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How to Apply The Second Law of Healing, The Law of Disease

How to Apply The Second Law of Healing, The Law of Disease

When nature’s laws are violated, three conditions in the body lawfully ensue which promote the development of chronic disease: toxicity, deficiency, and a lack of vitality.

 

“The primary cause of disease…is violation of Nature’s Laws [whose] effect[s] are identical with disease, because they tend to lower, hinder or inhibit normal function…and because they engender and promote destruction of living tissues.”

—Henri Lindlahr, MD, ND (1)

“What would it benefit a physician if [s]he discovered the origin of the diseases but could not cure or alleviate them?”

—Paracelsus (2)

The second law of healing is the Law of Disease. Your body is actively engaged in a dynamic exchange with the environment at all times, and when the environment is compromised, disease or dis-ease will occur.This shows up in three main ways: toxicity, deficiency, and a diminished vitality.

Imagine that your health rests upon a three-legged stool. If any one of the legs was to break, then you would topple over and hit the ground. In this analogy, hitting the ground is equivalent with being diagnosed with a chronic disease. Another name for this three-legged stool is the Triangle of Optimal Health.

The Triangle of Optimal Health

By turning our three-legged stool inside out upon itself, we have the Triangle of Chronic Disease. Your health is an expression of the status of these three pillars as: a lack of toxicity, adequate nutrient status, and a strong vitality. When one of them tips over, imbalance ensues and most likely a disease will be diagnosed by a physician.

The Triangle of Chronic Disease

Nontoxicity

The first leg of our three-legged stool is nontoxicity, but a nontoxic lifestyle is becoming more and more challenging to achieve in our world. 100 years ago, the word toxemia was used generically to mean “toxicity in the blood,” as expounded upon by physician John Henry Tilden, MD, in his book Toxemia Explained in 1926. (3) According to the theory of toxemia, when the blood is impure, the tissues and organs are also awash in impurities. With increasing toxicity, oxygen and nutrients are inadequately delivered via the blood, as binding sites for enzymes, hormones, nutrients, and cofactors are disrupted, and oxidative damage runs rampant. (4)  Studies show that white blood cells and platelets decrease with exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), organochlorine pesticides (OCP), and solvents; red blood cells become stippled with arsenic and lead poisoning; liver enzymes such as alanine aminotransferase (ALT) increase with cadmium, lead, and mercury exposure. (5)

On a day-to-day basis, our bodies are exposed to thousands of manmade chemicals. We have specific organs of elimination, such as the liver and kidneys, which are dedicated 24/7 to cleaning our blood and efficiently removing toxins from our bodies. In fact, pharmaceuticals are profiled based on their degree of potential liver and kidney toxicity, i.e., hepatotoxicity and nephrotoxicity, respectively. (6) It is especially important that we support our organs of elimination, as they have to work overdrive simply by virtue of our being alive on the planet in today’s age of toxicity, first described by journalist Rachel Carson in her classic 1962 book, Silent Spring.(7)

Toxins can also sequester in the gut in a thin, polysaccharide-rich matrix to which bacteria and other microbes adhere, called a biofilm, and where some studies indicate that diseases such as Lyme can undergo changes and evade the immune system. (8, 9) These toxins can eventually make their way to the blood. (10)

Nutrient Repletion

The second leg of our three-legged stool is nutrient repletion, which also can be challenging for our bodies to adequately achieve today. Minerals, in fact, are the cofactors of life, and the main source of these nutrients is our food supply, as expounded upon by Joel Wallach, DVM, ND, in Rare Earths: Forbidden Cures. (11)   However, studies show declining fruit and vegetable nutrient composition over decades globally. (12)  One can compare USDA food tables from many decades ago to today’s to note this trend, although comparison can sometimes be apples to oranges, no pun intended. (13, 14, 15)  For example, one study concluded that we have to eat eight oranges today to get the same amount of vitamin A that one orange would have provided our grandparents. (16) The decline in nutrient densities in our agricultural soils and in our food supply correlates with a decline in our blood and tissue saturation, as well. (17)

Our topsoil no longer contains the nutrients it once contained, after decades of serial depletion. (18) The EPA requires that nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus be returned to topsoil in agricultural fertilizer, but other nutrients, such as trace minerals like iron, copper, iodine, zinc, selenium, and chromium, are not considered necessary, though nutritional biochemistry dictates that optimal health relies upon having them in trace amounts in our bodies. (19)

Additionally, studies indicate how modern pharmacology depletes key nutrients in the body. For example, statins can deplete CoQ10, causing mitochondrial dysfunction; (20) metformin can deplete B12, causing anemia and neuropathy; (21) and oral contraceptive pills (OCP) are known to deplete folate, B vitamins, and vitamins C and E along with magnesium, selenium, and zinc, (22) which can lead to a myriad of side effects described by women’s health expert Jolene Brighten, ND, in her book Beyond the Pill. (23) Other drugs can simply cause malabsorption, such as proton pump inhibitors (PPI), which inhibit gastric acid secretion and significantly increase the risk of B12, vitamin C, calcium, iron, and magnesium deficiencies. (24) Therefore, our nutrient status setback is like a stick with its two ends: a nutrient-impoverished food supply and nutrient-depleting drugs.

Selenium is required for a functioning thyroid to produce adequate amounts of thyroid hormone, (25) the body’s main metabolic director. And chromium is required for insulin to push glucose into our cells so that we have stable blood sugars and energy. (26) Without sufficient selenium and chromium repletion in our food supply, it is no wonder that we are living with epidemics of chronic disease, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (27) and type 2 diabetes mellitus. (28) Though correlation does not equal causation, one need only comb through dozens of studies on PubMed to extrapolate that nutrient deficiencies are root causes of chronic disease. (29) For example, animal studies conducted in poultry nutrition have identified exactly how much chromium is required for a hen to lay healthy eggs (30) and that chromium deficiency induces diabetes. (31) Also, methylation defects called single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) (32) in our genes and (subsequent) nutrient deficiencies (33) can drive mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression.

A Strong Vital Force

The third and final leg to our stool of health is directly connected to the Law of Vitality. The opposite of a strong vital force can be described as a diminished vitality, or a compromised vital force. One of the pioneers of naturopathic medicine, Henry Lindlahr, MD, ND, stated that the effect of a lowered vitality is a root cause of chronic disease. (34) When the homeostatic mechanisms of the body, which are programmed to restore normal structure and function in our organism, do not have enough energy, then after a period of time chronic disease ensues, no matter how hard the body tries to heal itself.   Naturopathic doctors and other integrative health practitioners, such as functional medicine doctors, each have their own ways of measuring and assessing vitality: by a combination of reviewing case history, performing a physical examination, running routine and specialty labs, and observing the way the patient responds to certain modalities.

When the vital force is drastically diminished, it sets one up for the onset of chronic disease, such as Lyme disease. (35, 36) In the twenty-four hours after the antibiotic treatment of some active infections—such as syphilis or Lyme—some patients experience fever, chills, myalgia, and skin rashes called Jarisch–Herxheimer reaction (JHR). (37) First described in the early 1900s, this reaction is now popularly known as herxing, and its pathogenesis is mostly thought to be due to the release of toxins in the blood while microbes, such as spirochetes, are dying. (38) This can be akin to the septic shock induced by bacterial infection. (39) The pathogenesis of the Herxheimer reaction is poorly understood, but it illustrates that when the body is releasing toxins, the strength of the vital force will be intimately linked to the degree to which the person’s immune system responds.

Naturopathic doctors refer to some acute reactions or infections as a healing crisis, which means that the body is primed to move through an imbalance by an acute response evolutionarily designed to restore balance, and that the body has sufficient resources and a strong enough vital force. Mark Hyman, MD, an avid proponent of functional medicine, has referred to it as a detox crisis. (40) Jared Zeff, ND, who was voted Naturopathic Physician of the Year in 1989 by the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, (41) states, “There is no cure for the common cold; the cold is the cure.” (42) 

In other words, the onset of an upper respiratory infection, for example, with all of its classic symptoms of cough, nasal congestion, runny nose, and mild fever, is usually just a healing crisis—that is, the body throwing off an imbalance, reducing toxicity, and pushing through to a restoration of normal. It is a kind of spring cleaning of the body, if you will.

How Can We Apply the Law of Disease to Benefit Our Health?

The point of view that chronic disease is a result of toxemia, deficiency, and lack of vitality—informed by an ever-growing body of scientific research—runs counter to the conventional notion that chronic disease is some kind of genetic accident which must be suppressed, and which is generally considered irreversible. A paradigm of disease states that once we are pinned with a chronic disease, we must live with and manage it the remainder of our lives. The unconventional new paradigm of health shows that there are laws of nature governing the development of chronic disease, and that chronic disease is reversible if we harness the healing power of nature.

The Law of Disease, when understood, can help us not only to ward off the development of chronic disease but also to improve its expression and even resolve it. We need to keep the three legs of our seat of health sturdy and upright. Turning the Law of Disease inside-out upon itself, then, it can be said that robust and optimal health—free of chronic disease—expresses itself as a biological ecosystem free of toxicity, replete in adequate nutrients, and strong in its vitality. This is the Triangle of Optimal Health.

When you learn to engage in diet and lifestyle activities which promote detoxification, nutrition, and life enhancing vitality, then you can set yourself up for a life free of chronic disease.

Applying the Law of Disease:

Explore the Law of Disease by engaging in the following activities:

1. Engage in activities which are detoxifying, such as saunas, various forms of hydrotherapy, or regularly being outdoors in nature.

2. Here is a classic home hydrotherapy treatment, called the Warming Socks Treatment or the Magic Socks Treatment, which can help speed recovery from a cold or flu, as well as improve congestion in the head and chest.

The Magic Socks Treatment

You will need one pair of cotton socks (60%+ cotton) and one pair of wool socks (60%+ wool). At bedtime, feet should be soaked in hot water for one minute. After wetting cotton socks in cold tap water, wring out completely until no longer dripping. Place wet socks on feet, and pull dry wool socks over cotton socks. Repeat this procedure for three nights, or until ailments, such as fever and congestion, have cleared or improved significantly. Caution: Those with chronic health conditions or immunocompromise should consult their doctor before starting this treatment.

3. Eat clean, local, organic, nontoxic, nutrient-dense, whole foods whenever possible, such as by shopping at your local farmer’s market. Eat a diet suitable to your constitution and your beliefs, whether it be according to blood type (43) or the Carroll Food Intolerance Method®, a modified paleo or keto, vegan, vegetarian, Weston A. Price style, (44) or some other diet.

4. Drink filtered water by using an advanced filtration system, if possible, in order to remove impurities such as PCBs, pesticides, heavy metals, and other toxins sometimes present in public water supplies.

5. Engage in a spiritual or communal practice which provides you with a deeper sense of meaning, such as by going to church or finding a meditation group.

6. Reduce stress by regularly engaging in activities which calm down your nervous system and induce a parasympathetic state, such as floating in a sensory deprivation float tank or practicing yoga.

7. Work with a health practitioner, such as a naturopathic or functional medicine doctor, who can help you to identify your nutrient deficiencies, unique to your predisposition and biology, so that you can address them with supplementation and foods rich in these nutrients.

8. Please fill in the blank: I’m grateful for my health because _________.

Resources:

  1. Lindlahr, H. Nature Cure: Philosophy & Practice Based on the Unity of Disease & Cure. Charleston: BiblioBazaar, 2006.
  2. Paracelsus, and A. E. Waite. The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Aureolus Philippus Theophrastus Bombast, of Hohenheim, Called Paracelsus the Great: Now for the First Time Faithfully Translated into English. Eastford: Martino Publishing, 2009.
  3. Tilden, J. H. Toxemia Explained: The True Interpretation of the Cause of Disease. Minneapolis: Filiquarian Publishing, 2007.
  4. Pizzorno, J. E. The Toxin Solution: How Hidden Poisons in the Air, Water, Food, and Products We Use Are Destroying Our Health and What We Can Do to Fix It. New York: HarperOne, 2018.
  5. Pizzorno, J. “Conventional Laboratory Tests to Assess Toxin Burden.” Integrative Medicine (Encinitas) 14, no. 5 (2015): 8–16.
  6. Lin, Z., and Y. Will. “Evaluation of Drugs with Specific Organ Toxicities in Organ-Specific Cell Lines.Toxicological Sciences 126, no. 1 (2011): 114–27. doi:10.1093/toxsci/kfr339.
  7. Carson, R. Silent Spring. Boston, MA: Mariner Books, 2002.
  8. Domenico, E. G. D., et al. “The Emerging Role of Microbial Biofilm in Lyme Neuroborreliosis.Frontiers in Neurology 9 (2018): 1048. doi:10.3389/fneur.2018.01048.
  9. Berndtson, K. “Review of Evidence for Immune Evasion and Persistent Infection in Lyme Disease.” International Journal of General Medicine 6 (2013): 291–306. doi:10.2147/ijgm.s44114.
  10. Hyde, J. A. “Borrelia burgdorferi Keeps Moving and Carries on: A Review of Borrelial Dissemination and Invasion.” Frontiers in Immunology 8 (2017): 114. doi:10.3389/fimmu.2017.00114.
  11. Wallach, J. D., and M. Lan. Rare Earths: Forbidden Cures. Bonita: Double Happiness, 1996.
  12. Davis, D. R. “Declining Fruit and Vegetable Nutrient Composition: What Is the Evidence?” HortScience 44, no. 1 (2009): 15–19. doi:10.21273/hortsci.44.1.15.
  13. Davis, D. R., M. D. Epp, and H. D. Riordan. “Changes in USDA Food Composition Data for 43 Garden Crops, 1950 to 1999.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition 23, no. 6 (2004): 669–82. doi:10.1080/07315724.2004.10719409.
  14. Marles, R. J. “Mineral Nutrient Composition of Vegetables, Fruits and Grains: The Context of Reports of Apparent Historical Declines.” Journal of Food Composition and Analysis 56 (2017): 93–103. doi:10.1016/j.jfca.2016.11.012.
  15. Are Depleted Soils Causing a Reduction in the Mineral Content of Food Crops?” Depleted Soils. Accessed November 24, 2019. https://soils.wisc.edu/facstaff/barak/poster_gallery/minneapolis2000a/.
  16. Dirt Poor: Have Fruits and Vegetables Become Less Nutritious?Scientific American. Accessed November 24, 2019. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/soil-depletion-aND-NUTRITION-LOSS/.
  17. Wallach, J. D., and M. Lan. Rare Earths: Forbidden Cures. Bonita: Double Happiness, 1996.
  18. Tan, Z. X., R. Lal, and K. D. Wiebe. “Global Soil Nutrient Depletion and Yield Reduction.” Journal of Sustainable Agriculture 26, no. 1 (2005): 123–46. doi:10.1300/j064v26n01_10.
  19. Agriculture Nutrient Management and Fertilizer. EPA. 2019. https://www.epa.gov/agriculture/agriculture-nutrient-management-and-fertilizer.
  20. Deichmann, R., C. Lavie, and S. Andrews. “Coenzyme Q10 and Statin-induced Mitochondrial Dysfunction.” Ochsner Journal 10, no. 1 (2010): 16–21.
  21. Aroda, V. R., et al. “Long-Term Metformin Use and Vitamin B12 Deficiency in the Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study.” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 101, no. 4 (2016): 1754–61. doi:10.1210/jc.2015-3754.
  22. Palmery, M., et al. “Oral Contraceptives and Changes in Nutritional Requirements.” European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences 19, no. 13 (2013): 1804–13.
  23. Brighten, J. Beyond the Pill. New York: HarperOne, 2019.
  24. Heidelbaugh, J. J. “Proton Pump Inhibitors and Risk of Vitamin and Mineral Deficiency: Evidence and Clinical Implications.” Therapeutic Advances in Drug Safety 4, no. 3 (2013): 125–33. doi:10.1177/2042098613482484.
  25. Ventura, M., M. Melo, and F. Carrilho. “Selenium and Thyroid Disease: From Pathophysiology to Treatment.” International Journal of Endocrinology (2017): 1–9. doi:10.1155/2017/1297658.
  26. Linus Pauling Institute. “Chromium.” Oregon State University. 2019. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/chromium.
  27. Zaletel, K., and S. Gaberscek. “Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: From Genes to the Disease.” Current Genomics 12, no. 8 (2011): 576–88. doi:10.2174/138920211798120763.
  28. Morstein, M. Master Your Diabetes: A Comprehensive, Integrative Approach for Both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. White River Junction: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2017.
  29. Ikeda, J. “Eat for Life: The Food and Nutrition Board’s Guide to Reducing Your Risk of Chronic Disease.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 57, no. 2 (1993): 233–34. doi:10.1093/ajcn/57.2.233-a.
  30. Khan, R. U., et al. “Modes of Action and Beneficial Applications of Chromium in Poultry Nutrition, Production and Health: A Review.” International Journal of Pharmacology 10, no. 7 (2014): 357–67. doi:10.3923/ijp.2014.357.367.
  31. Havel, P. “A Scientific Review: The Role of Chromium in Insulin Resistance.” Diabetes Educator 3 (2004): 1–14.
  32. Lynch, B. Dirty Genes: A Breakthrough Program to Treat the Root Cause of Illness and Optimize Your Health. New York: HarperCollins, 2020.
  33. Bjorndal, C. Beyond the Label: 10 Steps to Improve Your Mental Health with Naturopathic Medicine. Edmonton, Can.: Natural Terrain, 2017.
  34. Lindlahr, H. Nature Cure: Philosophy & Practice Based on the Unity of Disease & Cure. Charleston: BiblioBazaar, 2006.
  35. Greenspan, J. Rising Above Lyme Disease: A Revolutionary, Holistic Approach to Managing and Reversing the Symptoms of Lyme Disease—and Reclaiming Your Life. Beverly, MA: Fair Winds, 2019.
  36. Ingels, D. The Lyme Solution: A 5-Part Plan to Fight the Inflammatory Auto-Immune Response and Beat Lyme Disease. New York: Avery, 2019.
  37. Butler, T. “The Jarisch–Herxheimer Reaction After Antibiotic Treatment of Spirochetal Infections: A Review of Recent Cases and Our Understanding of Pathogenesis.” The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 96, no. 1 (2016): 46–52. doi:10.4269/ajtmh.16-0434.
  38. Rudenko, N., et al. “Metamorphoses of Lyme Disease Spirochetes: Phenomenon of Borrelia Persisters.” Parasites & Vectors 12, no. 1 (2019). doi:10.1186/s13071-019-3495-7.
  39. Nau, R., and H. Eiffert. “Modulation of Release of Proinflammatory Bacterial Compounds by Antibacterials: Potential Impact on Course of Inflammation and Outcome in Sepsis and Meningitis.” Clinical Microbiology Reviews 15, no. 1 (2002): 95–110. doi:10.1128/cmr.15.1.95-110.2002.
  40. Hyman, M. “8 Tips to Ease Detox Discomfort.” Dr. Hyman. 2016. https://drhyman.com/blog/2016/05/12/8-tips-to-ease-detox-discomfort/.
  41. Jared Zeff, ND.” National University of Natural Medicine. Accessed November 24, 2019. https://nunm.edu/2018-living-legend-jared-zeff/.
  42. Nature Cure and the Process of Healing.” Salmon Creek Clinic: Naturopathic Healthcare. Accessed November 24, 2019. https://salmoncreekclinic.com/articles-by-dr-zeff/clinical-theory/nature-cure-and-the-process-of-healing/.
  43. D’Adamo, P., and C. Whitney. Eat Right 4 Your Type: The Original Individualized Blood Type Diet Solution. London: Arrow Books, 2017.
  44. Price, W. A. Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. Lemon
Is It Necessary to Take Vitamin K2 with Vitamin D3?

Is It Necessary to Take Vitamin K2 with Vitamin D3?

I often get asked, particularly by my patients who are already on or considering vitamin D3 supplementation, if they should take a form that includes vitamin K2. 

While it is widely known that the two fat-soluble vitamins, D3 and K2, are central to bone metabolism and cardiovascular health, newer research indicates that D3 and K2 possess a synergy. (1)

Let’s dive into what these vitamins can do for you and how they work together to invigorate your body’s natural responses and enhance your health.

Vitamin D

D3 is the active form of vitamin D and is produced in the kidneys. Oil-rich fish, such as salmon and herring, also contain vitamin D3. (2)

Upon exposure to sunlight, vitamin D is produced in the skin, then converted in the liver and kidney, respectively, to form D3.

D3 not only enhances intestinal calcium absorption, but it is also well established that Vitamin D3 is essential to immune function modulation. (3)

Vitamin K

Vitamin K1 is found in dark leafy greens and an important factor in blood coagulation. K2, however, is mostly found in fermented foods and animal products, and also produced by our intestinal microflora. (4)

There are vitamin K2-dependent proteins that require vitamin D3 in order to be promoted in the body. (5)

Vitamin D as Key to the Management of Osteoporosis and Overall Bone Health

Because Vitamin D helps with calcium absorption and metabolism, it is essential to the management of osteoporosis, particularly with postmenopausal women. (6)

But patients who are at greater risk of fracture can also benefit from calcium absorption, and both vitamin K2 and magnesium appear to play central roles in bone metabolism.

Interestingly, a 2018 randomized controlled trial showed that adequate magnesium levels may be required to optimize Vitamin D status. (7)

It appears that the efficacy of calcium and vitamin D can be enhanced by vitamin K2 supplementation.

Also, magnesium deficiency can negatively impact bone and muscle health. And a 2015 study shows that fat-soluble vitamin deficiency is also strongly associated with cardiovascular disease. (8)

Not only this, but decreased insulin sensitivity leads to chronic hyperglycemia and subsequent bone demineralization. Some preliminary research indicated that changes in serum osteocalcin and insulin are tied to vitamins D3 and K2 deficiencies and that these vitamins significantly decrease glucose levels in T2DM. (9)

Vitamin D in Cardiovascular Health

There are several pathways by which vitamin D affects the cardiovascular system, such as by way of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system and vascular endothelial growth.

In cross-sectional and longitudinal studies, there is an association between serum vitamin D levels and hypertension, heart attack, heart failure, and death from cardiovascular disease. (10)

Vitamin K in Cardiovascular Health

According to cross-sectional and cohort studies, a high vitamin K status is associated with lower cardiovascular risk as well as reduced coronary artery calcification. The mechanism by which it is thought that vitamin K may prevent coronary artery calcification is via activation of matrix-gla protein (MGP). (11)

In other words, vitamin D and K appear to confer a protective role epidemiologically in cardiovascular disease, but randomized controlled trials have not been yet performed.

Evidence appears to indicate that taking vitamin K2 with vitamin D3 is a good thing for cardiovascular health.

Image credit via Study: Vitamin D3 and K2 and their potential contribution to reducing the COVID-19 mortality rate.

Consult Your Naturopathic Physician Today

But the question remains: How much should we take and how do we customize supplementation to the individual?

The answer is that it will depend on your health condition and your Vitamin D serum levels, and it will depend on who you talk to.

If you are wondering how much to take, or if you even need to take any, then consult your naturopathic physician or integrative medicine practitioner today.

Resources:

  1. van Ballegooijen AJ, Pilz S, Tomaschitz A, Grübler MR, Verheyen N. The Synergistic Interplay between Vitamins D and K for Bone and Cardiovascular Health: A Narrative Review. Int J Endocrinol. 2017;2017:7454376. doi: 10.1155/2017/7454376. Epub 2017 Sep 12. PMID: 29138634; PMCID: PMC5613455.
  2. Nair R, Maseeh A. Vitamin D: The “sunshine” vitamin. J Pharmacol Pharmacother. 2012 Apr;3(2):118-26. doi: 10.4103/0976-500X.95506. PMID: 22629085; PMCID: PMC3356951.
  3. Goddek S. Vitamin D3 and K2 and their potential contribution to reducing the COVID-19 mortality rate. Int J Infect Dis. 2020 Oct;99:286-290. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2020.07.080. Epub 2020 Aug 6. PMID: 32768697; PMCID: PMC7406600.
  4. Vitamin K. (2021, January 01). Retrieved January 18, 2021, from https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/vitamin-K
  5. van Ballegooijen AJ, Pilz S, Tomaschitz A, Grübler MR, Verheyen N. The Synergistic Interplay between Vitamins D and K for Bone and Cardiovascular Health: A Narrative Review. Int J Endocrinol. 2017;2017:7454376. doi: 10.1155/2017/7454376. Epub 2017 Sep 12. PMID: 29138634; PMCID: PMC5613455.
  6. Capozzi A, Scambia G, Lello S. Calcium, vitamin D, vitamin K2, and magnesium supplementation and skeletal health. Maturitas. 2020 Oct;140:55-63. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2020.05.020. Epub 2020 May 30. PMID: 32972636.
  7. Dai Q, Zhu X, Manson JE, Song Y, Li X, Franke AA, Costello RB, Rosanoff A, Nian H, Fan L, Murff H, Ness RM, Seidner DL, Yu C, Shrubsole MJ. Magnesium status and supplementation influence vitamin D status and metabolism: results from a randomized trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2018 Dec 1;108(6):1249-1258. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqy274. PMID: 30541089; PMCID: PMC6693398.
  8. Tsugawa N. Cardiovascular Diseases and Fat Soluble Vitamins: Vitamin D and Vitamin K. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2015;61 Suppl:S170-2. doi: 10.3177/jnsv.61.S170. PMID: 26598844.
  9. Aguayo-Ruiz JI, García-Cobián TA, Pascoe-González S, Sánchez-Enríquez S, Llamas-Covarrubias IM, García-Iglesias T, López-Quintero A, Llamas-Covarrubias MA, Trujillo-Quiroz J, Rivera-Leon EA. Effect of supplementation with vitamins D3 and K2 on undercarboxylated osteocalcin and insulin serum levels in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a randomized, double-blind, clinical trial. Diabetol Metab Syndr. 2020 Aug 18;12:73. doi: 10.1186/s13098-020-00580-w. PMID: 32831908; PMCID: PMC7436967.
  10. Zittermann A, Pilz S. Vitamin D and Cardiovascular Disease: An Update. Anticancer Res. 2019 Sep;39(9):4627-4635. doi: 10.21873/anticanres.13643. PMID: 31519560.
  11. Tsugawa N. Cardiovascular Diseases and Fat Soluble Vitamins: Vitamin D and Vitamin K. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2015;61 Suppl:S170-2. doi: 10.3177/jnsv.61.S170. PMID: 26598844.
Three Foods for Natural Heavy Metal Chelation

Three Foods for Natural Heavy Metal Chelation

We are exposed to potential toxins, such as heavy metals, on a daily basis, no matter what we do. So why not also cook with foods that naturally help remove heavy metals from the body, a process known as chelation? This article briefly discusses heavy metal toxicity in seafood as well as three foods for natural heavy metal chelation, then combines it altogether in a recipe!

Heavy metal toxicity and fish
Seafood, and most prominently, fish, is not only an important source of protein, but also rich in essential minerals, vitamins, and unsaturated/essential fatty acids (EFAs). Yet it is just this nutrient-dense lipid content which can also pose the greatest harm.

Fish which contain the highest amounts of fat are potentially the most healthy (e.g., salmon, mackerel, herring, trout, sardines, and albacore tuna contain the highest amounts of EFAs). (1) But many of these same fish also can contain the highest heavy metal concentrations, specifically because heavy metals have an affinity for being sequestered in fat. Currently, some of the highest in methylmercury are king mackerel, marlin, orange roughy, shark, swordfish, tilefish, ahi tuna, and bigeye tuna. (2) In fact, it is recommended that women who are pregnant or trying to conceive avoid these types of fish. (3) Although the American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least twice a week to achieve recommended daily omega-3 fatty acid status, this can backfire if we aren’t careful about where we source our seafood, as well as which types we consume. (4)

The most famous heavy metal is mercury, which in its most harmful form is methylated. Methylation is a vital metabolic process which means that some carbon and hydrogen is attached to the mercury atom, making it more bioavailable to living organisms, such as fish swimming in the sea. Over time, then, this toxic methylmercury can concentrate in the fatty tissues of seafood via the ingestion of sediment, seawater, and oceanic food-chain organisms high in methylmercury. (5,6) One study found that fish muscles contained the least concentrations of heavy metals, while liver contained the highest amounts of copper, zinc, and iron, and gills contained the highest amounts of lead and manganese. (7)

Hence, it’s critical to eat sustainably harvested seafood, such as those provided by Vital Source Seafood, an inspiring company that only supplies sustainability certified fish and seafood (Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), State of Alaska, or Monterey Bay Aquarium SeafoodWatch program certified), such as wild-caught Alaskan salmon and northwest Pacific seafood, for a fair price and delivered flash-frozen to your doorstep.

Three foods that help your body remove heavy metals

1. Cilantro
The most famous herb for chelating heavy metals from the body is cilantro/coriander, or Coriandrum sativum, which has been specifically shown to help remove mercury, lead, and aluminum from the tissues. (8) Not only that, but it’s an immune-boosting herb.

2. Garlic and onions: Garlic, onion and shallot are sulfur rich foods which particularly help remove lead from the body. (9)

3. Brazil nuts: Brazil nuts contain high amounts of selenium, which has been shown to reduce metal toxicity. Selenium is critical for making the body’s most important antioxidant, glutathione, which protects from oxidative damage via an enzyme called glutathione peroxidase. (10) Selenium can actually actively bind methylmercury in the body, thereby rendering it less bioavailable and therefore less harmful. (11)

So why not cook sustainably harvested seafood with naturally chelating herbs, and feed two birds with one seed?! 🙂 I decided to sear a filet of wild-caught Alaskan Coho salmon with some of the ingredients mentioned above, and it came out wonderfully.

Recipe: Seared Coho Salmon with Cilantro and Brazil Nuts
¾ lb filet of wild-caught Alaskan Coho salmon
7 Brazil nuts, finely chopped
Cilantro, minced
1 shallot, minced
Coconut oil
Half a lemon
Freshly cracked pepper
Pinch of Maldon sea salt

Instructions
Heat cast-iron skillet on medium, adding 1 tbsp. of coconut oil in cast-iron skillet. Lightly sauté shallot for 3-4 minutes, then remove from pan. Heat pan until very hot, then add ½ tbsp. more of coconut oil. Sear salmon fillet on both sides for 2-3 minutes, until underside is lightly browned, ending with skin side down. Plate salmon, cover in sautéed shallot, sprinkle with Brazil nuts and cilantro. Add seasoning. Squeeze lemon over. Voila! 🙂

Resources:

  1. Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids. How Cigarettes Damage Your Body. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/HealthyDietGoals/Fish-and-Omega-3-Fatty-Acids_UCM_303248_Article.jsp#.W1c9fthKg_U. Accessed July 24, 2018.
  2. Menon S. Mercury Guide. NRDC. https://www.nrdc.org/stories/mercury-guide. Published January 9, 2018. Accessed July 24, 2018.
  3. What You Need to Know about Mercury in Fish and Shellfish. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/diet/mercury-in-fish#1. Accessed July 24, 2018.
  4. Kohlstadt I. Fish, mercury, and personalized medicine. Townsend Letter: The Examiner of Alternative Medicine. June 2007.
  5. How Does Mercury Get Into Fish? Scientific American. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-does-mercury-get-into/. Accessed July 24, 2018.
  6. El-Moselhy KM, Othman A, El-Azem HA, El-Metwally M. Bioaccumulation of heavy metals in some tissues of fish in the Red Sea, EgyptEgyptian Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences. 2014;1(2):97-105. doi:10.1016/j.ejbas.2014.06.001.
  7. The Health Benefits of Cilantro. Dr. Group’s Healthy Living Articles. https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/health-benefits-of-cilantro/. Published February 16, 2017. Accessed July 24, 2018.
  8. Negi, R., Satpathy, G., Tyagi, Y. K., & Gupta, R. K. (2012). Biosorption of heavy metals by utilising onion and garlic wastesInternational Journal of Environment and Pollution, 49(3/4), 179. doi:10.1504/ijep.2012.050898.
  9. Stockler-Pinto, M., Mafra, D., Farage, N., Boaventura, G., & Cozzolino, S. (2010). Effect of Brazil nut supplementation on the blood levels of selenium and glutathione peroxidase in hemodialysis patientsNutrition, 26(11-12), 1065-1069. doi:10.1016/j.nut.2009.08.006
  10. Ralston, N. V., & Raymond, L. J. (2010). Dietary selenium’s protective effects against methylmercury toxicityToxicology, 278(1), 112-123. doi:10.1016/j.tox.2010.06.004.
Zinc and The Metabolism of Alcohol

Zinc and The Metabolism of Alcohol

It’s well known that vitamin C, B complex vitamins, glutathione, and N-acetyl Cysteine (NAC) play a large role in alcohol metabolism, but zinc is rarely mentioned. However, zinc is actually a requisite cofactor in the metabolism of alcohol. (1) Zinc has not been studied extensively as a treatment for alcoholism, though alcoholics are usually zinc deficient and suffer from conditions which may benefit from zinc supplementation, such as low sperm counts and rosacea.

The body’s main enzyme for alcohol metabolism, alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH), actually contains zinc at its catalytic site. Zinc is now considered a novel therapeutic approach to alcohol liver disease (ALD). (2) ADH exists in decreased amounts in women, which contributes to less “first-pass metabolism,” and may in part explain why women are more susceptible to alcohol intoxication.

Zinc, an essential trace element, goes hand-in-hand with protein intake; in other words, poor protein intake correlates with poor zinc status. (3) Some symptoms of zinc deficiency include poor growth, infertility, skin disease, and impaired immune function.

The Epidemic of Chronic Alcoholism

Did you know that 50% of the world’s population drinks alcohol, and 5% to 10% have chronic alcoholism? In fact, over 3% of all deaths worldwide are due to alcohol. (4)

Ethanol

Ethanol is the natural product of sugar fermentation by yeasts. According to the USDA, one standard drink contains about half an ounce of ethanol. This is the equivalent of a light 12 oz beer, a 5 oz pour of wine, or 1.5 oz of an 80-proof distilled liquor. Ethanol is found in many household products, such as mouthwash, perfume, and cooking extracts.

The Metabolism of Alcohol

Alcohol is biotransformed to acetaldehyde by three main enzyme systems in the liver. (5)

  1. The first and main system lies in the cytosol of hepatocytes, where alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) transforms ethanol to acetaldehyde. As mentioned, the ADHs are actually are actually a class of zinc enzymes!
  2. The second involves CYPs which oxidize ethanol in the microsomes of cells, known as the microsomal ethanol-oxidizing system (MEOS). Microsomes are basically fragments of hepatocellular endoplasmic reticulum.
  3. The third involves catalase in the peroxisomes, which acts upon hydrogen peroxide as substrate, metabolizing no more than 5% of all liver ethanol.

Ethanol crosses cell membranes, about 80% of its absorption occurring in the duodenum and 20% in the stomach itself. Peak blood ethanol levels are reached approximately 30 to 90 minutes after a meal. (6) Once ethanol reaches the blood, its taken up mainly by hepatocytes replete with ample quantities of ADH. ADH, however, is also available in the mucosa of the gut.

Zinc Status as a Biomarker of Chronic Alcoholism

Studies looking at evidence of the association of zinc metabolism and alcohol-associated disorders, such as those involving the liver, brain, lung, gut, and even fetal alcohol syndrome, suggest that zinc status should be used as a biomarker for alcohol abuse. (7,8) While it has been confirmed that alcohol induces autophagy in mice, a recent animal study found that adequate zinc intake is required for autophagy. (9)

Conclusion

Given that the body’s main enzyme system responsible for metabolizing alcohol in the liver is zinc-based, there appears to be enough evidence to warrant further studies in zinc supplementation for alcohol-induced diseases.

Resources

  1. Alcohol dehydrogenase. Egyptian Journal of Medical Human Genetics.
  2. Kharbanda K, Ronis M, Shearn C, et al. Role of Nutrition in Alcoholic Liver Disease: Summary of the Symposium at the ESBRA 2017 CongressBiomolecules. 2018;8(2):16. doi:10.3390/biom8020016.
  3. Gibson RS. A Historical Review of Progress in the Assessment of Dietary Zinc Intake as an Indicator of Population Zinc StatusAdvances in Nutrition. 2012;3(6):772-782. doi:10.3945/an.112.002287.
  4. Alcohol. World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/substance_abuse/facts/alcohol/en/. Published May 12, 2014. Accessed July 17, 2018.
  5. Alcohol Metabolism: An Update. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa72/aa72.htm. Accessed July 17, 2018.
  6. Mitchell MC, Teigen EL, Ramchandani VA. Absorption and Peak Blood Alcohol Concentration After Drinking Beer, Wine, or SpiritsAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. 2014;38(5):1200-1204. doi:10.1111/acer.12355.
  7. McClain CJ, Su LC. Zinc deficiency in the alcoholic: a review. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 1983;7:5-10.
  8. Skalny AV, Skalnaya MG, Grabeklis AR, Skalnaya AA, Tinkov AA. Zinc deficiency as a mediator of toxic effects of alcohol abuseEuropean Journal of Nutrition. 2017. doi:10.1007/s00394-017-1584-y.
  9. Liuzzi JP, Narayanan V, Doan H, Yoo C. Effect of zinc intake on hepatic autophagy during acute alcohol intoxicationBioMetals. 2018;31(2):217-232. doi:10.1007/s10534-018-0077-7.