Nosocomial Infections
by Brian Fraser
Copyright 2012, 2015
Last modified  8-4-15a

Nosocomial Infections
    The Problem and Its Scope
    My Method of Inquiry
Healthcare Mythologies
How to improve American healthcare
    Hypothyroidism:
    High blood pressure:
    Excess weight, Obesity, Diabetes and "Diabesity":
    Critical nutritional deficiencies: (comments on cancer)

The Problem and Its Scope

"Each year, approximately two million patients (about 10% of those hospitalized) in U.S. hospitals develop a nosocomial (healthcare-associated) infection. These infections result in an estimated 90,000 deaths, immeasurable suffering and disability and are associated with billions of dollars in increased healthcare costs."  (Central Service Technical Manual, Jack D. Ninemeier, Ph.D, editor, 6th ed., 2003)

To help you understand that better, let's suppose you were in a bad auto accident You had internal injuries and broke several  bones.  The surgeons at the hospital put you back together with various pins, screws, plates and lots of stitches, both internally and externally. This is an "invasive procedure" but it saves your life. Your immune system, however, goes into a state of hibernation for few days under these circumstances, and despite being loaded with antibiotics, you develop an infection. This infection is not something you had before you went to the hospital, and it was not due to the auto accident either. You are now in that unfortunate 10% of patients who develop nosocomial infections.

Related news items:

"Hospital infection rates continue alarming rise", 4/13/2010, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/36465334/ns/health-health_care/ ;

"Hospitals hurt 18 percent of patients, study says", Denise Grady, 11/25/2010, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40370892/ns/health-the_new_york_times/ ;

"Study: Inexpensive Controls Cut Hospital Infections", by Alan, on September 9th, 2011, http://sciencebusiness.technewslit.com/?p=5960

"Filthy surgical instruments: The hidden threat in America's operating rooms", Joe Eaton,
http://www.publicintegrity.org/2012/02/22/8207/filthy-surgical-instruments-hidden-threat-americas-operating-rooms

"Three million Europeans catch infections in hospital annually ", Kate Kelland (July 2013) http://uk.news.yahoo.com/three-million-europeans-catch-infections-hospital-annually-102353378.html

And to keep this one thing in perspective, consider that  in general "Medical errors kill more than a quarter million people every year in the United States and injure millions. Add them all up and "you have probably the third leading cause of death" in the country . . ."  http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/09/health/medical-mistakes/index.html?hpt=hp_c1   But that is another topic.

See also:

"How to Stop Hospitals From Killing Us",  Marty Makaryhttp://finance.yahoo.com/news/stophospitals-killing-us-021900611.html ) "Medical errors kill enough people to fill four jumbo jets a week."

"Hospital errors lead to 'dead' patient opening eyes during organ harvest", Michelle Castillo (2013) http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-204_162-57592954/hospital-errors-lead-to-dead-patient-opening-eyes-during-organ-harvesting/

http://www.uscfc.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/CAMPBELL-SMITH.MOJABI-PROFFER.12.13.2012.pdf
http://www.uscfc.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/MORAN.LAWSON011211.pdf
http://www.uscfc.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/CAMPBELLSMITH.%20DOE77082710.pdf

My Method of Inquiry

My approach was simple. I decided to circulate a few published articles that seemed relevant and appropriate for reducing nosocomial infections and see what the culture at the hospital did with them. Here are some samples of the articles:

__________

"Keys to Safer Hospitals",  Donald M. Berwick, M.D., Newsweek Dec 12, 2005, http://www.newsweek.com/id/51386

Dr. Berwick gives the six key measures of the 100,000 Lives Campaign as:

1. Prevent respirator pneumonia
2. Prevent IV catheter infections
3. Stop surgical site infections
4. Respond rapidly to early-warning signals.
5. Make heart-attack care absolutely reliable
6. Stop medication errors

Thousands of hospitals were enrolled in the 100,000 Lives Campaign. The article gives more details. I'll use this list to provide somewhat of a frame work for the presentation that follows.

_____

"Pilot Study: Orally-Administered Yeast b1,3-glucan Prophylactically Protects Against Anthrax Infection and Cancer in Mice", Vaclav Vetvicka, PhD, Kiyomi Terayama, MD, Rosemonde Mandeville, MD, PhD, Pauline Brousseau, PhD, Bill Kournikakis, PhD, Gary Ostroff, PhD, The Journal of the American Nutraceutical Association, Vol. 5, No. 2, Spring 2002 ( www.biotherapharma.com/pdf/glucan-reprint5-2.pdf   )

This article is relevant to items 1,2, and 3 in the list above.

I came across this article when trying to estimate how difficult growing and weaponizing anthrax spores would be for terrorists. The anthrax found at the Senate Hart building was of very  high quality. It probably had a density of 500 billion spores per gram. This is "over weaponized" by a factor of ten. It would have been extremely dustyalmost like smoke. If a test tube with a little of the fresh spores were shaken, the dust would not settle out for several minutes. The chemicals apparently required to make it are widely used in industry, and the equipment could be made by a clever and determined experimentalist.   A terrorist would need only a few grams (not tons) of the spores. Production of quantities this small would have a small manufacturing footprint, probably no bigger than a storage shed or a large closet. Keep that in mind when you read the article cited above.(See also "Bioterroism", Lara Simmons, Managing Infection Control, April 2007, p.59-66, http://www.manageinfection.com/database/dms/mic0407w58.pdf )

Although the article is about anthrax and mice, the point I want to make is that  b 1,3-glucan can be used to stimulate a human patient's immune system:

"b1,3-glucan also stimulates phagocytosis of neutrophils. In one study, the killing efficiency of neutrophils was increased 20- to 50-fold. . . . b1,3-glucan has been shown to increase lymphocyte production, NK cell activation, and activation of macrophages. "

This illustrates a point that seems to have been overlooked in the nosocomial infection senario. Hospital infection control programs focus on hospital systems (as noted above) and on medical interventions (like the use of antibiotics). Those are all necessary. But administrators should also focus on improving the patient's own immune system.  If you knew you were going to be a patient having an invasive surgery, wouldn't you want to know how to produce a several-fold increase in your immune system efficiency?  Apparently, surgeons are coming to this realization:

"Prevention of infection
To date there have been numerous studies and clinical trials conducted with the soluble yeast -glucan and the whole glucan particulate. These studies have ranged from the impact of -glucan on post-surgical nosocomial infections to the role of yeast -glucans in treating anthrax infections.

Post-surgical infections are a serious challenge following major surgery with estimates of 25-27% infection rates post-surgery.[23] Alpha-Beta Technologies conducted a series of human clinical trials in the 1990’s to evaluate the impact of -glucan therapy for controlling infections in high-risk surgical patients.[23] In the initial trial 34 patients were randomly (double-blind, placebo-controlled) assigned to treatment or placebo groups. Patients that received the PGG-glucan had significantly fewer infectious complications than the placebo group (1.4 infections per infected patient for PGG-glucan group vs. 3.4 infections per infected patient for the placebo group). Additional data from the clinical trial revealed that there was decreased use of intravenous antibiotics and shorter stays in the intensive care unit for the patients receiving PGG-glucan vs. patients receiving the placebo.

A subsequent human clinical trial [24] further studied the impact of -glucan for reducing the incidence of infection with high-risk surgical patients. The authors found a similar result with a dose-response trend (higher dose provided greater reduction in infectious occurrences than low doses). In the human clinical trial 67 patients were randomized and received either a placebo or a dose of 0.1, 0.5, 1.0 or 2.0 mg PGG-Glucan per kilogram of body weight. Serious infections occurred in four patients that received the placebo, three patients that received the low dose (0.1 mg/kg) of PGG-Glucan and only one infection was observed at the highest dose of 2.0 mg/kg of PGG-Glucan.
"   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beta-glucan#Cancer

Surgery
The nonspecific immunostimulation of yeast derived glucan appears to have significant potential as a treatment strategy against post-operative infections. In a post splenectomy mouse model, glucan increased survival vs. controls via 75% as opposed to 27%, Severe sepsis enhances risks in both adult and pediatric patients. These works suggest another option beyond prophylactic antibiotics and bacterial vaccines that often have limited success against morbidity and mortality.
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beta-glucan#Surgery

Quality b 1,3-glucan is available commercially and is used as a dietary supplement. I have had good results with Beta-1,3D Glucan by Beta Force. I think patients facing an invasive surgery should use it too.

Links: http://www.beta13dglucan.org/betaglucantestimonials.html

A more conventional approach, and for use by surgeons, has been reported in two studies in the New England Journal of Medicine:

The study demonstrates that showering those patients with soap treated with antiseptic chlorhexidine and rubbing their noses with antibiotic nasal ointment reduces surgery-related infections by 60 percent.

and

The second study compared surgery patients cleaned, pre-surgery, in the area on the patient’s body where surgery will be performed with chlorhexidine and with iodine. The studies showed that patients cleaned with chlorhexidine-alcohol, rather than povidone-iodine, developed 40 percent fewer infections.  Yet, hospitals continue to use iodine in 75 percent of procedures.

See:  "Studies Show Many Hospital-Acquired Infections Are Preventable", http://www.passenlaw.com/blog/brain-injury-law/studies-show-postsurgical-infections-preventable

_____

"D-Ribose: Energize Your Heart, Save Your Life. Rejuvenate Cardiac Cellular Energy Production", By Julius G. Goepp, MD, LE Magazine May 2008,  http://search.lef.org/LEFCMS/aspx/PrintVersionMagic.aspx?CmsID=115650   (See also patent 20030045482 )

"A natural ingredient for building new ATP, D-ribose is an important component of a “cardiac rejuvenation” regimen. Animal studies show that it dramatically increases ATP levels in the critical reperfusion period after a heart attack (the time when blood flow is restored and cells use energy at extremely high levels to repair the damage). This provides much-needed energy levels to block further injury and start the healing process. . . . These studies show that D-ribose not only enhances cardiologists’ ability to accurately gauge the degree of heart damage, but also suggest strongly that this supplement might hasten the recovery of healthy heart function following a heart attack. "

This article is relevant to item 5 in the list above.

Infusing ribose directly into the heart during surgery produced "dramatic results". These studies were done several years ago. I don't know if they are still considered to be experimental. But ribose can always be administered as an oral dietary supplement.

_____

"Early enteral nutrition in critically ill patients with a high-protein diet enriched with arginine, fiber, and antioxidants compared with a standard high-protein diet. The effect on nosocomial infections and outcome", JPEN: Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition,  Nov/Dec 2001  by Caparros, Tomas,   Lopez, Jorge,  Grau, Teodoro, http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3762/is_200111/ai_n8954706

"Results: The patients in the control and study groups had similar baseline characteristics. The study group had a lower incidence of catheter-related sepsis (0.4 episodes/1000 ICU days) than the control group (5.5 episodes/1000 ICU days) . . ."

"Increased energy expenditure, elevated protein catabolism, and the loss of lean body mass are the metabolic landmarks in critical illness that can lead to a decreased immune function. Moreover, prolonged fasting and the use of total parenteral nutrition (TPN) impair gut barrier function and could increase intestinal permeability and facilitate bacterial translocation. Both fasting and TPN can be related to the development of nosocomial infections, the appearance of multiple-organ failure, and death.

Early enteral nutrition has been advocated as the preferred method of nutrition in critically ill patients, not only because it can mitigate protein catabolism and support immune function, but also because it can preserve intestinal function. Despite some conflicting results, early enteral nutrition has been shown to reduce postoperative septic complications in surgical, trauma, and critically ill patients"

This article is relevant to item 2 in the list above. See also:

"An apple a day? Study shows soluble fiber boosts immune system", ACES News, March. 2, 2010, http://www.aces.uiuc.edu/news/stories/news5055.html (Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, Gregory Freund, May 2010, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/08891591 ):

"Soluble fiber changes the personality of immune cells--they go from being pro-inflammatory, angry cells to anti-inflammatory, healing cells that help us recover faster from infection . . ."

Other articles:

"Not just an innocent bystander: Unusual suspect holds the secret for new approach to treat severe sepsis " http://www.physorg.com/news204989527.html    ("By administering hemopexin, which provides protection against organ destruction, we open the way for an alternative way to treat sepsis (aside from killing the pathogen) that may potentially save the lives of thousands of patients in intensive care units worldwide."

Field, C. J., "Nutrients and their role in host resistance to infection", Journal of  Leukocyte Biology,  2002 Jan; 71(1):16-32; http://www.jleukbio.org/content/71/1/16.full

Wilmore D. W.,  "The effect of glutamine supplementation in patients following elective surgery and accidental injury", Journal of Nutrition, 2001 Sep; http://jn.nutrition.org/cgi/content/full/131/9/2543S ; http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-878-GLUTAMINE.aspx?activeIngredientId=878&activeIngredientName=GLUTAMINE ;

Ziegler, Thomas R.,"Glutamine Supplementation in Cancer Patients Receiving Bone Marrow Transplantation and High Dose Chemotherapy", Journal of Nutrition, 2001;131:2578S-2584S http://jn.nutrition.org/cgi/content/full/131/9/2578S

Fan YP, Yu JC, Kang WM, Zhang Q. "Effects of glutamine supplementation on patients undergoing abdominal surgery", Chinese Medical Sciences Journal,  2009 Mar;24(1):55-9. http://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/ebm/record/19382426/full_citation/Effects_of_glutamine_supplementation_on_patients_undergoing_abdominal_surgery _ (http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/glutamine-000307.htm)

"Hospital-Acquired Infections: Beating Back the Bugs",http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=beating-back-the-bugs

"More Treatment, More Mistakes", Sanjay Gupta (July 31, 2012)
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/01/opinion/more-treatment-more-mistakes.html

See also: What kind of Solution? 

_____

Healthcare Mythologies

"Disinfecting Wipes May Spread, Not Kill, Germs", Allyson T. Collins, ABC News Medical Unit, June 3, 2008, http://abcnews.go.com/print?id=4989093

"Colo. hospital blew whistle on contaminated wipes" , 3/7/2011, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41914778/ns/health-infectious_diseases/

The Case Against Experts
Why advice from the pros can leave us hanging.
by David H. Freedman, June 24, 2010
http://www.newsweek.com/2010/06/24/the-case-against-experts.html

Making Sense of Medicine, http://www.msomed.org/

from "FDA: Failure, Deception, Abuse
The Story of an Out-of-Control Government Agency and What it Means for Your Health", http://fdafailuredeceptionabuse.com/pdf/FDA_highlights_2010.pdf

Marijuana:

"The FDA next affirms that a collection of federal agencies have together concluded that marijuana is both dangerous and medically valueless, based on scientific studies in humans and animals." (All Smoke The FDA's statement on medical marijuana isn't about science", Sydney Spiesel, Monday, April 24, 2006, http://www.slate.com/id/2140503 ; "F.D.A. Dismisses Medical Benefit From Marijuana", http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/21/health/21marijuana.html    )

but  . . .

"Smoking or otherwise consuming marijuana — Latin name Cannabis sativa — has a medical history that dates back thousands of years." Science News, June 19, 2010, p. 16-20   http://www.sciencenews.org/view/feature/id/59872/title/Not_just_a_high

http://www.wakingtimes.com/2015/03/07/history-of-cannabis-and-the-truth-behind-its-prohibition/

_____

"The truth shall make you free, but first it shall make you angry."

"As scarce as truth is, the supply has always been in excess of the demand."
("Truth", Heritage Foundation Leadership for America Lecture Series, No. 7, p.4)

How to improve American healthcare

Most proposals for fixing American healthcare get entangled with the problem while trying to fix it. However, we should not have these problems in the first place. A better approach is "obviation". Here are some ideas:

1. Change the focus of so-called "healthcare" from that of  "sickness care" to true health care. This will be an enormously difficult change for the current system in America. But it could save untold billions of dollars and much personal grief.

2. Fix the FDA:  http://fdafailuredeceptionabuse.com/pdf/FDA_highlights_2010.pdf   This Administration is one awful mess and it makes pursuit of health far more difficult than it should be.

3. Fix the food processing industry. Our foods are overloaded with sugar, corn syrup, soybean oil, salt, and the wrong kind of fats. Many foods are over-processed and missing many of their original nutrients. The American diet is also deficient in iodine and vitamin D3. Additionally, we should  require that junk foods be labeled with a disclaimer that says "This food does not meet generally accepted criteria for promoting health."

"The food should not be taken internally." --MASH

4. Get employers out of the health insurance business. Let individuals choose and pay for their own healthcare packages. This would have two effects:  First it would give consumers an incentive to stay healthy, and give insurance companies an incentive to reward those who do with discounts. Second, it opens healthcare to free-market forces and encourages subscribers to be "informed consumers".  Consumers would have access to statistics on success rates, infection rates, average costs, billing error frequencies,  hidden charges, alternative treatments, and so forth. Healthcare providers that charge $1000 for an ordinary toothbrush would not stay in business for very long with informed consumers! Market forces would drive healthcare costs downward instead of upward.

Health care issues should also be separated from health insurance issues.  Why should contraception be a health insurance issue? Should my auto insurance pay for oil changes?

5. Address "best bang for the buck" healthcare issues:

Hypothyroidism: This is far more widespread than most people realize. It is a tricky disorder to diagnose and treat, as it usually presents itself clinically in some other form like heart disease, obesity, diabetes, depression, etc. The guy who comes into a clinic all banged up from an auto accident may actually be suffering from sub-clinical hypothyroidism; the disorder results in an increase in reaction time and slowed mental processes, which can lead to accidents. References (the books are highly recommended):

Hypothyroidism: the Unsuspected Illness (Broda Barnes, 1976)
Solved: The Riddle of Illness (Stephen Langer and James Scheer, 2006)

The High Cholesterol Thyroid Connection Undiagnosed Thyroid Disease May Be the Reason for Your High Cholesterol, Mary Shomon ( 2009),  http://thyroid.about.com/cs/symptomsproblems/a/cholesterol.htm  

"High Cholesterol: New Strategy for an old Battle", Silas Hoffman, Life Extension magazine, November 12, 2012, p. 87-93;  http://www.lef.org/lefcms/aspx/Zmags.aspx?pid=4f7a816d&source=CVK200E p.89-95

"Hypothyroidism - Diagnosis", http://www.umm.edu/patiented/articles/how_serious_hypothyroidism_000038_6.htm

"Studies Show That TSH Is Unreliable in the Diagnosis of Hypothyroidism According to Article Contributed by Kent Holtorf, M.D. in Clinical Geriatrics"  (2012), http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/studies-show-that-tsh-is-unreliable...

 

High blood pressure: This silent disease causes all kinds of havoc to bodily systems, especially the brain, heart, eyes, and kidneys. Individuals can test their own blood pressure with an inexpensive kit, or at stations often found in grocery and drug stores (often for free). A visit to the dentist might be another good checkpoint, or at least a reminder of the importance of monitoring the BP with occasional checks.

Various medications and nutritional supplements can be used to normalize blood pressure. And they seem to work a lot better if blood glucose fluctuations are controlled first. (See next article)

Excess weight, Obesity, Diabetes and "Diabesity": 

These three topics are closely related. They have  multiple detrimental effects, are very serious, and very costly to American healthcare (even more so than cancer). Much has been written about them. What follows is a quick summary with an emphasis on practical solutions.

The common form of obesity is related to spikes in blood glucose levels that result in ultimate conversion of glucose to fat. This happens in such a way that the fat gets stored but is never retrieved and "burned off". Fasting  blood glucose levels in a non-diabetic person are around 95 mg/dL. If a  non-diabetic person eats two slices of whole-wheat bread with low-fat turkey breast, blood glucose can spike to 140-180 mg/dL. Two effects result immediately:

1. The body dumps insulin into the blood stream to rapidly lower the glucose levels.

2. The red blood cells acquire a "rouleau" formation (like a stack of coins) which decreases effective surface area and lowers the efficiency of carbon dioxide/oxygen exchange.

RouleauxBloodCells.gif (12139 bytes)

Rouleaux Blood Cells
http://img.tfd.com/mk/R/X2604-R-25A.png
http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com

Both these effects contribute to the well known "crash" of the individual's energy about a half-hour after such a meal. The crash can last about two hours.

High Glycemic Index (GI) foods are those that can be rapidly converted to glucose by the body. Examples:

Food GI

Whole grain bread   

  72

White bread   

  69

Shredded Wheat cereal   

  67

Table sugar (sucrose   

  59

Mars bar   

  68

Snickers bar   

  41

Chocolate cake   

  38

Ice cream   

  37

Note that whole grain bread is the highest in this short list, and that even chocolate cake and ice cream are much lower!

"That is why, say, eating a three-egg omelet that triggers no increase in glucose does not add to body fat, while two slices of whole wheat bread increases blood glucose to high levels, triggering insulin and growth of fat, particularly abdominal or deep visceral fat." (Life Extension magazine, Vol. 17:10 (October, 2011), p.80-87)

There are "work arounds" that can lower the blood sugar spikes.

1. Try to avoid foods that have a high GI index. Be sure to look up their glycemic index  because they are often not what you think they are, as the above table may suggest.

2. Taking soluble fiber supplements before eating high glycemic foods can blunt the blood sugar spikes. Examples are Benefiber and Metamucil (or their generic versions). Tasteless Benefiber can be mixed with any liquid that has significant sugar content (or glycemic effects) such as orange juice, canned vegetable soup, and even milk, wine, commercial salad dressing, and muffin mix.

Supplemental soluble fiber may decrease absorption of beneficial oils and fats.  Premixing fiber powder (such as Metamucil) with some granular lecithin (low peroxide count) might be a way to decrease this side-effect.

3. Certain nutritional supplements can significantly blunt blood sugar spikes. Green coffee bean extract, such as CoffeeGenic (400 mg) by Life Extension is an example (I found it also significantly lowers my blood pressure.) Cravings for food, especially sweets and carbohydrates, will be lessened when blood sugar levels are stabilized.  ("Discovering Coffee's Unique Health Benefits" by Michael Downey in Life Extension Magazine (Jan 2012) pages 39-49,  http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/60a41aa3#/60a41aa3/40 )

Other supplements that can reduce the detrimental effects of glycation of proteins and fats are benfotiamine, pyridoxal 5 prime phosphate, and carnosine. Pomegranate extracts  might also be useful.  (Example: Life Extension's "Mitochondrial Energy Optimizer" (#01568) which includes pyridoxal 5' phosphate, carnosine, benfotiamine, and R-lipoic acid)

Certain amino acids may also reduce glycation and post-meal sugar spikes:

"Individual amino acids, especially the ones bestowed with antioxidant property like N-acetyl cysteine and taurine seem to have beneficial effects by their ability to reduce intracellular oxidative stress generation and glycooxidation. Other amino acids like glycine and lysine may be good candidates for the prevention of glycation. Nutritional intervention with taurine, phenyl alanine or branched chain amino acids can improve insulin sensitivity and post-prandial glucose disposal." http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19275668

4. Blood tests are useful for monitoring glucose levels. The hemoglobin A1c test is probably the most useful overall indicator, as it averages in a single test the glucose profile over 2 or 3 months. Also, kits for daily spot checks of glucose levels are sold at many drug stores. I bought one of these and ran several tests per day on my glucose levels (especially after getting up, and 1 and 2 hours after meals). The information obtained was a real eye-opener. I learned how to use the fiber, CoffeeGenic, benfotiamine, and the pyridoxal 5' phosphate to good advantage.  I got my fasting glucose down to 85-90 mg/dL and my after-meal glucose spikes down to (generally) less than 120. My energy levels stabilized and my high blood pressure dropped back to near normal levels. My eyes aren't bloodshot anymore either.

5. The use of Milk Thistle extract has been getting good reviews for improving control over fasting blood sugar levels and after-meal glucose spikes :

"The researchers found that the spike in blood glucose that occurs within four hours of a meal was flattened by a massive 37 percent in patients taking the silymarin, compared to a significant 19 percent rise in the placebo group." http://ahha.org/MilkThistle.htm

"After a single oral administration of the aqueous extracts, there was a significant decrease of blood glucose levels in both the normal and diabetic rats. Additionally, changes were not observed in plasma insulin concentrations after treatment in either group indicating that silibinin exerts its pharmacological activity without affecting insulin secretion." http://www.livestrong.com/article/359846-milk-thistle-dosage-for-blood-sugar/      

http://www.diabetesforum.com/diabetes-treatment/2220-milk-thistle-diabetes.html  

My personal experience with Milk Thistle extract shows that it is indeed very effective in flattening post-meal blood sugar spikes.  And my fasting glucose went down from about 104 to a  much more healthy 85.

6. Herbal supplements that may also be effective are: bitter melon, bijasar, fenugreek and jambul.

7. "Breakthrough in Protecting Arteries Against After-Meal Glucose Spikes" Richard Mayer  (Feb. 2013) http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2013/feb2013_breakthrough-in-protecting-arteries-against-after-meal-glucose-spikes_01.htm

Other References:

Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It, Gary Taubes,   2010, http://www.foodrenegade.com/truth-and-lies-about-fats-and-obesity-with-gary-taubes/

"Aging and Glycation The Importance of Hemoglobin A1c Testing", Steven V. Joyal, MD., Life Extension Magazine April 2008, http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2008/apr2008_Aging-And-Glycation_01.htm

"B6 Vitamers: Natural Protection Against the Complications of Diabetes and Accelerated Aging", Julius Goepp, MD, Life Extension Magazine July 2009, http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2009/jul2009_B6-Vitamers_01.htm

"FDA Seeks to Ban Pyridoxamine", William Faloon, Life Extension Magazine July 2009, http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2009/jul2009_FDA-Seeks-to-Ban-Pyridoxamine_01.htm

"Protecting Against Glycation and High Blood Sugar with Benfotiamine",   Julius G. Goepp, MD, Life Extension Magazine April 2008 http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2008/apr2008_Protecting-Against-Glycation-High-Blood-Sugar-With-Benfotiamine_01.htm

"Carnosine", http://www.vitaminstuff.com/carnosine.html
"Carnosine: A Proven Longevity Factor ", Susan Evans (2012) http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2012/jun2012_Carnosine-Proven-Longevity-Factor_01.htm

"Are We All Pre-Diabetic?",Kirk Stokel,  http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2011/ss2011_Are-We-All-Pre-Diabetic_02.htm

http://www.bloodsugar101.com/ (comprehensive)

"The Deadly Connection Between Diabetes and Alzheimer's", Edward R. Rosick http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2006/dec2006_report_alzheimer_01.htm

Critical nutritional deficiencies: Deficiencies of vitamin D and iodine/iodide are widespread in the United States. Both of these deficiencies have been implicated in various forms of cancer. This multifactorial disease might be very easily prevented. At the very least, the deficiencies can be corrected on an individual basis.

"It is projected that raising the minimum year-around serum 25(OH)D level to 40 to 60 ng/mL (100–150 nmol/L) would prevent approximately 58,000 new cases of breast cancer and 49,000 new cases of colorectal cancer each year, and three fourths of deaths from these diseases in the United States and Canada, based on observational studies combined with a randomized trial. Such intakes also are expected to reduce case-fatality rates of patients who have breast, colorectal, or prostate cancer by half. There are no unreasonable risks from intake of 2000 IU per day of vitamin D3, or from a population serum 25(OH)D level of 40 to 60 ng/mL. The time has arrived for nationally coordinated action to substantially increase intake of vitamin D and calcium." http://www.annalsofepidemiology.org/article/S1047-2797(09)00105-7/abstract

"Derry (54) has reviewed some beneficial properties of I [iodine]: the antimicrobial effect of I in organs capable of concentrating it to reach effective I levels; the apoptotic property of I in the body’s surveillance mechanism against abnormal cells; the ability of I to trigger differentiation, moving the cell cycle away from the undifferentiated characteristic of breast cancer, for that matter of all cancer. Besides, as a halogen, and because of its large size, I has the ability to markedly enhance the excited singlet to triplet radiationless transition (55). . . . This effect of I would markedly decrease the oxydative burden of the body, having a beneficial impact upon degenerative diseases and cancer. . . . The equivalent of 2 drops of Lugol solution (12.5 mg I) daily would maintain a low radioiodine uptake by the thyroid gland (3-4%). Since the greatest damage to the thyroid occurs during the first few hours of radiation." http://www.optimox.com/pics/Iodine/IOD-02/IOD_02.htm . See also: http://www.optimox.com/pics/Iodine/opt_Research_I.shtml

“Human breast tissue and breast milk contain higher concentrations of iodine than the thyroid gland itself, which contains just 30% of the body’s iodine stores. Breast tissue is rich in the same iodine-transporting proteins used by the thyroid gland to take up iodine from the blood.  The evolutionary reasons for this are clear: iodine is essential to the developing newborn brain, so the mother’s body must have a direct means of supplying iodine to the nursing infant.  ( “The Silent Epidemic of Iodine Deficiency”, Nancy Piccone, http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2011/oct2011_The-Silent-Epidemic-of-Iodine-Deficiency_01.htm

"We think it's very important for the breast," Cann says about iodine. This mineral, he believes, may prevent and even shrink breast tumors by combining with certain fatty acids and stopping cancerous cells from multiplying. And without the selenium, iodine doesn't do its job properly. You can see the power of this dynamic duo in Japan, where people eat about 5 grams of sea vegetables virtually every day. Cann points out the Japanese have one of the highest life expectancies and a very low rate of breast cancer. http://www.naturalnews.com/027530_iodine_breast_cancer.html#ixzz1blEc0pq0

Vitamin K is also being investigated for anticancer properties:

"Vitamin K2 induces certain kinds of human leukemia cells to differentiate, or turn into normal white blood cells. In cells from certain brain tumors, in stomach cancer, and in colorectal cancer lines, vitamin K halts the reproductive cell cycle and induces apoptosis. . . . Recent discoveries about vitamin K illustrate the tremendous breadth of its targets, spanning virtually every phase in cancer's deadly progress." ("The Remarkable Anticancer Properties of Vitamin K", Felix Difara, Life Extension Magazine, Nov 2010, p. 66-72, http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2010/nov2010_The-Remarkable-Anticancer-Properties-of-Vitamin-K_01.htm   ; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12946240 ;
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16815498 ; http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2009/jan2009_Vitamin-K-Protection-Against-Arterial-Calcification-Bone-Loss-Cancer-Aging_01.htm?source=search&key=aortic%20stenosis )

Copper deficiencies may also have a role in cancer:

"Recent work with mice in the U.S. has shown that treatment of solid tumors with non-toxic doses of various organic complexes of copper markedly decreased tumor growth and metastasis and thus increased survival rate. These copper complexes did not kill cancer cells but caused them to revert to normal cells." http://www.purestcolloids.com/history-copper.php

"Indeed, numerous copper complexes that demonstrate SOD-mimetic properties, including copper salicylate, have been shown to possess anticancer, anticarcinogenic, and antimutagenic effects both in vitro and in vivo.55 In fact, there is some experimental evidence that copper complexes can cause established tumor cells to redifferentiate into normal cells,56 and because of this it has been suggested that, "..the future use of copper complexes to treat neoplastic diseases has some exciting possibilities."57 " http://www.unveilingthem.com/CopperTheMalignedMineral.htm

". . . total blood plasma copper is elevated in diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and arthritis but this increase is due to increased ceruloplasmin in the blood. Some misinformed persons have interpreted this increase in blood copper to indicate that high copper causes these conditions and diseases. But when copper supplements are given to animals or humans, the additional dietary copper has been found to lower carcinogenesis and tumor growth, inhibit the development of cardiovascular problems, and reverse many arthritic effects." http://www.tudiabetes.org/forum/topics/copper-health

 Milk thistle extract may be useful:

"Milk Thistle has been verified in laboratory studies to be an anti-cancer treatment. Silymarin has been shown to stop cancer cells from dividing and reproducing, which is why cancer is so deadly. Silymarin also reduces the life span of the cancer's cells. These findings require further testing on humans to be ruled definitive, but they are another valid reason to consider consumption of Milk Thistle as a preventative cancer aid." http://www.naturalnews.com/032170_milk_thistle_liver.html

Milk thistle was also shown to reduce liver toxicity associated with chemotherapy in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (20)and cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity (28). Studies for other types of hepatic disease are flawed (10) (11). Data from a randomized controlled study indicate benefits of milk thistle supplementation in improving glycemic profile in type II diabetic patients (18). A case study indicates the utility of intravenous silibinin in patients coinfected with HIV and HCV (Hepatitis C virus) (21). http://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/herb/milk-thistle

Control of glucose levels is important:

"Elevated Glucose Increases Incidence of Breast Cancer and Brain Shrinkage", William Faloon, Luke Huber, ND, and Kira Schmid, ND  http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2013/feb2013_elevated-glucose-increases-incidence-of-breast-cancer-and-brain-shrinkage_01.htm

"Warburg hypothesis",

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warburg_hypothesis

"Sugar and Cancer",  http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2000/10/08/sugar-cancer-part-one.aspx

"Dr. Warburg's Great Discovery!", http://www.healthywaterlife.com/cgi-bin/d.cgi/signup/otto_warburg_cancer_research.html

See Excess weight, Obesity, Diabetes and "Diabesity" above

Related to this is that there are several nutritional and alternative "cancer adjuvant therapies" available today.

"Powerful Advances in Natural Cancer Prevention", by Tiesha D. Johnson, RN, BSN, 2009
http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2009/ss2009_Powerful-Advances-in-Natural-Cancer-Prevention_01.htm

"Beyond Colonoscopy to Real Protection", by Julius Goepp, MD, Sept. 2009,
http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2009/sep2009_Beyond-Colonoscopy-to-Real-Protection_01.htm

"CoQ10 and Cancer Treatment", by William Faloon, Sept. 2009
http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2009/sep2009_CoQ10-And-Cancer-Treatment_01.htm

"Cancer Adjuvant Therapy", http://www.lef.org/protocols/prtcl-027.shtml

http://www.wakingtimes.com/2015/03/07/history-of-cannabis-and-the-truth-behind-its-prohibition/ 

"Not just a high Scientists test medicinal marijuana against MS, inflammation and cancer", Science News, June 19, 2010,  http://www.sciencenews.org/view/feature/id/59872/title/Not_just_a_high

"Cancer cells love sugar, and they're not fussy", Conner Middelmann-Whitney,   (2010)  http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/nourish/201008/cancer-cells-love-sugar-and-theyre-not-fussy

"Metformin" (abstracts) http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2012/abstracts/feb2012_Metformin_03.htm

"Drinking Coffee Reduces Risk of Stroke, Cancer and Dementia", Barbara L. Minton
2009, http://www.naturalnews.com/025737_coffee_risk_drinking.html

"Defend Against DNA Destruction", Alex Richter (2012) http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2012/oct2012_Defend-Against-Dna-Destruction_01.htm

"Dandelion gets scientific acceptance as an antioxidant and "novel" cancer therapy", Donna Earnest Pravel (2012)  http://www.naturalnews.com/035418_dandelion_cancer_therapy_herbs.html

"Anti cancer activity on Graviola, an exciting medicinal plant extract vs various cancer cell lines and a detailed computational study on its potent anti-cancerous leads",  Paul J, Gnanam R, Jayadeepa RM, Arul L, Current Topics in Medical Chemistry 2013;13(14):1666-73.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23889049   (abstract)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mebendazole :

"Several studies show mebendazole exhibits potent antitumor properties. MBZ significantly inhibited cancer cell growth, migration, and metastatic formation of adrenocortical carcinoma, both in vitro and in vivo  Treatment of lung cancer cell lines with MBZ caused mitotic arrest, followed by apoptotic cell death with the feature of caspase activation and cytochrome c release. MBZ induced a dose- and time-dependent apoptotic response in human lung cancer cell lines, and apoptosis via Bcl-2 inactivation in chemoresistant melanoma cells."

Cancer is one disease that Americans can readily do without! The same is true of many other degenerative diseases.

For more insights on applying obviation as a problem solving method see:  What kind of Solution?

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