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Posts Tagged ‘Bisphenol A’

What Your Doctor Is Not Thinking About (Dragging Medical Professionals Into the Modern Era)

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Today we feature a new article from, JD Moyer of the blog Systems for Living Well:

The other day I came across this alarming video of what it’s like to drive in Poland. My first thought after watching the clip was “What’s the Toxoplasmosis gondii infection rate in Poland?” T. gondii is a brain parasite easily acquired from eating undercooked meat, or contact with cats, and is associated with a six-fold increase in traffic accidents (this association has been replicated a number of times, in different countries). Well, I looked it up, and found that the latent infection rate in 2003 was around 41% (at least among pregnant women). That’s quite high — in the U.S. the infection rate is only about 11%.


Is there anything to my hypothesis that terrible driving in Poland is related to the relatively high T. gondii infection rate? Probably not. The accident fatality rate in Poland is relatively high for a modern industrialized country. But France has a very low accident fatality rate, and a much higher rate of T. gondii infection. So while T. gondii might be a contributing factor, it’s probably not the most important variable.

I’m fascinated by latent/chronic biological infections, and how they affect human health and behavior. T. gondii in particular is linked to changes in personality, and even schizophrenia.

What’s shocking to me, as shocking as the driving in Poland video above, is that so few medical professionals are considering latent infections as part of their diagnostic process. The research is here, and so are the diagnostic tests. So why aren’t medical professionals taking advantage of them?

The Future Is Here, It’s Just Not Evenly Distributed -William Gibson

The above quote definitely applies to the medical profession. How many general practitioners are doing the following?


  • a detailed dietary questionnaire (cost: $0, benefits: insights into common subclinical nutritional deficiencies, including vitamins C, D, B12, K2, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, and chromium, as well as information re: macronutrients — is the patient eating enough protein and omega-3 fatty acids? or consuming too much fructose/sucrose/alcohol?)
  • a personal genetic profile (cost: $200, benefits: insights into disease risk for common health problems, and precise genotype information re: less common genetic conditions)
  •  antibody testing for a full range of common viral infections (HSV1, HSV2, CMV, HPV, etc.) (cost: a few hundred dollars, benefits: insight into diseases that are linked to multi-decade viral infections, including heart disease, dementia, many types of cancer, etc.)
  • an enterotype panel

I’m hoping that in ten years or so, the above practices will be commonplace. Spit in a tube, piss in a cup, prick your finger, and twenty minutes later get a full genome analysis, a full spectrum nutrient level analysis, a metal and chemical toxicity report (lead, mercury, bisophenol-A, etc.), an extremely wide antibody report (for hundreds or thousand of viruses), a complete bacterial panel (blood, gut, and mouth), testing for protozoan parasites like T. gondii, etc.

Why isn’t this happening already?

Gibson didn’t anticipate cheap genome sequencing.

In some cases cost is prohibitive. While a genome SNP test has come down to $200, micronutrient testing like the kind Spectracell offers is still quite expensive. I suspect that we’re on the cusp of (or in the midst of) a rapid advance in portable diagnostic technology, so testing costs may change quickly. It remains to be seen how quickly HMO’s will take advantage of the new technologies as they come online.

Another reason is that your doctor isn’t necessarily thinking along these lines, because when she was in medical school, you couldn’t get an accurate micronutrient panel, or a genome analysis, or an enterotype panel. These tests just weren’t available.

Educate Yourself, Test Yourself, Take Preventative Measure

It’s irritating to me that the medical profession hasn’t caught up with medical research and diagnostic technology. For most people, it’s probably worth taking the following diagnostic and preventive measures:

  1. If you can afford it, get a full micronutrient profile from Spectracell or another reputable vendor. I’m putting this at the top of my list because I haven’t actually done it yet (but I’m going to). At the very least, get a vitamin D test. If your levels are suboptimal, you’ll probably need to supplement, and also consider vitamin A and K2 levels.
  2. Get your genome analyzed, from 23andMe or a similar service. Find out what your risks are. One way to think about it is that reading your genome is like reading your death sentence. Another way to think about it is that reading your genome will give you possible clues into improving your quality of life, and possibly extending your life for a decade or more if you take the appropriate preventative measures.

What about prevention? Some measures are common sense. Others, like implementing a general viral suppression protocol, perhaps less so.

  1. Diet – get most gluten, casein, fructose, and refined vegetable oil (canola, corn, soy) out of the diet to drastically reduce your risk of IBS, autoimmune diseases, heart problems, and diabetes. Eat nutrient dense whole foods, mostly those available during the paleolithic era (for which we are genetically best-adapted to). This would include seafood, grass-fed meat, eggs from free-roaming birds, vegetables, low-sugar fruits, and nuts/seeds. For the research, please see Mark Sisson’s site.
  2. Reduce your carcinogen/toxin load (lead, mercury, bisphenol-A, air pollution, tobacco, hard alcohol, narcotics) to reduce risk of cancer, reproductive, and neurological problems.
  3. Ramp-up autophagy (clean out cellular debris) with both intense exercise and intermittent fasting. This will help ward off cancer, dementia, and suppress chronic viral and parasitic infections (which we all have after age 2 or so, unless we live in a bubble).
  4. Consume chemicals that kill cancer cells and interfere with viral replication. A short list would include curcumin (turmeric/yellow curry), garlic, resveratrol/grapeseed extract/red wine, and coconut oil. The links all go to research or articles about research.
  5. Reduce artificial light in the evenings to encourage natural sleep patterns. My post about giving up artificial light for a month has seen a spike in traffic since this recent BBC article (I was also on The Doctors about a month ago discussing the experiment).

I think the clinical research is there to back up all these claims. But are you going to get any of this advice from your doctor? Probably not. Your doctor is going to tell you to eat a low fat diet, but won’t distinguish good fats (olive oil, coconut oil, fats from grass-fed meats and wild fish) from bad fats (refined vegetable oil, fats from grain-fed animals). He will probably not mention vitamin D, vitamin K2, or the beneficial effects of polyphenols and flavonols. Your doctor is going to ask about your family history, but he’s not going to recommend that you actually look at your genome. Sugar and carbohydrate consumption won’t be mentioned unless you already have diabetes. Viral infections won’t be identified unless they have very specific symptoms (like chicken pox or cold sores), and no recommendations will be made to suppress chronic viral infection to prevent cancer or dementia twenty or forty years later.

I’m not against going to the doctor, or taking medical advice from someone who is better educated and informed than myself. But we should push our medical professionals. We should drag them (even if they protest, kicking and screaming) into the modern era.

The future is here … please help spread it around.

Paleo vs. Vegan, a Battle of Straw Men

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

Today we feature a blog post form our first guest contributor, JD Moyer who authors Systems for Living Well; a blog I highly recommend you check out!

Watching the paleo vs. vegan blog battles is entertaining, but frustrating. Each side likes to make well-reasoned arguments against positions the other side isn’t really taking. The proponents of veganism like to pretend that paleo-eaters only eat meat and cheese (in other words, paleo = zero-carb = extreme Atkins), while some paleo advocates lump vegans and fruitarians together, or imagine that vegans eat soy products every single meal.

For example, Dan Pardi of Dan’s Plan recently forwarded me this series of videos from Don Matesz of the Primal Wisdom blog. Don, a formerly enthusiastic proponent of the paleolithic diet, has switched to veganism and is now condemning the paleolithic way of eating. I’ve watched about half the series so far and I haven’t found it very convincing. Most of it seems to be an attack on low-carb, high saturated fat, low fiber diets, which is not necessarily the same as a paleo diet. Most variations of the paleo diet are medium-to-high fiber (from vegetables and fruits), medium carb (from fresh fruit and starchy tubers), and some “seafood only” variations of the paleo diet are extremely low in saturated fats.

The truth is, there is a great deal of consensus on many health topic among paleo-eaters and vegans. Both sides agree that:

  • eating fruits and vegetables is health promoting
  • animals should be treated humanely (with enough space, social contact with their own kind, fed food that doesn’t cause digestive distress, not abused, etc.)
  • organic, sustainable agriculture is superior to conventional agriculture, both in terms of environmental impact and nutritional quality
  • moderate intake of healthful fats (Omega-3 and monosaturated fats) is health-promoting
  • trans-fats, refined sugar, refined vegetable oils, and refined flour are terrible for health

Of course there are points of disagreement. Does high saturated fat intake usually lead to heart disease? Does high gluten intake often lead to gut inflammation? I would say probably no, and probably yes, respectively, but I might be wrong. I try to keep up with the research, and base my own behavior on the most reputable, most widely replicated clinical studies. My own mind has changed in the past. In my late teens and early twenties I was an evangelical vegetarian. I was incredibly annoying. I’m done telling people how they should eat — I only want to share what I’ve learned so far in a take-it-or-leave-it format.

Your enemy is not the health enthusiast who disagrees with you. It’s a difficult fact to accept, but it’s true; different diets work well for different people. If someone finds a diet that works well for them, we should let them eat it in peace.

The real enemy is the Standard American Diet (fast-food, i.e. factory-farmed meat cooked in rancid vegetable oil, served with genetically modified, conventionally grown, pesticide-laced, uber-refined soy/corn/wheat concoctions, served with a vat of carbonated high fructose corn-syrup).

I’m not a fan of most vegans diets, but many vegan diets are closer to a healthful diet than a fast-food diet. A vegan diet based on gluten-free grains, minus the soy, plus some low-mercury fish (sardines, wild-caught salmon, etc.), would probably work out pretty well for most people. Yes, I know it’s not vegan if you add fish, but it’s just one dietary step away from excellent health (some extra protein, B12, and Omega-3 fatty acids). And some people seem able to thrive on a pure vegan diet (for example, Derek Tresize).

Vegans are not the enemy. Industrialized food production systems that want to feed you manufactured Franken-foods are the enemy.

Vegans should stop worrying about ancestral health enthusiasts as well. Millions of people, including myself, have restored their health by cutting most refined sugars and oils, grain products, and legumes out of their diets. Many paleo/ancestral health enthusiasts don’t eat any dairy products at all, and many more don’t eat red meat. Vegans, paleolethic diet advocates are not the enemy. McDonalds is the enemy.

You know who the biggest enemy is? Public school systems that feed our children tater tots, chicken fingers, chocolate milk, and soda for lunch. And don’t forget the plastic containers and bottles treated with bisphenol-A.

Health enthusiasts, let’s spend less time and energy arguing about the finer points of diet, and focus on taking action on the things we can agree on. More fresh vegetables and fruits, more healthful fats, more nutrient-dense high-quality food, less trans-fats and refined vegetable oil, less refined sugar, less white flour, less processed food, and fewer health-damaging chemical additives and preservatives. Especially for our kids!


J.D. Moyer blogs at about health, nutrition, psychology, self-improvement, creative work, and “systems for living well.”