ANOTHER BOOST FOR OLIVE OIL: Reasons to like it

Olive oil contains monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), which are considered a healthy dietary fat. If your diet replaces saturated and trans fats with unsaturated fats such as MUFAs and polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs), you may gain many health benefits. These fats may help lower your risk of heart disease by improving well known risk factors such as lowering your total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (bad) cholesterol levels. MUFAs may also help normalize blood clotting. And some research shows that MUFAs may also benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control, which can be especially helpful if you have diabetes. Olive oil is recognized as one of the healthiest edible oils since it contains linoleic (omega-6) and linolenic acid (omega-3) essential fatty acids in favorable quantities.

Olive oil, contains compounds such as oleuropein and oleocanthal, may play a role in fighting against cancer, inflammation, coronary artery disease, degenerative nerve diseases, and others.

Finally, olive oil is also a very good source of vitamin K; 100 g (about 3 oz.) provides about 50% of daily requirements of this vitamin, useful for blood clotting. Vitamin K also has a potential role in the increase of bone mass by promoting bone growth. It also has a potential role in Alzheimer’s disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in the brain.

But even healthier fats like olive oil are high in calories, so use them only in moderation. Choose MUFA-rich foods such as olive oil in place of other fatty foods — particularly butter and stick margarine.

Adding further to this beneficial role of olive oil, a recent study involving mice demonstrated how this oil, with its mono-unsaturated fat, might team up with nuts and nitrite-rich vegetables such as spinach and celery, to produce chemical reactions that result in an enzyme that promotes blood-vessel dilation. This effect could potentially promote better circulation and defense against high blood pressure and other circulatory disorders. In addition, recent evidence also suggests that polyphenols in olive oil promote the main high density lipoproitein (HDL) antiatherogenic function,  which promotes the body’s elimination of the “bad” forms of cholesterol..

Bottom line? If not already doing so, you might consider using more liberal amounts of olive oil in your diet, especially in your salad dressings placed upon leafy greens, in the future. There is little reason not to!

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SNAKE OIL RISES AGAIN

The following description contains all the elements contained in a typical scam, providing us with several important features:

It begins with a large paid advertisement in local Newspaper, with the title:

“TV Talk Show Doctor’s Shocking Revelation”

It opens by stating “Recently, alternative medicine expert Bryce Wylde, a frequent guest on the Dr. Oz Show, revealed a simple secret that amazed millions who suffer with digestion nightmares. And people haven’t stopped talking about it since.” The ad goes on to identify AloeCureR,, a preparation of Aloe Vera, as this magic treatment, a substance which has been used externally for centuries supposedly to hasten wound healing. The ad suggests that the soothing relief is transferable to the stomach, where it can “neutralize acid” and relieve everything from “gastric reflux pain (heartburn), irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, colitis, constipation and a host of other digestive problems.”
But first a few words about “Doctor” Bryce Wylde: He is known as one of “Canada’s leading alternative health experts”, being a natural healthcare practitioner whose specialty is homeopathy, clinical nutrition, supplementation, and botanical medicine and whose focus is routed within “functional” medicine. He graduated with a B.Sc. Hons. (BioPsyc) from York University in Toronto. He went on to pursue a career in complementary alternative medicine and nutrition, graduating with a Diploma in Homeopathic Medicine and Health Sciences (DHMHS) from the Ontario College of Homeopathic Medicine. I add parenthetically that homeopathy is largely debunked worldwide and considered by mainstream physicians as a form of quackery. Interestingly, his picture is shown with a stethoscope around his neck, an obvious signal to suggest the possession of mainstream medical credentials.

For confirmation of the value of Aloe Vera, the ad above seeks quotations from the following “experts”:

1) Doug Jewett, CEO of American Global Health Group (AGHG), states that “More than ever, I want to introduce digestion sufferers to our remarkable product, improve their health while saving them money, and provide long lasting relief.” This company, notwithstanding its name, lists a vice president and a single employee with an estimated annual income of $160,000.

2) Dr. Liza Leal, an individual family physician from Texas, who, along with her office associate, Duncen G. Foulds (oral surgeon), are the authors of a self-published book entitled “LIVE WELL WITH CHRONIC PAIN”  Dr. Leal has been a practicing physician for fifteen years and is currently the Director of the Medical-Dental Institute in Sugar Land. Texas. As a member of the “AGHG team”, Dr. Leal is listed as “an expert in the uses of Aloe Vera for both medical and dental purposes.”

3) Dr. Santiago Rodriguez, PhD  states that “Just two ounces of AloeCure reduces the acids in your stomach by ten times” Working with Global Health Group, Dr. Rodriguez functions as a research chemist specializing in Aloe Vera. Their sales center is located at the AGHG headquarters in Seattle, Washington, USA, with an Asian sales center in Guangdong, China, operating with “three wholly owned subsidiaries: Taishan AGHG Aloe Products Co. Ltd, which operates the production facility in China; Global Health (Taishan) Plantation Co.,Ltd, the operator of two farms in Taishan; and Hainan Zhengran Aloe Development Co. Ltd, operating AGHG’s largest plantation base, located on Hainan Island in the middle of the South China Sea.” Thus the Aloe Vera product is obviously obtained from and likely produced in China, far from being known as a sound source of pristine and unadulterated products.

3) Francisco DeWeever, a “Certified Nutritional Microscopist”, states that “My patients report their IBS, Crohn’s, Colitis, Constipation, Acid-Reflux and a host of other digestive problems have all but disappeared.”  DeWeever is listed as President & CEO at ReNewHealth Wellness Center St. Maarten, Dutch Caribbean. Nutritional microscopy, also known as Live Blood Analysis, is supposedly a procedure for obtaining a “quick and accurate assessment of your blood, able to provide a composite of over 25 aspects from your live blood. It allows observers to detect multiple vitamin and mineral deficiencies, toxicity, tendencies toward allergic reaction, excess fat circulation, liver weakness and arteriosclerosis.” Needless to say, this technique has never been recognized as a bona fide scientific method, and never will.

And, of course, a satisfied patient, a certain Ralph Burns (which one?) rounds it out by providing the usual testimonial: “I was tortured for years by my Acid Reflux. Sometimes I’d almost pass out from the pain. My wife suffers with digestion problems too. If she eats one thing wrong, she spends hours stuck in the bathroom dealing with severe bouts of constipation or diarrhea.”

The ad also states that the FDA warns about popular antacids posing a risk of hip, wrist, and spine fractures. They contrast this with the claim that their own natural digestion solution poses “no possible side effects.”  Finally Jewett states that Major Drug Companies are threatened by their “Natural Digestion Remedy,” suggesting that, out of fright, these companies may threaten to take appropriate legal action supposedly against AGHD, but he further asserts that “we’re not going to be intimidated.”

             DOES THE PRODUCT WORK?

After a thorough search of the world’s published scientific literature, ten studies provided at least modestly acceptable information. None was performed with the intention of relieving gastrointestinal distress of any type, although in some cases, diarrhea was encountered, thus relieving constipation.  Even in studies of topical application of Aloe Vera to promote wound healing, the evidence of benefit was unclear. Since this earlier comprehensive review, no evidence to date has surfaced to alter these conclusions, but adverse reactions reported, such as diarrhea, electrolyte imbalance, intestinal malabsorption, weight loss, and liver damage have provided additional, and sobering, concerns[1]. When comparing these potential adverse reactions with those of the class of antacids (Proton Pump Inhibitors, or PPIs) implicated in bone fractures, the FDA has reviewed seven published studies, six of which reported an increased risk of fractures of the hip, wrist, and spine with the use of PPIs. They go on to state that “Based on the available data, it is not clear at this time if the use of PPIs is the cause of the increased bone fractures”. They further note the “Of the people who use PPIs, the the greatest increased risk for these fractures was seen in those who receive high doses of these medications or use them for a year or longer.”  This opens an important question: Is one willing to chance a small (likely known) risk of bone complications versus an unknown risk of possibly even more disastrous consequences?

 



[1] Jiratchariyakul W and MahadyGB Overview of botanical status in EU, USA, and Thailand Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013; 2013: 480128.

Published online Oct 21, 2013.