Oatmeal Lotion for Chemotherapy-Induced Rash

Oatmeal Lotion for Chemotherapy-Induced Rash
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Oats are put to the test against cetuximab-type chemo side effects to see just how soothing and anti-inflammatory they can be.

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Oatmeal has been used for centuries as a topical soothing agent on the skin to relieve itch and irritation in dermatology. Of course this is coming from Johnson & Johnson, which sells a brand of oatmeal lotion, but look, if it helps with dry skin or a bug bite, I can imagine it having some soothing quality–but this study shocked me.

There’s a class of chemo drugs, like cetuximab, that causes an awful rash. It’s bad enough you have some horrible cancer, but then to have a painful itchy rash on top of it? Various treatments have been tried and failed. There was no clear preventive or curative treatment for this eruption. Or is there?

The researchers had heard about this study, in which human skin fragments from plastic surgery were subjected to an inflammatory chemical, and adding an oatmeal extract appeared to help, so what do you have to lose? Of the ten patients with chemo rashes who they were able to get access to try some oatmeal lotion, six had a complete response, and four a partial response, giving an overall oatmeal response rate of 100%.

Doctors wrote in from around the world. Significant improvement in all patients? Seemed rather too good to be true, but out of desperation they tried it, and got the same astonishing results. Oatmeal; a simple topical agent producing such spectacular benefit where more complex therapies have failed. In an age when ever more expensive treatments are consistently being championed, it would be a great pity if this inexpensive, natural approach to relieving distressing symptoms were to be overlooked.

Ironically, two of the cancer cell lines found resistant in vitro to this kind of chemotherapy were found to be sensitive to avenanthramides, which are unique phytonutrients found in oats, suggesting that people should be applying oatmeal to their insides as well.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Nemo via Pixabay and OCAL via Clker.com.

Oatmeal has been used for centuries as a topical soothing agent on the skin to relieve itch and irritation in dermatology. Of course this is coming from Johnson & Johnson, which sells a brand of oatmeal lotion, but look, if it helps with dry skin or a bug bite, I can imagine it having some soothing quality–but this study shocked me.

There’s a class of chemo drugs, like cetuximab, that causes an awful rash. It’s bad enough you have some horrible cancer, but then to have a painful itchy rash on top of it? Various treatments have been tried and failed. There was no clear preventive or curative treatment for this eruption. Or is there?

The researchers had heard about this study, in which human skin fragments from plastic surgery were subjected to an inflammatory chemical, and adding an oatmeal extract appeared to help, so what do you have to lose? Of the ten patients with chemo rashes who they were able to get access to try some oatmeal lotion, six had a complete response, and four a partial response, giving an overall oatmeal response rate of 100%.

Doctors wrote in from around the world. Significant improvement in all patients? Seemed rather too good to be true, but out of desperation they tried it, and got the same astonishing results. Oatmeal; a simple topical agent producing such spectacular benefit where more complex therapies have failed. In an age when ever more expensive treatments are consistently being championed, it would be a great pity if this inexpensive, natural approach to relieving distressing symptoms were to be overlooked.

Ironically, two of the cancer cell lines found resistant in vitro to this kind of chemotherapy were found to be sensitive to avenanthramides, which are unique phytonutrients found in oats, suggesting that people should be applying oatmeal to their insides as well.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Nemo via Pixabay and OCAL via Clker.com.

Doctor's Note

Normally I wouldn’t make a whole video for such a rare use, but I was so impressed with the results I figured that if I could help even one person in this situation, it would be worth it. Reminds me of my videos Treating Gorlin Syndrome With Green Tea and Topical Application of Turmeric Curcumin for Cancer.

If oatmeal is so powerful that it can clear up some of the ravages of chemotherapy when just applied to the skin, what might it do if we actually ate it? That’s the subject of my next video, Can Oatmeal Help Fatty Liver Disease?

Cetuximab is often given for metastatic colorectal cancer. Better to try to prevent the disease in the first place:

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68 responses to “Oatmeal Lotion for Chemotherapy-Induced Rash

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    1. Beta-alanine tingles are very weird. If one were to consume this and not know what was going on you would certainly freak out lol.

      It’s use in weight training / body building circles is primarily to buffer lactic acid buildup during a training session this allowing a few more reps.




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    2. That tingling sensation you feel is called paresthesia and is completely harmless.
      http://examine.com/supplements/Beta-Alanine/
      It passes fairly soon. I take half a teaspoon a day and get a little paresthesia around my chin and neck for just a few seconds. It’s a great supplement to protect the muscles and prevent advance glycation end-products. Since it has a sweet flavor, I often put it in my oatmeal. It forms a dipeptide in the body with histadine called carnosine which you can also take as an antioxidant supplement, but it’s more expensive.




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      1. Thanks for responding you two. http://www.ergo-log.com/beta-alanine-supplementation-makes-soldiers-more-deadly-in-combat.html
        The figures in the article immediate made me hungry for a trial.
        I think I’ve already been walking around with paresthesia for years but when I get asked is it pain, I dunno, no its more like irritation and unnerving as hell because it ever only rarely goes away.
        10 on pain scale for me would be my worst ever tooth pain shared with crushing my thumb digit in a machine 10x in 1 second,
        instantly wet all over and near fainting, hitting a already purpleish inflamed big toe and nail very hard against something rates only a 6 compared to that, the damage of plowing into the side of a car with my moped with 80 km/hr still at most a 7.

        So pain? That’s not pain, its at most a 1, but still it’s extremely stressful, and for me its centered around my bladder and lower right abdomen, its just totally emasculating because the last thing I desire is more stimulation down there.

        Now I’m wondering if this will make something bad worse. This paresthesia went away for me for a while or lessened markedly after starting dex-amfetamine, but with now taking only 1/8th-1/4th my prescribed dose for a while its back with a vengeance.
        Makes me feel 80 years old @ 40 :(




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      2. Great link thanks, I supp with low dose taurine already and since I’m not planning to go over 1200mg with the beta I should be safe.




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      3. http://www.ergo-log.com/carnosinelongevity2.html

        mice live on average 20 percent longer if they are given carnosine in their drinking water [a].

        The table above reveals that carnosine supplementation reduced the likelihood of visible signs of aging in the mice. “Carnosine acts as a true antioxidant protector rather than as an anabolic drug”, the researchers write.

        http://www.ergo-log.com/carnosinelongevity.html

        If you give beta-alanine to elderly people, their muscles tire less quickly.

        The researchers have been studying the life-extending properties of carnosine since the nineties. In 1999 they announced that carnosine supplements extended the lifespan of fast-ageing mice [J Anti-Aging Med 1999;2:337–342.], and in 2002 they published the results of a study in which fruit flies that had been given carnosine in their food lived longer. [Bull Exp Biol Med 2002;133:559–661.]




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        1. It is certainly something that could be involved in the vegans don’t live much longer mystery,
          they probably would and likely in the order of 20% at least if the weakest links in metabolism get better supported.




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          1. Vegans are significantly healthier. The mystery of why some western dieter vegans didn’t have increased lifespans was solved already, it was due to B12 deficiency as well as not getting enough omega 3’s from plants like flax and too much junk food sources of omega-6. Being vegan doesn’t necessarily mean eating healthy. No supplements required… except for B12 (since we shouldn’t be eating dirt these days).




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            1. Results from animal tests cannot properly be extrapolated to humans. They’re so unreliable that they can’t even be extrapolated to OTHER (non-human) animals! And in some cases, in certain animals, certain results cannot even be extrapolated from one sex to the other! (this has been true in the case of rats for some things).




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  1. I have an even better suggestion – eat the oatmeal to begin with – and then avoid the
    cancer and toxic chemotherapy in the first place…
    When did we launch the war on cancer? 1970? Still using a very primitive approach – surgery,
    radiation and chemotherapy – BTW: A very strange idea – poisoning a body
    weakened by cancer in order to try to cure a serious disease – this spells
    problems – secondary cancer, cognitive problems due to the toxic effect on the
    brain and so on.
    Imagine the tremendous development in telecommunication within the last 45 years – and then
    compare the development in treating cancer. We still use a hammer and chisel.
    We need the same quantum leap in understanding and treating cancer. I don’t
    believe in genetics. That’s just a blueprint. I believe in epigenetics….




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    1. I believe in epigenetics too, so I was troubled by a lifelong cancer researcher saying that aside from a few things like smoking and inactivity, that diet and exposures had little practical affect on causing cancer. But that aside, new technologies and ‘big data’ are providing treatment advancements. Maybe we’re starting to see that leap now. This was a really great report on the PBS news hour the other day. I hope you’ll watch the short segment.
      http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/experimental-therapy-trains-immune-cells-hunt-kill-blood-cancers/




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      1. For what it is worth I completely disagree with this cancer researcher. His funding is probably dependent on this opinion. Epidemiology speaks for itself. Every step of carcinogenesis – mutation, initiation, progression – can be positively influenced by our choices – diet, smoking, pollution, drugs, radiation, alcohol, infection, obesity.




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      2. Though I think any advance in cancer treatment is exciting, I think I’ve been exposed to too many conspiracy theories because after watching this segment I couldn’t help thinking that if they are using the HIV virus specifically to genetically manipulate T cells, maybe it’s because the HIV virus itself was genetically engineered with some goal in mind.




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    2. We need massive bumps federal research and education, socialism style science and engineering achievements like the Manhattan project.
      Create an extremely well educated new generation who will have the potential to save all of our asses :)




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    3. I’m fairly new to the world of the biochemistry aspects of nutrition but have learned
      quite a bit from this website. (My career was actually in the telecommunications field,
      which, like you say, has grown exponentially over the last 45 years.) I became WFPB
      about a year and a half ago as a result of the info found here both in the videos and
      in the comments section. I was fascinated by your endorsement of epigenetics, so I
      spent the day getting up to speed in this area. It sure looks like a very promising area
      of research. I look forward to learning much more about nutrition from this website
      and believe we all owe Dr. Greger many thanks for all the work he has put into informing
      us of the latest research. And thanks to you for your contributions to the comments section!




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      1. Environment->regulatory proteins->DNA->RNA->proteins makes perfect sense. If scientists thinks that DNA controls our destiny then they suffer from tunnel vision – maybe a genetic disorder….. :-)




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      1. Nature is filled with anti-cancer molecules: Curcumin (turmeric), delphinidin (blueberries), ellagic acid (strawberries), EGCG (green tea), genistein (edamame), resveratrol (grapes), limonen (citrus), diallysulfid, (garlic), Indol-3-carbinol (kale), Sulforaphan (broccoli), lycopen (tomatoes).
        Choose wisely at the table and reduce your risk to end up with oatmeal lotion….




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        1. And ALL of these foods you list are so easily obtained and consumed!!! Even if you can ONLY get frozen strawberries, they STILL retain most of their nutrients! I drink 2-3 cups of green tea each day…broccoli daily raw & steamed…I cheat a bit with low-sodium V-8 but still…these foods are all readily accessible!




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          1. Exactly! Sometimes if I have a craving for something sweet, I eat frozen blueberries or frozen strawberries. it tastes great. I also eat a lot of broccoli, sometimes raw with some fruit and a cup of coffee in the morning. Allegedly there are more EGCG in Japanese tea. I also cheat a Little – I get resveratrol from redwine :-) Preferably Pinot Noir from California.




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    4. I have a friend who ate oatmeal every day. Religiously. I had never seen someone able to eat the same boring thing day after day, but she could. Sadly, she was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer (I forget the exact type) in her mid-30s.
      I think how we eat and interact with our environment are key. She ate organic foods mostly, but was a meat eater (organic) as her MD told her to eat more meat to help with her anemia. Despite the evidence I have shared with her, she doesn’t budge on the meat intake.




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      1. “her MD told her to eat more meat to help with her anemia” – talk about bad advice…
        Despite cancer it is not too late to improve your diet along with conventional treatment.
        Hope she gets well.




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    5. “poisoning a body weakened by cancer in order to try to cure a serious disease” because why let millions of years of evolution heal itself when given what the body needs when man can do it “better” with a machine? (sarcasm, of course). Pure insanity. And think of all the animals being demonically tortured to try to “cure” these diseases; or at least create profitable drugs aimed towards people with such diseases.
      Still, this info will be helpful for those choosing to undergo chemo. I know someone currently undergoing chemo who I’ll share this with… they refuse to take initiative through diet. More insanity.




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    1. Don’t think it’s a vitamin D deficiency. I supplement with 2000 I.U.’s of vitamin D- plus I live in Southern California, yet I get itchy shins in winter too. It must be due to the lack of moisture in the winter air, affecting the shins, where the skin is tightest on the body. By the way, there’s also a more practical use for oatmeal than treating people who are foolish enough to consent to chemotherapy: it can be used for skin eruptions caused by poison oak or poison ivy.




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          1. It seemed to work quite well however the mixture that I made turned crusty and smelly within two or three days so I stopped using it and I didn’t make a second batch. Will stop by to see my doctor on Monday. I had the impression though that it was working quite well.




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      1. Cancer is not one disease. Chemotherapies with some cancers may be ineffective or only marginally effective (though even palliative use of chemo can sometimes greatly reduce pain/disability by shrinking tumors, buying people time and quality of life) but with many others, mortality is significantly reduced. For example, if you or your child had a blood cancer, you wouldn’t be “foolish” to choose chemo–quite the opposite. Read this long piece for a more nuanced view of chemotherapies: http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/chemotherapy-doesnt-work-not-so-fast-a-lesson-from-history/

        BTW, I co-founded and directed a resource center for women with cancer and their families for many years. Our organization’s basic premise was to offer information so women could make evidence-based decisions about treatments, and then to respect the choices they made. We offered alternative and complementary treatment groups and made referrals to leading integrative oncologists. So, I don’t have a bias against alt/comp treatments–quite the opposite, in fact.

        I’ll end by saying anyone can get cancer, no matter our diets, exercise, and other health habits. I live in an area where people lead exceptionally healthy lives and, sadly and maddeningly, I have supported too many women with cancer who were doing everything “perfectly” (i.e. eating vegan, raw, organically, exercising, fasting, detoxing, etc.).




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        1. Thanks for your thoughtful response! And thanks for all you are doing to help people with cancer (and their families), too. Inspiring :))




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          1. Thanks, Jen. I’ve worked at one or another resource center or non-profit my entire adult working life, so it comes naturally to share solid information and help connect people up with support. Which is what NF is all about, too! Thank YOU for volunteering!




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        2. Studies show that diet makes a tremendous difference in one’s odds of getting cancer. Cancer isn’t just something you “get” one day… it’s an accumulation of many factors most often due to lifestyle choices more so than anything else. That is why the places with the lowest cancer rates in the world are places that live off of a nearly 100% plant based diet. The body is an intricate system, when our bodies are not given what they need to function properly and defend themselves, and polluted with harmful substances, we create a welcoming environment for cancer. It’s not just something that sneaks up on you between your green smoothies with no reason.




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    1. I know many years ago, people would eat oatmeal for dinner. Anyone have any good ‘dinner’ oatmeal recipes or ideas that they have tried? I’m a little scared to take the plunge!




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      1. If I’m in the mood for sweet in the evening, I’ll sometimes make oatmeal with cinnamon and berries and/or other fruits and a bit of maple syrup to sweeten (with plant milk, usually hemp). I’ve also copied someone else who mixed it with peanut butter and sweetened with a natural sweetener… it did NOT disappoint!




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        1. there were some comments under one of the turmeric videos I believe (spicing up DNA protection I think, perhaps?) that were talking about making savory oats. Sounded interesting!




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  2. Cool news about putting it on you, since I sure get it into me! I’m addicted to the stuff! I am so bad about eating breakfast, I had to make a ritual. Before I go to bed I add hot tap water to a bowl of oats, (sometimes with ground flax or nuts/seeds) mix in a TBS of cultured white miso, cover, and let it sit on the counter overnight. The microbes and enzymes in the miso change the oats into something special…slightly fermented, mildly sweet and sort of yeasty, and a lot easier to digest! I used to cook the oats first. Then I just added boiling water, but still had to wait for it to cool before adding the miso, so now I just add hot tap water and it seems to work out just fine (kind of like muesli)…but you can try it either way. Just don’t forget to wait for it to cool or you will kill the microbes and it won’t ferment. I eat it at room temp, but if you warm it, again, careful not to heat it past 110 or so.




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    1. I would avoid ingesting hot tap water. Toxic metals can leach from the hot water
      heater (unless you have a “tankless” style heater). It’s more of a hassle, but it’s safer to
      simply heat the cold tap water.




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      1. Good to know, and I decided the above is actually better with the boiling water anyway! The miso reacts differently with the cooked vs uncooked oats. Both are good, but definitely different. The cooked is sweeter, though not sweet, the uncooked, more savory.




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    1. Hi Dr. Stewart,

      I have never made my own oatmeal lotion. Perhaps the researchers talk bout their preparation methods in the resources? Just click “Sources Cited” and see what pops-up. From what I gather one study looked at oatmeal extract and another on colloidal oatmeal lotion. A quick search and you can find many brands.

      Best,
      Joseph




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  3. This sounds interesting. What exactly is oatmeal lotion? Mixing oatmeal w/ water? What ratios are we talking about? Or an extract? Details are helpful.




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    1. Hi Vanessa. You got me there!? I have never made my own oatmeal lotion. Perhaps the researchers talk bout their preparation methods in the resources? Just click “Sources Cited” and see what pops-up. From what I gather one study looked at oatmeal extract and another on colloidal oatmeal lotion. A quick search and you can find many brands. Hope that helps!

      Joseph




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    2. If you scroll down, Tobias posted a link to a recipe…though it’s a salve and not a lotion. Just google colloidal oatmeal lotion recipes, I’m sure you’ll get a slew of them!




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  4. This week I came across an article by precision nutrition on eating wheat and it mentioned protease inhibitors and phytic acid as potentially harmful components of oatmeal. I was wondering if soaking or extended cooking is necessary to get rid of these, or if I should even be worried about these components.
    I eat a lot of oatmeal myself, for breakfast and as part of my lunch but I usually boil water and pour it in the bowl with oats and raisins etc that i have prepared already. Then i let it sit for a few minutes before eating.
    During lunch i eat oatmeal with quark (cottage cheese), so i was wondering if this method of preparation harms protein absorbtion.
    Would appreciate anyone’s time to help me out with this!




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    1. Hi Guy,

      Regarding phytic acid, it actually has considerable health benefits. Barley, wheat, corn, beans, and other phytate rich foods are all dietary staples for some of the healthiest people (blue zones) in the world. After watching these videos, you may decide that you don’t want to decrease the phytate content of your diet after all:

      Phytates for the prevention of cancer: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/phytates-for-the-prevention-of-cancer/
      Phytates for rehabilitating cancer cells: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/phytates-for-rehabilitating-cancer-cells/
      Phytates for the treatment of cancer: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/phytates-for-the-treatment-of-cancer/

      In addition, other health benefits like longer lifespan, decreased dementia, decreased diabetes, decreased CVD risk factors, etc are all associated with consumption of phytate rich foods like beans and whole grains:

      Beans, Beans, They’re Good for the Heart: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/beans-beans-theyre-good-for-your-heart/
      Diabetics Should Take Their Pulses: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/diabetics-should-take-their-pulses/
      Alzheimer’s Disease: Grain Brain or Meathead: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/alzheimers-disease-grain-brain-or-meathead/
      Phytates for the Prevention of Osteoporosis: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/phytates-for-the-prevention-of-osteoporosis/
      Whole Grains May Work As Well As Drugs: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/whole-grains-may-work-as-well-as-drugs/

      Overall, phytate rich beans are considered the single most consistent indicator of increased lifespan: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/increased-lifespan-from-beans/

      I realize some of the links I’m posting may seem a bit off topic but I’m trying to convey a bigger picture of the healthfulness of whole grains and legumes. Those who are writing about potential negative effects from isolated grain and legume constituents are missing the big picture and essentially going about the scientific method in reverse. The overwhelming convergence of evidence shows whole grains and beans as health-promoting foods, eaten in abundance by the healthiest people on the planet. That is our observation of what occurs in the real world. It follows to ask the question, what components in these foods are conferring these benefits? Is it the fiber, the phytic acid, the minerals? etc. However some writers instead go backwards: they start with a hypothesis that certain components will cause poor health, which has no basis in real-world observation and which by simply observing the world around us, we can see is patently wrong. If phytic acid and protease inhibitors are significant detractors from health, if they decrease bone health and cause protein deficiencies, we should see these poor health outcomes in the communities who eat the most of them. However, this simply isn’t true, and to postulate such is not a productive or legitimate scientific claim.




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  5. But oatmeal being great for the skin isn’t news, even in the pharmacy. Colloidal oatmeal is the active ingredient in most over the counter skin ointments for poisoning and eczema. Just read the labels.




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  6. This is quite affirming! I had just thought tonight about how I have been avoiding eating GF oat bran since about a year ago- in that time I have developed frozen shoulder and I just am tired all the time and not as slim as I was- I do eat very healthy since I have an autoimmune disease. I was thinking that I need to reintroduce the oat bran that I used to eat everyday. Clearly it was helping the inflammation in my body. I was trying to do the SCD diet- that’s what got me off all grains even GF ones. If you google benefits of oat bran- it is quite astounding. I wish I had never quit it- my body eventually started to fail me- frozen shoulder is one of the worst things I have had to deal with. I couldn’t put my clothes on or take them off without difficulty. I am much better now after spending lots of $$ on accupuncture. But it’s still not fully healed and I believe diet is at the root of it. Not getting all the B vitamins and 51% of my daily fiber in oat bran- well I suffered major withdrawal! Thanks for listening! I didn’t even watch the video yet- I was reading about oat bran and then went to Dr.Greger’s site- one of my favourites to browse- and sure enough- the video of the day has to do with oatmeal! It’s a bit freaky!




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    1. Hi Kathy, Sorry to hear about your troubles, but that’s good to hear you’re getting good results from acupuncture. Have you looked into trigger point therapy? There’s a book called “Frozen Shoulder Workbook” that gets very good reviews. I’ve used it not for frozen shoulder but from work related shoulder and neck pain. Changed my life! Good luck with your oat bran :)




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  7. Here’s a very simple and nutritional recipe that I make every week and eat all the time with oatmeal & lentils .
    1. Slowly boil 1 cup of lentils in 5 cups of either water or vegetable broth until lentils are completely soft and mushy.
    2. Slowly add half a cup of old fashion oatmeal to the cooked lentils and stir for two minutes.

    3. Optional spices: salt, pepper, turmeric, and cumin

    Enjoy….




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  8. I have a question about coconut oil and other oils high in saturated fat for cosmetic use that has been pressing me every time I use it on my skin. Is there any indication that topical use of oils (ie. coconut oil) and/or butters (ie. cocoa butter) high in saturated fat could negatively affect the health of our skin and/or cells?




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  9. I very respect You dr.Greger , and I have two question, immportant to me. What is Your position to & about chemotherapy-citostatics in general ? Are they useful or harm ? I have Ca mammae gr IIB and my friend has Ca colonis gr IV . Is chemotherapy therapy of survival for us , or will it kill us ? Thank You in advance. Regards.Slavica, Serbia




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