I believe zinc deficiency might be the number one overlooked health concern facing our aging population. Zinc is an essential trace element found in every cell of your body, where it plays an important role in cellular structure, function, and metabolism. A multi-tasking mineral, zinc is required for metabolic health, immune response, reproductive health, and numerous biochemical functions. Zinc also helps preserve DNA integrity, is vital for more than 2000 transcription factors, is necessary for the production of brain neurotransmitters, and functions as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent.
In my post last week, I introduced the topic of thyroid health and the many misconceptions that the medical profession has about diagnosing and treating thyroid disease. In general, thyroid problems are under diagnosed because the standard blood tests used to evaluate function are woefully inadequate. At the same time, an underactive thyroid is often over treated with thyroid replacement hormones—which frequently cause even greater dysfunction. In my experience, a much more effective approach is to focus on the factors that underlie the dysfunction, providing the support needed to restore balance and function to an endocrine system that has gone awry.
Unfortunately, conventional “modern” medicine insists on viewing the thyroid as an independent entity, and treats any dysfunction by addressing only the thyroid. But in fact, the thyroid sits at the epicenter of the endocrine system and oversees the critical job of regulating the body’s metabolism. Although the thyroid gland weighs less than one ounce, the hormones it produces affect virtually every cell in the body.
In a recent article published in Medscape, the authors state that antioxidants are not only useless in preventing cancer, but quite possibly promote cancer growth. The target audience for this article is primary care clinicians, oncologists, nurses, and other clinicians who care for patients at risk for cancer, with the purported goal of providing “medical news to primary care clinicians and other healthcare professionals in order to enhance patient care.”
I find this article disturbing, to say the least. Here’s why:
1) The article is blatantly biased. The authors point out only the few studies that have concluded negative results, while totally ignoring all of the positive studies—of which there are several hundred, or more. I do not understand how in good conscience they can skew the research findings in this way. Furthermore, I’m not certain of what they have to gain from this inaccurate representation of the total body of research available.
2) Their theory of antioxidants in relationship to cancer is completely wrong. The studies they use for their findings involve mostly synthetic forms of vitamin or mineral isolates. This is far removed from nature, and something I would never recommend. It’s essential to understand that the negative impact and possible increase in cancer incidence is related to a substance being a ‘PRO-OXIDANT’ and not an anti-oxidant. For example, high doses of vitamin C, K-3, beta-carotene, and E are all pro-oxidative when used as isolates, in high doses, and in certain conditions. It’s well established that smokers who take synthetic beta-carotene have an increased incidence of lung cancer. This does not mean that antioxidants cause cancer.
3) Details matter! It raises my ire when people use the word antioxidant in a general way. What specifically are they talking about? For example, the researchers for this article refer to the SELECT trial. Let’s explore this in a bit more depth to understand what the trial really reveals about antioxidants.
Few dietary topics create as much controversy as the issue of milk. Billboards, commercials, and magazine ads (featuring celebrities with milk moustaches) encourage us to drink more milk via the influential “Got Milk?” campaign, launched by the dairy industry in 1993. Even our government promotes the heavy consumption of milk—the latest federal nutritional guidelines recommend the equivalent of 3 glasses of milk daily, either fat-free or 1% fat.
Unfortunately, the recommendations for dairy are channeled to us through the perspective of the dairy industry, and are based more on marketing schemes than on scientific research. If you didn’t already know, the dairy lobby is a powerful force, and drives the government’s recommendations.
My oldest coffee mug is decorated with a big picture of a dandelion and emblazoned with: “If you can’t beat ‘em, eat ‘em.”
Many people consider the humble dandelion to be a pesky weed, and attempt to eradicate it from their lawns and gardens with toxic herbicides. But no matter how many poisonous chemicals are dumped onto dandelions, the bright yellow flowering plants not only survive, they thrive.
The scientific name for dandelion is Taraxacum officinale, which translates as “the official remedy for disorders,” acknowledging the esteemed position that dandelion has held as a medicinal herb. For centuries, dandelion (both the leaf and root) has been used in traditional healing in cultures around the world.