A stool with one leg

February 21, 2021

As previously quoted, they wrote in the Lancet (1) December 20th that in the future everything should be done to prevent and vaccinate and find methods for the treatment of Covid-19, and the Vitality Council can’t agree more that this stool should rest on three legs.

But the Danish government has not agreed to that. Since March 2020, it has focused on vaccines and only vaccines. – A one-legged stool.

Not only has the Government and the state media focused unilaterally on vaccines, but they have also actively censored information on both prevention and treatment. The government media has also been obediently accompanied by microphone holders from the major social and print media. It has been irrelevant to the censorship whether this information was sufficiently well documented.

Prevention

In the previous many newsletters, the Vitality Council has primarily advised on prevention in terms of keeping the immune system intact.

In our modern way of life with easy and fast industrial food of poor quality, improper preparation and overeating of carbohydrates, there is a great risk that our immune system will run out of essential nutrients. I have reviewed this topic again and again and will not bore you with this at this time.

But I will try to give a simple model for understanding the functioning of the immune system. This is because it is absolutely essential in prevention against Covid-19 and all sorts of other infections.

The immune system has a myriad of different cells to work with, and it’s pretty complicated, but let’s try a Pixie model; -a mousetrap:
There are two main systems, a so-called “innate” (non-specific) immune system, which works all the time, and an “adaptive” (specialized) immune system, which is adjusted by infection. The innate system attacks just about everything when, for example, a virus penetrates the body, but first the adaptive needs to get familiar with the new virus, adjust and activate the so-called T cells for attack, and teach the memory cells to remember for the next time how these virus are best attacked (antibodies).

Back to the mousetrap.

In the loft with all the mice (virus in the environment) we put a box (the body), with a small hole in the side (the innate immune system), and inside the box we put a couple of mousetraps (the adaptive immune system).

If we lack proper nutrition, vitamin D, selenium, vitamin C and magnesium, then the hole in the box is very large (the innate immune system fails). Then many mice can enter the box at once, and the traps (the adaptive immune system) do not have the capacity to snatch many mice. – Especially not if there is a lack of vitamin D, which is necessary to activate the T cells (2).

If, on the other hand, we get enough of the above nutrients, then we only have a small hole in the box (a good innate immune system), and then only a few mice enter the box (the body) at a time, and the adaptive immune system (the traps) can snatch them one by one.
Remember the Danish Minister of Health showing a graph with red and green curves some time ago.
If too many come too fast, then the hospital system would collapse.
The same way with our immune system.

If it is intact, the innate immune system will make sure to moderate the load so that the adaptive defense can have time to get to know the enemy and calibrate its cannons accordingly. Hereby we avoid the overload that results in the so-called cytokine storm, which is the start of all the accidents.

That is why it is so important to provide proper nutrition and supplement with vitamin D, vitamin C, selenium and magnesium.
And remember in the dark winter: Vitamin D in the blood should rise to 30-50 ng/ml (75-125 nmol /L.)
If you can’t get the blood sample taken locally, there are several excellent options for home testing i Denmark (3,4).

Treatment

Often you see pseudo-science, where vitamins and minerals are used as treatment after disease outbreaks, and even often in relatively small doses. It is pointless and only suitable to show that it does not work. These nutrients are for prevention.
An exception, however, is Vitamin C in high doses given intravenously under medical supervision.

There is only scant evidence here at the Covid-19 pandemic (5), but previously there is ample evidence of an effect on viral infections, as mentioned in the newsletter May 20th 2020.

There have been numerous experiments with hydroxychloroquine, which, however, have yielded quite varying results, and research into it is unfortunately largely discontinued.

Ivermectin is a remedy against scabies and certain parasites, and reportedly also has an effect on Covid-19 (6). The Indian health authorities have approved a treatment with Ivermectin, Doxycycline and zinc.
Ivermectin costs about 100 times as much as hydroxychloroquine, so it will probably never be the big success.
One week ago, Israeli researchers published (7) a preliminary result of treatment with inhalation of CD24 exosomes in 30 hospitalized moderately to severely ill Covid-19 patients. The 29 recovered in 3-5 days, the last one also recovered, but after more than 5 days. It should be a cheap method without side effects, so it sounds promising. CD24 exosomes are proteins that, like vitamin D, control T cell activation and can attenuate the cytokine storm.
We are anxiously awaiting news from the Israeli researchers.

What now?

After all, health authorities and the government are on thin ice right now, unless they manage to be saved by the globally declining infection rates and death rates.
You vaccinate and vaccinate, but to no avail on the closure of the society. The function of the vaccine is primarily to alleviate the disease in the vaccinated person.
Even though we have been vaccinated, we can still be infected and pass it on to others, because the virus is still there. Therefore, even the vaccinated must continue with face masks, despite the poor evidence of the effect of the hated face masks.
On top of this, there are still new mutations. Currently the English with increased infection of children, which we see in Kolding these days, but on the horizon lurks the South African and two different Brazilian varieties, which are even less sensitive to the antibodies we have received from previous infection and from vaccination.
Well, then the vaccine just has to be adjusted, and then the population just has to be vaccinated again.
Okay. -How many times? So far, in 2 months we have only vaccinated 3% of the population. So good luck with the task if it all has to start all over again.
It seems like a Sisyphean task if the Government will continue to focus only on the one-legged stool.
As a solution to this chaos, the Government is now proposing a wild testing strategy, where we will be tested twice a week next year. This will cost just as much as the overall healthcare system, and one does not have to be a nuclear physicist to figure out that this will massively affect all other diagnoses in the healthcare system.
And the virus will not disappear either due to this.
It’s a bit like setting up photo traps to detect an army of soldiers invading the country. No defense, just registration while the invasion rumbles towards the defenseless population.
When the hopelessness of this strategy eventually dawns on the Government, there is hope that the one-legged stool will be given two more legs, namely prevention and treatment.
Then every single person can be informed about the possibility of defending themselves against Covid-19.
Only then will the disease become so mild that it resembles a common flu, by which we can drop the hated face masks and the lockdown of society.

May we ask for the three-stringed strategy as soon as possible thank you.

A stool with one leg is doomed to tip over.
A stool with three legs does not tip over.
No matter how uneven the surface is, it will not even tilt.

Take care of yourself and others.

Claus Hancke MD
Specialist in general medicine

References

  1. Comparison of the characteristics, morbidity, and mortality of COVID-19 and seasonal influenza: a nationwide, population-based retrospective cohort study. Piroth L et al, Dec.2020, Lancet. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213260020305270
  2. Geisler C, Ødum N et al. 2010, Vitamin D controls T cell antigen receptor signaling and activation of human T cells. Nature Immunology 2010;11:344-349.
    https://www.nature.com/articles/ni.1851
  3. https://www.webapoteket.dk/saar-og-sygepleje/selvtest/quicktest-d-vitamin-p-222465
  4. https://www.cerascreen.dk/products/test-for-d-vitamin
  5. Alberto Boretti, Bimal Krishna Banik (2020) Intravenous vitamin C for reduction of cytokines storm in acute respiratory distress syndrome PharmaNutrition. 2020 Jun;12:100190.  Published online 2020 Apr 21. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2213434420300153
  6. Caly L et al, 2020, Antiviral Research, 178, june 2020, 104787.
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0166354220302011?via%3Dihub
  7. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04747574

More is not always better

November 13, 2020

Dose response is diverse

Our body and cells react differently to the chemical substances we come into contact with. Our body’s reaction (response) to different concentrations (doses) is called dose-response. Small variations in the structure of substances can be decisive for the body’s reaction to the substances. For several groups of substances, it is known that they can be problematic, but theoretically it is not possible to predict how cells or organisms will react to a chemical substance.

As low doses of chemical substances are studied scientifically, more and more otherwise well-known substances are shown to have unexpected effects at low doses. Since the early 1990s, it has been clear that one cannot theoretically – based on a general dose-response formula – predict the response of cells to low concentrations of a substance.

In everyday life, we regularly experience that there is a linear relationship between dose and effect: Twice as much sugar tastes twice as sweet. Such is the case with the drugs and within the doses we normally use. The graph to the right shows 0-4 teaspoons of sugar in the coffee. It is the linear dose-response that we know best and that we often take for granted in daily life

From everyday life we also know of a decreasing effect on a larger dose. Double the dose of sugar in the coffee does not keep giving double effect. When the tongue’s sensation of sweetness is completely filled, an extra dose cannot be sensed. The body’s relationship to a variety of vitamins and minerals works in the same way. The graph to the right shows the experience of sweetness at 1-14 teaspoons of sugar in coffee.

Many substances first have a measurable effect above a certain threshold value as is known from e.g. alcohol. Below the threshold, no poisoning occurs – if you drink an alcoholic beverage with 7,5 ml or 6 grams of alcohol per hour, it has no effect, but if you drink an alcoholic beverage with 30 ml or 24 grams of alcohol per hour, you exceed the liver’s threshold value for continuously breaking down alcohol, after which alcohol continuously accumulates in the blood and you become drunk.

Some substances used as medicines inhibit processes in the body, so that higher doses inhibit the process more, but only within certain limits. With increasing dose, the inhibitory effect diminishes and eventually disappears. Well-known examples are statins, which lower the blood’s cholesterol content, and drugs that inhibit the stomach’s production of stomach acid.

Some drugs, including several hormones, have a bell-shaped dose-response curve. In addition to the fact that the substances are often active at very low doses, they are also only active within a “window”, so that they have a hormone-like or endocrine disrupting effect above a certain concentration, and then lose effect at higher concentrations. Several hormones and more proteins tested for cancer treatment have this type of dose-response (Reynolds, 2010; Diamond, 2004).

Some drugs have a U-shaped effect curve, so that the drug has a stimulating effect at low doses, but with decreasing effect at slightly higher doses, and then again has a stimulating effect at even higher doses. Several drugs with U-shaped dose-response curves are endocrine disruptors, or promote or inhibit cancer. (Almstrup et al., 2002; Davis & Svendsgaard 1990 and Vadenberg et al., 2012).

Living organisms – including humans – are extremely complex, and the “unexpected” types of non-linear toxic effects can e.g. is due to interactions where a chemical substance can affect sensors on or in the cells, immune reactions, enzymes in the liver, etc.,

In addition, the toxic effects of substances on humans can be determined by individual and often inherited genetic differences. For heavy metals such as mercury and copper, both individual differences and non-linear relationships are known (Andreoli & Sprovieri, 2017; O’Doherty et al., 2019).

In scientific research, organisms’ reactions to chemical substances are often assumed to be linear, so that researchers look for linear relationships without actually knowing if they are relevant. Non-linear contexts are also often overlooked in authorities’ risk assessments of substances. Overall, this means that researchers and authorities often disregard the toxic effects of substances on the basis of a rationale that when a clear toxic effect at low doses was not found at higher doses – well then one can simply ignore these results.

In the EU’s risk assessments of pesticides, GMOs, etc. one often disregards the concrete measurements or experiments that do not meet the requirement of linear and increasing toxicity at higher doses.

Not least Danish researchers such as Almstrup, Grandjean, Skakkebæk and Svendsgaard have helped to focus on non-linear dose response and toxic effects at low and extremely low doses. The same researchers are generally not impressed by the authorities’ ability or willingness to take this new knowledge seriously (Grandjean 2019, Hill et al 2018, Davis and Svendsgaard 1990); – neither is the Vitality Council.

Klaus Sall, cand.scient. in biology

References and further reading

Almstrup K; Fernández MF; Petersen JH; Olea N; Skakkebaek NE and Leffers H. (2002). Dual effects of phytoestro­gens result in u-shaped dose-response curves. Environ Health Perspect. 2002 August; 110(8): 743–748. LINK
Andreoli, V., Sprovieri, F., (2017). Genetic Aspects of Susceptibility to Mercury Toxicity: An Overview. Int J Environ Res Public Health 14. LINK
Davis JM og Svendsgaard DJ. 1990 U-shaped dose-response curves: their occurrence and implications for risk assessment. J Toxicol Environ Health. 1990 Jun;30(2):71-83. LINK
Diamond, D. M. 2004. Enhancement of Cognitive and Electrophysiological Measures of Hippocampal Functioning in Rats by a Low, But Not High, Dose of Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate (DHEAS). Nonlin. Biol. Toxicol. Med. 2004 Oct.; 2(4): 371–377. LINK
Grandjean, P., Abdennebi-Najar, L., Barouki, R., Cranor, C. F., Etzel, R. A., Gee, D., Heindel, J. J., Hougaard, K. S., Hunt, P., Nawrot, T. S., Prins, G. S., Ritz, B., Soffritti, M., Sunyer, J., & Weihe, P. (2019). Time scales of developmental toxicity impacting on research and needs for intervention. Basic & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology, 125(Suppl. 3), 70-80. LINK
Hill C. E., Myers J. P., Vandenberg L. N. (2018). Nonmonotonic dose-response curves occur in dose ranges that are relevant to regulatory decision-making. Dose Res. 16, 155932581879828. 1559325818798282–82. LINK
Lagarde, F., Beausoleil, C., Belcher, S. M., Belzunces, L. P., Emond, C., Guerbet, M., & Rousselle, C. (2015). Non-monotonic dose-response relationships and endocrine disruptors: a qualitative method of assessment. Environmental health 14, 13 (2015), LINK
Montévil M, Acevedo N, Schaeberle CM, Bharadwaj M, Fenton SE, and Ana M. Soto AM. 2020. A Combined Morphometric and Statistical Approach to Assess Nonmonotonicity in the Developing Mammary Gland of Rats in the CLARITY-BPA Study. Environ Health Perspect. 2020 May; 128(5):57001. LINK
Reynolds, Andrew R. 2010. Potential Relevance of Bell-Shaped and U-Shaped Dose-Responses for the Therapeutic Targeting of Angiogenesis in Cancer. Dose Response. 2010; 8(3): 253–284. LINK
O’Doherty, C., Keenan, J., Horgan, K., Murphy, R., O’Sullivan, F., Clynes, M., 2019. Copper-induced non-monotonic dose response in Caco-2 cells. In Vitro Cell.Dev.Biol.-Animal 55, 221–225. LINK
Vandenberg et al. 2012. Hormones and Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals: Low-Dose Effects and Nonmonotonic Dose Responses. Endocrine Reviews March 14, 2012 er.2011-1050 LINK
Zoeller RT, Brown TR, Doan LL, Gore AC, Skakkebaek NE, Soto AM, Woodruff TJ, Vom Saal FS. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals and public health protection: a statement of principles from The Endocrine Society. Endocrinology 2012; 153:4097 – 110; LINK

Mink panic in Denmark

November 5, 2020

As written in the first Covid-19 newsletter on May 6 (1):

”A vaccine may be excellent, but firstly, it takes at least a year before we have it, and secondly, a vaccine can never keep up with a virus in the many mutations that make its immune profile so varied that a vaccine quickly becomes obsolete as we have seen with the flu vaccine. The only thing that can keep up in response against a virus’ mutations is a well-functioning immune system in the individual.”

And now what has been expected has happened, namely a mutation that spreads a lot of panic, costs 17 million mink their lives, 1,100 mink farmers their livelihood and perhaps life’s work, 6,000 jobs, and Denmark 10 billion kroner in export revenue.

Many ask if this is now also necessary, and international researchers wonder about the Danish reaction, as they cannot see that this mutation is more dangerous than so many other mutations.

In the defense of the authorities, it can be said that 17 million mink do constitute a very serious pool of infection within the country’s borders, and, on mink farms, the virus can persist for years and can perhaps mutate into dangerous varieties.

The current “cluster-5 variant” found in mink is, according to authorities, no more dangerous than the “original Wuhan variant”, but is still considered dangerous by the Serum Institute.

Not more dangerous for humans, but dangerous for the vaccine.

It is feared that this variant will weaken the effect of a future coronary vaccine.
But there will be more mutations. It will continue. If not from domesticated mink, then from forest marten, ermine (stoats), otters, and ferrets. Or what about a variant of the dreaded bird flu that becomes contagious to humans? It is a far more dangerous situation.

If we continue with this eternal focus on vaccines and only vaccines, we can run in circles for decades and constantly have to jump from one position to another to escape new mutant variants.

At the EU level, however, hard work is underway to make human survival dependent on vaccines (2) so that the individual’s immune system can only be strengthened in this way and not by natural infection.

This is a dangerous path to take, and it can result in an inflicted immunological handicap that weakens humanity’s ability to counteract precisely the many mutations that microorganisms undergo in their own evolution.

One can imagine the situation that one day we will be exposed to a life-threatening pandemic like in 1918, which kills millions of people the year before we can get a vaccine. (The current pandemic has not increased overall mortality.)

We therefore need to ensure that the human population’s basic immune system is optimal. It may be possible to do so, but it requires openness to new thinking.

When we focus exclusively on the Covid-19 epidemic, there is an almost overwhelming number of studies that identify vitamin D deficiency as a significant risk factor for infection.

Most recently, three days ago (November 2), a new study (3) was published describing Covid-19 survival in the elderly as a function of their vitamin D intake.
There were 77 Covid-19 patients aged 78 – 100 years equally distributed between men and women. All were admitted to a geriatric emergency department at Angers University Hospital in France from March to May in 2020.

One could see the difference between the three groups: Group 1 (n=29) had taken vitamin D continuously for at least one year, group 2 (n=16) had not taken anything but had received a bolus dose of vitamin D on admission, and group 3 (n=32) had not received vitamin D.

The thrtee groups were comparable over a wide range of potentially confounding factors. The average age of the study participants was 88 years.

Researchers evaluated 14-day mortality and found that 93% survived in group 1, 81% in group 2, and 68% in group 3.

With group 3 as the reference group (Hazard Ratio: 1), group 1 thus had a hazard ratio of 0.07, and group 2 had a hazard ratio of 0.37.

Thus, group 1 with a history of solid vitamin D supplementation had significantly better survival than group 3, which had not taken vitamin D supplements.

Group 2, which received a bolus of 80,000 IU vitamin D at admission, had better survival, but the difference from group 3 survival was not statistically significant.

The conclusion of this study was thus that regular supplementation with vitamin D is associated with less severe COVID-19 disease and better survival in frail elderly individuals. The detailed figures can be seen in the reference below (3).

Study after study of vitamin D’s efficacy has been added to the basket over the last six months, and the studies are all identical. How many studies do we need?

When these studies are combined with the hundreds of previous studies on immune system weakening in the absence of vitamin D and with the even specific studies and a meta-analysis on lung infections like SARS, then one must again ask: How many studies does it take before the authorities will advise vulnerable groups to take vitamin D or at least to have their vitamin D levels in their blood measured?

Many studies (references 4-19) show that one can safely and effectively optimize the population’s resistance and survival of Covid-19 by taking sufficient vitamin D to reach a blood concentration of at least 75nmol / l.

This blood vitamin D concentration can most often be achieved with a daily dose of 80 – 100 micrograms.

If one also supplements with the other well-documented supplements, which have been mentioned in the previous newsletters, then we can get to the point that the general resistance of the population has increased. We need to increase the population’s resistance against the upcoming mutations of Covid-19 and also against other epidemics, which may even be dangerous.

But, for now, remember to wash your hands and keep your distance.

Take care of yourself and others.

Claus Hancke MD
Specialist in general medicine

Ref.:

  1. https://www.vitalraadet.dk/en/2997-2/
  2. https://ec.europa.eu/health/sites/health/files/vaccination/docs/2019-2022_roadmap_en.pdf
  3. Annweiler G et al. Vitamin D Supplementation Associated to Better Survival in Hospitalized Frail Elderly COVID-19 Patients: The GERIA-COVID Quasi-Experimental Study. Nutrients. 2020 Nov;12: 3377 1-12.
  4. Hewison M. Vitamin D and innate and adaptive immunity. Vitam Horm, 2011; vol 86:23-62.
  5. Gombart AF, Pierre A, Maggini S. A Review of Micronutrients and the Immune System-Working in Harmony to Reduce the Risk of Infection. Nutrients. 2020 Jan 16;12(1).
  6. Schwalfenberg GK. A review of the critical role of vitamin D in the functioning of the immune system and the clinical implications of vitamin D deficiency. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2011 Jan;55(1):96-108.
  7. Dancer RC, Parekh D, Lax S, D’Souza V, Zheng S1, Bassford CR, et al. Vitamin D deficiency contributes directly to the acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Thorax. 2015 Jul;70(7):617-24.
  8. Urashima M, Segawa T, Okazaki M, et al. Randomized trial of vitamin D supplementation to prevent seasonal influenza A in schoolchildren. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 May;91(5):1255-60.
  9. Sabetta JR, DePetrillo P, Cipriani RJ, Smardin J, Burns LA, Landry ML. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin d and the incidence of acute viral respiratory tract infections in healthy adults. PLoS One. 2010 Jun 14;5(6):e11088.
  10. Uwitonze AM, Razzaque MS. Role of Magnesium in Vitamin D Activation and Function. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2018 Mar 1;118(3):181-189.
  11. Valint S. Vitamin D and Obesity. Nutrients. 2013 Mar; 5(3): 949–956.
  12. McCartney DM, Byrne DG. Optimisation of Vitamin D Status for Enhanced Immuno-protection Against Covid-19. Ir Med J. 2020 Apr 3;113(4):58.
  13. Grant WB, Lahore H, McDonnell SL, Baggerly CA, French CB, Aliano JL, Bhattoa HP. Evidence that Vitamin D Supplementation Could Reduce Risk of Influenza and COVID-19 Infections and Deaths. Nutrients. 2020 Apr 2;12(4). pii: E988.
  14. Aldridge RA, Lewer D, Beale S, et al. Seasonality and immunity to laboratory-confirmed seasonal coronaviruses (HCoV-NL63, HCoV-0C43, and HCoV-229E): results from the Flu Watch cohort study 30 March 2020.
  15. McCullough PJ, Lehrer DS, Amend J. Daily oral dosing of vitamin D3 using 5000 TO 50,000 international units a day in long-term hospitalized patients: Insights from a seven year experience. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2019 May;189:228-239.
  16. Ilie PC, Stefanescu S, Smith L. The role of Vitamin D in the prevention of coronavirus disease 2019, infection and mortality. Aging Clinical and Experimental research (https://doi.org/10.1007/s40520-020-01570-8) Springer Switzerland. 2020 May 6.
  17. Martineau A, Forouhi N (2020) Vitamin-D for Covid-19: a case to answer. Lancet 2020;8:735-6.
  18. Joliffe D, Martineau A, Damsgaard Camilla et al. (2020) Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory infections: Systematic review and meta-analysis of aggregate data from randomised controlled trials. medRxiv BMJ 17.juli 2020.
  19. Martineau A et al. (2017) Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections: Systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data.
    BMJ 2017;356:i6585.

Again, uneasiness regarding the pill

July 31, 2006

The pill (contraception in pill form) drains the body of the antioxidants, vitamin E and Q10. This could mean that a supplement would make it much safer to take the pill.

More than 100 million women worldwide use the pill as contraception. The pill is believed to be remarkably safe, and it is easy to forget that it can have serious side effects. According to a Dutch report from 2003, users of the pill have a 3-6 times higher risk of developing blood clots in the veins, which is a dangerous condition. In addition, they have a 2-5 times higher risk of developing blood clots in the heart or of suffering from stroke. These numbers are the same for the modern forms of the pill, which have few other few side effects.

If the risk of disease is low, (because of being young and otherwise healthy) than a low percentage increased in risk does not so important. But why is there any increase at all? Light has been thrown on this question by researchers of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. They have proven that users of the pill have lower vitamin E and Q10 levels in their blood than women who do not take the pill. Vitamin E and Q10 are well known antioxidants.

This is nothing new. Already 15 years ago, researchers believed that vitamin E could reduce the risks associated with the pill. It was also known that the pill drains the body of antioxidants, which can be directly linked to an increased risk of blood clot formation. When one lacks vitamin E, the fats in the blood become oxidized, thereby stimulating the platelets to stick together causing the formation of blood clots. Logically, it was suggested that vitamin E should be combined with use of the pill.

The pill uses up the body’s vitamin E and Q10 reserves. This has been proven again, this time in a study where 15 users of the pill in their forties were compared with women in the same age group who did not take the pill. The differences found were statistically valid, and although this was a small study there were no doubts regarding the results. These results were known before the study was completed; the problem was that nobody had been paying any attention to them.

Unsolved problems
Why does the pill strain the bloods vitamin E and Q10 contents? The pill raises the body’s oestrogen levels. This is why the ovaries go into hibernation so that ovulation is inhibited. The body registers a hormone level high enough that the ovaries can take a break. Even normal (physiologic) levels of oestrogen stimulate the formation of free radicals and therefore cause an increased use of antioxidants. This has been shown in an American study of the cells which compose the inner walls of the blood vessels (endothelium cells). They also showed that free radicals resulting from the presence of oestrogen caused the cells to grow, causing the blood vessels to thicken. It is believed that this increases the risk of blood clots. It also indicates that antioxidants could prevent such side effects.

For practical purposes, women with an increased risk for side effects are advised not to take the pill. This includes women over the age of 35, women with high blood pressure, and so on. All women with an increased risk of blood clots should refrain from using the pill. This causes some amount of contemplation. Who knows if they are in the high risk group? Is their risk so low that a five fold increase in risk is acceptable?

Aside from these problems it is important to know that if you use the pill, your defence against the formation of free radicals is weakened. Even though this is well known, no one has, until recently, thought to reduce this risk with the use of antioxidants.

An important question follows: What is the long term prognosis for women who took the pill for many years when they were young? During the many years they took the pill, they had reduced levels of vitamin E and Q10 in their blood. In the short term, this increased the oxidation of the blood’s fats which increased the risk of blood clots. But does it cause problems in the long term like smoking and high blood pressure? As yet, we can only guess.

By: Vitality Council

References:
1. Palan PR Magneson AT, Castillo M, Dunne J, Mikhail MS. Effects of menstrual cycle and oral contraceptive use on serum levels of lipid soluble antioxidants. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2006 May;194(5):e35-8. Epub 2006 Apr 21
2. Felty Q. Estrogen-induced DNA synthesis in vascular endothelial cells is mediated by ROS signaling. BMC Cardiovasc Disord 2006 Apr 11;6:16
3. Ciavatti M, Renaud S. Oxidative status and oral contraceptive. Its relevance to platelet abnormalities and cardiovascular risk. Free Radic Biol Med. 1991;10(5):325-38
4. Saha A, Roy K, De K, Sengupta C. Effects of oral contraceptive norethindron on blood lipid and lipid peroxidation parameters. Acta Pol Pharm. 2000 Nov-Dec;57(6):441-7.
5. Tanis BC, Rosendaal FR. Venous and arterial thrombosis during oral contraceptive use: Risks and risk factors. Semin Vasc Med. 2003 Feb;3(1):69-84
6. Crook D, Godsland I. Safety evaluation of modern oral contraceptives. Effect on lipoprotein and carbohydrate metabolism. Contraception. 1998 Mar;57(3):189-201

Dietary Supplement Strengthens Immuno-Therapy Against Breast Cancer

November 7, 2005

An American study has shown that the pioneering cancer medicine against breast cancer, Herceptin, can be made 30-40 times more effective when used in conjunction with a harmless dietary supplement: gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). The study’s results are preliminary but calls for further investigation.

Every year, almost 3,500 Danish women get breast cancer. Approx. every fifth of them have a particularly aggressive form of cancer, which you may fear in particular, if you find cancer in the lymph nodes of the armpit during surgery. The aggressive cancer is due to a gene in the affected women which is particularly active and forms large amounts of HER2, a protein. When HER2 adheres to the surface of a breast cell, it reacts with growth agents in the blood that can transform the cell into a cancerous cell and stimulate it to growth.

However, since 1998, there have been medicine available that, in the same way as an antibody, have been able to block HER2 and thus weaken the growth stimulation. The name of the drug is Herceptin® (Trastuzumab) and so far only women have been offered this, who in addition to being “HER2 positive”, have had recurrence of breast cancer that has spread.

……………………………………..

By: Vitality Council

References:
1. Piccart-Gebhart et al. Trastuzumab after adjuvant chemotherapy in HER2-positive breast cancer. N Engl J Med 2005;353:1659-72.
2. Romond EH et al. Trastuzumab plus adjuvant chemotherapy for operable HER2-positive breast cancer. N Engl J Med 2005;353: 1673-84.
3. Menendez JA et al. Effect of gamma-linolenic acid on the transcriptional activity of the Her2/neu (erbB-2) oncogene. J Natl Cancer Inst 2005;97:1611-15.

Breast Cancer Cannot Tolerate Iron Deficiency

September 21, 2005

Breast cancer is fought just as effectively by utilising the body’s iron deposits as by using chemotherapy. This has been shown in an American animal study.

TV and radio sometimes gives the impression that researchers have lost interest in antioxidants. Meanwhile, research in this field continues.

The following describes a study which has recently been published in the worlds leading journal for research in the field of free radicals. Free radicals are neutralised by antioxidants such as vitamins E and C etc.

The journal is called Free Radicals in Biology and Medicine. It comes out every 14 days with about 125 large pages which contain summary articles as well as 10-12 descriptions of new research. It has an editorial staff with nine members and an international review board with 73 members, all of whom are university-researchers. It is unfortunately written in such technical, biologic-biochemical, language that it is not understandable for normal nutrition experts and doctors. But the size and format of the journal is an expression of the intense international research which is still producing new information for the understanding of the roles of antioxidants and free radicals in disease.

The study in question has special interest for doctors who treat atherosclerosis with EDTA. EDTA is given intravenously and binds the bloods heavy metals as well as iron. Because both iron (excess) and heavy metals strain the organism with free radicals, EDTA works as an antioxidant.

In the study, mice were given a human form of breast cancer. The mice did not receive EDTA, but a related substance called desferal (desferoxamine) which is an old medication which removes iron from the blood. The question was whether the mice would be better off after, thanks to the desferal, they were drained of their iron deposits. They were!

Desferal halved the cancer growth and was just as effective as the much more poisonous chemotherapy (in this case, doxorubicin, which is commonly used against breast cancer). When the mice received both desferal and the chemotherapy, the cancer inhibiting effect was slightly larger than with each of the two treatments alone.

Antioxidants support chemotherapy
The method of action is unknown. It is known that an excess of iron can create free radicals and that desferal, like EDTA, can be regarded as an antioxidant. But some conditions of the study showed that that was not the determining factor. The explanation is more rather that the fast growing cancer cells need more iron than normal cells. Desferal starves them of iron which stops their growth.

Contrary to the expected, the study said nothing about the combination of chemotherapy and antioxidants. Cancer doctors in Denmark advise against this combination. They believe that chemotherapy works by creating free radicals and that the treatment therefore is ruined by antioxidants such as vitamins E and C, selenium, Q10, etc.

This is rejected by the article as an antiquated way of thinking. Typical chemotherapy (doxorubicin, cisplatin, etc.) does not work by creating free radicals, but by blocking vital enzymes with difficult names such as topoisomerase etc. This has been proven by a number of researchers (see ref.)

It is actually more probable that antioxidants support chemotherapy. In any case, studies have shown that chemotherapy can be weakened by adding free radicals (hydrogen peroxide). It therefore seems wise to get rid of them with antioxidants, and thereby both streamline chemotherapy and make it less poisonous.

The American researchers who published the study (and who, in addition, work for the American Food and Drug Administration) showed, sensationally, that breast cancer cells can be held in check if they are starved of iron. They also believe, based on their own research as well as the research of others, that cancer doctors should sooner ban free radicals than antioxidants.

This is just basic research. In the future there will be clinical trails which may show that this method works on humans.

By: Vitality Council

References:
1. Hoke E.M et al. Desferal inhibits breast tumor growth and does not interfere with the tumoricidal activity of doxorubicin. Free Radical Biology & Medicine 2005;39:403-11.
2. Senturker S et al. Induction of apoptosis by chemotherapeutic drugs without generation of reactive oxygen species. Arch Biochem Biophys 2002;397:262-72.

Vitamin D Together With NSAID Medicine Fights Prostate Cancer

September 3, 2005

A world-famous Vitamin-D researcher has initiated a study with a very simple treatment of cancer of the prostate. If expectations are met, then it could result in a revolution in the treatment of the most frequent form of cancer in men.

Among men over 60 at least every other have cancer in the prostate, usually without knowing it. It has been discovered many years ago by investigating men who died for some other reason. Cancer in the prostate is typically a disease that you do not die from – but with! Nevertheless, it is the most frequent cause of cancer among men after lung cancer.

By: Vitality Council

Reference:
Moreno J, Krishnan AV, Feldman D. Molecular mechanisms mediating the anti-proliferative effects of Vitamin D in prostate cancer. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2004 Nov;92(4):317-25

Cholesterol reducing pills: Do they have a downside?

August 3, 2005

Medications taken against cholesterol may prolong life in the event of arteriosclerosis and perhaps even heart failure. However, new figures seem to indicate that many patients get serious side effects from taking such medications, which side effects could have been avoided had they also taken Co-enzyme Q10.

Millions of people worldwide use cholesterol reducing medicine in the form of statins. These people most often have clogged coronary arteries and the statins are used to protect them against further atherosclerosis, blood clots, and strokes. They work, but to a lesser degree than many people think.

If they are given to one hundred 40-80 year old people who are at high risk due to atherosclerosis or diabetes, they prevent about one coronary blood clot or one stroke per year. In the course of five years, about two deaths are avoided.

Many of the treated meanwhile develop heart failure, which is reduced pump function of the heart, because atherosclerosis damages the heart muscle permanently. They begin to complain of tiredness and increasing shortness of breath.

Is it risky to take cholesterol lowering pills in this situation? There can be debated. The debate is due to the way that the medicine works. It blocks the livers production of mevalonic acid, which is necessary for the production of cholesterol, but it also blocks the production of vital Q10! Not only does the blood’s cholesterol level fall, but also the bloods Q10 level.

Because Q10 is necessary for the tissues to create energy it is easy to imagine that a heart muscle which is weakened by heart failure, is further weakened when Q10 is removed.

Apparently statins work anyway. Statins are believed to lengthen life in heart failure. Not because they lower cholesterol, which may actually be damaging when suffering from heart failure, but because statins have other effects than reducing cholesterol. They are antioxidants and counteract inflammation. In addition they promote the creation of new blood vessels in the heart. None of these effects have anything to do with cholesterol.

Maybe the positive effects of statins outweigh the dramatic Q10 loss that they cause. Nonetheless, it is hard to believe that this loss is completely harmless, especially with heart failure.

The American cardiologist P.H. Langsjoen is one of those who warn that we find ourselves in an epidemic of heart failure with unclear reasons and who believe that statins could be one of the reasons.

At a congress in Los Angeles he put forth data which indicates previously unrecognised side effects. Two thirds of 51 newly referred statin treated patients complained of muscle pain, more than 80% were abnormally tired, and almost 60% had shortness of breath. When they stopped using statins and instead received Q10 (240 mg/day), most became symptom free.

At the same congress a randomised trial showed that muscle pain and tiredness was present in one out of every ten on those treated with statins, but disappeared when they took Q10 (100 mg/day). Just as important, more than half experienced an improved quality of life and many showed improved heart function.

Pills against cholesterol lengthen life, but it is necessary to take Q10 if quality of life also increases so that a longer life is a life worth living.

By: Vitality Council

References:
1. Heart Protection Study Collaborative Group. MRC/BHF Heart Protection Study of cholesterol lowering with simvastatin in 20 536 high-risk individuals: A randomised placebo-controlled trial. Lancet 2002;360:7-22.
2. Langsjoen PH et al. The clinical use of HMG CoA-reductase inhibitors and the associated depletion of coenzyme Q10. A review of animal and human publications. Biofactors. 2003;18(1-4):101-11.
3. Liao JK. Statin therapy for cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure. J Investig Med. 2004 May;52(4):248-53.
4. Bandolier. Statins in heart faikure. http://www.jr2.ox.ac.uk/bandolier/booth/cardiac/statHF.html
5. Fourth Conference of the International Coenzyme Q10 Association. Los Angeles April 14-17 2005.

www.thelancet.com
www.iospress.nl/html/09516433.php
journalseek.net/cgi-bin/journalseek/journalsearch.cgi
www.jr2.ox.ac.uk/bandolier/booth/cardiac/statHF.html
www.coenzymeq10.it/home.html
www.iom.dk

St. John’s Wort Outdoes Antidepressant Drugs

February 14, 2005

It is better to take St. John’s Wort than Anti-Depressant Drugs, even when suffering from a moderate to a severe depression. It not only works better but it has fewer side effects. But every second patient needs a double dose.”…

Taking St. John’s wort is better than taking antidepressant drugs, even in the case of moderate to severe depressions. The effect is better and it has fewer adverse effects. However, every other patients needs a double dose for the herb to be effective.

The fact that St. John’s wort can be used for other things than making schnapps has been known for some time. As early as in 1994 it turned out that the plant can be used for even serious depressions, and St. John’s wort has been an unlicenced herbal remedy for some time now.

On account of the usual hypocrisy of the authorities, the remedy is only approved for treating “melancholy, despondency, and sadness”; concepts that are not used in the scientific world of approved licensed medical drugs. It has been documented, however, that St. John’s wort is effective against depression; but the hyprocrisy forbids informing about this even though it is specifically the word of “depression” that is used in the scientific articles.

In Germany, the authorities are truthful and here, St. John’s wort has been officially approved for “mental disturbances, depressive conditions, anxiety, and nervous restlessness” since 1984.

For this reason, German doctors have used far more St. John’s wort than their British colleagues and have spared their patients of nausea, tiredness, impotence, oral dryness, dizziness, sleeplessness, and what else might come from using antidepressants – also called SSRI preparations. In Germany, St. John’s wort is prescribed twice as often as standard antidepressants.

So far, it has been known that St. John’s wort is just as effective against light depression as SSRI preparations and other antidepressants. When it comes to severe depressions, there has been more doubt about its effectiveness even though a study indicated that the effect was fully equal to prescription drugs. However, the study was too small for the results to be valid.

This uncertainty has now been removed. An unusually well accomplished German study performed with typical German thoroughness has documented that not only is St. John’s wort fully equal to the SSRI remedies; it actually outdoes them. In a study involving 244 severely depressed patients, St. John’s wort had both a better effect and caused fewer adverse effects than the widely used SSRI preparation paroxetine.

The study showed that adverse effects only appeared half as often in the group receiving St. John’s wort as in the group receiving paroxetine. After six weeks, the patients who had been treated with St. John’s wort noted a decrease in depression score of 57% while the patients who had been treated with paroxetine could only note a decrease of 45% – scored on the basis of the so-called Hamilton depression rating scale.

In all respects, this study lives up to the highest standards. There are therefore very strong reasons for preferring St. John’s wort to other remedies – in both mild and moderate to severe depression.

You should be aware of two things, however: First of all, the recommended dose in the over-the-counter drugs is generally too small: They advise you to take e.g. 3 – 6 tablets which gives you a total of 900 – 1800 mg of hypericin if the content of hypericin is 300 mg per tablet. The 900 mg is too small a dose.

In the German study, 900 mg was the starting dosage. Approximately every other patient had that dosage doubled after 14 days due to a lacking effect. This means that with Danish pills (450 milligrams hypericum / tablet) you either have to start with 2 and possibly increase to 4 tablets a day to get the same effect as the German trial subjects!

The second thing you should know is that St. John’s wort reduces the effect of several kinds of drugs, including prescription drugs such as contraceptive pills and anticoagulants. The reason for this is that St. John’s wort promotes the breakdown of the drugs in the liver. If you are taking any kind of medicine, you should consult your doctor before starting self-treatment with St. John’s wort!

By: Vitality Council

References:
1. Szgedi A et al. Acute treatrment of moderate to severe depression with hypericum extract WS 5570 (St Johns Wort): randomised controlled double blind non-inferiority trial versus paroxetine. BMJ online 11.2.2005, page 1-6.
2. de Smet P.A.G. et al. St Johns wort as an antidepressant. BMJ 1996;313:241-2 (L).
3. Linde K et al. St Johns wort for depression – an overview and meta analysis of randomised clinical trials. BMJ 1996;313:253-7.

bmj.bmjjournals.com
www.iom.dk

Broccoli and Spinach are Not Likely to Affect INR Blood Test

December 10, 2004

Promising Dutch study of Vitamin K. The somewhat cryptic headline is probably nonsense to most people, but nevertheless has great importance to all those taking blood-thinning (anticoagulating) medicines such as Marevan (Warfarin) and who are doing the regular blood test control, called INR.

If you are undergoing treatment with anticoagulant drugs such as Marevan, you should regularly be tested with a blood test called INR.

This blood test is designed to estimate if the dose you receive is correct, but it should also prevent overdosing in which the blood would get “too thin”. This condition is dangerous and can result in internal bleeding.

12 healthy volunteers were included in a study in which they were given a correct dosage of anticoagulants for 13 weeks and adjusted to a maintenance dose with a constant and stable INR value that would prevent them from forming blood clots.

Then, they were given increasingly large daily doses of vitamin K from 50 mcg. to 500 mcg. during the course of one week. Not until the dose reached 150 mcg. of vitamin K a day taken as a dietary supplement, was any effect on INR observed. Even at this dose, INR was only affected in 3 out of the 12 trial subjects.

When the trial subjects were given food that is particularly rich in vitamin K, i.e. broccoli and spinach, there was no clinically relevant effect on INR because the effect was so transient, and the authors suggest that the reason might be a poor bioavailability of the vegetables. This may be surprising, as kale, spinach, and broccoli can contain up to 400 mcg. of vitamin K per 100 g.

Doses of 100 mcg. vitamin K as an easily absorbable dietary supplement had no effect on INR.

If this study on healthy, young trial subjects can be repeated with the same result on patients with a predisposition to forming blood clots, it would make life significantly easier on a great number of people who every day stare in despair at the long list of foods containing vitamin K that they are not allowed to eat while taking Marevan.

By: Vitality Council

Reference:
Schurgers LJ, Shearer MJ, et al: Effect of Vitamin K Intake on the Stability of Oral Anticoagulant Treatment. Dose-Response Relationships in Healthy Subjects. Blood 2004;104(9):2682-2689.

www.bloodjournal.org
www.iom.dk