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Thread: Certain foods and drinks stop disease ??

  1. #1 Certain foods and drinks stop disease ?? 
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    I have heard doctors and scientists say that consuming green tea stops cigarette smokers from getting many kinds of cancer.

    And I have also heard that certain vitamins can stop certain kinds of cancers.


    What percentage of cancer cases could be avoided just by including certain foods, drinks, and vitamins in peoples diets ?


    I guess my point is this, I think governments should fund lots of research into the above cures. Our government puts iodine in salt to stop Americans from getting certain diseases, maybe they could add certain things to our foods to stop lots of people from getting cancer.

    Some group should do experiments, were they add certain (anti-cancer) vitamin compounds to milk or salt in certain areas, and then see if they get lower cancer rates.


    Cancer is so horrible I dont even like to think about it, but it seems to me there (could) be a chance that many cases could be avoided by simple methods.


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    I think saying that certain foods can "stop" cancer is an exaggeration. They may help reduce your chances of getting certain cancers, though.
    What percentage of cancer cases could be avoided just by including certain foods, drinks, and vitamins in peoples diets ?
    BBC News - Over 40% of cancers due to lifestyle, says review

    Some group should do experiments, were they add certain (anti-cancer) vitamin compounds to milk or salt in certain areas, and then see if they get lower cancer rates.
    I don't think such an experiment would be feasible (how do you add something to food in only a certain area), ethical or affordable. However, there is a huge amount of research done by comparing cancer rates between countries, religious and ethnic groups, social classes, etc. and looking for correlations between lifestyle (including diet) and disease rates.


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  4. #3  
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    First
    Vitamin supplements, unless you have a specific deficiency problem diagnosed by a doctor, are a bad idea.
    http://health.msn.co.nz/blog.aspx?blogentryid=938260&showcomments=true

    Improving life style adds to life span, as an average. This is well proven.

    Do not smoke.
    Do not drink to excess.
    Eat a good balanced diet with lots of variety in fruit and vegetables.
    Regular exercise.
    Rest and relaxation and good stress management.
    Good social relationships.

    However, keep clear of 'fad' approaches or weird claims that specific practices will deliver non credible health outcomes.
    Last edited by skeptic; January 3rd, 2012 at 01:41 PM.
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  5. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    First
    Vitamin supplements, unless you have a specific deficiency problem diagnosed by a doctor, are a bad idea.
    http://health.msn.co.nz/blog.aspx?blogentryid=938260&showcomments=true

    Improving life style adds to life span, as an average. This is well proven.

    Do not smoke.
    Do not drink to excess.
    Eat a good balanced diet with lots of variety in fruit and vegetables.
    Regular exercise.
    Rest and relaxation and good stress management.
    Good social relationships.

    However, keep clear of 'fad' approaches or weird claims that specific practices will deliver non credible health outcomes.
    I think there's a big disconnect in people's understanding of community wide effects of diet, and supplements, versus individual approaches. There are good reasons for supplementing community-wide with folate and iodine to reduce the numbers of babies born with permanent disabilities like spina bifida or cretinism. And for iodine, it's worth continuing the good work with school age children to support good brain development. Salt, breads and cereal products are good vehicles for these items because they're used daily in practically everyone's diet.

    But these approaches are based on statistical averages. They tell you nothing about individual effects or needs for dietary adjustments. Though if someone has been affected severely from birth, dietary supplements are way too late. You really do need a doctor, maybe an endocrinologist, to advise on such things. In a community with adequate average dietary iodine, there will still be individuals who need thyroxine to adjust their metabolism to ensure their own health and to avoid the birth of disabled babies.

    The second mistake people make on this issue. If it's necessary for good health, more of it must mean better. And this one seems hard to shake. Salt is a micro-nutrient and lots of people know that too much of it leads to circulation problems and possible strokes or heart attacks. So they restrict their intake. Those same people will happily swill down whole handfuls of pills, potions and capsules loaded with other micro-nutrients - because certain vitamins, minerals and oils are "good for you". More is better.

    I blame advertising to some extent. 40 years ago it was only a few health 'nuts' who did such things. Industry noticed an opportunity to sell a whole new range of products. And here we are. A community not much better informed about nutrition than previously but susceptible to the idea that they can eat and drink whatever they like and a few pills will sort out any problems.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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  6. #5  
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    Aha! Instead of the first 2 paras above, I've rediscovered the technical term for the problem.

    Ecological fallacy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    And this might apply to some of the issues in the OP.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    There are good reasons for supplementing community-wide with folate and iodine to reduce the numbers of babies born with permanent disabilities like spina bifida or cretinism. And for iodine, it's worth continuing the good work with school age children to support good brain development. Salt, breads and cereal products are good vehicles for these items because they're used daily in practically everyone's diet.
    There is some truth in this, but we need to be very aware also that there are dangers. Iodine in salt in goitre prone areas has proven very successful But widespread dosing of the population may also carry dangers. Only experience is likely to reveal those dangers, and so any program of adding nutrients needs to be accompanied by a program of monitoring effects.
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    Quote Originally Posted by chad View Post
    I have heard doctors and scientists say that consuming green tea stops cigarette smokers from getting many kinds of cancer.

    And I have also heard that certain vitamins can stop certain kinds of cancers.


    What percentage of cancer cases could be avoided just by including certain foods, drinks, and vitamins in peoples diets ?


    I guess my point is this, I think governments should fund lots of research into the above cures. Our government puts iodine in salt to stop Americans from getting certain diseases, maybe they could add certain things to our foods to stop lots of people from getting cancer.

    Some group should do experiments, were they add certain (anti-cancer) vitamin compounds to milk or salt in certain areas, and then see if they get lower cancer rates.


    Cancer is so horrible I dont even like to think about it, but it seems to me there (could) be a chance that many cases could be avoided by simple methods.
    The evidence suggests that the best way to reduce the incidence of cancer is to live in an environment that is as "clean" of chemical irritants as possible. There is a strong positive correlation between the presence of the chemical industry in an area and the incidence of cancer. That is if your area has a lot of chemical plants, and almost all heavy industry releases some toxins into the environment, then you have a greater risk of cancer.

    Of course heavy industry also produces jobs and wealth. Its a trade off. You can stay "down on the farm' and be poor but healthy, or make more money, have more stuff, and risk getting cancer.
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    You can stay "down on the farm' and be poor but healthy,
    I think you'll find that a modern farm is not a terribly 'clean' environment. I can remember dashing for cover when the crop dusters flew in without warning - probably the wind was the wrong direction for sound to get to us. And there's an awful lot of heavy machinery as well as chemicals of varying irritant potential.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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  10. #9  
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    Here in NewZealand, the death rate by work place accident per capita is much, much higher on farms than it is in factories or on building sites.

    I am afraid that sealeaf is wrong overall. In the third world, longevity and general health is greater in those living in cities compared to those living on the farm. This is most of humanity. This difference is mostly related to wealth, since in the third world, living 'down on the farm' often means subsistence agriculture and hunger, while living in the city means having a job and being able to buy what you need.

    In the west, longevity and health is strongly correleated with wealth. The richer people (who lostly live in cities) live substantially longer than the poor, and suffer fewer debilitating health problems. Richer farmers live longer than the poorer.
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  11. #10  
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    Some group should do experiments, were they add certain (anti-cancer) vitamin compounds to milk or salt in certain areas, and then see if they get lower cancer rates.

    Cancer is so horrible I dont even like to think about it, but it seems to me there (could) be a chance that many cases could be avoided by simple methods.
    No need for such experiments. There's already a fair amount of work starting on the longest lived groups in the world. These people tend not to have prolonged disabling illness (such as the cancers that worry you) before death.

    They're rural and fairly poor. They literally keep working until they die - aged ~100 - the work is mainly fishing and maintaining smallholdings.

    The diets of the 4 groups I'm thinking of (can't remember all the details though) were calorie poor, nutrient rich. That is, lots and lots of home-grown fresh fruits and vegetables, not a lot of meat, fats or grains.

    So the lifestyle is plenty of physical activity and a good diet. I remember vividly reading part of an interview with a doctor in one community. Yes, he did see these people for their healthcare - the example was a 103 year old woman who broke her arm when she fell out of a tree while fruit picking. She was still alive and picking her own fruit the following year.

    Other work done with longlived groups, like nuns, shows that absence/ reduction of stress combined with a sensible diet seems to be the key.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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  12. #11  
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    Adelady

    You need to be careful of claims about such places. Mostly they are unsupported by documentary evidence, and are almost certainly outright lies!

    The longest lived people on Earth, whose longevity is proven by clear cut records, are from Okinawa (part of Japan), and they live on average to 84 years of age. Japan mainlanders average 83. Australia 81. New Zealand 80. United States 78. So the difference is not large. In fact, tertiary qualified New Zealanders, as a specific sub-population, average 85 - more than Okinawans.

    The world average, including all third world countries, is 67.5, and the shortest is Mozambique at 38.

    The longest lived peoples are not calorie poor nations. Calorie poor nations almost invariably have low longevity. The longest lived are the populations with the best medical care. The current world champions, from Okinawa, back in 1970, lived to an average of 71 years, due to much poorer medical care.
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    They're not nations and certainly not cities. They're village sized communities - regional sub-populations, not a great deal larger than the groups of nuns that display similar anomalous longevity.

    My reading is that they're a demonstration of what can happen with a fortunate mix of location, culture and maybe genetics. Location for soils that provide beneficial mixes of minerals and other nutrients as well as proximity to easy fishing. Culture that uses harvesting and management techniques that maintain or even enhance productivity rather than exploit and move on as well as work practices that allow the old folks to continue useful roles for as long as they want. (I'm not sure I'd be too thrilled with those kinds of demands. It doesn't look like an easy lifestyle.) Genetics - who knows - if they started out with families a bit like my predecessors it's possible.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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    I think there are two ways to look at disease vs environment. One way is to look for essential nutrients that you should eat. Another way is to look for things to avoid.

    Both approaches are important. It won't do much good to have lots of nutrients combined with a lot of toxins. I think that a lot of disease comes from the cumulative effects of negative influences that build up over time. The negative influence could be stress, or a chemical. Eventually, the body's defenses are overwhelmed, and the person gets sick, possibly irreversibly.

    Thus, it is good to learn about foods that have good nutrients, as well as sources of toxins.

    I have eliminated trans fats from my diet, and I am wondering whether to put more effort into reducing aluminum in the diet.
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    reducing aluminum in the diet.
    Don't get misled by silly claims about aluminium being harmful. Aluminium is the most abundant metal in the earth's crust. If it were harmful to us we could not have developed as we are. It's in every mouthful of food we eat.

    Aluminium accumulation and 'toxicity' only shows up in people who have disturbed metabolism anyway. Often kidney problems. Al is 'harmful' in the same way as carbohydrates are harmful to diabetics. For harm to be evident, you must already have some physical problem in dealing with normal ingestion of food.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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  16. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    They're not nations and certainly not cities. They're village sized communities - regional sub-populations, not a great deal larger than the groups of nuns that display similar anomalous longevity.
    The same thing applies.
    Small communities that are claimed to have great longevity, invariably turn out to have no documentation to back up the claims. They are normally in third world nations, and well away from any medical services that might keep records.

    A bit like claims for people who live to 130, 140, 150 years of age. Many, many claims, but no documentation. The person who lived the longest ever, supported by credible records, was a French woman, Jeanne Calment, who made the staggering age of 122.
    Jeanne Calment - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The single factor that correlates closest to longevity in specific communities is medical care. That is why wealthy people on average live a lot longer than poorer people. That is why first world nations have greater longevity than third world.

    However, claims of longevity are often associated with a sense of mischief, and a willingness to play practical jokes!
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    This isn't the report I was thinking of but there's some relevant stuff.
    BBC NEWS | UK | Magazine | The towns where people live the longest

    Nor's this one, but genetics are clearly involved here.
    How do these Sardinians live so long? - TIME
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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  18. #17  
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    None of those communities have average life expectancies much more than the average for the west. Compared to your Australia, at 81 years, no more than 3 years added. As an average.

    Of course, there are always people at the extreme of any normal distribution curve, who live much shorter or much longer lives. So a population with average lifespan of 84 will have more centenarians than a population averaging 81.

    The major factor is still medical care. Minor factors include lifestyle. Obviously, not smoking or adopting other toxic habits helps. Good diet. Good exercise etc. These all add a small amount to average longevity. But the biggest factor is always medical care. For this reason, we can expect longevity to continue to rise, as medical technology improves.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    reducing aluminum in the diet.
    Don't get misled by silly claims about aluminium being harmful. Aluminium is the most abundant metal in the earth's crust. If it were harmful to us we could not have developed as we are. It's in every mouthful of food we eat.

    Aluminium accumulation and 'toxicity' only shows up in people who have disturbed metabolism anyway. Often kidney problems. Al is 'harmful' in the same way as carbohydrates are harmful to diabetics. For harm to be evident, you must already have some physical problem in dealing with normal ingestion of food.
    I don't think that there is enough evidence to prove that aluminum is, or is not, harmful. However, I have not done a thorough review of the evidence either.

    I think it is reasonable to look at aluminum or a variety of other potential toxins in the environment that may have no measurable effect in the short term, but may indeed be harmful over a long period of accumulation in the body.

    The disease mechanism of accumulating toxic substances over time does cause a lot of disease that may manifest itself suddenly once a body's defense breaks down.

    For example, over time a bad diet leads to coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular disease, or vascular dementia.

    So it is reasonable to look at other possible culprits in the environment that could hurt us over time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dedo View Post
    I don't think that there is enough evidence to prove that aluminum is, or is not, harmful. However, I have not done a thorough review of the evidence either.
    The only disease I have heard aluminium associated with is Alzheimer's. There is no real evidence of a link at present: Aluminium and Alzheimer's disease - Alzheimer's Society
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by dedo View Post
    I don't think that there is enough evidence to prove that aluminum is, or is not, harmful. However, I have not done a thorough review of the evidence either.
    The only disease I have heard aluminium associated with is Alzheimer's. There is no real evidence of a link at present: Aluminium and Alzheimer's disease - Alzheimer's Society
    Right. Alzheimer's is the one I was concerned about.

    I agree that there is not "proof" of a link. However, one thing that we are finding in some complex systems is that you cannot isolate the effects of one variable. When you try to isolate a variable, you can't measure an effect. However, when you measure the effect of a "bundle" of variables, the effect can be massive.

    This is especially true in the realm of medical errors. Often, one practice that has some evidence cannot produce an effect on outcome in sick patients that you can measure. The sick patient is a multi-factorial complex system. However, when you combine the effects of 3-4 variables, you see a massive effect on outcome.

    This is true in a variety of disease states for patients, and has also been shown to be true for preventing harm in an entire specialty of medicine.

    Thus, it may be that there is a bundle of variables that are causally related to causing Alzheimer's disease. If we can isolate the bundle, we may be able to achieve a massive effect in preventing this disease.

    However, you may be unable to measure the effect of any component of the bundle in isolation.
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  22. #21  
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    Quote Originally Posted by dedo View Post
    Right. Alzheimer's is the one I was concerned about.

    I agree that there is not "proof" of a link.
    That is not what I said.

    There is no evidence of a link. Which is very different.

    You have as much reason to think your computer or a hula-hoop will cause Alzheimer's.
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    Diabetes is on the increase in the U.S. and I believe it is due to fast food diets and drinking soda too much. Diabetes is not limited to fat people since I know a few people who are not overweight who have been diagnosed with Diabetes. I think it is the food itself that is creating mutations that cause diabetes later in life since the people I know do not have a family history of diabetes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by dedo View Post
    Right. Alzheimer's is the one I was concerned about.

    I agree that there is not "proof" of a link.
    That is not what I said.

    There is no evidence of a link. Which is very different.

    You have as much reason to think your computer or a hula-hoop will cause Alzheimer's.
    The Alzheimer's society says that there is circumstantial evidence, but not causal proof of a link between aluminum and Alzheimer's.

    Here is one abstract that suggests a link between water supply aluminum levels and relative risk of Alzheimer's:

    Relation between aluminum concentrations in d... [Am J Epidemiol. 2000] - PubMed - NCBI

    Again, it may be very difficult to isolate one variable in a dose dependent causal relationship if a "bundle" of key causes in the environment are the culprit.

    Perhaps the bundle is: aluminum, hula hoops, and computers.
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    I'm beginning to think that the research must be headed in another direction away from aluminium as a cause of Alzheimer's. A Google Scholar search with only Alzheimer and aluminium as search terms found a lot of stuff in the 80s and 90s and very, very few items after 2000.

    Another search (Scholar again) on Alzheimer's and inflammation turned up very few before 2000 but most after then.

    But one of the most important issues is about whether brain problems are expressed. The Nun Study has produced some interesting results. Mainly that many of the nuns who die without showing any signs of dementia in life have just as many fibrillary plaques in their brains as those with obvious dementia symptoms. The prime difference detected was in linguistic ability as young women.

    So the most important advice for protection against dementia as you age is the conventional one. Use it or lose it. Most importantly, use it while you're young enough for the benefits to last throughout life.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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    There was a study, published in the science section of Time magazine, that correlated the incidence of cancer with the presence of chemical plants, county by county, for the whole US. There was a positive correlation. More chemical industry, more cancer. This would have been in the 1960's.

    I agree that you would think modern agriculture exposes workers to a lot of chemicals but that is not what the study showed.
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