Of several remedies, the physician
should choose the least sensational.’

– Hippocrates

Up to as little as a decade ago, mainstream medicine has been openly hostile to the idea of healthy people taking vitamin supplements. Only recently has this anti-vitamin position begun to change, as irrefutable evidence emerged showing that vitamin supplements could reduce the risk of many common diseases. Sadly, it is still common practice for doctors to tell their patients that they do not need vitamin supplements if they are eating a ‘balanced’ diet.

In April 1998, the editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine was entitled ‘Eat Right and Take a Multi Vitamin’. This article indicated that certain vitamin supplements could reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. This was the first time that a prestigious medical journal was recommending vitamin supplements. An even stronger endorsement for the use of vitamin supplements came in the June 19, 2002 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Harvard University doctors reported that people who got enough vitamins might be able to prevent such common illnesses as cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis.

Today one in every three North Americans takes multivitamins but many are reluctant to tell their doctors for fear that they may disapprove. The same situation exists right here in Jamaica, although a number of my Jamaican medical colleagues are now regularly recommending vitamin and herbal supplements to their patients. I applaud them for this refreshing change.
However, to complicate the issue, research suggests that as much as one third of dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals and herbals), have one or all of the following problems:

  • The products do not contain what the label says it should.
  • The products contain other undisclosed substances in addition to what is on the label, which may create a health hazard.
  • The active ingredients in a supplement may not be readily absorbed by the system, and may thus be ineffective.

Fortunately, the Jamaican Ministry of Health has been active in seeking to protect the interests of the public in this matter. I hope, however, that in doing so the right of the individual to choose supplements for himself or herself will not be infringed upon. After all, the possible problems that may arise from taking supplements are minute when compared with the side effects of prescription medication. Just imagine, over 150,000 Americans die each year from the side effects of drugs prescribed by their doctors! By contrast, last year the Center for Disease Control reported no deaths at all from the use of vitamin and herbal supplements.

The following guidelines will help you in your choice of nutritional supplements.

Choose a reputable brand

The cheapest brand is not necessarily the best. Choose products from a company that has a well established reputation for high quality and effective products.

Speak with individuals who have used that brand and have them share their experience with you. Well-trained network marketers of nutritional supplements are particularly helpful in this regard, as they are usually heavy consumers of the products they sell. Some, but not all, health food store personnel may also be helpful. I myself very carefully select the brand of supplements I recommend to my clients.

Read the labels
The US Food and Drug Administration does not approve dietary supplements but monitors and regulates their use by certain laws such as:
– The Mega dosage Law, which says that no food supplement should have an amount of any one ingredient that could create harm when taken at the recommended dosage.
– The Labeling Law, which says that any potential side effect that a dietary supplement may have and any necessary warnings about the use of such a product should appear on the product’s label. They also strictly restrict manufacturers from making medical claims that have not been scientifically validated.

Unfortunately, unscrupulous manufacturers sometimes get away with outright fraud and that is why I so strongly recommend that you do your own due diligence and only use products from highly reputable companies.

Pay little attention to RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) values on the labels.

 The RDA is the minimum amount of a vitamin necessary to prevent you from being seriously deficient. I and many experts believe that those levels are far too low for optimal health benefits and that the RDA is obsolete and irrelevant to modern nutritional practice.

Educate yourself

The more informed you become about nutrition, the more responsibility you can take for maintaining excellent health. There are many books, tapes, seminars and Internet sites that provide good information. I recommend my own Book and Radio Show An Ounce of Prevention, as a good information sources. Remember, ‘Your Health is in your Hands’.

Talk with your doctor

It is important that your physician knows that you are taking supplements. If your doctor is unwilling to discuss the matter with you, then I would suggest that you seek a second opinion or even change your health care provider. Remember, doctors are often not well educated about nutrition and nutritional supplementation.

Balance your nutrition

Despite their importance, supplements alone are not a replacement for a balanced, healthy diet. They should complement your diet. Particularly try to have at least seven servings of fresh fruits and vegetables daily, as they contain a variety of beneficial substances, known and unknown. As we often lack protein, I also recommend that you include a high quality nutritional protein shake drink in your daily diet. It facilitates good Cellular Nutrition, an essential for good health for everyone


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A Vegetarian Diet by Tony Vendryes


For decades I have used a plant-based diet as a powerful tool to promote good health. A good vegetarian-eating pattern is based on a wide variety of plant foods that are satisfying, delicious and healthy.

Vegetarians avoid meat, fish and poultry. Those who include dairy products and eggs in their diets are called lacto-ovo vegetarians. Vegans are pure vegetarians who eat no meat, fish, poultry, eggs or dairy products. Vegetarian diets significantly reduce the risk of a broad range of health concerns.

Heart Disease

Heart disease, the number-one killer, is less common in vegetarians, who also have much lower cholesterol levels than meat eaters. Vegetarian meals are typically low in saturated fat and usually contain little or no cholesterol, since cholesterol is found only in animal products. A vegan, therefore, consumes an entirely cholesterol-free diet.

The type of protein in a vegetarian diet may be another important advantage. Many studies show replacing animal protein with plant protein lowers blood-cholesterol levels, even if the amount of fat in the diet stays the same. Those studies demonstrate a low-fat, vegetarian diet has a clear heart-healthy advantage over other diets.

 Blood Pressure

1920s research show vegetarians have lower blood pressure than non-vegetarians. In fact, studies show adding meat to a vegetarian diet rapidly results in significantly raised blood-pressure levels. Individuals with high blood pressure span, who change to a vegetarian diet, may able to reduce or eliminate their need for medication.


Recent studies show a diet high in plant protein (soy is a great source) and complex carbohydrates, (vegetables) but low in fat, starch and sugar, is the best dietary prescription for controlling diabetes. Many type-2 diabetics have used this approach to avoid any need for diabetic medication, and instead use food as their medicine. Even insulin-dependent diabetics can significantly reduce their insulin needs with this kind of plant-based diet.


A vegetarian diet helps prevent cancer. Researchers from the University of California at Berkley found persons with low fruit and vegetable intake experience about twice the risk of cancer compared with those with high intake. Studies of vegetarians show death rates from cancer are up to 50 per cent less than those of the general population.

Breast and prostate cancer rates are dramatically lower in countries where diets are typically plant-based, but when people from those countries adopt a Western, meat-based diet, their rates of these cancers soar. Vegetarians also have much less colon cancer than meat eaters and meat consumption is more closely associated with colon cancer than any other dietary factor.

A vegetarian diet helps protect against cancer in several ways. First, they are lower in fat and higher in fibre than meat-based diets. Vegetarians usually consume more antioxidants, like vitamin C and beta-carotene. These natural substances strengthen the body’s cancer-fighting system – the immune system. Plants also carry many compounds called phyto-nutrients that have anti-cancer properties. Examples of these are the polyphenols in green tea, the isoflavones in soy and the lycopene in tomatoes. Many other anti-cancer aspects of a vegetarian diet are yet to be fully understood.


Vegetarians may also lower their risk for osteoporosis as a high animal-protein intake encourages calcium loss from the bones. Replacing animal protein with plant foods reduces calcium loss. People who live in countries where the diet is plant-based have little osteoporosis, even when their calcium intake is low. In addition, vegetarians are less likely to form either kidney stones or gallstones.

 Special Considerations

Being vegetarian does not automatically mean your nutrition is healthy and balanced. However, a balanced vegetarian diet is not at all difficult to achieve. Possible pitfalls for the vegetarian includes – not enough protein. Grains, beans and many vegetables are good sources of protein. Protein powders from soy, rice and hemp are extremely useful in making protein shakes. I strongly recommend vegetarians add protein shakes to their diet.

Not enough vitamins. Green, leafy vegetables, beans, lentils, nuts and fruits are excellent sources of vitamins and minerals and this can be boosted by supplementing with vitamin and mineral tablets.

Vitamin B12 deficiency is not uncommon and strict vegetarians should be particularly sure to include a good source of this vitamin in their diet. Vitamin B12 for the vegetarian is found in many fortified foods and commercial breakfast cereals, fermented soy products and nutritional yeast.

With the deficiencies in our modern diet, the American Medical Association now recommends that everyone (including vegetarians) take daily supplements for optimal nutrition. The Cellular Nutrition program is an excellent way to supplement.

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IS SOY SAFE? by Dr Tony Vendryes

To my mind, soy is a super food. I have been using and recommending this bean to my patients for decades, long before it became as popular as it is today.

 Scientific research has shown that eating soy protects against heart disease, cancer and osteoporosis while easing the symptoms of menopause. Nutritional experts still continue to find more health benefits from soy consumption. It is also an economical and complete source of protein that can safely replace animal protein in the diet. Yet, with increasing frequency, I have been questioned by people who are concerned about any potential dangers from soy.

Like every good thing, soy has been blamed for all kinds of ills, but, to my mind, most of these accusations are based on anecdotal reports or shoddy and or biased research. The bulk of the medical evidence strongly confirms the valuable role of soy in preventing disease and supporting health. Let’s look at the most common concerns.

 Soy and Cancer

 Much of the worry about soy is focused on naturally occurring compounds called phytoestrogens, the most abundant being the isoflavone, genistein. As the name suggests, phytoestrogens have chemical structures similar to that of the hormone oestrogen. This enables them to fit into the body’s oestrogen receptor sites, much as a key fits into a lock. Far from causing breast cancer, this ability to bind to oestrogen receptors allows phytoestrogens to block the effects of the much stronger oestrogens that are either produced by the body or come from toxic chemicals like insecticides. This is one mechanism by which soy is thought to protect women against breast cancer. The weak phytoestrogens in soy actually have a oestrogen-modulating and oestrogen blocking effect.

 The majority of research — as well as the experience of Asian populations where soy has been a dietary staple for thousands of years — confirms the protective role of soy. A report published in the May 2001 issue of Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention provides compelling evidence of the anti-cancer effects of soy foods. This study found that, with an increase in soy intake during adolescence, there was a reduction in the risk of breast cancer.

 Women with the highest consumption of soy had only half the risk of those with the lowest intake. Other studies have also shown a reduced risk of cancers of the breast, prostate and colon with increasing soy consumption.

 Soy and the Thyroid

 Another charge against soy is that it contains ‘anti-thyroid agents’ that can disturb the function of the thyroid gland. This is largely theoretical. Certain compounds in soy can affect thyroid tissue in test-tube studies, but this does not appear to be the case in live human beings. Population studies show no increased prevalence of thyroid disease in countries with a high intake of soy, and the clinical research has been inconclusive.

 That debate aside, most researchers agree that consuming soy at the level needed to get its health benefits (about 25 to 40 grams per day) is most unlikely to impair thyroid function. After using soy with hundreds of patients, I have detected no disturbance of thyroid function that I could blame on soy. However, if you have hypothyroidism, a bit of caution may be in order. Try to keep your soy intake fairly constant and have your thyroid function monitored periodically. Make sure that you have enough iodine in your diet Also be aware that taking thyroid medication at the same time as eating soy foods, or any food, may decrease the drug’s absorption. Take it on an empty stomach.


 Have some soy in your daily diet. Soy is now available in many forms – soymilk, soy cheese, soy nuts, soups, drinks, protein bars, tofu and tempeh.

 There are also textured vegetable protein products such as veggie mince, chunks and soy burgers. The American Medical Association recommends 25 gm soy protein each day for heart health. To get this, I have a high-quality soy protein shake each day. This is a delicious, nutritious drink that can conveniently replace a meal.

 All soy products are not equal. Select high-quality soy foods as many so-called soy products have low levels of the substances that provide the health benefits of soy. Look for the term ‘soy-protein isolate’ and check the protein content on labels as a guide in assessing soy products. The soy products I use are of the highest quality and specially grown, and processed to ensure optimal benefits.

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Most people eat and drink too much without even knowing it. This custom of overconsumption can make you sick or even kill you. Medical research shows that it results in a greatly increased risk of developing common disorders like diabetes, hypertension, lipid (cholesterol and triglycerides) disorders, heart disease and strokes.

 The energy that we get from the food we eat is measured in units called calories. Different foods have different caloric values. While proteins and carbohydrates supply four calories per gram, fats provide over twice that amount, nine calories per gram. So your caloric consumption depends not only on how much food, but also on the type of food that you eat. Please note that although alcohol is not a food it provides a hefty seven calories per gram.


 Research has consistently demonstrated that restricting the amount of calories an animal eats while ensuring it gets all the nourishment it needs, a process called calorie restriction (CR), the animal lives a longer and healthier life.

 CR not only extends the lifespan of laboratory animals but also reduces the incidence of virtually all diseases of ageing such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, autoimmune disorders, neurological decline and conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. In some cases, the lifespan of animals in the laboratory has been doubled. This is the only strategy that has been proven to extend the average and maximum lifespan of animals.

The big question is: can CR be applied to humans? There is compelling evidence that keeping your body weight low (one result of CR) can make you live longer. In 1997, a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition stated: “We conclude that the optimal weights for longevity are below the average in both men and women.” In other words, a healthy person with low body weight lives longer that a healthy person with a high body weight.

The ideal calorie restriction diet aims to reduce your intake of calories 20 to 40 per cent lower than is typical, while still obtaining all the necessary nutrients and vitamins. The average person is challenged to make such a drastic change in their diet: hunger, a lack of discipline and the prevailing social norms are major obstacles.


 Change your mindset: Most people have been programmed to think that more is always better. But when it comes to food and optimal health, less is often better. Begin to make small adjustments to the quantity and quality of your food. Lower your body weight.

 Use shakes: Modern food science has created meal replacement drinks called shakes that can provide all the nutrients you would get in a large balanced meal while greatly restricting your calorie intake. There are lots of shakes on the market today and some people create their own, but not all are equal. Choose carefully. You need a shake that is full of nutrients yet low in calories. For over 18 years, I have replaced one or more of my meals each day with a low-calorie shake from Herbalife International. It provides lots of all the key nutrients with less than 200 calories. Such a shake is an ideal way to embark on CR. It is economical, delicious, convenient and a great weight management tool.

 Focus on water-rich, high-fibre foods: Since water contains no calories, and fibre is the non-digestible part of plant foods, foods high in water and fibre will tend to be lower in caloric content. They also add volume and bulk to food thus creating a greater feeling of fullness and satiety. Fresh fruits and vegetables should therefore be a big part of your meal plan. Remember, however, that very sweet fruits like mangoes and ripe bananas provide lots of sugar and calories and can sabotage your CR programme.

Cut back on fats and alcohol: As indicated earlier, fats and alcohol have a very high caloric content and their consumption should be restricted. Healthy fats like the omega 3 fatty acids are, however, essential.

 Ease up on sugar and starch: Although these carbohydrates have less calories per gram, we easily consume too much of them as they create cravings for more and encourage overeating. Deliberately restrict these foods.

 Have enough protein: Proteins are low in calories and they provide the materials for the body to repair and renew itself. Do not skimp on healthy protein foods. One important feature of the shake I referred to is that it is an excellent source of healthy protein.

 Drink the right fluids: The most ideal fluids to drink in addition the shakes are pure water and green tea. On top of having many health benefits, both these liquids are void of calories and help significantly to curb hunger and restrict food consumption.


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CANCER by Dr Tony Vendryes

Cancer is the second-biggest killer of people worldwide. Doctors have listed well over 100 different cancers which can occur anywhere in the body. It could be breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer or even a blood cancer, like leukaemia. Despite the expenditure of billions of dollars, involvement of vast armies of researchers and scientists, modern medicine has failed miserably in finding that elusive cure for cancer.

In my opinion, mankind would have been much better served if half of the monies spent on looking for a cure were devoted to meaningful prevention strategies. A popular myth about cancer is that we do not really know what causes it. The truth is that we know a great deal about the causes of cancer.

Sadly, cancer-prevention programmes do not attract big-money interests because they require no fancy drugs or expensive new technology, only simple lifestyle changes. The prevention-is-better-than-cure adage is of extreme relevance when it comes to cancer.

Early detection is not prevention

Most people have been misled to think that when they do cancer-screening tests, they are practising cancer prevention. Most of these tests are designed to help diagnose cancer at an early stage so that doctors can treat it. What they seek to do is to prevent advanced cancer. The experts further confuse the public by calling these interventions ‘secondary prevention’.

Cancer is a disease that is better not to get at all. Waiting for it to happen so we can diagnose and try to treat it is a poor game plan. Even when detected early, many cancers would have already been present in your body for several years and have spread to other parts of the body.

We regularly have potentially cancerous cells in our bodies. The reason why we do not all get cancer is that our bodies possess its own anti-cancer system called the immune system. It is designed to detect and destroy abnormal cells before they can develop into full-blown cancer. You can weaken your immune system and promote cancer by an unhealthy lifestyle. Here is my anti-cancer programme.

Eat the right foods

Even conservative groups, like the American Cancer Society, recommend a high consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables as a primary anti-cancer strategy. Seven to nine servings per day for men and five to seven servings for women are suggested. A high-fibre diet aiming at 30 grams or more of fibre each day is critical for cancer protection. When it comes to cancer, a more plant-food based diet is preferable to an animal-food based diet.

Soy foods, green tea, garlic, onions, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage have all been shown to have specific cancer-protective properties.

Cancer-causing foods

One of the most powerful cancer-promoting food ingredients is sodium nitrate. This is a chemical added to virtually all packaged meat products including hot dogs, peppe-roni, ham and luncheon meat. Its also found in most breakfast meats like bacon and sausages. Other food ingredients suspected of causing cancer include hydrogenated oils, aspartame, saccharin and artificial colours. Highly refined carbohydrates and sugars found in white bread, sweet breakfast foods, donuts, candy bars, cookies, crackers and sweets of all kinds have also been shown to increase your odds of getting cancer.

A common site for tumours is the reproductive system: the breast, the womb, ovaries and the prostate. All these organs are hormone sensitive and research indicates that these cancers are hormone related. Sadly, commercial foods, water, air, plastics and many personal-care skin and hair products contain a vast array of hormone-like chemicals. Avoid these as an important part of cancer prevention.

Avoid tobacco use and minimise alcohol

These are two common carcinogens. Smoking cigarettes causes cancer, along with many other illnesses. The longer you smoke, the more likely you are to get cancer, especially if you are consuming the cancer-causing foods and ingredients as discussed above. Smoking will multiply the carcinogenic effect of everything else in your life. Alcohol in excess also compromises the immune system and increases the risk of several cancers, particularly of the digestive system and the liver.

Get regular sunlight

Natural sunlight is a powerful prevention against cancer. People who get plenty of natural sunlight have a greatly reduced risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer, breast cancer and many other disorders that aren’t cancer related, such as osteoporosis and mental depression. By staying out of the sun, or using sun block and sunscreen every time you are in the sun, you lower your body’s protection from cancer. This is because your body’s production of vitamin D is dependent on sun exposure, and research shows a clear relationship between your blood levels of vitamin D and your risk of being diagnosed with several cancers. Vitamin D is critical to a healthy immune system.

Do regular physical exercise

Exercise helps your body prevent cancer. Body movement stimulates the flow of lymphatic fluid that bathes your cells, and this is important in your immune system’s fight against cancer. If you do not move, you will increase your cancer risk. Aerobic activities like walking, deep breathing and rebounding using a trampoline are particularly useful exercises in this regard.

Learn to manage stress

Chronic stress suppresses the function of your immune system by greatly elevating the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. High cortisol levels powerfully suppress the immune system and may thus promote cancer. Research shows that an individual’s risk of being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness like cancer is often doubled following a major life trauma like a job layoff, loss of a spouse or divorce.

Take antioxidant supplements

Antioxidants are substances that protect the cells of the body from damage by chemicals called free radicals. These free radicals can damage your genes and turn on cancer as well as impair your immune system. The main dietary antioxidants are the ACES – vitamin A, C, E and selenium. There are also many herbs with antioxidant properties like green tea, rosemary, schizandra and pycnogenol. They also assist the body in producing its own cellular antioxidants like glutathione and superoxide dismutase. Supplementing your diet on a daily basis with these antioxidants will also reduce your risk of cancer.

Statistics indicate that one third of the population will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. You are not a helpless victim. Using these strategies will significantly reduce your risk of being afflicted with this terrible disease.

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 MANY ILLNESSES are due to inflammation. In fact, the syllable ‘itis’ at the end of so many medical words indicates inflammation. Arthritis, for example, means an inflammation of the joints, appendicitis indicates an inflammation of the appendix and gastritis an inflammation of the stomach.
The main signs of inflammation are pain, swelling, heat and deterioration in function of the inflamed part. Chronic (long-standing) inflammation inflicts devastating effects on health. A long list of common but seemingly unrelated health problems – from asthma and allergies to heart disease and kidney failure to strokes and Alzheimer’s disease – all have their origin in inflammation. In addition, many of the diseases that are attributed to old age are simply the result of damage from prolonged inflammation.
A vast number of drugs are taken to simply suppress or control these symptoms. They are called anti-inflammatory drugs. These drugs may initially be effective in easing the pain or reducing the swelling, but they do not deal with the underlying problem, they simply control the symptom for a while. What is worse, they have major side effects, especially when taken for prolonged periods. your stomach might develop bleeding ulcers or your kidneys may be damaged.
These drugs fall into two main groups: The steroids like prednisone and cortisone and the non-steroids (NSAIDS) like aspirin, ibuprofen and voltaren.
The good news is that your body is designed with its own ability to control, reverse and even prevent inflammation. It produces its own anti-inflammatory medicines. Here are some ways to help your body do this naturally:

Proper nutrition
Some foods promote inflammation while others prevent and relieve it. A programme of nutritional supplements called cellular nutrition is an ideal nutritional platform for controlling inflammation.


Avoid these foods

Fatty red meat, fried foods, organ meats like liver and kidney, dairy products, hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils. (These contain pro-inflammatory substances)
White rice, refined flour products e.g. dumplings, crackers and white bread (these elevate blood sugar and create hormonal imbalance).
Sugar, excess sweet fruits and fruit juices (elevate blood sugar).
Artificial food flavourings, preservatives, artificial food colourings.
Emphasise these foods:
Coldwater fish – sardines, mackerel, salmon, tuna.
Fresh vegetables and less sweet fruit.
Green tea containing polyphenols.
Virgin olive oil, olives, flaxseed, flaxseed oil and avocados
Plant protein – soy, nuts, seeds and whole grain.
Detoxify the body

It is important to look for and clear up any sites of chronic infection in the body. Particular attention should be paid to the mouth (teeth and gums), the sinuses, the nails (fungal infections) and the skin. You may need the assistance of your medical practitioner for this.
Natural detoxification programmes using herbs, colonic irrigation, saunas, massage and liquid fasts are very effective. These may be necessary at regular intervals.

Apply a programme of vitamin and mineral supplements like the cellular-nutrition plan that I advocate. Additionally, here are some specific anti-inflammatory supplements that will assist the body in correcting the imbalance that has produced the inflammation. 

These include:
Fish-oil capsules with omega-3 fats (use a high-quality variety without omega-6 and omega-9 fats added).
The more severe the inflammation, the more omega-3 fatty-acid supplements you need.
The antioxidants – vitamins A.C.E., selenium, pycnogenol, schizandra, rosemary.
Anti-inflammatory herbs: aloe vera, ginger, nettle leaf extract, boswellia and curcumin.
DHEA – a natural hormone.
Stress management
Chronic stress, poorly managed, produces chemical imbalances in the body that promote inflammatory responses. Learning to identify the stressors in ones life, and developing effective stress management techniques, are extremely important aspects of any programme for controlling inflammation. Develop an emotional and spiritual support system. Healthy relationships, prayer, yoga, meditation and other spiritual practices can
greatly facilitate the healing process.

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BODY FAT by Dr Tony Vendryes

  As the modern obesity epidemic escalates, medical researchers have discovered your body shape and body composition are much more important than your body weight. How much fat your body harbours and where it lies are critical factors influencing health.


Body fat, or as doctors call it adipose tissue, is body tissue composed mainly of fat cells known as adipocytes. The main role of body fat is to store extra energy in the form of substances called lipids, but it also serves to cushion the body and acts as insulation to reduce heat loss. Far from being chemically inert, adipose tissue has, in recent times, been recognised as a very active organ in its own right.

In humans, adipose tissue is located beneath the skin (subcutaneous fat), around internal organs (visceral fat), in bone marrow (yellow bone marrow) and in breast tissue. The visceral or intra-abdominal fat is located inside the abdominal cavity, packed in between organs (stomach, liver, intestines, and kidneys) and is different than subcutaneous fat underneath the skin.


Although we all have our own unique shapes, there is one area where the accumulation of excess fat is a medical disaster: around the waistline. Doctors call this fat truncal, abdominal, visceral or organ fat. Excess truncal fat is referred to as abdominal or central obesity. Abdominal fat has been found to produce a long list of powerful chemicals including several hormones that can create problems. For example, the more belly fat a man sports, the lower his level of the male hormone testosterone falls while his production of the female hormone oestrogen rises. This will seriously impair his health and sexual function.

Young women tend to store fat in the buttocks, thighs and hips while men are more likely to have fat stored in the belly due to differences in sex hormones. However, when women reach menopause and hormonal production declines, fat migrates from their buttocks, hips and thighs up to their waists.

All the evidence points to truncal obesity as the most dangerous type of obesity. Men with a waist measurement greater than 39 inches, and women whose waists are more than 34 inches, have a 500 per cent increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer and a long list of other diseases including circulatory disorders, stroke, disturbances of blood cholesterol and triglycerides, hormonal imbalance and inflammatory diseases, to name just a few. In a real way, too much fat around your waist may shorten your life in a haste.

Epicardial adipose tissue is a particular form of visceral fat deposited around the heart. It is a very active and dangerous type of fat that produces various chemicals that might negatively affect heart function.


Modern technology now allows us to easily measure an individual’s body composition. Using a bio-impedance body scanner in my office, I can determine your actual as well as your ideal body weight, your lean body mass (non-fat weight) as well as your visceral fat level. Even more amazing, the machine gives a read out of your body’s biological age in contrast to your actual chronological age. This helps to provide an objective and realistic evaluation of your overall health.

Using this tool, we frequently find that even underweight individuals can have excess visceral fat and are at increased risk of disease. Fortunately, the solution to excess truncal fat is simple and effective.

Personalise your programme: Having measured your body composition we can use this information to create a customised weight management programme, as one size does not always fit all.

Plan your protein: Your lean body mass will indicate exactly the amount of protein you will need to consume each day in order to lose belly fat but maintain your muscles and lean tissues.

The plan guides you in using healthy, convenient and economical protein foods to achieve your goal. Delicious soy protein based shakes make it easy to personalise your protein intake. Extensive research has demonstrated that properly designed meal replacement shakes are extremely safe and effective for fat loss.

Prioritise fruits and vegetables: Health authorities worldwide now recommend that we consume large amounts of vegetables and fruit. For optimal health, men should aim to eat nine and women seven servings of fruit and vegetables each day. Medical research continues to demonstrate that plants, especially fruit and vegetables, contain a large number of health enhancing substances and are useful for healthy weight loss. However it is important to avoid fruit with a high sugar content like mangoes and bananas.

Put a hold on starch and sugar: Too much of the simple carbohydrates in your diet (starch and sugar) will be converted to fat and stored in the belly. On the other hand seriously restricting your intake of those foods will cause your body’s metabolism to switch to fat burning instead of fat storing and your waistline will shrink.

Promote a healthy lifestyle: Healthy fat loss is not a quick fix scheme, and it is essential to incorporate healthy lifestyle practices into the programme. Particular attention should be paid to fluid intake, exercise and stress management, as these will greatly facilitate weight control while enhancing overall health and well-being. With this in mind, the programme has a built-in support system designed to provide all the necessary information, motivation and follow-up.

Trained wellness and weight loss coaches are available to provide you with a free body analysis scan and weight loss consultation. We also offer Weight Loss Challenge Programmes that make fat loss fun and easy. A concentrated effort by everyone to trim our waistlines could empty much of our hospital beds and dramatically reduce the pain and suffering created by the long list of obesity related illnesses.

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Painful menstruation, referred to as dysmenorrhea by doctors, is one of the commonest health problems from which women suffer. As many as 90% of women experience this problem at some stage in their life. For over 10% of females the problem is so severe that they are unable to function normally while menstruating.

This problem translates into millions of dollars of lost wages and productivity as well as a significant decrease in women’s quality of life for several days each month. One medical textbook estimated that painful periods cause the loss of over 140 million work hours each year in the United States. At the same time billions of dollars are spent on ‘pain killing’ drugs which do nothing to address the underlying cause of the pain.

In my view, dysmenorrhoea is in most cases a lifestyle related disorder having to do with nutritional, hormonal and emotional imbalances. In a minority of cases it may be the result of other medical conditions, like pelvic inflammation, infection, fibroids and endometriosis, in which event those underlying problems should be treated. For the majority of sufferers, here is a natural approach.


Good nutrition at a cellular level gives your body the nutrients it needs to correct and heal imbalances and prevent inflammation and cramps.

* Choose a diet high in fresh vegetables and fruit, whole grain,     beans, peas, nuts and fish. Avoid foods that may contain hormones.

Drastically reduce or eliminate dairy products, meat, fried foods and other unhealthy fats, sugar, alcohol, added salt, MSG and other food additives,

I recommend a nutritional program called the Cellular Nutrition Program, which provides all the key nutritional elements in a simple combination.


In addition to the general nutritional recommendations above, there are specific supplements that relieve cramps and prevent inflammation in a healthy, effective, natural way:

The muscle relaxant herb Dong Quai or angelica sinensis, has been used for thousands of years to prevent and relieve menstrual cramps. I use it combined with the calming relaxing herb chamomile. It is most effective if taken throughout the month and the dosage increased just before and during the period. This combination is also a good general herbal tonic for females.

Fish oil supplements that contain generous quantities of omega 3 fatty acids have natural anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties. Unfortunately, our diet tends to have excess of omega 6 fats, which encourages the cramps and menstrual pains. Heavy dosages of omega 3 capsules may be needed to correct the imbalance.

Magnesium supplements have powerful muscle relaxant and cramp inhibiting properties. Soaking in an Epsom salt bath is a useful way to apply magnesium to the pelvic area.

Mild diuretic herbs like celery, parsley, dandelion, sarsaparilla and uva ursi are useful in relieving the bloating, fluid retention and congestion some women experience.

Ginger and ginkgo biloba will improve the circulation in the pelvic area and relieve nausea and vomiting.

Individuals who have uterine fibroids may benefit from the use of castor oil packs. This novel therapy is covered in my book on women’s’ health. 


Cleansing the body, particularly colon cleansing, is an important aspect of the program. Any congestion in the pelvic area will exaggerate menstrual pains. I recommend a high fiber diet along with fiber supplements, aloe vera and herbal cleansers. Colon irrigation therapy by a trained colon therapist can also be very effective.


Painful periods are often a body/mind disorder. The condition is made worse by anxiety, fear, depression and stress. Your social conditioning and beliefs are also extremely important. . Researchers have found that women who grew up in a household with women who had painful periods are much more likely to have painful periods themselves. Relaxation and stress management techniques and hypnosis can be extremely effective interventions. Aromatherapy also offers essential oils like lavender that relax and relieve stress and tension.


Exercise promotes pain relief and prevents cramps because of its physical, psychological and hormonal benefits. I particularly extol the benefits of yoga with its emphasis on deep breathing, tension relief, muscle relaxation and body awareness.


An imbalance between the main female hormones – oestrogen and progesterone can cause painful periods and severe bouts of Premenstrual Syndrome. Natural hormone balancing with natural progesterone cream under a doctor’s supervision can be very helpful along with the herb Dong Quai.

So instead of just popping pain tablets each month, consider using the approach outlined above and help your body balance and heal itself.

You may email Dr. Vendryes at tonyvendryes@gmail.com

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An Ounce Of Prevention……………Dr Tony Vendryes

If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little, and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health.”

– Hippocrates

THE GREEK physician Hippocrates often reminded his patients that ‘Your health is your greatest wealth’. Few people, however, give much thought to their health until they get ill. Real health is not just an absence of any diagnosed illness. No, it is something positive. The World Health Organization made this very clear, over half-a-century ago in its classic definition of health.

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. – World Health Organization, 1948.

My own belief is that the human body was designed to be healthy. When the good book says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, it is not just a nice-sounding phrase, it really is true.

Our bodies have an incredible capacity to heal and repair itself. Illness and disease are reflections of our failure to take proper care of our bodies and mind.

As a doctor, I have come to understand that I cannot really heal anyone. Healing is something that happens from within. Your body is the healer and the doctor’s role is to provide the support and assistance to facilitate the healing process. Until we, as a society, fully accept this concept, we will continue to face the dilemma of ‘more medicines, less health’.

From my experience, there are four basic concepts that underpin and support real health. I call them the ‘Four Pillars of Wellness’ – nutrition, exercise, detoxification and stress management.

These four simple but powerful processes form the basis of my approach to virtually all the common lifestyle-related disorders that compromise our health.

This is the first and probably most critical pillar, because you literally are what you eat. Your body is composed of trillions of cells, the building blocks of the body. Your body is constantly repairing and renewing itself as, each day, millions of old damaged cells die and new ones are created to replace them. Your body is a work in progress.

The quality and vitality of new cells being created in your body, as you read this article, depends on the quality of the food you have been eating. Garbage in will produce garbage out. You literally are what you eat. Medical experts believe that as much as two-thirds of today’s health problems are related to our unhealthy diet.

For more than 20 years, I have used and recommended a concept and programme called cellular nutrition for my patients and myself to enjoy the very best nutrition. The idea is simple. Give the cells of the body the nutrients that they need and they know how to heal mend and repair. It works!

As the old saying goes, use it or lose it. The human body can be compared to a high-performance motor car. It needs high-quality fuel in the gas tank. That’s the nutritional part. If you do not drive your car, leaving it parked all the time, the engine will eventually seize up and the body begin to rust away.

Similarly, many people are, in fact, suffering from ‘seize up’ and ‘rust down’ because of inactivity. The body is designed to be active. If you don’t use it, muscles get weak, joints get stiff, heart and lungs lose their efficiency, and tension and stress overwhelm your mind. The research shows that as little as 20 to 30 minutes of exercise, three to four times per week, can have amazing benefits to your physical and mental health. Try it.

Not only do we live in a polluted world with chemicals and impurities in the food we eat, the water we drink and bathe in, and the air we breathe, but just as the car’s engine produces toxic exhaust fumes, so our body’s metabolism produces toxic wastes. Sadly, our body’s natural pathways for elimination of these poisons are often blocked and function poorly. We all carry a toxic burden.

The body normally detoxifies itself via the bowels, the liver, the kidneys, the skin and the breath. Several simple natural techniques are available to assist the body to get rid of accumulated impurities. These are referred to as cleansing or detoxification programmes.

Stress Management
Stress is a poorly understood concept. It is not a thing or person or circumstance. Those ‘things’ are called stressors. Stress is a reaction, your internal reaction to the stressor. Understanding this is critical, because, often, we cannot change our stressors e.g. our spouse or boss, but we can always learn to change the way we react to them. In essence, stress management is self-management.

Sadly, many so-called stress-management programmes really focus on stressor management. Real stress management is a skill that can be taught and learnt, just like how we can learn to swim or ride a bicycle. Stress is, indeed, the enemy within!

So make your four pillars of wellness strong and solid. You will enjoy true health and wellness.


(Dr Tony Vendryes)

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Is Your Fat Making You Inflammed?..

You really should not ignore the dreaded ‘fat’ which for many is visible.  As the article below points out, there is ‘fat’ called visceral which needs our attention just as much.  Working out and consistently paying attention to what you eat is not only for those whose careers dictates such.  Rather, our responsibility is to take care of ourselves the best way we can from a cellular perspective.  How we treat our cells on the inside greatly dictates the quality of life we can hope to have on Planet Earth.



There is a lot of talk about reducing body fat. Known to doctors as adipose tissue, body fat comes in different forms. The different types of fat have different functions and can affect your health in different ways.

Fat, for example, comes in different colours: brown adipose tissue (BAT) and white adipose tissue (WAT). BAT is a very healthy form of fat found mostly in the neck, chest and back areas. It burns fat cells to produce heat even without exercise, and helps to control body temperature. Excess WAT, on the other hand, is less healthy, angry fat and is associated with inflammation and many common diseases.

 Where is your fat?

 Where your fat is located is also very important. For a long time, scientists have known of the relationship between excess belly fat and disease. ‘American apple-shaped’ people, who carry fat in the abdomen, have a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and other problems than ‘Jamaican-apple shaped’ people, who store fat in the hips and thighs. For this reason, just your waist measurement can indicate if you have an increased risk for these problems.

But there are also different types of belly fat. The fat under your skin is called subcutaneous fat while the fat deep inside surrounding your internal organs is called visceral fat. It can even penetrate into the liver to create a condition called fatty liver disease. This deep belly fat is responsible for many other illnesses. Research has shown that removing subcutaneous abdominal fat using surgeries like liposuction does not improve health as does losing the same amount of inner fat by dieting or exercising. This is because plastic surgery does not remove this visceral fat. 

Belly fat and inflammation

The key underlying issue when it comes to body fat and health is inflammation. Inflammation is the body’s first defence system, and most of the time it protects us from harmful germs, abnormal cells while promoting healing after injury. The main features of inflammation are heat, swelling, redness and loss of normal function. But when out of control, inflammation can lead to heart attacks, stroke, cancer, allergies, auto-immune illnesses like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and aggravate a long list of other problems, including diabetes and high blood pressure. Almost all painful conditions are associated with inflammation.

So temporary inflammation is a good and necessary part of the body’s response to damage and disease, but chronic, ongoing inflammation promotes these illnesses and even accelerates ageing.

For a long time, the blockage to blood vessels that cause heart attacks and strokes was blamed on the deposit of cholesterol in the arteries. Despite the continuing ‘cholesterol hype’, we know that these problems are the result of inflammation, often fuelled by too much belly fat. 

Fat and inflammation 

WAT is not merely a storage dump for excess energy. It is an organ that makes chemicals that influence our appetite, hormones and immune system.

Your fat, especially visceral fat, like any other organ in your body, has an ideal size at which it functions best. Just as how, for example, an enlarged thyroid gland can result in hormonal problems, excess body fat can release too much hormones and inflammatory chemicals. These chemicals create inflammation, so the fatter you are, the more inflamed your body gets and the more disease develops.

The good news is that weight loss, of even a few pounds, can significantly reduce inflammation. As weight is lost, fat cells shrink and release less inflammatory chemicals. The actual number of immune system cells in the fatty tissues is reduced and their inflammatory actions restricted. As belly fat is lost, inflammation in your body decreases.

Evaluate yourself: I strongly recommend having a wellness evaluation that includes a body composition analysis. This will determine your body fat levels as well as your visceral fat. This evaluation, offered by my team of wellness coaches across the island, offers useful information for customising your weight management programme and monitoring your progress.

A waist measurement of more than 34 inches in women and more than 39 inches in men increases your risk of inflammatory diseases like heart attacks, strokes and diabetes by a whopping 500 per cent.

Adjust your diet: I recommend that you lose body fat with an anti- inflammatory diet like the cellular nutrition programme I use. It’s not just a matter of cutting back on fatty foods, as your body can easily convert excess starch and sugar into fat and store it in your belly. Get the right information, support and product.

Exercise: This powerfully complements diet but cannot replace it. Experts agree that a successful plan is 20 per cent nutrition and 20 per cent exercise.

Stress: Uncontrolled stress promotes increasing belly fat and inflammation and must be effectively addressed.



You may email Dr Vendryes at tonyvendryes@gmail.com or listen to An Ounce of Prevention on POWER 106 FM on Fridays at 8:15 p.m.

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