Health Bits & Pieces (HFN 38:1)
By Dan Kenner
For Dietary Supplement Skeptics
One of the World’s most published and respected biochemists, Dr. Bruce Ames, contends that most American diets are deficient in micronutrients that promote longevity and curb the risk of chronic conditions, such as heart disease and cancer. Based on more than ten years of research in his laboratory at Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute (affiliated with the University of California, San Francisco), Ames notes that even minor vitamin deficiencies could impact long-term health. Dr. Ames asserts that a person’s “health span” can be extended by consuming optimal levels of 30 essential vitamins and minerals. These nutrients, along with 11 others not currently considered essential, comprise a set of “longevity vitamins” that can extend healthy aging. Dr. Ames has published more than 500 scientific papers over almost seven decades, and considers this his most important work. “This may be a theoretical paper, but I hope it can add a few years to everyone’s lives.”
Ames B, “Prolonging healthy aging: Longevity vitamins and proteins,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, 2018; 115(43):10836-10844, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1809045115, Epub 2018 Oct 15.
News from China
Medical historians have speculated that the use of Chinese herbs may be the reason why the Chinese did not suffer from the great pandemics that swept across Europe, like the Black Plague. Today, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) appears to be effective in treating COVID‑19 infections in Chinese hospitals. As of February 5th, 214 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection in four provinces were treated with the TCM decoction Qingfei Paidutang (“Cleanse-lung-discharge-toxin”) Decoction. The total effective rate was more than 90%. Over 60% of the patients showed significant improvement in symptoms and radiographic findings; over 30% of the patients had stable symptoms and no exacerbation. Another source reported that Qingfei Paidutang has been used in treating 701 confirmed cases in ten provinces, of which 130 patients have been cured and discharged. Li Yu, an official with the National Administration of TCM, reported that symptoms disappeared in 51 cases and improved in 268, with another 212 remaining in stable condition. Li added that the herbal decoction was recommended to medical institutions nationwide on February 6th after data analysis of 214 cases. Detailed clinical records showed that fever was reduced to normal in 94.6% of the patients, and 80.6% of 214 patients stopped coughing after using the decoction for six days.
http://finance.jrj.com.cn/2020/02/07073028790484.shtml; http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-02/17/c_138792163.htm; https://www.tellerreport.com/news/2020-02-29—expert–qingfei-paidu-decoction-is-very-effective-.BJjwxjPE8.html
Essential Oils for Viral Infection
More than 25 essential oils are official medicaments in the European Pharmacopoeia. Among them, essential oils of anise, bitter fennel fruit, eucalyptus, peppermint, tea tree, and thyme are frequently used for the treatment of respiratory tract diseases. Common chemical constituents of essential oils, including menthol and 1,8‐cineole, have been extensively used in human experiments. Menthol has been shown to be antitussive in low concentration, and reduces respiratory discomfort and dyspnea. The monoterpene 1,8‐cineole, also known as eucalyptol, is antimicrobial, antitussive, mucolytic, anti‐inflammatory, a bronchodilator, and promotes ciliary transport. It is useful for treating a wide range of respiratory conditions. Its anti-inflammatory property makes it useful not only in respiratory infections but inflammatory diseases like bronchial asthma and COPD. It is found in numerous essential oils including eucalyptus, helichrysum, laurel, niaouli, ravintsara, rosemary, and others. Another potentially useful phytochemical is germacrone, a major component of the essential oil extracted from turmeric. It was found to inhibit influenza-virus replication with antiviral activity against the H1N1 and H3N2 influenza A viruses and the influenza B virus.
European Pharmacopoeia Commission, European Pharmacopoeia (Ph. Eur.) 10th Edition (2007), Council of Europe, Strasbourg; Setzer W, “Essential oils as complementary and alternative medicines for the treatment of influenza,” American Journal of Essential Oils and Natural Products, 2016; 4(4): 16-22; Can Baser K & Buchbauer G, Handbook of Essential Oils: Science, Technology, and Applications, CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, New York, 2010; Juergens U, “Anti-inflammatory properties of the monoterpene 1.8-cineole: current evidence for co-medication in inflammatory airway diseases,” Drug Research, 2014; 64(12): 638-646, doi: 10.1055/s-0034-1372609, Epub 2014 May 15; Liao Q, Qian Z, Liu R, An L, Chen X, “Germacrone inhibits early stages of influenza virus infection,” Antiviral Research, 2013; 100(3): 578-588, doi: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2013.09.021, Epub 2013 Oct 3.
Preventing Damage from Conventional Cancer Treatment
Rice Bran Arabinoxylan Compound (RBAC), a cultured mushroom product made from shiitake and rice bran, increases the rate of survival and reduces the side effects of conventional cancer chemotherapy and radiation according to human clinical research studies. In a study of 50 breast-cancer patients, they were divided randomly into two groups. One group was given three grams daily of RBAC (also known as BRM-4, Biobran/MGN-3, Lentin, and AHCC) from one week before to one week after chemotherapy. The other group was given chemotherapy alone. After six cycles of chemotherapy, 80% of the RBAC group experienced good appetite and no fatigue compared to 12% in the control group; the RBAC group had no weight loss, whereas 84% of the control group lost five to ten kg. In the RBAC group, only 40% experienced nausea or vomiting compared to 100% in the control group. All of the patients in the control group lost their hair, but there was hair loss in only 28% of the RBAC group. A similar study compared the effects of RBAC to a placebo in a group of 65 advanced-stage head and neck cancer patients treated with radiochemotherapy. In the RBAC group, the red cell count and hematocrit were significantly higher as well as higher platelet, neutrophil, and lymphocyte counts. There were 17 blood transfusions needed in the placebo group, but only one in the RBAC group. Clinical outcomes appeared to be enhanced in the RBAC group. There were no deaths in the RBAC group and eleven in the placebo group. There were five cases of metastasis in the placebo group and none in the RBAC group. There were only two hospital admissions in the RBAC group but 21 in the placebo group. There was also significantly less weight loss in the RBAC group.
Masood A, Sheikh R, Anwer R, “Effect of “Biobran MGN-3” in reducing side effects of chemotherapy in breast cancer patients,” The Professional Medical Journal, 2013; 20(1):013-016; Tan D & Flores J, “The Immunomodulating Effects of Arabinoxylan Rice Bran (Lentin) on Hematologic Profile, Nutritional Status and Quality of Life among Head and Neck Carcinoma Patients Undergoing Radiation Therapy: A Double Blind Randomized Controlled Trial,” Radiology Journal, 2020; Vol. 12: 11-15.
Burger King’s “Impossible Whopper” meatless hamburger may be less healthy than a regular Whopper. A veterinarian, Dr. James Stangle, writes that the red appearance of Impossible Burger patty comes from genetically splicing a soybean and yeast. The blood-like color and flavor in the Impossible Burger is derived from soy leghemoglobin produced by this genetically engineered yeast. Then, there are its effects on hormone balance. According to Dr. Stangle, “the impossible whopper has 44 mg of estrogen and the whopper has 2.5 ng of estrogen. That means an impossible whopper has 18 million times as much estrogen as a regular whopper.” He explains that you would have to eat 880 pounds of beef to equal the amount of estrogen in one birth control pill, but considerably less with an Impossible Burger. Anxious couples may now be able to head to Burger King for a “morning-after” burger.
Dr. James Stangle, “Stangle: Impossible Burgers Are Made of What?” Tri-State Livestock News, Dec 20, 2019, at https://www.tsln.com/news/stangle-impossible-burgers-are-made-of-what/.