THE Premier Low-Carb store .. .. AND Meeting Place

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Alzheimer’s Drug Enhances Quality of Life

Aricept was used in a Canadian Study in Toronto to treat mild and moderate Alzheimer patients and it was found to reduce symptoms even in more advanced stages of this debilitating neurological disease. It improves memory to the point of helping patients recognize family members and to help them function with daily interactive tasks, including hygiene tasks.

“Donepezil — sold under the brand name Aricept — is one of a class of drugs known as cholinesterase inhibitors, which help restore levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is greatly diminished in Alzheimer's disease.

The six-month study, published Tuesday in the journal Neurology, involved 343 people with severe Alzheimer's disease at 98 clinics in Canada, the United States, France, the United Kingdom and Australia. Half of the group was randomly assigned to receive a daily dose of donepezil, the other half a placebo.

The study found cognitive function stabilized or improved in 63 per cent of people taking the drug compared to 39 per cent of those taking placebo. All of the participants, whose average age was 78, were living in the community with caregivers.”

Side effects are minimal and usually disappear after a while.

Promising New Cancer Drug

In Edmonton, Canada, the first human trial which will last 18 months, for a possible new cancer drug called dichloroacetate, or DCA , has been approved by Health Canada to be used to treat “an advanced form of an aggressive brain cancer.”

Significant shrinkage of tumors occurred in rat trials. This drug is being raced to human trial far beyond the usual time it takes to get there. However, because the drug is cheap and cannot be patented, the doctors are receiving no financial aid from the pharmaceutical companies. This is sad. However, grants and donations are financing this venture to the tune of $800,000 so far. This lack of funding from the pharmaceutical companies is what makes this frenzy to take DCA to Phase 2 (skipping Phase 1) human trial so quickly all the more remarkable. It seems to be a very promising solution to cancer.

A tremendous interest in the DCA drug trial has been shown and they’ve had to turn away people with other cancers, as Health Canada is at this moment only supporting the human trial of people with glioblastomas. Reportedly some desperate folks are self-medicating with DCA. The Canadian Cancer Society warns against this practice as it is not yet known what the results in humans will be.

“The appeal of DCA lies in its ability to target cancer cells while leaving other cells intact, eliminating severe side-effects of conventional cancer therapies such as chemotherapy and radiation.

DCA cuts tumours off from glucose, said Kenn Petruck, the head of neurosciences with Capital Health and a co-investigator on the clinical trial. "Unlike normal cells, tumours are addicted to glucose as their foodstuff," he said.

Without this food, they turn to another pathway, which triggers the cells to die off.”

A Phase 1 trial for other types of cancer could be happening in the near future, pending approval from Health Canada.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Calorically Restricted Ketogenic Diet Might Prolong Life Of Brain Cancer Patients

This article is about the research done by the Department of Biology, Boston College, USA and it is an eye opener.

“Malignant brain cancer persists as a major disease of morbidity and mortality in adults and is the second leading cause of cancer death in children. Many current therapies for malignant brain tumors fail to provide long-term management because they ineffectively target tumor cells while negatively impacting the health and vitality of normal brain cells. In contrast to brain tumor cells, which lack metabolic flexibility and are largely dependent on glucose for growth and survival, normal brain cells can metabolize both glucose and ketone bodies for energy. This study evaluated the efficacy of KetoCal®, a new nutritionally balanced high fat/low carbohydrate ketogenic diet for children with epilepsy, on the growth and vascularity of a malignant mouse astrocytoma (CT-2A) and a human malignant glioma (U87-MG).”

Studies were carried out on mice that were implanted orthotopically with malignant brain tumors. One group was given KetoCal® in regular or restricted amounts to reduce calories and the other group was fed an unrestricted high carbohydrate diet like the usual American diet. The results were overwhelmingly in favor of the restricted ketogenic diet, proving that this diet is beneficial in starving the cancer cells, reducing further growth and reducing the size of the tumors. It would appear that the cancer cells are less able to use ketones for energy than glucose. Glucose levels in the blood were greatly reduced and ketone levels were increased.

My Conclusion: If a ketogenic (low-carb) diet starves cancer cells in the brain, surely it would starve any other cancer cells in the body as well? Would that then make this a good diet for people with colon or breast cancer, or lymphoma for instance? This also makes one think that such a diet would be beneficial in preventing such cancer cells from forming in the first place in susceptible individuals. The low-carb, ketogenic diet could then perhaps be called a “cancer prevention diet”.

This was an amazing study with very interesting and hopeful results for those people suffering from cancer. Kudos to those clever people who carried it out!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

How To Increase Fiber in a Low-Carb Diet

Many people, but more especially folks on a low-carbohydrate diet complain of not getting enough fiber. A typical diet yields fiber from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes. For the low-carber who is very strictly low-carbing, that typically excludes most of those, leaving only plenty of vegetables, and some fruits such as berries in moderate quantities.

According to the American Heart Association, fiber is “important for the health of the digestive system and for lowering cholesterol. Insoluble fiber has been associated with decreased cardiovascular risk and slower progression of cardiovascular disease in high-risk individuals. Dietary fiber may promote satiety by slowing gastric emptying, leading to an overall decrease in calorie intake. Foods high in insoluble fiber include whole-wheat breads, wheat cereals, wheat bran, rye, rice, barley, most other grains, cabbage, beets, carrots, Brussels sprouts, turnips, cauliflower and apple skin. Foods high in soluble fiber include oat bran, oatmeal, beans, peas, rice bran, barley, citrus fruits, strawberries and apple pulp.

Reading the above recommendations for fiber, it is clear from that list that low-carbers have slightly fewer choices. However, Low-carbers have become quite clever in increasing their daily fiber intake. Dr. Atkins suggested taking pysillium husks in water before bedtime. If I use it, I usually take 1 tablespoon in a full glass of water, stir and drink really quickly. There is a powdered form and a more coarse form (this is easier to take in my opinion), however, the caplets would be the easiest of all to take.

These days I like to get fiber in my diet from making my Splendid Low-Carb Bake Mix {with coconut flour (available from netrition.com – 61% fiber) instead of with sucralose-sweetened vanilla whey protein powder (available in Costco and in health food stores)}. There are two other ingredients in the bake mix and one of them adds some fiber as well, but not a whole lot. One of my cookbooks contains a nut free bake mix, using ground flax seeds instead, which means it is higher in fiber. There is another “flour” on the market also available from Netrition called Carbalose flour. It is very high in fiber (per 100 grams, 48 grams carbs and 29 grams insoluble fiber) and it is recommended to start slowly with this product. Again, I will sometimes use it in my other bake mixes, such as the Vital Ultimate Bake Mixes, adding a small amount in place of some of the particular flour required.

Most recently I made the Award Winning Brownies and the Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies from my latest cookbook, Splendid Low-Carbing for Life, Volume 2. I used the above idea of coconut flour in my bake mix. They turned out great! The thing with coconut flour (61% fiber) is that one cannot really discern a strong coconut flavor, therefore, it works really well, disguised with other flavors in baking. It is particularly low-carb with 2 tablespoons containing 10 grams of carbohydrate and 9 grams of fiber, making that a net carbohydrate value of 1 gram! Since it contains no gluten, it is suitable for folks with celiac disease and for folks who are sensitive to wheat gluten. I would not recommend using coconut flour solely in place of flour, as sometimes baked products can turn out rather dry.

Other alternatives for high fiber in baking are wheat bran, oat bran, rice bran and flax seeds. It is possible to add wheat bran or oat bran to hamburgers or meat loaf, let alone in baking, such as muffins, loaves and low-carb breads. I am less familiar with coconut fiber, polydextrose fiber (90%) and oat fiber (100%). These would be a little harsh for some people and should at first be used in very small quantities.

A rule of thumb: Start increasing fiber cautiously in the diet to prevent cramping and other adverse side effects.

As one can see, there are many, innovative ideas for increasing fiber in our diets.