Monday, April 26, 2010

Should You have Access to Your Own Genetic Code?

In this Issue:

  • Should You Have Access to the Secrets of Your Genetic Code?

  • Three Big Reasons Why You Don’t Want to be a Vegetarian

  • Having Muscle Means YOU Call the Shots

  • Tighten Up Your Love Handles Without Going to the Gym

Should You Have Access to the Secrets of Your

Genetic Code?

Some Doctors Don’t Trust You’ll Make the Right Decisions…

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) recently published their concerns about direct-to-consumer personal genome testing. This test gives you the ability to see a map of your own genome – and the chronic diseases you may be prone to develop later in life.
So what has them so concerned? Information. Yes, they’re afraid information may be dangerous.
The doctors writing for JAMA fear you might waste your doctor’s valuable time and put a strain on the health care system by asking them to interpret the results of your personal genome test. They even imply these test results will put you at greater risk by exposing you to unneeded tests or therapies.
This is both ironic and disturbing… It appears we have a medical system that says drugs are safe and information is dangerous.
Over one hundred thousand Americans die from prescription drugs every year.
But they claim information is dangerous?
Isn’t it clear that risky prescription drugs – not information – might drain your resources and put you at greater risk?
The information you get from a genome test is open to interpretation. And some people may jump to the wrong conclusion. But you have the right to information that impacts your health and your future… and you certainly have the right to talk to your doctor without fearing that you’re wasting his or her time.
Let’s take a closer look at personal genome testing. If you decide it is right for you, I’ll show you who to talk to and where to go. All the resources you need are right here.
Your Genes are the Blueprint of Your Future…
The function of genes is to create proteins that are used for almost every function of your cells. Proteins are also critical to the function of the body’s organs and tissues.
Nearly every cell in your body depends on thousands of proteins to do their jobs in the right places at the right times. But sometimes, a mutation in a gene prevents these proteins from working properly.
A mutated gene changes the instructions for making a protein, which causes it to malfunction or to be missing entirely. When this happens to a protein that has a critical role in the body, it can cause a medical condition.
It’s helpful to understand that genes don’t cause disease. In other words, you don’t have a “cancer gene.” But you may have a mutation in a gene that makes proteins function in a way that creates cancer.
Does Genome Testing Make Sense for You?
Genome testing can tell you if your DNA has a gene mutation. This can give you a sense of relief from uncertainty. It can also help you make informed decisions about managing your own health care.
But it can also scare you senseless. If you discover you have a predisposition to heart disease or breast cancer, you may jump to the wrong conclusion.
I want to stress to you that interpreting the results of personal genome testing should be done carefully. It’s counterproductive if you run screaming for your life because your results show that you share a genetic trait with others known to get cancer.
Consider this… just because you share a trait doesn’t mean you have a disease. And it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll develop that disease in the future.
There are many factors that determine gene transcription. You have more control than you think. As I’ve mentioned in previous issues of Health Confidential, you can influence which genes get turned on and off. Diet, exercise and nutritional supplements play a big role.
If you and your doctor determine that your test results correlate to an increased risk of a particular disease, you can take preventative measures. That might mean running diagnostic tests, taking herbs or nutritional supplements known to support your body’s natural defenses to that disease, or specific diet choices to keep it from getting a foothold.
If you decide to go ahead with testing, here are a few options…
Contact These 3 Companies and Discover Your Personal Genetic Map
23 And Me:
Recently mentioned in TIME magazine, 23 And Me offers genetic testing to the general public for $399. When you order, the company sends you a kit. You send back a saliva sample and within 8 to 10 weeks you can log onto its website and view your results. Its scan includes a full list of diseases, traits and conditions.
DeCODEme’s technique is similar but more expensive, $985 for a full scan. However, you can order a cardiac risk test for $195 or a cancer risk test for $225. These last two are less expensive but won’t give you as much information as the full scan.
This company specializes in helping families with rare disorders and may not be your first choice if you’re looking for a basic scan. But if you’re concerned about specific diseases you inherited or diseases that run in your family, this might be a good option.
Costs vary per test and range from $500 to $6,000, but GeneDx works with your insurance company, so your cost may be lower than the genetic testing offered to the public.
Contact: 301-519-2100
McGuire A, Burke W. An Unwelcome Side Effect of Direct-to-Consumer Personal Genome Testing. JAMA, Dec 10, 2008-Vol 300, No. 22

Three Big Reasons Why You

Don’t Want to be a Vegetarian

Meat is Your ONLY Source of These Must-Have Nutrients

When I ask my university students if they’re vegetarians or meat eaters at least two-thirds of the class claims to be vegetarians. But most of them admit to eating fish, poultry and dairy products.
This wishful thinking is common to vegetarians. Even nutrition students are misinformed. Avoiding red meat doesn’t make you a vegetarian… and it doesn’t make you any healthier.
Here’s the bottom line: If you follow a true “vegetarian” no-meat diet, you may be robbing yourself of three critical nutrients you need to stay healthy.
Today I’ll show you how this happens and how you can avoid it. I’ll also give you easy-to-follow guidelines for safely enjoying the kind of red meat your ancestors thrived on.
On a Vegetarian Diet There’s a 93% Chance
You’re Not Getting Enough Zinc
By avoiding beef, you are over 7 times more likely to suffer a zinc deficiency. 1
Check out this graph:
And that’s bad news. As a mineral, zinc is second only to iron in concentrations in the body. It helps in the production of hundreds of enzymes that are responsible for regulating your bodily functions.

The prostate has the highest concentration of zinc in the body. And a deficiency has been linked to inflammation of the prostate known as prostatitis.

Zinc also has many anti-aging benefits. It is essential for making superoxide dismutase (SOD), the most potent antioxidant that your body has. It also gives your skin a more youthful look. Zinc is essential for your body to use collagen which makes your skin more resilient and elastic – to fight off wrinkles and saggy skin.

Zinc also keeps your vision sharp by transporting vitamin A to the retina, improving night vision. And it protects retinal cells from free radical damage while helping to slow down the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

The list of zinc’s crucial role in your health is long, including:
  • Promote a healthy immune system
  • Growth of reproductive organs
  • Fertility and conception
  • Prevent acne and regulate the activity of oil glands
  • Aid in protein synthesis and collagen formation
  • Cell reproduction and wound healing
  • Perception of taste and smell
  • Protect the liver from chemical damage
  • Bone formation
  • Maintain both vitamin E and vitamin A in the blood
  • Decrease the amount of copper absorbed
Zinc deficiency is just the start of “veggie-only” dangers. There are two other critical nutrients you only get from red meat…
Avoiding Beef Robs You of Energy …
You’ve heard me talk about it before: CoQ10 is vital to your heart’s survival.
Every cell in your body uses CoQ10 for high-octane energy. And your heart needs massive amounts of energy to pump blood… around the clock… every day.
I hope you’re paying attention, vegetarians, because red meat is the ONLY dietary source of heart-critical CoQ10.
In my own practice I see it all the time… vegetarians with critically low levels of this vital nutrient.
CoQ10 is not only vital to your heart’s ability to pump blood, it’s essential to life itself. That’s because every single organ in your body uses CoQ10 to get the energy they need to function. And if you don’t eat red meat, you’re not getting enough from your food. Period.
…And Weakens Your Mind
Here’s the third critical nutrient missing from vegetarian diets: Vitamin B12.
The body uses B12 to create red blood cells. It also helps maintain the nervous system, and is critical for brain health. B12 forms a protective layer around the nerve cells in your brain. Without that protective layer your brain can’t function properly.
Deficiency can cause memory loss, “brain fog” or worse… not to mention anemia and neuropathy where the degeneration of nerve fibers causes irreversible neurological damage.
And even vegetarians admit you can’t get reliable dietary sources of B12 from anything but animal sources like liver, fish, eggs and meat.
Urban Legend versus Real Science
Vegetarian ideas are not backed by real science. Many are simply myths or urban legends. And some of them are dangerous.
Here are a few examples:
Animal fats cause heart disease – Studies have shown that the plaque in arteries that causes heart disease is mostly made of unsaturated fats, especially polyunsaturated ones (in vegetable oil), not the saturated fat of animals like vegetarians believe.2
In fact, the body needs saturated fats to be able to use other key nutrients, like fatty-acids and fat-soluble vitamins.
Here’s another vegetarian slip-up:
Vegetarians live longer and have more energy – This one is misleading… The reports of vegetarians living longer are likely due to the fact that most of them also choose to exercise, eat less junk food, and not smoke.
One massive study on heart disease by Russell Smith, PhD. showed that when the consumption of animal products increased, mortality rates decreased!3
Moreover, a study by Burr and Sweetnam in 1982, revealed that, although vegetarians did have a slightly lower (0.11%) rate of heart disease than meat eaters (again, probably due to other healthy choices), the overall death rate was much higher for vegetarians!4
In spite of the evidence, religious and politically correct groups continue to perpetuate the myth that meat-eating peoples have shorter life spans.
Here’s another baseless myth:
Humans evolved as vegetarians – Think so? Here’s a fact: There are NO native vegetarians. Every native culture known to man – both past and present – has prized meat above all else.
You can start by looking at the modern equivalents to our ancestors. There are many native people today who live in a fashion similar to our cave man ancestors, and they have much lower rates of heart disease and other degenerative conditions than we do. What are they eating? Lots of animal fats.
  • Take the Aborigines of Australia. They eat a diet rich in animal products, and are renowned for their longevity (at least before Western diets entered the picture).5
  • Explorers report remarkably old ages among the Eskimos or Inuit (again, before western influence) who eat large quantities of whale and seal fat.6
  • How about the Russians of the Caucasus mountains? They live to great ages eating fatty pork and whole raw milk products.
  • Then there are the Hunzas, who are legendary for their robust health and longevity. They eat large portions of goat’s milk which has higher saturated fat content than cow’s milk.7
Yet, the mostly vegetarian Hindus of southern India have the shortest life spans in the world! That’s partly because of a lack of food, but also because of a distinct lack of animal protein in their diets.8

The bottom line: Vegetarians say that a diet of meat and animal fat leads to a premature death. Anthropological data from primitive societies do not support that claim.9

Here’s a common vegetarian misconception I would find laughable if it weren’t for how tragic the results can be:
You can get what you need by substituting meat and dairy with soy – Hello? Has anyone preaching the “vegetarian gospel” even read the facts? 
The fermented soy foods like miso, tamari, tempeh and natto are definitely healthful in certain amounts, but the super-processed soy products that most vegetarians consume are not. This is because unfermented soy is high in phytic acid.10 That’s an anti-nutrient that actually binds to minerals and carries them out of your body!
Vegetarians are known for their tendency to be mineral deficient. And the high grain and legume-based diet, which are full of phytates, is to blame.11, 12
Just look at the nutrition of soy. Like all legumes it’s low in cysteine, methionine, and tryptophan, all vital amino acids. Worse, soybeans contain no vitamin A or D, both of which are needed by the body to absorb the beans’ proteins!13
Check this out. Here are three key nutrients the body needs for optimal health. This chart shows beef versus vegetarian sources. You be the judge.
Vegetarian Foods Contain ZERO B12 and CoQ10
Daily Value
6 mcg
15 mg
%Daily Value
Beef (3oz)
Tofu (1/2cup)
Pinto Beans (1/2cup)
Black Beans (1/2cup)
Chickpeas (1/2cup)
Peanut Butter (2T)
Almonds (1oz)
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture; Iowa State University
As you can see by the table above, there are no vegetarian sources of vitamin B12 or CoQ10… and only limited sources of zinc. That makes a balanced diet difficult.
Soy is no substitute for meat. Not only does soy rob you of essential nutrients, it can actually damage your health. Soy has high levels of phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens feed tumors and can destroy your cognitive function. And they can severely affect development in children. Parents who feed their infants soy-based formula are feeding them the hormonal equivalent of 5 birth-control pills a day!14
Vegetarians Don’t Like to Admit It, but We Were All Born to Eat Meat
Simple fact is our ancestors thrived on meat. It’s part of the metabolism that is in your DNA. It’s perfectly natural to crave it, and to want to sink your teeth into a juicy steak. Don’t let myths or political correctness make you feel guilty about that.
Your body is telling you what you need. But you need to get real meat, not the poor excuse for meat that big corporations are shrink-wrapping for your local grocers.
Grass-fed beef is a much better option… It has a potent nutritional value, and is packed with CoQ10, zinc and vitamin B12 – and it has the proper ratio of omega fatty-acids. Commercial grain-fed cattle is poisonous by comparison.
Follow These 5 Simple Guidelines for Finding High-Quality Beef
  • Grass-fed beef is growing in popularity so you may find it at one of your local grocery stores. Places like Whole Foods usually have a wide selection of grass-fed meats, and they are often locally raised.
  • The best option I’ve found is HERE. I’ve been buying from them for years and I know the owner personally. Their quality is exceptional and they have a number of other raw and grass-fed products on hand. Their butters and cheeses are out-of-this-world delicious. By the way… when you order on line, your order is shipped to you by overnight mail – and your food is never compromised.
  • If you can’t get grass-fed, your best bet is beef raised without hormones or antibiotics. This meat will most likely be grain-fed but it’s widely available and clearly marked on the package. Usually grocery stores will separate this meat from the rest. If you’re unsure, just ask someone behind the meat counter and they’ll point it out if they have it. And don’t be shy about striking up a conversation… even if your grocery store doesn’t sell grass-fed or hormone-free beef they can often tell you where to find it.
  • If you’re not sure about the quality, here’s a simple rule of thumb: the cheaper the meat, the more contaminated it’s likely to be. When you see those super-saver sales… like the kind advertised on TV or stuffed into your mailbox at home, you can assume that it’s grain-fed and pumped full of every chemical and hormone known to man. It doesn’t pay to eat cheap meat.
  • Same rule applies when you’re going out to eat… meat from fast food restaurants is the worst. Especially those places offering you an entire burger or sandwich for 79 cents or whatever their offer of the moment happens to be. It’s poison.
If you’re still not convinced that a vegetarian diet is a disaster waiting to happen, you need to be vigilant about your supplements. You need a full range of B vitamins, minerals and a powerful CoQ10 source – preferably the reduced ubiquinol you find in my Accel. This is critical… no exceptions.  
I recommend a homocysteine-reducing formula for your B vitamins, as they usually have a powerful blend of the ones you need most. They’re easy to find at your local vitamin store. For minerals – aside from zinc – I recommend you take chromium, selenium and boron. You can find them at vitamin or health food stores. Just follow the directions on the label.
For boron I recommend taking 3 to 6 mg a day. Selenium you should get at least 55 micrograms a day, and for chromium, 100 to 200 micrograms a day.
Die-hard vegetarians should have regular blood tests to protect against deficiency – especially for CoQ10. Many of my vegetarian patients have low CoQ10 levels, (1 mcg/ml or below). Try and at least double that. And for therapeutic levels, shoot for 3 to 4 mcg/ml.
If your doctor won’t order a test for CoQ10, you can go to Quest labs. You can find a location near you by searching their website:  
1Waylett, D.K.; The Role of Beef as a Source of Vital Nutrients in Healthy Diets. Prepared for National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Arlington, VA: ENVIRON; July 1999.
2 CV Felton and others. Dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids and composition of human aortic plaques. Lancet, 1994, 344:1195.
3 R Smith and E Pinckney. Diet, Blood Cholesterol, and Coronary Heart Disease: A Critical Review of the Literature--vol. 2. (Vector Enterprises; CA)., 1991.
4 ML Burr and PM Sweetnam. Vegetarianism, dietary fiber, and mortality. Amer J Clin Nutr, 1982, 36:873.
5 WA Price. Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, 163-187.
6 V. Stefansson. The Fat of the Land, (Macmillan; NY), 1956.
7 G.Z. Pitskhelauri. The Long Living of Soviet Georgia. (Human Sciences Press; NY), 1982; (b) Thomas Moore. Lifespan: What Really Affects Human Longevity (Simon & Schuster; NY), 1990.
8 HL Abrams. The relevance of paleolithic diet in determining contemporary nutritional needs. J Appl Nutr, 1979, 31:1,2:43-59.
9 HL Abrams. Vegetarianism: An anthropological/nutritional evaluation. J Appl Nutr, 1980, 32:2:53-87.
10 JN Freeland-Graves and others. Zinc status in vegetarians. J Am Diet Assoc 1980 Dec 77:655-6
11 BF Harland and others. Nutritional status and phytate: zinc and phytate x calcium:zinc dietary molar ratios of lacto-ovo vegetarian Trappist monks: 10 years later. J Am Diet Assoc 1988; 88: 1562-6
12 AS Sandberg. The effect of food processing on phytate hydrolysis and availability of iron and zinc. Adv Exp Med Biol, 1991, 289: 499-508
13 L. Dunne. The Nutrition Almanac, 3rd edition, 306.
14 M Fitzpatrick. Soy Isoflavones: Panacea or Poison? Jnl of PPNF, Fall 1998.

Having Muscle Means YOU Call the Shots…

No Matter What Your Age

Back when you passed your 30th birthday, you started losing something vital: Your muscle mass.
Every year you lose more and more and it never lets up. Very often it’s hard to notice. Muscle gets replaced with fat. And unless you’re watching out for it, you won’t see it happening.
But you’ll feel it…
Losing your muscle mass opens a Pandora’s box of new problems:
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Chronic illness
  • Trouble in the bedroom
  • Weight gain
  • Wrinkled, sagging skin
  • Clouded thinking
  • Forgetfulness
  • Apathy
  • Depression
  • Brittle bones
Like a progressive disease, your body simply “wastes away” over the years. In fact, skeletal muscle mass drops between 35% to 40% by the time you reach 80.1 That’s about three pounds every decade.
But you don’t need to worry. That won’t be you.
Today I’ll tell you exactly how to avoid the worst catastrophe of all… and it’s much easier than you might think.
Muscle = Power and Youth
Muscle loss is just as threatening as osteoporosis. Maybe even more so… but you won’t see any TV commercials telling you to take a drug for it. (There aren’t any.) Osteoporosis is a serious problem and you shouldn’t ignore it. But drugs aren’t always the best answer.
Ironically, it’s the loss of muscle that causes your bones to weaken. In a young adult, the stress and pull your muscles put on your bones help them stay dense and strong. But when you lose that muscle power, your bones become light and brittle.
Your dwindling muscle mass also dramatically increases your chances of falling down and breaking a bone. This happens to be the leading cause of injury and death in older adults.2
Muscles do a whole lot more than help you move around and lift things. They are responsible for a host of vital bodily functions.
Muscles store energy in the form of glycogen—your body’s main source of instant power for living. They also ramp up your metabolism and kick hormone production into gear—especially testosterone, essential for both men and women.
Use this Muscle Building Secret for More Power and Better Mobility…

You’ll See Results in Just a Few Short Weeks
The most powerful tool for building muscle is exercise. The right exercise can reverse just about every change of aging. But not just any exercise will do. You need to do resistance or “strength” training. And you want to work a big muscle group like your legs. This is the key to building muscle—and maintaining it.
In one study, researchers launched 12 weeks of low-intensity leg training in a group of men aged 69 to 74. After lightly working out three times a week for three months, they experienced a 9% to 22% increase in strength in their upper leg musculature.3
Another study examined the effects of a high-intensity, three times per week lower extremity workout on men with an average age of 64. At the end of the study the men showed an increase in upper leg strength ranging from 107% to 226%.4
And this isn’t just for men: women benefit, too. In a study looking at the effects of whole-body resistance training in a group of women and men with an average age of 68 years, thirty weeks of three times a week training resulted in an increase of upper leg strength of 30% to 97%.5
Below are just a few of the problems you face as you age and the benefits you’ll see from resistance training:
Resistance Training Benefit
Increased susceptibility to disease Improves immune system function
Loss of muscle and increased body fatAids in loss of fat and builds muscle
Increased risk of a cardiac event (heart attack, stroke) Lowers blood pressure, improves circulation, lowers cholesterol
Slowing of mental function and alertness Improves reaction times and mental clarity
Insomnia Improves quality of sleep
DepressionRelieves stress, improves self-esteem and outlook
Immobility and susceptibility to falls Improves balance and coordination
Resource: Klatz, R. Hormones of Youth 1999

Rebuild Your Muscle Mass in Less

Than 1 Hour a Week
I usually recommend body weight exercise because they resemble the challenges you face in your everyday environment. You’re also avoiding the kinds of stress injuries that conventional training techniques can cause by unnaturally isolating a single muscle group and working it to death—something your body just wasn’t designed to do.
Here’s something you can do right now… they’re called alternating lunges.
With your hands on your hips, take a step forward with your right leg until your front knee is bent 90 degrees and your back knee almost touches the ground. Push off from your leading foot and return to the starting position. Repeat with your left leg. (See pictures below...)
Make sure you keep your back straight and hold your head high. Drop with your hips as you step forward. Push up using your thigh muscles. Start by doing ten, five with each leg. As you develop more lower-body strength, add more reps to your routine.
This workout is simple but it gets results. It won’t take more than 10 minutes at first… 20 at the most. Do it three times a week and you’ll see great results. That’s less than an hour for the whole week. 
Fig 1. Alternating Lunges
Fuel New Muscle Growth with These 4 Power-Boosting Nutrients
Protein provides the building blocks for your muscles. So eat protein at every meal. Cross starchy foods and carbohydrates off your shopping list. Go for protein-rich foods like lean meat, milk, cheese and beans.
Add a protein shake to your daily routine if you can’t get enough from your diet. You should shoot for 100 to 120 grams of protein a day… at least.
There are also a number of inexpensive, widely available supplements that will keep your muscles strong and powerful.
• L-Carnitine: This supplement plays an essential role in maintaining a healthy body. It provides a host of benefits to your body including converting fatty acids into energy, helps you lose weight, increases mental alertness, protects your heart, helps men in the bedrrom and improves diabetes.
I take 500 milligrams of the L-carnitine form. It is important that you choose naturally occurring L-carnitine and not synthetic D, L-carnitine. The D-form interferes with the natural action of the L-carnitine.
• Creatine: This is one of the safest and best-researched supplements to increase muscle mass and strength. It enhances performance, endurance, strength and speed and will boost the amount of muscle you pack on during resistance training.
I recommend a minimum of 5 grams of creatine daily until you build the muscle you need.
• L-Arginine: Another supplement for muscle building. One double-blind study measured the change in muscle strength and lean muscle mass in men taking L-arginine. 6
Twenty-two men on a strength-training program took either the L-arginine supplement or a sugar pill. The men taking the arginine supplement showed a significant increase in muscle strength and lean muscle mass after only five weeks. I have used arginine-containing supplements for 20 years. Like creatine, it is natural and safe.
Daily doses ranging from 500 mg to 1g of L-arginine will support your muscle growth.
• Carnosine: This is a multi-functional compound made from two amino acids. It’s naturally present in your nerve and muscle cells. It protects the integrity of the muscle you have, and will help ensure that the muscle you are building will be healthy and last.
I recommend taking 500 mg of carnosine, twice a day.
• Glutamine: The amino acid glutamine is an important muscle-building supplement for a couple of reasons. For starters, glutamine helps stabilize your energy levels. More importantly, it actually boosts the hormones that tells your body to shed fat and build muscle. In addition, I routinely use glutamine in athletes to prevent muscle breakdown.
For maximum muscle growth, take glutamine as a powder at 5 grams per day. You can dissolve it in water or put it in a protein shake.

1Janssen et al. “Low relative skeletal muscle mass (sarcopenia) in older persons is associated with functional impairment and physical disability.” Journal of the American Geriatric Society. 2002. 50(5):889-96.
2 Drummond et al. “Skeletal muscle protein anabolic response to resistance exercise and essential amino acids is delayed with aging.” Journal of Applied Physiology. 2008. 104(5):1452-61.
3 Aniansson A, Gustafsson E. “Physical training in elderly men.” Clinical Physiology. 1981. 1:87-98.
4 Frontera WR et al. “Strength conditioning in older men: skeletal muscle hypertrophy and improved function.” Journal of Applied Physiology. 1992. 64: 1038-44.
5 Pyka et al. Muscle strength and fiber adaptations to a year-long resistance training program in elderly men and women. Journals of Gerontology. 1994. 49:22-27.
Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness. 1989. 29(1):52-56.



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