Tony Vendryes: A New Year – A New You

 (Jamaica Gleaner) Tuesday | January 12, 2016 | 12:00 AM
3D renders of two female skeletons one slim and one overweight
New Year is always an opportunity for new beginnings. Do you know that you are a work in progress? You are a remarkable combination of body, mind, and spirit. You are never stuck in any given situation. You are designed with the amazing ability to heal and change yourself. In a recent article, I described ways for using your mind for healing. Today, let’s look at other ways that your body can repair itself.

The human body is composed of tiny units called cells. Cells are the body’s building blocks and the actual units of life. Medical science understands that health and disease occur at a cellular level: When your cells are healthy, you are healthy; and if they are sick, you get sick.

It is estimated that the average human body is composed of 70 trillion cells or more; however, your body is never ever stuck in one state. Every moment of every day, old, damaged, unhealthy cells in your body die, and immediately, new ones are created to replace them. In other words, your body is designed by its creator with its own intrinsic capacity to repair, heal, and renew itself. It is estimated that in any one year, your body replaces over 90 per cent of its cells.

But the quality and integrity of the new cells your body creates depend on the nutrients they are provided on a daily basis. You are indeed what you eat. A concept called cellular nutrition is a simple strategy to provide cells with all the nutrients they need for healing and wellness. It puts the wisdom of the body to work. With this approach, the body performs its magic, and you feel the difference.

Medical science has worked out what key nutrients the body needs: protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, trace elements, botanical factors (herbs), fibre, and water. Nutritional science has the technology to create a simple programme of supplements that delivers cellular nutrition. I am fully convinced that in today’s world, taking nutritional supplements is necessary for optimal health, and even conservative authorities like the American Medical Association now agree with me.

Based on ongoing research directed by Dr David Heber at UCLA’s Mark Hughes Cellular and Molecular Laboratory, a patented programme of nutritional supplements was successfully used by tens of millions of people all over the world. This is the programme I use myself and recommend to all my patients.



This supplement programme includes three basic items:

– A nutritional shake drink that replaces a meal. This provides the body’s cells with all the macronutrients it needs: proteins, carbohydrates, healthy fats, and fibre. Although there are now many shakes on the market, very few can be designated “a meal replacement shake” as it must first fulfil very stringent nutritional guidelines set by the FDA. The cellular nutrition shake I recommend satisfies those requirements and is a real meal in a convenient drink.

– A multivitamin/mineral tablet that supplies the cells with the full spectrum of micronutrients: vitamins, minerals, trace elements, and vegetable extracts.

– A herbal capsule called Cell Activator that promotes optimal cellular function while protecting the cell from damage. It contains ingredients like aloe vera, medicinal reishi mushrooms, pycnogenol, pomegranate, resveratrol, and alpha lipoic acid. These help the cells absorb and utilise the ingredients in the shake and the multivitamin tablet.



How you take supplements is very important for optimal cellular nutrition. Replacing one regular meal with the shake each day can profoundly affect how your body functions and makes a convenient and nutritious breakfast. It can also be used to lose weight by replacing two meals with two shakes daily. The impact of the shake can be further amplified with a patented herbal tea blend.

Take your multivitamin and cell activator supplements with each meal three times per day to ensure that your cells get optimal nutrition all the time. The popular one-a-day multivitamin approach, though convenient, is inadequate as the body cannot absorb all the nutrients it requires for the day at one sitting.

People often experience a great shift in energy and well-being soon after starting this programme, but the real long-term benefits are derived from consistent use over several months, so be patient.



As the term ‘supplements’ implies, they are designed to complement your regular food intake. It is important to eat a nutritious and balanced diet. Pay particular attention to your intake of healthy protein (plant protein, fish, and organic poultry) along with seven to nine servings of vegetables and fruit daily. Set aside time to relax, eat slowly, chew your food well, and eat consciously.

What you drink is also vital for cellular nutrition as about two-thirds of the cell is composed of water. While clean water is the best choice of liquids, other healthy beverages include herbal teas (especially green tea), coconut water, fresh vegetables, and fruit juices. Additional water is supplied from water-rich foods like soups, salads and vegetables, and fruit.

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Ounce Of Prevention: Use Your Mind To Heal Your Body – Dr Tony Vendryes

(Jamaica Gleaner), Tuesday | December 29, 2015

The longer  I practise medicine, the more in awe I am of the power of the mind to influence our health and well-being. The mind can heal, and it can harm. So many of us are suffering from problems that have originated in, or have been magnified by, what has been going on in the mind.

So what really is the mind? It’s important to establish that ‘mind’ is not synonymous with brain. Instead, the mind consists of processes such as thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and attitudes. The brain is the organ we use for those activities. For the sake of simplicity, let us consider mind as synonymous with thought. Scientists have concluded that thoughts are – like everything else in the universe – energy. The energy of thought is extremely powerful, particularly because we can choose and we can direct our thoughts.

The power of the mind and thought was known from ancient times. Wise King Solomon had this to say about the power of thought:

“As a man /woman thinks in his/her heart so is he/she.”

– Proverbs 23:7

Until the 17th century, almost every medical system in the world treated the mind and body as a whole. Then, Western doctors started seeing the mind and body as two distinct entities. This view regarded the body as a kind of a machine, with separate, independent parts totally unconnected to the mind.

In modern times, however, an army of psychologists, doctors, nuclear physicists, and other scientists have been conducting extensive research on the mind-body connection. Some of the compelling evidence coming out of this research can be summarised as follows:

– Mind, thought, and the body are inseparably interconnected.

– Our thought affects all aspects of body function and health.

– One person’s thought can affect not only his own body, but other people’s as well.

– Replacing an old pattern of thought with a new one creates a new state in both mind and body.

The US-based National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health considers the following as some mind-body therapies: hypnosis, cognitive-behavioural therapy, support group therapy, meditation, prayer, affirmations, yoga, Tai chi, Qigong, biofeedback, relaxation, creative arts therapies – art, music, and dance.

Many of these approaches can be self-administered, and the individual can be easily trained to use them. They are very self-empowering, relatively inexpensive, and have very little risk or side effects when properly utilised. I would strongly encourage readers to explore the use of any of these modalities, especially if they are having problems that are not responding to the conventional medical approach.


As we begin the new year, I invite all of us to try the use of affirmations. In its most basic definition, an affirmation is a statement that affirms something to be true. A positive affirmation is a positive phrase that you repeat to yourself and which describes how you want to be.

The theory behind the use of affirmations is that when you first start saying your positive affirmation, it may not feel true, but with repetition, it sinks into your subconscious, you really start to believe it, and eventually it becomes your reality. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Over time, it overwrites any limiting or negative beliefs you may have about yourself or about your ability to do something and replaces them with positive thoughts and beliefs that instill confidence, positivity, and healing.

New Year Affirmation

I invite readers to embark on a personal experiment. Each day for the month of January, you will repeat this affirmation seven times in the morning on rising and seven times at night before retiring. It should be spoken in a positive and convincing manner, and you can make a copy of the statement from which it can be read. Repeating it while looking at your face in a mirror may increase its effectiveness.

This affirmation for healing is:

Day by day

In every way

I am healed….

I am healthy….

I am happy….

At the end of January, you can then make an assessment of whatever difference you may notice in your health and well-being.

I wish for all our readers a healthy, happy, and successful 2016.

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Ounce of Prevention: Is Your Thyroid Making You Tired? by Dr Tony Vendryes

(Jamaica Gleaner) Tuesday | December 8, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Doctors report that excessive tiredness or fatigue is the commonest complaint their patients make. An under-active thyroid (hypothyroidism) is a frequent though often unrecognised cause of a lack of energy.

Throughout the world, millions of people with hypothyroidism, mostly women, go undiagnosed. Often, these women are told their problem is in their head, while its really originating in the neck.

The thyroid gland is a small butterfly shaped organ located at the front of the neck, on both sides of the voice box or larynx. It produces thyroid hormones that serve many important functions, including the control of our body’s energy production, temperature and metabolism.

Common symptoms of low thyroid function include – low energy, weight gain, dry skin, constipation, hair loss, brittle nails, depression, irritability, low sex drive, poor memory, decreased sweating and intolerance to cold and/or heat.

If uncorrected hypothyroidism can lead to serious health problems such as heart disease, elevated blood cholesterol, osteoporosis, infertility, anaemia, persistent depression and recurrent infections.


Is your thyroid sick?


Females are seven times more likely than men to have this problem especially after having a baby or miscarriage, during the menopause and after the age of 65.

Conventional medicine depends heavily on the results of blood tests to diagnose low thyroid function, though experts agree that blood tests alone are often misleading. Because detailed questioning and examination of patients is necessary, but often lacking, many cases go undiagnosed. Subsequent blood tests can assist in confirming a doctor’s suspicion.


Check your temperature


A simple at-home test of your resting body temperature, a Barnes Test, can be most useful. Your body temperature reflects your metabolic rate, which, in turn, is influenced by thyroid hormones. A low resting body temperature (a positive Barnes Test) strongly suggests hypothyroidism. If your temperature is low and you have symptoms of an under-active thyroid, discuss the matter with your doctor to confirm diagnosis and begin appropriate treatment.


Consider your immune system


The most frequent cause of hypothyroidism today is a disturbance of the immune system, Hashimoto’s disease, named after the Japanese doctor who first described it. This is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks the thyroid gland and damages it. A special blood test can be done to help diagnose the condition. Stressful situations (including pregnancy, abortions and menopause) as well as overwork and infections, may trigger this condition.


Avoid these chemicals


The thyroid requires iodide to function, and related chemicals (halogens) like chlorine, fluorine and bromine can compete with iodine and negatively affect thyroid function. Environmental chemicals and certain food additives can thus contribute greatly to this disorder.

British researchers report that people with high blood levels of fluorine chemicals often found in food wrappings, non-stick pans, carpets and fabrics have a higher risk of thyroid disease. US studies show a high risk of hypothyroidism from exposure to the household chemical perchlorate. In addition we are constantly exposed to chlorine in our tap water.


Iodine deficiency


A dietary deficiency of iodine often leads to an enlarged thyroid gland (called a goiter) that may become under-active. Bromine has now replaced iodine in almost all baking flours, and the iodine in iodised table salt is not a very good replacement.

Even if enough iodine is available, some natural substances block iodine from being used by the thyroid. These are known as goitrogens and are found in modest amounts in turnips, cabbage, mustard, cassava root, soybeans, peanuts, pine nuts and millet. But you would need to eat a great deal of these foods to create any problem, and cooking renders these goitrogens inactive.




Several people are hypothyroid because of treatment for an overactive thyroid gland administered by doctors. These treatments include surgery, drugs or radiation and the damage to the gland that results is often irreversible. Dealing naturally with the underlying causes of hyperthyroidism can help avoid these drastic therapies.

– Hormome replacement: This is the standard medical answer to hypothyroidism, and synthetic drugs are usually used to replace the lacking thyroid hormone. These are often necessary and very helpful. However, many holistic physicians, like myself, prefer natural thyroid-hormone replacement, and use other prescription medicines made from animal thyroid glands. You may wish to discuss this option with your doctor.

– Balance your diet: Seafood is the best natural source of iodine. Supplementing with additional iodine from sea salt, sea iodine or sea vegetables like kelp and dulse, promote better thyroid function. The Cellular Nutritional Programme is very useful as it contains a blend of added nutrients that improve the metabolism. Large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids will help heal any inflammation of the thyroid gland.

Ensure optimal intake of zinc, vitamins C, E and B complex, and protein, while minimising sugar and starch in the diet.

Immune system support: Those with immune dysfunction will benefit from supplementing with high dosages of anti-oxidants like vitamins A, C, E and selenium. The herbs schizandra, rosemary, pycnogenol, garlic, ginger and turmeric are also helpful.

– Stress management: Both under-active and overactive thyroid disorders are often triggered by stress. Learning to handle stress in a healthy way is very important. Various relaxation techniques may be usefully applied.

– Exercise: This increases the metabolism and has many other hormonal benefits. Certain yoga postures, such as the shoulder stand, are particularly helpful as they stimulate, massage and increase blood flow to the thyroid.

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Avoid a fat liver! – by Dr Tony Vendryes


(Jamaica Gleaner) Tuesday | November 17, 2015 

Someone once said, “Life depends on the liver.”

The liver is the biggest, heaviest and most complex internal organ in the body with many important functions. It makes bile for breaking down dietary fats, it absorbs and converts blood glucose into glycogen, produces urea (the main impurity in urine), makes certain important proteins like albumin, filters out and neutralises harmful substances like alcohol and drugs from the blood, stores vitamins like vitamin A, D, K and B12. The liver is also responsible for producing about 80 per cent of the cholesterol in your body.

Normally, the liver can handle a lot of abuse and has a tremendous ability to regenerate itself after damage and stress. Unfortunately, most people are unaware of a liver problem that researchers say is now the most common liver disorder in developed countries. It is estimated to affect almost a quarter of the American population. It is called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The name speaks for itself: an accumulation of fat in the liver, occupying over 10 per cent of the organ, in people who do not abuse alcohol. This distinction is important as in the past, a fatty liver was typically associated with alcohol abuse.

As the levels of obesity escalate, medical experts now recognise that we are facing an epidemic of NAFLD. The disease can strike anyone, but certain groups are at high risk:

In The obese: 90 per cent of obese individuals are at risk of damaging their liver with fat, especially where the excess fat is stored around the waistline. Fat around the waist (truncal obesity) is not just stored under the skin. It surrounds and infiltrates the abdominal organs, particularly the liver, where fat globules actually enter the liver cells and damage them.

In The diabetic: 50 per cent of diabetics have NAFLD, and just about all obese diabetics will have this problem. Elevated levels of insulin in the blood and insulin resistance are strongly associated with both Type 2 diabetes and obesity. The common bedfellows play a major role in fatty liver disease.

In The elderly: The prevalence of this condition rises with age, and recent studies show that over 65 per cent of persons over age 80 have NAFLD. Unfortunately, obese children may already have fatty livers.

In High cholesterol: A very high percentage of individuals with elevated levels of bad (LDL) cholesterol and triglycerides have excess fats damaging their livers. But don’t rush off to take cholesterol-lowering drugs, as they will injure your liver even more. Treat the cause, not the effect.

A person with the risk factors mentioned above can detect a fatty liver with a simple abdominal ultrasound examination. Like diabetes and high blood pressure, this liver condition is often initially silent, only to cause life-threatening problems many years later.

In some cases, patients may have only non-specific complaints like low energy, fatigue, malaise and mild upper abdominal pain. Laboratory tests for liver function may or may not reveal any abnormality. Later in the progression of the disease, signs of inflammation of the liver (hepatitis), cirrhosis, liver failure or liver cancer may develop.

Treatment and prevention

Conventional medicine does not have a specific drug or treatment for this problem. However, the condition can be largely prevented and often reversed by simple nutritional and lifestyle modification.

Losing weight with a nutritionally sound weight-loss programme will result in a significant reduction of excess fat in the liver. I have found a low carbohydrate, cellular nutrition-type programme very effective in this regard.

Reversing abdominal obesity is an essential part of any treatment plan.

Soy products contain a compound phosphatidylcholine, which research has shown helps to halt the progress of liver damage in NAFLD.

Controlling blood sugar levels is also very important in managing this problem. A diet low in simple carbohydrates along with supplements like chromium and the omega-3 fatty acids greatly improves blood sugar control. Regular exercise will amplify the benefits.

Antioxidant supplementation with vitamins A, C, E, selenium, alpha lipoic acid, coenzymeQ10, green tea and glutathione is important in protecting liver cells from ongoing damage.

Detoxification programmes will help relieve the toxic burden on an already compromised liver. The herbs, milk thistle and aloe vera are particularly useful in this regard. Alcohol and other liver toxins must be absolutely avoided.

So, if you are ‘fluffy’, have a spare tyre, a love handle or a beer belly, this is a warning sign that you are on your way to developing a fatty liver.

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Dr Tony Vendryes: The era of supergerms

(Jamaica Gleaner) Published:Wednesday | November 11, 2015
As Jamaica struggles to come to grips with this current series of deadly hospital-acquired infections, the ‘who to blame game’ goes on its merry way.

While the authorities, the media and our medical pundits struggle with the problem by in-depth analysis, sophisticated laboratory investigations and powerful antibiotic drugs, it is also necessary to step back and look at the big picture. We are not alone in this dilemma.

In the affluent United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that about 1.7 million hospital-associated bacterial infections cause or contribute to 99,000 deaths each year.

Other sources suggest that more than two million hospital patients become infected annually, costing up to US$11 billion.


Mankind has taken on the ‘at war mentality’. From every corner, we have nations warring against nations, religions against religions, races against races and brother against brother.

There is the war against crime, cancer and corruption. We have gone to war against nature, destroying ecosystems, habitats and the environment. In the war against infections, perhaps the humble germ, the bacterium, is teaching pompous man an important lesson. In a medical journal editorial, an infectious disease expert commented that Homo sapiens is an alien species on earth and that there are more bacteria on earth than all other living organisms.

The editorial went on, “We lived with arrogant optimism that we had conquered infections. How wrong we were! Bacteria have reclaimed their premier status and superiority and won the war against humans. They are literally mocking our intellect, knowledge and antibiotic weaponry.”

Hospitals and intensive-care units all around the world are struggling to deal with what doctors call nosocomial or institution-acquired infections. Some of the germs causing this problem are resistant to every known antibiotic drug on planet Earth!


Recently, scientists fully mapped out the microbial make-up of healthy humans. They discovered that the human body is home to a vast number of bacteria, viruses and fungi. Scientists call this collection of organisms the microbiome. For every cell that exists in your body, there are 10 bacteria in residence there. These bacteria are quite sophisticated. Their genes collectively outnumber human genes by a factor of hundreds. These microbes live in different parts of the body, including the nasal passages, the mouth, the skin, the genitals and the intestinal tract. About 4,000 species of bacteria live in the intestines and help digest food while manufacturing important vitamins and antiinflammatory substances. About 300 species occupy the vagina, where they work to maintain a healthy environment resistant to infection and inflammation.


Germs are smart


It is estimated that 30 million pounds of antibiotics are used in America annually on animals, and only about three million pounds (10 per cent) on humans. This is enough to give every American man, woman, and child 10 teaspoons of pure antibiotic medication every year. Traces of antibiotics are now found in foods and waters all around the world, much of it coming from animal farms. Bacteria thus learn how to live with these chemicals.

At the same time, the overuse and abuse of antibiotics by the medical profession, also leads to the development of more dangerous antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria. Yes, wisely applied antibiotics have saved many lives, but wonton use has had disastrous effects.

Bacteria are smart and can actually change their structure in order to defend themselves against drugs. These smart bacteria can also pass this information to other bacteria and teach them to become antibiotic resistant also. This is the era of the ‘superbugs’ when many microbes previously helpful and harmless to humans have been transformed into pathogenic and dangerous foes.

In response, drug companies have been forced to create more powerful antibiotic drugs with more severe side effects. But germs have been very intelligent and have been winning this drug game. There has been no significant breakthrough new antibiotic developed in the last 10 years.


Germs and immunity


The human body is equipped with a system designed to facilitate a healthy relationship between germs and ourselves. Ideally, the immune system allows man to live in harmony with the vast number of bacteria inside and outside the body. It is no coincidence that wherever many bacteria are found in the body, the immune system cells are also concentrated there. For example, the digestive tract is home to vast numbers of bacteria. One expert estimated that the stools from an average bowel movement contains more bacteria that the number of stars in the known universe! To complement that, more than 60 per cent of all the body’s immune cells are found in and surrounding the intestines.

Researchers have found that children allowed to play outdoors and dirty themselves with soil, etc, develop stronger immune systems than children who are always indoors and kept squeaky clean. A ‘healthy’ exposure to germs seems important for the development of a competent immune system.


Prebiotics and probiotics before antibiotics


In the world of germs, nature has created its own checks and balances. In any bacterial habitat, there is a complex blend of good and bad germs. An overgrowth of the bad bacteria creates a problem called dysbiosis.

Prebiotics are substances that promote the healthy bacteria. Prebiotics mostly come from certain dietary fibres called oligosaccharides. When eaten these are not digested, but stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria. Sources of oligosaccharides include fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains as well as nutritional supplements. In previous articles, I mentioned the prebiotic properties of honey and aloe vera.

Probiotics, on the other hand, are very beneficial bacteria that can be found in various foods. Eating these foods add these healthy germs like the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium families of bacteria to your intestinal tract. Probiotic bacteria are naturally found in fermented foods like miso, yoghurt, tempeh and sauerkraut. They can also be taken is supplement form.

Perhaps we need to make peace, not war, with our germs and our environment.

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Rich but malnourished – Well-off Jamaicans eating their way to illness


(Jamaica Gleaner) Sunday | November 8, 2015
 ST MICHAEL, Barbados:

More than 40 years after implementing various interventions to address chronic malnutrition among the poorest members of the population, the region is now struggling to stem the growing incidence of malnutrition among more affluent Caribbean nationals.

Researchers have concluded that more persons in the region who can afford to eat better are now buying their way into malnutrition – a result of poor food choices – with obesity now emerging as the new form of malnutrition.

The research has identified this bizarre phenomenon as the major contributor to a spike in chronic non-communicable diseases (CNCD) among Caribbean populations.

The document, ‘Hunger and nutrition from bellyful to body fuel’, a publication of the Inter-American Institute for Co-operation on Agriculture (IICA), presents research findings that show clearly malnutrition is no longer synonymous with undernutrition.

“Undernutrition is no longer automatically associated with the poor, downtrodden and hungry. Malnutrition is now increasingly being associated with the other extreme – over-nutrition – which is linked to rising affluence, availability, easy access and affordability of a diverse range of food products generally referred to as ’empty calories’,” nutrition experts have concluded.

“This has resulted from a rise in consumption of a diet high in refined carbohydrates, fats and salt, and a fall in consumption of fruits, vegetables, roots, tubers, legumes and nuts,” the nutrition experts further explained.

According to nutritionist Lisa Hunt: “Such changes in diet and lifestyles, referred to as ‘nutrition transition’, are a direct and undesirable consequence of economic development. Such transitions are usually measured by expanding urbanisation and globalisation which enabled access to a range of ‘Western diet’ food products.

“These foods tend to be high in fat, sugar, salt, refined carbohydrates, and low in fibre, usually processed, fast and convenience foods.”


Empty calories


The document which was released at the Caribbean Pacific Agri-Food Forum held at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill campus last week warns that while those foods referred to as ’empty calories’ do satisfy hunger, they do not provide the body with the fuel it needs to power the various internal organs and external functions, the consequences of which are adversely impacting the overall regional health status.

“It is the overconsumption of such foods that has caused a sharp spike in CNCDs among Caribbean populations. Even more worrisome is that CNCDs are now strongly linked to a rise in adult diseases, among infants and children, particularly diabetes,” the researchers noted.

In a review of school-feeding programmes in selected Caribbean countries, Robert Best (2012) observed that the type of meals served consisted mainly of bread made of white flour, with cheese or butter, rice and skimmed milk.

Best said attention to nutritional content during the early stages and attempts to make the meal colourful or attractive to the children were virtually non-existent.

With imports still dominating the regional food system at an estimated US$5 billion per year, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago, Haiti and The Bahamas accounting for most of this bill, the document notes that both extremes of malnutrition can exist in a country at the same time.


Fats and oils


But much of the decline in health has come at the hands of Caribbean people, with the consumption of fats and oils estimated at almost twice the recommended level in 2002.

This was attributed to the fact that several popular dishes and bakery products make regular use of vegetable oils, margarine, butter and shortening, especially for fried foods.

As a first step to addressing this health catastrophe, ‘Hunger and nutrition from bellyful to body fuel’ urges Caribbean nationals at the individual, household and national levels to ‘fuel up’ on a mix of foods that have the greatest nutritional value and not ‘fill up’ on empty calorie foods.

“Although they are attractively packaged, tasty and filling, empty calorie foods, often called ‘junk foods’, contain little or no nutritional value. Choosing to consume too much empty calorie foods is detrimental to good health,” the nutritionist warned.

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Dangers Of Eating Red Meat by Dr Tony Vendryes

For almost 30 years, I have been saying that a plant-based diet has significant health benefits. Now, the World Health Organisation (WHO) research published this past week, confirms that eating red meats, especially processed meats, is a major risk factor for developing cancer.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), all meats obtained from livestock (all mammals, including pigs) are considered red meats because they contain higher levels of the iron pigment myoglobin than non-mammalian meats like chicken or fish.

The WHO findings relate specifically to cancer, but researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health had already shown that red meat consumption could shorten your life. They found that one additional serving of red meat a day contributed to a 13 per cent increased risk of dying, and an added daily serving of processed red meat (a hot dog or two slices of bacon) increased the risk of dying by 20 per cent. A daily serving of red meat boosted the risk of heart disease death by almost 20 per cent and the risk of dying from cancer by 13 per cent.

Other earlier medical research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that heavy consumers of red meat double their risk of developing colon cancer compared to those who eat little red meat. Although the study did not specify, I suspect that heavy red meat eaters probably have at least four times greater risk of colon cancer compared to people who have no red meat at all.

Research on total vegetarians (who consume no animal product) suggests an almost total absence of colon cancer in that group. As colon cancer accounts for 20 per cent of all cancers, these research findings are very important. If doctors had discovered a new drug that would eliminate 20 per cent of the cancer in the world, there would be no end to the media publicity and fanfare it would be given. As another breast cancer awareness month winds down, have you seen any headlines encouraging our ladies to eat more vegetables?

Other investigations also demonstrate the benefit of a plant-based diet against several other cancers as well as other lifestyle-related problems like heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension.

Cancer-Causing Chemical

There is a chemical additive called sodium nitrite that food manufacturers add to virtually all packaged meat products – breakfast sausages, hams, hot dogs, bacon, turkey bacon, bologna, and many more. This chemical gives these meats a reddish colour so they still look fresh and helps extend their shelf life. When you eat it, highly cancer-forming chemicals known as nitrosamines are created in your body. 

Experimental Animals
Bacon has received the most attention as the very high cooking temperatures used to fry bacon are conducive to nitrosamine formation, but barbecued and jerked meats have a similar problem.

Approximately 300 of these compounds have been tested, and 90 per cent of them cause cancer in a wide variety of experimental animals. Since nitrosamines behave the same in human as in animals, it is highly likely that they also cause cancer in humans.

Research published in the journal, Cancer Research showed that children who consumed these chemicals had a quadrupling of brain tumours and a 700 per cent increase in leukaemia.

A University of Hawaii study that tracked the dietary habits of nearly 200,000 people for seven years revealed that the consumption of processed meats containing sodium nitrite caused a 6,700 per cent increase in pancreatic cancer

The Safe Shopper’s Bible (a nutrition handbook) explains that European countries banned the use of nitrite and nitrates in 1997 while the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has allowed their continued use in the USA. Jamaica seems to follow the lead of the US in these matters

The USDA actually tried to ban them from all packaged meats in the 1970s, but their effort was overpowered by the influence of meat-packing companies. So the ingredient is still legal to use, even though it causes cancer.

Higher Risk

Since vitamin C and vitamin E inhibit nitrosamine formation. they are now being added to some cured meats to lower nitrosamine formation.

Other Health Risks

A higher risk of cancer is just one of several health reasons to avoid eating commercial red meat. The saturated animal fat found in red meat contributes to heart disease, atherosclerosis, and other inflammatory disorders.

Commercial red meat contains contaminants such as heavy metals, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and environmental pollutants. These are absorbed into your body when you eat commercial meats.

Getting Off Red Meat

Some readers are already following a plant-based diet, but others of you aren’t sure exactly how to start. You can begin to reduce your consumption of red meat gradually. Experiment with tasty and nutritious vegetarian foods.

It is also useful, though not essential, to do a cleansing of your digestive tract when you are making a significant change in your diet.

That is an easy start to eliminating red meat from your diet. The bottom line on red meat is that there is much evidence indicating that you may improve your health and minimise your risk of cancer and early death by having a plant-based diet.

Other Suggestions

Practices cellular nutrition and take lots of anti-oxidant supplementation. Vitamins C and E, in particular, can help prevent nitrates forming in your food.

If you don’t want to give up meats, eat only fresh organic and free-range chicken and turkey, and choose meats that do not have nitrates listed as one of the ingredients.

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Processed Meat & Cancer (The Choice To Do Or Not To Do Is Always Your Own!!!)

Processed meat and Cancer

(Jamaica Observer) Sunday, November 01, 2015    


Processed meat AND CANCER

LAST Monday, an International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) report declared that processed meats raise the risk of colorectal cancer, making headlines worldwide.

IARC, the cancer agency of the World Health Organization (WHO), evaluated the carcinogenicity of the consumption of red meat and processed meat and classified the consumption of red meat as probably carcinogenic to humans, while processed meat was classified as carcinogenic to humans based on “sufficient evidence in humans that the consumption of processed meat causes colorectal cancer”.

The IARC says red meat refers to all types of mammalian muscle meat, such as beef, veal, pork, lamb, mutton, horse, and goat. While processed meat refers to meat that has been transformed through salting, curing, fermentation, smoking, or other processes to enhance flavour or improve preservation.

“Most processed meats contain pork or beef, but processed meats may also contain other red meats, poultry, offal, or meat by-products such as blood, the IARC said in its news release last week. “Examples of processed meat include hot dogs (frankfurters), ham, sausages, corned beef, and biltong or beef jerky as well as canned meat and meat-based preparations and sauces.”

Since the report was made public, several questions have been raised about its public health implications and the Jamaica Observer sought to find out if Jamaicans will stop eating processed meat as a result of the report.

The general consensus: No. Some did say, however, that they will eat processed meat in moderation.

One woman told Your Health Your Wealth that although she will not stop eating processed meat because of its link to cancer, she will minimise her consumption of processed meat for other health reasons.

“Everything you eat can kill you, and persons who do not eat processed meat still develop cancer,” she said, adding that as that reason the report is not a deterrent.

She related that a few days after the report first made headlines, one of her relatives died from cancer.

“She was in her 30s and a Seventh-day Adventist who didn’t eat that kind of thing anyway, and she’s not here anymore,” the woman said, with a shrug.

Another Jamaican also said he will not stop eating processed meat for the simple fact that he likes meat. He also said that not enough has been explained about the link between processed meat and cancer.

“How much makes it bad? Does the way it’s prepared have anything to do with it? he asked. “If that is explained better, and they say daily/weekly eating, for example, or X amount of grams per week or whatever is explained, then I may consider it. But not with the little information I see now.”

He admitted, though, that the information might be out there, but he has just not accessed it.

Meanwhile, the IARC news release admitted that the consumption of meat varies greatly between countries, with from a few per cent up to 100 per cent of people eating red meat, depending on the country, and somewhat lower proportions eating processed meat.

According to the release, the experts concluded that each 50 gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18 per cent.

“For an individual, the risk of developing colorectal cancer because of their consumption of processed meat remains small, but this risk increases with the amount of meat consumed,” said Dr Kurt Straif, head of the IARC Monographs Programme. “In view of the large number of people who consume processed meat, the global impact on cancer incidence is of public health importance.”

The IARC Working Group considered more than 800 studies that investigated associations of more than a dozen types of cancer with the consumption of red meat or processed meat in many countries and populations with diverse diets.

Having received a number of queries, expressions of concern and requests for clarification following the publication of the report, WHO in a statement last Thursday said the report is not to encourage people to stop eating meat.

“The latest IARC review does not ask people to stop eating processed meats, but indicates that reducing consumption of these products can reduce the risk of colorectal cancer,” WHO said.

The organisation went further to say that it has a standing group of experts who regularly evaluate the links between diet and disease and that early next year, they will meet to begin looking at the public health implications of the latest science and the place of processed meat and red meat within the context of an overall healthy diet.

But, what is colorectal cancer?

According to the United States’ National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health, colorectal cancer is cancer that starts in the colon or rectum, which are parts of the large intestine — the lower part of the body’s digestive system.

“During digestion, food moves through the stomach and small intestine into the colon. The colon absorbs water and nutrients from the food and stores waste matter (stool). Stool moves from the colon into the rectum before it leaves the body,” the National Cancer Institute states.

It cites colorectal cancer as the third most common type of cancer in men and women in the United States.

And, the incidence of colorectal cancer in men has increased in Jamaica.

During her lecture on Cancers in Jamaica over 60 years at the Jamaica Cancer Society’s 60th anniversary celebration launch in April, consultant urologist at the University Hospital of the West Indies Dr Belinda Morrison said formal documentation of cancer incidence in Jamaica began with the Jamaica Cancer Registry, which was established in 1958. The registry has published regular comprehensive five-year reports since its inception, documenting cancer incidence (new cases diagnosed) in the Kingston and St Andrew region. She explained that using Kingston and St Andrew for data collection for the registry was a strategic move as it represented the hub of most medical care at that time and also represents 24 per cent of the population with a good blend of both urban and rural areas.

The last report was published in 2010 and covered the period 2003-2007.

“A total of 4,981 new cases were recorded for the five-year period; 2,536 for males and 2,445 for females (A significant increase in numbers from earlier periods, with 3,396 new cancers diagnosed between 1978 and 1982 and 3,652 new cases diagnosed between 1983 and 1987),” Dr Morrison had said then. “The leading cancers in men were: prostate, lung and colon. In women, the leading cancers remained: breast, cervix, colon. Overall, in males and females the leading cancer sites were: prostate, breast, colon, lung, and cervix. Cancers were now more common in men, compared to women.”

She explained that the last report of the Jamaica Cancer Registry showed that colorectal cancer incidence has increased in males. Dr Morrison said it is believed that this will continue to increase with screening and detection.

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An Ounce of Prevention: Breast cancer – prevention is the cure by Dr Tony Vendryes

(Jamaica Gleaner) Tuesday | October 6, 2015

Breast cancer is the commonest cancer in women. Breast Cancer Awareness Month is once again here. From its inception in America in 1985,  it has focused on the early detection of breast cancer, mainly by regular mammogram testing, as the most effective way to fight this disease.

Is this the best approach to breast cancer? Cancer research indicates that by the time a breast cancer is detected by mammogram, the disease has already been present for about eight years.

In my opinion, cancer is not a thing to wait for, then treat. Winning the war against cancer means preventing cancer. Breast cancer can be prevented.

Today, the chance of a woman developing breast cancer, at some time in her life, is about one in eight. Back in 1950, the risk was one in 20. Question: What has changed so dramatically? Answer: The way we live, our modern environment and how we now treat our bodies.

Medical research shows breast cancer is linked to lifestyle and environmental factors that can be controlled.

The recent expensive trend to search for a breast-cancer gene is of limited value. The causes of breast cancer are more than 90 per cent environmental and less than 10 per cent genetic.


Causes of breast cancer

The evidence is overwhelming that the female sex hormone, oestrogen, is closely related to the development of breast cancer. Oestrogen encourages the cells in the breast to multiply rapidly and increases the presence of abnormal cells. Most types of breast cancer are called oestrogen-dependent cancers. 

The use of oral contraceptives and oestrogen-replacement therapy, especially with early and prolonged usage can cause breast cancer. Repeated mammograms before the menopause: Data from the National Cancer Institute in the US indicates that, among women under 35, mammography could cause 75 cases of breast cancer for every 15 case it identifies.

Some non-hormonal prescription drugs such as some blood-pressure medicines, antibiotics, tranquillisers, antidepressants, cholesterol-lowering drugs, and the very drugs used to treat cancer itself can also result in women developing the disease. Indeed, patients on chemotherapy have an increased risk of developing other types of cancer.


Diet environmental factors

A diet high in animal fats contaminated with cancer-causing and oestrogen-like chemicals. Low dietary intake of fruit, vegetables and fibre. Exposure in the home or workplace to chemicals such as cleansers, aerosols, air fresheners, pesticides, or pollution from urban traffic, industrial and chemical factories are risk factors too.


Lifestyle factors:

Inactivity, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle. Alcohol and tobacco, especially with early and excessive use. Prolonged use of dark hair dyes. Prolonged stress, when poorly managed.

Low vitamin-D levels associated with lack of exposure to sunshine.

In addition to avoiding the risks listed above, some key lifestyle recommendations should be strongly publicised during BCAM and, indeed, the entire year.


Eat anti-cancer foods

Food can protect against cancer. Aim to consume seven or more servings of vegetables and fruit daily. Cruciferons vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage are particularly important. They help eliminate excess oestrogen from the body. Despite propaganda to the contrary, soy protects against breast cancer. It contains substances called selective estrogen receptor modulators. They block oestrogen receptors that relate to breast cancer. I recommend 25 grams of good-quality soy protein daily for breast-cancer prevention. Green tea, turmeric and pomegranate also have cancer-protective properties.


Exercise & correct obesity

A 2008 study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, indicates that women who exercised regularly reduced their risk of breast cancer by 25 per cent. The Georgetown University research showed that African-American women who vigorously exercised two hours per week reduced their risk by 64 per cent. Moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, cut the risk by 17 per cent. Exercise may prevent breast cancer by reducing obesity, stimulating the immune system and by helping to detoxify the body.

Obese menopausal women have a 150 per cent higher risk for breast cancer than those of ideal weight. The risk is reduced when a woman avoids obesity in her adult life, especially after menopause. Experts believe oestrogen produced by fat cells is the probable cause of this increased risk.


Get sunshine

Sun exposure will elevate your levels of vitamin D. Research from Columbia University, New York, demonstrated a very significant relationship between a woman’s vitamin D blood level and her risk of breast cancer. The higher her vitamin-D levels, the lower her risk of breast cancer.

Vitamin D is more a hormone than a vitamin. It helps to regulate other hormones. Black women, in particular, are quite commonly efficient in vitamin-D. Here is one sobering report: Women diagnosed with breast cancer who are deficient in vitamin D are 75 per cent more likely to die from the disease than women with adequate vitamin-D levels.

Ladies, don’t just resort to mammograms. Protect your breasts by changing your lifestyles. Awareness is good. Prevention is even better.

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An Ounce of Prevention: The Honey Bee – A Sweet Healer by Dr Tony Vendryes

(Jamaica Gleaner) Tuesday | September 29, 2015


Honey, the main product of the honey bee, is composed primarily of sugars and water, along with small amounts of vitamins and minerals, including niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.

On average, honey is 17.1 per cent water; 82.4 per cent total carbohydrate; and 0.5 per cent proteins, amino acids, vitamins and minerals. The main sugars are fructose, glucose, maltose, and sucrose.

Honey also contains a variety of antioxidants that neutralise free radicals and, generally, darker honeys have higher antioxidant content than lighter honeys. Because honey contains so many nutrients that are lacking in refined table sugar, it is a much healthier sweetener.

Honey As An Antibiotic

Another important property of honey is its antibiotic action. It has even been shown to be superior to some conventional antibiotics in treating certain infections. Experiments with honey show that its bacteria-destroying properties doubled when diluted with water. Interestingly, newly born bees are nourished with diluted honey by the nurse bees responsible for their care as if they know this feature of the honey.

Honey is valuable in treating burns, infected wounds, and ulcers. A study in West Africa showed that many surgeries like skin grafting, surgical debridement, and even amputation were avoided by local application of honey to wounds.

Honey For Coughs And Colds

Honey has been used as a home remedy for centuries to help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with a common cold. Researchers from Penn State College of Medicine have published a study comparing honey to over-the-counter medicines for relief of cold symptoms such as a cough. In several instances, honey outperformed the modern drugs.

Honey And Digestion

Honey has traditionally also been used for heartburn and stomach ulcers. In fact, Western research now indicates that honey may halt the growth of H. pylori, the bacteria responsible for many cases of gastritis and stomach ulcers.

Bifidobacteria are a group of ‘good’ bacteria considered important to the health of the digestive tract. Honey acts as a probiotic to promote the growth of the bifidobacteria and heal the stomach. It can even help counteract constipation. Drink 12 oz. of lukewarm water with one tablespoon of honey in the morning on an empty stomach.

Healthy Teeth

Although honey is sweet, it helps to maintain and protect teeth. It shows antimicrobial effects against several species of dental plaque bacteria. Honey has been proven to sharply reduce acid production, while killing the bacteria responsible for dental caries and blocking the growth of oral bacteria. Honey holds promise for the treatment of periodontal disease, mouth ulcers, and other diseases of the mouth.

Honey For Insomnia

Honey helps in nervous disorders like insomnia and acts as a tonic in recovery of any damage to the human nervous system. In cases of sleeplessness, one should drink a teaspoon full of honey mixed in lukewarm water at bedtime to help in improving sleep.

Royal Jelly

Royal jelly is a nutritional powerhouse. Nurse bees aged between six to 14 days old produce this ‘milk’ called royal jelly exclusively for the queen and her larvae. The queen feeds only on fresh royal jelly. The larvae that consume fresh royal jelly in the first 72 two hours of their life become queens, and those that do not, become worker bees. Worker bees live five to six weeks, whereas the queen lives-five to six years.

Royal jelly is rich in vitamins and collagen a protein that we lose as we get older. In Asia, royal jelly is valued as a powerful longevity tonic and used to stimulate immunity, vitality, and virility. Royal jelly is available in supplement form from health-food stores.


It is not really known why direct exposure to pollens causes allergic hay fever in some people, whereas small doses of honey do the exact opposite. Experts think that the very tiny quantity of pollen in the honey acts as a homeopathic medicine. One teaspoon of unfiltered and unprocessed honey daily can do wonders for allergies.

The more local the honey, the better the benefits against allergies as the local honey will contain those pollens to which you are allergic.

Bee Venom Therapy

Bee venom therapy involves applying the actual honeybee to the skin of the patient and allowing it to inject its venom by stinging. It is claimed to be useful in arthritis, bursitis, tendinitis, keloids, shingles, and other painful conditions.

The most abundant active component of the venom is melittin, which has a powerful anti-inflammatory action. In addition, bee venom contains a variety of peptides and proteins, with powerful effects on the nerve endings and the immune response.
Bee Pollen And Propolis

Bee pollen, rich in vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and amino acids give your energy and vitality a boost. It also protects the liver from toxins and benefits men with enlarged prostates.

Propolis is a resin that’s secreted by the bees to repair their hive, and it acts as a protective layer against invading bacteria and other organisms. Propolis stimulates immune functions with its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It also contains antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal agents. 


Honey is twice as sweet as sugar and has a very high glycemic load. Individuals with blood sugar disorders like diabetes and hypoglycaemia should avoid taking large amounts of honey.

The US-based National Honey Board has warned that honey may contain spores that can cause a bad infection if given to children less than one year of age. Adults and older children are routinely exposed to those spores in dust, soil, honey, and other uncooked foods but are almost never affected by them. In immature infants, however, the spores are able to germinate and cause illness.

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