Sacred Cow – Why Well-Raised Meat is Good for You and Good for the Planet

Some of you may remember that I linked to Tom Woods’s interview with Robb Wolf a few months back. Wolf was on the show to discuss his new book Sacred Cow: The Case for (Better) Meat. It was such an interesting interview that I bought the book a couple of days later. Sacred Cow has finally got to the top of my reading list.

I thought it might be fun if I wrote a running chapter commentary on Fridays until I’ve finished the thing. I got the idea from the always interesting Bionic Mosquito. Here we go.

Introduction

“Why we’re doing this” sums up the introduction. The authors discuss their backgrounds. Ford is pretty big in the paleo community and Rodgers is a dietician, recipe author and organic farmer. Their mutual interests got them talking, and they decided to explore Optimal Human Food and Regenerative Agriculture. Keeping in mind the title, they are going to make the case for meat to solve both of these problems.

The authors spell out how they’re going to make their case for better meat. Before they do this, Wolf tells an interesting story about being asked to participate in a PBS debate with John Mackey (Whole Foods) and John McDougall (vegan doctor). Wolf rejected the proposed format of the debate, “a discussion on the relative merits of meat-inclusive diet versus a vegan diet” because “Discussions like this tend to involve a lot of moving the goalposts: They typically start with the health topics…and as the many problems with a vegan diet become obvious, the discussion inevitably shifts to the environment. Once the significant doubt emerges about the plausibility of a food system absent animals, the discussion then shifts to ethics. Once the least-harm principle and basic understanding of food production systems is established, the topic inevitably shifts to feeding the world.

Instead, Wolf insisted that “both sides should make their respective cases on each of these topics and then be “cross-examined” by their debate counterparts. He would not participate in a format where the counterparts could hop from topic to topic; obscuring the topic at hand. The PBS representative thought this was a good idea and would make for a much more robust discussion. For reasons known only to them, Mackey and McDougall pulled out of the discussion once these rule of engagement were in place.”

[As an aside, this seems to be the modus operandi of those on the left. They are almost never prepared to have a real, honest discussion or debate where their ideas will be scrutinised. Are they cowards? Do they know truth is not on their side? Probably both.]

The authors tell Wolf’s story in order to explain the format for the book “Sacred Cow will follow the same format Robb [Wolf] suggested for the PBS debate because a book about why we need “better meat” in our food system must address the three main criticisms against meat: nutritional, environmental, and ethical.”

Conclusions

The book’s style, based on the introduction, is for the intelligent layman. It’s devoid of scientific jargon or highfalutin words. Wolf and Rodgers want to make their case to as many people as possible. I also appreciate that they are laying down the gauntlet to “anti-meaters” by telling the reader they will address the main criticisms against meat. We’ll have to see if they provide a fair appraisal of the vegan arguments in later chapters. I’m looking forward to reading about this intellectual battle. Till next week.

Landmark Publication on Vitamin C for COVID-19

I’ve written a couple of times about why I think Vitamin C is crucial for good health. Dr Mercola has another article about Covid and Vitamin C. Here are the key takeaways:

  • While health authorities and mainstream media have ignored, if not outright opposed, the use of vitamin C and other supplements in the treatment of COVID-19, citing lack of clinical evidence, a landmark review recommends the use of vitamin C as an adjunctive therapy for respiratory infections, sepsis and COVID-19
  • According to the authors, “Vitamin C’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulating effects make it a potential therapeutic candidate, both for the prevention and amelioration of COVID-19 infection, and as an adjunctive therapy in the critical care of COVID-19”
  • Oral vitamin C at doses of 2 to 8 grams a day have been shown to reduce the incidence and duration of respiratory infections
  • Intravenous vitamin C at 6 to 24 grams a day has been shown to reduce mortality, ICU admission rates, hospital stays and time on mechanical ventilation in patients with severe respiratory infections
  • An international vitamin C campaign has been launched in response to the landmark review

The rest of the article can be found below:

Landmark Publication on Vitamin C for COVID-19 (mercola.com)

Diabetes and Saunas?

We’re fortunate to have a sauna in our rented holiday house. I got out of it after a forty minute sweat feeling refreshed especially after a “coolish” shower. It got me thinking if there is any research out there about he benefits or dangers of saunas for diabetics.

There’s been some research carried out showing that infrared saunas improved the quality of life in test subjects who were diabetic. This was determined through a health survey of the participants. What would that mean for a diabetic specifically? I don’t know because I’m not paying fifty-one bucks to get through the paywall. My guess is that this would be the same for non-diabetics. There’s certainly nothing touted in the abstract about lowering blood glucose or blood pressure, etc.

Another study suggests that thermotherapy reverses the negative effects that fatty meals have on narrowing the arteries in the skin. However, the study did not use saunas, and it does not mention what kind of fat was consumed. Everyone who regularly reads my articles should know that not all fats are equal. Still, the study argues that thermotherapy reverses the narrowing of the arteries brought on by an unhealthy (?) meal. So this suggests there could be benefits to cardio-vascular health perhaps.

So the studies above are not hugely helpful to me. The first was a subjective “how do you feel now” and the second was very narrow and did not offer much in the way of conclusions or recommendations. However, the last study I found is much more interesting since it gathered data from forty previous studies which examined the benefits and dangers of saunas since 2000. Only one study concluded that saunas had negative benefits.

One of the more interesting studies which was reviewed involved 2315 Finnish men who were followed for twenty years. After adjusting for confounding factors, like smoking and diabetes, this study found a 66% risk reduction of dementia, a 65% risk reduction of Alzheimer’s disease, a 63% risk reduction of sudden cardiac death and a 40% risk reduction of all-cause mortality. Of course, diabetics are at a greater risk of developing or dying from the above diseases. This is a very encouraging find.

The conclusion of this meta-study speaks for itself:

Regular infrared and/or Finnish sauna bathing has the potential to provide many beneficial health effects, especially for those with cardiovascular-related and rheumatological disease, as well as athletes seeking improved exercise performance. The mechanisms for these effects may include increased bioavailability of NO (nitric oxide) to vascular endothelium, heat shock protein-mediated metabolic activation, immune and hormonal pathway alterations, enhanced excretions of toxicants through increased sweating, and other hormetic stress responses.

Currently there is insufficient evidence to recommend specific types of sauna bathing for specific clinical conditions. While regular sauna bathing appears to be well-tolerated in the clinical setting with only minor and infrequent adverse effects reported, further data on the frequency and extent of adverse effects is required. Further studies are also required to explore the mechanisms by which sauna bathing exerts physiological, psychological, and metabolic effects, as well as to better define the benefits and risks of distinct types of saunas and the optimal frequency and duration of sauna bathing for beneficial health effects.

Conclusion

Of the studies that are out there, the evidence is overwhelming that saunas are beneficial for diabetics and non-diabetics alike. However, it looks like a lot more research needs to be done for specific diseases including diabetes. Unfortunately, I don’t live near any saunas. Maybe at some point I’ll build my own!

Research – Testosterone Therapy and Type 2 Diabetes

Some interesting research came out on treating Type-2 diabetes with testosterone injections. A study published in June wanted to determine if “testosterone therapy (TTh) in men with hypogonadism [low testosterone] and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) improves glycaemic control and insulin sensitivity, and results in remission of T2DM.”

This was a comparative experiment with one group of men receiving the testosterone and a control group which received nothing:

A total of 356 men who had total testosterone levels ≤12.1 nmol/L (350 ng/dL) and symptoms of hypogonadism were included in the study and followed up for 11 years. All patients received standard diabetes treatment and 178 patients additionally received parenteral testosterone undecanoate 1000 mg every 12 weeks following an initial 6‐week interval. A control group comprised 178 hypogonadal patients who opted not to receive TTh.

The results were very encouraging indeed. A significant percentage of the group experienced remission of their diabetes (i.e., their diabetes disappeared) and nearly half achieved normal glucose regulation. Ninety percent achieved an HbA1c level of 8.5 mmol/L. In all, there were improvements in fasting glucose, HbA1c and fasting insulin:

Patients with hypogonadism and T2DM treated with testosterone had significant progressive and sustained reductions in fasting glucose, glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) and fasting insulin over the treatment period. In the control group, fasting glucose, HbA1c and fasting insulin increased. Among the patients treated with testosterone 34.3% achieved remission of their diabetes and 46.6% of patients achieved normal glucose regulation. Of the testosterone‐treated group, 83.1% reached the HbA1c target of 47.5 mmol/mol (6.5%) and 90% achieved the HbA1c target of 53.0 mmol/mol (7%). In contrast, no remission of diabetes or reductions in glucose or HbA1c levels were noted in the control group. There were fewer deaths, myocardial infarctions, strokes and diabetic complications in the testosterone‐treated group.

The study concluded that testosterone therapy helps with insulin resistance and glycaemic control and could be a new form of treatment for Type 2s and men with low testosterone.

Conclusion

I’m pretty sure my testosterone levels are good for my age, but it can’t hurt to check when I go in for my blood work in a couple of months. After all, I thought I might have high iron levels, and I was wrong there. If they do turn out to be low, I’ll see what I can do about it naturally or with the hand of science.

Dr Mercola – Farmed Salmon Risks

I’ve been wary of farmed fish for many years. Twice in the last two months I’ve opted for Scottish farmed salmon because I couldn’t find any fresh from the Atlantic. Readers will already know I’m not keen for Alaskan salmon with a side of caesium.

Cal Poly BIO 502: Farmed Fish Physiology
Spot the difference!

Dr Mercola’s examination of the problems with farmed salmon has got me on the side line again. It’s not worth the health risks. If I really want Atlantic salmon, I’ll have to look harder. For now, I’ll go without.

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2020/07/28/farmed-salmon-is-getting-worse.aspx

Dr Mercola – Right Kind of Stress Can Make You Resilient to COVID-19

Dr Mercola has an interesting article and interview on a host of topics: autophagy, intermittent fasting, anti-fragility and resistance training. His title seems a bit misleading to me, since Covid is more of an aside than anything else. It can be found here:

and here, though he wants you on his mailing list:

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2020/07/26/small-stressors-beneficial.aspx

Research – Stem Cells for Pancreas Repair?

This may sound bizarre, but I enjoy fighting diabetes through diet and exercise. I look forward to checking my blood glucose in the morning. I look forward to finding new ways to lower my readings. I look forward to finding new recipes and products that let me have the best of both worlds.

That said, if I could have a fully functioning pancreas and live paleo/keto, I would. I’m doing pretty much all I can to maximise my physical health; a properly functioning endocrine system would maximise it further. My chances of dying from cancer, stroke, heart attack, etc. would all go down.

Stem Cells Research Showing Way To The Future of Healing ...

Such a scenario is for the land of make-believe, right? Maybe not. Scientists seem to be making significant progress in developing stem cells that can regenerate the pancreas’s ability to make insulin secreting beta cells. Earlier this year, scientists were able to use beta cells to reverse Type-1 diabetes in mice.

For those who are interested in this potential game-changer, you may wish to check out the Diabetes Program at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute:

Diabetes Program

Our goal is to cure diabetes. To do that, we are working on ways to create beta cells efficiently, and to protect them from attack by the immune system.

What we are investigating

Our researchers have discovered how to reprogram adult and embryonic cells into new beta cells. Now, they are exploring how these beta cells can be effectively transplanted into patients, without being rejected. HSCI researchers are also investigating:

  • How and why the immune attack on beta cells in type 1 diabetes begins.
  • Why some cells survive.
  • Why these cells can’t replenish themselves in type 2 diabetes.
  • What keeps the battles going.

This work dovetails with the goal of many HSCI researchers, who are seeking to identify “universal donor” cells.

The site can be found here:

https://hsci.harvard.edu/diabetes-program