Inhibiting Platelet Aggregation with Berries

Inhibiting Platelet Aggregation with Berries
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The number one killer of Americans may be not eating enough fruit. Even if we just met the recommendations for fruit and vegetable intake we could save more than 100,000 people a year. One of the mechanisms by which plant foods protect us is by keeping our platelets from becoming activated.

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The Global Burden of Disease Study, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is the most comprehensive and systematic analysis of causes of death undertaken to date, involving nearly 500 researchers from more than 300 institutions in 50 countries, starting out with almost 100,000 data sources. What did they find? Here in the U.S. they determined our #1 killer was our diet. #1 on their list of the most important dietary risks? Not eating enough fruit, responsible for an estimated 4.9 million deaths a year around the world.

The Union of Concerned Scientists laid it out. A set of dangerous, often lethal, illnesses continues to wreak havoc in the United States. Hundreds of thousands of Americans laid to waste. Yet there is a straightforward way to reduce the rates of these eminently preventable disorders, including stroke and heart disease. One antidote for individuals is easy, painless—even pleasurable: exploit the protective benefits of fruits and vegetables. If Americans increased their consumption of fruits and veggies just to meet the dietary recommendations, that alone could save the lives of over 100,000 people every year in the United States. That’s if we just reach the minimum.

But how? One way may be because of their antiplatelet effects. Platelets are what trigger the blood clots that cause heart attacks and most strokes. But beyond their obvious function in blood clotting, platelets are now considered to play a pivotal inflammatory role in the hardening of the arteries in the first place, as well as allergies, rheumatoid arthritis and even cancer.

Now it’s important to realize that normally, under healthy conditions, platelets circulate in a quiescent, dormant, inactive state. But once they become activated they can emerge as culprits in inflammation. Platelets transport a vast amount of inflammatory chemicals. Upon activation, they release these chemicals, which can recruit the inflammatory cells that form the pus pockets within our arterial walls that can burst and kill us.

This involvement of platelet activation in atherosclerosis development is well established. We’ve long recognized the platelet’s role in the final stages, however, a growing body of data indicates that platelets may also play an important role in the initiation and propagation of atherosclerosis in the first place, which is our nation’s leading killer. So how can we prevent the excessive activation of platelets? Well, it’s generally recognized that platelet hyperreactivity is associated with high levels of cholesterol circulating in the blood, so we can cut down on foods that have trans fats, saturated fats, and dietary cholesterol, and we can eat more fruits and vegetables. For example, different varieties of strawberries have shown a significant antiplatelet effect in a petri dish and in people. Here’s how they figured it out. This is a platelet in a resting state, packed with little round granule grenades of inflammatory chemicals, which fuse together when the platelet gets activated and the delivery system dilates, before it releases its payload. Because resting and activated platelets look so different you can just take blood from people and count how many are resting and how many are activated before and after people eat more than a pint of strawberries every day for a month, and there’s a small but significant drop in the percentage of activated platelets circulating throughout their bodies after the strawberries.

Other berries had a similar effect, and at a more modest two servings a day. Drinking orange or grapefruit juice didn’t seem to help, but purple grape juice successfully reduced platelet activity on the same order that aspirin does.

Studies have shown daily aspirin can reduce heart attacks and strokes, however, aspirin can also cause severe gastrointestinal disturbances and bleeding problems, so should not be used for the primary prevention of heart attacks and stroke, as the benefits don’t clearly outweigh the serious risks, so it’s nice to have safe, side-effect free alternatives.

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 PublicDomainPictures via Pixabay.

The Global Burden of Disease Study, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is the most comprehensive and systematic analysis of causes of death undertaken to date, involving nearly 500 researchers from more than 300 institutions in 50 countries, starting out with almost 100,000 data sources. What did they find? Here in the U.S. they determined our #1 killer was our diet. #1 on their list of the most important dietary risks? Not eating enough fruit, responsible for an estimated 4.9 million deaths a year around the world.

The Union of Concerned Scientists laid it out. A set of dangerous, often lethal, illnesses continues to wreak havoc in the United States. Hundreds of thousands of Americans laid to waste. Yet there is a straightforward way to reduce the rates of these eminently preventable disorders, including stroke and heart disease. One antidote for individuals is easy, painless—even pleasurable: exploit the protective benefits of fruits and vegetables. If Americans increased their consumption of fruits and veggies just to meet the dietary recommendations, that alone could save the lives of over 100,000 people every year in the United States. That’s if we just reach the minimum.

But how? One way may be because of their antiplatelet effects. Platelets are what trigger the blood clots that cause heart attacks and most strokes. But beyond their obvious function in blood clotting, platelets are now considered to play a pivotal inflammatory role in the hardening of the arteries in the first place, as well as allergies, rheumatoid arthritis and even cancer.

Now it’s important to realize that normally, under healthy conditions, platelets circulate in a quiescent, dormant, inactive state. But once they become activated they can emerge as culprits in inflammation. Platelets transport a vast amount of inflammatory chemicals. Upon activation, they release these chemicals, which can recruit the inflammatory cells that form the pus pockets within our arterial walls that can burst and kill us.

This involvement of platelet activation in atherosclerosis development is well established. We’ve long recognized the platelet’s role in the final stages, however, a growing body of data indicates that platelets may also play an important role in the initiation and propagation of atherosclerosis in the first place, which is our nation’s leading killer. So how can we prevent the excessive activation of platelets? Well, it’s generally recognized that platelet hyperreactivity is associated with high levels of cholesterol circulating in the blood, so we can cut down on foods that have trans fats, saturated fats, and dietary cholesterol, and we can eat more fruits and vegetables. For example, different varieties of strawberries have shown a significant antiplatelet effect in a petri dish and in people. Here’s how they figured it out. This is a platelet in a resting state, packed with little round granule grenades of inflammatory chemicals, which fuse together when the platelet gets activated and the delivery system dilates, before it releases its payload. Because resting and activated platelets look so different you can just take blood from people and count how many are resting and how many are activated before and after people eat more than a pint of strawberries every day for a month, and there’s a small but significant drop in the percentage of activated platelets circulating throughout their bodies after the strawberries.

Other berries had a similar effect, and at a more modest two servings a day. Drinking orange or grapefruit juice didn’t seem to help, but purple grape juice successfully reduced platelet activity on the same order that aspirin does.

Studies have shown daily aspirin can reduce heart attacks and strokes, however, aspirin can also cause severe gastrointestinal disturbances and bleeding problems, so should not be used for the primary prevention of heart attacks and stroke, as the benefits don’t clearly outweigh the serious risks, so it’s nice to have safe, side-effect free alternatives.

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 PublicDomainPictures via Pixabay.

Doctor's Note

One of the ways plants help keep platelets in their place may be their aspirin content. See Aspirin Levels in Plant Foods. Why would a plant make a human drug? It’s so cool, check out Appropriating Plant Defenses.

Is the Standard American Diet really so bad that we could save 100,000 people by just getting up to minimum fruit and veggie recommendations? Even cynics might be surprised: Nation’s Diet in Crisis. Even more plants may cut deaths even more, though. See One in a Thousand: Ending the Heart Disease Epidemic.

For more on lowering cholesterol see my video Trans Fat, Saturated Fat, and Cholesterol: Tolerable Upper Intake of Zero. And it’s never too early to start eating healthier. Check out: Heart Disease Starts in Childhood. Heart disease may be a choice. See: Cavities and Coronaries: Our Choice.

Berries are the healthiest fruits, shown to maintain our brain power (How to Slow Brain Aging By Two Years) and improve our immune function (Boosting Natural Killer Cell Activity). That’s one of the reasons we want to eat Antioxidant Rich Foods With Every Meal.

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

59 responses to “Inhibiting Platelet Aggregation with Berries

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  1. I have to disagree with you on this one. I think Berries should be the safe and healthy first choice for primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention, with aspirin being the alternative. :-)

    1. To be fair your disagreement is with the FDA, not the messenger is it not? This one is causing me problems partly because several people told my wife that Dr. Oz said to take it. he takes it so surely me an my bum ticker should be soaking up some “low dose” aspirin. whats a cuss to do?

      Since going vegan, and stopping aspirin, there is a huge difference in my blood clotting time and even its viscosity. When i bleed for testing, even a tiny droplet tends to dribble down my finger compared to the bad old days when it would sit there like a drop of treacle. I feel additional blood thinning increases my risk of stroke. sooooo ~ how can you mend a broken heart?~ heh

      1. The studies showing the benefits of aspirin were on folks who I would guess were mostly on a standard american diet. We lack studies on using aspirin on folks who are on a varied whole food plant based diet so what we do is a “best guess” situation. If as a physician I follow the “first do no harm” guideline and since we don’t have data to support the use of aspirin and we know there are side effects then I think it is reasonable not to follow the recommendation for taking a “baby aspirin” a day.

            1. Good on ya! You HAVE to be your own advocate to find the right diet for you.

              No I really don’t have that sort of feeling (regarding salicylate and stroke). Something will get me in the end, but I think as long as I’m eating WFPB I am doing as much as I care to do…I don’t have the sensitivities that some do. However the subject is close to my heart because I watched my wife suffer so many years so badly. She was ignored and insulted until one great day when she found a doctor in Auckland who recognized the symptoms and confirmed her sensitivity. Our lives are immensely improved now that she can dodge the many high salicylate foods that were making her ill. I sop them up with no apparent problem.

        1. In the 70s, I was working as a MD resident in a nephrology department, where we were testing all kind of anti aggregants and anti inflammatory drugs and nutriments . The clinical and the pharmacological studies were compliant, the side effects of small doses of aspirin were dangerous. We had blueberries pills, made with 5 kg of extracts each, we compared with 500g of fresh wild blueberries a week to 1-2 pills a day of extracts the best blood numbers were: taking a balance diet with 500g a week of berries, raspberries or blueberries. I do it since I moved in the US, apparently my blood test shows I am aging slowly.

    2. Seriously, you pick one insignificant word to fault? What you don’t get is berries are an alternative for all those millions who are presently taking aspirin instead of enjoying berries. He’s offering a new perspective to daily aspirin takers.

      Why don’t you devote some time to sharing worthwhile nutritional information so I can critique your words?

      1. Sorry, let me clarify, “What you don’t get” is that I have been following and working on this site for a very long time and it was all in humor to Dr. Gregor and the NF Team.

        Dr. Gregor has been pushing that a plant based lifestyle should be the primary prevention strategy for all chronic disease, so I was humorously Nit-picking the word alternative.

        BTW this is what I do in my everyday practice- promote a varied, whole food, plant based diet as the primary, secondary and tertiary, first line attack on chronic disease. For me pharmaceuticals are almost always are a second (alternative) treatment strategy with all my patients.

        I hope this helps you understand my comment.

        1. HemoDynamic: Those who know you know it was all in good humor. I very much appreciate your participation on this site. Thank you for your measured response to the previous criticism.

  2. The strawberries and increase of resting platelets is interesting because strawberries were also seen to reduce esophageal damage. Maybe the inflammation due to the chemical release was reduced by the increase in resting platelets so the tendency of cancerous or pre-cancerous cells to grow was slowed in the esophagus and the damage was reversed?

  3. I start (and usually finish) with the transcript, which says, “#1 on their list of the [USA’s] most important dietary risks? Not eating enough fruit …”. The singling out of fruit deficiency seemed peculiar, particularly in view of the multiple subsequent references to fruits AND vegetables. So I watched the video and and saw that the briefly-shown printed excerpt underlying that voice-over says, “The most important dietary risks in the United States are diets low in fruits, low in nuts and seeds, high in sodium, high in processed meats, low in vegetables, and high in trans fats.” This full quote is not visible in the video, but I found it in the JAMA article that is the penultimate reference listed in this video’s Sources Cited.

    This is not a criticism, merely a filling-out for anyone else who might have been similarly puzzled.

    1. Thank you. I noticed that Dr. didn’t finish the sentence and intended to go back and stop the video to see the whole sentence. Don’t like partial/misleading information.

    1. Brilliant. Darryl you are so helpful. I always thought aspirin was a competitive inhibitor. No I don’t want anything acetylating my enzymes.

      I drink a shot of black current juice daily. Also eating a red beetroot every second day.

      I will track those studies carefully.

      FWIW, i had quite a struggle to get my “team” to accept that I was not going to take Plavix or any rat poison, aspirin etc without some solid reasoning. They are quick to cut, and even quicker to medicate.

    2. Thanks for your erudite response and welcome to the team. You are a welcome and much needed addition. Thanks for your time!

    3. Hi Darryl,

      As an acne sufferer, I have a question about topical Aspirin related to what you just wrote. Many fellow acne sufferers experience relief from putting crushed Aspirin dissolved in water on their face; cheap, no additional ingredients and effective.

      When you do this, will the acetylsalicylic acid somehow convert into salicylic acid?

      Feedback much appreciated!

      1. As far as I can tell, aspirin dissolved in water will hydrolyze, but its a slow reaction at room temperature and likely pHs, taking days. So if your fellow sufferers are leaving their concoctions on the counter, they may be applying a salicylic acid + vinegar solution. Salicylic acid is a common topical acne medicine, but be aware of adverse events like peeling that occur above the non-prescription limit of 2%. If they’re applying dissolved aspirin immediately, it will act as a analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and perhaps react with numerous proteins before becoming salicylic acid.

        1. Excellent, thank you.

          I currently use salicylic acid which is really excellent for my skin. The problem is ithat the product comes packed with alcohol and glycerin, neither of which I am a fan of, hence my interest in making my own Aspirin masks. The anecdotal evidence in favor of Aspirin masks is very convincing. Do you think I would take an unreasonable risk trying them?

          1. I’m not really qualified to offer advice, but going above the 2% w/w found in OTC products does have risks. 2% w/w is what one might expect from 8 normal strength (325 mg) aspirin in 100 ml (3.4 oz, TSA-size) water, left at room temperature for a few weeks. It would also have just under 1% acetic acid (eg 1:4 diluted vinegar), and whatever binding agents (carnauba wax, cornstarch, etc) were used in the tablet.

            Hopefully you’ve perused the videos on acne and diet here, too.

            1. Thank you, yet again.

              1. I’m sure you meant 100 cl rather than ml? (May want to edit in case other acne sufferers are going to read – and try – this.)

              2. Isn’t it possible that the mildly acidic human skin (pH 4-5.5 if I’m not mistaken) would – in itself – hydrolyze acetylsalicylic acid? Leaving it in water for weeks seems hopelessly impractical.

              3. Leaving question (2) aside – couldn’t an explanation for the very positive anecdotal feedback Aspirin masks are receiving be that acetylsalicylic acid is simply anti-inflammatory on the skin, if – perhaps – less studied than salicylic acid used for this particular purpose?

              Thank you for the excellent links.

              (The reason I even bother to bring this up is that most over the counter products containing salicylic acid come packed with irritants like alcohol and glycerin. Then again, you bring up a great point with the Aspirin fillers. Oh well.)

              1. 1) 8 x 325 mg aspirin = 2600 mg aspirin = 1993 ,mg salicylic acid, ~2 g=2% in 100 g=100 ml water.

                2) From that first link you may note that aspirin hydrolysis is very slow, unaffected in the pH range 4-8 (skin ~5), and is even slower at pH < 4.

                3) Dermatologists don't seem to know the underlying mechanism for acne prevention by 2% salicylic acid, and anti-inflammatory activity is as good a guess as any.

                1. As a chemist, I believe that the hydrolysis of aspirin could be speeded up to completion in minutes by boiling the 2600 mg of aspirin or 8 tablets in 100 ml or about 3 oz of water for about 10 min. This would form 2% salicylic acid and about 1% acetic acid or 1 to 5 diluted vinegar. Preferably add a small amount baking soda to dissolve the aspirin ( except the insoluble white tablet filler) with fizzing, then boil. The sodium in baking soda would further speed up the hydrolysis and reduce the final acidity. Both salicylate and acetic acid are not damaged by boiling.

  4. My questions are about the “purple grape juice”. Does the juice need to be freshly squeezed or can I drink Welchs? And, how many ounces daily? Also, I have read that drinking “juice” on a whole foods plant based diet is NOT recommended. We’re supposed to “Eat” our fruits/veggies as opposed to “Drinking” them. I’m a little confused.

  5. Interesting, but this knowledge needs to be integrated with the vital role of vitamin K2, vitamin A, and vitamin D–fat soluble–in putting Calcium in our bones/teeth and removing it from our arteries, brain, skin, kidneys. While vegetables may stop activation of platlets, without K2, D, and A in the proper amounts, it the fruits/veg won’t stop the problems and will not cure osteoporosis, tooth decay, crowded teeth etc. See the phenomenal book “Vitamin K2 and the calcium paradox’ by Dr Kate Rheaume-Bleue, ND.

    1. Patrice do you have links to any reputable studies on K2? I have heard Mercola touting the need for K2 supplementation but he is hardly an authority to put my faith in :)

  6. High platelet production and high platelet counts are a real problem here. Did these studies mention, hopefully, that strawberries also cut down platelet production by the bone marrow?

    Would love to get off the stong med that I have been forced to take for years… that causes fast and hard beating heart daily. I tried to get off it, but, the count zoomed up from high safe level to over 800,000 in only 7 days. Feeling stuck!

    1. Mercedes: I’m sorry you are feeling stuck. It sure sounds like you are in a terrible position.

      I wonder if you could work with your doctor on this issue? What I mean is: Could you a doctor who understands nutrition and is willing to look at this information and come up with a plan for you that would test to see if you can use food to ween yourself off the drugs? I’m no doctor or expert, but I’m thinking that this is something tricky enough that you would not want to mess with it on your own. At the same time, it is worth pursuing if you could get off meds that make you feel so terrible.

      Good luck.

  7. I try to have my berries in a smoothie every morning … fresh strawberries, blueberries, banana, spinach or kale with almond milk, ice, and a 2 tablespoons of freshly ground flax seeds. Yummy!

  8. Greetings from Germany. I would advise you not to use K2 supplements. Just eat a healthy diet consisting of lots of vegetables, some fruit and mostly meat from grass-fed animals. Don’t let yourself be fooled by all the “studies” that are posted. Most studies compare the regular SAD to a vegetarian or vegan diet. It would be laughable if a vegan diet wouldn’t do better than a diet consisting of lots of junk food, which mostly is a high fat AND high (processed) carbohydrate diet. It is indeed true that fat can lead to insulin resistance, inflammation and other problems, but only if it is accompanied by lots of carbohydrates (especially processed as it is often the case. Like in the study where they gave subjects a Sausage McMuffin. But the problem there was not the dietary fat but the processed carbohydrates leading to inflammation. (There is nothing more anti-inflammatory than a lowered carb diet, full plant diets that are high in carbs are always more inflammatory, that’s why they have more superoxide dismutase, blood insulin raises and blood glucose spikes are highly inflammatory to the body) Real science, grounded in biochemistry, not comparing people who eat junk food to people who eat plants, is needed. And this science shows that fat NOT carbohydrate is the best fuel, not by comparing fancy things, but because it is evident by biochemistry. It is true that people eating processed meat (plus not grass-fed, so higher in omega 6 and lower in omega 3) and combining this fat with lots of processed carbs do worse than people not eating the meat. But newest research (in german, i didn’t check american research for now) on low carb diets (some ketogenic, most in the area of around 150g carbs, so they still allow for a great amount vegetables and fruit consumption, etc.) show that they are the heart healthiest diets.

  9. Of course, most of you will not believe this and post some links about the dangers of cholesterol, inflammation, lower superoxide dismutase (which is actually better not worse) and so on. I read all of this studies myself (there are some good german sources too). But true evidence will counter all of that. So, what is true evidence? In germany doctors normally measure LDL-C, HDL-C and triglycerides (while LDL-C is not of much worth as a predictor for heart disease, in fact it’s not even part of the risk evaluation for metabolic syndrome as far as i know). Newest research shows and agrees that a way better predictor is the number and size of the particles from the cholesterol in your blood (HDL-P and LDL-P). This can be measured with a nuclear magnetic resonance test, which you will normally have no access too. So some doctors are using ApoB (apoprotein B), because every LDL particle normally has one ApoB, so it gives you a pretty good measurement of how much LDL particles you have concentrated in your blood. But to make it simple, in general, you want large HDL particles and large, capacious LDL particles, cause that is the most beneficial scenario to prevent heart disease. Now i ask you, show me studies that test for this values I described above and show which diet does best. It always is a low carbohydrate diet with lots of fat as the main macronutrient/fuel source. Not only from animal sources, also from plant sources like nuts, seeds, coconut. Ask any lipidologist that knows what he is doing, and he will tell you. Increasing HDL-C, reducing LDL-C (greater particle size = greater absorption rate = reduces amounts of particles) and reducing TG is the best you can do for preventing heart disease. Reducing carbohydrates and therefore consuming fat IN ABSENCE of huge loads of carbohydrates is PROVEN to raise HDL-C and decrease TG. The best levels measured where always with a diet that focused mostly on fat and not carbohydrate (which doesn’t exclude lots of vegetables like i said). And this was compared to vegetarian and vegan diets and other eating patterns, NOT compared to SAD or for that matter standard german diet. Everything is better than eating junk food and no vegetables. But as it is, best values are only achieved by a diet that lowers carbohydrates in favor of fat (and all the scientists know that fat cannot make you insulin resistant in absence of excess carbohydrates, in facts it’s proven to be the opposite, to make you more insulin sensitive). So in the end, don’t show me observational studies or SAD vs vegan studies, show me real biochemistry. All German scientists agree, the fewer LDL particles the better (to be precise, the fewer of the dense ones the better), the more capacious, large HDL particles the better. And of course, as i said, lower TGs are good too.

  10. Now look yourself which diets achieve more than EXCELLENT results in these tests, you will realize for yourself that they all have fat as their dominant macronutrient (which as I said, doesn’t require lots of animal sources to achieve but i never saw a diet like the eco-Atkins diet tested for this numbers). Ah, and don’t worry about the natural occurring trans-fats in grass-fed meat (CLA) because they are actually beneficial for your heart health as is K2 (CLA also helps block the inflammatory response by interrupting the omega-6 PUFA pathway, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14976130 and http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0271531702003937 for example). People are sick because they eat processed meat from grain-fed animals in combination with too many carbohydrates (especially sugar, white flour) not because they eat meat from grass-fed animals with lots of vegetables. Get your CLA and K2 from natural animal sources. Also your brain will thank you for that fat intake (if you don’t believe our German scientists, then choose Dr. Perlmutter. And no, SFA and cholesterol are not a problem, cause as I showed above, the best values for LDL-P, HDL-C and TG are achieved with a high fat diet, so this diet is HIGHLY protective against atherosclerosis and because with every heartbeat you pump about 25% of your blood through your brain, this diet is also strongly protective against Alzheimer’s too. Add some turmeric to your meat and get some berries as a dessert and you are fine to go.

    1. Guest: re: “…which diets achieve more than EXCELLENT results”
      I agree that looking at diets which acheive real-life excellent results is a good place to start. But where you take that thought does not seem to match the science. Starting with: “…
      you will
      realize for yourself that they all have fat as their dominant
      macronutrient…”

      I don’t know what population you are thinking of, but my favorite real-life example of a diet that achieves EXCELLENT results is the traditional Okinawan diet. That population has the most number of people who live over 100 and have far lower disease rates compared to populations which follow different diet patterns. That traditional Okinawan diet is 6% fat, which is very low fat. On top of that, I believe their diet was about 70% sweet potatoes. And on top of that, their diet was very, very low animal product consumption, like 4%. So, to acheive excellent real-life results, you want low-fat, high starchy plants, and very low (or none if you go by the full body of scientific evidence) animal consumption.

      The Okinawans are not an aberation either. Other populations with similar consumption patterns do extremely well in terms of health and longetivity. I can find the name of the book that discusses these populations if you are interested in learning more.

      1. Thea, great response to the low carber. I remember Toxins was the person who really got into it with these low carbers. What happened to Toxins?

        1. Ben: Thanks for the feedback! With the exception of Tommasina, everyone on the “NF Team” are just volunteers. I suspect we all wonder in and out as our daily lives permit. I’m guessing Toxins is just super busy right now. But I’m with you, I really appreciated Toxin’s ability to debate/educate people and sure do hope he finds the time to come back to us again soon. I know that lots of third parties benefited from reading those debates even if the person Toxins was talking to never learned anything.

          As for myself, I try to help people when I can, but I don’t have an interest in investing time with someone who is not interested in learning. I just occasionally take a try if I think it might help. Plus, you never know if third parties reading a post will benefit even if the person I directly respond to does not see the benefit.

          Thanks again for the feedback.

          1. You are welcome, Thea.

            Hey, that’s great news that Toxins might be back in the future; but it’s certainly understandable if he no longer has the free time to donate. It’s much appreciated what Dr. Gregor, yourself, Toxins and every other volunteer has done to help make this site such a great learning tool, helping to save lives as well as the planet.

  11. But the problem there was not the dietary fat but the processed carbohydrates leading to inflammation. (There is nothing more anti-inflammatory than a lowered carb diet, full plant diets that are high in carbs are always more inflammatory, that’s why they have more superoxide dismutase, blood insulin raises and blood glucose spikes are highly inflammatory to the body) Real science, grounded in biochemistry, not comparing people who eat junk food to people who eat plants, is needed. And this science shows that fat NOT carbohydrate is the best fuel, not by comparing fancy things, but because it is evident by biochemistry. It is true that people eating processed meat (plus not grass-fed, so higher in omega 6 and lower in omega 3) and combining this fat with lots of processed carbs do worse than people not eating the meat. But newest research (in german, i didn’t check american research for now) on low carb diets (some ketogenic, most in the area of around 150g carbs, so they still allow for a great amount vegetables and fruit consumption, etc.) show that they are the heart healthiest diets. Of course, most of you will not believe this and post some links about the dangers of cholesterol, inflammation, lower superoxide dismutase (which is actually better not worse) and so on. I read all of this studies myself (there are some good german sources too). But true evidence will counter all of that. So, what is true evidence? In germany doctors normally measure LDL-C, HDL-C and triglycerides (while LDL-C is not of much worth as a predictor for heart disease, in fact it’s not even part of the risk evaluation for metabolic syndrome as far as i know). Newest research shows and agrees that a way better predictor is the number and size of the particles from the cholesterol in your blood (HDL-P and LDL-P). This can be measured with a nuclear magnetic resonance test, which you will normally have no access too. So some doctors are using ApoB (apoprotein B), because every LDL particle normally has one ApoB, so it gives you a pretty good measurement of how much LDL particles you have concentrated in your blood. But to make it simple, in general, you want large HDL particles and large, capacious LDL particles, cause that is the most beneficial scenario to prevent heart disease.

  12. Thyroid, Thyroid, Hypothyroidism…..: It is a subject that keeps popping up. I am sure it is of great concern to those most effected. Is it overplayed? Is it mostly a reflection of the SAD diet for instance? I don’t see to much on it in your “reference”/archive section. Thanks!

  13. Thea, I have good knowledge about the Okinawa diet and almost all other cultures and what they primarily ate (like the Kitavans that eat high carbs and lots of saturated fat from coconuts too, or the Masai that eat high animal saturated fat etc.). I also know the Tokelau island studies, which i guess are mentioned in your book too (if not, look http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/34/8/1552.full.pdf ). And btw, depending on which sources you check, some people report a higher saturated fat intake in the Okinawan diet, especially pork fat that they extracted with cooking (=lard) to use it for their meals and for cooking the vegetables. Lots of Okinawans report this themselves, so that’s a good source i guess, even Dr. Weil that was living among them reports this (the Okinawan diet is very different from the Japanese diet. It includes much more tofu, more pork, more fat and much less salt, enormous variety of vegetables and fruit and has a lot of fish”) Some people report a 60% carb, 20-25% fat intake, especially in the younger Okinawans. But you are still right, no matter how exactly the ratios, that it’s primarily based on starch (mostly sweet potatoes, now more rice and other things cause of westernization). Then there are other things to consider, older Okinawans are reported to eat no more than 1200-1700 calories, they practice intermittent fasting, eating until you are only 80% full and so on. This practices are known to have anti-aging effects, especially calorie restriction in total, newest studies strongly suggest that’s mostly because of carbohydrate restriction, less insulin secretion, less AGEs that can bind with proteins (not only the dietary ones but your body’s) and therefore way less inflammation in total. If you eat only 1200 calories a day, your total glucose load is way different than of some active vegan that needs 3500 calories and eats 600g carbs a day and low fat). You need consider all this before you extrapolate the observational Okinawan data to yourself. But like I said, I showed IMPORTANT data with my links in the last post, but instead of reading it carefully you just tell me Okinawans are healthy and lots of other cultures that eat like this too. This does not respond to the data I posted, it shows no understanding of biochemistry or at least a try of interpreting the data that I showed.

  14. Newest research shows that the best parameters for heart health are achieved with a lower carb diet (some studies suggest about 30% seems the upper limit) because ,,the body’s physiology is optimized for a carbohydrate intake of around 30%. At higher carbohydrate intakes, glucose disposal pathways (such as switching muscle cells from fat to glucose burning) are invoked; at lower carbohydrate intake, “triage” of glucose occurs, reserving it for the brain, and some useful carb-dependent functions are lost. Both extremes are stressful, and in metabolic disorders, both extremes may be devastating.”) That’s why LDL-P is reduced with low carbohydrate diets and HDL (the large, buoyant particles) are elevated. Fat is a better fuel for the body, even VEGAN PLANT FAT for that matter. It is proven by basic biochemistry of our body, it WANTS fat at a certain level as fuel and not MORE carbohydrates. But the other way is true too, in extreme low carb diets hormonal changes happen, for example low T3 thyroid hormone and increase in cortisol. It basically down regulates the immune system and weakens the extracellular matrix maintenance, so it makes you more prone to infections and constipation. Why? Because too low carb is a stressor for the body as is too high carb, with high carb other adaptions happen that are disadvantageous too that I described above. So these changes going on in our body show us what the BODY wants, how to optimize for best health (of course it can always adapt to a certain level because it always wants survive, it wants us to be healthy, and we should help our body to claim its natural right). And these facts are not changed by the Okinawan being healthy or the Tokelau eating lots of coconuts and being healthy too). One time, leave your (vegan) spectrum that only proves you what you want to hear, and read data conflicting with your own knowledge. Only like this you can progress and optimize yourself. READ: http://authoritynutrition.com/it-aint-the-fat-people/, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18523037, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10837306. (I know, in the end someone will post me 3 videos of this page showing grain consumption is good for the brain without even reading the studies i suggest. It is good for the brain, but only to a certain level, so if you have nothing more to say don’t bother posting) Greetings from Germany and have a nice day.

    1. Hey Veronica. I’m all for venturing outside the vegan spectrum, but those second two links you posted from ncbi had nothing to do with vegan nutrition. The study about cholesterol in the Masai states “The most conspicuous finding for the Masai was the extremely high energy expenditure, corresponding to 2565 kcal/day over basal requirements.” So I guess that much exercise combats some negative effects of a diet high in saturated fat. The last study was feeding the kids 150 mg of cholesterol a day, so its no surprise their cholesterol got worse, despite the diet being high in carbohydrates (half of which was “simple carbohydrates” i.e. sugar.) And they only got 7 g of fiber a day? Correct me if I’m wrong…

  15. I have a mild allergy / intolerance to berries (fruit in general). Would the tremendous health benefits of berries outweigh the inflammation that my body produces in response to consuming the berries? I eat berries everyday, however I have always wondered if it was doing more harm than good.

  16. Does this mean, if I have an autoimmune disorder called ITP causing dangerously low platelet counts (around 10k), I should limit by berry consumption?

    1. Good question, Sean! Although berries help decrease inflammation and could (in theory) help with an autoimmune disease, it would seem that the *last* thing you’d want to do in ITP is to inhibit the function of the few platelets that you do have. If your platelet counts vary at different time points, it’s possible that berries could be helpful when platelet counts are higher but dangerous when they are lower. Since I can’t find anything on PubMed related to diet and ITP, I can’t give you any definitive answer. There certainly seems to be quite a bit of info on ITP support group web sites, but none referenced. Maybe another moderator who is a practicing dietitian and actually sees patients with ITP could be more helpful?

    1. Hello Teesha,
      The medical name for a high platelet count is “thrombocytosis”, and there are a huge number of possible causes. Here is a link to a Mayo Clinic summary of the causes of thrombocytosis:
      http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/thrombocytosis/basics/causes/con-20032674
      Note that they distinguish between “reactive thrombocytosis” which means the platelet count rises secondary to some other medical condition, and “essential thrombocythemia” which means there is a bone marrow disorder that produces too many platelets. The reactive type is much more likely — unless your mother has had a high platelet count for her whole life.

      I hope this helps. Your mother should discuss this with a doctor who specializes in blood disorders — called a “Hematologist”.

  17. Very informative video, thank you Doc for valuable information. I never would have thought that the berries can affect the platelets. Here are just wondering is it truthful information? Because judging by the comments not everyone agrees with you.

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