Is the ketogenic diet a pernicious myth?

A recent article in The Guardian entitled, "Tackling cancer treatment myths", has called the benefits of the ketogenic diet for cancer a “pernicious myth”. Clearly the mainstream continues to recycle its reflex dismissals of anything relatively new that doesn’t swell the coffers of Big Pharma and Big Food. Investigative health journalist, Jerome Burne, from Health Insight UK, decided enough was enough and contacted Travis Christofferson PhD – the author of the first book on the metabolic theory of cancer – for his view. Their detailed rebuttal, "Explaining the science behind the ketogenic diet and why it offers real hope to cancer sufferers", is well worth the read. In the words of Travis Christofferson, “The real myth is that eating sugar doesn’t feed your cancer”.

Link found between vaccines and psychiatric disorders

Researchers from the Yale School of Medicine and Penn State College of Medicine have found a link between the onset of certain psychiatric disorders and the timings of vaccines in children through to mid-teens. The pilot study analysed five years of Private Health Insurance data on children aged 6-15 yrs. The researchers found that within the previous 3 -12 months before diagnosis, young people who had received the influenza vaccine were more likely to be diagnosed with certain neuropsychiatric disorders, including anorexia, OCD, anxiety disorder and tics, than those who had not. The researchers also noted that there was link with reduced immune function and the onset of these disorders. With apparent scientific irrationality, the authors openly state that an association between the MMR jab and autism spectrum disorder has been “convincingly disproven”, while in the same sentence acknowledging a correlation between brain-related autoimmune and inflammatory disorders. The body doesn’t compartmentalise itself. If there is evidence of brain inflammation and immunological dysfunction, it’s highly unlikely that the extensive neurological network in the brain is unaffected. This pilot study is yet further evidence of why it’s so important for parents to educate themselves and exercise their right to make a fully informed vaccine choice.

Organisations argue vaccination safety with Letter to Donald Trump

Last week a letter drafted by the American Academy of Pediatrics was sent to President Donald Trump on behalf of 350 organisations, asking him to take another look at some of his views on the topic of vaccine safety. This comes following Trump’s meeting with Robert F Kennedy Jr, a renowned anti-vaccine advocate, in relation to his role in the administration concerning vaccines. In brief, the letter says “Vaccines are safe. Vaccines are effective. Vaccines save lives. Our organizations welcome the opportunity to meet with you to share the robust, extensive scientific evidence supporting vaccine safety and effectiveness.” Given the subject matter of the movie, Vaxxed: From Cover-up to Catastrophe, Robert Kennedy and Robert de Niro’s press release today and the growing number of experts saying that no vaccine should be regarded as safe, there is no more important time for parental informed choice than right now.

Not all supplements are created equal

Following on from our report on the use of supplements last week, scientists at Queen's University Belfast's Institute for Global Food Security have found that over the counter herbal supplements (particularly those targeted at obesity and erectile dysfunction) often contain dangerous pharmaceutical ingredients despite being labelled as fully herbal. ANH-Intl's executive and scientific director, Robert Verkerk PhD, says, "It’s no bad thing that government chemists’ flag the issue of adulteration of supplements. But this is a non-issue for reputable companies, manufacturers and contract manufacturers in the UK and through most of Europe. The paper refers to products picked up by RASFF throughout the EU and refers to “frequently reported” adulterants. However, the data presented give no indication of the total number of samples analysed – let alone the total number of food supplements sold in the EU. In anyone’s book, it would be hard to think of these as common occurrences. Rare findings would be more like it. This pattern is typical of any industry in which there are cowboy operators, a phenomenon that’s far from restricted to the food or food supplement sectors. Many years of monitoring in the UK, Holland, Belgium, Germany and elsewhere has shown that most of these adulterated products come into the EU from the East – and yes, there is always work to be done in terms of improving both monitoring and enforcement to deal with the very small number of cowboy operators that do present a genuine risk to public health. But as far as the vast majority of food supplement companies are concerned, especially those based within the EU which spend a great deal of effort checking on the quality of raw materials and employing rigorous HACCP and GMP procedures in manufacture, it is disingenuous to have them tarnished with the same brush."

European citizens' initiative to ban glyphosate launched

In March 2015, the International Agency for research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic to humans". Despite this classification EFSA concluded in November 2015 that glyphosate, "Is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans and the evidence does not support classification with regard to its carcinogenic potential". Following this statement, in June 2016 the European Commission temporarily extended the approval for the use of glyphosate in EU Member states until the end of 2017 at the latest after Member states failed to reach agreement. In a move to prevent approval of the future use of glyphosate in the EU a citizen led campaign has been launched by EU environmental organisations. If you are concerned about the continued use of glyphosate in the EU please go to the campaign website and sign the petition.

Vitamin D deficiency and cardiovascular disease

A recent study published in the journal Nutrition has found a suggested link between vitamin D deficiency and lower levels of HDL-cholesterol, the type of cholesterol that is vital in maintaining good health. The study looked at data from over 13,000 participants, taking into account, “…a range of potential factors, including age, gender, race, BMI, physical activity, smoking, and more.” This suggests that vitamin D supplementation could help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, further supporting the use of supplements in to help support optimum health.

Hair analysis effective for diagnosing Cushing's Syndrome

Hair analysis used to be a popular test often used in naturopathic medicine, where a sample of a person's hair (typically from near the hairline at the back of the neck) is used to determine possible mineral deficiencies and heavy metal toxicity. However, there has been a lot of controversy around the validity of results emanating from this type of testing and it has been used much less frequently. In a recent study researchers from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) have found that analysing a sample of hair may help diagnose a rare (and potentially fatal) disease known as Cushing Syndrome when the body produces too much of the hormone cortisol. Diagnosis of the syndrome can be difficult, invasive and time consuming requiring time to analyse blood and urine tests combined with brain scans and taking tissue samples. The researchers found that they could measure levels of cortisol in hair samples, which closely matched those found in standard testing for Cushing Syndrome. Given that hair analysis is a much easier, cheaper and less invasive method of testing than is currently available, there may be a resurgence of this type of test.

Fish oils reduce symptoms of asthma

A paper published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation Insight points to benefits of fish oil supplementation in asthma patients. Researchers used cell cultures from asthma patients to evaluate the impact of a fatty acid fraction derived from omega 3 (17-HDHA) on IgE and other molecules that promote this condition. However, it was also found that taking steroid medications, such as inhalers, can block the beneficial effects of the oils.