What about public health?

Please consider this post in light of a preventive perspective targeting multiple etiologies and not correlations. This is not meant to disrespect all the great work public heath has been and is currently providing* 
The major causes of disease and death (DaD) in the 21st century have never been scientifically proven although outcomes have been correlated and mistakenly identified as causes. This is one of the greatest mistakes in public health and medicine today (Taubes, 2012). It can be speculated that major causes of DaD are the standard American diet (SAD), iatrogenic comorbidity (Starfield, 2000), and toxic environmental factors (Walsh, 2010). Perhaps the greatest influence is our biological mismatch (Kruse, 2012). Our lives no longer synchronize with the Earth’s cyclical rotations affecting great influence on our collective behavior. Hormone, immunity, and metabolic functional alterations can result from mismatches with natural circadian rhythms (O’Connor, 2012), food availability cycles (Kruse, 2012), and seasonal sunlight temperature fluctuations all correlating with DaD (Hastings Maywood & Reddy, 2003).
Public heath has made great strides reducing pathogenic morbidity. Unfortunately, the factors mentioned above are not considered when attempting to moderate major diseases resulting from these influences. As a result, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and respiratory infections are free to develop and reveal themselves as top killers in our country (Leading Causes of Death, 2012). Public health and modern healthcare can provide invaluable service to their constituents by targeting pathways that optimize immunity, increase longevity, and improve health status by replacing methods that facilitate further disruption of our physiologic mechanisms. The disturbing effects on our homeostatic ability (MacDonald & Monteleione, 2005) in addition to perpetuating a dysfunctional healthcare system (Starfield, 2000) needs serious consideration.
One public health strategy used to reduce pathogenic disease is to regulate food production and distribution. Preventive practice in this area has fallen through the cracks. Animals and plants mass produced for consumption are now adulterated with pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and genetic modifications. These are all factors influencing our epigenetic predisposition. Autism is now found in 1 of 54 boys and 1 of 252 girls (CDC, 2012). Genetics can only take so much responsibility. Environmental influences that predispose us to disease and death should be a major consideration for public interest.  How public health choses to move forward must include looking backward. What we consider causes are often merely symptoms.

CDC (2012). Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). Retrieved March 31, 2012 from http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/index.html

Hastings, M., Maywood, E., and Reddy, A. (2003). A clockwork web: circadian timing in brain and periphery, in health and disease. [Abstract]. Nature Reviews Neuroscience. 4:649-661. Retrieved March 31, 2012 from http://www.nature.com/nrn/journal/v4/n8/abs/nrn1177.html
Kruse, J. (2012). Why perspective Matters? Cellular theory of relativity. Living an Optimized Life. Retrieved March 31, 2012 from http://jackkruse.com/why-perspective-matters/
Leading Causes of Death, (2012). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved March 31, 2012 from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/lcod.htm
MacDonald, T. and Monteleione, G. (2005). Immunity, inflammation, and allergy in the gut. [Abstract]. Science. 25(307) pp.1920-1925. DOI: 10.1126/science.1106442
O’Connor, A. (2012). Really? The Claim: Your Body Clock Can Determine When You Get Sick. New York Times. Retrieved March 31, 2012 from well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/27/really-the-claim-your-body-clock-can-determine-when-you-get-sick/
Starfield, B. (2000). Is US Health Really the Best in the World? The Journal of American Medical Association. 284(4):483-485. doi: 10.1001/jama.284.4.483
Taubes, G. (2012). Science, Pseudoscience, Nutritional Epidemiology, and Meat. Retrieved March 31, 2012 from http://garytaubes.com/2012/03/science-pseudoscience-nutritional-epidemiology-and-meat/
Walsh, B. (2010). Environmental Toxins. Time Magazine. Retrieved March 31, 2012 from http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1976909_1976908,00.html

Startling Autism Data

Well, the CDC just published the new numbers of our birth rate and autism 1:88. We have changed our environment so much. Look at what we are doing to our kids. Here is a report from FoxNews and a link to the CDC.

An excerpt for your tastebuds:

For 2008, the overall estimated prevalence of ASDs among the 14 ADDM sites was 11.3 per 1,000 (one in 88) children aged 8 years who were living in these communities during 2008. Overall ASD prevalence estimates varied widely across all sites (range: 4.8–21.2 per 1,000 children aged 8 years). ASD prevalence estimates also varied widely by sex and by racial/ethnic group. Approximately one in 54 boys and one in 252 girls living in the ADDM Network communities were identified as having ASDs. Comparison of 2008 findings with those for earlier surveillance years indicated an increase in estimated ASD prevalence of 23% when the 2008 data were compared with the data for 2006 (from 9.0 per 1,000 children aged 8 years in 2006 to 11.0 in 2008 for the 11 sites that provided data for both surveillance years) and an estimated increase of 78% when the 2008 data were compared with the data for 2002 (from 6.4 per 1,000 children aged 8 years in 2002 to 11.4 in 2008 for the 13 sites that provided data for both surveillance years). Because the ADDM Network sites do not make up a nationally representative sample, these combined prevalence estimates should not be generalized to the United States as a whole. 

Cinnamon, Which type should we be eating?

I have been looking into cinnamon since it is proclaimed to be very healthy. Did you know there are a few types of cinnamon? We will cover the two most used forms, ceylon and cassia.

Here are some of my findings:

There are two general types of cinnamon, cassia and ceylon cinnamon. A distinction in taste can be made between the two types. The important point is that ceylon cinnamon contains low levels of coumarin (a potential liver and kidney toxin). By contrast, cassia cinnamon contains high levels of coumarin up to 63 times more than Ceylon cinnamon powder. On the other hand, cassia cinnamon sticks consisted 18 times more coumarin compared to Ceylon sticks. So get some ceylon cinnamon in your cupboard, especially the powder form.

It is almost impossible for us to distinguish between the two types of cinnamon in powder form. I believe ceylon cinnamon is harder to find. A recent example occurred when I went to Clark’s Organic Foods grocery store and their employees did not even know about ceylon cinnamon.  So, the distinction is not commonl even among proclaimed healthophiles. Starbucks uses cassia from China, and I have not found cinnamon labeled as ceylon in any brick and mortars anywhere yet. Hopefully, that will change . . .

The situation is different when distinguishing cinnamon in the stick form. Cassia cinnamon has a relatively thick layer of the bark and is rolled into a stick. The cross-section of a Ceylon cinnamon stick looks more like a cigarette: several thin layers of bark rolled haphazardly, making its cross-sectional view appear more compact.

The origin of the cinnamon is not generally indicated on the package. If it is made in China or India, chances are it is cassia. Ceylon is usually grown in Sri Lanka, Seychelles, and Madagascar. So dump the cassia and find some ceylon cinnamon. It is better for your kidneys, liver, and packed full of antioxidants to maintain and improve your (intra/extracellular) health. If you would like to delve deeper into the complexities associated with cinnamon including nutrient content just review these two great resources, whfoods.com and Marksdailyapple. They both elucidate the many benefits of cinnamon nutritionally, medically, and provide interesting contrast between the two.

Brick and mortar update: I just found organic ceylon cinnamon sticks from Sri Lanka at Cost Plus WorldMarket.

Ceylon Cinnamon:

Cassia Cinnamon:

Cold Adaptation

Dr. Kruse’s Cold Thermogenesis Protocol (link)

3/9/2012: I have been reading how our bodies adapt to various stimuli. Recently this fantastic neurosurgeon has been writing about his n=1 experiment with cold adaption or cold therapy known as cold thermogenesis (CT). If anyone is interested in learning about this concept please view this blog. Dr. Kruse is providing a wonderful platform to learn and apply many principles associated with this in relation to longevity, and optimal health. He is doing a lot of investigating and deserves special notoriety and he just added a forum to the site. I think it is going to get big like Mark Sisson’s blog (they are writing a book together too!). As a result, I started an experiment on my own to see how it impacts my system. We have a pool, unheated at 62 degrees. So yesterday I slowly entered for about 20 minutes. It was cold but afterwards I felt great. Afterward, I showered with hot water and ended with a cold dose of shower water. I was cold for a while afterward but noticed I did not sweat as much at work and had more energy for a while. My muscles also were more constricted and I was comfortably cold for a period after CT.

Here is the best example of someone who has chronicled his CT adaptability. I believe his etiological explanations are symptomatic and correlary rather than causative and believe that science can explain it as Dr. Kruse graciously depicts here. Sure yoga can improve our breathing, help us to focus, and optimize our physical abilities, but I believe science can explain the physiologic changes occurring in cold adaptation. Anyway, here is a video showing some of Wim Hof’s abilities via cold adaptation. This leaves open to inquiry primary and secondary prevention implications and how this hormetic effect may impact longevity.

3/10/2012: Today, I waded up to my neck and stayed for 40 minutes. I will be doing this for two weeks in addition to taking cold showers, wearing fewer clothing, and driving with the AC on high. I am not taking any lab tests at this time but plan to explore relative data if what I observe with this experiment begins to reveal a cold adaptive response. Our bodies are amazing and I will add to this post as the process unfolds. It is hard to believe but my body is tolerating more after just one day. We will see how two weeks of this (and perhaps more) fares.

3/11/2012: Today I stuck it out for 45 minutes. I began to shiver at the 30 minute mark and had a resting pulse of 62. Normally it is about 73-75. I am not an athlete and appreciated this adaptive response. I felt great afterward so I decided to run. After about a half mile, my body gave out. I felt light-headed, nauseated, and really bad. I took a warm shower, rested outside in the sun, and put my head between my legs. After about 20 minutes the severity subsided. Then I went inside reclined in bed and shivered for about 20 minutes. After the shivering ended, I was fine. No more exercise after CT. That was a lesson learned.

3/15/2012: I took a couple of days off after the reaction my body had but continued to wear less clothing, windows down and AC on high in the car when I drive, and top off my daily showers off with a nice cold dose of H20. Today, I went back in the pool for 27 minutes AFTER sprinting to see how that worked. It was great. My left leg cramped up so I decided to get out, walk it off, and get ready for work. The funny thing was after I walked it off, I took a shower. The water was way too hot. It felt like it was burning so I turned the temp down all the way and did not even notice the cold. When I put my head in the cold shower, I definitely noticed since that was the only part of my body not exposed in the pool.

I have not noticed any real changes yet with the exception of increasing urination some days. This may also be due to my coffee intake, nonetheless, it is noted. I am also slightly more tolerant to cold on a more consistent basis.

3/22/2012: Yesterday I reintroduced the pool to my routine of cold showers, less clothes, and AC on high in the car. One thing of note. I was able to walk deep all the way to my neck with less dramatic effect on my body’s cold perception. I am beginning to acclimate to colder temperatures.

Here are some of my observations to date: I have a general sense of well being including just feeling more positive about things, having more energy, and liking life more. One thing is interesting. My body has a strong sense of imperviousness to pathogenic infection. It is like an invisible barrier is in place. You know the feeling you had as a teenager, you thought that nothing could happen to you? It is kind of like that. I believe it is related to hormonal stimulation such as DHEA, testosterone, GH and others. On that note, I recently woke up with an early morning erection. I cannot remember the last time that happened.  In addition, my hairline has seemed to slow or stop its receding but this started much earlier in my experiments . . . when I cut out sugars and carbs.

Another thing, after I did CT, @ 1:00 pm., I had a bullet proof coffee and some grass fed hamburger. I was not hungry all day and am going to bed without craving carbs or being hungry. I think leptin secretion is changing because I actually felt satiated without thirst until 8:00pm.

3/25/2012: The last few days my hunger has been really suppressed. I eat a BAB (big breakfast) and don’t lose the full feeling for about 6 hours. Today we went to the mountains. A storm was coming in as we played in the snow. I took off my shirt and was comfortable while it snowed/sleeted. I even lifted some downed trees and carried some chainsawed logs around; A good workout added to a little CT. When we arrived home I was sore. We went to the hot tub for some soothing therapy. I soon jumped into the cold pool and started total submersion holding my breath. When my head is under water my body does not perceive the cold as much. This is my next step: total immersion holding my breath longer and longer.

3/31/2012: Well, I actually caught a bug about 4 days ago. First, sneezing. I thought it was allergies due to walking by freshly caught grass in the spring. Later, I had pressure in my ears. The next day I woke up with scratchy ears and throat. I felt fine and the symptoms were more like an irritant than anything. Even so, I decided to take CT easy for a while. Well, the cold has been so mild I decided to take a cold dip in addition to my daily cold showers. I went straight in today, a cold day @ 68 degrees. I even swam underwater. My kids joined me on my back and did not seem bothered by the cold water. It was great. I’m still adapting and pathogens seem to be easier and easier to overcome. I’m really starting to like CT not only for the benefits but I never once thought cold would be more comfortable than warm, especially showers and pools. I was wrong. Until next update, see you later . . . .

Here is an interesting video of a Native American woman describing cultural use of CT.