Flashback Friday: Turmeric Curcumin Reprogramming Cancer Cell Death

Flashback Friday: Turmeric Curcumin Reprogramming Cancer Cell Death
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The spice turmeric appears to be able to switch back on the self-destruct mechanism within cancer cells.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

The anticancer effects of the turmeric pigment curcumin extend well beyond its ability to block carcinogens. The anticancer effects of curcumin mainly result from the multitude of ways it regulates “programmed cell death.”

It’s estimated that the human body consists of ten or so trillion cells. That’s a million million. “Almost all of these cells get turned over within approximately 100 days.” We’re like a new person, every three months. We reinvent ourselves physically. And, since we’re just made up of three things—air, water, and food—those are the only inputs—we are what we eat, literally, physically.

In a sense, our body has to rebuild itself every three months with the building materials we deliver to it through our stomach. Our mouths are like the access road to the continual construction site to our body. Trucks roll in three times a day.

What do we want them to deliver? Some shoddy cheap stuff we scrounged around for, or bought at the discount outlets, that’s just going to fall apart? Or, do we want to build our foundation solid? We are each walking around inside the greatest known architectural structures in the universe. Let’s not ruin such grand blueprints by consuming junk.

Anyway, we only own the biological real estate we’re born with. So, if we need to rebuild every three months, we also need a wrecking crew, right? If we’re replacing ten trillion every hundred days, that means we have to kill off like a hundred billion cells every day, normally. Out with the old; in with the new.

We do that primarily through a process called apoptosis—pre-programmed cell death, from the Greek ptosis, meaning falling, and apo, meaning away from. So, it’s our cells falling away from our body. For example, we all used to have webbed fingers and toes. Literally. Each one of us in the womb, until about four months. Then, apoptosis kicks in, and the cells in the webbing in between kill themselves off to separate our fingers.

Some cells in our body overstay their welcome, though—like cancer cells. They don’t die when they’re supposed to, by somehow turning off their suicide genes. What can we do about it? Well, one of the ways curry kills cancer cells is by reprogramming the self-destruct mechanism back into cancer cells. Let me just run through one of these pathways, just so you can see the complexity.

FAS is a so-called death receptor, which activates the FAS-associated death domain, along with death receptor five, and death receptor four. FADD then activates caspase-8, which ignites the death machine, and kills the cell. Where does curry powder fit into all this?

In cancer cells, curcumin, the pigment in the spice turmeric that makes curry powder yellow, upregulates and activates death receptors—as has been demonstrated in human kidney cancer cells, as well as skin cancer, and nose and throat cancer.

It can also activate the death machine directly—as has been shown in lung cancer and colon cancer. Caspases are so-called executioner enzymes, that when activated, destroy the cancer cell from within, by chopping up proteins left and right—kind of “death by a thousand cuts.”

And that’s just one pathway. Here’s all the other ways curcumin can affect apoptosis. And, here’s all the different types of cancer cells curcumin can kill. But, it tends to leave normal cells alone, for reasons that are not fully understood. Overall, this review showed that “curcumin can kill a wide variety of tumor cell types through diverse mechanisms.”

And, it’s because curcumin can affect numerous mechanisms of cell death at the same time, it’s “possible that cancer cells may not [easily] develop resistance to curcumin-induced cell death,” like they do to most chemotherapy. “Furthermore, its ability to kill tumor cells and not normal cells makes curcumin an attractive candidate”—for, supper? Can’t make money on some spice you can buy anywhere: “an attractive candidate for drug development.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Lucidialohman and Donovan & Meggin Eastman via flickr, and Susan Arnold via Wikimedia. Original animation thanks to the wizardry of Amélie Bernier-Jean, M.D. and her husband, Shane Barrett.

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

The anticancer effects of the turmeric pigment curcumin extend well beyond its ability to block carcinogens. The anticancer effects of curcumin mainly result from the multitude of ways it regulates “programmed cell death.”

It’s estimated that the human body consists of ten or so trillion cells. That’s a million million. “Almost all of these cells get turned over within approximately 100 days.” We’re like a new person, every three months. We reinvent ourselves physically. And, since we’re just made up of three things—air, water, and food—those are the only inputs—we are what we eat, literally, physically.

In a sense, our body has to rebuild itself every three months with the building materials we deliver to it through our stomach. Our mouths are like the access road to the continual construction site to our body. Trucks roll in three times a day.

What do we want them to deliver? Some shoddy cheap stuff we scrounged around for, or bought at the discount outlets, that’s just going to fall apart? Or, do we want to build our foundation solid? We are each walking around inside the greatest known architectural structures in the universe. Let’s not ruin such grand blueprints by consuming junk.

Anyway, we only own the biological real estate we’re born with. So, if we need to rebuild every three months, we also need a wrecking crew, right? If we’re replacing ten trillion every hundred days, that means we have to kill off like a hundred billion cells every day, normally. Out with the old; in with the new.

We do that primarily through a process called apoptosis—pre-programmed cell death, from the Greek ptosis, meaning falling, and apo, meaning away from. So, it’s our cells falling away from our body. For example, we all used to have webbed fingers and toes. Literally. Each one of us in the womb, until about four months. Then, apoptosis kicks in, and the cells in the webbing in between kill themselves off to separate our fingers.

Some cells in our body overstay their welcome, though—like cancer cells. They don’t die when they’re supposed to, by somehow turning off their suicide genes. What can we do about it? Well, one of the ways curry kills cancer cells is by reprogramming the self-destruct mechanism back into cancer cells. Let me just run through one of these pathways, just so you can see the complexity.

FAS is a so-called death receptor, which activates the FAS-associated death domain, along with death receptor five, and death receptor four. FADD then activates caspase-8, which ignites the death machine, and kills the cell. Where does curry powder fit into all this?

In cancer cells, curcumin, the pigment in the spice turmeric that makes curry powder yellow, upregulates and activates death receptors—as has been demonstrated in human kidney cancer cells, as well as skin cancer, and nose and throat cancer.

It can also activate the death machine directly—as has been shown in lung cancer and colon cancer. Caspases are so-called executioner enzymes, that when activated, destroy the cancer cell from within, by chopping up proteins left and right—kind of “death by a thousand cuts.”

And that’s just one pathway. Here’s all the other ways curcumin can affect apoptosis. And, here’s all the different types of cancer cells curcumin can kill. But, it tends to leave normal cells alone, for reasons that are not fully understood. Overall, this review showed that “curcumin can kill a wide variety of tumor cell types through diverse mechanisms.”

And, it’s because curcumin can affect numerous mechanisms of cell death at the same time, it’s “possible that cancer cells may not [easily] develop resistance to curcumin-induced cell death,” like they do to most chemotherapy. “Furthermore, its ability to kill tumor cells and not normal cells makes curcumin an attractive candidate”—for, supper? Can’t make money on some spice you can buy anywhere: “an attractive candidate for drug development.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Lucidialohman and Donovan & Meggin Eastman via flickr, and Susan Arnold via Wikimedia. Original animation thanks to the wizardry of Amélie Bernier-Jean, M.D. and her husband, Shane Barrett.

Doctor's Note

This is the last of a three part video series on turmeric and cancer. If you missed the first two, check out: Back to Our Roots: Curry & Cancer and Carcinogen-Blocking Effects of Turmeric Curcumin.

Other herbs and spices, such as garlic (see #1 Anticancer Vegetable) and amla (see Amla vs. Cancer Cell Growth) may have similar selective effects against cancer cells.

I talk more about the concept of apoptosis, programmed cell death, in:

What else can turmeric do? Check out some of my other videos on turmeric:

All of my latest turmeric videos can be found here.

Psst: we have a surprise coming in the next video: an experiment with a new style. Hope you like it!

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

168 responses to “Flashback Friday: Turmeric Curcumin Reprogramming Cancer Cell Death

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  1. Nicely explained, Dr. Greger! I was working on apototic pathways for cancer treatment years ago: we discovered a compound that elucidated a novel apototic pathway with our academic collaborators: https://science.sciencemag.org/content/299/5604/223.

    There are times when I miss working in the lab! But I don’t miss trying to keep up with the literature… glad to have you and the team cover this, so that I don’t have to… :)

    Jim

      1. Dr. Cobalt,

        I believe the same thing. The fact that we are able to search by topic and find such practical life-saving advice all in one place and to have it be presented in an entertaining, easy-to-understand manner is a godsend.

        Priceless.

    1. For those who want more information- here are more details
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2758121/

      Of particular note- page 17- Curcumin suppresses Cox2 which is the target of the NSAID family of drugs.

      Page 33- “Low concentrations of Curcumin may protect hepatocytes….
      Conversely, high concentrations provoke Glutathione depletion, caspase 3 activation, and hepatic cytotoxicity.”

      Which explains why trying to absorb high doses of curcumin is counter- productive.

    2. I have a great story about Tumeric and ginger root. I call it tea because I drink it warm and I make it myself. It is more like a fluid replacement because I dont like to drink water. I drink 2 hydroflask containers during my 10 hour shift at Amazon. I wasnt looking for these roots it is as if they were looking for me. I had double pneumonia, walking pneumonia for so long. It is a low grade killer of life, you consume it as being normal for your age etc. I had an Asian lady that I work with tell me about ginger and a guy friend of mine looked up a recipe for making tea out of it. The Tumeric was something that my guy friend would have to have after an extensive bike ride and in the middle of dinner at a restaurant he had to have a Tablespoon of mustard to help him with muscle cramping , so then I wondered what is Tumeric? I found out that it is a root and so I combine both of them together and I dont ever leave home without it. I am not one to spend a lot of time cooking or in the kitchen,but i will always make sure that I spend whatever time it takes to make my tea my fluid replacement tea I have been an avid marathon runner for years and believe it or not I was a smoker. Not much of one, but it will take you out. the Zing that I get from drinking the tea has completely replaced any enjoyment I thought that I had from a cigarette.

  2. One gets the impression that turmeric is to spices what kale is to green leafies, or blueberries are to fruits… quintessential superfoods.

    I add a half cup of blueberries and a quarter teaspoon of turmeric to my rolled oats every morning. Also a little cinnamon to make it fun.

    Haven’t quite gotten to sprinkling kale on my oats yet. Working on that.

    1. Hahaha…

      I put kale in my salad every day, while muttering a mantra under my breath (f@%! kale, f@%! kale, f@%! kale). At least it makes it more bearable…

      1. I start everyday with a green smoothie containing fruit (mango, banana, and pineapple), kale, flax seeds and turmeric. If you blend the kale well enough you can’t taste it and you get some great superfoods first thing in the morning!

      2. Jim,

        Maybe you need a different salad dressing? Or an extra 2 tablespoons of dressing?

        Watercress is something so peppery that it burns my mouth on its own, but I put it in my salad and that disappears.

        I got out of the gym last night and didn’t go to the grocery store to get my kale, so I ended up having a watercress salad and the no-oil sesame ginger dressing is magic.

        1. I’ve been doing the ‘no oil’ thing, so I wasn’t actually aware that dressings like that exist! I’ll have to hunt for it, although this is our work cafeteria (they have a fantastic salad bar), and I just use balsamic vinegar to dress the salad.

          And I’m only teasing a little. I don’t completely hate kale. It makes a great packing filler for shipping items in boxes…

          1. Laughing.

            Nope, I reprogrammed my brain stimulating my vagal nerve with my MicroPulse ICES and don’t even remember that I used to hate kale at all anymore.

            It is a superhero food in my universe.

            1. I did it based on a PubMed study that vagal nerve stimulation changes the emotional relationship with food. There are probably other vagal nerve stimulator gadgets out there nowadays. I was so happy that it worked. Every food that I eat nowadays is something which I grew up hating.

              I am on a gadget-buying hiatus, but I loved even having a gadget to help me with my food aversions.

              I haven’t tried it with raspberries or apricots yet, but there are not a lot of Dr. Greger videos helping motivate me to eat those. I think I feel like overcoming the aversion to blueberries and blackberries is enough.

          2. What I have found is that ‘no-oil’ is a far cry from ‘no-fat’. Often dressings will use tahini or other nut/seed butters (just as bad in Esselstyn/Ornish camp) in lieu of oil. Sometimes I use a tbsp of fat free commercial dressing but in general have cut down eating salads and eat foods I can prepare fat free.

        2. Strange, when I eat a bag (75gr) of watercress, after one hour I can’t hold up my urine and have to run. Bit painfull too. How come?

            1. Thanks for the explanation and link! I like the taste of watercress. And because it rot’s soon after the bag is opened, better eat it al at once.

    2. Dr Cobalt, In addition to Turmeric and Kale, a few other super foods to mention are Green Tea, Brocolli Sprouts, Onion, and Mushrooms. Dr G has videos on all of these. I try to eat each of these in some form or another every day.

      1. Hal,

        I was doing that, too. I am not having my green tea anymore, and the onions don’t happen any day anymore because they don’t pre-chop organic ones. But kale and mushrooms and broccoli sprouts are still almost every day. I like pomegranate seeds, too, and add those to my kale. Blueberries is another one.

        I end up doing cauliflower with a cheeze sauce often.

        100% Cacao is another thing I try to eat daily. Yes, I went 100%. I used to think it was bitter, but I don’t know if they are cheating, but, to me, it is chocolate.

    3. I found ground dried kale in the Mexican food section at Publix supermarket the other day! Made by Badia and on the shelf with all their other spices. Pretty reasonably priced as well!

    4. May I recommend the Sweet Potato Kale Salad from Forks Over Knives. It a family favorite here, easy and fast to make and best of all it keeps well in the fridge for a few days, so mornings I grab a pre-filled container from the fridge and I have a yummy healthy lunch at work.

    5. I mix up my own med turmeric isle of Wight honey and black pepper all of these are organic I buy. I suffer from copd and athuritus it is doing me good.

    6. Hi.
      Turmeric is good for lots of ailments but don’t forget there is also negatives for everything, it’s about balance.

      Turmeric has a negative effect on your iron absorption and can stop up to 90% of the iron absorbed by your body.
      This can cause anemia and low haemoglobin levels.

      Everyone is different, what works for some may not work for others.

      Do your background checks on product history and scientific research.

      1. Will have to see if turmeric helps me absorb less iron as I absorb way too much and have to donate blood to get rid of it. Ont the other hand, that motivates me to donate blood.

        1. Edwin,

          Where to buy turmeric……. the question is more complex vs just the lead issues.

          See this publication regarding the sampling of multiple products both OG and not and the contents: http://cercenvis.nic.in/PDF/Fact%20sheet.pdf for a potential option, I came across and American brand, American Turmeric Company, with one large however….. they tested for some heavy metals but excluded the arsenic and copper found to be high in the Indian brands. A call on Monday to see if more testing has been done is in order.

          So after reading a number of reviews of different products….. I’m not certain where’s the best point of purchase or the best quality.

          Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger http://www.Centerofhealth.com

    7. I use dried spinach and watercress powders as a base for other supplement powders that are far more economical to buy in quantity rather than in capsules, like milk thistle extract and alpha-lipoic acid. They don’t taste expecially good but are more nutritious than neutral fillers and I’m not consuming it for flavor. (I use fresh and dried powdered turmeric and curcumin extract but dislike the flavor so might include them in this mix someday.) I believe I’ve seen kale powder online, and it might be easy to make at home. Broccoli sprout powder is also available, one supplier acknowledging that it only carries about a quarter of the nutrition of fresh, but I prefer to sprout my own anyway.

      Such dried powdered green leafies have great shelf life and just require dry storage. They are convenient and easy to consume with almost anything, so are good for salting into daily routines especially when fresh or frozen is not available. Fresh is always better but seldom as convenient and easy to keep on hand and ready. I figure it’s better to have a little dried veggie often than a lot of fresh but only occasionally, and both together works for me.

  3. What about this scare that turmeric contains lead? Is this true or “fake news”? Are there certain brands we should choose over others? Thanks!

    1. You should avoid spices from certain countries, particularly Bangladesh, Georgia, Pakistan, Nepal, China, and Morocco.

      As of 2018, so far: “In the United States, excessive lead levels haven’t been noted in the “mainstream” U.S. spice industry, which includes major brands or those doing business with major food companies.”

  4. Did you say the the Greek work “tosis” means falling at angle (or falling away)? I couldn’t understand that statement no matter how loud I turned up my volume.

    Thanks,

    J

  5. Costco sells bottles of liquid turmeric, as well as Pom juice. In the morning I mix the pom with a cap full of the turmeric, some apple cider vinegar and then a tablespoon of ground flaxseed. Took a while to get used to but now I look forward to it.

  6. I have Dupuytren’s nodules and cord in my right hand. Its an immune issue where the skin cells don’t die off and just keep building up very slowly over time. For those that have a severe case, the fingers eventually curl inward from the cord pulling ever tighter. If I mix DMSO with curcumin and massage it into my hand, would it be effective or would the DMSO change the curcumin and render it useless? DMSO penetrates the skin and whatever is on the skin into the tissue.

    Thank you in advance for your advice and comments.

    1. Why not just try it? It sounds like you have a serious condition. It can’t hurt. Try eating it also. Again, it can’t hurt. Also, there is a lot of discussion about autoimmune diseases in Dr. Greger’s book “How Not to Die”. Good luck.

    2. Jack, I just spoke with the hand specialist surgeon not 2 hours ago. She told me various reasons for the nodule appearing. She also said the remedy was a quick and simple procedure which will release it. Turmeric stains everything, including kitchen counters. I wouldn’t be rubbing into my hand without wearing gloves etc afterward. Just a heads up. All the best to you.

        1. Dimethyl sulfoxide. It’s a polar aprotic solvent. It’s a very effective solvent, and will rapidly move compound into your bloodstream through the skin barrier. Generally I wouldn’t recommend self-medicating in that way, because you’re not sure of what an appropriate dose would be, you’re not sure what else could be in the turmeric (or on your hands), and this route of administration is different than ingestion.

          1. Yeah, but google is indeed our friend!

            I told an old friend in NYC who has been experiencing apartment/landlord aggravation for many years that maybe she should swirl all the bad energies away with a sage stick.

            In her next email she asked me “What’s a sage stick?” She might have expected a long, personal reply from me, but instead I merely sent her a link. https://www.healthline.com/health/benefits-of-burning-sage

    3. I have the same problem. Going through radiation therapy now at the cancer clinic and it seams to work well. Last year they did my left hand and now they started my right hand. Some people gat it on the feet to. Anyway I am using curcumin with pepper and alma.

    4. Dupuytren’s contractures are not an over production of skin cells, it is an over production of fibroblasts along the tendons of the extrinsic forearm flexor muscles in the hand, usually in the forth and fifth digit. Which is not to say that a callus has not formed over the nodules in your case, as a callus will form in response to repeated friction, pressure, or other irritation pretty much anywhere on the body. Dupuytren’s is genetic in nature, found primarily in those of Northern European heritage. (It’s a mark of the Viking in us; yes I have them too. I even get them in my feet where it is called Ledderhose disease.) Collagenase injections is the least invasive way of dealing with the contractures from an allopathic prospective; from an osteopathic prospective cross fiber frictions may be something that you could try. (Cross fiber frictions has worked for me on my feet but on my hands, while the nodules have become smaller, the fibroblasts have become more diffuse within the non-tendonous connective tissue of my finger.) You can get this done by a Registered Massage Therapist, but know that it will take multiple short treatments (15 mins at most) and is painful during the treatment but little post treatment.

    5. The curcumin powder I use is a beautiful orange color and readily stains my skin and clothing, permanently in the case of white shirts and persistently on my fingers. Still, Dupuitren’s seems like a disabling condition and your idea to apply curcumin locally and topically is prudent. I urge caution and moderation because if DMSO transports the curcumin systemically, into your bloodstream, you might overdose and compromise e.g. liver and kidneys. I would first try the curcumin by itself or perhaps with a little ethanol or light oil, if you wish to target only skin cells; it will probably penetrate multiple layers of skin if left on for a while such as in a poultice. Targeting cord which I assume is tendon might be difficult through the skin and at that level I personally might try to exhaust all established medical treatments before experimenting with DMSO. Wishing you luck and improvement with the condition.

  7. If anyone can answer my concern noted below I would quite appreciate it.

    A friend in the WPBF community just told me that after grinding flax seed it’s efficacy is only a few days. Is there any truth to this?

    If so I’d better slam the brakes on my automatic shipments of Spectrum organic ground flax seed from Amazon. I already have one too many pkg backlogged in the refrigerator.

    1. Hi Connie – Others may have more to contribute to your question, but my understanding of ground flax is that, as with all fats, oxidation of the fats can occur once exposed to oxygen/air. Flax seed has lignans, phytoestrogens, in the seed that may degrade over time (afterall, we want to eat foods that rot eventually) but I’ve never seen any research that shows they degrade within a few days. I, personally, keep things like ground flax in the freezer in a sealed container to protect from exposed air. I then transfer “manageable” amounts to a jar in the fridge for daily use. I’m thinking that your sealed packages of ground flax will be ok. Perhaps others know something more. Here is a link to ground flax that may be of interest:
      http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=dailytip&dbid=18
      Also, – your pre-ordered packages will have a “best by” date on it somewhere. I’m also wondering if you couldn’t contact the manufacturer of the product and see if they can give you more information. They may have researched your question already.

    2. One of my favorite kitchen gadgets is a cheap, electric coffee grinder. It works well grinding flax seeds into meal. If you don’t want to do it every day, you can take Ruth’s cue and grind a small amount, store it in the freezer (or fridge, in my case). Next time you’re browsing Amazon, search for a cheap coffee grinder, like a Mr. Coffee.

      I use the grinder to grind seeds and grains (but not nuts – too much oil in nuts).

    3. Connie, once seeds are ground the oils are exposed to oxygen which allows them to become rancid much quicker. This is why preground flax recommends being stored in the fridge in an airtight container.

    4. Connie,

      When I read what the “experts” say, they use words like “probably” and that means that they aren’t quoting an exact study.

      But they don’t say “a few days,” they say “They can start to go rancid fairly quickly – as soon as a few weeks after they are ground,” she said. “This is when the fats start to oxidize, and here is when you can also lose the nutritional benefits of those fats. The taste is also off.”

      Spectrum is a good brand if you are using the pre-ground. They do a cold grind process and immediately package the ground seeds in a light-protective pouch then flush them with an inert gas and seal it airtight.

      After you open them, you can freeze them and they last for 6 months if ground.

      If you buy whole and grind them yourself, they last in the freezer for a year.

      6 months versus a year, for me, the pre-ground is more convenient and I tend to not use things, which take extra processes.

      Flaxseed fell totally out of my diet that way.

      I know that sounds lazy even, but I realize that I get out of work at 7 pm and go to the gym for an hour and that makes it 8 pm when I drop by the grocery store for my produce, which happens every few days or it gets the wrong texture and I throw it out. That makes it almost 9 pm when I get home for dinner and I tend to not fall asleep until 4 in the morning and it just is that I am probably tired and not good at getting every single thing done.

      I have been renovating my house and maybe I will eventually get better grinding flaxseed next year, but

  8. Connie above brings up a good point about lead and turmeric. I was at a break fast with a man who owns a chemical assay lab. He regularly tests turmeric samples for the state for lead. Lead chromate is bright yellow, and in places like India it is sometimes added to turmeric powder to stretch it and increase its weight. (Similar to how baby formula and dog food was adulterated with melamine in China). Here is a journal article on the subject. I would be very wary of using powdered turmeric that wasn’t tested. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5415259/

  9. This might be a good place to share my turmeric hot toddy. I make this in winter as a hot drink, but also in summer, let it cool, and pour over ice. It’s yummy all year.

    1/2″ ginger root
    1/2″ turmeric root (I keep both ginger and turmeric whole root in freezer, already cut in pieces. I don’t peel either root.)
    3 or so whole clove
    grind of fresh pepper (to potentiate the turmeric)
    allspice – optional
    Smash all of the above in a morter and pestle, throw into a mug with just-boiling water and let steep.
    Strain into a fresh cup, add cinnamon, sweetener of choice.
    This is a really easy way to consumer turmeric root.

  10. First I wish to thank Dr Greger for providing us with such an incredible amount of vaital information – Dr Greger, thank you!

    Now, I need to apologise for straying away from the today’s topic. I do have an important request to make. Hopefully this may be useful to other readers as well.

    I wish Dr Greger would, in the future, address the issue of pros and cons tof aking anticoagulants for Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation (PAfib). Also, I wish to know if there are concrete evidence of PAfib triggers – for example, digestive disorders and damage to vagus nerve… Is there anything people with Afib can do to minimise, or totally eliminate the episodes of PAfibs?

    Here is a short version of my story.

    Although I had the symptoms for more than a year and half, I have been officially diagnosed with Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation (PAfib) in February, 2019.

    My episodes of Afib are violent. My heart rate may go as high as 150-170 beats per minutes. My blood pressure increases as well. I become extremely weak, fatigued, feel of fainting, and I’m grasping for air. It is absolutely frightening. The first time I decided to call an ambulance was the time when I broke my wrist because I fainted and fell during Afib episode.

    While I was in the ER my Afib spontaneously (within ten hours) converted to sinus rhythm.

    A cardiologist saw me in the ER. He recommended that I take Apixaban (Eliquis) 2.5 mg twice a day. I was in an absolute denial. I could not believe that I could develop any heart problems (including electrical aspect of the heart) considering my lifestyle.

    I do not smoke, do not drink alcohol (nor did I ever) – my diet is vey clean – mainly plant based (animal sources may be on the average once a week). My weight was never higher than 110 pounds (usually 100 + or – 5 pound). I am 5’3” tall. I was always active throughout my life.

    My blood pressure is around 105/60, my total cholesterol level is 4.47 mmol/L, HDL 1.84 mmol/L, LDL 2.27 mmol/L, triglycerides 0.79 mmol/L, sugar level 4.7— all good — all within the more than acceptable levels.

    However, my WBC are always below normal levels (2.9), and Neutrophils 1.7. I am not certain if any of these might be contributor to the PAfib episodes.

    I must add, I am a 72 year old female, and have had extreme stresses in my life…

    I have seen at least 5 GP, and two cardiologists. All of them (except my own cardiologist) have instilled absolute fear in me. They all emphasised an absolute need for me to take blood thinner. If I don’t, they claimed, I would very likely have a massive stroke.

    On the other hand, my cardiologist believed that the best option for my condition would be ablation procedure… I am so torn.

    I did great deal of research on my own, but non of it brought comfort and clear path I should take. It is a fact that blood thinners may cause major bleeding, including strokes…

    So, what does one do – trade possibility of one kind of stroke for a possibility for another.

    Thank you all for any input you might provide.

    Greatly appreciated.

    Mary.

    1. I suggest amputation without anesthesia stat. Or realizing that posting off topic complex medical questions to open internet forums is silly at best.

      1. Mary,

        Ignore the internet trolls. I do understand that when you have gone to a multitude of doctors and still don’t have good answers, you HAVE TO try to figure things out for yourself and that takes time.

        I can hear how confused you are. Congratulations for all of the work you have done on your own to have good health.

        Some of the WFPB doctors do consultations and might answer your questions.

        And, Dr. Greger now has it on his list.

        1. I can look at PubMed and see some of the triggers.

          The most commonly reported triggers were alcohol (35%), caffeine (28%), exercise (23%), and lack of sleep (21%).

          The prevalence of sleep apnea, defined as an apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) of >5 per hour of sleep, was 87% in patients with therapy-resistant AF compared to 48% in the control coho

          1. You need to know whether you have thyroid problems and whether you have diabetes and whether you have sleep apnea.

            I looked up success rates with ablation and Frankel Cardiovascular Center gave their rates for the procedure:

            Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation can be eliminated in 70-75 percent of patients with a single procedure. When the procedure is repeated in patients who still have atrial fibrillation after the first procedure, the overall success rate is approximately 85-90 percent.

            That is what your cardiologist is recommending. You might ask what the success rates where you would get it done. They might have numbers.

            1. As far as the stroke versus stroke

              Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation increases the risk of stroke by 5 times.

              Blood thinners lower that risk by 50 to 60%, but you are right, it increases the risk of brain hemorrhage.

              However, as far as the brain hemorrhage with Warfarin,

              https://abcnews.go.com/Health/Healthday/story?id=5915653&page=1

              This section might help you make your mind up:

              The excess bleeding was seen only in warfarin users with an INR of 3 or greater. INR, the international normalized ratio, is a measure of the ability of blood to clot properly.

              “Normally, the INR is less than 2,” Woo explained. “On warfarin treatment, the goal is to keep it between 2 and 3. In our study, if it was greater than 3, it was associated with a higher initial volume of hemorrhage. Between 1.2 and 3, there was not a significantly higher volume of hemorrhage.”

              But one person’s INR can vary unpredictably, so regular blood tests are needed to be sure it is within the desired range, Woo said. “INR levels go up and down quite a bit,” he said. “If it is too high, you run the risk of hemorrhage. If it is too low, you run the risk of whatever it is you are trying to prevent in the first place.”

              1. Mary and Larry,

                While you are making your mind up, there are studies where things like yoga and acupuncture and stress-relieving processes can reduce the number of them.

                Also, there seems to be a “risks test” of some sort.

                Not everyone requires anticoagulation therapy. It depends on the scores on CHADS2 plus Vasc tool.

                Some patients only require an aspirin if their risk factors are zero or less than one based on CHADS2
                score plus Vasc tool. So you need to know what your score is to make the decision.

                If you decide to go with blood thinners, see if it can be something other than Warfarin

                https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/atrial-fibrillation/features/warfarin-new-blood-thinners#1

                They might be expensive, but there are Plant-foods that get knocked off of your list with Warfarin and you need to be tested more often.

                1. It is genuinely challenging when you have doctors’ who don’t agree with each other.

                  That is such a common thing. My cousin recently had 3 doctors and a dietician all disagreeing with each other and he yelled at them and said, “You all have to fight this out without me. You are adding so much stress to my life.”

                  I went through the same thing with my grandmother with her heart conditions. She had 3 different cardiologists and a primary care doctor all who didn’t agree with each other.

                  What I will say is that you have to read everything you possibly can and make a list of specific questions before making a decision.

                  In the meantime though, you can do lifestyle changes like limiting coffee to 16 oz or less, for instance. And maybe increasing meditation and improving sleep hygeine. Maybe do a sleep study to see if there is apnea involved. It seems like it would be a good idea to know whether you had a mechanical issue or not. Knowing whether it is mechanical is important WebMD said for deciding between Warfarin and other blood thinners, for instance. Knowing whether you have kidney problems also would be good before you made that decision.

                  Make a big list of questions and improve everything in your lifestyle that you possibly can without drugs.

                  For instance, do you have a blood pressure monitor at home? If you have blood pressure problems, you can try some of the things on this site to deal with that.

                  But if you have thyroid problems, you might need to find out if you are low in iodine or not or something like that, which is becoming more common because people are going sea salt and no salt.

                  I feel for you because I have been there.

                  When my grandmother needed a surgical procedure, the anesthesiologist said to me, “There are so many things wrong in her chart” and she started listing things. It was a teaching hospital which asked the same questions every 5 minutes to my grandmother who had dementia or to anyone who happened to be sitting next to her. Her medical chart became like the telephone game and it became so ridiculous that when I switched hospitals, I didn’t even want to bring the information with us. I went back to the Primary Care, who kept excellent notes, but he got arrested by the end and then we were on our own.

                  1. “I went back to the Primary Care, who kept excellent notes, but he got arrested by the end and then we were on our own.”
                    – – – – – –

                    Good Lord, Deb, you come across an amazing array of people!

                    He got arrested? On what grounds?

                    1. Boy, when Deb is on a “search roll,” she won’t let silly questions like mine interrupt her thought processes. :-)

                      (Am still wondering why the doc got arrested.)

                    2. YR, I think Deb would make a very good doctor. Maybe she should have her own section of the Comments called “Ask Dr Deb” ;-) What do you think?

                      Seriously, she is very good at doing quick Internet research on medical topics. And seems to have such a breadth of experience in many different medical topics. She is a real asset to this comments section!

                      A hearty thank you to Deb!

                    3. Yes, Hal, I’m thinking she should have her own blog or something. Notice that 3/4 of the comments in every thread are hers. :-) She does make a very good research person.

                      If she’s reading this, I really wanna know why that guy was arrested. Did he rape a patient? Molest a young child? She wouldn’t have to give his name, just say why. (Maybe she dreamed the whole thing.)

                      But she won’t even read this….:-(

                    4. Hal, I feel that responding to medical questions should be discouraged on this forum other than from the NF team. I have seen some pretty horrifying info dispensed, and often the questioners are not discerning enough to know the difference. People need to ask their doctors. Just my opinion.

                    1. Also dehydration is a big triegger, especially in older people.

                      There were food triggers, but I lost the list. Maybe I will find it tomorrow. I want to say foods containing tyrosine or something like that, but I forgot.

                2. Thanks Deb for your responses to my definately “complex” medical questions. Your comments, and the links you added, are very helpful. Thanks again.

                  Cheers,

                  M.

                  1. Good luck, Mary. I will say a few prayers for you.

                    I will tell you to just keep searching because what I found was that when doctors told me that things were impossible, the doctors were almost always wrong, but it took a long process of looking things up every day to figure out what to do.

                    1. Mary,

                      On a whim, I looked up B12 deficiency, anemia, Homocysteine and AFib and they were all there.

                      Are you supplementing B-12? And, if so, which kind? I got insufficiency symptoms while on Methyl B12. It isn’t shelf stable.

                      Do you know whether you are high or low in Homocysteine? If you aren’t supplementing B-12, you could be high and not supplementing can also contribute to thyroid problems.

                      I will look up D vitamins and AFib next.

                    2. Nope Vitamin D deficiency isn’t linked directly. It can be linked maybe through thyroid problems maybe.

                      Extremely high doses of it has been considered as a potential trigger, but that was elevated levels and most older people are deficient rather than elevated.

                    3. Mary,

                      inflammation is one of the things they believe to be causal.

                      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4189345/

                      They were mentioning things like Interleukin 6 and heat shock proteins. Somehow inflammation is part of the remodeling of the electrical with the heart.

                      Broccoli sprouts leaps into my brain from the Autism video. Cruciferous.

                      I looked up low potassium and it is on the list, so are you eating 9 or 10 servings of vegetables per day?

                      That number was how many servings was mentioned in the depression anti inflammatory diet video.

                      Also, do you eat nuts. Each serving of nuts lowered the risk of AFib.

                  2. Mary – I mentioned, above, the possibility of magnesium for arrhythmia and that I have an arrhythmia also (diagnosed in my 20’s, Doc said I could take a beta blocker if I wanted to but I chose not to – that was 45 years ago). If you try magnesium, do not use magnesium oxide as the body does not absorb it well. Also, it can take a long time to absorb enough magnesium to bring levels to a therapeutic level. (all this info in the Carolyn Dean book I mentioned).

                    Let me share with you a story from a friend of mine. His wife developed a severe arrhythmia. Docs didn’t know exactly what was causing it. They suggested to destroy the thyroid and then put her on synthroid the rest of her life. They did not want to do that not know what the real cause was. They went to 6 different docs and got the same story. Then they went to a nutritionist. The nutritionist suggested that she needed to take magnesium. And – Voila! – this was her answer. Her arrhythmia went away.

                    My arrhythmia goes away as well when I take my magnesium. When I fall off the wagon and get lazy about it the arrhythmia kicks back in. A reminder to me to take my magnesium.

                    Hopefully something someone has shared with you may get you in the right direction. Good luck.

          2. One article mentioned misfolded proteins and that made me think of Alzheimer’s where they say the misfolding may be the body trying to protect itself, so I started looking up things like RoundUp and Mercury and Arsenic and hit a jackpot.

            RoundUp / pesticides and also insecticides are triggers and maybe causal, so eat organic and wash your food off.

            Those who were exposed to pesticides were twice as likely to have coronary heart disease and five times as likely to have atrial fibrillation.

            Mercury from fish

            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5336711/

            Arsenic from chicken and in your water

            https://www.heart.org/en/news/2019/05/07/arsenic-in-drinking-water-may-damage-the-heart

            Environmental exposure to heavy metals

            https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/12/181211190008.htm

            This one was about how heavy metals can cause an increase in Homocysteine because heavy metals can cause over-methylation of biomolecules in the body such as bio-converting cysteine into Homocysteine. To make things worse, since cysteine and Homocysteine contain sulfur groups they can attract heavy metals, which bind to them irreversibly stopping the homocysteine molecule binding at its native binding site and that causes the Homocysteine to remain free in the blood and accumulate over time.

            You might have to watch your intake of fish and chicken.

            https://academic.oup.com/europace/article/10/12/1458/465066

            I am wondering if Modified Citrus Pectin and Silica water (Fiji Water) could help.

            There are studies where they got things like lead and aluminum out of humans.

            Copper imbalance is another thing that they speculate about.

            Obviously, I have given you a list a mile long, but these are the lifestyle things to look at.

            Things like RoundUp having a 5 times greater likelihood of getting it, you really need to examine things like that.

            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18616067

              1. I know that I probably have totally overwhelmed you, but read the Modified Citrus Pectin one.

                Inhibiting Galectin 3 lowered fibrosis by 50%.

                1. If you choose to try Modified Citrus Pectin, Pectasol is the brand most of the studies have been done with and there is only one other brand that I found which qualified to be useful because it needed to be small enough. I don’t remember the science but most of the Modified Citrus Pectin wasn’t effective so brand matters. The thing with Pectasol is that, it didn’t pass California standards for lead, but it still tested for taking lead out of the body. That got confusing to me last year when my dog got sick. I did go with Pectasol but I am not sure if it is wisdom. I chose it because it was the one used in the studies, but the other one on Amazon didn’t have the California warning. The brand you would choose has to talk about the same thing Pectasol talks about.

            1. Cadmium from chocolate can be a source of AFib.

              https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/5/6/e007366

              Consumer Labs tests the products and if you are eating cacao, check the brands there, Berkeley Wellness recommends skipping the powders eat small servings and make sure that you aren’t low in zinc.

              https://www.berkeleywellness.com/healthy-eating/food-safety/article/there-cadmium-your-cocoa

              Consumer Labs said that organic wasn’t better and that they also lie about the percentages.

              This made me wonder if the 90 and 100% ones I have been buying are that at all. I thought those percentages used to taste more bitter, but now they taste like chocolate. Is that my taste buds or are they scamming me?

    2. Mary, while waiting to make up your mind which way to go, consider some things like consuming a lot of magnesium (purported to keep the heart in rhythm) taking white willow bark meant to hold down platelet aggregation, thus preventing thrombosis…

      Personal experience: I have taken White Willow Bark for a number of years. Occasionally, I may get an oweee that breaks the skin. There is still enough platelet activity to stop the bleeding so no worries about a runaway blood letting.

      I also drink a swig of Biotta beet root juice, once, twice, three times a day for the nitrates that allow the dilation of blood vessels.

      I’m no doctor and in this case I am not even playing one on the Internet… just offering a stop gap solution to try while waiting for a more “medical” approach. Of course, if it works…

    3. Mary – I have a minor arrhythmia that I treat with 400 mgs/day magnesium citrate. It is helpful to me – smooths out my heart rate/rhythm. A great book to read on magnesium is called the Magnesium Miracle by Carolyn Dean, M.D., ND. She is a medical doctor as well as a naturopath. She takes patients by video or skype, etc. if you are interested. But read her book – lots of info in it and it may help you with your arrhythmia.

      Also, I have a friend who also had an arrhythmia, severely. She had the ablation procedure and has never looked back. Her arrhythmia has been gone ever since the procedure.
      Best of luck to you.

      1. Mary, I read on the Dr Esselstyn site where someone asked if diet impacts AFib, and he said no , not really. Other than to keep you (and your heart) healthy in general.

        For minor arrhythmia issues, I do the same as Ruth. I take magnesium glycinate daily.

      1. Reality Bites,

        They have studied what happens when you dry turmeric and the conclusion to the PubMed article I read said that there is a quality difference between different dried turmeric powders and that a high-quality one has more curcumin.

        The better the quality of dry turmeric the greater the amount of TPC and curcuminoids will be to help prevent some human diseases such as cancer and coronary heart disease (Wilken et al. 2011).

  11. I want to know how much turmeric I can take every day. In HNTD half a teaspoon is mentioned.
    Do we know that fpr sure?
    What if I were to take a tablespoon once a day? Would that damage my liver and eventually kill me?

    And what can I expect if I forget some days – can I take 3 tsp at the same time once a week?!

    I do take turmeric every day and I often think about this!

    1. Christer, I take 1/4 tsp turmeric daily with a couple of other things. It is the amount used in many of the studies I looked at over the years. A friend of mine made herself sick by taking 1 tbsp/day. More is not better. In Indian cooking 1/2 tsp turmeric is enough to use in a dish for 4 people…. too much will ruin it. If you have gallstones or on blood thinners I wouldn’t use it without your doctor’s ok.

      1. Barb,
        That’s interesting. I might be using too much, about 1/4-1/2 teaspoon per day grated fresh (possibly dried powder is more concentrated). But there’s also the issue of bioavailability, which I understand is quite low without some help, e.g. from black pepper, which I add.

          1. I went there years ago.

            I had a young cousin go more recently.

            My uncle desperately wants someone to spring him from the nursing home he is in and bring him back there, but he is in his 90’s and it isn’t going to happen.

                1. I ask because my uncle told me once that the last name, which you have came because there were too many soldiers during wartime, I think he said with the name Swanson, but he said it many decades ago and I might be messing up the story. For all I know, it could have been hundreds of people assigned that name or he could have been pulling my leg, which he does sometimes. But if it was a made up name, I figured there was a chance.

                  1. I might be getting it wrong. It was a long time ago, but my grandmother in America had the town make her change her middle name once she got married because of that same reason. I think it was common back then.

  12. Are these published studies done on humans, mice/rats or petri dishes containing cancer cells? I think that distinction should always be made clear. Many things kill cancer when dripped on cancer cells in a petri dish but do not necessarily work in humans. Definitely worth studying though. From a 2013 PMCID: PMC3693758:

    “Phase I/II clinical trials have clearly shown that curcumin exhibits poor bioavailability in humans, ~1% after oral administration, a major barrier for its use in the clinic. The major factors contributing to the low plasma and tissue levels of curcumin appear to be its poor absorption due to insolubility in water, rapid systemic elimination in the bile and urine due to extensive enterohepatic recirculation and fast metabolism (56). In fact, 40% of orally administered curcumin is excreted unchanged in the feces. To circumvent the bioavailability problem, numerous approaches have been considered, including structural modification or modification of the delivery system such as adding adjuvant, liposomal curcumin, curcumin nanoparticles and phospholipid complex.”

    1. Hi CeeCee,

      I am a volunteer for Dr. Greger. Thank you so much for your question.

      Most of the research done on curcumin is done in petri dishes or in rats/mice. However, there are some clinical trials that have used curcumin. It seems, though, that they have produced mediocre results, although there isn’t sufficient evidence to be conclusive yet. Check out this video (https://nutritionfacts.org/video/turmeric-curcumin-plants-vs-pills/) from Dr. Greger, explaining that just providing curcumin to patients for anti-cancer and anti-inflammation effects is limiting, as providing the entire spice, turmeric, may be better. Unfortunately, we have even fewer clinical trials using the whole spice, turmeric.

      Regarding the poor absorption of curcumin along, this is true. However, the absorption can be boosted dramatically by eating turmeric as a whole and by adding black pepper to a meal when eating turmeric. See this video here: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/boosting-the-bioavailability-of-curcumin/

      I hope this helps answer your question!

  13. You can actually by the turmeric root at certain grocery stores, especially southeast Asia markets. I do not trust powdered turmeric any more. Word of caution. peel and cut it wearing latex gloves. Turmeric will stain your fingers yellow for a few days; you will look like a heavy smoker. Cut in small pieces, and grind it in a small processor. I make a weekly batch with black pepper and a little olive oil, as Dr, Greger recommended to add pepperine and some fat for the turmeric to work its wonders. If you are against olive oil, you can add nuts instead of olive oil. I spread a teaspoon on a piece of toast. It actually tastes good.

  14. For those concerned about lead, this is a good article. It’s a shame that we live in a world where such things are necessary.
    https://www.thebetterindia.com/114412/simple-home-tests-food-adulteration-kitchen-ingredients/
    Here is the relevant passage on turmeric:

    Turmeric Powder
    Adulterant: Metanil yellow, lead chromate, chalk powder

    Test: Take some turmeric powder in a transparent glass and add a few drops of water and concentrated hydrochloric acid to it. Next, shake it vigorously. A pink colour to the mixture indicates the presence of metanil yellow. If the mixture releases small bubbles, it indicates the presence of chalk powder.

    To detect the presence of lead chromate, mix a teaspoon of turmeric powder with water. If adulterated, it will immediately leak streaks of water-soluble colour.

    One of the easiest ways to check adulteration is to add a teaspoon of turmeric to a glass of warm water. Do not stir it and leave it still for a while. Check after about 20 minutes. If the powder settles down at the bottom of the glass with clear water above, the turmeric is pure. Cloudy water indicates possible adulteration.

    1. Thanks, Gail, that is interesting.

      I probably won’t do it because I buy organic USA turmeric or attempt to grind my own, but if things get worse, I will be looking for this page.

  15. This is great, but…..what about high lead content in adulterated tumeric spicee and curcumin supplements? Even so-called organics are contaminated by manufacturer adding lead to enhance color. See latest Stanford study of lead poisonings not only in Bangladesh and India but also in US due to tumeric consumption.

    1. Jami,

      Could you post a link of where you are reading that?

      I am reading things dated 2019, which quotes Stanford and they said that there is no evidence that it reaches outside of Bangladesh.

      https://www.sciencealert.com/turmeric-laced-with-lead-is-causing-a-public-health-crisis-in-bangladesh

      I have read another article, dated 2018, which said specifically that it was NOT in turmeric from USA sources and that one listed other sources than Bangledesh which have tested for lead, but none of them was a USA brand.

    2. I did some research and found two articles focusing on lead contamination in turmeric supplements. The first one cited jus the concerns you mentioned:
      Ground Turmeric as a Source of Lead Exposure in the United States https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5415259/
      The seond one was a bit more reassuring: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29808963 Curcuminoid Content and Safety-Related Markers of Quality of Turmeric Dietary Supplements Sold in an Urban Retail Marketplace in the United States, stating “Lead content is associated with the inclusion of turmeric root and exceeded USP limits in one product.” (of 87 tested) However the conclusion of this article pointed out “Assessment of turmeric DS quality at point of sale is difficult for consumers and may best be managed in partnership with knowledgeable healthcare professionals.”
      Consumer labs sheds some light on the topic: https://www.consumerlab.com/answers/how-can-i-make-sure-im-not-getting-lead-in-my-turmeric-supplement-or-spice/turmeric-lead/ stating “ConsumerLab.com has found lead in some turmeric supplements, although mainly those containing turmeric herb powder rather than turmeric extract (typically sold as “curcumin”). The situation in supplements has been improving over the years.” and has stated this encouraging comment: “ConsumerLab.com has also tested popular brands of turmeric spice. Although some have contained high amounts of filth (bug parts), lead contamination has not been a problem in the selected products.” Unfprtunately although ConsumerLAB has tested Tumeric and Curcumin in the Turmeric and Curcumin Supplements and Spices Review (https://www.consumerlab.com/answers/supplements-and-foods-that-may-be-contaminated-with-lead/lead-contamination-supplements/) that review requires membership to access. Dr. Gregers comments about Supplements seem esp.appropriate:https://nutritionfacts.org/video/who-determines-if-food-additives-are-safe/ not a particularly reassuring answer, but it was what I found at this point. We all need to support stronger regulations for supplements, I’m afraid!

  16. I was using turmeric spices in my food. Recently I saw some news that 80% of the spice is sourced from India. Vendors were adding lead to the spice for color. I am looking for a “safe” source. Any recommendations? I love your videos and have learned a lot by viewing them. Highly recommended!!!

  17. Turmeric is amazing in this and so many other ways. Great video and information. The ‘being made up of 3 things’ is such important information for people to understand about their diets! but I would also mention that the health of our cells heavily relies on our mental state as well. It’s so important to not live a life under chronic stress which isn’t to say that we can’t have stressful things going on in our lives which often are not only unavoidable but can even make life worth living, but rather to point out that the way we approach the stressful things in our life makes all the difference. For insight into that, I recommend reading “The Telomere Effect.” And obviously an antioxidant rich diet helps negate the effects of stress.

    1. Thanks for the book recommendation, S.

      For people who don’t like reading books, that is about the Dr. Blackburn and Dr. Ornish study, which Dr. Greger has a video for where you can lengthen your telomere’s with diet and lifestyle changes.

  18. Just the other day I read an article about a study at Stanford which revealed that as much as 80% of the turmeric coming from Bangladesh is laced with lead compounds, as much as 500 times acceptable levels. How do I find turmeric (or any other) supplements which are safe to use. Are you also concerned about the findings of this study?

    1. Jim,

      The articles I have read said that the turmeric you buy from the main brands in the USA still are not laced with lead.

      https://www.sciencealert.com/turmeric-laced-with-lead-is-causing-a-public-health-crisis-in-bangladesh

      You should avoid spices from certain countries, particularly Bangladesh, Georgia, Pakistan, Nepal, China, and Morocco.

      As of 2018, so far: “In the United States, excessive lead levels haven’t been noted in the “mainstream” U.S. spice industry, which includes major brands or those doing business with major food companies.”

    2. I buy USA grown whole turmeric at several stores including Whole Foods and grate it myself. By the way, I think you mean ground turmeric.

  19. For anyone interested in protein folding, this TED Talk has some cool visuals of the process.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zm-3kovWpNQ

    The Amoeba sisters touch on it in their Protein Folding animation.

    I knew that it was an issue for the brain, but having protein misfolding coming up in the AFib literature just made it that I don’t understand the biology enough. Homocysteine and protein misfolding both came up in the AFib literature.

    I also found some mysterious Zinc shapes literature.

    I can’t find it again, I am searching too fast for Google to figure out where I want to go next.

    PH was one of the things which changed it. That part I remember. It is all so far above my head, but the pictures were interesting.

    But the copper/zinc ratio is in both Alzheimer’s and AFib and zinc deficiency also has been looked at in Autism.

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/11/181109073034.htm

    1. Near the end of the folding protein video, he talks about a different chemical comes and binds to the protein and causes the protein to unbind with the original one. The metals and Homocysteine floating around and accumulating in the body principle is one that I am trying to understand if there is a way to cause the Homocysteine to unbind and maybe get the heck out of my body.

      1. I guess betaine remethylating Homocysteine would be the strategy? So spinach, beets, and wheat?

        https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/133/12/4135/4687457

        There was a sentence in here, which I don’t understand. Does spinach, beets, and wheat increase serum cholesterol? Or are they talking about if you choose eating choline-rich food?

        “ased on the current study, a person who consumes a diet rich in betaine (∼2 g/d of betaine) would have a 1.3 μmol/L (12%) lower plasma homocysteine concentration than a person who consumes a diet poor in betaine (0.5 g/d). The concurrent reduction in cardiovascular disease risk due to a betaine-rich diet would be ∼5–8%. However, it is important to note that betaine supplementation might also increase serum cholesterol, which could diminish the health benefits (10).”

  20. It remains a mystery the turmeric and it’s ingredient curcumin. If enormous amounts of pure curcumin are hardly detectable in the the body, what about the low dosis in turmeric? Besides that, curcumin is a P.A.I.N. according to recent studies:

    Curcumin is a cautionary tale,” Michael Walters of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis told Nature. Cautionary because curcumin falls in a category of compounds, appropriately named PAINS (for pan-assay interference compounds), known to produce such false results.

    1. So Curcumin is a pain, huh? This abstract calls PAINS promiscuous compounds, but it looks like they are trying to figure out how to deal with them.

      https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/jm901137j

      I will have to look that up, but right now, I am still on Homocysteine. The article I was reading was saying that leaving elevated Homocysteine untreated, patients eventually die of stroke, but that they believe that elevated Homocysteine could also be a biomarker for many types of cancer.

      https://www.nature.com/articles/s12276-019-0216-4

        1. I think my concern about Turmeric is that there is Turmeric being sold, which doesn’t have many curcuminoids.

          There is Cacao being sold without flavinoids.

          Are some drug money people trying to keep the health benefits away or something ridiculous semi-plausible conspiracy theory like that?

          Yes, when billions of dollars are involved, I know for a fact that organized crime and disorganized crime start coming into play.

          So far, there is still enough reason to eat it, but if they removed the good stuff, I will not be at all surprised.

      1. Thanks for the interesting link about P.A.I.N.S. There seem to be a lot:

        “Some of the compounds that should ring the most warning bells are toxoflavin and polyhydroxylated natural phytochemicals such as curcumin, EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), genistein and resveratrol. These, their analogues and similar natural products persist in being followed up as drug leads and used as ‘positive’ controls even though their promiscuous actions are well-documented8, 9.”

    2. Dan, I recall Dr Greger talking about turmeric studies where they tested curcumin vs turmeric with the curcumin removed!! And the turmeric beat out the curcumin. Never will I waste a dime on curcumin supplements. I use turmeric, both powder and the root, daily in cooking and added to my morning ‘shot’

      1. Barb,

        I remember that video.

        But, for people who don’t make meals using turmeric and for people who don’t like the taste, Dr Greger himself said that he uses a Turmeric supplement.

        I heard him talk about it in an interview.

        I think I almost like some of his interviews better at times than his Q&A’s (not than these videos with all the pictures).

        I was listening to one today where he mentioned that amino acid supplements cause insulin resistance the same way keto does and that water fasting causes the same loss of lean mass weight as keto and slowing of fat loss.

        If only we could use the gadget where people can open curtains with their brains and somehow download what people know.

      2. Yes, that was a big surprise that it isn’t just the curcumin. I hope the other ingredients aren’t P.A.I.N.S. too… I agree, better the whole food (turmeric) than an expensive curcumin supplement. Despite the fact that there is controversy about turmeric, I continue taking it.

      1. gengogakusha, thanks! I thought perhaps I was not expressing myself clearly because it appeared Deb missed my point. I agree. Whole foods are the way to go. And the price they charge for the curcumin can be ridiculous! I use about the same amount as you mentioned in your response near the beginning of this thread. I like grating the whole roots into salads and curries too!

        1. Thanks for posting, Barb.

          People seem to also forget that “more is not necessarily better”, even when ot comes to exogenous anti-oxidants, which often can act as pro-oxidants.
          Even ROS (reactive oxidant species) are essential in the right amounts.
          https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reactive_oxygen_species

          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20972369 Exogenous antioxidants–Double-edged swords in cellular redox state: Health beneficial effects at physiologic doses versus deleterious effects at high doses.
          “ However, our endogenous antioxidant defense systems are incomplete without exogenous originating reducing compounds such as vitamin C, vitamin E, carotenoids and polyphenols, playing an essential role in many antioxidant mechanisms in living organisms. Therefore, there is continuous demand for exogenous antioxidants in order to prevent oxidative stress, representing a disequilibrium redox state in favor of oxidation.
          ******However, high doses of isolated compounds may be toxic, owing to prooxidative effects at high concentrations or their potential to react with beneficial concentrations of ROS normally present at physiological conditions that are required for optimal cellular functioning.******”

          Eating whole food instead of supplements helps keep the amounts ingested reasonable (as well as providing other, possibly essential, ingredients affecting outcomes.

    3. Hi, Dan II! It has been assumed that curcumin is the active constituent in turmeric, but that may or may not be the case. Research on curcumin-free turmeric indicates that there may be synergistic interactions between multiple compounds included in turmeric and our complex body chemistry that are responsible for its effects. You can find everything on this site related to turmeric here: https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/turmeric/ I hope that helps!

  21. I take turmeric in the mornings, with some other stuff, like a sprinkle of black pepper. Good things are said about turmeric. Honestly, I’m not sure it helps with my occasional pains. Before re-watching this video I did not remember that turmeric is involved with apoptosis. I’m on to clove spice again, putting it in my green tea. Next best thing to amla maybe.

  22. If you want to know what to eat ask Dr. Fred Kummerow a 102 year old centenarian with a Ph.D in food chemistry and full head of hair. Let me know what you find out.

        1. I’d love to know what foods they ate. “What I eat in a day” kind of thing.

          Lots of people in show biz (Kurt Douglas, etc.) are over 100. What does HE eat?

          1. I think you’ll find a hodge podge, e.g.

            https://www.newsmax.com/Health/Headline/health-secrets-Hollywood-oldest/2017/01/03/id/766620/

            “* Cloris Leachman*. Leachman, who won eight Emmys and competed on “Dancing with the Stars” when she was 82, continues to work at the age of 90.
            Leachman wasn’t always healthy, she wrote in her book “Cloris.” In her 30s, she had asthma, allergies, arthritis, and insomnia, and decided to cut most meat from her diet, although she eats a little fish and chicken. She concentrates on fresh organic fruits and vegetables.”

            “* Bob Barker. *The famed host of “The Price is Right” says the keys to a long, healthy life are a vegetarian diet and exercise. “I became a vegetarian out of concern for animals, and I was a vegetarian for a very long time before I realized that many people become vegetarians out of concern for their health,” he told the *Vegetarian Times*. “I think they are absolutely right. I think it is the healthiest way to live. I immediately began having more energy and feeling better.””

            Barker also gave $1 million to one of my favorite animal rights/welfare charities SHARK, which was used in part to but drones and a boat to track down animal abusers. So you can see giving away lots of money is good for longevity.

    1. “ We have studies that show curcumin has anticancer effects in cell and animal models. It has also been shown to be protective against atherosclerosis and can prevent heart attacks in animal models.”

      Unfortunately, ”animal models” do not include humans. I *never* get excited by in vitro or animal studies. Unnaturally large doses are often used and potentially risky side effects are often not immediately apparent. She also does not cite negative studies. I would not recommend tenure for her.

  23. I really did lose 2.2 pounds adding in 3 extra fruits and a soup.

    I don’t know that I decreased anything, so it is quite confusing, but maybe I am somehow fidgeting more or something.

    Laughing.

    I will never understand it.

      1. Deb, I was re-reading your comments, above, regarding amino acid supplements causing insulin resistance, and about water fasting causing loss of lean mass and slowing fat loss. I am certainly no scientist, but I find all this very interesting just the same. I am coming to the conclusion that maybe the best thing to do is remain wfpb, and just change up the calorie intake over the week. In other words, vary the amount of calories consumed daily while maintaining a deficit over the week. I’m sure Dr G has something figured out for us on this topic :)

        1. Barb,

          I am looking forward to his book.

          I have been looking back and forth between The Starch Solution and Nutritarian. Nutritarian is too expensive for me, but, boy do they have a more beautiful refrigerator.

          https://hellonutritarian.com/eat-live-fridge/

          I got inspired by it and went back to salads and added in more fruit, but I passed $1000 in groceries last month and that is something I really cannot do.

          I ended up ordering Mama Sezz meals, which will be coming this week. They have non SOS Chef AJ approved meals for $169 for 28 servings. 28 servings doesn’t mean 28 meals. I think 8 servings are side dishes and sauces, but I am curious. If I can get 20 meals out of it, that might genuinely help bring costs of eating down. I have been enjoying how colorful all the fruits and vegetables are and that they are superfoods, but inwardly, I feel guilty and lacking wisdom spending that much money. I think maybe I will do 2 weeks Starch Solution and 2 weeks Nutritarian and go back and forth. It makes sense to me to do it. Buying Nutritarian, I end up needing to go to the grocery store so much more often and I end up throwing out so much food. I did use my chef’s knife and diced up mushrooms, onions and tomatoes (rather than use a can of diced tomatoes, which is so much easier, but I also have a packaging guilt going on, which will get worse with the meal delivery.) I feel like I am understanding modern culture better because there is limited time, limited money, limited storage space (I used to have a 2 door fridge, which would have been PERFECT for what I am doing right now, but when it died, I down-sized to a smaller fridge and that never mattered because I wasn’t trying to make a rainbow of colored fruits and vegetables in it before and I wasn’t trying to freeze servings of chili and lentil loaf and 5 bean casserole or soups either.

          I like that I actually am using my chef’s knife, and no, the stupid finger protectors never came from Amazon, but I am using the knife anyway. I did okay. I finished chopping my onion before it could cause me to cry, though I did get up and leave the room for a few minutes after.

          What I know is that we are in a post-logic culture and that is because none of the options are perfect and we have so many competing inner drives.

          Money versus health versus space versus time all with very little margin creates a pinball effect.

          I am closer to Nutritarian, but it hasn’t been working for me, up until now. I am so psyched that adding in fruit servings helped. For most of the past 8 months, I haven’t been eating any potatoes or sweet potatoes or grains at all. I really thought going off the green tea latte or getting rid of the avocado and nuts was going to be what made the difference. Three years ago, I thought going off the pasta and bread and junk food and soda was going to be what made the difference.

          I am wondering if there are people who don’t eat within the Volumetrics model, where they say that most people vary in calories, but stay with the same volume of food every day. I must adapt like crazy that I went from whole fat dairy and junk food and white pasta and Italian and french bread with butter all the way over to kale with no-oil dressing and no-oil hummus and broccoli and blueberries and cauliflower with no-oil cheeze, tomatoes, carrots and peppers and didn’t lose weight.

          It seems like a non-Volumetrics model somehow. Though, adding the wetter fruits and adding a Dr. McDougall cup of soup finally has tipped the scale, so THAT fits within Volumetrics.

          I must have seriously insensitive stretch receptors or something.

          But I lost 2.2 pounds. I switched my diet 100% and hadn’t lost weight, so any weight is encouraging now.

          1. Last night I watched a documentary called “Not Eating for 55 Days to Lose Weight”. I found it interesting because they were calibrating how much was lean mass lost, and how much fat loss. Very little lean was lost.. just at the very beginning before the person got into ketosis. Roughly 40 pounds in 40 days.

            I copied the Daily Dozen to hang on my kitchen wall. That’s the framework for our personal “cuisine”. It costs us about 60 to 70 per person, per week. I have 1 small store cupboard for tomatoes, and beans, dried lentils, and the rest is fresh. (would be interesting to see a cost analysis per calorie) I aim for zero waste ie we eat what we buy simply because we can’t afford to do otherwise.
            It’s worth the time to develop dishes that you eat every week, and that you enjoy. You’ll have difficulty sticking with it unless the routine becomes almost effortless, and the rewards (health, weight, etc) continue to motivate you.

  24. Urban gardens and contaminated soil. Be aware of it. I would like to learn more about options. Google hits are useful but the people here are resourceful too.

      1. Not necessarily. I would like to grow food at home. After learning about contamination I’m not as interested anymore. I live in a suburb that has mixed residential and industrial zones.

  25. AMLA may have a negative side.
    Unless I am misunderstanding some facts, maybe Dr. Greger should have added his recommended Amla powder to the list of Oxalate foods to avoid. (My references are listed in parenthesis at the end of each statement and links listed at the end).
    Dr. Greger warned us that other high-oxalate foods that have been associated with kidney problems at high enough doses include a single dose of about a cup and a quarter of star fruit juice, or just 4-6 fruit (1). In his video on star fruit he said, star fruit, which you can often find in the tropical produce section at large supermarkets is harmful enough to shut down our kidneys. Acute oxalate nephropathy, caused by the extraordinarily high oxalate content (2).
    Dr. Greger said he takes a tsp of Amla powder in his smoothies for breakfast (3).
    An article I found on the internet stated that very high levels of total oxalates were measured in 2 imported fruits, Indian gooseberry (Phyllanthus emblica L.) and carambola (Averrhoa carambola L., star fruit), at 7566.5, and 436.1 mg/100 g FW, respectively, and their soluble oxalates were also the highest measured of all the fruits (4). That showed that Indian goose berries had over 17 times as much oxalates as star fruit and since it applied to whole fruit I don’t know if the powdered forms were worse, much worse, or better, I also read that in another report that the reported oxalate content of foods varies by a very wide margin (5), so I don’t know how that would affect any result/conclusion/advice/danger. I leave the whole analysis up to the experts like Dr. Greger and his staff, but I do think the whole subject of the safety of Amla powder should be addressed unless I am misunderstanding something.
    References:
    1. https://youtu.be/Eg5ksHXQavk
    2. https://youtu.be/19jF5eNi2tk
    3. https://youtu.be/N0QbVYoKe5g
    4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0889157513000732
    5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25168533
    Oxalate content of food: a tangled web.
    CONCLUSION:
    Wide variations exist in the reported oxalate content of foods across several Web-based sources and smartphone applications, several of which are substantial and can have a sizable impact on the construction of a low oxalate diet. As dietary counseling has proven benefits, patients and caregivers should be aware of the heterogeneity that exists in the reported oxalate content of foods.

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