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, Natural Alternatives, Issue #03
July 31, 2005
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IN THIS ISSUE:
1) RED MEAT LINKED TO CANCER RISK
2) MORE BASIC INFORMATION ON PROBIOTICS
3) COLON FACTS
1) RED MEAT LINKED TO CANCER RISK
A major study has found fresh evidence of a link between red and processed meat and bowel cancer, scientists say.
The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) looked at the dietary habits of over 500,000 people across Europe over 10 years.
Bowel cancer risk was a third higher for those who regularly ate over two 80g portions of red or processed meat a day, compared to less than one a week.
EPIC's study is reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
BOWEL CANCER RISK
There are 17 cases per 10,000 50-year-olds a year among the group eating more than two portions of red meat a day.
There are 12 cases per 10,000 50-year-olds a year among the group eating less than one portion of red meat a week.
On average, people eat 95g of red meat a day.
A sausage for breakfast, a ham sandwich for lunch and a steak in the evening would add up to 205g of meat.
Since it began, 1,330 people have developed bowel cancer.
The study also found a low fibre diet increased the risk of bowel cancer.
Eating poultry had no impact but the risk for people who ate one portion or more of fish every other day was nearly a third lower than those who ate fish less than once a week. Strong evidence
Lead researcher Professor Sheila Bingham, of the MRC Dunn Human Nutrition Unit in Cambridge, said: "People have suspected for some time that high levels of red and processed meat increase risk of bowel cancer, but this is one of the largest studies worldwide and the first from Europe of this type to show a strong relationship."
Professor Bingham said there were several theories about why red meat should increase the risk of bowel cancer.
She believes the most likely explanation is that compounds called haemoglobin and myoglobin, which are found in red meat, trigger a process called nitrosation in the gut, which leads to the formation of carcinogenic compounds.
Alternatively, the problem might be caused by compounds called heterocyclic amines, carcinogenic compounds created in the cooking process.
However, these compounds are also found in poultry, which has not been linked to an increased cancer risk.
Professor Tim Key, of the charity Cancer Research UK, said: "This study strengthens evidence that bowel cancer risk can be cut by increasing fibre in the diet and reducing consumption of red and processed meat."
The researchers defined red meat as beef, lamb, pork and veal.
Processed meat was mostly pork and beef that were preserved by methods other than freezing. They include ham, bacon, sausages, liver pate, salami, tinned meat, luncheon meat and corned beef.
The Meat and Livestock Commission (MLC) said people in Britain ate well below the 160g per day consumption levels that were used to class high intake in the study.
Mike Attenborough, MLC technical director, said: "Once again this points towards the need for moderation and balance in what we eat."
The study was funded by the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK and the International Agency for research on Cancer.
2) MORE BASIC INFORMATION ON PROBIOTICS
Lactic acid fermentation is a process in which bacteria known as Lactobacilli convert the sugars and starches found in certain foods into lactic acid. The use of fermented foods has a long history in numerous cultures because of the tremendous benefits that come from their regular consumption, which include higher nutrient content, greater ease of assimilation, some degree of predigestion resulting in enzyme conservation, and a source of enzymes, friendly microbes and lactic acid.
(1) The lactic acid is a natural preservative that hinders or prevents the activity of other bacteria that would cause spoilage. Thus, fermented foods can be stored without refrigeration for substantial periods of time.
(2) The nutrient content of fermented foods greatly exceeds that of the food prior to fermentation because vitamins and other valuable nutrients are produced during the process. Hence, fermented foods are typically highly nutritious. Friendly microbes not only help break down our food; they also manufacture certain vitamins and nutrients that were not actually present in the food.
(3) In addition, the nutrients within the fermented foods are typically more readily available. Fermented foods are to some extent predigested by the activity of the microbes. (And this conserves our bodyís own enzyme supply.)
(4) In addition, consumption of fermented foods provides our body with a rich source of beneficial microbes and their enzymes. These will further assist digestion.
(5) The beneficial microbes will help to establish and/or maintain our own colonies of friendly microbes, and the lactic acid consumed along with the fermented food will also help to rid us of unfriendly microbes.
(6) The process of digestion is a cooperative effort between ourselves and the various beneficial microbes which exist within our digestive system. Under the best of circumstances, we provide them with food and habitat, and in exchange they help us greatly with digestion, assimilation and elimination as well as maintaining a digestive tract that is relatively free of harmful microbes.
Friendly bacteria can be destroyed in a number of ways. Alcohol in concentrations in excess of fifteen percent can destroy friendly bacteria. Antibiotics can wipe out our friendly flora as well. Many other prescription medications will also kill our beneficial microbes. Birth control pills will definitely destroy our friendly microbes. Therefore, it is a good idea for most of us to replenish our supply of beneficial microbes on a regular basis to assure that we maintain adequate amounts to assure our continued health. This can be done through the consumption of fermented foods and/or supplements which will also supply these beneficial microbes.
Here is a fact that may surprise many people.
Synthetic vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, will kill friendly microbes. This was noticed and repeatedly verified by Alan Meyer, the founder of AGM Foods near Brisbane, Australia and a noted authority on microbes.
Alan was following an old recipe to produce some sort of fermented apple concoction. The recipe called for apple juice. Alan purchased a bottle of organic apple juice. According to the label, there was nothing in it but organic apples. Yet it killed the microbes. Several times this happened. Alan then called the manufacturer, and after questioning he discovered that ascorbic acid had been added to the organic apple juice as a preservative because it kills bacteria and is cheap. Unfortunately, it does not simply kill bad bacteria, for it gets the good, the bad and the ugly.
Since that time, Alan has repeatedly verified that sufficient concentrations of synthetic vitamin C will kill our beneficial bacteria. There has been considerable controversy over the years as to whether synthetic vitamin C is a blessing or a curse. Its proponents claim all sorts of benefits from its use, while its critics attribute all sorts of damage to its use. Both sides can produce apparently sensible arguments. But based on the one fact that synthetic vitamin C will kill our friendly microbes, it would seem to me that the entire debate becomes quite pointless. Whether or not it is doing any direct harm to our own tissues, the fact that it is destroying our gut flora makes it indisputably detrimental to our health.
To be healthy we must maintain a robust colony of beneficial intestinal microbes. We can tell whether or not this has been accomplished through a fairly simple means.
Those bacteria which are beneficial to humans will typically have a pleasant or at least an inoffensive smell to the human nose. Those bacteria which are detrimental to our health will tend to have a strongly unpleasant smell to us.
So the test as to whether we have succeeded is pretty straightforward. If our gut is primarily populated with beneficial microbes, then our feces as well as any flatulence will not have a strongly umpleasant odor to us or to anyone else. On the other hand, if our system is primarily populated with bad bacteria, then we typically have a strongly unpleasant odor.
Please bear in mind that this is not all or nothing. There are certainly degrees of odor ranging from one extreme to the other.
Many people find this concept hard to imagine or understand; the idea that their feces and flatulence could have little or no odor is surprising. Yet I have known hundreds of people who have improved their diet and taken measures to establish and maintain a good population of friendly bacteria, and then found the odor diminish quite markedly and in many cases become almost entirely absent.
There are numerous probiotics, or sources of friendly microbes, available. (Antibiotic basically means against life. By contrast, probiotic means for life.) These probiotics are not all equally effective, for a variety of reasons. As noted above, good bacteria will not have an offensive smell to our nose. Assuming we have minimized or discontinued most factors that would destroy friendly bacteria, it is pretty simple to ascertain whether or not a probiotic is actually benefitting us. If it is, the offensive smell of the feces and flatulence should be greatly reduced and possibly disappear. If the smells remains a problem, then most likely the probiotic is doing little to benefit us.
If we consumed a diet rich in fermented foods and if our habits didnít place our friendly microbes under continual attack, then the need for a supplement of friendly microbes might not exist. Yet our diets are typically lacking in fermented foods, and our microbes are under continual assault from antibiotics and other medications, as well as various pollutants. Please bear in mind that a substantial portion the annual worldwide production of antibiotics is applied directly to our food supply. Of the 50 million pounds of antibiotics currently produced in the United States on an annual basis, human treatment accounts for roughly half the antibiotics consumed every year. The remainder are sprayed on crops and fed to livestock on a massive level. So whether or not we have ever taken prescription antibiotics, most of us ingest antibiotics on a continual basis.
3) COLON FACTS
Here is an article containing various facts about the colon.
1. A list of some poisons found in a toxic colon:
2. Poisons from the colon can:
3. Reasons to keep the colon clean:
Our Polluted Environment
Autointoxication - Autointoxication is defined as a state of being poisoned by toxic substances produced within the body. So, the second reason for concern about colon health involves autointoxication, or self-poisoning. When the digestive system doesn't work properly, autointoxication may set in. This happens when food begins to break down without being eliminated. Proteins putrefy and rot, carbohydrates ferment, and oils and fats turn rancid. The body becomes poisoned from its own waste.
Doctors Promote Cleansing
" If the colon is not working properly, toxins must exit the body through other routes: the kidneys, the skin, the breath. Many of these patients have bad halitosis, body odour, etc.
When a person becomes ill from colon disease, he or she may develop a variety of symptoms, including headaches, muscle aches, fatigue, autoimmune diseases like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, cancer or cardiovascular diseases.
" William L. Cowden, M.D., internist, classical specialist in internal medicine and cardiology "I like to think of colon cleanses as whole-body cleanses. Cleansing the colon helps virtually every tissue and cell in the human body. Laxative herbs are important, and they are the major component of many cleanses. Many cleanses contain too much of strong laxative herbs, which results in cramps. Consequently, people won't use the cleanse. I think it's better to use a combination of well-proven herbs that can balance each other and provide a more desirable product." Alvin B. Segelm an, Ph.D., CNS, pharmacognosist.
"The body is designed to move the bowels every time we eat. It's called the gastro-colic reflex. After we eat, the stomach gets the signal that it's distended, and it sends a nervous energy to our colon telling it to make room. But in western civilization we live on tight schedules. And it's a little inconvenient to get a call of nature right after lunch when you're supposed to be back at work. So we have taught our bodies not to do that. When food becomes backed up in the colon, serious problems can develop." Marvin D. Berman, gastrointerologist, former assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
"Every cell, tissue and organ is fed by the bloodstream, which is nourished through the intestinal system. If your intestinal system is dirty then so are all of your organs, blood cells and tissues. It is the bowel that must be cleansed and taken care of first." - Dr. Bernard Jensen
PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE!
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This newsletter is for educational purposes only. It is your right to educate yourself in health and medical knowledge, to seek helpful information and make use of it for your own benefit, and for that of your family. You are the one responsible for your health. You must educate yourself in order to make decisions in all health matters. My views and advices are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medicine, but simply a help you to make educated changes in order to help your body heal itself. If you have a medical condition or concern you should consult your physician.
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