Another article that came to my attention today. It's from the good people at a local, organic greenhouse.
Slowing Down the Aging Process
"There is nothing wrong with America that can't be cured by what is right with America"
William J. Clinton
This includes our health problems. Although most Americans are just beginning to grasp the many problems that our American corporate food system has created, individual Americans like Dr. Don Huber and Dr. Bruce Ames are already uncovering the underlying problems -- and pointing to a way out. American researchers are discovering that micronutrient deficiencies have become our greatest health problem. For a variety of reasons, they are disappearing from our foods and the results of this are today's degenerative diseases.
For those of you who are still not convinced of the association between micronutrient deficiencies and degenerative diseases, look into the work of Dr. Bruce Ames at the University of California, Berkeley. For many years he has been saying, and clinically proving, that micronutrient deficiencies are the underlying cause of today's degenerative diseases, including premature aging.
Moderate Micronutrient Deficiencies
His "triage theory", which is slowly being proven and accepted, says that "if you're even modestly deficient in one of the essential micronutrients, your body has to "ration" them in terms of priority. Under this scenario, the body will always direct nutrients toward short-term health and reproductive capability -- and away from regulation and repair of cellular DNA and proteins that increase longevity.
"This means that while your body may be providing nutritional support in an effort to sustain system-wide physiological function and reproduction, at the cellular level, the process of decay and death is accelerating ... If you do not have enough micronutrients, you are aging yourself fast." says Dr Ames.
He also says that "since the damage from moderate deficiency is insidious, its importance for long-term health is not being appreciated." The result of this micronutrient malnourishment has been a rapidly growing array of immune system problems, obesity, cardiovascular problems, cognitive problems like Alzheimer's and premature aging.
Dr. Ames considers himself a leading "contrarian in the hysteria over tiny traces of chemicals that may or may not cause cancer", and said that "if you have thousands of hypothetical risks that you are supposed to pay attention to, that completely drives out the major risks you should be aware of." In other words focus on the big problem -- micronutrient deficiencies -- and understand the greatest benefit to eating organic produce -- increased micronutrient levels.
"People think cancer is due to some external toxin. But in fact, most of the cancers are due to the lousy diets people are eating, or their smoking. Smoking depletes all your vitamin C. It also depletes a number of other micronutrients."
"Obese people are hungry all the time because the body is craving missing nutrients such as magnesium. Sixty percent of the American population is too low in magnesium. Americans are filling up with junk and are wildly deficient in vitamins and minerals. Even though people are obese and look like they are well fed, they are basically starving for vitamins and minerals."
"The purpose of a balanced diet is to get all your vitamins and minerals, and we're not doing that. We're eating calorie-rich refined foods, and what we should be doing is eating more fruits and vegetables, more fish, more whole grains, less red meat, all the things your Mom told you about, and then we'll be fine." It should be that simple.
Who Is Bruce Ames?
Dr. Ames is a Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley, and a Senior Scientist at Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and he was on their Commission on Life Sciences. He was on the board of directors of the National Cancer Institute, the National Cancer Advisory Board, from 1976 to 1982. His awards include: the General Motors Cancer Research Foundation Prize (1983), the Tyler Environmental Prize (1985), the Gold Medal Award of the American Institute of Chemists (1991), the Glenn Foundation Award of the Gerontological Society of America (1992), the Honda Prize of the Honda Foundation, Japan (1996), the Japan Prize, (1997), the Kehoe Award, American College of Occup. and Environ. Med. (1997), the Medal of the City of Paris (1998), the U.S. National Medal of Science (1998), the Linus Pauling Institute Prize for Health Research (2001), the American Society for Microbiology Lifetime Achievement Award (2001), the Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal from the Genetics Society of America (2004), and the American Society for Nutrition/CRN M.S. Rose Award (2008). His 540+ publications have resulted in his being among the few hundred most-cited scientists (in all fields).
Dr. Ames also developed the Ames test, a cheap and convenient test for potential carcinogens. The Ames test uses the bacteria Salmonella typhimurium to test for mutations which will reflect carcinogenic levels. Previous carcinogenic testing used live animals, and are therefore expensive and time-consuming.
A few more of his comments:
"Greater consumption of fruits and vegetables (our greatest micronutrient source) is associated with a lower risk of degenerative diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disease, cataracts, and brain dysfunction"
"Many components of fruits and vegetables may be responsible for their protective
effect; such as micronutrients, plant phenolics, and fiber."
"We are beginning to see interesting studies concerning vitamin K deficiencies and mortality from coronary heart disease. In the United States, the population tends to be fairly low in vitamin K intake, largely due to the fact that we do not consume sufficient greens".
Most Americans (i.e. 80% of children and adolescents, 68% of adults) take in levels of various micronutrients lower than recommended by the National Cancer Institute and National Research Council and likely insufficient for optimal health and longevity.
The same percentage of Americans do not eat the recommended five portions of vegetables and fruits a day.
Common micronutrient deficiencies are likely to damage DNA by the same mechanisms as radiation and chemicals. This damage appears to be many times more important than the damage from radiation and chemicals.
"Very simply, if you don't eat whole grains or your greens, or take a supplement, it's like getting irradiated."
"Within about ten years, you're going to put your finger in a machine, it'll take a finger prick of blood and you will compare your numbers with some schedule on the Internet and you won't need a doctor in most instances. Our analytic methods are improving in sensitivity and range every day."
When asked about traditional medicine and nutrition he said, "The only people interested in nutrition are those alternative medicine docs. When I go to the alternative medicine doc conventions, I'm treated like a rock star. They've read all my papers and are passionately into nutrition and preventive medicine."
If it comes from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don't. Michael Pollan
What you do to yourself, you do to the world.
What you do to the world, you do to yourself.
It just goes to show you, it's always something--if it ain't one thing, it's another
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