May I Be Frank? Stunning new film documents the food-powered life transformation of a 54-year-old Brooklyn man

(NaturalNews) Meet Frank Ferrante – a boisterous 54-year-old Sicilian from Brooklyn, NY, living in San Francisco. Frank has a love of great food, beautiful women and a good time, but he is also a former drug and alcohol addict, overweight, and fighting Hepatitis C. Estranged from his daughter, Frank is suffering from depression, has been single for many years, is taking a long list of prescription drugs just to manage his sickness symptoms.

Frank’s instincts tell him life can get much better than this, but he doesn’t know where to begin. His zest for living has been diminished by his health issues, self-loathing and disconnect from himself and his family. And yet… Frank’s life is about to be profoundly reconstructed by 3 young men from Cafe Gratitude in San Francisco who decide to make his positive metamorphosis their personal quest.

“May I Be Frank” is a documentary about the radical transformation of Frank Ferrante’s life. Using a healing plan based on a raw vegan diet, positive affirmations, spiritual practices, holistic health methods, and unconditional support and love, the boys foster Frank’s courageous transformation, helping him reinvent his health, his weight, his relationships, his view of himself and the world, and eventually assist him in learning to love again.

The full documentary of Frank’s amazing journey of transformation is now available through NaturalNews.TV.

See the video trailer at:…

Frank’s path to wellness

Frank’s journey begins at Cafe Gratitude, a mostly raw, vegan, organic local cafe in San Francisco. At Cafe Gratitude, Frank finds a retreat from his suffering and oppressive personal life, quickly establishing a fast friendship with the compassionate staff who in return takes a compassionate interest in him and his life.

One day he is asked the question of the day by Ryland, one of the servers – “what is one thing you want to do before you die?” – and Frank replies “I want to fall in love one more time, but no one will love me looking the way I do.”

Drawn to the prospect of helping Frank, Ryland invites him to return to the cafe every day for the next month. Ryland and two other young men from the cafe, his brother Cary and best friend Conor, decide to personally take on Frank’s healing process, establishing a 42-day contract with the goal of his eventual mental, physical, and spiritual renewal. All Frank has to do is put his life into the hands of the 3 young men and trust them to guide his total transformation, the entirety of which is filmed and documented.

Frank’s health quest is a testimonial to the power and life-changing abilities of healthy organic food, good community, and true determination. By eating only organic, raw food, visiting local holistic practitioners, getting weekly colonics, practicing gratitude and being loved and encouraged by himself and these 3 compassionate young men committed to his healing, Frank’s life is truly transformed in just 42 days.

“May I be Frank” shows the four men going on the ride of a lifetime as Frank is given not only a new body, but a renewed mind, wide open heart and a rejuvenated spirit.

It’s one of the most amazing and inspiring life transformations I’ve seen, and yet it’s also readily available to everyone! Because by watching this documentary, you’ll come to the same realization I did: If Frank can do it, so can I. (And so can you!)

Watch the amazing video trailer at:…

Learn more:

New research reveals how natural health approach, not Big Pharma, can prevent more than half of all Alzheimer’s cases

NaturalNews) If you’ve ever had a relative fade away from you and lose the ability to remember names, faces, events and even how to get dressed or hold a cup of coffee, you know the heartbreaking horror of the disease known as Alzheimer’s (AD). And let’s face it, the prospect of one day having AD is downright terrifying. Despite millions of dollars poured into potential treatments for AD, none of Big Pharma’s drug approaches work for long to alleviate the memory deficits and other problems of this form of dementia.

But instead of waiting and worrying about whether you may end up with AD, especially if the disease runs in your family, it makes far more sense to take action right now to prevent AD. But is that possible? More and more, it appears the answer is “yes” and it doesn’t involve drugs but lifestyle decisions.

According to a study led by Deborah Barnes, PhD, a mental health researcher at the San Francisco VA Medical Center (SFVAMC), over half of all Alzheimer’s disease cases could potentially be prevented through lifestyle changes and treatment or prevention of chronic medical conditions. And the “chronic medical conditions” she refers to are almost all preventable using a natural health approach.

Dr. Barnes analyzed data from studies all over the world involving hundreds of thousands of participants. The findings showed that the biggest modifiable risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease are (in order from the top) low education, smoking, physical inactivity, depression, mid-life hypertension, diabetes and mid-life obesity. Altogether, Dr. Barnes’ research links these risk factors to 51 percent of Alzheimer’s cases worldwide (17.2 million cases) and up to 54 percent of Alzheimer’s cases in the United States (2.9 million cases).

The study was presented at the 2011 meeting of the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease currently underway in Paris and was just published in the journal Lancet Neurology.

It’s of interest to note that many of these so-called modifiable risk factors can all be reduced or totally done away with by a natural, healthy lifestyle. A case in point: exercise has been found to help treat depression, obesity and high blood pressure. And by getting weight under control, type 2 diabetes can often be prevented and even may be reversed.

Smoking and a lack of education are two factors that can be changed by taking personal responsibility and making choices. For example, a lack of formal education does not mean a person can not change that risk factor — you can learn new skills and languages, take college or online classes, read more and find other ways to increase your education.

“What’s exciting is that this suggests that some very simple lifestyle changes, such as increasing physical activity and quitting smoking, could have a tremendous impact on preventing Alzheimer’s and other dementias in the United States and worldwide,” Dr. Barnes, who is also an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, said in a media statement.

“We are assuming that when you change the risk factor, then you change the risk,” Dr. Barnes continued. “What we need to do now is figure out whether that assumption is correct.”

The idea that lifestyle changes involving healthy living could make a huge difference in the number of people with Alzheimer’s is important on a personal level and also because it has enormous world-wide economic implications.

Senior investigator Kristine Yaffe, MD, chief of geriatric psychiatry at SFVAMC, pointed out in the press statement that the number of people with Alzheimer’s disease is expected to triple over the next 40 years. “It would be extremely significant if we could find out how to prevent even some of those cases,” said Dr. Yaffe, who is also a professor of psychiatry, neurology and epidemiology at UCSF.

NaturalNews has previously reported another natural way AD may be prevented. Research published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found a lack of vitamin D is linked to the development of both Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia (…).

Learn more:

Man to Receive Kidney from Brother With Different Blood Type: Novel Blood-Cleaning Procedure Used for Kidney Transplant

ScienceDaily (July 26, 2011) — St. Michael’s Hospital is the firs hospital t in North America to use a novel blood-cleaning procedure for a kidney patient that will allow him to receive a transplant from a donor with a different blood type.

Transplants involving a donor and recipient with different blood types are rare. Most people have natural antibodies in their blood that would cause their immune system to reject an organ from someone with a different blood type.

The procedure used on July 26 is called plasmapheresis and is similar to kidney dialysis, which removes waste products from the blood. Plasmapheresis separates plasma from patient’s blood, and runs it through a column-shaped device containing synthetic carbohydrate beads that trap the blood group antibodies. The “washed” plasma is then returned to the patient’s body.

Andre Cossette, a Grade 4 teacher at Ange-Gabriel Elementary Catholic School in Mississauga, Ont., has been on dialysis for three years. He is scheduled to receive a kidney transplant from his brother, who has Type AB blood, on Aug. 11. Cossette has Type A blood and antibodies against Type B.

“If this procedure works, I get to get my brother’s kidney,” Cossette said, shortly after beginning the procedure, which was expected to last two to four hours. “I won’t have to be on a waiting list, waiting for a call to come to the hospital within four hours because there may be a kidney available.”

The procedure may need to be repeated a few times to get rid of all the antibodies. The patient will also receive medications to prevent his immune system from making more antibodies and attacking the transplanted kidney.

Dr. Jeff Zaltzman, director of the hospital’s kidney transplant program, said the procedure could expand the number of living organ donors. More than one-third of potential live donors are turned down because their blood types are not compatible with the person to whom they wish to donate their kidney.

“Every time you have a living donor, you’re helping someone who would otherwise be on a transplant waiting list for a long time,” Dr. Zaltzman said. “That’s also one more person who is not taking an organ from a deceased donor, which could then be given to someone else.”

In Ontario, 1,075 people are on a waiting list for a kidney transplant, according to the Trillium Gift of Life Network, the province’s organ and tissue donation agency.

The device used at St. Michael’s, known as the Glycosorb ABO, was developed by Glycorex Transplantation, a Swedish company, and approved by Health Canada last year. It has been used once in Canada for a recent heart transplant in Alberta, but this is the first time for a kidney patient. The device is used in 21 countries, mainly in Europe, for kidney, liver, heart, lung and stem cell transplants.

Vitamin D deficiency causes mental disorders in children

NaturalNews) A new study shows that children with psychosis and other severe mental health disorders also have twice as much vitamin D deficiency as children who are mentally healthy.

The study, presented to the American Psychiatric Association 2011 Annual Meeting in Honolulu in June by researchers from the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland showed that 21 percent of children with symptoms of severe psychiatric problems had vitamin D levels below what the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends.

That level compared with 14 percent of children who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III, a population-based study that assessed the nutrition and health status of both children and adults in the U.S.

“That is 50 percent more than children in a normal population, so based on our findings this means that 1 out of 5 kids with severe mental illness has low vitamin D levels,” lead investigator Keith Cheng, M.D., told Medscape Medical News.

Added first study author Mini Zhang, M.A., “The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency (43 percent) was most common in children with psychotic disorders compared to other mental health disorders.”

Some researchers have also said that low vitamin D levels can lead to autism in children, the report said.

Besides combatting mental problems and conditions, vitamin D is also useful in preventing a range of other medical conditions, including osteoporosis, prostate cancer, depression, breast cancer and can even affect diabetes and depression.

One of the reasons why so many of these diseases and health issues are so prevalent could be that there is a phenomenon of vitamin D deficiency around the world, not just in the U.S.

The results of another recent study, this one published in the March 2010 issue of Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, found that 59 percent of the world’s population lacks clinically appropriate amounts of vitamin D in their bodies. Twenty-five percent of those were found to have seriously low levels.

The data also show that low levels of vitamin D can lead to immune system deficiencies as well. According to researchers at the University of Copenhagen, the immune system’s T cells tend to remain dormant, meaning there is little or no protection against invading microorganisms.

Dr. Soram Khalsa, writing in The Huffington Post, said during his three decades of practicing medicine, he has noticed that boosting vitamin D levels in his patients has done what many prescription drugs were unable to do:

“I have worked with literally hundreds of herbs, vitamins and dietary supplements, to help my patients, often when drugs did not work. In all this time, I have not seen one nutritional supplement that has the power to affect human health as much as vitamin D. This is because Vitamin D is not actually a vitamin – it is a hormone that has the ability to interact and affect more than 2,000 genes in the body. It is for this reason that vitamin D deficiency has been linked with many of the diseases of modern society. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with 17 types of cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, autoimmune disease, chronic pain, osteoporosis, asthma, and most recently with autism.”

Wonder drug? No – because it’s not a drug. It’s a supplement that can singlehandedly improve your overall health.

Learn more:

Self-Healing, Self-Cooling, Metamaterials: Vascular Composites Enable Dynamic Structural Materials

ScienceDaily (July 27, 2011) — Taking their cue from biological circulatory systems, University of Illinois researchers have developed vascularized structural composites, creating materials that are lightweight and strong with potential for self-healing, self-cooling, metamaterials and more.


“We can make a material now that’s truly multifunctional by simply circulating fluids that do different things within the same material system,” said Scott White, the Willet Professor of aerospace engineering who led the group. “We have a vascularized structural material that can do almost anything.”

Composite materials are a combination of two or more materials that harness the properties of both. Composites are valued as structural materials because they can be lightweight and strong. Many composites are fiber-reinforced, made of a network of woven fibers embedded in resin — for example, graphite, fiberglass or Kevlar.

The Illinois team, part of the Autonomous Materials Systems Laboratory in the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, developed a method of making fiber-reinforced composites with tiny channels for liquid or gas transport. The channels could wind through the material in one long line or branch out to form a network of capillaries, much like the vascular network in a tree.

“Trees are incredible structural materials, but they’re dynamic too,” said co-author Jeffrey Moore, the Murchison-Mallory professor of chemistry and a professor of materials science and engineering. “They can pump fluids, transfer mass and energy from the roots to the leaves. This is the first step to making synthetic materials that have that kind of functionality.”

The key to the method, published in the journal Advanced Materials, is the use of sacrificial fibers. The team treated commercially available fibers so that they would degrade at high temperatures. The sacrificial fibers are no different from normal fibers during weaving and composite fabrication. But when the temperature is raised further, the treated fibers vaporize — leaving tiny channels in their place — without affecting the structural composite material itself.

“There have been vascular materials fabricated previously, including things that we’ve done, but this paper demonstrated that you can approach the manufacturing with a concept that is vastly superior in terms of scalability and commercial viability,” White said.

In the paper, the researchers demonstrate four classes of application by circulating different fluids through a vascular composite: temperature regulation, chemistry, conductivity and electromagnetism. They regulate temperature by circulating coolant or a hot fluid. To demonstrate a chemical reaction, they injected chemicals into different vascular branches that merged, mixing the chemicals to produce a luminescent reaction. They made the structure electrically active by using conductive liquid, and changed its electromagnetic signature with ferrofluids — a key property for stealth applications.

Next, the researchers hope to develop interconnected networks with membranes between neighboring channels to control transport between channels. Such networks would enable many chemical and energy applications, such as self-healing polymers or fuel cells.

“This is not just another microfluidic device,” said co-author Nancy Sottos, the Willett professor of materials science and engineering and a professor of aerospace engineering. “It’s not just a widget on a chip. It’s a structural material that’s capable of many functions that mimic biological systems. That’s a big jump.”

This work was supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.

Japan’s never ending nuclear nightmare

NaturalNews) Lauren Moret told us that, “On the night of June 14, a nuclear incident occurred in the Reactor 3 building in the spent fuel pool when huge bursts of gamma ray fluorescence lit up the night sky and turned the reactor building as bright as the sun, indicating the spent fuel rods and melted uranium and plutonium were boiling off, vaporized along with the rest of the fission products.”

We do not hear much about the nuclear disaster in Japan anymore so one really has to search for the information our governments do not want us to see.

Video: Ex Japanese Nuclear Regulator Blames Radioactive Animal Feed on “Black Rain”

If you want the latest nuclear news, Arnie Gundersen is the one to listen to. He is on a mission of truth and can be depended upon for valuable and balanced information. That is not the case with anyone else I will mention in this post.

Gregory B. Jaczko, the chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said in mid July that the catastrophe at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant (NRC), caused by an earthquake and tsunami in March, appears to have resulted in “no immediate health impacts.” One wonders when one listens to the video of Jaczko speaking if he knows anything about anything but certainly it’s clear that he understands nothing about nuclear medicine.

Dr. Jay Lehr, an editor of the Nuclear Energy Encyclopedia, told CNS News that the most significant impact on human health as a result of the Fukushima disaster would result from stress, not radiation. With the way some people speak and think about radiation one would wonder why they even bother to wear protective suits around Fukushima. Might as well set up a resort or detoxification clinic near Fukushima to handle the stress for the locals since the radiation really is nothing to worry about!

If you wanted to do that in the Tokyo area it might be safe but as long as you did not have the clinic on the ground level. Nobody wants to talk about it but the ground seems to have 58 times the amount of radiation than the air and that does make sense since radioactive particles do settle to the ground. You would think that the government would be warning people to take extra precautions with their footwear by telling them not to bring their shoes into the house. But that is not happening.

In Philadelphia they have found higher levels of radioactive iodine in their water systems than anywhere else in the United States and baby deaths did increase dramatically after the onset of Fukushima. Worrisome levels of iodine-131 had been detected long before the Fukushima disaster in several Philadelphia drinking-water samples taken as part of an obscure monitoring program run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Seems like the medical industry, as I maintain, is competing with the nuclear power industry to see who can pollute the most number of people’s bodies by injecting radioactive iodine as a contrast dye for many medical tests, and also as a treatment for thyroid cancer. In fact radioactive iodine is called “the magic bullet” for thyroid cancer treatment even though it’s really a “tragic and very toxic bullet.”

Nationwide, the number of thyroid cancer cases is rising. But because most are early-stage cancers, “the tendency is to treat less with radioactive iodine,” said James. A. Fagin, chief of endocrinology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering in New York, and president-elect of the American Thyroid Association. Interestingly, Dr. Fagin is saying that they are treating with less insanity for it is insane to treat thyroid cancer with radioactive iodine because radioactive iodine can actually cause thyroid cancer. Doctors and everyone else are kidding themselves about iodine. Ninety-five percent of the public are deficient in this most vital mineral, putting them at risk. American’s thyroids are sponges — sitting ducks for radiation contamination from radioactive iodine.

There has been a sharp unexplained rise in iodine-131 levels at three Tokyo sewage plants. With an eight-day half-life, the iodine-131 should be long gone by now if you believe what the government is saying. TEPCO has probably injected many gases in to the reactors recently that would spread more radiation through a wider area in Japan. It could also come from infiltration of rainwater into sewers. If it is in the waste sludge, it means that people were exposed to it.

You know it used to be that when someone was in the hospital and got radioactive treatments of any kind, doctors and nurses had to be very careful around them and in fact they were treated like lepers. Because of the dangers to the environment and other people, these patients were kept in the hospital for a specific length of time; they wouldn’t be let them near family or children especially; their wastes were handled with special procedures, etc. Now they let these patients out quickly and are even thinking about raising the limits of “safe exposure.” Doctors, health officials and the federal government do not want to even consider that the increases in thyroid cancers are being caused by the doctors themselves who are injecting radioactive iodine.

The medical media has been quite pathetic through these four months of live fission from multiple core meltdowns and has not wasted any opportunity dragging their experts out to center stage telling us not to worry and that there is no reason to load up on supplements.

Dr. William McBride, professor of radiation oncology at the UCLA Cancer Center was quoted by the LA Times telling people not to bother doing anything to protect themselves. “There’s no evidence, he says, that anything at a health food store or grocery store could really protect you from nuclear fallout. And in some cases, he warns, the remedies could be more dangerous than the radiation,” published the Times.

The Christian Science Monitor is full of good news about Fukushima saying, “The crippled reactors, three of which went into partial meltdowns, are stable more than four months after the devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami rocked the north, says the government and plant operator. Now the reactors appear to be on track for a cold shutdown. If the short-term prognosis for Fukushima has improved, Japan’s leaders have conceded that the cleanup and decommissioning could take much longer than expected.” Actually so bad is the disaster that the Japanese government is now turning itself away from nuclear power, or at least that is the prime minister’s most recent announcement.

Evacuation orders are currently issued when residents are at risk of receiving radiation of at least 50 millisieverts per hour, but the government said that arrangement assumed only brief exposure. What is happening in Japan is constant, chronic exposure that seems guaranteed to be around for hundreds if not thousands of years.

Chronic and persistent exposures need to be calculated into the far future meaning people are going to have to be removed from wider and wider areas. “The standard does not take into account the effects of accumulative exposure,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said. “We are discussing what standards to use for accumulative radiation.”

The disaster is hitting the Japanese where it really hurts by destroying their crops and fish, and we now have contaminated meat from cows in the area. This is only the beginning and we should know what to expect — governments and the media will not be honest with the public — and this is just another in what is destined to be many nuclear incidents.

We have already had too many catastrophic nuclear accidents and we are destined to have more, probably many more as earthquakes continue to push and shove on fault lines. It just turns out that one of the nuclear industry’s favorite places to build these nightmarish nuclear plants is on fault lines. Aren’t we lucky to have governments that allow them to do that?

I wrote both books, Nuclear Toxicity Syndrome and Iodine, to address the dangers we now face. If you don’t feel like worrying or doing anything about the radiation that continues to circulate around the northern hemisphere then worry about the mercury, which is also circulating around in much the same way radiation does. Just living in a city or downwind of any coal-fired power station or municipal incinerator will do you in as will chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

People do not worry enough about what causes cancer thus almost everyone has a close friend or family member who has died either from cancer or the very aggressive and toxic treatments used by oncologists that rarely cures the disease. Cancer gets more difficult to treat the further out of control it gets until only miracles can pull people out of their decline.

For all the references, sources and more articles on radiation and chemical toxicity please visit Dr. Mark Sircus blog.

About the author:
About the author:
Mark A. Sircus, Ac., OMD, is director of the International Medical Veritas Association (IMVA)

Dr. Sircus was trained in acupuncture and oriental medicine at the Institute of Traditional Medicine in Sante Fe, N.M., and at the School of Traditional Medicine of New England in Boston. He served at the Central Public Hospital of Pochutla in Mexico, and was awarded the title of doctor of oriental medicine for his work. He was one of the first nationally certified acupuncturists in the United States. Dr. Sircus’s IMVA is dedicated to unifying the various disciplines in medicine with the goal of creating a new dawn in healthcare.

He is particularly concerned about the effect vaccinations have on vulnerable infants and is identifying the common thread of many toxic agents that are dramatically threatening present and future generations of children. His book, The Terror of Pediatric Medicine, is a free e-book offered on his web site. Humane Pediatrics will be an e-book available early in 2011 and then quickly as possible put into print.

Dr. Sircus is a most prolific and courageous writer and one can read through hundreds of pages on his various web sites.

He has recently released a number of e-books including Winning the War Against Cancer, Survival Medicine for the 21st Century, Sodium Bicarbonate, Rich Man’s Poor Man’s Cancer Treatment, New Paradigms in Diabetic Care and Bringing Back the Universal Medicine: IODINE.

Dr. Sircus is a pioneer in the area of natural detoxification and chelation of toxic chemicals and heavy metals. He is also a champion of the medicinal value of minerals and seawater.

Transdermal Magnesium Therapy, his first published work, offers a stunning breakthrough in medicine, an entirely new way to supplement magnesium that naturally increases DHEA levels, brings cellular magnesium levels up quickly, relieves pain, brings down blood pressure and pushes cell physiology in a positive direction. Magnesium chloride delivered transdermally brings a quick release from a broad range of conditions. His second edition of Transdermal Magnesium Therapy will be out shortly. In addition he writes critically about the political and financial crises occurring around us.

International Medical Veritas Association:

Learn more:

Doubling vitamin D levels most cost effective way to reduce global mortality rates, study

Post a commentBy Elaine Watson, 26-Jul-2011

Related topics: Research, Vitamins & premixes, Bone & joint health, Cancer risk reduction

Increasing serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D is the “most cost-effective way to reduce global mortality rates”, according to a new study.


In a paper assessing the likely impact on mortality rates of doubling serum vitamin D levels from 54 to 110 nmol/l in six regions of the world, Dr William B Grant estimates that this would increase life expectancy by two years across all six regions.

“The predicted reduction in all-cause mortality rates ranges from 7.6 percent for African females to 17.3 percent for European females”, claimed Grant, who is a director at the San Franciso-based Sunlight, Nutrition and Health Research Center and the author of several papers on vitamin D.

His latest study, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, concludes: “Increasing serum 25(OH)D levels is the most cost-effective way to reduce global mortality rates, as the cost of vitamin D is very low and there are few adverse effects from oral intake and/or frequent moderate UVB irradiance with sufficient body surface area exposed.”

Epidemiological approaches are valid

While many policymakers might argue that the only reliable means of determining whether vitamin D reduced the risk of disease was via randomized controlled trials (RCTs), this was not the case, insisted Grant.

“I believe that this restriction is unnecessary and is generally used to delay acceptance of more favorable policies for vitamin D and UV irradiance. Vitamin D is not a drug, for which RCTs would be required, but is instead a natural compound essential for optimal health.


“Analysis of findings from traditional epidemiological approaches should supply enough information for informed decision making.”

Agreement on vitamin D policy ‘sorely lacking’

In order to increase vitamin D intakes, policymakers would first have to agree that society would benefit from higher levels, observed Grant, who recently postulated that vitamin D deficiency may have contributed to Mozart’s premature demise .

“Unfortunately, such agreement is sorely lacking to date. For example, the International Agency for Research on Cancer reviewed the evidence regarding vitamin D and cancer, finding a beneficial effect only for colorectal cancer.


“However, the members of the review committee were largely dermatologists and made many errors and omissions in their review.”

IOM report failed to consider relevant studies

Meanwhile, last year’s controversial report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), which said evidence linking vitamin D with a reduced risk of certain cancers, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and autoimmune disorders was “inconsistent and inconclusive”, was also flawed, he claimed.

Unfortunately, federal sponsors directed the committee not to consider studies where vitamin D came from non-oral sources such as solar UVB irradiance and case control studies that measured serum 25(OH)D levels at the time of disease diagnosis. These two types of studies provide much of the stronger evidence for several diseases.”

Vitamin D and disease

While our bodies manufacture vitamin D on exposure to sunshine, the levels in some northern countries are so weak during the winter months that our body makes no vitamin D at all, meaning that dietary supplements and fortified foods are seen by many as the best way to boost intakes of vitamin D.

Vitamin D-sensitive diseases that account for more than half of global mortality rates are cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory infections, respiratory diseases, tuberculosis and diabetes mellitus, according to Grant.

Was Mozart short of vitamin D? Click here to find out.

Source: European Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Published online ahead of print: doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2011.68

‘An estimate of the global reduction in mortality rates through doubling vitamin D levels’

Author: WB Grant

Chia seeds may offer omega-3 heart and liver benefits: Study By Nathan Gray, 26-Jul-2011 Related topics: Omega-3, Research, Nutritional lipids and oils, Cardiovascular health, Diabetes, Gut health Consumption of chia seeds as a source of alpha-linolenic


Consumption of chia seeds as a source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) may bring about redistribution associated with heart and liver protection, according to new research in rats.

The study, published in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, reports that rats fed chia seed supplements were protected from heart and liver problems associated with a high-fat diet, including improved insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance, reduced visceral adiposity, decreased liver fat, and lower cardiac and hepatic inflammation and fibrosis.

The research, from the University of Queensland, Australia, revealed that the chia seeds brought about lipid redistribution in the rats, with lipids trafficked away from the visceral fat and the liver.

“We report an intricate pattern of fatty acid distribution in various tissues from rats fed a chia seed-supplemented diet that would probably lead to an improved lipid homeostatic condition,” said the researchers, led by Lindsay Brown, an associate professor at the University of Queensland.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of lipid redistribution with a rich dietary source of any omega-3 fatty acid associated with cardio-protection and hepato-protection,” they added.

ALA benefits

Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) omega-3 is an essential fatty acid that the body cannot make, and therefore must be consumed in the diet. Good sources of ALA include: chia seeds, flaxseed, soybeans, walnuts, and olive oil.

The U.S Institute of Medicine recommends an ALA intake of 1.6 grams per day for men and 1.1 grams per day for women.

“In human diets, ALA, the essential omega-3 fatty acid, is usually derived from plant sources such as flax seed, while EPA and DHA are ingested from fish, fish oil supplements and other sea foods,” said the researchers.

The health benefits associated with ALA consumption include cardiovascular effects, neuro-protection, a counter to the inflammation response, and benefits against autoimmune disease. However, the longer-chain eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) have received more study from scientists and more attention from the consumers.

Brown and her colleagues noted that chia seeds are the “richest botanical source of ALA,” containing about 60 per cent ALA.

Study details

The new research investigated the metabolic, cardiac, and liver changes following 5 per cent chia seed supplementation in high carbohydrate, high-fat diet-fed rats with low omega-3 fatty acid status.

Rats fed the high-fat diet were found to develop hypertension, impaired glucose and insulin tolerance, dyslipidemia, fatty livers, cardiac fibrosis and functional deterioration, inflammation and abdominal obesity.

“With the exception of elevated blood pressure and some plasma markers of liver function, dietary chia seed supplementation attenuated structural and functional changes caused by high-fat feeding,” said the authors.

“Chia seed supplementation caused lipid redistribution away from the abdominal cavity … and increased omega-3:omega-6 ratio in various tissues,” they added.

The supplemented rats improved insulin and glucose tolerance, reduced visceral adiposity, decreased hepatic steatosis (fatty liver), reduced cardiac and hepatic fibrosis and inflammation without changes in plasma lipids or blood pressure.

“Thus, chia seeds as a source of ALA induce lipid redistribution associated with cardio-protection and hepato-protection,” said Brown and her colleagues.

They added that the results of the research warrant further research on the use of chia seed as a complimentary therapy for treating some signs of metabolic syndrome.

Source: The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2010.11.011
“Lipid redistribution by α-linolenic acid-rich chia seed inhibits stearoyl-CoA desaturase-1 and induces cardiac and hepatic protection in diet-induced obese rats”
Authors: H. Poudyal, S.K. Panchal, J. Waanders, L. Ward, L. Brown

New electronic tongue quantifies antioxidants in juice

By Nathan Gray, 21-Jul-2011

Related topics: Research, Antioxidants, carotenoids

A new electronic tongue system that can be applied to the analysis of the antioxidant power and other quality parameters of juices, fruit and fruit purées, has been developed by a team of Spanish researchers.


Researchers from the Centre for Molecular Recognition and Technological Development (IDM) and the CUINA group of the Universitat Politècnica de València, Spain, developed the technology and computer software as a fast way to test the antioxidant power of fruits and juices.

So far, the experts have tested the system in different antioxidant solutions –specifically, citric acid, ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and malic acid – with the researchers noting that the results have been ‘highly satisfactory’.


The researchers explained that the system is based on techniques of voltammetry and impedance spectroscopy.

“What we do is, we apply electrical signals to the solution and we measure its response. Thus we can quantify the antioxidant concentration in that solution,” said Miguel Alcañiz, an IDM researcher.

Now, researchers say they are working on investigating the degradation of vitamin C in juices.

“We’re starting to work very soon in the direct application of the electronic tongue to the evaluation of orange juice,” said José Manuel Barat, a researcher in the CUINA group.

Electronic tongues

According to the UPV researchers, in recent years, electronic tongues have become an excellent alternative to traditional methods of analysis for controlling the quality of food products.

“Electronic tongues, using electrochemical techniques, help us to sort food samples in situ and to quantify their physicochemical parameters, in a fast and economical way,” said Ramón Martínez Máñez, a researcher at the UPV IDM.

The Spanish team have also used similar electronic tongue principles and technologies to investigate the detection of glyphosate (a weed killer which is widely used in agriculture) and to monitor water quality in sewage treatment

As New Data Wave Begins, a Gene Study in One Disease Reveals Mutations in an Unrelated Disease

ScienceDaily (July 20, 2011) — Often enough, in science as in life, unexpected knowledge has a personal impact. Researchers seeking rare gene variants in just a few individuals with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) discovered that one patient had a novel combination of two mutations. Those mutations caused a different disease, unrelated to ADHD — a blood disorder called idiopathic hemolytic anemia.

Although the man had long contended with the blood disease, “idiopathic” meant that physicians were unable to determine the cause of his particular anemia — until now, say authors of a new study.

As gene-sequencing costs continue to drop as a result of new technology, the authors predict “a coming wave of unrelated findings and the resolution of ‘idiopathic’ diseases.” In its wake will be new ethical and clinical implications — such as how and when to best share these findings with people who provide their own DNA for the research.

Rapid improvements in analytical tools are enabling researchers to more frequently sequence whole genomes of individual patients, said study leader Gholson J. Lyon, M.D., Ph.D., a psychiatrist and principal investigator in the Center for Applied Genomics at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “As we sequence whole genomes, we will find new mutations unrelated to the disease under investigation,” he added. “How do we handle this information, especially when it doesn’t lend itself to immediate action by a patient and physician? This is an issue that is coming to the forefront with current advances in genetic knowledge.”

Lyon, and co-corresponding author Kai Wang, Ph.D., published the study online July 15 in the journal Discovery Medicine. (Formerly at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Wang is now at the University of Southern California.)

In the current study, Lyon and colleagues performed genetic analysis in a Utah family in which a father and two sons have a severe form of ADHD. All three had responded to a stimulant drug in a clinical trial, but ADHD is a complex disorder, with many different genes thought to be involved in conferring susceptibility to ADHD. Hence the researchers sought to identify specific mutations affecting this family.

In this collaboration among scientists at Children’s Hospital, BGI-Shenzhen and the University of Utah, the researchers first captured most of the exome, the protein-coding sequences of DNA from each patient’s genome. Then they sequenced and analyzed the exomes to identify gene mutations with a likelihood of causing disease.

The study team identified several rare gene variants from the family members that might contribute to ADHD, but they have not yet been able to prove clear-cut causation. However, they did find other mutations that appear to cause chronic anemia in one family member.

The man, a young adult, had been plagued his whole life with chronic anemia, had suffered abdominal pain and jaundice, and had undergone surgeries to remove first his gallbladder, then his spleen. “He had been told that he had ‘idiopathic hemolytic anemia,’ which basically means, ‘your red blood cells are bursting open for reasons we do not understand,'” said Lyon.

The exome sequencing quickly pinpointed two separate, rare mutations in PKLR, a gene that makes pyruvate kinase, an enzyme in which defects have previously been implicated as one cause of hemolytic anemia. This form of anemia is recessive, so the man received one mutation from his mother, the other mutation from his father. This is the first scientific report of both mutations occurring in the same person.

After consulting with the University of Utah institutional review board (IRB) that oversees human subject research, Lyon informed the patient’s hematologist of the results, with a request to follow up the findings and offer genetic counseling. “If this information had been available many years earlier, the patient may have received treatment or been advised to take preventive measures that could have possibly avoided complications, including the need for surgical removal of his spleen,” said Lyon, adding, “This illustrates the kind of medical information that will become more widely available as the pace of genetic discovery increases.”

With appropriate genetic counseling, the genetic information can be helpful to this patient, as he is extremely unlikely to pass on anemia to any future children, because of the recessive nature of the illness and the rarity of these specific mutations.

“There is considerable debate among medical geneticists and medical ethicists about whether genetic research results should be returned to participating research subjects,” said Lyon. “In this case, we informed the patient’s doctor so that they could decide how to proceed.”

Medical practice is still evolving on the questions of how to use this information, added Lyon. “For now, it remains a challenge to quickly discover causative mutations for complex multigene diseases. However, the whole genetics field is moving toward doing whole-genome sequencing to find disease-causing mutations, and in the future, a person’s full genome sequence will probably be linked to his or her medical records. Researchers and clinicians will be learning how to handle this information.”

Funding support for the study came from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the University of Utah Department of Psychiatry, and BGI-Shenzhen. Some of Lyon’s and Wang’s co-authors included Hakon Hakonarson, M.D., Ph.D., of Children’s Hospital; and Mark Yandell, Ph.D., of the University of Utah