says “no need to eat”.

FATS
* Good fats keep you away from bad fats.
* EFAs are good fats.
* EFAs convert to Master Hormones.
* EFAs makes Skin soft.
* Ease menstral cramps.
* EFAs are oxygen magnets.

VEGETABLES
* Most of your calories should come from veggies.
* Cabbage is great for digestive system.
* Hunter gatherer cultures had stronger bones than agrarian.
* Gather knowledge for your own health.

Part 1/3 Part 2/3 Part 3/3

 

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Video