Dr. Bray Links

Friday, October 31, 2014

Liver: nature’s most potent superfood

My grandmother always used to eat liver. I always said "yuck" ... and rejected it. I've seen a lot of evidence of its health benefits and started including it in my mostly vegan diet.
Dr. Chris Kresser: "The chart below lists the micronutrient content of apples, carrots, red meat and beef liver. Note that every nutrient in red meat except for vitamin C surpasses those in apples and carrots, and every nutrient—including vitamin C—in beef liver occurs in exceedingly higher levels in beef liver compared to apple and carrots. In general, organ meats are between 10 and 100 times higher in nutrients than corresponding muscle meats. (That said, fruits and vegetables are rich in phytonutrients like flavonoids and polyphenols that aren't found in high concentrations in meats and organ meats, so fresh produce should always be a significant part of your diet.)"

APPLE (100 g)
 CARROTS (100 g)
 RED MEAT (100 g)
 BEEF LIVER (100 g)
3.0 mg
3.3 mg
11.0 mg
11.0 mg
6.0 mg
31.0 mg
140.0 mg
476.0 mg
4.8 mg
6.2 mg
15.0 mg
18.0 mg
139.0 mg
222.0 mg
370.0 mg
380.0 mg
.1 mg
.6 mg
3.3 mg
8.8 mg
.05 mg
.3 mg
4.4 mg
4.0 mg
.04 mg
.08 mg
.18 mg
12.0 mg
Vitamin A
40 IU
53,400 IU
Vitamin D
19 IU
Vitamin E
.37 mg
.11 mg
1.7 mg
.63 mg
Vitamin C
7.0 mg
6.0 mg
27.0 mg
.03 mg
.05 mg
.05 mg
.26 mg
.02 mg
.05 mg
.20 mg
4.19 mg
.10 mg
.60 mg
4.0 mg
16.5 mg
Pantothenic Acid
.11 mg
.19 mg
.42 mg
8.8 mg
Vitamin B6
.03 mg
.10 mg
.07 mg
.73 mg
Folic Acid
8.0 mcg
24.0 mcg
4.0 mcg
145.0 mcg
.42 mcg
2.08 mcg
96.0 mcg
Vitamin B12
1.84 mcg
111.3 mcg
Dr. Terry Wahls: "Eat organ meats once per week"
Dr. Max Gerson: "Take an extra desiccated liver capsule per dose, if it is well tolerated. In total, a patient may take three caps of dessicated liver, three times a day. This would be contraindicated if the patient has gout. If this causes stomach upset, the liver caps can be taken with meals, when the digestive enzymes are taken."
Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride (GAPS diet): "The best source of minerals is natural good quality food: meats, organ meats in particular, fish, eggs, fermented dairy, fermented or cooked vegetables and fruit. Fresh food provides minerals in an organic form packaged with amino acids and, in the case of animal foods, fat soluble vitamins. Just make sure to buy good quality foods: organically grown and from free-range animals, raised on natural pasture. The GAPS program works at normalizing the gut flora, so it can assist in absorption of minerals, and the GAPS diet provides ample amounts of fat soluble vitamins to process them properly."

Low Testosterone in Men

Low Testosterone (hypogonadism)
Dr. Christopher Bray MD PhD

Low levels of testosterone cause symptoms of decreased energy / libido, decreased strength / endurance / muscle mass, depressed mood, and erectile difficulties. Sometimes slower hair growth and hot flashes are noticed. Muscle mass is lost and increased fat accumulation is common. Symptoms are often very subtle and develop gradually.
To establish a diagnosis, the testosterone needs to be checked on more than one occasion. The testosterone should be checked between 8 to 10am. A bioavailable testosterone (or free testosterone) should be used for confirmation, which is more accurate the screening total testosterone test. Normal free testosterone is 9 to 30 ng/dL. Normal bioavailable testosterone is approximately 50 to 200 ng/dL, but does vary some based on age (and the exact lab test don). LH and FSH should be checked at the confirmation test. High levels of these LH/FSH usually indicates a less common form of low testosterone – a problem with the testes (primary). Low or normal levels of LH/FSH indicate that the problem is not a problem with the testes (secondary). Iron (iron excess), prolactin (pituitary disease), PSA (prostate cancer), and thyroid function are also often tested in blood work.

The most common type of low testosterone in men is secondary hypogonadism. Causes include pre-diabetes or diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, obesity, long-term narcotic use, long-term corticosteroid use, excess alcohol, aging, malnutrition (anorexia), and other chronic medical conditions (chronic infections, chronic kidney disease, autoimmune disease, cancer). Toxin exposure, like from bisphenol A, and phthalates, can cause low levels as well. Phthalates are common in plastics, shampoos, colognes, detergents, chemical cleaners, paints, and food packaging. Bisphenol A is common in plastic bottles, dental sealants, sports equipment (mouth guards), eyeglasses, CD/DVDs, and lining of aluminum cans. Pesticides also affect male fertility.

Testosterone replacement is done to achieve normal levels of testosterone and requires blood level monitoring. Replacement to normal levels can reduce osteoporosis, depression, dementia, heart disease, and obesity. Replacement can be achieved by injections or topical gels / patches. Testosterone replacement can be associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer, excess red blood cell concentration and blood clots, gynecomastia (enlarged breasts, which can occur with alcohol too), decreased sperm count, and liver damage. This is the reason that regular monitoring by a physician is required. Blood labs and a digital rectal exam should be done at least every 6 months.

Universal Recommendations:

-       Correct any dietary problems by avoiding sugar and unhealthy carbohydrates

-       Eat multiple meals a day with sufficient proteins, vegetables, high-fiber fruits, and healthy fats (organic and free-range / wild as much as possible)

-       Get adequate sleep every night (at least 7 hours per night)

-       Fix any sleep apnea problems first

-       Maintain an ideal body weight

-       Reduce stress

-       Do regular strength and interval training exercises

-       Reduce alcohol (which causes testosterone to be converted to estrogen)

-       Avoid environmental estrogens: pesticides, plastic containers, plastic bottles, canned goods, aluminum cans, microwavable meals, Styrofoam

-       Increase foods high in: Quercetin, Chrysin, Naringenin, Apigenin, Genistein, Diadzein, Oleuropein, Resveratrol, Linoleic Acid, Progesterone, Zinc

Natural Aromatase Options:

There are many natural aromatase options which inhibit estrogen to testosterone conversion. These are good for both men and women. Zinc is one option. Others are listed in the article referenced by the link.

"Zinc: The best sources are wheat germ, oysters and liver, Less zinc-rich sources include meat, sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, nuts like pecans and brazils, spinach, mushrooms etc."

Pharmaceutical and Supplement Recommendations:

-       There are many prescription options for testosterone replacement as well as medication that affect the testosterone levels without hormonal intervention. Similarly, there are supplements that have effect on testosterone. This is the subject of another discussion.
Raising your free testosterone and decreasing SHBG
1.       Lower your estrogen levels
a.       Aim for a healthy weight (ideally body mass index 20 to 25; or at a minimum less than 30)
b.      Eat cruciferous veggies (broccoli, kale, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, maca - rich in zinc which slows down aromatase which converts testosterone to estrogen; also rich in Indole-3-Carbinol which converts to 3,3-Diindolylmethane (DIM) in the stomach - which helps flush out estrogen)
c.       Avoid exposures to toxic chemicals (phthalates, lead, mercury, pesticides, parabens, bisphenol-A, ecxitotoxins – like aspartame, MSG, hydrolysed vegetable proteins and oils, acesulfame K, sweeteners, and diet products). Statins can interfere with hormone production as well.
d.      Don’t use plastic products (phthalates and xeno-estrogens)
e.      Avoid parabens in personal care products (butylparaben, ethylparaben, heptylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben)
f.        Eat organic foods
g.       Avoid bisphenol-A (linked to cancer, reproductive harm, obesity, ADHD, immune system harm) – contained in canned goods, plastics, food/drink cartons, microwave meal containers, and even grocery receipts.
h.      Increase calcium-D-glucarate present in the skin of berries like blueberries and juniper berries
i.         Eat methylaters like betaine from beets which helps chelate and remove excess estrogens
j.        Remove processed meats from your diet (hormone and antibiotic exposure)
k.       Eat more citrus (anti-estrogenic properties)
l.         Eat fermented foods or take probiotics (good gut health to help detoxify)
m.    Wild nettle root supplement (decreases SHBG and decreases aromatase activity)
n.      Maca root supplement (removes estrogen and is high in DIM)
o.      Avoid soy (has estrogenic activity)
p.      Excess alcohol  (slows the liver’s ability to remove estrogen AND upregulates aromatase)
q.      If you drink, don’t drink beer (high in phytoestrogens)
r.        Filter your water (unfiltered water has many hormones and pharmaceuticals – even birth control)
s.       More strength training
t.        Improve your sleep quality (enhances hypothalamic and pituitary function)
2.       Green tea increases SHBG (so reduce consumption)
3.       Decrease sugar, carbohydrates, and high fructose corn syrup
4.       Nettle root can lower SHBG (so is a helpful supplement)
5.       Boron can lower SHBG (so is a helpful supplement)
6.       Vitamin D can lower SHBG (so is a helpful supplement)
7.       Certain medications – statins, beta-blockers, sedatives, sleep medications can cause high SHBG
8.       Reduce alcohol
9.       Increase magnesium (so is a helpful supplement)
10.   Identify and fix any problems with insufficient sleep or with sleep apnea

Birth Control and Breast Cancer

"Our results suggest that recent use of contemporary oral contraceptives is associated with an increased breast cancer risk, which may vary by formulation. If confirmed, consideration of the breast cancer risk associated with different oral contraceptive types could impact discussions weighing recognized health benefits and potential risks."


Cancer Screening for Women - Some Controversies

"Review Finds Mammography's Benefits Overplayed, Harms Dismissed

Talk to women here in the office, and it quickly becomes clear that we're confused about what to do about mammograms. And no wonder.

Two months ago, a widely publicized Canadian study found that mammograms did not reduce breast cancer deaths, but that study was fiercely criticized by the nation's radiologists as "incredibly flawed and misleading."

A few weeks earlier, an analysis found that screening all women annually starting at age 40, as the American Cancer Society recommends, costs $6.5 billion more a year more than following the U.S. Preventive Service's Task Force recommendation that women be screened every other year starting at age 50.

Now, the latest entries — two studies that try to put all the previous research on mammography's harms and benefits in perspective.

Mammograms are a key screening tool for breast cancer. But critics say they're not good enough.
First, researchers at Harvard took a broad look at all the research on mammograms since 1960 — more than 50 years of study. They also looked at evidence on the harms of false positives and overdiagnoses, in which a woman is treated for a cancer that would never have proved deadly. And they reviewed whether current efforts to try to personalize a woman's cancer risk helped a woman figure out whether it was worth her while to get a mammogram.

Their conclusion: The benefits of mammography, though real, have been oversold, while the harms have been minimized."





Yale Cancer Center Studies Find Lifestyle Changes Improve Biomarkers Associated with Breast Cancer Recurrence and Mortality


"Older Women May Actually Be More At Risk For Cervical Cancer

Women are often told they don't have to get a Pap test for cervical cancer if they're over 65, but the data behind that recommendation might underestimate their cancer risk, researchers say.

That's because many studies don't take into account that many women have had hysterectomies. The surgery removes a woman's risk of cervical cancer; no cervix, no cancer. And 20 percent of the women over age 20 in this study said they had had that surgery.

When they looked at cancer rates only in women who hadn't had a hysterectomy, the researchers found that the odds of having cervical cancer were higher; 18.6 per 100,000 women, compared to 11.7 cases without that adjustment.
And while earlier studies had found that women's risk of cervical cancer peaks in their early 40s, this analysis found that the risk was highest for women in their late 60s. They had a cervical cancer rate of 27.4 cases per 100,000. The rate was higher for African-American women, at 53 per 100,000, compared to 24.7 for white women.

"We started to come to notice that maybe hysterectomy wasn't being taken into account in all studies," says Anne Rositch, an assistant professor in the department of epidemiology and public health at the University of Maryland Medical School and first author of the study. It was published online Monday in the journal Cancer.

Many people think that colon cancer screening is no walk in the park. This giant inflatable colon on display at the University of Miami Health System campus was intended to help them think otherwise.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent body that sets practice guidelines, says that women over 65 who aren't at high risk don't need to be screened for cervical cancer. "There is moderate or high certainty that the service has no net benefit or that the harms outweigh the benefits," the task force guidelines say.

That might be because it can be harder to screen older women for cervical cancer, Rositch told Shots, because of changes in the cervix after menopause. Or it could be because the USPSTF reviewers saw those studies saying that older women have a lower risk. But a study on screening in older women published last year found that women who had ages 55 to 79 who did have a Pap test lowered their cancer risk over the next 5 to 7 years."


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Natural Fever Treatments for Kids From a Mommy-MD - Aviva Romm

“Mommy, I don’t feel well.”

"Your little one wakes up in the middle of the night, fretful and hot to the touch. You check her temperature and it is 102 degrees. She’s had a cold for a few days but hasn’t had a fever until now. You feel worried and don’t know what to do. Should you give Tylenol, go to the emergency department? Should you call your doctor’s office hoping to reach someone in the middle of the night? Can you wait until morning? You’ve heard about using herbs for fever and thought it sounded good at the time, but now that your child has one, you’re not so sure."

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


"All diseases begin in the gut." ~Hippocrates, 460 – 370 B.C.

It is remarkable how common gut flora problems are present in mothers of children with autism (often due to antibiotic use, excess carbohydrates, or hormone birth control exposure). A child's gut bacteria is colonized from the mother's vaginal canal during birth. However, when mothers have problems with their own gut bacteria - this gets passed on to children and children are at higher risk for developing psychological problems. Given that cesarean sections are so common now - many children never get much of a chance to be colonized with healthy bacteria. GAPS is a gut-healing protocol for affected children. By restoring a healthy balance of bacteria, detoxification (and heavy metal chelation) is unregulated naturally by using this protocol.

All sugars and starches are removed from the diet (including all grains). Nuts and seeds can be ground into flour. The primary change is dietary, but she additionally recommends good probiotics, natural vitamin A (cod liver oil), natural vitamin D (preferably from sun), and omega-3.

Remarkable, as a physician, the last time I have personally taken an antibiotic was more than 20 years ago.


"She has a full-time medical practice in the United Kingdom where she treats children and adults with autism, learning disabilities, neurological disorders, psychiatric disorders, immune disorders, and digestive problems. Here, she shares her insights about Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS), which can make a child particularly prone to vaccine damage, and the GAPS Nutritional program; a natural treatment for autism, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, depression, and schizophrenia.

Dr. Campbell is a medical doctor with a postgraduate degree in neurology. She worked as a neurologist and a neurosurgeon for several years before starting a family. When her first-born son was diagnosed autistic at the age of three, she was surprised to realize that her own profession had no answers"

Getting started ... with the GAPS introduction diet:

GAPS full diet: