Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Tattoo Alert!

I continue to be amazed at the number of men and women who are turning their bodies into billboards by tattooing. Who under the age of 40 doesn't have at least one? I've got three and regret the fact I ever got one, much less three. It's all about vanity, plain and simple. The following raises some legitimate health concerns about this increasingly popular practice.

Can Tattoo Ink Lead to Cancer?

It has been said that “tattoo ink is remarkably nonreactive histologically, despite the frequent use of different pigments of unknown purity and identity by tattoo artists.” 1
However, University of Bradford researchers using an atomic force microscope (AFM) that allows them to examine skin with tattoos at the nano-level have found evidence that suggests otherwise. In a preliminary study (the first to use an AFM to examine tattoos), the researchers found that the tattoo process remodels collagen (your body’s main connective tissue).2
Further, nanoparticles from tattoo ink were found to exist in both the collagenous network of the skin as well as around blood vessels. This suggests that the ink particles are leaving the surface of your skin and traveling elsewhere in your body, where they could potentially enter organs and other tissues.
This is problematic because tattoo inks are largely unregulated and known to contain cancer-causing compounds. The researchers believe the issue could become a significant public health concern given the rise in tattooing in the last decade, noting:
“We need to do more work, but there is no question that these substances can be toxic. It takes a long time for the multi-step nature of cancer to show its face and I don’t think we should wait to see if there is anything wrong with these ingredients.”

Nanoparticles in Tattoo Ink May be Carcinogenic

Nanoparticles are ultramicroscopic in size, making them able to readily penetrate your skin and travel to underlying blood vessels and your bloodstream. Evidence suggests that some nanoparticles may induce toxic effects in your brain and cause nerve damage, and some may also be carcinogenic.
In 2011, a study in The British Journal of Dermatology revealed that nanoparticles are indeed found in tattoo inks,3 with black pigments containing the smallest particles (white pigments had the largest particles and colored pigments were in between).
With the exception of the white pigments, the researchers noted that “the vast majority of the tested tattoo inks contained significant amounts” of nanoparticles. “The black pigments were almost pure NPs [nanoparticles], i.e. particles with at least one dimension <100 nm,” they said.

Black-Ink Tattoos May be the Riskiest

The black ink is the color most often linked to potential adverse health effects, although all tattoo inks have toxic potential, including:
  • Potentially carcinogenic4
  • May cause inflammation and DNA damage5
  • May contain carcinogenic Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) like benzo(a)pyrene (a Class 1 carcinogen according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer)
Since black ink may contain a significant amount of nanoparticles, it is likely that such toxins could find easy entrance into your bloodstream, perhaps worsening their effects. Writing in Experimental Dermatology, researchers highlighted the dangerous potential of tattoo inks (particularly black) even beyond nanoparticles:6
“Black tattoo inks are usually based on soot, are not regulated and may contain hazardous polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Part of PAHs possibly stay lifelong in skin, absorb UV radiation and generate singlet oxygen, which may affect skin integrity.
Tattooing with black inks entails an injection of substantial amounts of phenol and PAHs into skin. Most of these PAHs are carcinogenic and may additionally generate deleterious singlet oxygen inside the dermis when skin is exposed to UVA (e.g. solar radiation).”
While so far incidences of skin cancer appearing on tattooed skin has been deemed coincidental,7 it is largely unknown whether the inks may be contributing to cancers, or other health problems, elsewhere in the body. It’s known, for instance, that some tattoo pigment may migrate from your skin into your body’s lymph nodes.8 According to Dr. Samuel Epstein, a well-respected professional in cancer prevention:
“… the evidence which we’ve accumulated so far, is largely restricted to the fact that they [nanoparticles] get into your bloodstream and reach organs throughout your body. And as far as the brain is concerned, we have actual evidence of entry into the brain and producing toxic effects -- lesions, small lesions, toxic effects in the brain.”

Tattoo Inks are Not Regulated in the US, Most are Industrial-Grade Products

Inks and ink colorings (pigments) used for tattoos are technically subject to regulation by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as cosmetics and color additives. However, the Agency states that because of other public health priorities and a “previous lack of evidence of safety concerns,” they have not traditionally regulated such products.9 As such, many dyes used in tattooing are actually produced for industrial uses such as car paint or printers’ ink, for instance.
To date there have been no systemic studies to look at the safety of injecting such inks into the body, although the National Center for Toxicological Research is conducting research to determine:
  • The chemical composition of tattoo inks and how they break down in your body
  • The short-term and long-term safety of tattoo inks and pigments
  • How your body responds to the interaction of light with the inks
The Friends of the Earth – a global network of grassroots groups – is among those now calling for proper regulation of tattoo inks amidst the new findings that they may contribute to cancer.10 In the meantime, it may be wise to “think before you ink,” as the FDA recommends, at least until further research is completed (and remember that permanent makeup is also a form of tattoo

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Think About It

"There is no greater affliction then trying to become something you are not."

You must be who you are, not someone that family, friends or others think you should be.

Live the life you love.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Attitudes and Longevity

Some thoughts on longevity---As in anything---the proof or the merit of something is in....the proof, not the claim of someone who says they know. If I told you that eating only raw foods for the rest of your life would make you healthy and long lived, I would hope that you'd ask me, who are the people who have lived long lives doing so? It is only common sense that something which purports to be so has a factual basis for such a claim.
With that said, research was done on people who lived long vigorous lives. Researchers wanted to see if there were any qualities that were prevalent among them, this is what they found. It is by no means a comprehensive list but here are some of the similar characteristics:
"A study was done to find out what long lived people have in common. There are a few interesting things that stand out:
  • They mistrust doctors, preferring to do their own research about their body and get second and third opinions before taking a course of action.
  • They have a great sense of humour.
  • They are quite naughty, and playful in their attitude to life.
  • They are rebels, preferring to follow their own inner inspiration rather than being sheep following the flock.
  • They have a deeply intuitive sense about life, listening to their inner wisdom and trusting it.
  • They like to exercise and be in nature.
  • They are always interested in learning new things."

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Alcohol and Intoxicants

"The person who is interested in alcohol must be living in misery, in a kind of suffering. That’s why he wants somehow to forget it all. Alcohol is nothing but a chemical strategy to forget your miseries, anxieties, your problems, to forget yourself.
When you are too worried, too tense and you take to alcohol. Yes, for a few hours you will forget all your worries and all your tensions, but the alcohol cannot take your worries away forever; it cannot solve them. And while you are drowned in alcohol those worries are growing, becoming stronger; you are giving them time to grow. And when you are back the next morning with a hangover and a headache added to the worries, you will be surprised; they are bigger than when you had left them. Then it becomes a pattern of life: become again and again intoxicated so you can forget — but again and again you have to face your life. This is not an intelligent way to live. I am against all intoxicants, against all drugs. They don’t help; they only help you to postpone problems."

The above nails it--it's all about escape and release done in a most unhealthy way.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Stormy Interruptions

I would like to let you know that since this past Wednesday I have been without power at my house. The projected day for the power being back on is this Saturday night. Next post will be Sunday.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

FYI-- The Irony of Quinoa's Popularity

I'm sure most of you are familiar with Quinoa,a grain that has exploded in popularity over the last few years in the U.S. Viewed as a healthier alternative to rice, this grain comes from the seed of the goosefoot species and originated in Peru and Bolivia. Since 2007 U.S. imports have risen from 7 million to more that 70 million pounds a year. Farmers in South America are struggling to meet the increasing demand. Now here's the irony, Quinoa, which was once a staple for many South Americans, is too expensive for most of them to afford because of the rising price related to it's new found popularity here.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Argument For Eating Five Times a Day

Why is eating five times a day better than three? Consider the following:
"Always eat at least 5 times a day. Two or three are simply not enough. It is permissible to regard two of these meals as snacks provided they contain sufficient calories to get you to your next meal and they are comprised of the appropriate amount of macronutrients(carbohydrates, fats and proteins). The reason? Your blood sugar and insulin levels will be controlled(and thus your energy level), you will get protein in small amounts throughout the day to support growth and recovery, and (most important) body fat will not be stored, but instead mobilized as an energy source. By providing your body with a consistent and frequent supply of  just the right number of calories, its need to store fat is reduced. Conversely, when you eat infrequently, your body recognizes a "famine" situation and your entire endocrine system (powerful hormones produced inside your body that control how you grow, recover and produce energy) is thrown for a loop. Then, too much of the food consumed is stored as body fat in preparation for the "famine" to come.
Also, in planning your daily meals(or snacks),a caloric ratio of approximately 1 part fat, 2 parts protein and 3 parts carbohydrate is a good place to begin."

Speaking from personal experience, the above works. After years of being chronically hungry most of the day because I bought into the myth that long distance runners needed a diet predominately comprised of carbs, I finally smartened up. No more being hungry two hours after eating. You have to have a significant amount of quality protein in your diet as well as fat.
Too many athletes, particularly runners and triathletes, eat diets that seem to be "third world" in content, substance and nutritional value. 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Preventative Medicine

Cancer--the big C--there's not a person around who hasn't been effected by it--either you've had it personally or someone in your family has. The following are some things you can do to lessen or eliminate your chances of getting it. With cancer--prevention is THE KEY! Dealing with it after your diagnosed is much worse than preventing it from occurring in the first place.
I will say this, I disagree with the author's condemning of soy. I have read elsewhere that soy is not the demon food that so many like to make it out to be these days. Take the initiative today to protect your health, with cancer, tomorrow may be too late.

Avoid sugar, especially fructose. All forms of sugar are detrimental to health in general and promote cancer. Fructose, however, is clearly one of the most harmful and should be avoided as much as possible.
Optimize your vitamin D. Vitamin D influences virtually every cell in your body and is one of nature's most potent cancer fighters. Vitamin D is actually able to enter cancer cells and trigger apoptosis (cell death). If you have cancer, your vitamin D level should be between 70 and 100 ng/ml. Vitamin D works synergistically with every cancer treatment I'm aware of, with no adverse effects. I suggest you try watching my one-hour free lecture on vitamin D to learn more.
Engage in regular exercise.  There have been loads of recent studies that show a very powerful effect of exercise in dramatically lowering your risk of cancer. It most likely does this through optimizing insulin and leptin signaling.
Avoid unfermented soy products. Unfermented soy is high in plant estrogens, or phytoestrogens, also known as isoflavones. In some studies, soy appears to work in concert with human estrogen to increase breast cell proliferation, which increases the chances for mutations and cancerous cells.
Improve your insulin receptor sensitivity. The best way to do this is by avoiding sugar and most all grains even organic ones as if you are one of the two thirds of the people that are overweight they could likely be worsening your insulin and leptin signaling.
Maintain a healthy body weight. This will come naturally when you begin eating the right foods and exercising. It's important to lose excess body fat because fat produces estrogen.
Drink a quart of organic green vegetable juice daily. Please review my juicing instructions for more detailed information.
Get plenty of high quality animal-based omega-3 fats, such as krill oil. Omega-3 deficiency is a common underlying factor for cancer, and since most cancers have an inflammatory component, with up-regulated Cox-2 enzyme activity, omega-3 fats – particularly EPA – will directly interfere with the inflammatory process.
Curcumin. This is the active ingredient in turmeric and in high concentrations it can be a very useful adjunct in the treatment of cancer. For example, it has demonstrated major therapeutic potential in preventing breast cancer metastasis.2 In fact, the biomedical literature now confirms that it has potential in preventing and/or combating well over 100 different types of cancer.3 It's important to know that curcumin is generally not absorbed that well, so I've provided several absorption tips here.
Avoid drinking alcohol, or at least limit your alcoholic drinks to one per day for women, two for men.
Avoid electromagnetic fields as much as possible. Even electric blankets can increase your cancer risk. Also be very cautious with your cell phone usage.
Avoid synthetic hormone replacement therapy, especially if you have risk factors for breast cancer. Breast cancer is an estrogen-related cancer, and according to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute,4 breast cancer rates for women dropped in tandem with decreased use of hormone replacement therapy. (There are similar risks for younger women who use oral contraceptives. Birth control pills, which are also comprised of synthetic hormones, have been linked to cervical and breast cancers.)
    If you are experiencing excessive menopausal symptoms, you may want to consider bioidentical hormone replacement therapy instead, which uses hormones that are molecularly identical to the ones your body produces and do not wreak havoc on your system. This is a much safer alternative.
Avoid BPA, phthalates and other xenoestrogens. These are estrogen-like compounds that have been linked to increased breast cancer risk, found widely in plastics, personal care products and other household goods.
Watch out for excessive iron levels. This is actually very common once women stop menstruating, and also in some men. The extra iron actually works as a powerful oxidant, increasing free radicals and raising your risk of cancer. Fortunately, checking your iron levels is easy and can be done with a simple blood test called a serum ferritin test. I believe this is one of the most important tests that everyone should have done on a regular basis as part of a preventive, proactive health screen. Ferritin is the iron transport protein and should not be above 80. If it is elevated you can simply donate your blood to reduce it.
Make sure you're not iodine deficient, as there's compelling evidence linking iodine deficiency with certain forms of cancer. Dr. David Brownstein,5 author of the book Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can't Live Without It, is a proponent of iodine for breast cancer. It actually has potent anticancer properties and has been shown to cause cell death in breast and thyroid cancer cells.