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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Devil in the Milk - Keith Woodford intro by Dr. Thomas Cowan

The trouble is that we have “the wrong kind of cows”. It seems the black and white cows — Holsteins and Friesians — generally give milk that contains a small but significant amount of beta-casein type A1, which behaves like an opiate and which epidemiological studies have implicated in heart disease, Type 1 diabetes, autism and schizophrenia. This is big news, folks. Heart disease is the leading cause of death. This is like cigarettes and cancer.

Here is a brief synopsis of the main thesis of his book. Milk consists of three parts: 1) fat or cream, 2) whey, and 3) milk solids. For this story we are only concerned about the milk solid part, as the fat and whey don’t have this “devil”. The milk solid part is composed of many different proteins which have their own names, lactose, and other sugars. It is the protein part of the solid we’re interested in. One of these proteins is called casein, of which there are many different types, but the one casein we are interested is the predominant protein called beta- casein. 
As you may or may not know, all proteins are long chains of amino acids that have many “branches” coming off different parts of the main chain. Beta casein is a 229 chain of amino acids with a proline at number 67 – at least the proline is there in “old- fashioned” cows. These cows with proline at number 67 are called A2 cows and are the older breeds of cows (e.g. Jerseys, Asian and African cows). Some five thousand years ago, a mutation occurred in this proline amino acid, converting it to histidine. Cows that have this mutated beta casein are called A1 cows, and include breeds like Holstein. 
The side chain that comes off this amino acid is called BCM 7. BCM 7 is a small protein (called a peptide) that is a very powerful opiate and has some undesirable effects on animals and humans. What’s important here is that proline has a strong bond to BCM 7 which helps keep it from getting into the milk, so that essentially no BCM 7 is found in the urine, blood or GI tract of old-fashioned A2 cows. On the other hand, histidine, the mutated protein, only weakly holds on to BCM 7, so it is liberated in the GI tract of animals and humans who drink A1 cow milk, and it is found in significant quantity in the blood and urine of these animals. 
This opiate BCM 7 has been shown in the research outlined in the book to cause neurological impairment in animals and people exposed to it, especially autistic and schizophrenic changes. BCM 7 interferes with the immune response, and injecting BCM 7 in animal models has been shown to provoke Type 1 diabetes. Dr. Woodford presents research showing a direct correlation between a population’s exposure to A1 cow’s milk and incidence of auto-immune disease, heart disease (BCM 7 has a pro-inflammatory effect on the blood vessels), type 1 diabetes, autism, and schizophrenia. What really caught my eye is that BCM 7 selectively binds to the epithelial cells in the mucus membranes (i.e. the nose) and stimulates mucus secretion. 
For reasons which are unclear historically, once this mutation occurred many thousand years ago, the A1 beta casein gene spread rapidly in many countries in the western world. Some have speculated that the reason for this wide spread of A1 cows is that the calves drinking A1 cows milk and exposed to the opiate BCM7 are more docile than their traditional brethren (in effect, they were stoned). This is only speculation, of course. But what is true is that basically all American dairy cows have this mutated beta-casein and are predominantly A1 cows. 
The amazing thing for me is that all these years Sally was right: it’s not the fat, it’s not the whey, and it’s not raw milk. Consider French cheese – mostly due to culinary snobbery, the French never accepted these A1 breeds of cow, claiming they have lousy milk. Voila, they have good milk and cheese. Our issue in America is that we have the wrong cows. When you take A1 cow milk away, and stimulate our own endorphins instead of the toxic opiate of BCM 7, some amazing health benefits ensue. 
So what are we all to do with this? Does this mean no one should drink US raw cow’s milk? One saving grace, as expressed in The Devil in the Milk, is that the absorption of BCM 7 is much less in people with a healthy GI tract. This also parallels the ideas of GAPS theory which talks a lot about this. BCM 7 is also not found in goat’s or sheep’s milk, so these types of milk might be better tolerated. 
One final point: we now have one more thing to put on our activism to-do list. Dr. Woodford explains that it is fairly straightforward to switch a herd to become an all A2 herd. No genetic engineering is needed, no fancy tests, just one simple test of the Beta-casein and it can be done. Hopefully, when this becomes widespread we will end up with a truly safe and healthy milk supply. . ..Guernseys are known to produce A2 milk. Jerseys produce a higher proportion A2 than Holstein. Asian and African cattle produce A2.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Don’t Bring Home the Bacon


A new Harvard study that found no increased risk of heart disease among meat eaters is generating a lot of buzz for red meat. “A Guilt-Free Hamburger,” reads one headline. “Order the Steak,” begins another

But the research, published this week in the journal Circulation, is not so much a celebration of red meat as it is an indictment of processed meats like bacon, sausage and deli meats. Eating one serving of those foods a day was associated with a 42 percent higher risk of heart disease and 19 percent increased risk of diabetes. But there was no increase in risk associated with eating unprocessed red meat.
The findings come from a broad analysis of several studies tracking meat consumption and cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Processed meats include bacon, salami, sausages, hot dogs or processed deli or luncheon meats.

Notably, the culprit in processed meats wasn’t the saturated fat or cholesterol — both whole cuts of meat and processed meats contained the same amount per serving. The big differences were the levels of sodium and chemical preservatives. Processed meats had about four times more sodium and 50 percent more nitrate preservatives than unprocessed meats.

The study suggests meats like burgers and steaks have been wrongly implicated in heart disease. But that mistake likely occurred because the people who eat a lot of meat also tend to consume high amounts of bacon, hot dogs and other processed meats.

While it’s true that the study will make it easier to enjoy a burger, at least if we’re worried about our heart, it doesn’t address research that has linked an increased risk of colon cancer with high meat consumption. In addition, many people skip red meat not for personal health reasons but because they are concerned about the health of the planet.

Livestock account for 18 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions. Compared with a burger, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich saves as much as 2.5 pounds of carbon dioxide, 280 gallons of water and 50 square feet of land, according to the Web site
And for more on the nonhealth reasons to cut back on red meat, read this story by the Times food writer Mark Bittman, “Rethinking the Meat Guzzler.”

Almonds, the new power food

By Chloe Thompson

The symbol of hope and prosperity in Eastern cultures, the almond used to be known for its fat content but has now made its way to the top of power-food lists. This nutrient-dense tree nut -- from the same family as peaches and apricots -- has become best known for its many health benefits. Eating a handful of almonds a day may lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and diabetes. These tasty tidbits are also an excellent source of vitamin E (a powerful antioxidant) and manganese -- 1 ounce (that’s about 24 almonds) has 35% and 32% of the RDA respectively. And with only 1 gram of saturated fat, 13 grams of healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats, 6 grams of protein, and 160 calories per ounce, it's clear that almonds are a friend of any true health nut.

An Apple a Day. . .

By Dr Syed K.Haque

A few weeks back I ate Washington apples. They were of the red delicious variety. My friends and I loved those crunchy, sweet, apples. They asked me why doesn’t, “A papaya, or mango, or any other fruit a day keep the doctor away? What is so unique about an apple that sets it apart from other fruits?”

It seems very true that we can pick up any fruit and then enumerate its several health benefits. Yet it’s interesting to explore what sets the apple apart.
General Health

Apples are low in Vitamin C compared to other fruits. However, they are very rich in other antioxidant compounds. Apples do not have cholesterol, and combined with fibers and low energy density, they’re a good potion for heart disease, weight loss, stroke, etc.

Cancer Prevention

1. Mayo Clinic (USA) study: Quercetin, a flavonoid abundant in apples, helped prevent the growth of prostate cancer cells.

2. Cornell University (USA) study: Phytochemicals in the skin of an apple inhibited the reproduction of colon cancer cells by 43%.

3. National Cancer Institute (USA) study: Flavonoid rich foods reduce the risk of lung cancer by 50%.

Brain Power

In a recent study comparing mice that drank apple juice to those that didn’t, the juice was found to increase mental equity and decrease oxidative stress. This study was conducted in the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, and was published in a recent issue of Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. The finding suggests that apple juice in conjunction with a balanced diet can protect from age related memory loss.
Interesting Facts

• Apples originated in Kazakhstan and were carried east by traders on Silk Road.

• Apple seeds are like people, you’ll never get the same type of apple from a planted seed.

• One apple has 5grams of fiber, supplying 20% of the recommended daily dose.

• If you took all the Washington apples picked in a year and placed them side by side, they would circle the earth 12 times.

By Dr Syed K.Haque