my interview tomorrow nite of “five to thrive” internet radio

Hey folks–doing what should be an interesting interview looking back over my career which began in natural medicine and developed into integrative oncology, nutrition and botanical medicine. I’m being interviewed by Karolyn Gazella, coauthor with naturopathic oncologist Lise Alschuler of a wonderful book called ‘Five to Thrive’-inspired by both authors’ encounters with cancer  both in themselves and in their families–and the things they learned that helped them not only to survive, but to thrive.  I met Lise when we both spoke at an International Medicine Conference about cancer in Australia last June, and she asked me if I’d consider being interviewed on their show. So, tomorrow night (August 22nd  at 8PM EST.) , you can go to www.w4cs.com and tune in.  See you there!

Curcumin prevents progression from pre-diabetes to diabetes

Generally speaking, my strategies for approaching complex chronic health problems such as diabetes is multi-pronged–whole foods low glycemic diet, increase physical activity (especially resistance training, which has an insulin like effect), stress management (to reduce autonomic nervous system imbalance, reduce sympathetic tone, increase parasympathetic tone), and botanical-nutritional supplementation. However, such complex interventions are challenging to study with conventional clinical trial type approaches, and single interventions, such as 1 nutritional supplement, tend not to work as well as global complex diet and lifestyle interventions. So I was very impressed to run across a study in a diabetes journal (read the abstract here) in which 9 months of supplementing a fairly modest dose (< 1 gram per day) of curcumin (concentrated from the spice turmeric, the basis of virtually all curry dishes), prevented progression from pre-diabetes to diabetes.  In the placebo group, after 9 months, 16% of the trial participants had progressed from pre-diabetes to full blown type 2 diabetes. In the curcumin supplemented group, none progressed to type 2 diabetes. This is a pretty impressive result for a single supplement intervention. Although it is possible to fully reverse pre-diabetes and often even type 2 diabetes with a comprehensive nutritional-lifestyle program (and sometimes the medication Metformin as well–after all, integrative medicine is here to stay), its clear that curcumin supplementation is a useful component of any blood sugar normalizing strategy. Even insulin resistance (the earliest form of pre-diabetes) increases risk for many of the major modern life shortening diseases such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s dementia, and cancer, so it is well worth working to reverse.  And as I like to say, “a curry a day keeps the oncologist away”!

Back to the Blogosphere

Hi folks–haven’t posted since late 2009, its been a busy couple of years. I’ve been involved in a lot of projects, speaking, writing, and consulting for other physicians about their patients.  I’ve been involved in some new areas of study, one of which is telomere science (subject of the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2009), and which I think is potentially  one of the most significant biological discoveries, with very immediate applications for human health, and especially for healthy aging–something of great personal interest to me as I find myself in my mid 60s.

The length of our telomeres–the little caps that protect the end of our chromosomes, is what allows our stem cells to continue to populate the 50-100 trillion cells that make up each of our bodies. How we live, in terms of our nutrition, our environment, our physical activity levels, how much stress we’re under, and how we manage it, and to a minor extent, our genetic heritage, all influence how rapidly our telomere’s shorten. Ground breaking research by Maria Blasco in Spain, and many others, have indicated that the % of our cells with critically short telomeres is an excellent indicator of our risk for cancer and other degenerative diseases, as well as our likely health span and lifespan. I’ll have a lot more to say about this emerging field over the next few months and years.  Its good to be back!