A Defense against the Evil Cardiac Killer?

Doc Gumshoe looks at a pitch for VitaPulse

By Michael Jorrin, "Doc Gumshoe", February 22, 2016

[ed. note: Michael Jorrin, who I like to call Doc Gumshoe, is a longtime medical writer (not a doctor) who writes about non-financial health and medical issues for us a couple times a month — this time, he’s covering one of the many over-hyped health ads for “secret” supplements and treatments that we all see every day, much like we cover the over-hyped “secret” investment ads most other days. Enjoy!]

I take these on partly because they’re entertaining – for me, certainly, and for you, I certainly hope. I have to remind myself to disaggregate the manner and style and method of the promotion from the actual substance of whatever it is that is being promoted. The promotion might be ludicrously over the top, grotesquely exaggerated and pitifully lacking in sense and reason. But there might, just might, be at least some merit in the purportedly miraculous cure.

On the other hand, if the cure/treatment really does reliably work, and if there is bona fide data to substantiate that, then why does the promotional material so frequently slip over the dividing line between reason and lunacy? My personal prejudice – and I freely admit that it’s a prejudice and not a studied conclusion based on lengthy analysis of data – is that there’s an inverse relationship between the frequency and intensity of the advertising and promotion of a product or service and the quality of the product itself. Hershey’s chocolates, for example, never saw any need to advertise, but the lousiest beers always seemed to advertise the most. So the mere fact that I cannot access the internet without being instructed to go to websites that promise to give me secret information that will save my life, raises my suspicion index by several orders of magnitude.

The templates for these promotions are strikingly similar.

  1. The dire warning. They invariably lead off warning us against stuff we regularly consume or activities that we regularly engage in. These dire warnings are meant to be somewhat startling; thus, for example, they avoid telling us to quit smoking. Since we knew that already, it won’t capture our attention. But one presentation explains to us that we must never ever eat any bakery product, whether from the supermarket shelf or from our nifty corner bakery. Baked goods contain evil ingredients, i.e., wheat and sugar!
  2. The eminent physician. The presumed spokesperson is a physician with impeccable credentials, frequently on the faculty at a highly respectable medical college or on staff at a top hospital. He or she is a member of the right medical societies and can cite laudatory comments from patients and also from colleagues. How could we doubt this wise, caring individual who is looking out for our well-being?
  3. The grave error or oversight committed by the Medical Establishment. At some point, all the experts made a gross blunder. They overlooked a crucial clue that would have led them to the miracle treatment, or they insisted on an explanation for a disease or condition that was just plain wrong. Thus, if we blindly heed the recommendations of Mainstream Medicine, we are Headed for Trouble!
  4. The natural remedies that, unfortunately, are too difficult or too expensive for normal people to follow. The physician-spokesperson names several substances that can ward off the evils that threaten us. These substances are contained in a number of naturally-occurring but uncommon or rare plants or animals, or perhaps even minerals. The spokesperson then acknowledges that, although they might cure what ails us, subsisting on a diet of these rare substances is, in practical terms, impossible.
  5. The near-miraculous benefits of those supplements derived from those substances, but the great difficulty of getting the correct amounts of each, in the correct proportions, and of the ultimate purity. The spokesperson names those supplements, but warns that most of those little bottles of those substances on the shelves of your supermarket or drug store are highly unreliable. For example, probiotics are named in many spiels as being very valuable, but the presentation hurries along to make the point that in most probiotic preparations that you can buy, almost all of the beneficial bacteria are dead and therefore useless.
  6. Fortunately, there is one totally reliable, trustworthy source for the correct formulation of the near-miraculous natural healing elixir. The physician-spokesperson vouches for the honesty, integrity, and beneficent disposition of the manufacturer of this miracle healing agent, and the presentation segues to how you can get it for a quite reasonable price.

So let’s move on to the specific miracle cure that prompted me to do this piece.

Fighting off the Cardiac Killer

The lengthy presentation starts out by taking dead aim at the Framingham Heart Study, which is an act of brazen iconoclasm, guaranteed to capture your attention. If you’re going to score points by making a frontal assault on the medical establishment, the Framingham study is an ideal target. The specific charges leveled against the study were that it ignored HDL cholesterol, and that it recommended a diet based on excluding cholesterol-rich foods, such as butter, eggs, cheese, and red meat. All I can say in response to that is, “not so fast!” Strictly speaking, the second item in that docket is false, since Framingham did not get into the business of formulating and recommending a specific diet. The first part, ignoring HDL cholesterol, might have been true up until about thirty years ago. But to evaluate that bill of attainder, we have to take a closer look at what the Framingham study did, and also at the historical evolution of our understanding of cardiovascular risk.

When the Framingham Study started, in 1948, the concept of specific cardiovascular risk factors had not yet come into being. It was thought that as people got older, they were more likely to die of heart attacks, and that was about it. Blood pressure was known to increase with age, and that was considered normal. In fact, the “normal” diastolic blood pressure marker was “100 plus your age,” and there were no drugs available for the chronic management of what we would today consider hypertension. As for cholesterol, it had been identified as the main constituent of the plaques that clog our arteries as long ago as 1913, when a couple of Russians found that feeding egg yolks to rabbits resulted in the rabbit version of human atherosclerotic plaque. However, it had also been learned that cholesterol in the diet of these rabbits did not by itself inevitably produce the villainous plaque; some rabbits, like some humans, could consume cholesterol and avoid atherosclerosis. And other animals, particularly rats, can consume cholesterol and not form arterial plaque. The issue remained in doubt, and to some degree, still remains in doubt.

The Framingham Heart Study recruited 5,209 adults from the town of Framingham, Massachusetts, and followed them annually. The original Framingham cohort was enlarged at several points, and the children and grandchildren of the original cohort are now being studied. After about ten years, some of the risk factors specifically identified by the study were that cigarette smoking, hypertension, elevated serum cholesterol, and obesity were strongly linked to higher cardiovascular risk, while exercise was linked to lower cardiovascular risk. That may seem rather obvious at this point, but back in the 1960s, it was new information, and the strong statistical correlations between those risk factors and heart disease emphatically confirmed what some observers had suspected for a long time, but had been unable to substantiate.

And that, believe it or not, is where the “Cardiac Killer” promotion takes aim at the Framingham study, referring to it as “the infamous Framingham Study,” and accusing it of spreading “the most deadly dietary advice in history.”

Before we go on with the details of the promotion, let’s peel back the curtain and see who is behind it.

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Dr Arash Bereliani and Princeton Nutrients

If you Google the spokesman for this promotion, the website for Princeton Nutrients pops up before any other, and here’s what it says about Dr Bereliani:

Dr. Bereliani
Board Certified Cardiologist,
Director at Beverly Hills Institute of Cardiology & Preventative Medicine
Dr. Bereliani is a fellow of the American College of Cardiology and an active member of the American Heart Association, the American Medical Association, ASNC the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology (ASNC), the Society of Nuclear Medicine (SNM), the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M) and the American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM).

I could find no indication that Dr Bereliani is anything other than a reputable practicing physician. Various websites quote patients who think highly of him, and he has admitting privileges at top hospitals in the Los Angeles area, including Cedars-Sinai. Does he really believe what he says, including the statement about the “infamous” Framingham Study? Well, we have been hearing about a couple of prominent physicians who claim to believe the unbelievable, including the one in the news lately who’s not too sure about evolution. However, one thing is evident: Dr Bereliani is by no means a noted researcher, including on the specific nutrients and supplements that he is touting. For example, a search of PubMed turns up three papers by A. Bereliani, all dating from the 1990s, and none in the cardiovascular area; two have to do with temporal bone trauma and one with a complication arising from a miniature disk battery lodged in the nose. Not likely to be the same person.

And, by the way, Princeton Nutrients has absolutely nothing to do with Princeton University. They’re in California. So let’s go back to the Dire Warnings section of the spiel.

What is the “most deadly dietary advice in history?”

That’s easy: avoid those high cholesterol foods – butter, eggs, red meat, cheese. And why is that dietary advice “deadly”? Because, according to Dr Bereliani’s doctrine, that diet lowers your HDL cholesterol, which is the form of cholesterol that helps keep your arteries free from plaque. Is there anything to that accusation? Here’s where it gets a bit complicated.

For a start, Dr Bereliani emphatically and somewhat superciliously claims that the Framingham Study utterly missed the boat on cholesterol, because there are, in his words, “two kinds of cholesterol.” Well, that’s two kinds of hooey. First, there are certainly not two kinds of cholesterol. Cholesterol is cholesterol, pure and simple, but because cholesterol is not water soluble, it is conveyed in the bloodstream in little bundles of lipoproteins, which are composed of protein, lipids, triglycerides, and cholesterol. The proteins are on the surface of these little bundles, and that’s how the lipoprotein bundles are carried in the circulatory system. The lipoprotein bundles vary in size, from very large, low-density bundles, to much smaller high-density bundles. The low-density bundles, or LDL-cholesterol, mostly transport cholesterol to its numerous destinations in our bodies, whereas the high-density bundles, or HDL-cholesterol, transport cholesterol on its outward-bound passage, through the bile duct for excretion in feces.

And the Framingham study certainly did not miss the boat on HDL-cholesterol. For more than 30 years, the Framingham Risk Calculator has included HDL-C levels as one of the parameters in calculating the likelihood of a cardiovascular event. Framingham factored in HDL-cholesterol as soon as its role was understood.
It’s common for people, even those who know better, to refer to “good cholesterol” and “bad cholesterol,” those being HDL-cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol, or HDL and LDL for short. But that quick and easy distinction obscures key facts. One is that our food contains no LDL or HDL cholesterol – those little packets are assembled in our own bodies.

The charge that a diet that minimized cholesterol-rich foods like butter, eggs, etc., is deadly because it lowers HDL-cholesterol is hard to figure. In the first place, many decades of disappointing experience with diets that are low in cholesterol has made it clear that lowering dietary cholesterol has very little effect on a person’s cholesterol levels. That’s because most of the cholesterol in our bodies is home-made. We synthesize it ourselves, mostly in our livers. The usual calculation is that only about 15% to 20% of the cholesterol in our bodies enters in the form of dietary cholesterol, i.e., from butter and eggs and the former usual suspects.

Granted that some of the food we eat makes a better feedstock for cholesterol synthesis, but no matter what we eat, we will manufacture cholesterol. That’s because we need it. Cholesterol is a basic component of most of the tissue in our bodies, and also of most hormones. For example, our skin is extremely high in cholesterol. If there were no cholesterol in our skin, we would become totally permeable – we would turn into puddles.

Now, it is certainly true that a number of factors, including diet, affect the balance between the low and the high density bundles. One is exercise. There are those who say moderate alcohol consumption favors the HDL-cholesterol level. Some foods – salmon, nuts, olives, avocados – may boost HDL-cholesterol, although the omega-3 hypothesis has been contested. And our individual metabolisms play a large role. Robust levels of HDL-cholesterol in relation to total cholesterol are an indication that our overall cholesterol-processing machinery is working efficiently and that we’re not accumulating excess cholesterol and dumping it in our arteries.

But as for evidence that the low cholesterol diet – whether advocated by the Framingham Study or not – is harmful, let alone “the most deadly diet in history,” there is none whatever.

In fact, about 25 years ago, Dr William Castelli, then directing the Framingham study, made the astonishing admission that limiting cholesterol-rich food from the diet didn’t seem to do a thing to most people’s serum cholesterol levels. This is entirely contrary to Dr Bereliani’s heated charges that Dr Castelli was “poisoning the well” and “spreading cholesterol lies.” The reason that nixing butter and eggs did nothing – and in some cases, actually resulted in increased serum cholesterol – is that, as we know now, most of the cholesterol in our serum is of our own manufacture. And those people who were cutting out dietary cholesterol had to eat something, didn’t they? So, instead of the previous “usual suspects,” a lot of them ate what we now know to be considerably more harmful foods, like margarines that were rich in transfats.

By the way, Dr Castelli’s admission came a couple of years before publication of the Scandinavian Simvastatin Survival Study in 1994, usually abbreviated as “4S,” which demonstrated that treating individuals who had established risk factors for cardiac events such as heart attacks with a statin significantly improved survival. The results of the 4S study have been replicated in numerous other cohorts, with other statins, many, many times. The pros and cons of statins can and will be endlessly debated, but it is a fact that statin treatment has saved countless lives.

What, then, is Dr Bereliani’s answer?

Having established his credentials as a rock-solid critic of mainstream medicine – that being a prerequisite for the promotion of miracle cures – Dr Bereliani quits lambasting Framingham and, instead, restates one of the conclusions of mainstream cardiac medicine, which is that the real cardiac killer is not cholesterol in itself, but unstable or vulnerable plaque. The vulnerable plaque hypothesis is complex, and I won’t state it in detail, but the basics are as follows.

The starting point is the absorption of LDL-cholesterol into the artery wall – a process that happens throughout life and affects just about everybody to some degree. It used to be thought that that process was the whole deal – that cholesterol in the artery wall would progressively narrow the artery, choke off the flow of blood to the heart, and cause heart attacks. That does happen is some cases, perhaps as many as one third, but in the majority of heart attacks it’s another process that goes on.

It has now been learned that the presence of the LDL particles can induce an inflammatory process, involving cytokines and certain white blood cells, which essentially consume some of the LDL particles that have become oxidized. These macrophages swell up, becoming what are called foam cells. They then release enzymes that erode the artery wall. But when the artery wall is eroded, it can crack. At this point, several harmful things can happen: bits of the plaque from the artery wall can be released into the bloodstream. And blood platelets, whose mission it is to form wound-healing clots, are recruited to the site of the injury. But those clots also can be released into the bloodstream. Thus, either clumps of the plaque or blood clots are carried in the bloodstream. If these clots or clumps obstruct an artery that is supplying blood to the heart muscle, the result is a shortage of oxygen to that muscle – a myocardial infarction, or a heart attack.

This much Dr Bereliani explains, after a fashion, although he makes it seem as though what he’s presenting is his own brilliant discovery and not the result of enormous amounts of research by the villainous medical establishment. What he then fastens on as the culprit in this process is oxygen, never mind that the principal job of the bloodstream is to transport oxygen to all our organs and tissues. It’s the oxidation of the LDL particles that’s at the root of the problem, and the way to defeat the “Plaque of Death” is to prevent oxidation.

This can be accomplished by the action of “key anti-inflammatory nutrients,” also referred to as “heart-healing nutrients” and other terms meant to increase our confidence in what’s coming. Doc Gumshoe cannot conceivably survey the entire universe of anti-inflammatory diets and supplements, but let me just stake out a simple position: inflammation is a necessary part of our physiologic response to a huge number of events in our bodies, and an essential part of the immune response. But it can also cause serious problems, as in its role in the formation of vulnerable plaque. And diet certainly does have an effect on our inflammatory response. One of the most reliable authorities on the whole subject is Christopher Cannon, of the Harvard Medical School, who wrote the book The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Anti-Inflammation Diet. His bottom line is that the basic anti-inflammatory diet is very close to the Mediterranean diet – fish, olive oil, plenty of vegetables and whole grains, and a modicum of wine to wash it down.

Dr Bereliani doesn’t think that’s anywhere near enough. He refers to those as “Stage One Antioxidants.” Those may have been adequate in ancient times, i.e., the 20th century, but now that we live in the more dangerous 21st century, those old antioxidants have been eroded and contaminated, in his words, by POPs – “persistent organic pollutants.” Similarly, vitamins C, E, and A, are “solutions of the past.” And as for healthy food, it is simply impossible to eat enough of it to get the “heart-healthy nutrients” we need to combat the “Cardiac Killer.”

But now, the good news!

According to Dr Bereliani, there are three indispensable allies that we can enlist in our defense. He beats around the bush a good deal before naming these, but we’ll go right to the payoff. The first of these is pyrroloquinolone quinone, or PQQ. This substance is found in all plants, particularly in parsley, green peppers, kiwis, papayas, and tofu. Dr Bereliani does not bother to repeat the obvious point that we can’t live off those foods, or get nearly enough of them to supply us with the needed amounts of PQQ. What does PQQ do? The clearest statement that I have been able to find is that it may protect brain cells against oxidative damage under special circumstances, such as when blood flow is restored to the brain after a stroke. In bacteria, it has been observed to promote the generation of mitochondria. PQQ has been the subject of considerable research – PubMed lists more than 800 published papers about PQQ, but the overwhelming majority are animal studies, and not directly involved in prevention or treatment of any disease or condition in humans. Only six papers connecting PQQ with cardiac disease are listed in PubMed, and only one of those is about the potential use of PQQ in humans, referring to PQQ as “a novel biofactor for which a proposition can be made for physiological importance.” The paper goes on to mention that PQQ has been tentatively identified as a component of interstellar dust. So at least we know it’s been around a while.

The second Cardiac Killer antagonist is n-acetyl cysteine, or NAC, which is a very slight modification of the amino acid cysteine. It has been used as a drug for a long, long time. PubMed lists nearly 17,000 published papers about NAC, and they go back a long way – the earliest listed paper dates to 1933. NAC is a standard treatment for acetaminophen toxicity leading to liver failure, although it produces fairly significant adverse effects when taken after alcohol consumption. This is a serious complication, since it’s frequently the combination of chronic acetaminophen and regular alcohol consumption that causes liver damage. NAC is also used in the treatment of influenza, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and helicobacter pylori, which is the micro-organism implicated in gastric ulcers. There is a certain amount of controversy regarding NAC and pulmonary arterial hypertension – it may be useful in treating this condition, but at very high doses (in animals) it appeared to contribute to it.

In terms of the activity of NAC in cardiac health, it does appear to affect genes involved in oxidative stress, which is a factor in the creation of vulnerable plaque, i.e., the Cardiac Killer. The chief benefit of NAC, however, is that it replenishes glutathione, which is a naturally-occurring antioxidant in the body. Dr Bereliani and Princeton Nutrients do not promote glutathione as a supplement, although plenty of other supplement manufacturers do. That’s because it’s much more effective, and much cheaper, to boost glutathione levels by means of NAC supplementation. And, according to Dr Bereliani, another benefit of glutathione is that it recycles PQQ, so NAC and PQQ are a good Cardiac-Killer-fighting team.

And the third hero in this epic struggle is a familiar one – coenzyme Q-10, usually stated as CoQ10. This substance is found in every cell in our bodies, and is indeed a powerful antioxidant. There are indications that CoQ10 confers benefits in a number of cardiac conditions. Persons with higher levels of CoQ10 who have heart attacks appear to be less likely to have subsequent heart attacks. CoQ10 levels seem to be – at least in some individuals – inversely related with serum cholesterol levels, and may mitigate some of the adverse effects of statins such as the muscle aches that many statin users experience. That substance may also reduce blood sugar in persons with diabetes.

There has been considerable clinical research into CoQ10, although not nearly as much as with NAC. There are more than 3,000 papers listed in PubMed that mention CoQ10 as an antioxidant, but very few are actually clinical trials in humans. A Cochrane review identified six trials in 218 participants as well as five ongoing trials. In two trials evaluating the effects of CoQ10 on blood pressure, one (in 20 subjects) found a significant lowering of systolic blood pressure with CoQ10 supplementation; the other found no difference. One trial evaluating the effect of CoQ10 alone on serum cholesterol found no effect whatever. Of four trials evaluating the effect of CoQ10 with statins on serum cholesterol, three found no effect, and the fourth found a small effect. None of the studies investigated mortality, acute coronary syndromes (e.g., heart attacks, severe angina), or adverse events. (Flowers N et al, Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014)

CoQ10 is present in a number of the usual foods, but Dr Bereliani, predictably, scorns the notion that we should try to get enough CoQ10 through diet. A supplement is the only way. However – and here’s where we come to the final clincher in Dr B’s argument – those supplements, whether of PQQ, NAC, or CoQ10, that we can find on the shelves of our drug store or health food store, are not going to do the job. They are past their useful life, or they will be destroyed by the hydrochloric acid in our stomachs, or they are the wrong concentration, or they are spoiled, contaminated, corrupted, and of no value.

But do not give up hope! There is an answer! And by now, we all know what it is. Princeton Nutrients packages a supplement, called VitaPulse, which combines PQQ, NAC, and CoQ10 in the exact proportions that Dr Bereliani claims are the right combination to combat the Cardiac Killer. It gets past the HCl in the gut, and costs $67 per month. But if you put in your order in the next 24 hours, the price drops to $49 for a month’s supply – that’s only $1.50 per day! Dr B. doesn’t specify when that 24 hour period expires, and the offer seems to be perpetually in effect, so let’s not complain about that.

Whether VitaPulse actually does what Dr Bereliani claims is open to question. The Princeton Nutrients website includes the following disclaimer:

Supplement Facts:
Serving Size: 1 Capsule
Servings per Container: 30
Amount Per Serving % Daily Value
CoQ10 100 mg **
N-Acetylcysteine (NAC) 250 mg **
PQQ Na2 10 mg **
(Pyrroloquinoline Quinine Sodium Salt)
** % Daily Value Not Established
Other Ingredients: Silica, Vegetable Cellulose
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

(By the way, for what it’s worth, PQQ is pyrroloquinoline quinone, not quinine. Their typo, not mine. )

The larger question is whether the VitaPulse supplement, or indeed, any of the individual components, confers any genuine benefits with regard to blocking the formation of vulnerable plaque, which is what we’re really talking about. It’s possible, but reliable data is nonexistent. There are tons of testimonials from no doubt sincere and grateful individuals who say that they have benefited from these supplements and from the Princeton formulation. On the other hand, some nutritionists question supplementation with CoQ10 in particular, on the basis that we have no need for this substance beyond what we already have in our bodies.

However, I am not content with leaving Dr Bereliani and Princeton Nutrients with the verdict of “it won’t do any harm and may possibly do some good.”

My view, speaking now as a concerned observer of the entire healthcare scene, is that whether the particular supplement is of any benefit or not, the promotion, and Dr Bereliani’s part in it, does considerable harm. It discredits the immensely valuable research done by the Framingham Heart Study, and, by extension, standard medical research. I will do no more than remind you of the declines in cardiovascular mortality since the appearance of statins – from about 370 per 100,000 population in 1990 to about 250 per 100,000 in 2011. But more important, it minimizes the possibility that important health benefits can be attained through life-style modifications. “Forget about getting enough antioxidants through diet – it’s hopeless!” says Dr Bereliani by implication. It’s like the diet promotions that tell us that we can eat anything we want and as much as we want, so long as we swallow their little pill.

Doc Gumshoe will not swallow their little pill, nor yet, their big scam.

* * * * * * *

A few days ago, the Brookings Institute released startling data. The disparity in life expectancy between rich and poor in the US is growing. Men born in 1950 who are in the top 10% economically can expect to live 14 years longer than men born in the bottom 10%, and for women, that disparity is 13 years. Some of the possible reasons for that huge difference might be that the poor are much more likely to smoke, while the rich certainly do get more and better preventive medical care. But Doc Gumshoe ventures to say that the kind of quick-and-easy miracle remedies touted by Dr Bereliani and his ilk also contribute that disparity. Forget about the advice of the medical establishment and keep right on eating that junk food (and feeding it to your kids)! As long as you take our magic pill, you’ll be okay!


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turbodigger
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turbodigger

The free investment checkup at the end of your article makes it look like you are promoting it. If you miss the small word advertisement you might feel it is safe to register and hope you win the trip to Hawaii. As soon as you start to register they ask for your BANK NAME, BANK ACCOUNT NUMBER, your PHONE NUMBER and your PASSWORD. That gives them everything they need to empty your account into theirs. How could any legitimate company allow an obvious scam like this to be attaching itself at the end of an article?

Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe
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It’s not a scam, though the ad has expired so I should remove it. Many personal finance and accounting sites use your account info to provide live info, I use this one (Personal Capital) and others personally and am comfortable with the security — you may not be, and that’s fine, but it’s not a phishing scam.

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Lulu
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Travis, my Dad is 88 and not as ‘with it as some Gummies. I had to stop his subscription to Gumshoe after ‘too’ many warnings as to which stories were from Gumshoe…..because he would click on the side ads and believe that Gumshoe supported the ads and would subscribe. He bought so many subscriptions and books it was nuts.

Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe
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👍12364

Sorry to hear that, I like to believe that we encourage skepticism of the selling arts, and critical thinking, but the reason I can do this work every day is because we let ads run on the site, too.

JohnL
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JohnL

A very interesting read and succinct summary of where we are at with atherosclerotic disease. I loved this line “This much Dr Bereliani explains, after a fashion, although he makes it seem as though what he’s presenting is his own brilliant discovery and not the result of enormous amounts of research by the villainous medical establishment.” Isn’t this so often the case, slander the “medical mainstream” with a conspiracy theory or two and then claim all the glory for what comes from that very process. These guys are not only hucksters, they are also self indulged megalomaniacs. I noticed two… Read more »

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Michael Jorrin,
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Michael Jorrin (aka Doc Gumshoe)

Yes, it’s systolic, not diastolic BP that used to be thought to be okay if it was “100 plus your age.” My diastolic BP is currently about “my age minus 20.” As to Castelli’s “astonishing” admission that reducing dietary cholesterol did little to lower serum cholesterol levels, it was a bit astonishing at the time, since the common assumption had been that the cholesterol in the body had all entered through the digestive system. But mainly I stuck in that word to scoff at Bereliani’s absurd claim that the Framingham study had utterly missed the boat on cholesterol. Thanks for… Read more »

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Georgia Man
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Georgia Man

The ads send from Dr.Jhon BERILIANI website is a SCAM!!!! just the shear volume of emails that i am getting (24 per day from this one site) has now warranted my contacting of an attorney and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation about the harassing emails. This guy is a quack and needs to go to jail and leave the world alone!

Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe
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👍12364

Not familiar with that person — does he run an investing service?

dan62
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Why does my actual name show up instead of handle?

Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe
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dan62, looks like you’re comments are showing under your username so I assume that’s what you want. The default is username now, though in the past we defaulted to full names so some people have different settings… contact us at stockgumshoe.com/contact if you want your name to appear differently.

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rich bartels
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rich bartels

is there really anything that helps athritis?Joint pain?

Jay S
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Jay S

I am NOT a representative for this company but have found BCM95+OPC by Euro-Pharma a product that greatly reduces pain from inflammation.

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Wayne Stadtfeld
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Wayne Stadtfeld

Glucosamine and Chondroitin supplements work wonders. They are a little pricey and take about one to two weeks to really start noticing a big difference, but I’ve found they make life so much more enjoyable and joint pain free.

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Dave
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Dave

Glucosamine and Chondroitin have both been extensively studied in randomized double-blind trials and have been shown to be about equivalent to placebo.
https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/glucosamine-the-unsinkable-rubber-duck/

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hendrixnuzzles
Member
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Since the placebo effect is a recognized and real variable, though fluctuating depending on the disorder, the finding means that the drug has a positive effect. The placebo effect is real although not understood.The mechanism by which the placebo effect brings about improvement from conscious or unconscious thought is a great unsolved mystery, but confirms the tremendous power of the brain. So glucosamine and chondroitin have an objective benefit. I think it is misguided to discount efficacy because it is equivalent to the placebo effect. Speaking for myself, it works for me. I have found glucosamine and chondroitin to be… Read more »

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Dave
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Dave

I suggest you look up the nature of placebo effect at sciencebasedmedicine.org. There’s actually quite a lot known about it, and it’s not so impressive as you might have been led to believe.

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JimG
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JimG

The “DRUG” does not have a positive effect. The thought of the “pill”, “capsule”, or “object” that goes into the mouth does. There is a difference between result and cause. But, I get your point. So, if any believed remedy works to help nearly any believed ailment… then there should be omnifixital, one pill that will cure all ills. With the astounding power of the placebo it is proven effective time and time again. Let us find one stand up doctor to promote it clad with white jacket and stethoscope draped around the neck. We can crowd fund it and… Read more »

JT
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JT

The Biology of Belief *~*~*

diane
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diane

But then why not give him a viatamin d pill and tell him it’s for joint pain? Or fish oil? Something my doctor actually recommends. And cheaper too. My doctor does not like glucosamine and told me not to take it.

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Jay S.
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Jay S.

I have to say that when my senior canines show relief of pain after receiving a glucosamine/chondroitin supplement I just shake my head knowing that their flexibility is improved by the mere suggestion and psychological impact of the following sentence: “here you go, boy, this will make you feel better!” Likewise, even homeopathic remedies have revealed remarkable results; full anal glands (I know, it’s a nasty topic) drain when given homeopathic Sulphur 30c. I knew my dogs were smart, I just didn’t realize they comprehended the mind over matter theory.

terry
Guest
terry

Funny how that works. My old dalmatian girl was limping in three of her legs and unable to reach down to her food bowl until I convinced her that Glucosamine & chondroitin will make her feel like a youngster again. Once she took on that suggestion she improved so much she was leaping over railings in about 3 months. SO yeah! Obviously dogs are smarter than we thought and can actually understand complex human communication.! 😀 Who knew?

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Lulu
Member
👍1298

Very enjoyable read! I knew this many years ago, and can now share educationally that ‘we make our own cholesterol’. Thanks Doc.

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CARBON BIGFOOT
Guest
CARBON BIGFOOT

Loose weight, use push-away at the table and avoid Type II Diabetes at all costs.

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Jitka
Guest
Jitka

Dr. Mercola’s Joint Support is excellent to get joints back in order. It works at the cause of the problem and not just by covering up the pain.

stan
Irregular
👍66
stan

rich, I use regular exercise. If I stop for a few days, my shoulders, neck and knees let me know. I also like curcumin and grape seed extract, which I take with some coconut oil.
Works for me, Stan

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Jay S
Guest
Jay S

Let me guess… you also probably believe that Fluoride is good for you (even though most our supply comes from CHINA who prohibits its use in their own country because it is a toxin byproduct from the aluminum industry), believe the Heart Association’s food pyramid is healthy and didn’t turn more than half of U.S. citizens into diabetics and that Lyme Disease is always “cured” with three weeks of antibiotics. Gee – I almost wonder if you don’t work for the pharmaceutical industry! While I wouldn’t purchase the “Cardiac Killer” formula, I would invest in supplements that replicate the product… Read more »

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Barry N
Guest
Barry N

Doc Gumshoe writes, “NAC is a standard treatment for acetaminophen toxicity leading to liver failure, although it produces fairly significant adverse effects when taken after alcohol consumption.” It’s not clear to me whether it is NAC or acetaminophen consumed after alcohol that produces adverse effects. Thanks, I enjoyed the article.

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Anon A. Mouse
Guest

Simplified he said:
A is treatment for B, although may cause C when D
So it is A that may cause C when D
So NAC can cause ‘fairly significant adverse effects’ when ‘NAC is taken after alcohol consumption’

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Dusty
Guest
Dusty

I have come to never click on anything that says to “click here” because I am almost always rewarded with an incredibly lengthy (copyrighters are supposedly paid by the number of words) diatribe that only leads eventually to another incredibly lengthy diatribe that may or may not include the asking price. Sometimes I “click” anyway, start to close the page and get a print version that can be skipped over. Still not worth bothering with, but in a very few cases I want the asking price after the inevitable discount. When I watched most of this specific ad, against my… Read more »

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Dwight
Guest

Dusty,
sounds like you are taking some spot on supplements – suggest looking at Vitamin K2 (not K1) to help with absorption of calcium and vitamin D. See Book – The Calcium Paradox,

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Dusty
Guest
Dusty

@Dwight: Mostly throwing rocks into the dark. Will check out Vitamin K2 and the book. Thank you.

steve
Guest
steve

Try organic bone broth – look at the Weston Price website, very helpful for my wife.

dunnydame
Member
👍962
dunnydame

Dr. KSS recommends taking a magnesium glycinate supplement. I’ve found a 200mg per pill one by KAL Vitamins (daily dose 2 tablets = 400mg). I think I bought them at Vitamin Cottage/Natural Grocers.
Penny

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diane
Guest
diane

Magnesium helped me get rid of my fibro. I prefer to get most of it from topical spray on liquid as too much of it internally does a number on my stomach.

diane
Guest
diane

Do some research on statins and you may find you can save your money on those also. I have and I refuse to take them from doctors who push them like candy. They have some very serious side effects and questionable positive effects.

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Patricia
Member
👍689

“As long as you take our magic pill, you’ll be OK.” That pitch tends to be the problem in both conventional medicine and the supplement industry. If you have an ongoing health problem and your doctor doesn’t even ask about your diet, exercise, and emotional state, then run, walk, stumble, or wheel yourself to a better doctor.

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Neena
Guest
Neena

The place for health is:

http://www.nutritionfacts.org. I am not paid by them or work for them but this person is trying to help humanity. The website is free. He does sell a few excellent books and DVDs.

Cheers

Invest_satx
Guest
Invest_satx

Well, if we are talking about what supplements we think are helping us, let’s talk about “senior moments.” I think turmeric and black pepper in an oil base may help prevent or ease those times when I reach for a word or phrase… and keep reaching…. and want to look it up on my smartyphone… and there’s the word!
If you might have sleep apnea, get checked and do something about it. Insufficient oxygen every night to your brain, eyes, and ears can be prevented to some degree.
I have been able to follow a few tips from this:
letswakeupfolks.blogspot.com/2014/10/mental-decline-and-what-can-actually-be.html

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Dave
Guest
Dave

about 5 years ago a product came out of cambridge university called ateronon, which was made from lycopene with a milk protein to make it absorb better and was a huge seller in Great Britain. Cambridge had tested 100’s of nutritional substances to see if any lowered ldl oxidation, this was the only one that did probably why mediterranean diet works. studies were being done at major universities all around the world on this. All of a sudden the company was sold and many articles now not on internet showing how effective it was. ldl oxidation is probably the main… Read more »

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Dave
Guest
Dave

You allude to the fact that Coenzyme Q10 is synthesized by our bodies, which it indeed is. It is not an essential nutrient and need not, under normal circumstances, be consumed in food even though we always get some in ordinary foods, both plant- and animal-derived. The reason that supplements are pushed by many folks is that it is on the same biosynthetic pathway as cholesterol, and when a person takes statins, that pathway is considerably inhibited (the point, of course, of taking statins — to reduce chol. synthesis in liver and intestine), and hence there is concern that statin… Read more »

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Michael Jorrin,
Guest
Michael Jorrin (aka Doc Gumshoe)

Many thanks for all the comments. Here are a few comments on the comments, which I hope will be helpful. To Rich Bartels, on arthritis & joint pain. It’s important to figure out whether you’re experiencing osteoarthritis, which is wear and deterioration in the joint, or rheumatoid arthritis (RA), which is an autoimmune reaction in which your own immune system erodes the smooth joint surfaces. I did a Doc Gumshoe piece about RA which posted on 10/31/2013. Prior to my total knee replacement last year, I tried glucosamine sulfate (not with chondroitin), then steroid shots, and finally hyaluronic acid injected… Read more »

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