Dr. Urban has been practicing Chiropractic for over 22 years now. Dr. Urban is a graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa (1991). He has built and maintained successful Chiropractic practices in Nebraska, Colorado and now in Hawaii on the beautiful island of Maui in Kahului.
Dr. Urban is proficient in the “GONSTEAD” art form of adjusting the spine.The Gonstead Method of Chiropractic care was developed by Dr. Clarence S. Gonstead of Mt Horeb, Wisconsin beginning in 1923. He refined his unique system over a 55 year period. The Gonstead Method focuses on being as specific as possible with the examination and treatment of the patient. Every patient is a unique case with specific subluxations and must not be given the same course of manipulation. The Gonstead practitioner believes that chiropractic care is not scientific unless the adjustment is specific.
“Look well to the spine for the cause of disease.” - Hippocrates
Chiropractic is a powerful, effective and natural way to get and keep yourself healthy. Chiropractic recognizes the body’s innate ability to heal and it’s my position to help support this.
It is through “specific” spinal adjustments that subluxations (misalignments) can be corrected so that normal movement/positioning and function can help to improve upon the sensitive communication (nervous system function) that is so vital to your body’s potential to heal. When the spine is in alignment and the nervous system is functioning properly, your body knows how to heal, regulate and adapt appropriately to the many external stressors of everyday life.
Dr. Urban prefers to work with what is right within you (the intelligence of the body) then to focus on what is wrong with you (your symptoms). As you grow older, you should grow healthier…a realization that is often overlooked given our current medical mainstreams disposition on health!
Dr. Urban takes great pride in delivering a “specific” spinal adjustment to his clients. His approach does NOT treat everyone with the same twisting of the neck and lower back from both the right and left and the middle back from top to bottom. This approach could potentially harm inpiduals with an inappropriate impact to the joints of the spinal column that can result in “neurological insult”. Dr. Urban prefers to access each of his clients inpidually so to skillfully perform an appropriate “specific” spinal adjustment with the least amount of force that is carefully delivered to adequately address his client’s structural and neurological needs.
It is amazing what one adjustment can do if applied right. Clarence Gonstead, D.C.
James P. Urban D.C.
444 Hana Highway. Suite #213
Kahului, HI 96732
(Mon,Wed. & Thu.)
9am to 1pm and 3pm to 6pm.
(Tues & Fri)
9am to noon.
Each patient carries his own doctor inside him. They come to us not knowing that truth. We are at our best when we give the doctor who resides within each patient a chance to work. Albert Schweitzer, M.D.
If you want to have more energy, feel stronger, and sleep better then do yourself a favor and give Dr. Urban a visit. I wasn’t looking for long term solutions for my chronic neck and back issues but just a short time after my first visit his reasonably priced, results driven, comfortable and effective treatments have more than paid for themselves. Mahalo Dr. Urban!
I first went to see Dr. Urban about a problem I was having with my ankle. He was very kind and informative and spent time talking with me, as I was a little nervous because I had never been to see a chiropractor before. I left that day with no more pain shooting up my leg!!! I returned to see Dr. Urban because I felt I was having a problem with my hips. We discussed looking at my spine to see if that may be causing the imbalance. I obtained an X-ray of my spine so he could further evaluate with an actual “blueprint”. The X-ray was eye opening!! Due to the position of my coccyx and several other vertebrae I realized that my body/nervous system had been existing in a state of dis-ease. We developed a plan to try and put things back into their proper alignment. After several visits I could feel a noticeable change, but the most UNEXPECTED and AMAZING thing happened. The area of my spine that had been most effected was my low back (lumbar). The nerves in this area affect the reproductive system. After years of a really intense menstrual cycle I had a complete and total shift !!!!! No more cramping, no more back pain, my cycle shortened from seven days to about four, and my PMS was worlds better!!! At first I thought it was just a coincidence, but it has been four months now and as a woman I can say I wish someone had told me sooner that a little chiropractic work could help with horrible menses!!! This was really amazing to me. It has also been quite rewarding to feel my body returning to a place of ease and comfort. Dr. Urban is very professional, yet easy to talk to. I would definitely recommend Dr. Urban to anyone who would like holistic chiropractic care. Thanks for the magic Dr. U
Dr. Urban is a wonderful kind chiropractor who is knowledgeable and very skilled. He also does a wonderful energy technique that is very relaxing. He has helped me very much with my frozen joints due to R. A. Blessings, Dr. Urban.
I’ve been receiving chiropractic care from Dr. James Urban for about a year now, and have been very happy with the results from his care, i have seen other doctors, and have very little relief from pain in my back and neck, Dr. Urban has help me to get some of my strength back in my arms and also relieved some of my discomfort, in my back, by opening up some of the nerves that seem to be blocked, i’am very happy to have found someone like Dr. Urban to give me back the quality of life i have now, thanks again.
I was referred to Dr. Urban by a friend and have been very happy with the results. I had seen a couple other chiropractors on Maui, but was never satisfied with the results. Dr. Urban offers compassionate, personalized service and he makes himself available after hours to address emergency situations. I highly recommend Dr. Urban to help you get back to feeling good again.
As a part-time Maui resident, I was seeking a chiropractic doctor who had been trained in the Gonstead method. At home in New Mexico, I had been undergoing regular chiropractic treatment for chronic pain in my neck and left shoulder. Continuing this treatment was important in alleviating the problem while I was on Maui. So happy to find Dr. James Urban…upon reviewing my X-ray, he began adjustments which have resulted in huge gains in the mobility of my neck, along with significant pain reduction. Dr. Urban clearly explained what was going on in my hip, spine, and neck, along with his plan of action and adjustments necessary to achieve better alignment. I highly recommend Dr. James Urban for your chiropractic wellness choice on Maui.
When I first came to see Dr. Urban I was suffering with chronic discomfort due to a nerve impingement in my cervical spine. After exploring many alternative modalities I found Dr. Urban’s approach very effective, and I feel improvement after each visit with him. Dr. Urban has an exceptional insight into this medicine, his touch is very therapeutic, and most importantly he cares about our long-term health and not just fixing the problem in the moment. Thank you for your care Dr. Urban.
I just moved to Maui this year and needed to find a good chiropractor. I have been getting chiropractic care since 2005, so I was already familiar with what my body needed. I searched google and found Dr. Urban. What a god-sent. He is awesome! He really listened to my concerns and addressed them head on. He has helped me so much that now I have my husband seeing him too! And the best thing is that he’s very flexible with scheduling an appointment. I can call him the same day and get in! And he has this new appointment reminder that texts me a reminder 30 min before my appointment so I don’t forget. Very convenient. I highly recommend Dr. Urban!
While the antioxidant virtues of dark berries and fruits are popularly consumed to help combat disease, food scientists have discovered that the compounds in tart cherries take disease-fighting to a new level. They’re even being compared to common pain medications such as acetaminophen – but don’t tell the pharmaceutical industry, it might hurt their bottom line.
Anthocyanins, a diverse set of flavonoids contained in Montmorency tart cherries are responsible for blasting disease processes that are inflammation-driven such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, Alzheimer’s plus many other chronic health conditions.
What is most groundbreaking about the recent scientific findings is that tart cherry juice contains a far broader range of phytonutrients than most other foods. Researchers noted that it isn’t only the high concentration of antioxidant activity responsible for fighting disease, but also the extensive range of phytochemicals present.
3 great ways tart cherries improve human health
1. Be good to your cardiovascular system. Researchers, at the University of Michigan, found that regular consumption of tart cherry juice reduced overall blood lipid levels while targeting areas of obesity that threaten cardiovascular health such as belly fat and around the heart. Along with these observations, tart cherry also elicited favorable effects on improving high density lipid levels. Continued cardiovascular research is looking at its promising role in stroke prevention.
2. Tart cherries provide anti-inflammatory relief for arthritic patients – especially ones experiencing gout. In a study conducted at Boston University Medical Center, over half of the participants reported substantial reduction in pain and improvement of function. After four weeks of consuming 8 ounces of tart cherry juice concentrate, many adults had reduced uric acid levels.
Researchers concluded that the effects of tart cherries would provide long-lasting anti-inflammatory relief for arthritic patients.
3. Want to improve your sleep? A European Journal of Nutrition study reports that sleep duration and quality improved in subjects after consuming tart cherry juice concentrate. When regularly consumed the juice increased exogenous melatonin in both healthy men and women.
It has also been inferred that it may help regulate patterns of disturbed sleep as well – especially in elderly patients experiencing insomnia. This suggests that tart cherries play an elemental role in preventing inflammatory and age-related disease processes by improving sleep.
What’s the best way to incorporate tart cherries into my diet?
During the summer months, organic tart cherry fruit are simple to find at your local farmer’s markets and can easily be juiced. Throughout the colder month, when procuring fresh organic cherries will be difficult and pricey choose an organic, tart cherry juice to add to your daily routine.
While the juice can be enjoyed any time throughout your day, you can reap extra muscle-recovering benefits by drinking directly after strenuous or prolonged exercise routines. I would also like to add, don’t overdo your exercise – to keep your immune system running strong.
Just one serving a day of tomato-based foods can significantly lower your risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. In fact, research has shown that tomatoes could be an ‘effective alternative’ to dangerous medications.
Scientists have said that tomato juice and cooked tomatoes can have the same benefits as statins for patients battling against high cholesterol levels or high blood pressure.
And just a pint of juice a day could be enough to help many patients.
The secret lies in high levels of the compound lycopene which gives ripe tomatoes their bright red colour. This powerful anti-oxidant is essential for good health as it helps lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Tomato Juice contains phytonutrients including lycopene, beta-carotene, Vitamin E and more. In addition to reducing inflammation, regular consumption of Tomato Juice has been linked to helping to lower blood pressure, and it may even bolster immune function.
Packed with a host of minerals and vitamins, tomato juice contains Vitamin A, K, B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6. And that wasn’t reason enough for you to drink tomato juice, read this — it also comprises minerals such as iron, magnesium as well as phosphorous. Not only are these vitamins and minerals excellent for your health, but they’re also great for your skin and hair. Preferably use fresh tomatoes when you’re squeezing them for the juice.
“The results are pretty enticing,” says study author Howard Sesso, an assistant professor at the Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “They’re encouraging enough for us to do more studies.”
Sesso and his colleagues reviewed the diets of approximately 40,000 women from the ongoing Women’s Health Study, which was begun approximately 15 years ago to follow women who, at the time, were free from cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Controlling for factors such as age, family history, smoking status and other health indicators, they found that women who consumed seven or more servings of tomato-based foods a week — including tomato juice, tomatoes, tomato sauce or pizza — had a nearly 30 percent reduction in risk for cardiovascular disease compared with women who ate less than one and one-half servings a week.
The study was sparked by research that has shown a connection between an increase in the diet of the antioxidant lycopene and a reduction in risk for prostate cancer, Sesso says. Since tomatoes are a rich source of lycopene, he and his colleagues were interested to learn if the same antioxidant qualities, when eaten in tomatoes, might also lower heart disease risk.
Experts in Australia analysed the results of 14 international studies into the benefits of lycopene over the past 55 years. They concluded that it could provide a natural defence to raised levels of so-called ‘bad cholesterol’ — or low-density lipoprotein — in the blood.
The effect was comparable to small doses of statins which are used to treat millions with high cholesterol or blood pressure
Experts experts say tomatoes provide vital chemicals to help muscles recover and blood levels return to normal after being stretched and strained.
Experts from a number of health institutions in Greece conducted tests on 15 athletes over a period of two months, looking at vital signs before, during and after exercise.
Nine of the athletes drank tomato juice after exercise and six consumed their regular fizzy energy drink.
Those drinking tomato juice had quicker levels of muscle recovery and their glucose levels returned to normal faster after strenuous exercise.
20 Benefits of Tomato Juice
1. REDUCE HEART DISEASE
According to Tufts and Boston University researchers, the highest average intakes of lycopene were linked to almost a 30% reduction in the incidence of cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease, respectively, according to findings published in the British Journal of Nutrition.
2. VITAMIN AND MINERAL RICH
They provide the body with a tremendous amount of natural vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamins B1, B3, B5, B6, B7, excellent vitamin C, folate, iron, potassium, magnesium, chromium, choline, zinc, and phosphorus.
3. TOMATOES CAN REDUCE DAMAGE BY SMOKING INCLUDING SECOND HAND SMOKE
Tomatoes can reduce the amount of damage done to your body by smoking cigarettes or inhaling second hand smoke. Tomatoes contain coumaric acid and chlorogenic acid that work to protect the body from carcinogens that are produced from cigarette smoke.
4. THEY NATURALLY ENHANCE FLAVOR
Tomatoes can enhance the flavor of almost any cooked dish. Whole tomatoes, chopped tomatoes and tomato sauce freeze well for future use in cooked dishes. Cooking tomatoes — such as in spaghetti sauce — makes the fruit heart-healthier and boosts its cancer-fighting ability. All this, despite a loss of vitamin C during the cooking process, substantially raises the levels of beneficial phytochemicals. Research demonstrates that heat processing actually enhanced the nutritional value of tomatoes by increasing the lycopene content
5. DENSE IN PHYTONUTRIENTS
In terms of phytonutrients, few vegetables compare with tomatoes. They contain flavonones, flavonols, hydroxycinnamic acids, carotenoids, glycosides and even fatty acid derivatives. Better antioxidant protection has also been shown using broad measurements of oxidative stress in different body systems including neurodegenerative diseases.
6. ORGANIC TOMATOES ARE KING
Tomatoes grown by organic methods contain more phenolic compounds than those grown using commercial standards, but be sure of your source as many organic tomatoes imported from Mexico contained residues of pesticides exceeding allowable limits.
7. IMPROVES DIGESTION AND PREVENTS CONSTIPATION
They help to improve the functioning of the digestive system and the liver, and the prevention of constipation, especially when mixed with spinach juice.
8. REDUCES DANGERS OF STATIN DRUGS
Recent evidence just two ounces of tomato paste or a pint of juice a day could be enough to help many patient avoid dangerous statins the class of drugs commonly prescribed for these conditions which can lead to heart problems.
9. PREVENT KIDNEY AND GALL BLADDER STONES
They work as a disinfectant to protect the body from diarrhea and prevents the appearance of kidney stones and gall bladder stones in the long term. They also dramatically reduce the incidence of lower urinary tract symptoms.
10. HEALTHY HAIR
Drinking tomato juice constantly improves the appearance and texture of hair, and since it is rich in vitamin k, it helps to strengthen the tufts of hair and increase its luster as well as the revitalization of growth.
11. SKIN HEALTH
Rich tomato components fight acne and prevent damage to skin cells. Studies have indicated that eating two cups of tomato juice a day helps to improve the overall appearance of the skin in a short period of time.
12. BONE HEALTH
Tomatoes help maintain healthy bones strengthened by enhancing the ratio of calcium in the body. Interestingly, the connection of tomato intake to bone health involves the rich supply of antioxidant in tomatoes.
13. STRENGTHENS IMMUNE SYSTEM
9 Daily consumption of tomatoes is working to increase the proportion of vitamin C in the blood, which inhibits the levels of stress hormones and strengthens the immune system. So drinking tomato juice helps ease tension and stress.
14. REDUCE BLOOD CLOT RISKS
Tomato juice helps to reduce the risk of blood clots. The excessive clumping together of platelet cells can cause problems for our bloodstream in terms of blockage and unwanted clotting, and prevention of this excessive clumping is important for maintaining heart health. Numerous phytonutrients in tomatoes have been shown to help prevent excessive clumping of our platelet cells.
15. INCREASES FAT BURNING CAPACITY
Tomatoes stimulate the production of the amino acid carnitine which has been shown in research to speed the body’s fat-burning capacity by over 30 percent.
16. PROTECTS VISION AND DEGENERATIVE EYE DISEASE
Because tomatoes are a rich source of the phytonutrients beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, they can help improve vision and protect your eyes from degeneration.
17. PREVENTS STROKE
New research in the journal Harvard Health Letter found that diets rich in tomatoes can help prevent stroke. The scientists chalk up the results to tomatoes’ rich lycopene content.
18. RESTORES BIOCHEMICAL BALANCE IN DIABETICS
According to new research in the journal Cell Biochemistry and Biophysics, scientists created diabetic conditions in animals and fed some lycopene while others were fed their typical diet free of lycopene. The biochemistry of animals fed lycopene returned to normal while the others stayed at diabetic levels. This study shows promise that lycopene (found in tomatoes) can help restore biochemical balance in diabetics.
19. REDUCES PROSTATE CANCER RISK
Tomatoes are rich in natural fiber which maintains the health of the colon as it reduces the risk of prostate cancer which affects 1 in 8 men. One key tomato nutrient that has received special focus in prostate cancer prevention is alpha-tomatine. Alpha-tomatine is a saponin phytonutrient and it’s shown the ability to alter metabolic activity in developing prostate cancer cells. It’s also been shown to trigger programmed cell death (apoptosis) in prostate cancer cells that have already been fully formed. Research on alpha-tomatine has also been conducted for non-small cell lung cancer, with similar findings.
20. REDUCES BREAST CANCER RISK
Breast cancer can also be reduced with tomatoes. Exciting research in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute shows that higher amounts of carotenoids including alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, lycopene, and total carotenoids may have a reduced risk of breast cancer.
Our genes have long been ballyhooed as either a death-sentence or the Midas touch of genius, bestowing upon us pristine health and an agile mind, or the deterministic outcome of cancer, neurological disease, or various other birth defects. But what if there was something else helping to determine our fate? What if our genes were merely building blocks, and a greater intelligence was in charge of whether or not we can throw a basketball from the free throw line and get nothing but net every time, or die at the age of 46 like every other person in our family’s history, due to a genetic predisposition for cardiac arrest?
Do Genes Make the Man – Entirely?
Genetic determinism is the idea that genes, to the exclusion of environment or the field of our awareness and experience, determine how an organism turns out. You could call it the extreme version of nature vs. nurture, wherein our DNA tells us everything about what something will be.
The aforementioned idea decides that generational programming accounts for everything. We’ve become so obsessed with genes, in fact, that we test for everything – from BRAC1 and BRAC2 genes for breast or ovarian cancer, to simply testing our DNA for clues into our ancestral roots. It isn’t as though this information isn’t useful, or even fun, but it can be deceptively limiting. While we can learn if our great-great grandparents were likely to fish or have red hair, we can also find less savory ‘genes’ that foreshadow more somber outcomes.
One of the biggest intellectual roadblocks to overcome in healing ourselves, or even understanding the Universe fully, is based on this assumption: that our genes determine our reality, or the likelihood our lives and health will follow a predetermined path. This assumption is based on yet another erroneous fallacy – that we are just a combination of mechanical, chemical, and hormonal interactions – what Newtonian science would call ‘modern medicine.’
Even after mapping out 3.2 billion base pairs of DNA in the human genome project, we were no closer to figuring out how to heal aberrant DNA for one reason. While many scientists were looking at the four single letters in a protein recipe and how they carry out bodily functions, they forgot to make room for consciousness.
Consciousness, Thoughts, and Intentions
Instead of our lives being determined by our genes, they are more likely determined by what science now calls epigenetics. Our genes grow in a soup of resonant fields created by thoughts and intentions. Rupert Sheldrake, the noted biologist and author of over 80 scientific papers on the subject, has been railing against mainstream science, trying to break through its dogma on the subject for decades:
“Morphic resonance is a process whereby self-organising systems inherit a memory from previous similar systems. In its most general formulation, morphic resonance means that the so-called laws of nature are more like habits. The hypothesis of morphic resonance also leads to a radically new interpretation of memory storage in the brain and of biological inheritance. Memory need not be stored in material traces inside brains, which are more like TV receivers than video recorders, tuning into influences from the past.
And biological inheritance need not all be coded in the genes, or in epigenetic modifications of the genes; much of it depends on morphic resonance from previous members of the species. Thus each individual inherits a collective memory from past members of the species, and also contributes to the collective memory, affecting other members of the species in the future.”
Sheldrake calls this field, ‘the extended mind’. He has defended his theory over and over again from people who call him a crackpot or a whack job. His latest book, Science Set Free, discusses his theory to great extent, but for now, we can discuss it summarily.
Dr. Bruce Lipton, a controversial biologist, has pointed out that one set of gene blueprints can result in over 30,000 different possible outcomes. In multiple adoption studies conducted in the 1880s and 1990s, it was found that children in the same family have an important causal role in gene expression, regardless of their biological origins.
Genes Are Only a Piece of the Puzzle
Researchers found that even children who did not have particular gene combinations that would predispose them to certain types of cancer – but were adopted into families that had attitudes or prevalent emotions that resulted in this health outcome – also often developed the same cancers as their host families did. Social context also played a significant role in whether these adopted children developed a disease. It was surprisingly uncommon for the genes themselves to play out deterministic health scenarios.
Genes are not locked into a specific code. Gene activity can change on a daily basis, and does. The heretofore accepted scientific paradigm of genetic determinacy is being turned on its head. As Lipton explains in a lecture:
“The name protein means ‘primary element’ (proteios, Gr.) for proteins are the primary components of all plant and animal cells. A human is made of ~100,000 different proteins. Proteins are linear ‘chains,’ whose molecular ‘links’ are comprised of amino acid molecules. Each of the 20 different amino acids has a unique shape, so that when linked together in a chain, the resulting proteins fold into elaborate 3-dimensional ‘wire sculptures.’ The protein sculpture’s pattern is determined by the sequence of its amino acid links.
The balancing of electromagnetic charges along the protein’s chain serves to control the ‘final’ shape of the sculpture. The unique shape of a protein sculpture is referred to as its ‘conformation.’ In the manner of a lock and key, protein sculptures compliment the shape of environmental molecules (which include other proteins). When proteins interlock with the complementary environmental molecules, they assemble into complex structures (similar to the way cogged ‘gears’ intermesh to make a watch).”
This and other discoveries made in the last hundred years have allowed scientists willing to go against mainstream to understand that the ‘primary components’ of life are still orchestrated by something more.
Bound Together, Appearing Separate
The morphic resonance theory postulates that we are bound together even though we appear separate, and it is in this field that communication (among cells, DNA, particles, etc.) takes place. While Newtonian science explained the theory of gravitation, outlining the invisible force which holds all things together, the same scientific reasoning also tended to divide everything into separate, mechanistic, material categories. Why is an apple different than a tomato, or a bee different from a persimmon flower? How does the DNA know to make a tree or an ant? A human being or a salamander?
The word ‘morphic’ comes from the Greek meaning ‘form,’ and the morphogentic field determines how things take form. It doesn’t just organize living things, but also inanimate, non-sentient matter. While genes play an important part in organizing us into things, they don’t explain how the organization itself happens. After all, apes and humans, fruit flies and worms are all very similar, genetically.
The theory of morphogenesis supposes that something imposes a pattern of organization on a field – producing specific outcomes in matter. These fields are not fixed; they evolve. This is part of the reason you can see a child that doesn’t have cancer in her genes develop cancer when she is exposed to a ‘field’ which consistently creates the disease. It is also why some people with cancer-causing genes don’t get cancer at all. Sheldrake thinks these messages in the field are passed down through a ‘non-local’ resonance, but ancients called this consciousness.
In another interesting experiment conducted recently, two bilaterally symmetric eyes arise from the anterior neural plate in vertebrate embryos. Those pose an interesting question – did both eyes share a common developmental origin or did they originate separately? Does all of nature spring forward in a ‘Big Bang’ moment, or does it exist as merely a possibility in a metaphysical realm waiting to become ‘real.’
Whatever is discovered to be the underlying cause, or pattern of development, it has been noted that morphic fields of social groups connect group members – even when they are far away – and provide channels of communication through which organisms can communicate at a distance, affecting the genome. This is also the foundation of distance healing, and may even possibly explain how entire forests communicate beyond the network of fungi found on a forest floor. In more than 61 studies on distance healing along with 120 additional randomized controlled studies involving thousands of miles of geographic distance, DNA changes as well as spontaneous healings occurred repeatedly.
DNA may be Fixed, but Epigenome is Flexible
It turns out that our DNA code is fixed for life, but the epigenome is flexible. Epigenomes react to signals from the outside world, such as diet and stress. Even in differentiated cells, signals fine-tune cell functions through changes in gene expression. A flexible epigenome allows us to adjust to changes in the world around us, and to learn from our experiences. This happens both singularly and collectively.
Epigenome signaling can happen from inside a cell, from neighboring cells, or from the environment entirely outside the cell.
In early life, our mother’s nutrition and state of mind helps to develop the epigenome. If she is flooded with stress hormones, or eats lots of kale and spinach, this will affect the genes.
As life continues, a wider variety of environmental influences shape the epigenome, from social interactions, physical activity, diet, and emotional reactions to stimulus.
Progressing into old age, and throughout life, epigenomic activity is triggered by what is happening in the outside world, shutting down or activating certain sets of genes.
To summarize: eat right, create a loving, peaceful environment, and challenge your societal assumptions if they don’t serve you. Your genes could very well be changed in the process.
It’s October, and with that we are blasted with pink paraphernalia and special events (cancer runs) to help us recognize the growing problem of breast cancer. It is during this campaign that we also are reminded that the best plan is to learn how to detect cancer in the early stages, while scientists work feverishly on developing a cancer drug to “cure” those who are dealing with advanced stages of the disease.
It is this largely reactive and unnatural approach (waiting until you see signs of cancer, then dealing with it through pharmaceutical drugs) that completely misses the core advice that should be delivered to those who really want to avoid cancer, which is prevention of it in the first place.
Prevention is the most important cancer-fighting tool we have today, and there are many things an individual can do to help prevent cancer. However, the main theme behind cancer prevention is maintaining a strong and healthy immune system, which can make you virtually impervious to any kind of cancer, including cancer of the breast. This can be accomplished in 4 distinct ways.
With 60% of all cancers being related to dietary factors, nutrition is the most important factor in any cancer-fighting regimen. This means eating a largely local and organic diet consisting mainly of nutrient dense fruit (focus on low sugar) and vegetables, as well as soaked nuts and seeds, and gluten free grains. Animal products should be limited, with charred and cured meats being avoided as much as possible, especially for women who wish to decrease their risk of breast cancer.
In addition to that, be sure to focus on the following nutrients:
Beta Carotene (carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, and most green, leafy vegetables)
Vitamin B6 (bananas, leafy, green vegetables, carrots, apples, sweet potatoes, and organ meats)
Vitamin C (camu camu, acerola cherry, guava, peppers, kale, citrus fruits)
Vitamin D (sunlight, fermented cod liver oil)
Vitamin E (dark green vegetables, almonds, eggs, avocado, liver)
Folic acid (beets, cabbage, dark leafy vegetables, eggs, citrus fruits)
Selenium (brazil nuts, seafood, sunflower seeds, beef, chicken, mushrooms)
Magnesium (pumpkin seeds, cacao, Brazil nuts, sesame seeds, almonds)
Zinc (dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds, fish, beans, rice, avocados, cacao)
Coenzyme Q10 (fish, grapeseed oil, sesame seeds, pistachios, walnuts, spinach)
In addition to that, be sure to take beneficial amounts of garlic, broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, flaxseed oil, hemp, sauerkraut, spices, and pure water. For all foods, the higher the antioxidant content, the better.
It is imperative that we stay away from carcinogenic chemicals and contaminants found in conventional household and garden products, personal care items, water, food, industrial machinery and their by-products, medications, and metal dental fillings. These multiple exposure points accumulate to the point that the immune system becomes severely stressed and cells start to become damaged, until eventually, cancer sets in.
Reduce exposure to EMFs
Both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have conducted studies that have shown that EMFs could be classified as a Class B carcinogen, so therefore, exposure should be reduced.
Always test for EMFs using a gauss meter, especially prior to moving into a new house, apartment, or office. Also avoid being in the proximity of power lines and generating stations. Limit your time near electronics (computers, cell phones) as much as possible, as well as heating pads, electric blankets, and beds that plug into the wall.
When avoiding close proximity to EMFs is impossible, consider grounding technology to offset the harmful effects.
Stress is known to suppress immune system function, and a compromised immune system can pave the way to various forms of cancer. In fact, many physicians now believe that treating an individual’s mental and emotional states is as important as treating the cancerous tumors themselves.
David Spiegel, M.D., a psychiatrist at Stanford University, demonstrated that women with breast cancer who participated in a weekly support group lived twice as long as those who did not. This clearly illustrates the importance of deeper relationships, and how they could be effective in reducing your chances of getting cancer altogether. This is why lifestyle needs to be examined closely, including relationships at work, home, and in various social settings.
Red algae, the pigments in which are caused by compounds known as phycoerythrin and phycocyanin, can now be known as yet another one of Mother Nature’s answers to the latest ‘Ebola Pandemic,’ as well as a host of other diseases ranging from HIV, Hepatitis-C, SARS, and more. There is no need to resort to experimental nationwide Ebola vaccines as suggested by U.S. authorities and the current mafia-vaccine maker, GlaxoSmithKline.
Red algae is a key antiviral for this crazy world we are living in. Just having a healthy, strong immune system could save your life, and at least minimize your chances of getting sick where other less-propagandized sicknesses are concerned, such as the ‘flu’ or even the common cold. Compounds in red algae help to greatly promote our own natural immune systems.
When researchers were looking into more details of the Gabon Africa Ebola outbreak of 1996, they found that Ebola causes death among about 70% of those who become infected. They also note that there are many people who think that cases deemed to be Ebola are actually hemorrhagic fevers, like Dengue, because they present the very same symptoms.
In any case, this 70% statistic led researchers from Gabon’s Franceville International Center of Medical Research to investigate more fully. How did 30% of the people exposed to Ebola live, even when they were in close contact with Ebola victims?
(Currently, there is controversy as to how Ebola is transmitted. Some say it can be airborne, which could mean it isn’t Ebola, and others say it must be contracted only through direct mucosal or blood such as a transfer of saliva, urine, semen or blood from one person to another.)
These researchers found that nearly half of those who were asymptomatic and seemingly immune developed antibodies (IgM and IgG) to the Ebola virus. Antibodies are protective proteins that guard against disease in the body, and they normally occur naturally in a healthy person.
They also noted that the asymptomatic group exhibited fewer inflammatory responses in general. Not to be too graphic, but Ebola is said to ‘liquefy’ the insides, which is a bit of an exaggeration It does cause extreme inflammation, though, which can eventually lead to heavy bleeding and death.
The asymptomatic group was also found to have higher levels of circulating cytokines and chemokines – which speed up the body’s ability to break down viral cells and stop them from causing people to be sick.
This happens in many diseases, not just Ebola. Mannose-binding lectins attack the Ebola virus but also other lethal infections like HIV, HCV and SARS.
Mannose-binding lectins are produced in the human body via a DNA sequence, called the MBL2. When our genes are working properly, these lectins flood the bloodstream and scourge disease – including unwanted fungi, bacteria, and even parasites, which utilize glycoprotein shells to protect themselves. They also inhibit virus growth.
They do this by breaking apart the surface of the unwanted microbe and breaking them down, allowing the body’s additional immune cells to kill off the virus or toxin and prevent it from replicating.
Research over the past five years has found that low levels of mannose-binding lectins increases the risk of respiratory infections, including syncytial virus infections, pneumonia and others.
Ebola, as many other viruses do, comes with a glycoprotein shell that must be broken down in order for someone who is in contact with it to remain healthy.
Where Red Algae Comes into Play
Furthermore, the glycoprotein shell of the Ebola virus produces glycoproteins that damage cells, allowing the virus to penetrate and replicate within the cell – but red algae has been shown to keep this from happening.
The reason for this mutation/switch-off has yet to be fully understood.
Red algae produces mannose-binding lectins plentifully, which allow the plants to protect themselves from invasion by viruses.
The most promising form of mannose-binding lectins is a component of the Scytonema varium red algae called Scytovirin. The protein extract was isolated by researchers from the National Cancer Institute at Frederick, Maryland in 2003. It contains 95 amino acids, and was found to bind to HIV-1 viral shells.
Another antiviral protein in red algea broke down the glycoprotein shells of HIV and HCV.
And yet another anti-viral extract found in a New Zealand red algae species, Griffithsia sp.. The anti-vrial, Griffithsin, was beneficial in treating mice with epidemic-potentiated SARS and also HIV-1. It stopped the viruses from replicating.
Here’s the Real Proof
In 2010, Harvard researchers tested a recombinant version of Griffithsin – called rhMBL – against Ebola, and found that it broke down those pesky viral shells while giving mice complete immunity to the virus. Other animals have since been tested with similar results.
So, even if you aren’t certain red algae will keep you from contracting Ebola, you can boost your immune system and protect against a number of diseases, from Ebola to SARS, simply by taking a red seaweed supplement.
Skeptics question, “is kale really that good for you?” With a resounding “yes”, kale is actually one of the world’s most health-promoting superfoods. Yet, sadly, if you did a search at the American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen or any other conventional resource (online) – you’ll find nothing on the health benefits of kale. Why?
While cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts have long been studied for their anticancer compounds, the vast health benefits of kale put it at the top of the list as a potent cancer preventive.
Clinically proven to offer widespread immunoregulartory effects, kale contains a myriad of compounds that have been shown to help stop the conversion of certain lesions to cancerous cells. As a result of these combined compounds, kale has been shown to prevent and fight against cancers such as breast, prostate, oral, colorectal, kidney and esophageal.
Studies show kale enhances immune function and prevents cancer growth
The immune-enhancing and anticancer health benefits of kale are a result of several compounds such as indoles including di-indolemethane (DIM) and indole-3-carbinol (I3C) plus isothiocyanates, derived from glucosinolates.
Isothiocyanates, in kale, were first observed to reduce activation of carcinogens while increasing their detoxification according to Chinese researchers who published their findings in a 2009 review in the journal, Nature. Since then, dozens of studies have focused on understanding which target tissues these compounds act on to assist in developing human trials and to determine therapeutic anticancer dosage ranges.
How does eating kale support the ‘front-line’ of the immune system?
Immunoglobulin A or IgA is an antibody that is responsible for maintaining and enhancing the integrity of the mucosal lining of the gastrointestinal, respiratory and genitourinary tracts. When IgA is deficient, this first line of defense becomes penetrable allowing microbial invaders and other proteins to easily pass into the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, other tissues throughout the body can become compromised leading to atypical cellular division.
By protecting IgA and therefore the mucosal lining, probiotic and prebiotic balance is maintained as a frontline defense to disease. So, eat your kale to improve digestion and nutrient absorption.
What is the best way to eat kale?
Steaming and dehydrating kale are two popular, nutrient-rich methods of getting more of this leafy superfood into your diet. Steaming and boiling kale has actually been shown to increase its therapeutic properties more than if you consume it raw.
If you choose to make a fresh salad from any type of kale, allow it to come to room temperature before eating and even consider tossing in garlic to enhance enzymatic activity. Rub a high quality oil such as organic coconut oil onto the leaves to activate these helpful enzymes – this activity will help release its immune-enhancing properties for optimized absorption. (Plus, it’s delicious!)
Current research continues to focus on isolating therapeutic compounds from kale (described above) to determine human dosage as well as observe the effects of differing types of kale on immunity and cancer specifically as a regular dietary staple. But, instead of waiting for more research, I encourage everyone to start eating more dark, leafy green vegetables like, kale, collard greens and Swiss chard. The reward is worth the effort.
If asked about one of the very best nutrients to consume in order to lower cholesterol, reduce abdominal fat and decrease risk of heart disease, it’s likely that very few people would answer: “fat.” Yet, those few people would be correct.
Recent research, including a new study performed at the University of Missouri, demonstrates that there is no link between the consumption of certain fats and the risk of developing serious conditions such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. Even more surprisingly, consuming fats can carry significant health benefits.
Of course, all fats are not created equal – only some are beneficial
Conventionally-trained nutritionists warn that saturated fats and trans fats are unhealthy, and can raise levels of harmful LDL cholesterol. Of course, trans fats, or highly-processed (heated) vegetable oils should be avoided at all costs. But, are we being told the whole truth about fats?
In truth, we can find healthy fats from flaxseed, olive, coconut and hemp oil. These oils contain varying amounts of the omega-6 polyunsaturated acid known as linoleic acid – which has been shown to have health-promoting qualities.
Wait a minute! I though linoleic acid causes inflammation?
While past studies have indeed linked linoleic acid-rich diets with inflammation in animals, some researchers are beginning to state that these results don’t hold true for humans, who respond to oil differently.
In a recent study conducted at the University of Missouri and published in Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, researchers evaluated the results of 15 different randomized controlled trials involving close to 500 participants, and found that there is virtually no association between consumption of vegetable oils and the markers of inflammation linked with heart disease, cancer, arthritis and asthma.
Not only that – linoleic acid seems to have the ability to lower LDL cholesterol levels.
In a nutshell: vegetable oils containing LA do not contribute to inflammation in healthy people. Animal fats, on the other hand, can promote inflammation, an immune response that is linked to increased risk of life-threatening illnesses such as heart disease and cancer. Researchers can detect inflammation by noting the presence of inflammatory “markers” – including cytokines, C-reactive protein and fibrinogen – in the blood.
Olive oil, considered by many to be the queen of healthy oils, can combat metabolic syndrome
A staple of the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet, olive oil has generous amounts of both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids – both of which are beneficial. Monounsaturated fatty acids lower LDL cholesterol while raising levels of healthy HDL cholesterol. In addition, they help to regulate blood clotting and stabilize blood sugar levels.
Olive oil is also rich in vitamin E, an important antioxidant vitamin that can scavenge destructive free radicals and decrease disease-causing oxidative stress. In addition, it contains powerful anti-inflammatory polyphenols such as oleuropein and oleocanthal.
In a randomized controlled trial published just this week in Canadian Medical Association Journal, researchers found that extra-virgin olive oil – when used as part of the Mediterranean diet – can help reverse metabolic syndrome, a collection of unhealthy conditions that raises risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Metabolic syndrome is indicated by excessive belly fat, low levels of beneficial HDL cholesterol, high blood pressure, and high levels of blood sugar and triglycerides.
When it comes to health benefits and weight control, “healthy” fat diets trump “low-fat” diets
Participants in the olive oil group decreased their obesity and blood sugar levels at a much greater rate than those in the control group, which was counseled to eat a low-fat diet. In fact, close to a third of the olive oil group completely reversed their condition, and could no longer be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome by the end of the 4.8 year follow time period.
With roughly 33 percent of all Americans currently affected by metabolic syndrome, the good news about olive oil is particularly significant.
When it comes to oils that feature polyunsaturated fatty acids, it is the balance between the omega-3 and omega-6 acids that helps to determine their healthiness. Natural health experts tell us that both flaxseed oil and hemp oil contain optimal balances of PUFAs. Both of them feature an omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA, which has been shown to decrease inflammation.
The University of Maryland Medical Center notes that research shows a lower incidence of fatal heart attacks in people who eat a diet rich in ALA, and adds that ALA may even reduce the risk of heart arrhythmias, and – by decreasing the adhesiveness of blood platelets – cut the risk of a stroke as well. For maximum health benefits, look for organic hemp and flaxseed oils that are labeled “high oleic.”
Coconut oil, rich in lauric acid, offers a wealth of heart healthy benefits
Don’t forget the coconut oil, which imparts a light, delicious coconut flavor to recipes when used as a cooking or salad oil. This healthy oil boosts immunity, promotes good digestion, supports healthy thyroid function and fights abdominal fat. It also increases levels of healthy HDL cholesterol, and helps to spur the conversion of cholesterol to pregnenolone – which in turn assists in the creation of important hormones.
In a double-blind clinical study published in 2009 in Lipids, researchers found two tablespoons of coconut oil daily for 12 weeks promoted significant loss of abdominal fat in the study participants.
Wait a minute – isn’t coconut oil high in harmful saturated fat?
Although most of coconut oil’s fat is indeed of the saturated variety, many natural health experts point out that much of this fat consists of medium-chain fatty acids, which have not been implicated in chronic diseases in the same way longer-chain fatty acids – such as those found in butter – have been.
Coconut oil proponents also point out that this tasty tropical oil is ideal for use in cooking, as it withstands high temperatures without breaking down into harmful trans fat.
Are there any vegetable oils I should avoid?
Yes. Canola, soy and corn oils, despite their otherwise beneficial content of linoleic acid, are notorious for their content of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Unless you want to up your intake of genetically manipulated ingredients, these oils are taboo.
How much fat is enough?
Of course, the recent research doesn’t suggest that you should guzzle down vegetable oils in unlimited quantities. Even with “healthy fats,” moderation is the key.
Experts say that consuming between two and four tablespoons of vegetable oil a day should be sufficient to achieve adequate linoleic acid levels in the body. According to the American Heart Association, fats – which universally contain nine calories a gram – should make up no more than 20 to 35 percent of your total calories. Although, some people may require more – depending on personal lifestyle habits and medical health profile.
And, it is not just cooking and salad oils that offer up healthy fat. You can also snack on whole organic foods that are rich in monounsaturated fats, and treat your body to healthy quantities of dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants galore. Luscious avocados, tasty olives, and crunchy, satisfying nuts such as walnuts, cashews, pecans and almonds not only taste great – it turns out they are great for our health as well.
To sum up, we shouldn’t be fanatically trying to rid our diets of fat, a nutrient the body needs in order to absorb fat-soluble vitamins. Therefore, consuming appropriate amounts of disease-fighting polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats would be a much wiser – and more palatable – course of action. Naturally, if you’re concerned about your heart health, consult a trusted medical professional.
The world’s greatest healing systems have long revered the medicinal power of edible mushrooms. In ancient Chinese and Indian medicine, for instance, mushrooms were often prescribed to individuals suffering from a wide range of conditions ranging from fatigue to serious degenerative diseases. In Europe, mushrooms were beloved for their significant healing properties, which were often attributed to their dense concentrations of essential nutrients.
As drug-based medicine continued to soar in popularity in the 20th century, however, many cultures began to forget about the healing plants that had safeguarded their ancestors’ health for centuries. This is unfortunate, since ongoing research continues to show that some mushrooms really are disease-fighting powerhouses. The three mushrooms listed below are proven to be especially effective at treating certain conditions.
Turkey tail: cancer
Turkey tail (Trametes versicolor) is a bracket fungi whose beautiful colors and patterns resemble the tail feathers of a turkey. It grows worldwide, and — being a beneficial decomposer of dead wood — often forms in huge colonies on the wounds of living and dead trees.
Turkey tail is best-known for its cancer-fighting properties. One study published in ISRN Oncology in 2012, for instance, found that taking up to 9 grams of turkey tail extract per day could improve the immune status of patients with breast cancer. (1) Another study, published one year later in the International Journal of Molecular Medicine, discovered that turkey tail — when combined with reishi, another popular disease-fighting mushroom — could induce apoptosis in leukemia cells. (2)
Lion’s mane: cognitive dysfunction
Lion’s mane (Hericium erinaceus) is a globular-shaped fungus that is easily identified by its cascading teeth-like spines, from which white spores emerge. In fact, the mushroom is also called the “pom-pom blanc” since it resembles the white poms-poms used by cheerleaders.
Lion’s mane’s positive effects on brain function are well-recorded. For example, a study published in Biomedical Research in August 2010 found that subjects who took a lion’s mane supplement for four weeks demonstrated reduced depression and anxiety compared to the placebo group. (3) A review published in Critical Reviews in Biotechnology in March 2014 also listed lion’s mane as one of the mushrooms that can prevent age-related neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. (4)
Chaga: metabolic disorders
Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) is a hard and woody fungus that thrives in the coldest parts of Europe, especially Russia. Despite looking like a cracked piece of charcoal, chaga is a mushroom of considerable medicinal value, and it enjoys a long and rich association with European folklore.
While extremely versatile as a disease fighter, chaga seems to specialize in treating metabolic disorders such as diabetes due to its high concentrations of secondary metabolites (intermediates and products of metabolism). One study published in Phytotherapy Research in February 2014, for instance, found that a melanin complex of chaga “exerts antihyperglycemic and beneficial lipid-metabolic effects, making it a candidate for promising antidiabetic agent.” (5) Research featured in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology in June 2008 also showed that chaga could lower glucose levels and prevent the oxidative degradation of lipids in diabetic mice. (6)
Even if you try to eat a healthy, organic diet – you could be at risk for nutritional deficiencies without realizing it. In fact, the National Institutes of Health concluded that “the vast majority of people in both affluent and emerging industrialized countries do not reach even 75 percent of the RDAs for numerous trace minerals.”
The importance of nutrient status (and deficiencies) cannot be overstated. For example, magnesium deficiency is widespread among Americans. One study, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, shows that 68% of Americans are magnesium deficient and, some experts like Carolyn Dean, M.D. have been warning the public for years.
What is the importance of trace minerals?
Some minerals, such as calcium, potassium, and phosphorus, are more common in food and in your body. Trace minerals, on the other hand, are essential minerals that you only need in trace amounts. The following is a condensed look at certain minerals and their purpose in the body:
Chromium is necessary for proper regulation of blood sugar and improves insulin sensitivity.
Cobalt is present in vitamin B12 and it is necessary for generating healthy, red blood cells.
Zinc allows for proper immune response, growth, antioxidant function and wound healing.
Selenium is necessary for proper antioxidant function and liver detoxification. It is also essential for healthy muscles and hair.
Iodine is necessary for your body to make thyroid hormone – which is involved in almost every process in your body including energy metabolism and temperature regulation.
Bottom line, trace minerals are essential to protect against common health issues, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cognitive decline. Without enough trace minerals, you’re also susceptible to contamination from heavy metals such as arsenic, mercury and lead.
Why ‘modern’ farming techniques MUST change to help save humanity
Why aren’t Americans getting enough trace minerals from their food supply? Obviously, we should be looking at soil content. Over the past century, the quality of our soil has been depleted by 85 percent – mainly due to modern methods of farming.
The agricultural sector is driven by crop yield, using every possible method to increase the number of pounds harvested. Intensive farming, combined with soil erosion, has resulted in soil with a lower mineral content. To make matters worse, chemical fertilizers are insufficient to replace the minerals needed for optimal health and poison the environment.
The singular focus on agricultural yield comes at the expense of nutritious food products and the nutritional status and health of Americans. Fruits and vegetables are now grown in soil with a lower nutrient content than in the past. A study in Canada found that tomatoes, spinach, cabbage, and lettuce have on average one-eighth the mineral content today than they did at the beginning of the 20th century.
The ocean provides a natural way to correct mineral deficiencies
If you just can’t depend on the produce section of your supermarket, how can you give your body the nutrients it needs to heal your body? The answer may lie in the ocean, which is rich in minerals. They’re in their complete, non-denatured form, which is the form most beneficial (and recognizable) to the human body.
If you have the time and space, you can grow your own fruits and vegetables using ocean trace minerals to fertilize them. Another option is to eat seaweed, either as a food or as a supplement. Sea vegetable capsules are another source of minerals, and sea vegetables also contain health-promoting compounds such as fucoidan – which can help lower your risk for disease.
A symbol of longevity in Asia because of their health-promoting properties, shiitake mushrooms have been used medicinally for more than 6,000 years. They are now cultivated worldwide for both culinary and medicinal purposes. They are champions in immune, anti-cancer and cardiovascular benefits.
During the Ming Dynasty (A.D. 1368-1644) Chinese physician Wu Jue wrote that the mushroom could be used medicinally as a remedy for upper respiratory tract infections, poor circulation, liver pathologies, exhaustion, premature aging, and as a Qi (life force) tonic.
Like other mushrooms, these specialty mushrooms are as mysteriously unique as they are delicious. While often thought of as a vegetable and prepared like one, mushrooms are actually a fungus, a special type of living organism that has no roots, leaves, flowers or seeds.
Shiitake has a nutty and earthy taste, making it a common delicacy of the culinary world. Many chefs prefer to use sun-dried Shiitake since the drying process seems to enhance the flavour. Interestingly, the effect of UV light on the mushroom converts ergosterol into vitamin D, making the sun-dried variety a dietary source of this vitamin.
Most people are aware that the human body makes vitamin D in response to sunlight. Less known is the fact that mushrooms, even picked ones, can perform the same feat – which means that eating mushrooms that have been exposed to sunlight can be an excellent way to supplement your “D” levels.
In the summer of 2004, mycologist Paul Stamets discovered that the level of vitamin D in freshly picked, indoor- grown shiitake mushrooms rose from 110 IU (international units) to an astonishing 46,000 IU per 100 grams when the mushrooms were placed outdoors in the sun for just six hours with the gills facing up (when the gills were facing down, the level rose to 10,900 IU).
This means that eating just one gram of sun-treated shiitake – about one tenth of one mushroom – would give you 460 IU, close to the FDA’s recommended daily dose of 400 IU. In his book, Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World, Stamets concluded, “(In) populations where vitamin D is seriously deficient, sun-exposed dried mushrooms can help address a serious health issue.”
Immune System Benefits
From a naturopathic perspective, Shiitake is a fascinating mushroom due to its application in health care, easy incorporation into the diet, and excellent safety profile. Current research is discovering that extracts of this mushroom have immune system regulating properties, along with antibacterial, antiviral, and blood clot inhibiting properties. A study published by the Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology in 2009 reported that polysaccharide extracts of Shiitake were shown to stimulate the function and activation of macrophages. Macrophages are white blood cells involved in the body’s initial response to infection (destroying pathogens and sending out chemical signals to the immune system to mount an attack on invading organisms).
No health benefit is better documented for shiitake mushroom than immune support. In fact, the immune support track record for this mushroom is fascinating. On the one hand, numerous studies have shown the ability of whole shiitake mushrooms to help prevent excessive immune system activity. On the other hand, an equal number of studies have shown the ability of shiitake mushrooms to help stimulate immune system responses under certain circumstances. In other words, from a dietary perspective, shiitake mushrooms appear able to enhance immune function in both directions, giving it a boost when needed, and cutting back on its activity when needed.
In 2006, the Biological Pharmacology Bulletin published a study that examined the efficacy of a hot water extract of Shiitake on protecting hepatocytes (liver cells) from the toxic agent D-galactosamine. The result was that 0.5 mg/ml of the Shiitake extract completely suppressed the cytotoxic (liver cell death inducing) effects of D-galactosamine. The study continued to examine the effect of injecting the Shiitake extract into rats treated with D-galactosamine. The result was less leakage of AST and ALT (both chemical blood markers of liver cell injury).
The most famous immune-supportive components in shiitake mushrooms are its polysaccharides. (Polysaccharides are large-sized carbohydrate molecules composed of many different sugars arranged in chains and branches.) Although many fungi are well-known for their polysaccharides, no single fungus has been more carefully studied than the shiitake mushroom. We know that this fungus is unique in its variety of polysaccharides, and especially its polysaccharide glucans. (Glucans are polysaccharides in which all of the sugar components involve the simple sugar glucose.) Among the glucans contained in shiitake mushroom are alpha-1,6 glucan, alpha-1,4 glucan, beta-1,3 glucan, beta-1,6 glucan, 1,4-D-glucans, 1,6-D-glucans, glucan phosphate, laminarin, and lentinan. Shiitake mushrooms also contain some important non-glucan polysaccharides, including fucoidans and galactomannins. The immune-related effects of polysaccharides in shiitake mushrooms have been studied on laboratory animals under a wide variety of circumstances, including exercise stress, exposure to inflammation-producing toxins, radiation exposure, and immunodeficiency.
Lentinan, a common extraction of Shiitake used for medicinal purposes, was researched with regard to its immune regulatory applications in individuals living with HIV. In 1998, the Journal of Medicine (AIDS Activities Division, San Francisco General Hospital) conducted a double-blind placebo control trial on 98 patients with HIV. Patients were administered either 2, 5, or 10 mg of Lentinan or placebo via intravenous (I.V.) once a week for eight weeks. Side effects of the I.V. administered Lentinan were generally mild when administered over a 30-minute period. The patients in the study receiving Lentinan demonstrated a trend toward increases in CD4 cells (the white blood cells targeted for destruction by HIV), and in some patients, increased neutrophil (the primary white blood cell involved in the response to infection) activity.
Recent studies have shown that shiitake mushrooms can help protect us against cardiovascular diseases (including atherosclerosis) by preventing too much immune cell binding to the lining of our blood vessels. In order for immune cells and other materials to bind onto our blood vessel linings, certain protein molecules–called adhesion molecules–must be produced and sent into action. By helping to block the adhesion molecule production process, substances in shiitake mushrooms can help protect our blood vessels.
A final basic area of cardiovascular benefits involves antioxidant support. Chronic oxidative stress in our cardiovascular system (ongoing, oxygen-based damage to our blood vessel linings) is a critical factor in the development of clogged arteries (atherosclerosis) and other blood vessel problems. One of the best ways for us to reduce our risk of chronic oxidative stress is consumption of a diet rich in antioxidant nutrients. Shiitake mushrooms are a very good source of three key antioxidant minerals: manganese, selenium, and zinc. They also contain some unusual phytonutrient antioxidants. One of the best studied is ergothioneine (ET). This unique antioxidant is derived from the amino acid histidine, although it’s unusual since it contains a sulfur group of molecules that are not present in histidine itself. In studies on ET and our cells’ oxidative stress levels, one fascinating finding has been the special benefits of ET for cell components called mitochondria.
Medicinal extracts from shiitake mushrooms have been studied much more extensively than the whole food itself. In cell and laboratory animal experiments, numerous components of shiitake mushrooms have been show to help block tumor growth, sometimes by triggering programmed cell death (apoptosis) in the cancer cells. These components have been collectively referred to as “anti-tumor mycochemicals” provided by shiitake mushrooms. Researchers have speculated that more than 100 different types of compounds in shiitake mushrooms may work together to accomplish these anti-tumor results. While the unique polysaccharides in shiitake mushrooms were first thought to be its primary anti-cancer compounds, scientists are now convinced that shiitake provides many non-polysaccharide substances that have anti-tumor effects.
The special combination of antioxidants found in shiitake mushrooms together with their highly flexible support for immune system function make them a natural candidate for providing us with protection from a variety of problems involving oxidative stress and immune function. This includes rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an area that has begun to interest shiitake mushroom researchers. Although research in this area is preliminary, we expect to see large-scale human studies confirming the benefits of shiitake mushrooms for prevention of RA.
Medicinal extracts from shiitake mushrooms have well-documented effects on a variety of micro-organisms, including bacteria, fungi, and viruses (including human immunodeficiency virus-1, or HIV-1). While we have yet to see large-scale human studies on whole food intake of shiitake mushrooms and decreased susceptibility to colds, flu or other problems related to unwanted activity of micro-organisms, this is a very likely area for future food research and discovery of health benefits.
Preparing and Cooking
The polysaccharides in log-grown shiitakes are readily available to the body, but sawdust-grown mushrooms may not have sufficient density to be absorbed and used as effectively.
The hardwood logs organically and naturally provide all the nutrients that make the shiitake prized as a gourmet mushroom and a health food. Japanese consumers pay less than $4.00 a pound for sawdust-grown shiitakes, but will give $40 a pound and more for log-grown.
Most shiitakes available in the supermarket are grown on sawdust. The log-grown shiitakes go primarily to chefs and pharmaceutical companies. Consumers, who are not aware of the difference, are currently paying the same amount for both types, even though the wholesale price of sawdust-grown shiitakes is about half that of log-grown shiitakes.
Some sawdust-grown shiitakes are very good and many people can’t recognize the difference until they have seen both types and cooked with them. Log-grown shiitakes have a meatier texture and will vibrate when shaken. The gills on log-grown shiitakes and on high-quality sawdust-grown mushrooms will be pure white and unbroken. A package of natural shiitakes will usually contain mushrooms of different colors, shapes, and sizes, and the mushrooms will have short stems. The mushrooms from artificial logs may all have the same conical shape, pale color and markings (or no markings). Low-quality sawdust-grown mushrooms with bulbous stems, yellow, broken gills and an ammonia-like smell should be avoided.
Mushrooms are very porous, so if they are exposed to too much water they will quickly absorb it and become soggy. Therefore, the best way to clean mushrooms without sacrificing their texture and taste is to clean them using minimal, if any, water. To do this, simply wipe them with a slightly damp paper towel or kitchen cloth. You could also use a mushroom brush, available at most kitchenware stores.
It is easy to make traditional Shiitake dashi (Japanese mushroom soup stalk). Just add 18-20 dried Shiitake mushrooms and a strip of kombu (kelp) to 8 cups of water. Let the mixture sit until the water darkens and the mushrooms become completely soft. Now you can use the rehydrated Shiitake’s for other dishes and the stalk can be used for anything from soup stalk to risotto stalk.
Another method to cook is to heat 3 TBS of broth over medium heat in a stainless steel skilled. When broth begins to steam add sliced mushrooms and Healthy Saute for 7 minutes. It is best to stir constantly for the last 4 minutes of cooking. Toss with our Mediterranean Dressing and your favorite optional ingredients.