February 2010 Nutrition Myths

I’m going this week to close by itself in some good ol ‘fashioned mythbusting. Have you ever heard of a doctor emphatically, that you should never nutritional supplements and conventional treatment of cancer combined? What about all those so-called experts who tell you that eating lots of fat will give you on the highway to chronic diseases. Are they as good as they think they are? I’m sure many of you are made to believe that skin care creams sold by dermatologists are more effective than you can buy at your local supermarket or cosmetics overview of your pharmacy. Let that notion to the test. Finally, we can at least agree that chocolate is fattening? I mean come on! Everyone knows that! It is time to reconsider what we have learned and take a look at what the real scientists are actually trying to tell us.


Myth # 1: Never Mix Herbs and Cancer - In a study in the January edition of the journal Cancer puts this controversy to the test. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study examined the effects of milk thistle extract versus placebo in a group of 50 children treated with chemotherapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). After 56 days of treatment, using milk thistle “had a significantly lower AST and a trend toward a significantly lower ALT”, two liver enzymes used to measure hepatotoxicity. Siliphos addition, milk thistle extract used in the process, not from the effects of chemotherapy. It is important to note that this is the first research and researchers urge the subsequent examination of the optimal dosage and duration of milk thistle to determine treatment. Further investigation is to determine whether the use of this herbal remedy will have a significant influence on the outcome of survival to have. (1)

I’m not saying that supplementing with herbs is always or even often appropriate when undergoing conventional medical treatment. This is an issue on a case by case in collaboration with qualified medical professionals. The study I referred to is just an example that shows how certain herbs * can * be useful as an adjunct to standard treatment.

Myth # 2:High-fat diets Are Dangerous - Two new studies suggest that a high fat, low carb diets are safe and effective ways of epilepsy in children. This finding is partly based on an evaluation of the young people treated at Johns Hopkins University between 1993 and 2008. Ninety six percent of the children who no longer on a high fat diet have stated that they “would recommend to others the ketogenic diet.” The doctors supervising the review concluded that “The majority of people currently are doing well with regard to health and seizure control.” A recently published Danish study found that a ketogenic diet can provide a satisfactory response in 66% of epileptics who previously did not find success with prescribed medications to produce. These patients were classified as “serious, pharmacoresistant epilepsy” and exhibited success of treatment, as assessed by a 50% or more reduction in seizures, within a period of 3 months. (2.3)

Myth # 3: Prescription Skin Care products are always superior - An over the counter skin care program (Olay Professional Pro-X Age Repair Lotion + Wrinkle Cream Smoothing) was recently compared with a medicated cream (Renova / Tretinoin) that “the benchmark prescribe topical therapy qualify for the improvement of fine wrinkles. The 196 women aged 40-65 participated in this “randomized, parallel group study.” In the course of 8 weeks, the female volunteers applied the Pro-X programs or Tretinoin cream. Before and after studies and digital photographs were used to the relative effectiveness of both preparations to be determined. The Pro-X program contains a number of natural and synthetic agents, including antioxidants (vitamins C & E), 5% niacinamide (a form of vitamin B-3), peptides (proteins ) and retinyl propionate (a form of vitamin A). Part of the study volunteers continued with their treatment for another 16 weeks. The authors of the study determined that the over-the-counter cream and lotion was more effective than its counterpart on prescription 8 weeks, and the mark are equally effective at the completion of the study (24 weeks)., however, that with the aid of the non-prescription cosmetic program was the better tolerated, that is to say, less skin irritation (4).

Pro-X Skin Care Program (a) versus Tretinoin Cream (b)Source: British Journal of Dermatology, Volume 162, pages 647-654 (a)

Myth # 4: Chocolate Makes You Fat - Chocolate may, in fact, help you stay slim. This is according to a group of researchers from the Netherlands. They 12 women who participated in an experiment that the effect of eating dark chocolate and smell the appetite test. The chocolate used in the study consisted of 85% cocoa. Participants were first asked to eat 30 grams of dark chocolate. Blood tests were performed before and 60 minutes after chocolate consumption to various hormones related to appetite (cholecystokinin, ghrelin, glucagon-like peptide-1 and insulin) to measure. In a separate experiment, one half of the female is necessary for the chocolate smell, while the rest is not. The second half served as controls. Once more blood tests were carried out before and after the experiment. The results of the experiments showed that eating chocolate and smell “a similar appetite suppression induced”. (5)

Myth # 5: All Stimulants are Dangerous - As long as I can remember, I have been told that stimulants should be avoided by concerns about heart disease. Natural Cocoa contains a class of stimulants known as methylxanthines. An upcoming presentation will be given to the American Academy of Neurology in April seems to burst this bubble, too. Researchers from St. Michael’s in Toronto, Canada have concluded that regular chocolate consumption could reduce the risk of stroke and death due to stroke. Dr. Gustavo Saposnik, a neurologist from St. Michael’s, carefully noted that “more research is needed to determine whether chocolate is the factor that contributes to reducing risk of stroke.” But he was more optimistic when he added that chocolate “is rich in antioxidants and may have a protective effect against stroke.” (6,7)

Just about every myth has a foundation in reality. It is only when we carefully examine the details of a claim that we can truly validity or lack thereof behind the faith to discover. It would be irresponsible of me to say that all herbs are safe under all circumstances. But I think it can be just as damaging natural medicines to dismiss out of hand. However, this is exactly what some allopathic doctors do in regard to herbs, higher-fat/lower-carb diets, over-the-counter skin care products and, even, “superfoods” such as cocoa. Just because it is possible to abuse of all these foods and therapies does not mean they can not be used to our advantage. As always, the key to deriving the greatest benefits and avoiding the most obvious pitfalls is to first educate ourselves and then to apply that knowledge through a fair and open-minded health care team.

Be good!

Posted in Alternative Therapies, nutrition.