Combinational Toxicology or "mixture toxicity" is the study of the combined
effects of certain chemicals in the body.
To simplify this as much as possible, researchers have traditionally examined
the effect of single toxins on single organ systems.
More recently, researchers have begun to focus on the effect of multiple toxins
on multiple organ systems.
As you can imagine, researchers are seeing that risk multiplies in dramatic
fashion as both number of toxins and overall toxic load increases.
The European governments are taking the lead on this issue, and basically
acknowledged the concern of scientists.
Here is a blurb from one of the organizations that is monitoring this
"The Environment Council, composed of the environment ministers of all EU countries, has called for the European Commission to consider the cumulative (or "cocktail") effect of exposure to multiple chemicals when developing chemicals policy and risk management strategies.
In particular, the Environment Council highlighted exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals as a source of particular concern in the effort to protect public health and the environment. These conclusions reflect a growing scientific concern."
What Is The Endocrine System And Why Is It Important??
The endocrine system plays a key role in regulating mood, growth and development, tissue function, metabolism, as well as sexual function and reproductive processes.
There are tens of thousands of new chemicals that we are exposed to that
our bodies can't deal with. It is effecting our long term health, but it is also
effects our current quality of life.
What we are focusing on at PEERtrainer right now is to bring some basic
awareness to this risk. And we are also focusing on making sure that people
know that there are steps you can take, in your everyday life, to help
mitigate this risk.
The work we are doing with JJ Virgin right now will help everyone take these
steps. What is great about JJ is that she approaches this issue in a really
easy, fun and non-scary way. She makes it easy to deal with.
This Thursday we will hosting a live call, in which she outlines the specific
steps your body can take to eliminate as much of this toxic junk as possible.
This is the start of a much bigger effort for us. The more we look at the research
and the broader discussion, the more compelled we feel to focus on this.
This is important, and we know how to make it fun and non-scary. I will be
hosting the call, and asking JJ the questions. The two of us have talked
a ton about this with each other. Her information has changed my habits,
We are in the process of updating our calorie and nutrition information for common fruits and vegetables. With the introduction of the PEERtrainer Cheat System, people have lots of questions. We are going to be providing as much explanation as we can on a food by food basis, along with links to relevant research.
We have been focusing a lot recently on the subject of energy at PEERtrainer. The reason we have been doing this is that an overwhelming number of you have been telling us that you are feeling tired. The response has been really great, and we have been sent hundreds of emails thanking us and asking us followup questions.
One of the reasons that the response has been great is that lack of energy is something you feel. It is an obvious thing. So when we send out an email that has a subject line of "4 Supplements That Will Give You More Energy" or some variation of that, the response is great. The emails get opened, the links get clicked on and the articles get read and passed around.
We are saying this because we are going to be shifting the discussion somewhat to the subject of inflammation. We are "caveating" this because inflammation is not something that you generally feel, like you feel when you are tired.
But it is equally as important. If not more important.
What is interesting about inflammation is that there is a PILE of research that specifically links elevated levels of "inflammatory markers" to a whole host of negative health outcomes. We have been looking at studies published by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) that link inflammation to future weight gain, increases in cholesterol levels, as well as raise the risk of stroke and heart disease.
On its face, PEERtrainer is a "weight loss company." But as you know, if you lose weight in a healthy, sustainable and long term way, your health improves. Ever since we met (and worked with) the founder of a large health care company, we have been working hard to make sure that people lose weight in a manner that leads to better health.
This has made things tough for us from a marketing perspective. There are a lot of highly popular ways to lose weight, that unfortunately lead to both people gaining the weight back and harming their health. The typical "yo-yo" diet cycle for example is very tough on your system.
A less popular weight loss marketing message is, "hey take two years of time, totally change your eating habits and become really introspective." That tends to not lead to immediate action.
But, it is pretty much the only way you are going to lose weight for the long haul. We are saying all of this to show, again, how "all this stuff is connected."
If you do the things that lead to long term weight loss, your health will improve. If you do the things that help foster greater health, you are likely to find it easier to lose weight.
So back, to the subject of inflammation....
What is also interesting about inflammation is that there is also a growing body of research that demonstrates the effectiveness of certain herbal substances in reducing inflammation. As well as a very well established set of protocols or "tools" that work to help you get the "fire" of inflammation under control.
We were in Whole Foods today (one of our favorite research labs!) and learned something very interesting. It turns out that the top selling herbal supplement that is sold to "promote healthy inflammation response" is also the most extensively researched.
The supplement is called Zyflamend, and it is the top selling herbal anti-inflammatory supplement in the United States right now. It is made by a company called New Chapter, and you can find it in most places supplements are sold. (It is important to note that New Chapter only sells whole food-based, non-synthetic supplements. If you are familiar with Dr. Fuhrman's urgent warnings on the dangers of synthetic folic acid, New Chapter's multivitamins only contain natural folate. New Chapter is widely regarded as the quality leader in their industry.)
Most herbal supplements rely on history, word of mouth and anecdotal evidence to help promote them. Zyflamend is in a different class because of a recent clinical study performed on it by Columbia University.
In this study they tested Zyflamend on a group of men between 40 and 75 who were at a high level of risk for developing prostate cancer. Over the 18 months that the study took place, half of the subjects had a 25-50% reduction in PSA levels. PSA stands for "Prostate-Specific Antigen", and the basic deal is that as PSA levels rise so do occurrences of prostate cancer.
We began this discussion of inflammation with clinical studies because we wanted to show you how well understood the problem is, as well as help show you how well understood many of the solutions to this problem are.
Now, inflammation is a big and complex subject. Entire books can and have been written on the subject. The purpose of this article is to get you focused on this issue, and also relate it back to your efforts to improve your weight and your fitness. It is intended to be a starting point for this important discussion.
What Are The Roots Of Inflammation And How Does One "Put Out The Fire?"
Chronic inflammation usually has it roots in diet, although a wide array of irritants can also exacerbate the problem. The usual suspects like sugar, processed foods and high amounts of animal fat are widely thought to contribute to inflammation.
A good way of thinking about reducing inflammation, is that you want to "put the fire out."
You need to identify and reduce the foods that help to foster the creation of pro-inflammatory substances. At the same time you want to identify and increase the foods that block these substances and help to reverse the damage done.
A nutrient dense diet, featuring high amounts of greens and cuciferous vegetable forms the base of a diet that will help prevent disease and generally make you feel better. This is the exact same diet approach that one would take to lose weight for the long term.
Hopefully reading this information will help to increase your motivation to consume more greens.
Chronic inflammation can be a difficult and frustrating thing to completely tackle. For many people simply eating more vegetables and reducing gluten, dairy and sugar will not be enough. At least not right away.
You have to realize that a poor diet can take a toll on your body, and most of us have been hammering our bodies for years. You can't expect immediate relief. Yet many people do.
However, if you take a broad approach to "putting the fire out" you will find that you will have greater control over this as time goes on.
For example in addition to making some shifts in your diet, you are also likely to benefit from a high quality fish oil supplement. You see these everywhere now, and there is a very good reason for that. Fish oil contains very powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
The research behind fish oil is extensive, (here is one example) and we will probably develop an entire article just on this subject alone.
Additionally, there are some herbal blends, like Zyflamend which have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. As you start to stack these different tools together, you are likely to have begun the process of putting yourself on the right track long term.
High doses of vitamins C and B have also been shown by clinical research to play an important role in reducing inflammation. It is important to remember that green vegetables like Broccoli are rich in Vitamin C. We usually think of Vitamin C as something we get from Oranges or Orange Juice. If you try and get some of your Vitamin C from greens, you'll avoid some of the extra fructose which just may help with your weight.
For those of you who are committed meat eaters, free range chicken and grass fed beef and bison are thought to be less inflammatory than traditional meat. We need to do some more research into this, but people like Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum suggest that eating grass fed meat instead of grain fed meat will provide some help.
This whole process is likely to be frustrating, especially if you have been grappling with chronic disease. But if you get a good view of the "playing field" you can begin to get handle on how you can go about tackling this issue.
Again, we'd love to hear your feedback on your experiences. The best content we create is in response to the questions you all have. So keep them coming, keep posting on our Facebook Wall. We are also very interested in Zyflamend, and New Chapter in general.
Dr. Fuhrman has really sounded the alarm about certain synthetic substances and certain minerals that he feels ought to not be in vitamins and supplements. We have found New Chapter and Dr. Fuhrman to be very much on the same page. We will be working to confirm and verify all of this.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that your body makes after exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. Vitamin D functions as a hormone because it sends a message to the intestines to increase the absorption of calcium and phosphorus. By promoting calcium absorption, vitamin D helps to form and maintain strong bones.
Because vitamin D increases the absorption of calcium in the gastrointestinal tract and stimulates osteoblastic (bone-building cells) activity, vitamin D has been generating lots of interest lately in the medical literature. Borderline low levels of vitamin D have been found to be very common in the United States and Canada.
It is estimated that over 25 million adults in the United States have, or are at risk of developing, osteoporosis. Adequate storage levels of vitamin D help keep bones strong and help prevent osteoporosis in older adults. Vitamin D deficiency results in diminished calcium absorption, and has been linked to a higher incidence of osteoporosis-related bone fractures seen in post menopausal women and older Americans.
It is extremely important for individuals with limited sun exposure to ingest supplemental vitamin D.
Vitamin D is more effective than calcium for protecting and building bone. Most people do not have adequate levels of vitamin D. Often a multi-vitamin containing the RDA for D is simply not sufficient to bring blood levels up to the ideal range, especially as we age.
Up to now, much of the public attention on vitamin D has been related to its protective effects on bone health, via increasing calcium absorption. But it is now known that vitamin D has several other critical functions.
Vitamin D insufficiency is thought to be a key contributor to many human diseases including several cancers, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, depression, and autoimmune diseases.1,2
Scientists have found that Vitamin D has biological actions in almost every cell and tissue in the human body. What is troublesome is that vitamin D deficiency is now recognized as a pandemic, affecting 30-50% of the population.2,3
Vitamin D regulates several genes and cellular processes related to cancer progression. Some of the most groundbreaking findings in nutrition science in recent years have been evidence of the powerful protection provided by vitamin D against common cancers:
* Breast cancer: About 75% of women with breast cancer are vitamin D deficient.4 A 2009 meta-analysis of 19 studies established a strong inverse relationship between circulating vitamin D levels and breast cancer – women in the highest vitamin D range reduced their risk of breast cancer by 45%.5 read more
* Colorectal cancer: A 2009 review of 25 studies found that sufficient vitamin D levels were consistently associated with reduced risk of colorectal cancer.6 Even after diagnosis with colorectal cancer, higher vitamin D levels are associated with reduced mortality.7
* Cancers of the prostate, pancreas, lung, and endometrium are also associated with vitamin D insufficiency.2,8
For most people, the principal source of vitamin D is production by the skin in response to sunlight. Very few foods naturally contain vitamin D, and achieving adequate vitamin D levels via sun exposure is difficult, considering that most of us work indoors, and cover our body with clothing, especially in the winter months. Plus, sun exposure to assure optimal Vitamin D status may damage and age the skin increasing wrinkling and the risk of skin cancer.
To maintain adequate blood levels of vitamin D, it is extremely important for individuals with limited sun exposure to ingest supplemental vitamin D.
1. Holick MF. Sunlight and vitamin D for bone health and prevention of autoimmune diseases, cancers, and cardiovascular disease. Am J Clin Nutr 2004;80(suppl):1678S- 88S
2. American Heart Association. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics-2009 Update. Dallas; AHA:2009. Statistics Committee and Stroke Statistics Subcommittee. Circulation. 2008 Dec 15.
3. Lee JH et al. Vitamin D deficiency an important, common, and easily treatable cardiovascular risk factor? J Am Coll Cardiol. 2008 Dec 9;52(24):1949-56.
4. Hines SL et al. Breast cancer survivors and vitamin D: A review. Nutrition. [Epub ahead of print]
5. Chen P et al. Meta-analysis of vitamin D, calcium and the prevention of breast cancer. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2009 Oct 23. [Epub ahead of print]
6. Zhou G et al. Optimizing vitamin D status to reduce colorectal cancer risk: an evidentiary review. Clin J Oncol Nurs. 2009 Aug;13(4):E3-E17.
7. Ng K et al. Prospective study of predictors of vitamin D status and survival in patients with colorectal cancer. Br J Cancer. 2009 Sep 15;101(6):916-23. Epub 2009 Aug 18.
8. Peterlik M et al. Calcium, vitamin D and cancer. Anticancer Res. 2009 Sep;29(9):3687-98.