Body Of Evidence: Dairy Food Increases Risk For Ovarian Cancer

We already know that dairy food is one of the most consistent dietary predictors for prostate cancer in the published literature. What about women? Here’s a new study that found the more milk African-American women consumed, the greater their risk of ovarian cancer:

1. Dairy, Calcium, Vitamin D And Ovarian Cancer Risk In African–American Women, British Journal of Cancer, Online 15 September 2016

An increased ovarian cancer risk was observed for whole milk consumption and lactose intake.

The Dairy Council is powerful in the US. The results of this study, even if they do make it to prime time, will be tempered by something like:

“Basically the picture is far from clear, and women would really be doing a great disservice to their diet if they took dairy out of it because of this,” American Dairy Council spokeswoman Deanna Rose, RD, tells WebMD.

That Dairy Council quote on WebMD was referring to this older study from 12 years ago where 60,000 women were followed for 13.5 years. It also found dairy food increased the risk for ovarian cancer:

2. Milk And Lactose Intakes And Ovarian Cancer Risk In The Swedish Mammography Cohort, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, November 2004

Conclusions: Our data indicate that high intakes of lactose and dairy products, particularly milk, are associated with an increased risk of serous ovarian cancer.

These studies are not isolated. Here’s the Iowa Women’s Study that followed 29,000 women for a decade and found the same risks from consuming dairy. (They also found that eggs increased ovarian cancer risk.)

3. Prospective Study of Diet and Ovarian Cancer, American Journal of Epidemiology, 1999

Here’s a Harvard study of 80,000 followed for 16 years showing the same thing. Those who consumed the most dairy doubled their risk of developing ovarian cancer.

4. A Prospective Study Of Dietary Lactose And Ovarian Cancer, International Journal of Cancer, February 2004.

I’ve just listed 4 large studies, published in peer-reviewed journals over a period of 17 years (1999 to 2016), that indicate dairy foods increase the risk for ovarian cancer. That is clearly not a body of evidence that would support continued consumption of dairy food.

Plant-Based Diets May Offer Protection Against Diabetes

Some of the best sources of catechins are tea, beans, berries, and apples.

In July, I wrote about a new study that found eating apples, drinking tea (black or green), or consuming other foods that contain epicatechin could reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other vascular-related deaths. The authors of that study said something interesting:

In a double-blind crossover randomized control trial (RCT), we showed that pure epicatechin improved insulin resistance.

Here’s the study they were referring to:
Effects Of The Pure Flavonoids Epicatechin And Quercetin On Vascular Function And Cardiometabolic Health: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Trial, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, February 2015

That first study about epicatechin and heart disease was a population study. This one was an intervention. Smaller but in a way more telling. Is it really the epicatechin? Or some other health-promoting behavior? What if you extracted epicatechin and gave it to people as a supplement? That’s what they did, and found:

Epicatechin supplementation improved fasting plasma insulin and insulin resistance.

They gave a 100 mg pill. That’s a lot of epicatechin. But if all your food had a little bit, you could easily surpass 100 mg in a day.

I’m not big on supplements, even though I just wrote that everyone over 50 should be taking vitamin B12. Eating the food that contains the chemical is, for reasons I’ve detailed over the years, more effective and cheaper than taking a pill. There are additional benefits in food, like fiber. In this case, since epicatechin is a flavonoid, and flavonoids are only found in plants, eating a diet that contains a lot of plants might improve symptoms and complications of diabetes, if not prevent them altogether (depending on what other foods a person ate). This may be one reason why vegetarians have a “nearly one-half reduction in risk of type 2 diabetes” compared with nonvegetarians.

A few more excerpts from the study:

[There is a] short elimination half-life of epicatechin (2 hours).

So, eating a little bit every 2 hours is probably better than taking a once-a-day pill. Also, we absorb more of a small dose than we do a large dose.

The response to epicatechin may be stronger in subjects with impaired fasting glucose concentrations and higher levels of insulin resistance.

Speaks for itself.

By studying pure flavonoids, we excluded potential interactions with other flavonoids and compounds in cocoa/tea. It is possible that such interactions play a role in the effects of cocoa and tea.

Another reason why it’s better to get epicatechin from food instead of a pill. This is true for many isolated, concentrated compounds.

Moose Vs. Robotic Lawnmower

Doesn’t even stop eating.

Somewhere in Norway, a moose is helping himself to the apples on a backyard tree. The suburban homeowner, knowing that moose can be dangerous, does not approach the moose. Instead, he sends in his robotic lawnmower! Who will win in this epic standoff? The answer is a lesson in why you don’t chase a moose out of the backyard yourself. Next time, just let him have the apples. Bonus: Oddly inappropriate music.

Source: Neatorama and Tastefully Offensive

That *was* weird music.

Repost: The Case For Taking A B12 Supplement

I’m reposting this from 2014 because I know older people who don’t take vitamin B12. They think eating animal food will prevent a deficiency. Please read my paragraph that starts with, “Vitamin B12 follows a rather circuitous path to absorption.”

VitaminB12ADAMIf you’re depending on food to supply your vitamin B12, and you’re over 50, there’s a good chance you’re going to end up with a B12 deficiency. It doesn’t matter if your diet includes plenty of animal food. It’s not intake that’s the problem, it’s absorption. An older body is not the same as a younger body. Grey hair and muscle loss we can see; dwindling ability to absorb certain nutrients is invisible.

Dr. Lindsay Allen from the University of California, Davis, writing in the AJCN, says:

How Common Is Vitamin B-12 Deficiency?, Lindsay H Allen, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCL), February 2009

Vitamin B-12 deficiency and depletion are common in wealthier countries, particularly among the elderly. … The 2 main causes of vitamin B-12 deficiency are inadequate dietary intake and, in the elderly, malabsorption of the vitamin from food. Contrary to popular belief, not only strict vegetarians (vegans) are at high risk of vitamin B-12 deficiency, and there is strong evidence that status reflects usual intake across a wide range. … Malabsorption of vitamin B-12 from food is the main cause of deficiency in the elderly and explains why depletion occurs with aging.

Vitamin B12 follows a rather circuitous path to absorption. First, of course, you have to eat it. Then you have to free it from the proteins to which it’s bound, so you need a healthy amount of stomach acid. Stomach acid levels decline as we age. They’re also affected by drugs like antacids which are taken for gastric conditions that occur more frequently in the elderly. Once the vitamin is freed, it must bind to a specific protein called Intrinsic Factor (IF) which is secreted by cells that line the stomach. That’s a major stumbling block right there. Anything that damages those parietal cells will cause outright B12 deficiency. (Some people don’t secrete much IF to begin with.) Like? … Ulcers, tumors, scar tissue from ulcers & tumors, any kind of inflammation or gastritis, alcohol intake, and, naturally, the removal of these cells through weight loss or cancer surgery. Intrinsic Factor also doesn’t bind well in an acidic environment. Remember we needed an acidic environment, a low pH, to release B12 from its protein source? Well, now we need a higher pH, about 7, for binding. The pancreas releases buffers to raise the pH of gastric juice. Anything that interferes with pancreatic secretion (diabetes, cancer, cystic fibrosis, etc.) will interfere with B12 absorption. Right, now the IF-B12 complex travels to the small intestine where it’s absorbed. B12 needs to be freed from IF. The pancreas would have secreted enzymes to do that. No enzymes? Poor absorption. Finally it gets absorbed. Any damage to the lower part of the small intestine (celiac disease or other gluten-induced damage, cancer surgery, scar tissue, overrun by bacteria from the colon) will result in poor B12 absorption.

Given all these potential roadblocks, it’s a wonder we get any B12 into us at all.  Many of us struggle. Dr. Allen, citing the Framingham Offspring Study, says that between 4%-6% of US adults over 40 are outright deficient.  But a lot more suffer with low levels:

Marginal depletion (serum vitamin B-12: 148–221 pmol/L) was more common and occurred in ≈14–16% of those aged 20–59 y and greater than 20% of those older than 60.

Over a quarter of older Americans are coping with B12 depletion or full-blown deficiency! Why is this problem coming to the fore now?

This prevalence was underestimated in the past for several reasons, including the erroneous belief that deficiency is unlikely except in strict vegetarians or patients with pernicious anemia, and that it usually takes ≈20 y for stores of the vitamin to become depleted.

Absorption rates are higher for B12 that is not food-bound. And you don’t need much, just 1 or 2 micrograms. Any more and the receptors get overloaded, the rest passes out with stool:

In older persons, food-bound cobalamin malabsorption becomes the predominant cause of deficiency, at least in part due to gastric atrophy, but it is likely that most elderly can absorb the vitamin from fortified food.

Plasma vitamin B-12 concentrations plateaued at intakes greater than 10 μg/d in the Framingham Offspring Study. … Although greater than 70% of the vitamin is absorbed when intake is in the range of 0.1–0.5 μg, the ileal receptors for the vitamin B-12–intrinsic factor complex become saturated with higher intakes such that absorption falls to ≈50% of a 1-μg dose, 15% of a 10-μg dose, and 3% of a 25–50-μg dose. … About 1% of a high dose will be absorbed by passive diffusion, independently of gastric function or intrinsic factor.

Look at that. Just 3% of a 25 microgram dose gets absorbed. It’s hard to find a B12 supplement under 500 micrograms! It’s a case of “value-added.” They can charge more, but you don’t get more.

My opinion… If you’re over 50, even if you don’t believe in taking supplements, take vitamin B12. Don’t rely on food. Eating meat won’t cure a deficiency. This is one time where the government’s National Institutes Of Health is right:

“Adults older than 50 years [should] obtain most of their vitamin B12 from vitamin supplements or fortified foods.”

Annabel Lee by Edgar Allen Poe

Every now and then I post things I like. My form of a selfie. Here’s a poem by Edgar Allen Poe:

Source: Wikipedia

It was many and many a year ago,
     In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
     By the name of Annabel Lee; —
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
     Than to love and be loved by me.

She was a child and I was a child,
     In this kingdom by the sea,
But we loved with a love that was more than love —
     I and my Annabel Lee —
With a love that the wingèd seraphs of Heaven
     Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
     In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud by night
     Chilling my Annabel Lee;
So that her high-born kinsmen came
     And bore her away from me,
To shut her up, in a sepulchre
     In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,
     Went envying her and me; —
Yes! that was the reason (as all men know,
     In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud, chilling
     And killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
     Of those who were older than we —
     Of many far wiser than we —
And neither the angels in Heaven above
     Nor the demons down under the sea
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
     Of the beautiful Annabel Lee; —

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
     Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I see the bright eyes
     Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride
     In her sepulchre there by the sea —
     In her tomb by the side of the sea.

Where Trump And Clinton Stand On Food: A Special Report From John Robbins

Here’s the transcript.

I just posted about John Robbins (We’ve Known For Decades That Low-Fat Diets Can Reverse Diabetes). It was an excerpt from his widely popular 1987 book, Diet For A New America. Robbins has spent his adult life crusading for healthful food, animal welfare, and the environment.