Our Blood Speaks Volumes - Part 2: Cancer, Diabetes and Alzheimer's
In our last blog I discussed how our blood can tell us what is going on behind the scenes, including giving us warning signs that we're headed down the path to heart disease and stroke. The advanced tests I covered are just a few of many tests that have been developed over the last several years that can help us avoid chronic health issues, and even death.
In this post, I'll cover a few more of the advanced markers, in this case those that can give us the heads up that we may be headed toward Cancer,Diabetes and Alzheimer's. Interestingly, there's a common thread running between all 3, and it's not what you might expect. But first...
Will You Join Us MAY 17th?
Join us for a 2-hour seminar, during which you'll hear about all the new blood tests you can ask your doctor to order. For example, a test called Apo-E that will tell you what kind of diet is best for your Genotype (Vegan, high-fat Keto, etc.). You'll also learn where you can get these tests done at the most affordable cost (covered by insurance). To reserve your seat, click the button at the bottom of this blog.
Type 2 Diabetes
Most people recognize Type 2 Diabetes as a disease of high blood sugar. And that's absolutely true. Long term elevated blood sugar does lead to Diabetes. And Diabetes is becoming an epidemic in this country. The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported that Diabetes currently affects 1 in 10 adults, and) estimates as many as 1 in 5 adults could have type 2 diabetes by 2025, if nothing changes. Just check out the change in Diabetes rates over the last 20 years:
So how does Diabetes develop, and what advanced test could help you reduce your risk? Let's start by understanding some basic concepts. First, when we eat carbohydrates, they convert to glucose (sugar) in our blood. Excessive sugar in the blood stream is very dangerous, as it can lead to heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and loss of circulation to the extremities (which leads to amputations of fingers, toes, and more). The body's response to sugar in the blood is to have the pancreas produce insulin. Insulin's job is to transport the sugar to either the muscle cells (for energy use) or the fat cells (if there is no room in the muscle cells for the quantity of sugar in the blood). It has to get the sugar out of the blood to avoid the health issues previously mentioned.
Insulin acts like a "key", opening the "door" (insulin receptor) on the surface of the cells so the sugar can be transported into the cell. When our bodies are able to handle blood sugar correctly, only a small amount of insulin is needed to do the job.
However, due to our poor North American lifestyle and diet, we consume many more carbs (that convert to sugar) than our bodies were ever expected to handle. As a result, the body becomes desensitized to insulin, and then needs to produce more insulin to do the job. This is when we become Insulin Resistant (the precursor to pre-diabetes). Continuing down this path over time, insulin becomes even less effective, and our blood sugar rises into the pre-diabetic range. Finally, as more time passes, the sugar wins the battle. Blood sugar rises even higher, the pancreas begins to fail, and we eventually become an insulin-dependent Diabetic with many health issues.
Unfortunately, most blood tests are only looking to measure your blood sugar level, and by the time your doctor tells you your sugars are elevated, you're already well down the path to Diabetes. How can you find out earlier on if there's something happening? Ask to have your Fasting Insulin level tested. If your insulin is elevated, that means your body isn't handling the sugar properly, and you are becoming Insulin Resistant. The good news is that if you find it in the early stages it can be easily reversed with lifestyle change. In fact, in June we are launching a U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) approved Lifestyle change program focusing on weight loss and helping participants lower insulin and blood sugar. CLICK HERE to contact us and be put on the waiting list for more information.
The Dreaded "C" Word
"You've got cancer." The 3 words no one wants to hear, and rightly so. Cancer is an insidious disease, one that can ravage the body for years, long before someone actually dies. I've seen it in my own family. I lost my dad to lung cancer in 2006 (he was a 30-year smoker), and my first wife, Claudia, died of breast cancer in 2004. In Claudia's case, she didn't have risk factors, at least not any that were known at the time. But here's the thing - we now know a lot more about what can increase your risk of cancer than we did even just 15 years ago. Back then being overweight or obese wasn't as closely linked to cancer as it is today. In those days if you were overweight (which she was, slightly, after having our 3 kids), nobody gave cancer risk a thought.
But now, being overweight or obese is clearly a risk factor, and it's a battle we're actually losing. In October 2017 the CDC wrote, "We have made great strides in overall cancer since the 1990's. As a nation, we’re now better at preventing and treating some cancers...but in ten types of cancers, we are going in the wrong direction. Research shows that being overweight is associated with many types of cancer. The rates of most of the cancers associated with obesity or overweight has increased by 7%."
That's right, cancers associated with being obese or overweight are on the rise. So why is this happening? The answer is actually fairly simple - cancer feeds on sugar. And there's a scientific explanation for this. Normal, healthy cells have 4 "insulin receptors" on their surface, that allow insulin to deposit sugar into the cells to be used for energy (refer back to the Diabetes section above). On the other hand, cancer cells have over 90 insulin receptors on their surfaces. That means that cancer cells have more than 20 times the ability to take in sugar than normal, healthy cells. So the sugar goes where the cancer cells are, since it is basically following the path of least resistance.
Want proof? Consider the PET scan, or Positron Emission Tomography scan. The cancer patient is given a glucose (sugar) solution that contains a "tracer" (a radioactive drug) that allows the doctor to see where the glucose solution goes. Since the cancer cells have 20x more insulin receptors on them than healthy cells, the cancer cells/tumors take up the majority of the glucose solution. This allows the doctor to see where tumors are growing. In this picture the bright red "hot spots" are areas where cancer cells have taken in large amounts of the glucose solution. The cancer is feeding on the sugar. So if you want the cancer cells to die off, what's one of the best thing you can do? Starve them - cut off their sugar supply!
Just as heart disease and stroke risk increases with greater consumption of sugar and starch (which converts to sugar), so does your risk of many cancers. So reduce your sugar and starch intake (which in turn lowers your blood sugar and your insulin response). Not only does elevated insulin cause weight gain, but it increases your risk of 10 cancers as well. Get your Fasting Insulin measured TWICE A YEAR!
Do you want to live to be 80 years old? Are you sure? According to the Alzheimer's Association, 50% of 80 year-olds will be diagnosed with Alzheimer'unless something changes. So what is driving this, and what should you be doing about it?
The common theme we've had for this post - reduce your sugar and starch intake! How in the world, you are probably thinking, do sugar and starch relate to Alzheimer's? Glad you asked!
For several years now, researches have seen a relationship between long-term elevated blood sugar and Alzheimer's. Some Alzheimer's brochures refer to the disease as "Type 3 Diabetes". To quote the Alzheimer's Association, "The brain depends on many different chemicals, which may be unbalanced by too much insulin. Some of these changes may help trigger Alzheimer’s disease." And, "High blood sugar causes inflammation. This may damage brain cells and help Alzheimer’s to develop."
So once again, we see that by controlling our blood sugar, which in turn lowers our Fasting Insulin, we lower our risk for another horrible chronic disease. So get tested! Contact us HERE to find out where and how you can get tested and likely have your insurance pay for the test fees.
Another advanced test you can ask for that will help predict your risk of Alzheimer's is your level of Omega-3 fatty acids in the blood. Our brain is largely (60-70%) fat, so having sufficient levels of the EPA & DHA fats is critical to maintaining all aspects of brain health. EPA & DHA are the two most critical forms of Omega-3 fats, and numerous studies have shown that brain health improves with increased levels of Omega-3's. In fact in 2014, the journal ALZHEIMER’S AND DEMENTIA reported that "EPA/DHA supplementation greatly improved preservation of both brain volume (size) and cognition (thinking) throughout the aging process."
Not only do the Omega-3 fats help with brain health, but they have also been shown to lower Triglycerides (sugar-fats), and increase protective HDL. So eat lots of fatty fish like sardines, anchovies or wild-caught salmon, or supplement with at least 1000-3000 mg of EPA/DHA per day, manufactured in an FDA-registered OTC drug facility to ensure potency, purity and dissolution.
Watch the short PBS video below to understand why WHERE your supplements are manufactured is so important. Then contact us if you'd like to get connected with one of the companies that is registered with, and inspected by, the FDA to manufacture to the highest quality standards.
A final test you can get to determine your risk of Alzheimer's is the APO-E gene test. This test tells you whether you have a genetic predisposition to Alzheimer's. It's not a test that will tell you definitively that you WILL develop Alzheimer's, but if you know you are genetically predisposed to the disease, you can take steps to reduce the likelihood that the disease develops (like lowering your insulin and blood sugar, and by increasing your Omega-3 levels).
So, what's the common thread of Diabetes, Cancer and Alzheimer's?
Elevated Fasting Insulin due to elevated blood sugar!
If you take these last two blog posts together, reducing sugar and starch, which in turn lowers your Fasting Insulin, will help you reduce your risk of Heart Disease, Stroke, Diabetes, Cancer and Alzheimer's.
Trinity Health Coaching is launching a U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) approved Lifestyle change program focusing on helping participants lower insulin and blood sugar, and losing weight. CLICK HERE to contact us and be put on the waiting list for more information about this exciting proven CDC program.
Want to learn more?
Join us Thursday May 17th for a 2-hour seminar, during which we will delve more deeply into all the tests we've been discussing in the recent posts, as well as several others. We will also help you know where you can get these tests done at the most affordable cost (covered by insurance). To reserve your seat, click the button below: