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Balancing green tea with protein: Tailoring your food and health strategies

With all the studies and news about using tea to detox, how do you know that what's on the label is in the tea? And what happens if the tea bag leaches unwanted chemicals into your cup of water along with any antioxidants from the tea? Detox diets often suggest tea to boost enzymes. But is there really such a process as a detox? After all, if you juice too much without eating foods, eventually your muscles begin to waste and weaken as the body 'eats' the muscles to get some protein.

Balancing green tea with protein: Tailoring your food and health strategies.
Photo by Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images

Too much protein, and you have other health issues that could affect your eyesight and other parts of your body. See the article on how too much protein powder may raise the risk of developing glaucoma. Check out the article, Glaucoma awareness month: excess protein and glaucoma risk. Also see, Why are more cataracts found in people taking statins? Also check out the articles, "Are too many doctors paid to advocate statin use?" and "Why are more cataracts found in people taking statins?"

Interestingly, when it comes to detox diets, one study from the Arizona Cancer Center noted that tea boosts production of detox enzymes, rendering cancerous chemicals harmless, according to an August 10, 2007 news release, "Green tea boosts production of detox enzymes, rendering cancerous chemicals harmless."

You can read the abstract of the original study, "Prospective Cohort Study of Green Tea Consumption and Colorectal Cancer Risk in Women," These findings, published in the August 2007 issue of the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, suggest that a green tea concentrate might help some people strengthen their metabolic defense against toxins capable of causing cancer.

You also can check out the abstract of more recent research commentary, "Cancer prevention by green tea: evidence from epidemiologic studies," published in 2013 in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. The more recent 2013 research, according to the abstract, "Cancer prevention by green tea: evidence from epidemiologic studies," in contrast noted that evidence in support of green tea intake against the development of liver cancer risk is limited and inconsistent. An inverse association between green tea intake and lung cancer risk has been observed among never smokers but not among smokers.

Although observational studies do not support a beneficial role of tea intake against the development of prostate cancer, several phase 2 clinical trials have shown an inhibitory effect of green tea extract against the progression of prostate premalignant lesions to malignant tumors, the research commentary notes, explaining that prospective epidemiologic studies so far have not provided evidence for a protective effect of green tea consumption on breast cancer development, notes that abstract.

Current data neither confirm nor refute a definitive cancer-preventive role of green tea intake, says the 2013 research commentary

Large randomized intervention trials on the efficacy of green tea polyphenols or extracts are required before a recommendation for green tea consumption for cancer prevention should be made, explains the 2013 research commentary. But in a 2007 study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, researchers found that the concentrated chemicals derived from green tea boosted production of a group of detox enzymes in people who had low levels of these enzymes.

Concentrated chemicals derived from green tea dramatically boosted production of a group of key detoxification enzymes in people with low levels of these beneficial proteins, according to researchers at Arizona Cancer Center

In a study published in 2007 which looked at 42 people, the concentrate − composed of chemicals known as green tea catechins in amounts equal to that found in 8-16 cups of green tea − boosted production of the enzymes, which belong to the glutathione S-transferase (GST) family, by as much as 80 percent in some participants.

Most people are not drinking 8 to 16 cups of green tea, but green tea extracts in supplements are sold in most health food stores and online

GST enzymes are believed to be crucial to the body’s defense against cancer-causing chemicals and other toxins, according to the study’s lead investigator, H.-H. Sherry Chow, Ph.D., a research associate professor at the University of Arizona. They modify the cancer-causing molecules that would otherwise damage cellular DNA, thus rendering them inert, the 2007 news release explains.

“They actually convert known carcinogens to non-toxic chemicals, and studies have shown a correlation between deficient expression of these enzymes and increased risk of developing some cancers,” Chow said, according to the August 10, 2007 news release, "Green tea boosts production of detox enzymes, rendering cancerous chemicals harmless."

“Expression of this enzyme varies dramatically in people due to genetic variation and environmental factors,” Chow added in the news release. “Green tea catechins somehow increase gene expression of these enzymes, which can be an advantage to people with low levels to start with.”

Green tea catechins increase gene expression of certain enzymes, the study shows

Green tea has long been of interest to researchers given studies that have shown populations in which it is often consumed, such as the Chinese and Japanese, generally have lower rates of cancer. To find out if green tea can protect against cancer, the NCI has sponsored a number of rigorous scientific studies testing capsules of the extract, Polyphenon E, that have been prepared in Japan to meet exact specifications. These pills contain epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a catechin known for its potent antioxidant activity, and are currently being tested against a variety of cancers in clinical trials.

This study was designed to see if green tea catechin concentrate had any effect on the levels of GST enzymes in healthy individuals − research that could explain the tea’s anti-cancer properties. Healthy volunteers were asked to abstain from consuming any tea or tea-related products for four weeks.

At the end of this “washout period,” blood was drawn and baseline GST enzyme levels were determined for each participant

Then, the volunteers were asked to take four Polyphenon E capsules, for a total of 800 milligrams of EGCG, each morning on an empty stomach for four weeks and to abstain from drinking tea or eating many cruciferous vegetables, which contain other beneficial chemicals. Another blood sample was taken after four weeks, and GST activity was determined.

Researchers found that use of Polyphenon E enhanced GST activity when data from all participants were included for analysis. But it had its most significant effect in volunteers whose baseline blood measurements showed low GST activity − an 80 percent increase compared to baseline GST activity. Activity did not change in volunteers with medium GST expression, or in those with the highest levels, GST seemed to decrease slightly although researchers believe that decline was due to random variation.

“This is the first clinical study to show proof that chemicals in green tea can increase detoxification enzymes in humans,” Chow said in the news release. “There may be other mechanism in play by which green tea may protect against cancer development, but this is a good place to start.” The NCI supported the study and researchers from NCI also participated in conducting the study.

What makes up a green health detox cocktail of nutrients or supplements?

And should they come from food directly as in fresh, raw plant foods or extracts or from vitamins and any other supplements? How would you know what is safe other than to read some of the medical studies published in credible science journals? Check out site such as, "Yabba Pot - 21 day raw food diet - instructions - YouTube," and Starting a Raw Food Diet.

The detox cocktail that some physicians recommend is found in the book, The High Blood Pressure Hoax by Sherry A. Rogers, M.D. on pages 40-43. Detoxing starts with fighting free radicals. Dr. Rogers emphasizes that your detox cocktail consists of three ingredients: vitamin C, glutathione, and lipoic acid.

Up to 75 percent of pantothenic acid, which is vitamin B5, is lost when food is canned or frozen. Yet according to a study at the University of Windsor, Canada, researchers found that tissue cells treated with pantothenic acid found in COQ10, detoxifies numerous synthetic compounds that you can absorb from drugs, herbicides, and insecticides, according to the book Healing with Vitamins, pages 14-15.

Readers also should take into consideration that according to an answer the doctor noted in response to a viewer's question about lipoic acid on the Dr. Ray Sahanian’s site, heart rhythm disturbances have been reported from some people that were taking too high dosages of lipoic acid.

“There are no indications that low doses of lipoic acid, such as 5 to 20 mg, have side effects,” reads the answer on Dr. Ray Sahelian’s site to a viewer’s question. The answer noted on Dr. Ray Sahelian’s site states, “In my personal experience, high dosages of alpha lipoic acid can cause insomnia and ALA (alpha lipoic acid) may cause heart rhythm disturbances. Until we know more about the long term side effects of these supplements, I prefer to take low dosages and take days off.”

Different doctors will differ on the dose you need. You have to tailor what you take in the form of any detoxifiers to your own body and needs.

R-lipoic acid is recommended over alpha lipoic acid by numerous nutrition-oriented doctors. On page 132 of The Cholesterol Hoax, Dr. Rogers notes, "Make sure you at least get minimum 300 mgs of R-Lipoic Acid twice a day..." (to detox from plastics pollutants).

Dr. Rogers notes that "Plastics that are the highest pollutant in the human body now also trigger insulin resistence." Three studies also are noted for reference on page 132 of the book, The Cholesterol Hoax. The important point is to find the dose that's correct for you by working with your doctor if you want to detox from plastics pollutants or insecticide contamination.

In the book, The High Blood Pressure Hoax by Sherry A. Rogers, M.D. on page 42, Dr. Rogers explains how to make your own personal detox cocktail: “It begins with one teaspoon of Ultrafine Pure Ascorbic acid.” (The doctor notes that if that gives you diarrhea, to “cut it back to half a teaspoon.”

Add the glutathione. Dr. Rogers suggests “the best source I know of, Recancostat, 400-800mg and Lipoic Acid, 300-600 mg.” The ‘cocktail’ is to be taken with one to two glasses of water. The healthy goal on page 43 is to “boost your endothelial lining.”

In the book, The Cholesterol Hoax, Dr. Rogers also refers to the detox cocktail using vitamin C, R-Lipoic acid, and Recancostat. It’s also covered in Dr. Rogers book, Detoxify or Die. And statements on page 225 of The Cholesterol Hoax mention that “the daily detox cocktail not only lowers cholesterol, but also boosts your daily blood and gut detoxification."

The book gives excellent sources of the various studies and also notes, “One very serious sign of a bad gut with hidden toxins is an elevated fibrinogen.(Patel). See the research study noted: Patel P, Carrington D, Strachean DP, Leatham E, Goggin P, Northfield TC, Mendall, MA, "Fibrinogen: a link between chronic infection and coronary heart disease," Lancet, 343; 1634-5, June 25, 1994.

According to page 77 in the book titled, Is Your Cardiologist Killing You?, by Sherry R. Rogers, M.D., "Sometimes a vitamin B1 (thiamin) deficiency can't be corrected until a magnesium deficiency is corrected." (Zieve). See Zieve L, "Influence of magnesium deficiency on the normalization of thiamin," Annals of the NY Academy of Science, 162; 732-43, 1969. Also look at another book titled, The Magnesium Miracle, by Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D.

You also might read, The Calcium Lie, by Robert Thompson, M.D. and Kathleen Barnes. In the chapter titled, "The Vitamin Lie." On page 89, the book suggests that you take whole food vitamin C, not just the ascorbic acid part. You need the bioflavinoids contained in whole food vitamin C.

A statement on page 88 explains, "The body is completely dependent upon the whole vitamin C molecule." The chapter notes that ascorbic acid "also blocks the absorption of the whole C molecule as well as interfering with its benefits and causing its excretion in the urine, depleting your body's stores of this important molecule."

Is the solution to take whole foods vitamin C, not merely ascorbic acid by itself? Or do you take your usual ascorbic acid followed by a capsule of citrus bioflavonoids? Watch the YouTube video featuring Dr. Robert Thompson, speaking on balancing your minerals to avoid mineral deficiency and calcium excess, "The Calcium Lie - What Your Doctor Doesn't Know."

What chemicals are in your tea and tea bags?

You may wish to check out the article on the "Food Babe" site, "Do you know what's really in your tea?" The article not only offers a list of tea with possible GMOs, probable GMOs, and natural flavors that don't list what actually is meant in detail of what natural flavors are or from where they originate.

The article also informs the reader to beware of paper tea bags. The reason why is that numerous paper tea bags are treated with epichlorohydrin, a compound mainly used in the production of epoxy resins. See, "Basic Information about Epichlorohydrin in Drinking Water."

Considered a potential carcinogen by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health2 (NIOSH), epichlorohydrin also is used as a pesticide. When epichlorohydrin comes in contact with water, it hydrolyzes to 3-MCPD, which has been shown to cause cancer in animals, the article, "Do you know what's really in your tea?" explains.

EpichlorohydrinIt has also been implicated in infertility. According to a recent study, it has a spermatoxic effect in male rats and suppressed immune function. The article, "Do you know what's really in your tea?" mentions loose tea rather than tea in paper tea bags.

You don't want plastic bags used to showcase tea because the plastics may have their own chemicals. You can't put a plastic teabag in water and expect the tea to become an infusion of tea and water. You need a porous bag. You're not going to find cheesecloth tea bags with tea. So you could turn to what's available, that is loose tea. The big picture with tea bags and GMOs in the tea is that the antioxidants in the tea are competing with the chemicals in the tea and in the tea bags as to which will get into your body to do what it's supposed to do. There's also an issue of what flavorings are used. Most people don't like the term "natural flavorings" because it's so vague. Natural can refer to a plant, a rock, or a chemical extracted from anything in nature.

You may wish to check out that article, "Do you know what's really in your tea?" There's a table listing types of tea and whether they have listed natural flavorings and/or GMO ingredients. The goal is to find tea without GMOs, unknown flavorings, and chemicals leaching from tea bags. The article also has graphics/table comparing various types of tea and whether the tea has or doesn't have pesticides and other questionable ingredients in the tea or in the tea and the tea bag.

That article asks you to question terms such as "natural flavors." Some types of tea have caramel powder or modified corn starch. Other types (brands) of tea have soy lecithin. Is the soy GMO or organic, for example? That's not written on labels of the teas listed at the site. Check out that article. It may help you find a type of tea that works for you.

Too many people don't think of drinking GMOs when they make a cup of tea, either herbal, green, black, or other. That article also refers readers to another article in The Atlantic that discusses the “silky sachet” and “luxurious mesh bags” that hold loose leaf teas (like in brands Tea Forte and Mighty Leaf). The article also explains that those plastic bags are meant to showcase the tea leaves.

Understanding genetically modified food messages and math anxiety: A new study

Math anxiety factors into understanding genetically modified food messages, says a new study, "Math Anxiety and Exposure to Statistics in Messages About Genetically Modified Foods: Effects of Numeracy, Math Self-Efficacy, and Form of Presentation," recently published in the Journal of Health Communication. People who feel intimidated by math may be less able to understand messages about genetically modified foods and other health-related information, according to researchers

"Math anxiety, which happens when people are worried or are concerned about using math or statistics, leads to less effort and decreases the ability to do math," says Roxanne Parrott, according to the February 27, 2014 news release, "Math anxiety factors into understanding genetically modified food messages." Parrott is a Distinguished Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences and Health Policy and Administration at Penn State. "Math anxiety also has been found to impair working memory."

The researchers found that math anxiety led to a decrease in comprehension for people who read statistics in a message about genetically modified foods, while an increase in skills in math and a confidence in those skills led to better comprehension

"This is the first study that we know of to take math anxiety to a health and risk setting," said Parrott, according to the news release. "Math skills have become a common element in many health and risk message studies, which addresses the skill component of math competence but ignores the cognitive and affective components."

People who have lower levels of math skills and who have less confidence in their ability to do math had higher levels of math anxiety, said Parrott in the news release. Parrott worked with Kami J. Silk, professor of communication, Michigan State University in the study. However, math anxiety also increased for people who had high levels in both math skills and their belief in those math-solving skills when exposed to a message about genetically modified foods. The math anxiety in high-skilled individuals did not significantly affect the understanding of the message.

How do people react to messages about GMO foods?

"Perhaps this is due to performance anxiety," Parrott explains, according to the February 27, 2014 news release, Math anxiety factors into understanding genetically modified food messages. "It's a sense of 'I know I can do it and I have the skills to do it, but it is making me anxious to apply my skills.'"

Participants also reported they believed that statistics presented in messages were more important than those presented on a bar graph, according to the researchers. The perceived level of importance of the messages may make text more persuasive than graphics.

The study underscores the need to not only improve math skills, but also confidence in one's skills

The study also emphasizes that anxiety about facing tasks that require math or statistics skills likely reduces efforts to understand consumer warnings and other health information that relies on numbers. "This is one more piece of evidence about the importance of applied math education, in which students tackle real world messages and content when learning math skills," says Parrott, according to the news release. "We have to focus on teaching people math, but also we need to tell people that they do have the skills, and find strategic ways to communicate that ease anxiety and worry about understanding math."

The researchers, who reported their findings in the online issue of the Journal of Health Communication, recruited 323 university students for the study

The participants were randomly assigned a message that was altered to contain one of three different ways of presenting the statistics: a text with percentages, bar graph and both text and graphs. The statistics were related to three different messages on genetically modified foods, including the results of an animal study, a Brazil nut study and a food recall announcement.

Researchers measured the participants' math skills, confidence and anxiety prior to reading the message. After the test, the researchers again measured the participants' levels of math anxiety, as well as other abilities, including their comprehension, sense of the message's importance and intentions.

Math anxiety and health risk messages? Is there a link?

Parrott explains, according to the news release, that future research should determine whether math anxiety plays a similar role in other types of health risk messages. The researchers investigated genetically modified food messages because the topic is currently in the news and developing smart policies on food acquisition and safety is increasing.

"My goal is to help people make informed decisions and to do that, they need to understand and comprehend messages," says Parrott in the news release. "Food policy, in particular, interests me because having enough food to feed people is a really big issue that we're facing."

Does too much protein lead to glaucoma? And does too much milk and sugar lead to cataracts?

Thousands of cataract surgeries are performed in Sacramento each year and is the most common surgery done in the USA. But so far, no one is telling any person what to eat or not eat to prevent cataracts from forming, possibly by the build up of galactose from certain foods that are stored in the eyes which may contribute to the formation of cataracts.

If milk and sugar is supposed to cause cataracts, then why is whey protein suggested by some nutritionists to give to senior citizens in order to possibly protect them against getting cataracts in the first place? Do babies raised on breast milk have higher IQs than babies raised on cow's milk?

Yes, according to the YouTube video, Walter Veith 304 Udderly Amazing 1 of 8 - You Tube. There's also a shorter uTube video clip, Dairy Galactose in Milk and Cataracts etc. This shorter clip explains how galactose raises the risk of developing cataracts as galactose builds up in the body over the years, settling in the eyes as cataracts.

Nutritionists are interested to find out the links between dairy products and cataracts, if any

That's where the research takes you on a path to finding out what happens in the body when you eat certain foods. You see, you can't use the word 'milk' but you can use the word 'dairy' to discuss research and any links. But the dairy industry will fight you if you say anything bad about dairy products.

So how can nutritionists let people know what happens? You can use words such as 'galactose' and glucose or any other enzyme or chemical found in humans and animals or various foods.

Whey protein contains amino acids, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. See the YouTube video, "Dairy Galactose in Milk and Cataracts." There's also a longer lecture online related to this topic. To see the longer lecture, check out the eight segments of the program, Udderly Amazing.

You take a small amount of whey protein in order to increase glutathione levels in your body to fight free radicals. Glutathione also protects your body from toxins, preventing damage and improving excretion of the toxins. People with certain types of cancer, cataracts, diabetes and liver disease tend to have deficiencies of glutathione. The only problem is too much whey protein causes bone loss and kidney problems.

On the other hand, older adults who suffer from osteoporosis, cancer and an impaired immune system could benefit from taking whey protein supplements, notes the University of Michigan Health System. Whey could help support cancer treatment, as well as treat cataracts, diabetes and viral hepatitis, reporrts the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. To read more on this topic, check out the article, Is Whey Protein Powder Beneficial For Seniors?

So who do you believe? The people who say all milk products are bad because they cause cataracts, the nutritionists who say fermented milk products like yogurt, kefir, and certain cheeses are okay, or the people who say whey that comes from milk is beneficial in small amounts? Too large amounts of protein may cause kidney problems, bone loss, and possibly glaucoma. See the article,

Glutathione is known to be one of the most powerful antioxidants

Unfortunately, it isn't well absorbed into the body when taken orally. Therefore, we must find other supplements which will support the production of glutathione within the cells. One product is N-Acetyl-cysteine which is a compound the body uses to produce glutathione. NAC works especially well when used in conjunction with Garlic. You can probably find NAC at your health food store.

Be careful as some people develop kidney stones from taking N-Acetyl cysteine. Another source of glutathione is found in milk whey. If you don't have a milk sensitivity or allergy you will benefit from whey protein extract which is a strong precursor to glutathione. NAC also has received some warnings on what happens to your health when you take it for too long or in too high a dose. Check out any product on effects and warnings. See the Web MD site article, "N-ACETYL CYSTEINE: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions and interactions."

Protein and glaucoma?

You may wish to see the article on how too much protein powder may raise the risk of developing glaucoma. Check out the article, Glaucoma awareness month: excess protein and glaucoma risk. Also see, Why are more cataracts found in people taking statins? Also check out the articles, "Are too many doctors paid to advocate statin use?" and "Why are more cataracts found in people taking statins?"

You also might want to take a look at the article, "Drug Company Pleads Guilty to Health Fraud," Life Extension magazine, March 2010. The healthy trends are pointing toward nutrition as a first line of treatment or solutions to problems of high cholesterol.

Basically, Sacramentans are looking at micronutrients from Mother Nature to improve nutrition--such as raw food diets for a few weeks or juicing vegetables with deep green, purple, and red colors. Why? They want to avoid cataracts and the side effects of statins that are being reported widely in the mainstream media.

A recent British study eight weeks ago of more than 2 million patients found that those using statins were significantly more likely to suffer cataracts.The five-year study found that for every 10,000 patients on statins, up to 307 more had cataracts than non-statin users. Read the article about the study, "Heart drugs may increase cataract, kidney failure risk," published May 22, 2010 in The Age.

In May, 2010, Life Extension magazine ran an article on statins and cataracts, "Nutritional Strategies for Preventing Age-Related Vision Loss." That article noted that "Millions of Americans are taking so-called 'statin' medications to combat high cholesterol, yet few are aware that these drugs may pose a serious threat to their eye health.

According to that article, "In early research, statin medications led to cataract formation in animals. While human studies have failed to identify a causal link between statin drugs and cataracts, some of the most widely used statins—including Zocor® and Mevacor® –carry warnings that they may contribute to the progression of cataracts."

Check out this article for the footnotes giving the sources of these studies. The footnotes refer readers to Merck circulars ( a product pdf. file) and Zocor shared documents (pdf. file), accessed February 27, 2006.

Also, a recent study from Japan reveals a possible link between cholesterol and cataracts. The researchers found that rats that are genetically susceptible to developing cataracts demonstrate defects in two genes involved in cholesterol synthesis. Cholesterol is required for proper development of the epithelial cells of the eye lens, helping to maintain its transparency.

The decreased availability of cholesterol in these animals may thus contribute to the eye lens becoming opaque. So think about it, if your cholesterol is high, you may get cataracts (if what happens to rats happens to humans). But if you're given statins for your high cholesterol, you also may get cataracts as a side effect of the drug, the study suggests. So where do you turn to? How about foods and nutrition?

Another study released yesterday links depression and anxiety to statins. According to a July 1, 2010 article, "Studies link anti-cholesterol statin drugs to increased risk of anxiety and depression," scientists are reporting a possible explanation for the symptoms of anxiety and depression that occur in some patients taking the popular statin family of anti-cholesterol drugs, and reported by some individuals on low-cholesterol diets. These symptoms could result from long-term, low levels of cholesterol in the brain, the report suggests. It appears in ACS' weekly journal Biochemistry.

Amitabha Chattopadhyay and colleagues, according to that article, note in the study that statins "work by blocking a key enzyme involved in the body's production of cholesterol. Some studies link the drugs to an increased risk of anxiety and depression, but the reasons are unclear."

As reported in that article also, the scientists previously showed that maintaining normal cholesterol levels is important for the function of cell receptors for serotonin, a brain hormone that influences mood and behavior. But the long-term effect of cholesterol depletion on these receptors, which can occur in patients taking anti-cholesterol drugs, is unknown.

So why would you take a drug where the outcome is unknown if your doctor tells you to take this drug long-term? Wouldn't you want a second or third opinion before making a choice?

In the study, the article reports that the scientists turned to the statin medication mevastatin to find out. In lab tests using human serotonin receptors expressed in animal cells, they showed that long-term use of the drug caused significant changes in the structure and function of serotonin cell receptors, according to that article.

Adding cholesterol to cells treated with mevastatin restored them to normal. The results represent the first report describing the effect of long-term cholesterol depletion on this type of cell receptor.

Three major articles on what statins don't do appeared in the last three days, two articles on June 28, 2010 and one on July 1, 2010. See, "Studies link anti-cholesterol statin drugs to increased risk of anxiety and depression," published July 1, 2010 in The Medical News.

Patients and consumers in general wonder whether doctors who don't prescribe drugs, but use nutrition and certain supplements instead, usually make patients pay out of pocket because the doctors can't get insurance based on nutritional solutions or treatments using food-based products such as vitamins or minerals?

These are questions patients have about the decision to go with statins. Patients have to decide as a first line of treatment whether to go with food as medicine without being called a quack follower--unless of course, you work with licensed dietitians with R.D. certification or nutritionists and naturopaths with M.D. or D.O. degrees who really know their food biochemistry.

Basically, disputes almost always are about following the big money. And when it comes down to statins or any other drug, the lawyers are waiting in the wings for symptoms to show up. So what's the latest statins dispute about? The answer is the reputation of drugs. How are the various media handling news of the statins studies?

The dispute in the latest news concerns statins, the cholesterol-lowering prescription drugs that earn about $26 billion a year for their makers. Basically, news articles and medical studies in scientific journals are pummeling the reputation of the widely prescribed medications in one area even as it advanced their stature in another.

A meta-analysis — a review of previous studies — published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that statins do not lower death rates among patients with risk factors but no evidence of established cardiovascular disease who take them as a preventive measure, according to the Los Angeles Times article.

Are studies telling doctors or patients that the risk outweighs the benefits, or are they saying that for average risk patients, simply that the drugs don't lower death rates. What do studies say the drugs actually do? The studies are filtered through the eyes of mass media mainstream newspapers.

Who's telling the truth--newspapers or drug manufacturers? That's the question. Answer: follow the money to see who has more to lose by a tarnished reputation--the medicine manufacturers, the media, or nutritionists that tout using food as your medicine.

The drugs' makers don't like their reputation hacked by the press or in medical journals by their own prescribers, physicians and the scientists who study prescription drugs. The Los Angeles Times article mentioned that three-quarters of statin users take statins in hopes of averting a first heart attack or stroke. But if statins don't lower death rates if you have a risk factor but no heart disease, what do they do for you?

At the same time, a study in the journal Cancer suggests that for men who have undergone surgery for prostate cancer, statin use appears to reduce the chance that the disease will return, according to news articles on the web.

Maybe it's time to look more closely at nutritional-oriented changes. The biggest problem is with what doctors are being told and sold. Are too many doctors tightly controlled by the pharmaceutical industry?

The question arises because the specific doctors that physicians look up to, those prominent medical school faculty and other highly renowned doctor-mentors from prestige medical schools, are sometimes paid by the giant pharmaceutical industries to market medicines via dinner meeting speeches to other doctors. And the public is wondering whether their doctors are being lied to by the powerful prescription drug industries.

Locally, on Sacramento radio, at least on one sports station, is finally alerting average listeners to the latest medical studies on statins as related to the risks and benefit. The studies are pointing to statins raising more risk of harm than benefits of health for average cardiovascular disease and stroke risk folks.

It's looking more like statins aren't reducing that many heart attacks and strokes after all, according to the latest studies on statins. Basically, it's one of the radio talk show personalities that yesterday (and repeated this morning) has let the public know more about the latest studies on statins and where to read one study. Also read the June 29, 2010 Los Angeles Times article by Melissa Healy about this latest study, Rift Over Statins‎.

You also can read the study from its primary source, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Read the study yourself, "Statins and All-Cause Mortality in High-Risk Primary Prevention: A Meta-analysis of 11 Randomized Controlled Trials Involving 65,229 Participants." Archives of Internal Medicine, 2010; 170(12):1024-1031.

The media is now disseminating this dispute between medical studies and the claims of the big prescription drug industries. The consumers' questions keep asking whether most doctors are controlled by big pharma's claims? And what happens to dissenting doctors that don't want to prescribe? Do they get intimidated by insurance companies who may want them to prescribe in order to get insurance?

One advantage radio talk show personalities can get away with is to say almost any statement allowed on the air by prefacing their comments with the phrase, "in my opinion." Yesterday, a major radio talk show personality on Sacramento's Extra Sports 860 station made the statements (paraphrased here) that "Doctors are controlled by the pharmaceutical industries just like pimps control prostitutes." He added, "Doctors are lied to by the pharmaceutical manufacturers."

The big question comes up for people who have doctors prescribing life-long use of statins soon after high cholesterol levels are found. If your doctor don't know, if the scientists need more time for research, it's left up to you to figure out whether the study applies to you and possibly suggests to that chronic, low cholesterol levels in the brain might trigger anxiety and depression. That's what the scientists say, but of course, they preface their study with the word "might trigger anxiety and depression."

Of course, your genetic predisposition kicks in here. Do you feel anxious and depressed when you take statins? And if chronic, low cholesterol levels in your brain could trigger depression, couldn't it also trigger the kind of behavior anxiety or depression leads to?

Scientists are reporting a possible explanation for the symptoms of anxiety and depression that occur in some patients taking the popular statin family of anti-cholesterol drugs, and reported by some individuals on low-cholesterol diets, according to the study.

Think about it. If you're on a low cholesterol diet, do you feel anxious and depressed? If you do, what if you eat a high cholesterol food, such as one of the three-egg omelettes? How about when you eat lots of fatty fish such as salmon or take fish oils? Do you feel less depressed at that time? These symptoms could result from long-term, low levels of cholesterol in the brain, the report suggests. Read the report in ACS' weekly journal Biochemistry.

There's also another article, "Aggressive control of cardiac risk factors might not benefit all patients with diabetes," according to the Phys.Org site. According to this article, a mathematical model suggests that aggressively pursuing low blood pressure and cholesterol levels may not benefit, and could even harm, some patients with diabetes, according to a report in the June 28 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

Think about this topic regarding statins, and ask this question: Is it possible your doctor is being lied to about statins being able to lower the incidence of strokes and heart attacks? Another study was published on June 28, 2010 noting how many guidelines that direct doctors to treat patients with diabetes by aggressively treating high low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad" cholesterol) and blood pressure levels to reduce patients' risk of developing heart disease, according to background information in the article.

Doctors keep weighing risks against benefits and benefits against risks. But the studies are simply based on the average results of various trials. Doctors and scientists look at relative benefits of trials. The health care professionals you go to are looking at average results of trials that evaluate benefits and discuss risk factor control.

The big problem is that the studies or clinical trials are never tailored to your individual genetic risk for cardiovascular disease. You're not being treated based on treatment individually tailored to your genetic express, inherited risk factors, or even lifestyle. Your being prescribed drugs based on average clinical trial reports.

For example, did you ever ask your doctor whether or not all patients with diabetes are at equally high risk of cardiovascular disease? But think about it, aren't all patients with diabetes treated aggressively to lower their cholesterol levels whether or not they're at different levels of risk? And what did the study reveal about aggressive treatment?

Justin W. Timbie, Ph.D., of RAND Corp., Arlington, Va., and colleagues constructed a mathematical model to assess whether aggressive treatment would equally benefit all patients with diabetes. They started by using data from 30- to 75-year-old participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which provided representative estimates for the nearly 8 million individuals with diabetes in the 1990s, according to the article.

At this time, aggressive cholesterol and blood pressure treatment was uncommon. After excluding participants with low LDL levels and low blood pressure, the average LDL-C level was 151 milligrams per deciliter and the average blood pressure was 144/79 millimeters of mercury.

The researchers then simulated what would happen if these patients underwent increasingly intensive treatment until their LDL-C levels were lowered to 100 milligrams per deciliter and their blood pressure to 130/80 millimeters of mercury, according to that article. Treating to these targets resulted in estimated gains of 1.5 quality-adjusted life years—years of life in perfect health—for LDL-C levels and 1.35 for blood pressure.

Studies on Treatment-Related Declines in Life Span Reported in the Mainstream Media

These gains declined to 1.42 quality-adjusted life years for LDL-C and to 1.16 for blood pressure after considering treatment-related harms, which include muscle pain from taking statins and the safety hazards of taking multiple medications.

Basically, would you take a drug with possible side effects just to increase your life span one year and a few months? Wouldn't you rather use something else to get that extra year, such as exercise, walking more, or better food--perhaps trying a raw foods vegetarian diet a few days a week for a month? What else, you have to ask would get you that extra year or so? Of course, it's based on averages.

So is it worth the risk to take statins if other methods can be used that don't have the risks?

What about quality of life? These are questions a lot of patients ask. The decision, of course, is between you and your doctor. But consider whether your doctor is controlled by the pharmaceutical giant industries, and question the authority, that is the possibility that your doctor is being marketed to, even, perhaps lied to?

The study's authors reported that "Most of the total benefit was limited to the first few steps of medication intensification or to tight control for a limited group of very high-risk patients."

What the outcome of the study revealed is that for the nearly three-fourths of patients at average risk, received very little benefit. So shouldn't you talk to your doctor and ask whether or not aggressive treatment with statins be geared more for patients not at average risk but at more serious risk?

Chances are your doctor could be a dynamo or a dinosaur as far as integrative and functional medicine combined with nutrition....maybe...or maybe not. What happens if and when you ask your doctor such a question? Is the doctor perhaps so controlled by the giant prescription drug companies marketing information that the individual physician may not know who to believe?

Or perhaps the doctor's entire career is controlled by the manufacturers of the drugs. One alternative is to go to a naturopath who also is an M.D. or D.O. who doesn't give prescription drugs such as statins as the first line of treatment. Just be sure that doctor also is trained in nutrition and how to use food as medicine as well as any type of supplements and how the supplements impact your system. Does the doctor know what's in the supplements and where they originated?

The study looked at the process of accounting for treatment-related harms. The study's authors identified numerous examples in which "intensifying treatment would be contraindicated on the basis of risk-benefit considerations."

Also, the authors of the study concluded that in many instances the "expected benefits would be so small that shared patient-clinician decision making would seem to be the appropriate medical intervention."

So how aggressively should type 2 diabetics be treated for high cholesterol, for example? Shouldn't doctors first look at their patient's underlying cardiovascular disease risk? And instead of being controlled by the big pharma's marketing techniques using famous, prestige university-educated doctors, instead might take a look at the "diminishing efficacy of combination therapy and increasing polypharmacy and adverse effects," as the study's authors put it. These are informational questions people think about before they research their conditions with credible, reliable, and validated sources.

As far as this study, the authors recommend "a strategy of tailoring treatments to individual patients on the basis of their expected benefit of intensifying treatment."

The treatment being given presently, the study reports, "to encourage uniformly lowering risk factors to common target levels can be both inefficient and cause unnecessary harm." You may wish to read the study yourself. See: JAMA and Archives Journals.

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