Archived Articles - February 2013

Excessive sugar consumption linked to cancer

Sugars are essential for energy and, to some extent, for our health. However, constant high sugar levels, like in the instance of diabetes, impair cells in the body and may also enhance the possibilities of developing cancer. As Paracelsus said, the dosage makes something toxic.

We all are aware that obesity is a major reason for developing diabetes, a condition where the body cannot regulate sugar levels in bloodstream. In fact, both diabetes and obesity are marked by high sugar levels. However, what few people know is that both these conditions are also related to risks of having cancer. Studies show that diabetic people are twice at risk of having colon or pancreatic cancer compared to others.

In Europe, obesity is highest among Spanish and British children (about 16%), resulting in vital health repercussions. The main health issue there is the manner in which diabetes and obesity can enhance risks of cancer.

Interestingly, Madrid-based University of Rey Juan Carols' Dr. Custodia Garcia-Jimenez has discovered an important means that relates these two health conditions to cancer - elevated sugar levels in bloodstream that promotes the actions of a particular gene generally related to cancer advancement. Her laboratory was engaged in a research, carried out in the journal Molecular Cell, to determine the manner in which intestinal cells react to sugar and send signals to pancreas to secrete insulin, which regulates sugar levels. In effect, sugars present in intestine activate cells to secrete GIP, a hormone that increases release of insulin.

The team led by Dr. Garcia revealed that a protein known as ß-catenin regulates the aptitude of cells in intestine to release GIP, and ß-catenin's actions are strictly subject to sugar levels. Enhanced ß-catenin activity is said to be one of the main factors responsible for developing several cancers and may kill the healthy cells - a major step in progression of cancer. The research shows that elevated sugar levels encourage nuclear build-up of ß-catenin resulting in propagation of carcinogenic cells. According to Dr. Garcia, they are currently examining the other nutritional elements that are likely to affect risks of developing cancer. She said that modifying one's diet is the simplest way to lessen cancer risks and this can help save money as well as sufferings.

According to UK-based University of Oxford oncology professor Colin Goding, earlier they were not sure regarding the manner in which high blood sugar levels influenced cancer risk. The molecular means identified by the new study shows how people with high blood sugar levels are inclined to have cancer. The findings of this study will help them to develop new therapies to lessen chances of developing cancer among diabetic and obese people.

Meanwhile, World Health Organization has estimated that people with obesity are inclined to have diabetes and their number would double once in every two decades. It says that currently about 12% adults throughout the world are obese. Worse still, over 50% untimely deaths globally are owing to non-communicable diseases - cancer and diabetes are the four most frequent among them.

Excellent remedial powers of five green foods

While the founder of the green revolution is yet to be identified, there is no doubt that people across the globe have recognized its potent consequences of consuming green foods that ensure a healthy and longer life. In fact, several researchers, nutritionists and experts, counting David Sandoval, the 'Green Foods Bible' author, have laid emphasis on chlorophyll's ability to treat numerous ailments, such as ulcers, diabetes, skin complaints, gaping wounds, foul body smell and even cancer. Green foods enclose phytonutrients having synergetic results which are far superior to the combined effects of man-made medicines and supplements. Spinach, broccoli, cabbage, guava and green tea are some of the green foods that possess wonderful curative potentials.

Five wonderful green foods

Broccoli is a green food having maximum healing properties and after the findings of the research by John Hopkins University were released, it prompted several studies in the '90s to determine the ability of sulforaphane, a constituent of the vegetable, in protecting against cancer and now it is extensively recognized as a potent as well as indispensable green element in diet. Besides cancer, broccoli also has the competence to enhance the immune system, fortify the bones as well as check birth defects. Broccoli is also a wonderful resource of several vitamins, including A, C, E, K and B6; and minerals like calcium, manganese, potassium and iron.

Spinach, a leafy vegetable, is another green food that contains high amounts of vitamins A, C, folic acid and fiber possessing powerful healing properties. While its high fiber content eases constipation, this vegetable is also beneficial for the digestive tract and the eyes. In addition to possessing anti-inflammatory attributes, spinach is also effective in preventing several ailments related to the heart as well as various cancer forms, including those of the breast and prostate.

It has been identified that cabbage contains plenty of vitamin C and K and many studies have shown that a diet rich in cabbage can diminish the chances of developing certain types of cancers - those of the breast, bladder, colon, lung and ovaries. In addition, this green vegetable effectively treats allergies, arthritis, bed sores, colds and coughs, constipation, depression, peptic ulcers, and varicose veins.

Guava is a tropical fruit that regulates body weight effectively and also alleviates diarrhea and constipation. This fruit also helps to combat cancer, thwart diabetes and heart ailments, in addition to preventing skin disorders. For men, eating guava helps to solve their fertility problems.

Green tea is a familiar antioxidant, that can lessen inflammation, enhance impaired immune system, help in digestion, augment stamina and also guard the cell membranes. While it is a proven remedy for rheumatoid arthritis, guava also diminishes the chances of heart ailments as well as skin cancer.

In effect, the number of exceptional green foods continues to increase with the release of findings of different researches.

Young adults using cannabis face two-fold more risk of stroke

Findings of a recent study introduced at the International Stroke Conference 2013 of the American Stroke Association revealed that the use of marijuana, the most extensively used prohibited drug, may possibly cause a two-fold increase the risk of stroke in young adults.

A research undertaken in New Zealand shows that the chances of patients with ischemic stroke plus transient ischemic attack (also called TIA) having cannabis (marijuana) is twice or thrice more compared to others having different ailments. In fact, this was detected during the urine tests of these patients.

According to the lead investigator of the study and a clinical neurology professor at New Zealand's University of Auckland P. Alan Barber, this was the first-ever case-controlled research that reveals a likely link between cannabis use and increased stroke risk. While it is illegal to smoke cannabis, people believe it to be comparatively safer, but this study says it may cause stroke, he said.

As many as 160 TIA/ ischemic stroke patients in the age group of 18 years to 55 years participated in the study and had their urine tested when admitted to the hospital. Among them, 150 were ischemic stroke patients, while 10 had TIA. Urine tests of 16% patients showed they took drugs, generally males, also smoking tobacco. Urine samples of just 8.1% patients tested positive for marijuana and the scientists did not find any difference in age, mechanism of stroke or the factors most responsible for vascular diseases between those who used marijuana and those who didn't.

Barber, Ph.D. and M.D., said that earlier case reports showed that ITAs and ischemic strokes occurred several hours following use of cannabis, but the patients examined by them did not have any additional risk factor for vascular disease, except using tobacco, drug and alcohol. He added that it is really difficult to undertake future studies concerning use of illicit substances, as the control and stroke patients are unlikely to give correct responses when asked about their cannabis use.

While Barber said that the findings of their research present the strongest substantiation thus far regarding a link between stroke and cannabis use, the American Stroke Association is confused as one of the stroke patients involved in the study regularly took cannabis as well as smoked tobacco.

However, Barber emphasized that it is marijuana that enhances the stroke risks and says he plans to undertake further research to find if there is any link between marijuana use and stroke, regardless of smoking tobacco. Considering the risks of ethical parameters and bias related to researching the use of any illegal substance may, however, make his job difficult, he says, adding that their findings are important in view of the high cannabis use among the young adults with stroke.

Barber warns that people ought to think twice before using marijuana, as it has the aptitude to have an effect on the brain, causing heart attack, emphysema and now even stroke.

Magnesium helps to improve overall health

Magnesium, a mineral essential for enhancing our general health, is the fourth most plentiful mineral in our body. While about 50% of the body's magnesium content is present in our bones, the other 50% is found in the cells of different tissues and organs. Any deficit of magnesium sets off various health disorders - problems related to digestion, blood pressure (especially hypertension) and quality of sleep.

Any individual having magnesium deficiency will experience difficulty in sleeping; neurological signs such as migraine attack, sensitivity to pain; cardiovascular signs like high blood pressure, formation of yellowish, fatty plaques inside the arteries and abnormal heart rhythm; problems related to blood sugar levels; emotional signs like hyperactivity, restiveness, tetchiness, anxiety, depression, and mood swings; premenstrual syndrome (PMS); and/ or structural symptoms such as debility, persistent fatigue, muscle seizures, and osteoporosis.

A wide assortment of factors, counting excessive consumption of sugar, alcohol and sodas, having too much chocolates or coffee, ingesting salt, dairy products and animal protein in high amounts; taking isolated calcium supplement; exposure to loud music, noise, extreme heat regularly and stress too may result in magnesium deficiency.

Magnesium is essential for our health because without sufficient supply of this mineral we cannot expect the survival of several features of our health. Among several other things, magnesium helps in the safe regulation of blood pressure. In fact, individuals who take a diet comprising vegetables and fruits having high magnesium plus potassium content are likely to have a normal blood pressure.

In addition, when you provide your body with the appropriate quantity of magnesium on a regular basis, you may expect to have a very healthy cardiovascular system. Magnesium is vital for avoiding heart attacks and strokes. There is evidence showing that deficiency of magnesium enhances the possibilities of developing irregular heartbeats, which give rise to problems associated with heart attacks. Moreover, findings of studies that you can depend on reveal that people having elevated magnesium levels in their bloodstream also face the minimum risk of developing coronary heart diseases.

Adequate supplies of magnesium, by means of consuming foods containing high amounts of this essential mineral, are also beneficial for the health of the neurological system. Magnesium works to unwind the nerves as well as dispense with tension, thereby enabling a person to sleep better. In addition, this mineral is also necessary for the normal functioning of our brain, nerves, lungs and the digestive system. It helps the nerves to transmit the right signal to the muscles, glands and organs, which ensures that the whole body functions properly.

Scientists suggest 'neem' might help in eliminating cancer cells

If the researches at the Cancer Center of Georgia Regents University are to be believed, neem - a plant indigenous to India that has been traditionally used to heal inflammations, malaria and fever, may possibly help in destroying carcinogenic cells.

According to the scientist at the center's Molecular Chaperone Program and senior study author of the study that has been selected as the 'Paper of the Week' by the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Dr. Ahmed Chadli, normally the cancer cells evade elimination by usurping molecular chaperones which channel and shield proteins which confirm regular functioning of the cells and later deceive them to assist the mutated forms of these proteins to survive.

Scientists developing anti-cancer medicaments have revolved around the molecular chaperone Hsp90 (also called heat shock protein90), since it performs a vital role in helping mutated proteins, which makes it a smart cancer medication target. Nevertheless, the effectiveness of Hsp90 inhibitors was quite poor during clinical trials. It has been found during clinical trials that nearly all existing molecules that seek out Hsp90 have by chance led to the extraction of proteins protecting carcinogenic cells from apoptosis (programmed cell death), plus cooperate with the Hsp90 inhibitors.

However, during the course of the study, a graduate scholar at Dr. Chadli's laboratory, Chaitanya Patwardhan detected that gedunin (a compound present in neem and directly attaches to the gene p53) resulted in inactivating the mechanism of Hsp90, thereby destroying the cancer cells, as no anti-apoptotic proteins are produced. He found that a compound of neem assaults gene p23, which is a helper protein or co-chaperone or Hsp90.

Dr. Chadli says that this particular chemical directly binds to gene p23 resulting in inactivating Hsp90 mechanism and kills the cancer cells. According to him, the findings of their study will help discover new means to target Hsp90 by homing in on its helper proteins. This compound may be employed along with recognized Hsp90 inhibitors that are used in the current clinical trials. Someday, findings of this study may possibly be used for developing drugs to treat cancers dependent on hormones, for instance cancers of the breast, endometrial and prostate, he hoped.

GRU Cancer Center director Dr. Samir N. Khleif said that his one of the main objectives of his institution is to focus on developing remedial methods for cancer by targeting particular molecules present in the carcinogenic cells, such as chaperones. He said that the findings of the recent research are significant, as it takes them closer to their aim of assisting cancer patients.

Five top therapeutic herbs that aid in combating influenza

The traditional practice of using herbal remedies to keep away diseases continues to this day. With the absence of enough evidence, the efficacy of such herbs in putting off influenza as well as other ailments has become a topic for debate for the experts, many others are confident about their usefulness. In effect, these herbs possess therapeutic properties that aid in fortifying our body to combat different diseases. Nevertheless, before using any of these, you should essentially talk to your healthcare provider.


Garlic possesses specific properties that make this herb effective in augmenting white blood cell count - the first defence of the body against all ailments and infections. A study undertaken by Dr. Tariq Abdullah examined the therapeutic properties of garlic and the findings were published in the Journal of National Medical Association.

Dr. Abdullah says that garlic is very effective when one is just infected by flu virus. Garlic pieces are taken orally with honey and chewed, as this helps in its digestion. While the fumes produced by garlic reach the sinuses, when swallowed, it is helpful for the gastrointestinal system.


Echinacea is a well-accepted herbal remedy and is held in esteem for it boosts the immune system. Findings of a study undertaken by scientists at the Medical Center of University of Maryland shows that Echinacea is also effective in alleviating inflammations and pain. Supplements prepared from dried out Echinacea are now available commercially. However, before using this herb, you need to exercise certain precautions, especially if you are being treated with immuno-suppressant medications. In order to fend off the risks associated with using this herb, it is important that you consult an expert in advance.


Elderberry is a useful herbal remedy for flu wherein the respiratory tract has been infected. This herb aids in easing tender throats and muscle aches, in addition to lowering fever effectively. Since long, elderberry has been regarded to be a useful tonic for the immune system. You need to take elderberry extracts immediately when you experience the first symptoms of the disease.


An effective herbal remedy for cough, eucalyptus is also useful in alleviating the symptoms commonly associated with cold and flu. You may use fresh eucalyptus leaves in the form of a tea or gargle to ease tender throat. You may also apply the crushed leaves topically as a balm to get relief from these symptoms.

Slippery elm

Slippery elm is useful for the immune system, besides working specifically to protect harmed tissues. In addition, this herb is effective in protecting the throat, stomach, esophagus, and the intestinal lining, as it provides us with the essential nutriments.

In addition to the herbal remedies discussed above, several other herbs are also esteemed for their competence in helping us to combat diseases like influenza. However, as these herbs are likely to impede other medicines, self-medication is not recommended. Since self-medication may prove to be detrimental for your health, always consult your physician before using them.

Diet drinks not responsible for increased appetite

Contrary to the common belief, diet drinks are neither responsible for increasing appetite, nor make people consume plenty of sweetened or fatty foods to a further extent than water.

Findings of a recent study undertaken by researchers from the University of North Carolina and led by Carmen Piernas that was carried in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has refuted findings of earlier studies that suggested drinks having synthetic sweeteners are capable to disturb hormones which are related to hunger, leading to eating extra food.

While earlier studies showed that diet sodas enhance the desire to consume more sweetened foods, thereby, making people consume more foods with high calorie content, this study showed that diet drinks might not be as harmful as people think.

During the study, scientists monitored 318 New Carolina-based overweight adults consuming 280 or additional calories in beverages daily. Fifty per cent of these subjects substituted no less than two servings of sweetened drinks daily with water for the study, while the remaining subjects substituted the sugary beverages with other diet drinks like Diet Coke, Diet Lipton Tea or Diet Mountain Dew. They reported their food and water consumption on two days - once after three months and again after six months.

Compared to their calorie intake at the start of the research, the diet and water groups reduced their daily calorie intake from roughly 2,000 and 2,300 calories to about 1,500 to 1,800 calories. They consumed a similar quantity of sugar, fat, carbohydrates and reported the sum calories after three and six months.

The sole difference detected by researchers after six months was that the diet of subjects who drank water comprised additional vegetable and fruits, while those who having diet drinks consumed fewer dessert in comparison to their diets prior to the study.

In an interview, a nutrition scientist from Boston-based Harvard School of Public Health Vasanti Malik, who had no role in the research, said that provided one's preference for sweets was surpassed by diet soda consumption, it would possibly reduce his/ her calorie intake.

However, this does not denote that consuming diet soda is beneficial for all. The same journal published another report that showed people consuming beverages containing actual or synthetic sugar faced a higher risk of diabetes over a period of 14 years compared to those who just drank water.

Yet another study discovered that people consuming sugary or diet beverages are more susceptible to depression. In addition, scientists have demonstrated that despite their lower calorie content, diet sodas are not helpful in lessening the chances of having a stroke or cardiovascular diseases.

As all subjects in the study undertaken by Piernas and her team were obese, she has warned that the result may vary in people with normal weight and drinking diet beverages.

Six power foods to detoxify your body naturally

While several detoxifying agents are available to get the blood, colon, liver and other organs and systems of our body rid of toxic substances, occasionally, the simplest and most effectual means to sustain your body is to include additional cleansing foods in your diet. Here are six foods that help to detoxify your body and avoid chronic ailments induced by toxins.

Citrus fruits
The best way to detoxify your body regularly is to begin your day by drinking lime, lemon, orange, grapefruit juice either independently or in combination. Citrus fruits have rich vitamin C content and clean the digestive system as well as promote digestive enzyme production. Vitamin C is considered to be the most potent natural detoxifying agent and when taken in remedial doses, it has the ability to neutralize the toxic damage to the liver by NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; besides eliminating cadmium, mercury, aluminum and other toxic metals from the body.
This herb is used in the form of a valuable spice worldwide for its robust, pungent essence. In addition, it is among the most potent detoxifying foods, which promotes production of digestive enzymes by the liver and is a vital constituent of a nutrient made by the body - glutathione. It also helps the body to produce bio-active selenium and a variety of sulfur amalgams - that are vital for the detoxification process. It possesses as many as 39 exceptional antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and anti-parasitic agents. Regular consumption of garlic is helpful in preventing harm due to poor diet, food toxins, stress, environmental pollution, aging, drugs, radiation and other toxins.
Leafy vegetables
Leafy vegetables, often referred to as 'super foods', comprise spinach, kale, wheatgrass, alfalfa and chard, which all contain high levels of chlorophyll - a potent detoxifying nutriment. Chlorophyll is the lifeblood of all green plants and is a natural cleansing agent that scrubs the cells all over the body and encourages new cell growth. It also neutralizes the toxic build-up inside the body.
Raw vegetables
Several vegetables like asparagus, beets, cabbage, cauliflower, onions, artichokes, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, turmeric, kale and herb oregano, work in harmony to clean the body and put off accumulation of toxins. All these foods have contained sulfur compounds required by the liver to get rid of toxins and encourage cell growth, besides detoxifying glutathione. Since most people may find it difficult to consume large amounts of raw vegetables, they can take the juice extracted from them.
Sea vegetables, algae
They are known to have a potent alkalizing action on our body and are excellent detoxifying agents that siphon off toxins from the digestive tract and eliminate them from the body. Sea vegetables, seaweeds and specific varieties of algae like chlorella and spirulina contain high quantities of minerals and nutriments that strengthen the body's normal detox system. Before buying sea vegetables, ensure that they have not been exposed to radiation from the Fukushima catastrophe in Japan.
Chia, Hemp seeds
They contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and detoxify the intestines excellently, while lubricating the intestinal walls to drag out toxic substances for elimination from the body. Chia seeds are especially effective, because they bloat and take the shape of a gel-like covering when drenched in water, which brings forth a potent detoxifying result in the stomach.

Overcoming ADHD while avoiding prescription drugs

Newest data made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United State approximate over 5.4 million children in the country aged between four and 17 years have been found suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and, of these, about 2.7 million children are using some type of therapeutic psycho-stimulants, including Adderall (dextroamphetamine and amphetamine) and Ritalin (methylphenidate) - both potent mind-altering medicaments.

Usually, these medications are sold to easily calm down impulsive behavior and over activity in children with specific focus on their inattention, they also result in side effects that are frequently dismissed as minor or also absent. Nevertheless, these side effects may be severe, such as losing appetite, insomnia, radical mood changes and loss of individuality. Several parents have complained that their children, who were previously creative and sociable, turn out to be submissive robots after taking ADHD medicaments - some may even develop neurological problems.

It has been found that most children with ADHD are boys, suggesting that the problem may be associated with the extreme vitality that occurs naturally while developing into a young man. In such cases parents need to implement some easy changes in the diet and lifestyle of their children if they find that their behavior is something in excess of usual childhood enthusiasm and oddity with a view to avoid the medicaments.

For instance, reduce the amount of synthetic colors, refined sugars, chemical preservatives and processed flours from their food, because nearly all snack foods are loaded with additives that have been related to loss of concentration and over activity. Most regular soda pop drinks contain high-fructose corn syrup that raises levels of glucose in bloodstream and, hence, they need to be avoided. In fact, a study undertaken in the UK in 2007 found that synthetic food colors and pesticides are related to ADHD, especially in children.

According to Daniel Burton, who had written for a Ohlone Herbal Center paper in 2008, next to genetics, diet is likely to be the most important factor in treating ADHD, because lack of or excessive nutrition, in addition to sensitivities to food, may possibly have a significant impact on the symptoms of ADHD.

It is advisable that you substitute sugary junk foods and oily foods with protein-rich foods and 'superfoods' having high nutrition concentration. It has been found that children with ADHD lack specific nutrients and, hence, it is important to change their diets before taking any radical measures. Burton says that the American children have high-carbohydrate, high-glycemic diets, which are responsible for the ADHD endemic today.

Food allergies are also responsible for ADHD. Though you least expect it, now several foods contain genetically-modified organisms, hybridized wheat types, soy ingredients, casein and lactose in processed milk and additives made from petroleum products. Therefore, it is essential to get your children examined for their susceptibility to food allergies and ensure that they avoid the foods that test positive. This will help to restrict ADHD.

When you have successfully addressed the problems related to ADHD by making nutritional changes, focus on engaging your children in additional physical activities. These days most children are addicted to computer and video games or spend hours before the television. In fact, several studies have linked these to ADHD/ behavioral problems. Therefore, it is important to encourage your children to participate more in outdoor activities and also spend quality time with family members, relatives and friends.

Intense acupuncture may advance Bell's palsy patients' muscle recovery

The findings of a randomized controlled study carried out in the Canadian Medical Association Journal says that people having Bell's palsy and have been given acupuncture treatment that stimulates like de qi, have shown improved recovery of facial muscles, lesser disability and a superior quality of life.

Bell's palsy is an abrupt paralysis of the facial muscles - normally a short-term condition requiring treatment for only a few weeks or months to recuperate, but may occasionally be enduring.

We are aware of the increasing popularity of acupuncture in treating various conditions globally. A combination of various feeling induced by manipulating acupuncture needles, de qi causes tingling, soreness, warmth, coolness, and other sensations spreading out from the insertion points. However, its effectiveness has not been proved by randomized controlled experiments.

Dr. Wei Wang of Key Laboratory of Neurological Diseases' Department of Neurology under the Chinese Ministry of Education has written along with the coauthors of the study that the conventional theory as well as clinical practice related to acupuncture says that the stimulus strength ought to attain the brink in order to obtain de qi that has a crucial role in most excellent remedial consequences.

Chinese researchers conducted a randomized controls study involving 338 patients in 11 tertiary health centers with a view to comprehend the effectiveness of acupuncture when the stimulation is weak and also when a powerful stimulation (de qi) is applied. Altogether 15 skilled acupuncturists gave acupuncture treatment to 167 patients belonging to the de qi group, who got strong stimuli. Although the remaining 171 patients in the control group received needles, they were not given any stimulation. The facial expressions - an indicator of the functioning of nerves in the face, were measured using a 6-point scale and the findings were videotaped with a view to ensure dependable findings in all the hospitals.

It was found that compared to those in the control group, the functioning of the facial nerves, disability as well as value of life improved in people in the de qi group after six months of the study.

In conclusion, the authors stated that they discovered proof that administering acupuncture with strong stimulus or de qi helped to improve the recovery of facial muscles, while improving disability and life quality in people with Bell's palsy. In fact, the additional strength of de qi has superior healing results.

They emphasized on the need to appreciate de qi as well as associated techniques properly in researches related to and practice of acupuncture and some thought must be given to include them in clinical instructions for acupuncture.