Around the Web; It’s Angst Week!

Here’s what caught my eye this week:

[1] Goodbye, Walter, and God bless: We’ve closely followed Walter Breuning’s career as the world’s oldest man, since he so well exemplifies our dietary practices. (See Happy Birthday, Walter Breuning!, Sep 21, 2010; What Makes a Supercentenarian?, Aug 18, 2010). Sadly, he passed away on Thursday. Hat tip, Chris Highcock.

[2] Interesting posts this week: Tom Naughton. Egyptian mummies. Enough said.

Jamie Scott considers the optimal training strategy in 10 hours per week – and whether Goldilocks training (not too hard, not too easy) has any merit. Emily Deans thinks doctors should be able to write prescriptions for grass-fed steak and wild-caught salmon. I’m all for that – we would actually get some value out of our health insurance! I can see it now: “I’m doing great on the Kobe beef and lobster, doc. What’s my co-pay?”

Prague Stepchild offers Staffan Lindeberg in a nutshell. (Note: human salt needs are higher on low-carb diets.) Life’s Little Mysteries reports that the leading cause of death after age 65 is falling down. Ned Kock reviews what the China Study shows about effect of foods on appetite.

Stephan critiqued the “drink less, pee more” theory for treating edema. Gary Taubes had a New York Times piece, “Is Sugar Toxic?” which starts slow (you won’t miss much if you start on page 4), but picks up. Bix at Fanatic Cook gave a high-carb dieter’s response. Chris Masterjohn reviewed an Experimental Biology conference. Some great photos there!

[3] I know what you’re thinking, Buttercup! You need a Robb Wolf spoof! Chris Highcock of Conditioning Research has you covered.

[4] I know what else you want! Penguin tickling!

[5] Long Fasts: Jimmy Moore is doing a 7-day total fast.

I would caution him to drink lots of water and take electrolytes (salt for sodium and chlorine, plus potassium and magnesium, maybe mineral water with calcium). Personally, I would ease any long fast a bit with coconut oil or MCTs. And if any troubles develop, cut the fast short.

I myself will soon be doing my longest fast of the year, from Holy Thursday evening to Easter Sunday, about 64 hours.

[6] Is It Like This Every Day?:

Victoria Falls on the Zambia/Zimbabwe border. Via Babel’s Dawn.

[7] Our national drug problem just keeps getting worse: The New York Times reports that the number of people hospitalized for medication side effects is up 50% in just 4 years, to 1.9 million.

I wonder how many people have been hospitalized for Paleo dieting?

[8] Females Rule!: Last week we had bear vs bison, and the bear was winning. This week, it’s bear vs milch cow:

Check out Richard Smith’s post for the full photo series, and the outcome that was happy – for the cows.

[9] Shhhhh, don’t tell anyone: John Durant has dandruff, and asks for tips.

I was the only one who suggested eating starch and supplementing minerals for anti-fungal immunity, since dandruff is usually caused by the fungal pathogen Malassezia whose growth is promoted on a zero-carb mineral-deficient diet. The consensus among his commenters: go more Paleo by giving up shampoo and hot water. Yes, John Durant is insufficiently Cro-Magnon.

[10] It is smart to drink: We’ve previously considered this question (Is It Smart to Drink?, Sep 9, 2010). Via Instapundit comes Repeated Ethanol Exposure Enhances Synaptic Plasticity in Key Brain Area, Study Finds. “Drinking alcohol primes certain areas of our brain to learn and remember better, says a new study …”

[11] Bill Murray Has a New Role as “Braco”: Via Seth Roberts we learned that looking at human faces is therapeutic for circadian rhythm disorders (Seth Roberts and Circadian Therapy, Mar 22, 2011). Now via Richard Fernandez, a Croatian man who heals by having people gaze at his face.

[12] Angst I: Richard Nikoley is getting bored.

[13] There Ought to be Angst: The Danish scientist who led a CDC-funded study that purported to disprove links between autism and vaccines has been indicted for stealing $1 million in research funds.

You’ll recall that Andrew Wakefield, the British scientist who first claimed to find an autism-vaccine link, was a fraud.

With frauds and thieves leading research on both sides of this issue, parents of autistic children must be frustrated.

As I’ve argued many times, we need patient-and-taxpayer-directed funding for biomedical research. Government-and-pharmaceutical-company-only funding stifles innovation, rewards established cliques, and directs research toward ineffective but patentable drugs over effective dietary, nutritional, and antimicrobial therapies.

[14] Angst II: Pål Jåbekk speaks a truth:

Most often when we find obvious contradictions in the same texts in scientific journals I think there are two main reasons: Lack of balls and lack of brains.

A third reason is that the scientist (often, correctly) believes that his career will be advanced by propounding error, and values his career above truth. I might call this lack of integrity.

He goes on to discuss his disappointment with Staffan Lindeberg’s “Food and Western Disease: Health and nutrition from an evolutionary perspective”:

[A]t closing the book after reading its last page I felt a strong sense of disappointment. Lean meat! LEAN MEAT! Come on, Staffan.

I have the same disappointment with all the “Paleo 1.0” writers. I’ve written before (Art de Vany’s New Book and Video, Dec 11, 2010; Old Diets, New Knowledge: For Auld Lang Syne, Dec 31, 2010) of how grateful I am to Art de Vany for introducing me to Paleo, but also that I became malnourished and my infections progressed eating what I considered to be a version of his diet. I’ve criticized Robb Wolf’s “lean meat and vegetables” meal plans. I was recently at a talk by Gary Taubes and afterward he said that he would eat a zero-carb diet if his wife would permit it. Gary has done the world a great service in helping defeat fat-phobia, but I can’t agree with this particular conclusion.

In our case, disappointment with others’ errors led us to write the book and start this blog. As Shou-Ching can attest, my attitude is rather like that of this cartoon character:

Alas, Pål’s disappointment is leading him to take a break from blogging. It’s a big loss for the blogosphere.

[15] Anti-Angst: Razib Khan writes:

[T]oo much focus on the “meta” aspects often get in the way of my main aim: learning as much interesting stuff as is possible before I die. Life is basically a race against the clock, I’m not a person who is much afflicted with the need to “kill time.”

That’s how I feel too. It’s why I spend little time on this blog, and none in our book, refuting error. The pursuit of truth can fill more than one lifetime. Getting distracted by error would take time away from interesting truths.

[16] Song of the week: Emily Deans often puts music in her posts, and she’s a rising star of the blogosphere, with a great gig at Psychology Today.

Now, I’m not saying correlation implies causation, but I’m thinking that if we show off our musical taste, maybe we’ll get picked up by My Weekly Reader:

[17] Not the weekly video: UPDATED! (was this, via Richard Nikoley’s comment section) This is for cat lovers:

[18] Weekly video: Gross! If you have to teach your 8-year-old about biology, you may be able to learn from Julia Sweeney’s experience:

(Via Craig Newmark)

Leave a comment ?

35 Comments.

  1. Great picks this week. xkcd.com is the coolest website I’ve seen in a long time. This cartoon really tickled my fancy being a big fan of Donny Q ever since I first met him many moons ago.

  2. Thanks for the link, I wasn’t aware of the salt needs of LC vs HC. Do you have any posts about this I could link to? I’m a pretty big fan of salt.

  3. Hi erp,

    It’s a wasted life that isn’t spent in part tilting at windmills.

    Hi Sean,

    No, but it would make a good post if I can find the papers on this subject. I researched it years ago when I realized that I was salt-deficient on very low-carb. Sodium and chloride assist in excretion of ammonia and uric acid waste by the kidneys.

  4. Sounds like an interesting topic to explore, especially for me since I’m completely ignorant on the subject. Any thoughts on how potassium salt enters into this?

  5. Hello, I just wanted to thank you. I emailed you earlier in the week for some advice on losing weight. Well, I started following your advice on Tuesday and as of this morning I have lost 5lbs. Nothing else has worked for me so thank you!! I am really hoping that the trend continues. BTW-do you believe in the body having “set points” in terms of weight?
    Thanks again!!

  6. Thanks for the linkage! I really look forward to your “around the web” posts. “Rising star”? It’s a good thing that no one knows I’m famous 🙂

  7. Hi Sean,

    I don’t think potassium needs are increased on zero-carb, but they’re still present.

    Hi Gabrielle,

    Great! That’s a really impressive start. Your body must have been just about ready, once it got the last few ingredients, to slim down.

    I’m a bit ambivalent about the “set point” language. If there is a set point, it is a dynamic thing that gets re-set with every change of diet and nutrition. That’s why we were able to change your set point by 5 pounds on Tuesday. 🙂

    I kind of prefer the concept of “dynamic equilibrium.”

    I think there’s also a setting of energy expenditure or energy efficiency which may be more difficult to change than weight.

    Keep me posted on how you do! I might write more on weight loss in a month or so. Your experience would be relevant to the issues I’ll discuss, since you’re coming from Primal and increasing carbs.

    Hi Emily,

    You’re famous in our family! It’s a start!

    Best, Paul

  8. I haven’t had a chance to read the Prague Stepchild yet, but i saw the mention of salt, so here’s my n=1 experience:

    After some time on a LC diet (<50g per day), I self diagnosed myself with orthostatic hypotension (aka postural hypotension). I discounted anemia (via a blood test) & hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) i have my own blood glucose meter. I then bought myself a blood pressure monitor to confirm.

    Anyway, for me it seems i was Sodium (salt) deficient. I did two things that fixed the issue for me;
    1. reduced my Magnesium supplementation intake from 600mg to 400mg (elemental magnesium).
    2. supplemented with salt tablets (600mg sodium chloride per tablet); i supplemented for about 5 days, starting with 1 tablet & built up to 3 or 4 per day. Now i just take 1 tablet after i workout (ie. after i sweat). I also do not hold back adding sodium & potassium salts to my food now.

    I surmised that having cleaned up my diet, my sodium intake was reduced (by eliminating high sodium processed foods).
    I did some research around electrolytes rda/rdi & balance, these sites helped;
    http://www.acu-cell.com/acn2.html
    http://www.acu-cell.com/pna.html

    Be careful, you need to make sure you balance all your Electrolytes. for instance you need to balance your Magnesium & Sodium, some of my findings were;
    – High Magnesium can cause low blood pressure.
    – Low Sodium can cause low blood pressure.
    – Too much Magnesium can deplete Sodium.
    – (& too much Sodium can deplete Magnesium).

  9. I can attest to the frustration/angst of being a parent of an autistic child. The whole vaccine and autism connection is very complicated and there are many powerful interests involved.

    I don’t think we can prove that there isn’t a vaccine autism connection yet. There are too many reports from parents who have witnessed changes in their own kids after getting MMR vaccinations. My personal belief is that kids are getting way too many vaccinations. My own son had 26 vaccinations by the time he was three years old. When we were kids, the amount of vaccines we recieved were significantly less. I think some children are more at risk to immunological disturbances and the vaccines over stimulate the system which brings about autism in some kids. I don’t think vaccines are the only contributor to autism. The causes of autism could be caused by other environmental stresses and there are numerous hypotheses out there. If I knew what I know now, I would of given my son much fewer shots and had them done later in life.

    Autism is more than just a neurological disease. Most autistic kids have a host of other problems such as allergies, nutritional deficiencies, digestive problems, gut flora issues and get sick far more than other kids.

    I started looking for ways to help my son after he was diagnosed. I read many books and read hundreds of journal articles on pubmed on the topic. I have found that nutrition is a powerful tool in helping kids with autism. The first thing I tried was to put my son on a gluten free diet. To my suprise, he pointed and made direct eye contact with my wife and I for the first time in over two years. He lost all his language ability after one. He started to say single words for the first time as well. Along with being gluten free, I started him on cod liver oil and vitamin supplements. I can’t prove what helped him start to become more social and talk. But, I can say that alternative medicine does work and the diet is very crucial. What you wrote was so true:

    “As I’ve argued many times, we need patient-and-taxpayer-directed funding for biomedical research. Government-and-pharmaceutical-company-only funding stifles innovation, rewards established cliques, and directs research toward ineffective but patentable drugs over effective dietary, nutritional, and antimicrobial therapies.”

    My experience with doctors and pediatricians has been disappointing when it comes to autism. The community seems to take a hands off approach in terms of providing help beyond ABA therapy. I mentioned that going gluten free helped my son to our pediatrician and she gave me a look of disbelief. I don’t think many MDs think about the nutrition connection. That whole way of thinking seems to be lost among todays doctors. I will have discussions with my college roomates who became MDs and they don’t think about the nutrition connection. It seems as if prescription drugs are always the solution to every disease or problem.

    Thanks for reading my ramblings.

    Erik

  10. Paul,

    Thank you (again!) for linking me! Thoroughly unexpected and much appreciated. Me thinks you might be making a play at Emily’s record for sending traffic my way.

    I love the “Around the Web” post you put together – particularly the cutesy animal stories & pictures!

    Cheers,

    Jamie

  11. I’ve had good success with dropping the shampoo, but on the other hand, I also follow the perfect health diet, and I don’t have a significant other to complain.

    I get the feeling that people get sucked into the notion that if a low carb diet is good, a zero-carb diet must be optimum. They only moderate when they realize that they’re not feeling as good as they should be, and sometimes not even then.

    Indeed I followed the same path.

  12. Paul- I followed a link in the John Durant blog

    http://www.cutthecarb.com/how-to-reverse-a-leaky-gut-and-stop-autoimmune-diseases/

    Basically the elimination diet to reverse leaky gut in 1-3 months. He suggests cutting out rice along w/ other grains– you claim it’s a safe starch (I hope it is! I love eating white rice again)–Rice is a grain obviously.

    Overall, what do you think of his suggestions to reverse leaky gut?

    Thanks for any feedback.

  13. I guess my real question is -how is rice a safe starch when it is a grain?

  14. Paul,

    Two ScienceDaily news that you didn’t pick, but should.

    The first, were the connection between Herpes Simplex 1 and Alzheimer’s:

    “What we were able to see in the lab strongly suggests a causal link between HSV1 and Alzheimer’s Disease. It’s no longer a matter of determining whether HSV1 is involved in cognitive decline, but rather how significant this involvement is.”

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110404122203.htm

    The second, was the discovery that atherosclerotic plaques form during a late and limited time period in life:

    “We suspected that the plaque would be substantially younger than the patients, who were on average were 68 years old at surgery, but we were surprised when we found that the average age of these plaques was less than 10 years”

    So, could be that ahterosclerotic plaques are not caused directly by Doctor’s Kurt NAD? But, instead, indirectly, by mining our body defenses, and, later in life, when our immune system is compromised and infections take place?

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110408075154.htm

  15. Erik,

    I hope you see this comment.

    I have a granddaughter that is now 4. She was displaying all, and I do mean all, of the signs and symptoms of Autism. Dr.’s were zero help. I had
    never seen such a child in my life.

    I researched her symptoms on-line, and found Autism.
    I read everything I could find. I then expressed my belief to my Daughter. (Huge explosion of Anger, and Denial) We didn’t talk for a week.

    After a week my Daughter called crying. “Mom, I need your help.” We didn’t have money, or a DAN Dr.
    I put together a diet for my Granddaughter, and within 2 weeks she had began making eye contact, allowing hugs, and holding toys.(for play) 🙂 (she was 15 months) I and my Daughter began our own version of “floor time.

    She is now very bright, loving, and full of herself!:) She will probably be the smartest kid
    in her class. Her memory is phenomenal.

    The reason I wanted to share, you only mentioned a gluten free diet. This was not enough for my Granddaughter. She is gluten, dairy, and Soy free.
    All of this is necessary. If she gets these by accident, her attitude becomes difficult to handle.

    Wishing your son a complete recovery.

  16. Hi Darrin,

    Good stuff, thanks. Yes, 200-400 mg magnesium usually works best. I take 200 mg.

    Hi Erik,

    Yes, I think there’s enough smoke around vaccines and autism to worry about a fire. There’s some reason to think vaccines may activate viral infections.

    Thanks for sharing your son’s dietary experiences.

    I think the current medical approach is unsustainable. It’s not only that it’s excessively costly to never cure diseases and only mitigate symptoms. It’s also that pharmaceutical companies are finding it extremely difficult to develop new drugs that meet more stringent efficacy and safety requirements, and older drugs are going off patent. Moreover microbes are evolving drug resistance. More drugs will cease to work, fewer will be developed, patients will demand more effective therapies for less money.

    Best, Paul

  17. Hi Ellen,

    Hans is a smart guy and it’s a sensible approach to food sensitivities.

    When people have a damaged gut, they become sensitive to a lot of foods. An elimination diet can help the gut heal, and then gradual re-introduction of foods can help identify the real troublesome allergens/toxins.

    This works well for people with food allergies. The trouble is that an elimination diet can easily become so narrow as to become malnourishing. A malnourishing diet will aggravate infections.

    So I wouldn’t recommend an elimination diet unless there were clear signs of immune reactions to food, as in gut bloating after meals. In John Durant’s case, he only reported dandruff. That’s more likely due to a Malassezia skin infection.

    Re rice as a grain, it just happens that the toxins in rice aren’t very dangerous, and the toxins in white rice are destroyed in cooking, so cooked white rice is very safe. It’s the only grain for which that is true.

    Best, Paul

  18. Hi Mario,

    Those are great suggestions, thanks.

    You know you are always welcome to do a guest post! You always have interesting things to say.

    On the atherosclerosis issue, I do think atherosclerosis is due to chronic infections, but I wouldn’t count out the neolithic toxins and malnutrition as contributing factors.

    Re the study, just because the plaques they find are 2 years old doesn’t mean the problem hasn’t been around much longer. 2 years earlier they would have found different plaques, also 2 years old. The body is constantly fighting infections and healing and repairing itself. The problems just grow more severe with age and eventually overwhelm the body’s immune defenses and healing ability.

    Hi Betty,

    Your granddaughter is so lucky to have a smart grandma!

    God bless you and thanks for sharing that story. It’s great to hear of successes!

    Best, Paul

  19. Paul! You’re the best 😀 thanks for always answering my questions. I appreciate your patience. Love your book- I’ve recommended to many! we’re all getting so much valuable information out of it.

  20. Paul,

    I have seborrhea (facial), which some say is related to dandruff. I eat plenty of rice and potatoes. Are there nutritional deficiencies specific to seborrhea?

  21. Thanks, Ellen!

    Hi Art,

    Yes, Malassezia and possibly other fungi are the most common cause of seborrhea (Wikipedia discusses this, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seborrhoeic_dermatitis) as well as dandruff.

    Important nutrients for anti-fungal immunity include selenium, iodine, zinc, copper, chromium, iron, vitamin D, vitamin C, glutathione (or NAC, glycine).

    I’m trying to work up a home rosacea therapy that may also work on seborrhea, might get to that in a month or two. If so I’ll ask you to test it out!

    Best, Paul

  22. Paul,

    Thanks. I went to the Wikipedia article on Seborrhoeic dermatitis, and found this statement: “Saturated, not unsaturated, fatty acids support Malassezia growth.” Oh, no!

  23. Hi Art,

    Sometimes what’s good for us is good for other creatures too … funny how biology works … would be nice if the foods that nourished us poisoned our pathogens, but it’s not usually the case.

  24. Hi Betty,

    Thanks for sharing your experience. It is wonderful to hear that your granddaughter recovered and that the diet made such an impact. My son is dairy and soy free as well. I phased those out later. I didn’t see as much of an effect as the gluten removal. The gluten removal cut down on his rashes and helped with the stools. He was very addicted to wheat and dairy foods prior to the diet changes. I have read that gluten and casein can act as opioids and cause addictions. My son was so addicted to gluten that he would literally eat play-dough and lick it off his hands. Play-dough has gluten in it. He would also rash up from playing with it.

    My son now eats mainly fruits, rice, tubers and meat occasionally (Sounds Paleo doesn’t it?). He drinks coconut and rice milk as a replacement for cow milk. The veggies are a tough one but what kid likes vegetables? He has many allergies to a lot of foods such as peanuts, tomatoes, eggs and others. It makes it quite complicated to feed him foods that don’t make him sick or react.

    It was the experience with gluten that lead me to discover the paleo and low carb community. The more I learned about wheat, I realized it was very toxic for most people and not just autistic children. And most of his allergies came from neolithic foods. My view of food has taken a 360 turn. My son has been my best teacher of nutrition, biochemistry and physiology. Before that, I trusted mainstream thinking on nutrition and health. I was even a vegetarian many years ago. I eat very different now (very close to the Perfect Health Diet layout) and I am more healthy now than I was in my 20’s.

    My son is doing better. He has progressed tremendously since my wife and I first started this journey. He is starting to talk more and can sing the alphabet for the first time. It is truly a gift to see him progress. I imagine your family was so happy to see your granddaughter recover.

    Take care,

    Erik

  25. Hi Paul,

    Thank you for your comments. Your contributions to educating and helping people are greatly appreciated. Your wife and yourself have written one of the best books out there on nutrition and health in my opinion. Looking forward to reading many more future blog posts.

    Thanks,

    Erik

  26. Paul, do you think psoriasis falls under the Malassezia camp?

  27. Paul,

    you might want to add methylene blue to your list of anti-fungals.
    There is a lot of buzz lately about this (granted, not very ‘natural’) compound.
    It’s shown to help in Alzheimer, cancer and with various parasites (e.g. malaria) and it is said to support longetivity .

    Its very cheap (hence drug companies will not research it) and most effective at very low concentrations.

    It is known to enhance mitochondrial functions and increase oxygen uptake.

  28. Hi Ellen,

    If the rash is caused by Malassezia or other fungal pathogens it should be diagnosed as seborrheic dermatitis or another eczema, not psoriasis.

    Of course sometimes there can be a misdiagnosis.

    It never hurts to try an antifungal cream and see if that helps. This simple step can save years of trouble.

    Hi Ahrand,

    Thanks. I’ll look into it.

  29. Paul, do you have any suggestions on electrolytes?

    I sweat a lot — sauna, exercise, jut walking around in the summer. I do eat a lot of salt, my Centrum Ultra Young Stud has a minor iodine supplement, but I am worried about potassium and the other electrolytes. Food is always better than pills — but other than bananas and potatoes not sure what to hit.

  30. Bananas and potatoes is pretty much what I do. All plant foods have potassium, so vegetables help.

    There’s also low-sodium salt substitutes – we have NoSalt brand which is potassium chloride and potassium bitartrate – but it doesn’t taste good and we rarely use it.

  31. Paul, thanks. I assume you mean “doesn’t taste good”.

    Maybe my cravings for vegetables are really just sodium, iodine and potassium cravings.

    I also drinks some mineral water — maybe 3-4 bottles a week –although I’ve always suspected the mineral content is very low.

    Looking forward to you HDL boosting article….

  32. Yes, thanks, I’ve corrected it.

  33. The cat video gave me the best laugh in years. Ten thousand thanks!

  34. Appreciating the hard work you put into your blog and detailed information you offer.

  35. Hello again

    Paul, you suggest using iron as one of the supplements for fungal infections. Are there any concerns about iron and other infections for man ? I suspect I have some chronic low level infection since I have history of local scleroderma (morphea), occasional eczema and skin itch, and my Vitamin D level is low (33 ng/ml after lots of supplementation with huge doses). Is your opinion that body knows how to handle the iron from food right given that I eat bunch of read meat and don’t consume phytate rich plants a lot in combination with it.

    What is your suggestion for skin anti-fungus cream?

    Thx 4 your help and this blog – it is my favourite place.

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