Longtime readers may remember that my early longevity research centered on antioxidant synergism and selenium. In 1959, I was researching the possible role of selenium as “Factor 3” proposed by Drs. Klaus Swartz and Calvin Foltz in 1958, when I discovered a synergistic role of selenium and vitamin C. At that time, selenium was not known to be an essential nutrient for humans or other animals. In 1973, Rotruck and colleagues discovered that selenium was a component of an essential enzyme (1) and, in 1989, it was discovered that selenium forms the active site in the amino acid selenocysteine (2), which is now known to be the 21st amino acid specified by our genetic code. In fact, unraveling the mysteries of selenium biochemistry has altered our understanding of the genetic code. We now know that there are at least 20 active biochemicals made in humans that contain selenocysteine as their active site, but we still don’t know many of their functions.
Recently, an article published in the British Medical Journal attracted a lot of interest because it busts the myth about a decades old dogma (1). Aseem Malhotra, M.D., explained why saturated fat consumption is not a major risk for heart disease, but the common fractured foods and sugar used to replace saturated fats are indeed.
My wife, Barbara, was raised in a magical mushroom land in southeastern Pennsylvania between Kennett Square and Lancaster. I vividly remember the stimulation of my olfactory system as I drove through the lands neighboring Kaolin where mushroom soils and fertilizers were produced.
How can parents learn what they need to know about the most common and worrisome issues of infancy and early childhood, including colic, diarrhea, feeding problems, ear infections, colds, flu, fever, allergies and over-the-counter drugs? How can they learn about the nutrients their toddlers need? Much of the information available online and even from “official” sources is questionable. Fortunately, pediatrician Ralph K. Campbell, M.D., and nutritionist/educator Andrew W. Saul, Ph.D., have published a new book that helps address these problems.
Last month, we began a discussion about the many health benefits of Pycnogenol with Frank Schönlau, Ph.D., scientific director of Horphag Research (distributor of Pycnogenol). He joins us again this month to highlight some more exciting research about how Pycnogenol supports cardiovascular health, women’s health, skincare and more.
Through the years, there have been many clinical studies demonstrating a plethora of health benefits for Pycnogenol. So many, in fact, that since my first column on the antioxidant properties of Pycnogenol in 1991 (1), I have written six books about the (increasing) health benefits (2–7). Through the years, we have discussed Pycnogenol’s benefits on joints (8), the heart (9, 10), skin, (11), inflammation (12) and more. Now, we know better how Pycnogenol works to bring about these diverse health benefits.
Last month, Jørn Dyerberg, M.D., Dr. Med. Sc., and I discussed the false report that fish oil intake was shown to be a risk factor in prostate cancer. This month, I will continue discussing this issue with longtime omega-3 expert and co-inventor of the HS-Omega-3 Index test, William Harris, Ph.D. Dr. Harris presents several reasons why we should ignore the inappropriate report and continue eating a diet rich in fatty fish and consuming supplements rich in EPA and DHA for their many health benefits.
In our book, The Missing Wellness Factors—EPA and DHA, Jørn Dyerberg, M.D., Dr. Med. Sc., and I discuss how EPA and DHA have been shown to reduce the risk of certain cancers having an inflammatory component (1). We discussed the 2010 review by Helena Gleissman, Ph.D., and coworkers of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden that associated the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids with decreased risk of cancers of the breast, prostate, colon and kidneys (2). We also described the supportive animal study by Kelavkar et al. (3). While we did not specifically discuss prostate cancer in detail, this cancer does seem to have an inflammatory component and early studies support the premise that EPA and DHA can be protective.
We had just finished chatting with Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., in our April column when a startling pronouncement was widely circulated in the media falsely claiming that L-carnitine, one of Dr. Sinatra’s pillars of heart health, was linked to heart disease. This theoretical “thinking out loud” report needs to be corrected, so we turn right back to Dr. Sinatra for clarification.
There is widespread agreement that most people will benefit from consuming more fruits and vegetables because they are not eating enough for one reason or another. I hope readers of this column do exceptionally well in vegetable and fruit consumption, but some may have room for improvement or friends and family who need some help.