High Levels of HDL are a Risk for Dementia

Very High Levels of HDL Lipids are a High Risk for Dementia

You have always been told that HDL is your "good" cholesterol, the more the better. Well, the shine has come off the apple. HDL over 80 isn't so good. There appears to be a U-shaped curve with increasing benefit up to 80, and then a sharp increase over HDL of 80. Published in the LANCET this January is a great study using 16,703 participants over age 70 (from Australia) and 2411 participants over age 65 from Kaiser Health in California. It was part of a randomized, placebo-controlled trial of baby aspirin. 830 cases of dementia developed over the 6 years of the study. Comparing HDL levels to dementia risk in that population showed a 27% increased risk when HDL rose over 80. That's alarming. No matter how they analyzed the data, that association continued.

This study confirms the findings now of multiple other studies over the last decade that appear to show much the same finding. One of the largest was from Great Britain, looking at some 415,00 adults that found an increase in all-cause mortality of some 11% for HDL over 80. In their data, that held true only for men.

What is a bit confounding is that we don't know how to lower that high HDL. All we find are pablum recommendations of "eat right" and "exercise more". Ok, ok, nice try. Let's first understand what HDL is and what role it plays. Here is a brief physiology lesson.

HDL is part of cholesterol transport. Cholesterol is made in the liver. It is a critical membrane lipid that is rigid and strong. It's water-insoluble and needs a transport protein that can carry it through the blood. Some 40% of cellular membranes are made of cholesterol, wherein it provides the strength and firmness to make a strong membrane. Like the joists or framing of a house that give a house rigid structure and form, you need structural strength to make a cell wall and the requisite shape of a cell. That's the role of cholesterol. But a house has to have windows and doors to see out and get in and out. Ditto for a cell. Part of every cell are membrane regions with much less cholesterol and more plasmalogens which can shape shift and move. Embedded proteins that allow cross-membrane communication need that ability to shapeshift to communicate.

Cholesterol is absolutely indigestible. The only way to get rid of it is to excrete it in your bile. To get from your cell, where there is too much cholesterol, back to your liver, you need a transport protein. Voila, therein lies the role for HDL particles. They are the taxi ride to the airport.

There you have it. Cholesterol is always coming (LDL particles) and going (HDL particles). If you eat a lot of animal protein, you ingest more cholesterol. Plants have virtually none (except for some "sterols" in some nuts and seeds).

The issue with coronary artery disease isn't the coming and going of cholesterol. It is the inflammation and endothelial dysfunction that make the artery wall naked and amenable to absorbing the cholesterol that's the problem with coronary artery disease. Taking a statin lowers the production of cholesterol but doesn't do much for endothelial dysfunction driven mostly by the inflammation caused by visceral fat, and inflammatory foods (sugar etc).

How to lower your HDLs? We are still dancing around that. My suspicion is that we will eventually see the role for Nitric Oxide. The inexorable march of NO decline with age can now be reversed with NO lozenge therapy.  What is most interesting is that we are finding that HDLs are much more than just passive taxis. They have all sorts of antiinflammatory properties and even can be shown to protect mitochondria.  Stay tuned.  This is interesting.

www.What will Work for me. I'm such a sugar addict, I don't know how I'm going to even get my HDL up above 40. I've hovered in the 28-30 range for decades. I finally got above 40 when I started taking plasmalogens. Now, I'm a year into NO which will start generating research studies now that we can easily obtain it. My bet is that NO/plasmalogen therapy will have a much, much greater effect on reducing vascular disease than statins. It's going to take 10 years to show that. I don't have 10 years to wait. My expiration date is probably sooner than that.

References: The Lancet, American Jr Cardiology, Adv Exp Med Bio., ATVB, Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy,

Pop Quiz

1. What role does the HDL particle play in our lives?                           Answer: It's the shuttle bus for cholesterol from the cell back to the liver to be excreted in bile.


2. What does a "healthy" level of HDLs mean?                         Answer: Your cells are happy. They have enough cholesterol for their needs and are shipping the extra back to be excreted. Everything appears to be copesthetic. Calmness prevails.

3. Except when your HDL is above 80. What happens then?                            Answer: There appears to be a biphasic curve with increasing mortality and dementia, maybe only for men. This occurs only in 5-6% of the population and may not be relevant for women.

4. What role does cholesterol play in the body?                         Answer: Critical component of all membranes, giving them structural firmness and integrity. And the skeleton to make many hormones (Cortisol, estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, DHEA...) all of which have to be excreted in the bile.

5. What role does NO play with HDLs?                          Answer: There is strong evidence that HDLs stimulate more NO production. That may be why there is a protective effect from HDLs. But it may be the other way around, that NO induces better HDLs. This needs to be parsed out. Time will tell.

Long COVID and the Cause of Extended Fatigue

Long COVID and the Cause of Extended Fatigue

Did you see the headlines this week? "Long COVID Destroys Your Exercise Capacity". It's a pretty good study looking at the exercise capacity of long COVID patients and how their residual fatigue can go on for months. There is clearly damage to mitochondria with resultant downregulated energy production. What to do with a curious increase in amyloid in muscles? This fatigue is no small problem as it is estimated that there are some 65 million people around the world with this syndrome.

There may be a research clue that pulls this persistent nightmare together. In Brain Research Bulletin another lovely study puts forward a hypothesis that fits with the plasmalogen explanation.

Here is that explanation in a nutshell. Plasmalogens are the lipids that allow multicellular organisms to exist because they can shape-shift rapidly. This allows embedded proteins to move and change shape very rapidly. That's how a cell talks to the cells around it, by exporting hormones and peptides to communicate with its neighbors, near and far.

A characteristic of plasmalogens is that they also have a vinyl-ether double bond on the surface of the cell. That double bond is the anti-oxidant of first resort. Get that? First. Vitamin C and E are second in line, inside the cells. Blueberries and goji berries are also down the road. The vinyl ether bond is on the outer surface of a cell's membrane and it is particularly focused on capturing peroxide and destroying it. Peroxide is the universal pathway of oxidative stress from failing mitochondria, so its presence means there is trouble. COVID is a particularly problematic virus in making a firehose of oxidative stress. That makes a lot of peroxide. That damages a lot of plasmalogens. That plasmalogen loss saves the cell from destruction by the peroxide but loses the plasmalogen molecule. With the loss of the plasmalogen molecule, the membrane gets stiffer and less functional. The cell can't communicate as well. At the macro level, the affected human's individual cells leave a global sense of fatigue, brain fog, and malaise.

There is proof that folks with long COVID had much higher levels of malondialdehyde than healthy controls. Double, in fact. Malondialdehyde is the fragment left over when the chemical reaction of peroxide meets a vinyl ether bond. Poof and you have this extra malondialdehyde molecule and are missing one plasmalogen molecule.

All the research pieces are there. All in different places. No one has pulled them all together until Goodenowe produced his plasmalogen supplements for the treatment of cognitive trouble from Alzheimer's, autism, RDCP, and Parkinson's.

That's what we are seeing in the clinical world. As we reported several months ago, 7 children with COVID myocarditis, expecting to get better over 2-3 months were healed in 24 hours with plasmalogen supplementation. A severe post-COVID headache, expecting to be ill for 1-2 months repaired in 4 hours with plasmalogen replacement therapy. And dozens of other similar case reports.

My hypothesis, not proven, but the parts are all working is: that COVID produces a firehose of oxidative stress, damaging mitochondria. Peroxide is released from the damaged mitochondria. Peroxide depletes membranes all over the body of plasmalogens, exceeding the capacity of the body to repair itself. There is a curious bottleneck like a circle of falling dominoes. The body can't repair itself fast enough to catch up until it gets some external help. Long COVID is a membrane disease of depleted plasmalogens, which we can now repair.

Summary: Long-COVID is the result of plasmalogen depletion in cellular membranes leading to dysfunctional, inadequate function. That is expressed at the individual's level as fatigue, brain fog, vertigo, anosmia....on and on.

www.What will Work for me? I'm personally using Prodrome Glia, the branded name of plasmalogen replacement, on every patient I see, and it's working. Prodrome Glia is essentially the phospholipid that is in mothers' breast milk. It's really hard to allergic to "Mom". The implications of this are massive if it is true. This may be the cure for the current diseases we call Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome not to mention autism, ADHD, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's. I suspect we need to flesh out the protocols and reinforce the science. But the textbooks of medicine all need rewriting. Hang on to your seat belts. You heard it here first. Long COVID is the laboratory that allowed us to study and experiment.

References: Apple News, Nature Communications, Brain Research Bulletin, Nature Reviews, Int Jr Mol Sci,

Pop Quiz

1. What is the key problem that COVID causes that turns it into long COVID?                           Answer: A fire hose of oxidative stress (which means way, way way too much peroxide which overwhelms our capacity to safely neutralize it.)

2. What is the normal first line of defense for a cell against wayward peroxide?                           Answer: the vinyl-ether double bond on the surface of the cells and intrinsic to the plasmalogen molecule grabs and dissolves the peroxide.

3. How can you prove that plasmalogen depletion is occurring with long COVID?                        Answer: Study from Italy showing a doubling of malondialdehyde with Long COVID. Malondialdehyde is the compound made when peroxide meets a vinyl-ether bond.

4. Why are plasmalogens so crucial to membranes?                            Answer: They are the most fluid of membrane lipids which allows embedded proteins to shape shift. With conformational change in shape, a protein can send its message to the cell next to it. Or, a packet of neurotransmitters can fuse with a basement membrane up to 1,000 times a second. That allows us to sense the world around us in real-time. That is a second "super-power" of plasmalogens.

5. What did Goodenowe find about plasmalogens that makes them so extremely important? Answer: No fair. Not covered in this letter. Months ago, we detailed how the Religious Orders Study from Rush Presbyterian showed Goodenowe's discovery by his metabolomics method that plasmalogen content of blood is the most accurately predictive blood test for life span and cognitive function.

Have We Had Diabetes Backwards - The Randall Cycle

Have We Had Diabetes Backwards all These Years?

This is huge. This is why you are fat and can't get "unfat". Let's explore.

Our current standard teaching of diabetes is that you are diabetic because you are insulin-resistant. You are insulin-resistant because you are too fat. Avoid carbs like the plague and eat nothing but fat and protein and don't touch sugar, fruit, pasta, rice, or bread or you will spike your sugar. That's the standard line everyone is familiar with. The problem is, no one gets better. The logic has an inherent flaw. You can't blame the disease on a symptom. It's like saying you got pneumonia because you have a fever. In the standard model, insulin is the uber enemy.

Maybe that model is backward. Let me start with the Randle Cycle as explained by Philip Randle back in 1963 in the Journal Lancet laid out his hypothesis. It goes as follows. When you eat a fatty meal with lots of carbs: (meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and gravy) you absorb the fat first in your duodenum. The fat globules go straight into your lymph system and show up in your circulation hours before glucose shows up. In that time, cells all over your body see the fat and take it on as the fuel of the day. They turn off insulin receptors. When glucose shows up, cells are already resistant to it. The more saturated fat you eat, the more insulin-resistant you become. Your cells can't turn fat absorption off and as you fill up all the standard places to store fat, you start packing in fat in all the unusual places, like your liver. Even your beta cells in your pancreas get stuffed with fat, and start to die.

The enemy and cause of all this trouble is the saturated fat. Consider the following experiment. This is just what Cyrus Khambetta did with his insulin-dependent diabetes. Start eating a very low-fat diet, with less than 15 grams of fat a day. All the fruit you want. Bananas, papayas, mangoes, grapes. You name it, you get it. Just no fat. Over the course of a month or two, your insulin resistance will disappear. Khambatta had his insulin-to-carbohydrate ratio change from 1:3 to roughly 1:33. That means his insulin resistance disappeared and now is in a normal range with normal function. His A1c is now in the low 5s and he eats his heart out on fruit. Just no fat. Included in that no fat means no meat, no dairy, no eggs, no cheese, and very limited nuts.

There have been dozens of authors who have published supportive studies that show the same thing, again and again. Esselstyn proved that you could reverse coronary artery disease with this approach. His book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease proved the same hypothesis.

As the years have gone by, more and more research supports this cause of diabetes and fills in much more detail about the cause. I found one good review article to do a nice deep dive if you have a long, lazy afternoon and are in the mood.

www.What will Work for me. I'm frustrated by how rigid my own glucose metabolism is. I have been eating "keto" by and large, avoiding carbs and sugar like an angel. But lots of butter, fat, meat.....and vegetables with olive oil. Switching to a no fat diet is no small challenge. I think I found a clue in my Goodenowe Prodrome Scan. It has "Ceramides" on its list and mine are quite high. I want to explore that. There is a link with ceramides, high fat and diabetes. That may be a further unpacking of the real, root cause of insulin resistance and then visceral fat, inflammation and obesity all as secondary, downstream effects. The problem is not small. How do you have friends and go to a restaurant that cooks with NO FAT and NO ANIMAL? You can do it if you have no friends.

References: Frontiers Endocrine, Mastering Diabetes by Cyrus Khambatta, Am Jr Phys Endo Metab., Lancet,

Pop Quiz

1. What is the Randle Cycle?                      Answer: You absorb fat faster than carbs and cells, presented with fat, turn off their insulin receptors, making the later arriving carbs stuck in the blood.

2. Insulin resistance is where in the Randle cycle?                          Answer: Insulin rises as a secondary effect. Not a primary effect.

3. How does the Randle Cycle differ from today's traditional diabetes teaching?                    Answer: The method of response is diametrically opposite. Remove the fat and your insulin resistance goes away. You can eat huge amounts of carbs, to satiety, and not get fat and not have high glucose.

4. What is the principal drawback of this method?                          Answer: You have to get to below 15-30 grams (1/2 to 1 oz) of fat. That includes the fat in the banana, the apple, the mango etc - all of which do have some fat.


5. What role does linoleic acid have in this approach?                          Answer: Its reduction might be the most important or not. Research will tell. We do know that with modern agriculture's ability to grow soy, corn, canola etc, our linoleic acid consumption increased from 1% of our diet to 9-10 %, and in some cases, even greater. It gets oxidized with high heat cooking and becomes a poison.

Galectin 3 Amplifies and Perpetuates Inflammation

Galectin 3 Perpetuates and Amplifies Inflammation

Ever heard of Galectin? It's a protein that turns on inflammation and is being found to play an outsized role in diabetes. It may be the key link to the level of inflammation that you feel in your joints. It was first discovered with respect to its ability to accentuate prostate cancer, if not all cancers some 20 years ago. It is an approved test for congestive heart failure.

With more research the means by which it accentuates and perpetuates inflammation is becoming more clear. It's not just in cancer or heart cells, galactin activity appears to show up in virtually all inflammatory processes. In that context, it appears to be an accelerant. As stated in the Cell reference, "Gal-3 contributes to the initiation and amplification of the acute inflammatory response by recruiting macrophages to injury sites and perpetuates a state of chronic inflammation through the activation of proinflammatory pathways."

This is where the story gets interesting. A young boy growing up in Israel on a kibbutz had his grandmother hand him one of the oranges she grew and told him, "This will heal all diseases." The prophecy turned out to be prescient! Sure enough, when Dr. Eliaz studied citrus pectin (the white stuff on the inside of the orange peel) he found if he chopped it up into small pieces so it would be absorbed into your blood, it became a remarkable inhibitor of prostate cancer.

It would have been enough if prostate cancer was inhibited. But on a monthly basis now we are seeing papers and studies in which modified citrus pectin helps diabetes, Alzheimer's, heart disease, chronic pain. I have personally seen a patient with prostate cancer live years past his expected demise taking only modified citrus pectin.

Inflammation is elusive. We don't quite understand just why it gets started. Everything from the gut biome to visceral fat is implicated, including the kitchen sink and your father's irritating uncle. This is a non-toxic, as natural a process as we can devise, inexpensive experiment we might all benefit from.

www.What will Work for me. Modified Citrus Pectin will lower your blood sugar. How, we aren't sure. But the lower your sugar, the longer you live. If you are one of the 60% of us who have modestly elevated fasting blood glucose, you might try the experiment. If you have any form of cancer, you might consider adding this to your regimen. Heart failure? Slam dunk. Heavy metal question? It's an impressive chelating agent. But what you might really try is 5 grams, three times a day for a month to see if your chronic pain gets better. Back pain? Hip pain? Give it a whirl. No toxicity. No prescription. You can buy it online. The only proviso is that the actually chopping-up process is some delicate chemistry and not everyone does it right. The raw, unprocessed orange peel sitting in the orange juice factory recycling pile doesn't do it. The good process is owned by the company Eco-Nugenics. It's on Amazon. Orange bottle.

References: Review Endo Meta Disorders, Jr Inflamm Research, LifeExtension, Cell,, Rev Cardiovasc Med., Journal Clin Oncology,

Pop Quiz

1. What is modified citrus pectin?                      Answer: The pectin molecule is cleaved into smaller molecules that penetrate the gut wall and successfully get into your blood. The whole molecule remains in your gut and has modest benefit as fiber.

2. What is galectin?                           Answer: It is a lectin that has pro-inflammatory qualities that help cancer cells metastasize, hearts stay inflamed, and diabetes remain out of control.

3. What does MCP do to galectin?                          Answer: It binds to it, inactivating it and consequently reducing the perpetuation of inflammation.

4. Does it lower blood glucose?                       Answer: This was the gimme question.  (Yes!)

5. Any toxicity to MCP?                      Answer: Some GI issues but very rare serious toxicity.

Microplastics are in Bottled Water

Microplastics in Bottled Water

Those bottles of fresh spring water, pure and clean! They are everywhere. At work, in the Mall at machines, we think we are getting something pure. Well, we are also getting something on the order of 250,000 particles of nano-plastics per bottle. That's smaller yet than micro. Researchers at the University of California, Irving, developed a "hyperspectral stimulated Raman scattering (SRS) imaging platform with an automated plastic identification algorithm" to precisely count those tiny little particles with algorithms to prove they were measuring plastic particles. This is a new technology for accurately evaluating whether it is a plastic origined particle or something else.

This is important because this technology is orders of magnitude greater than previously measured by other techniques. We have known about the problem, just not the full scope and level of exposure. These particles are no simple, inert pieces of plastic. They have all sorts of nefarious, unintended consequences. They clearly have the ability to disrupt your endocrine system. The American Endocrine Society has issued an alert to that effect. They estimate that these particles run up our national health care bill by $250 billion a year.

These so-called Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals or EDCs if you want the lingo. They are not rare. There are, by conservative estimates, more than a thousand manufactured chemicals in use today that are EDCs. Known EDCs that leach from plastics and threaten health include bisphenol A and related chemicals, flame retardants, phthalates, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), dioxins, UV-stabilizers, and toxic metals such as lead and cadmium. Plastic-containing EDCs are used extensively in packaging, construction, flooring, food production and packaging, cookware, health care, children's toys, leisure goods, furniture, home electronics, textiles, automobiles and cosmetics. Deep breath. Are you concerned yet?

Do a deep dive into the topic and you will find EDCs and microplastics are in your brain, in your pregnant fetus, in every gland ever studied, your lungs, your blood vessels. They carry all sorts of toxins by binding them and then releasing them in your blood. This is just bad news.

Start in little steps. The water you that comes in a plastic bottle has hidden little poisons in them. That includes the sodas, the energy drinks, juices, you name it. If it comes in plastic, you have a problem.

www.What will Work for me? Not everything has been studied yet by this technology, but the message is pretty clear. Water from a Reverse Osmosis system in glass is a safe bet. If you want a further layer of cleaning, you can even purchase your own distiller at home and distill a gallon at night when electricity costs are lower.

References: NPR, PNAS, Endocrine Society, Endocrine Society, Particle and Fiber Tox, The Guardian,

Pop Quiz

1. How many nanoparticles of plastics are in one plastic bottle of "Nature's Best, Purest Spring Water" (made up name)?                   Answer: 250,000

2. What's changed that we can measure so many?                           Answer: Laser technology and high-speed computers with RAMEN hyperspectral scattering can see particles accurately that are two to three orders smaller than what we could detect before.

3. Do those particles get into me?                        Answer: Yes. Into your brain, your fetus, your testes, your heart, your.....every cell in your body.

4. What's the problem with those plastics other than penetrating deep into you?                        Answer: All sorts of toxins are used to make the plastic stretchier, more durable, more flame retardant hitchhike along...not to mention all sorts of other environmental toxins that stick onto them.

5. How can I avoid them?                         Answer: Transition to glass, ceramic, or metal bottles for water, for leftovers, for carryout, and for any food that you eat or drink.

Does Agave Syrup Make You Sick?

Agave Syrup -Does It Make You Sick?

It was on the ingredient label at slot #4 on the "Organic Granola" bag. Agave syrup. It came before the "organic cane sugar" but it was just after the "gluten-free oats" and tree nuts.  You have heard of gluten in oats also, haven't you? So ingredients three and four were agave syrup and cane sugar. Cane sugar I can easily blow off. It's table sugar. Derived from sugar cane instead of sugar beets. Same thing. The Papua-New Guineans found those sweet canes in around 4000 BC. From there the Austronesians took it up to Taiwan where it spread up to China. When the Indians got hold of it around 0 AD, they finally concentrated it by boiling it down and clarifying it. Table sugar was born, as were camel caravans to Venice. Our 21st century diet in America is now at least 13% sugar. At least that's down from the 18% peak we hit in the last 90s.

What about Agave? Well, it's the FDA at fault. It requires food companies to label the ingredients in their food in the order of their abundance. If you have more oats than anything else, you get to say "oats" first. If that's what you are selling, that's good. If sugar comes second, you have a problem. Picky consumers won't buy your product. You have to diversify. Several forms of sugar can be added together so that each falls lower on the frequency table.  As you can tell this is obviously a head-fake.  The actual, molecule sum is high but because the various forms of sugar are from different sources and have not been refined to pure sugar, they can be labeled by their "indigenous labels". 

What is Agave syrup? It's the syrup off the cactus plant, grown mostly in Mexico. It's sugar.  

It is a cactus that has to grow for 7 years before its leaves are cut off and squeezed to get the juice out. The main ingredient of that juice is called fructan, which is a long chain of fructose molecules. Take that squeezed product, digest it down to the fructose sugar, and sell that as your "organic sweetener". It's fructose. Now it's not all fructose. It is typically about 60% fructose, 20% glucose, a trace of sucrose, and a variety of other small chains of fructose. But no kidding, it is mostly just fructose. This is on the same order as High Fructose Corn Syrup. It is 40-60% sweeter than table sugar so food manufacturers like to use it.  And they can get away with another name.

What does your body say? There is abundant literature about fructose and its nearly instant effect on your liver. We have no enzyme to filter fructose out, like we do for glucose. It rushes into your blood and then the liver in minutes. It demands an ATP molecule on entry into the liver cell which results in uric acid increasing within an hour after ingesting. This puts fructose front and center as a causative agent for diabetes. Bummer.

Don't get sucked in by "organic", "gentle, natural sweetener", or "not overly sweet". It's fructose and fructose is a metabolic poison. Curiously, fruits have it in the 6% content range. With all the fiber in fruit, that appears to be tolerable.

If you have nothing better to do on this dreary winter day, consider Googling 50 Names for Sugar. Look up Panela (unrefined cane sugar) or Rapadura sugars (South American and Asian unrefined, brown sugar). Get used to those names and stop being hoodwinked.  In particular, if you see more than one name for sugar, higher than 3rd or 4th, just don't buy that product.  

www.What will Work for me. I'm so discouraged. Anything I like has sugar in it that goes by a different name. I'm currently switching to Monk Fruit and found a couple of good vendors. The NOW foods, 8 oz bottle has twelve hundred doses of 5 drops. I'm determined to cut down to four and get used to that, then three.

References: Int Jr Environmental Research, Wikipedia, Agave Wikipedia, Diabetes, Healthline, Nutrients,

Pop Quiz

1. What is agave syrup?                                      Answer: Effectively another name for fructose. Once purified without its fiber, fructose is a metabolic poison.

2. Why is fructose so bad for me?                                    Answer:  It raises uric acid and sets off metabolic syndrome all by itself. Just watch the movie, "Super Size Me" (3 meals a day at MacDonald's for a month, with all the sugared drinks in Super Size).


3. Is there anything special about agave?                         Answer. No, other than the romantic idea of being from an exotic place, the Mexican desert.

4. Why do food companies use it?                             Answer: They are playing the truth in labeling game. They want any mention of sugar that you recognize to be as low in the sequence as they can get. If they take a product that is 51% sugar, they would have to list sugar first. If they get cane juice (sugar), agave (fructose), honey, and HFCS, they can list each of them at much lower totals and come third and fourth on the list.

5. What percent of my diet is sugar?                            Answer: Hmm. On average about 13% but some folks are up around 25%. American Heart says to get it down to 1 ounce a day.

Ceramides - The Missing Link with Fat and Diabetes

Ceramides, the Missing Link Between Fatty Acids and Diabetes

I thought ceramides were all about beauty products sold at expensive spas! We do know that ceramides are the fatty acids that make up some 50-70% of the moisture barrier of your skin, keeping water in and germs out. There are some 12 different kinds of ceramides, all made from sphingosine.

And just what is sphingosine? Well, it is the other major component of membranes other than plasmalogens and often plays a role in the functionality of a membrane. It typically has 1 long carbon change on it. Add a second carbon chain at the nitrogen end and you have a ceramide. So, these two characters are inherently wrapped up in the functionality of cell membranes. Sphingosines have all sorts of antimicrobial activities as shown in the gradual death and dehydration of skin cells leaving a layer of water-proofing and antibacterial activity. That keeps us wrapped in a cocoon of safety with billions of bacterial cells living on our skin but not getting in to wreak havoc inside us.

So far so good. How do ceramides form? Woo hoo! This is enough to make a whole graduate course in biochemistry. But the simplest explanation is that excess saturated fat turns on the production of ceramides. Saturated fats get into your cells faster and before carbs. They turn off glucose uptake. When the cellular threshold of fat storage is exceeded, fats overflow into other cells that normally don't take them up at all. For example, pancreas beta cells that normally just cheerfully make insulin when asked politely.

After exceeding the buffering storage capacity of fat tissue, neutral lipids like sphingosine and ceramide accumulate in non-fat regular tissues such as the liver, heart, pancreas, and skeletal muscle, inducing organ dysfunction called lipotoxicity. This increases the likelihood of the onset of two molecular pathogenesis responsible for the persistent hyperglycemia observed in type 2 diabetes like the progressive decrease in function and the mass of pancreatic β-cells.

It's that accumulation of ceramides and sphingosines inside cells where they have no business being that turns off insulin responsiveness, and that is the slippery slope of type 2 diabetes. It starts with eating too many calories, with too much saturated fat.

High blood ceramides are looking me right in the eyes and telling me, I'm eating too much saturated fat. That's bacon and braunschweiger, hamburger, and steak all acting together to have too many delicious, tasty, tempting calories. Those nasty little ceramides have the tendency to kill the cells they are living in...and if that happens to be the beta cells in your pancreas, you bit by bit run out of insulin.

www.What will Work for me. Saturated fat is the carrier of too many calories. Our animals on feed lots aren't healthy either. They are also just chock full of saturated fat. It tastes just plain delicious. Like Adam's apple.....it's a high price.

References: FASEB, Frontiers Endocrin Lausaune, WebMD, Cell, Wikipedia, Front Endocrine, Trends Endo Metab., Annual Review Physiology, Frontiers Endo,

Pop Quiz


1. What are ceramides?                   Answer: waxy, fatty acids that have a role in cell signaling that become toxic when it reaches a threshold.

2. What causes the problem?                    Answer: We have a limit to how much fat we can store in our fat cells before we start spilling our storage into other cells that normally don't have any storage capacity.

3. Why does that happen?                              Answer: Randle's cycle. Fat gets in first and fastest. Cells can't turn its absorption off. When there is a huge flood that exceeds the capacity to burn or store in regular places, fat sneaks into other tissues. Starting with the liver, it gets into your visceral fat, your pancreas, your heart, and your muscles. You get marbled meat, just like cows.

4. Can I measure the ceramides in my blood?                     Answer: Just recently, yes.

5. How can I lower my ceramide levels?                         Answer: Be a pure vegan for a month with a no-fat diet. With skipping breakfast to boot. Get sweaty for half an hour every day.

Does Linoleic Acid (Soybean Oil) Make You Sick

Does Linoleic Acid, (Soybean Oil) Make You Sick?

The number one seed oil in the world today that is added to our food is soybean oil. That's because it is so easy to grow millions of acres of soybeans, and we like fat. It is a necessary fat that we don't make ourselves. You could call it a vitamin. Our mitochondria need it to make the cardiolipin on which all the enzymes sit for the electron transport chain. Soybean oil is 20-54% linoleic acid, so that is one very rich source. Sunflower, corn, and safflower are also rich sources. Sounds like a marriage in heaven. The American Heart Association has even recommended that we get 5-10% of our calories from "unsaturated fat" like linoleic acid.

As we have industrialized our food chain, ultra-processed foods have become dominant and we now have pretty good evidence that ultra-processed foods lead to diabetes, heart disease, and obesity....all of our modern afflictions. The simplest definition of an ultra-processed food is a processed grain (or potato) with added soybean oil, added sugar, and added salt. There you have it. The linoleic acid in our diet used to be about 1%. With the advent of our modern industrial food supply, we are hitting 9-10% of our calories from soybean oil/linoleic acid.

Does something change when we do that? Well, yes. The devil may be in the details. A study from the University of California, looking at the gut microbes in mice when fed a high linoleic acid diet found some disturbing findings. The development of "adherent E. coli" on the wall of the gut was matched by the die-off of several species of helpful bacteria. Furthermore, the gut wall became porous leading to increased gut inflammation. This was in mice but there is no shortage of humans who will tell you their IBS got better when they monitored and reduced their linoleic acid (soybean, corn, safflower) oil and added olive oil or avocado instead.

There may be other problems. For example, there is now serious consideration that cooking with high heat oils in China contributes to non-smoking lung cancer. Or, if you want to do a deeper dive you can get into OXLAMs, the oxidized forms of linoleic acid that inevitably show up with high-heat cooking. OXLAMs are poisons and have been linked to mitochondrial dysfunction, fatty liver, and a long list of other metabolic maladies.

There are links to diabetes, fatty liver, and Alzheimer's. I think the list is getting longer and a bit more concerning. It's time to call a time-out. My guess is the American Heart Association got it wrong when they recommended that much linoleic acid. I smell the rancid smell of big industry lobbying the AHA. There is no question we need a teeny, tiny bit. Just right. But not too much. It's that oxidation that happens with high heat that makes the poison. I suspect the formula of healthy, organic, whole foods will give you just that.

www.What will Work for me? Everywhere I look I find corn, soy, safflower, sunflower, or some other seed oil. Linoleic acid is everywhere. My salad dressing is an obvious one. But the quick stir-fry mix from Trader Joe's? Yup. The luscious butter Christmas cookies? Yup. I need a bit of it. It's the stir fry and high heat that makes from trouble....and just plain too much of it.

References: Harvard Chan Public Health , Scientific Reports, Gut Microbes, Onco Target Therapeutics, Journal of Lipid Research, Frontiers in Endocrine, Neurosci Letters,

Pop Quiz

1. What is linoleic acid?                                        Answer. A dietary necessity. It is a poly-unsaturated fat that is richly represented in seed and nut oils. 

2. What is the highest food source of linoleic acid?                                         Answer: Soy, corn, canola. safflower, and sunflower oils.

3. What happens to mice when you give them a high level in their diet?                                                Answer: They get leaky gut and irritable bowel, just like humans.

4. Can I avoid linoleic acid?                                               Answer: With effort. All ultra-processed foods are rich sources of them. If it comes in a plastic bag or a cardboard tin, it's likely problematic because most of that food is made with some sort of high heat.

5. Will my insulin resistance get better?                               Answer: Likely yes, and then you will start to lose that lousy poochy little tummy.

The Fourth Phase of Water

4th Stage of Water

You can tell me the three known stages of water, right? Liquid, gas, and ice (solid). Did you ever think there might be a fourth? Would you be a bit surprised if I ventured to suggest that multicellular life on planet earth might depend on that fourth phase? Let's dig in just a little.

Here is a basic nerdy science. The water molecule is 2 hydrogens and one oxygen bonded together. The two hydrogens aren't exactly on opposite sides of the oxygen, they are off 180 degrees. By a lot! They are at 104.5 degrees. They carry an ever so slight positive charge as their electron is pulled into the stronger oxygen. That makes the molecule a tiny little "di-pole" with a teeny, tiny, electrical and therefore magnetic charge. That's the genius of it all. Therein lies the fourth phase. You can imagine what would happen if you had thousands and thousands of little tiny magnets and what they would do. You've seen that with those magnetite rocks in rock shops that hang together and make cool shapes.

It's a bit tricky to measure, which is why it hasn't been accepted by all the fuddy-duddy physicists in the world just yet. Who, after all, would make a whole career around looking at water, bubbles, and such. Well, Gerald Pollack would, at the University of Washington. His book, "The Fourth Phase of Water" is a great read, if you want to go the full Monte and dive in.

Here is what happens. Any surface with a small negative charge on the surface will start a "fourth phase". The water molecules make a six-sided hexagon sheet that spreads out. We know that happens because hexagons will absorb UV light at 270 nm (UV) just like other hexagonal shapes. The hexagon allows the electrons to race around the circle and be shared. They can really be shared if the sheet expands to many hexagons, like a tile Roman floor. Now, make layer upon layer, all offset by 60 degrees from the sheet below and you make an impervious barrier to intruding ions. Sodium and chloride can't penetrate.

Guess what happens when you have a healthy glycocalyx lining your arteries! Bingo...you create a 4th phase with an "Exclusion Zone", as Dr. Pollack would argue. That exclusion zone builds up and has a strong little electrical charge across it. Red cells have a surface coating with a potent little electrical charge themselves. Negative against negative repel each other. You knew that. You also have seen capillary action when you put a tiny glass tube into water and see the water climb in it against gravity. That's happening because the water is making an EZ layer and the force it generates is enough to pull it up.

Guess what happens when you have a healthy glycocalyx in your capillaries and have red cells enter them? Remember, a red cell is about 25% bigger than the smallest capillary. How on earth can it slip through? Easy, peasy! The fourth phase making an electrical charge combined with the capillary action force actually propels the red cell. The red cell folds over but its electrical charge on the surface makes it slither right through the capillary with frictionless flow. One could make the argument that blood flow through our bodies is propelled and pushed by that capillary action. Like a MagLev train, that magnetic exclusion, just a few millimeters, in fact, nanometers, is all it takes. The heart is just there to suck the blood out of the capillaries and expose it to oxygen in the lungs, and then push it back to the capillaries.  The capillaries do as much work as the heart, effortlessly because of the fourth phase of water.  Hence, life on earth beyond just a single-cell organism can exist.

Maintaining a healthy glycocalyx is critical. Without the fourth phase of water, we couldn't circulate our blood and supply our cells with the oxygen they need to make energy.

www.What will Work for me? I've always wondered how the heart could actually "pump" blood through those hundreds of millions of capillaries. It doesn't have to. The real lesson for me is recognizing the processes that keep my glycocalyx healthy. That is one of the new frontiers of healthy living. Start with less saturated fat, less processed meats, less sugar, and more vegetables. And more vegetables.

References:The Fourth Phase of Water by Gerald Pollack, McMaster University, Steven Hussey Podcast, Rev Brat Hemat, Biodiversity for a Living Planet,

Pop Quiz

1. What is the fourth phase of water?                               Answer: The structured development of hexagonal sheets of water that build up dozens of layers of water.

2. Can anything penetrate those layers?                        Answer: Nope. Albumin, a tiny protein, can't.

3. Pollack has a name for those layers of structured water. What is it?                   Answer: Exclusion zone or EZ. (phrase first coined by John Waterson from Australia)

4. What makes the EZ so electrically charged?                                    Answer: When you make the lattice, you always end up with -1 charge for each hexagon. With an extended sheet, there can be a lot of charge. You are making quite a battery with lots of potent energy in it.

5. Can you buy the conclusion that EZ zones with fourth-phase water combine to make capillary pressure, that builds up to make humans exist? Answer. Well, you decide. Pollack is building to that conclusion.

Diosmin and the Glycocalyx

Diosmin and the Glycocalyx

Diosmin is not new to medicine. It was discovered in 1925 and is widely present in citrus peel. It has been used in Europe since 1969 and has been found to be safe and effective. Its first uses were peripheral artery disease and the treatment of diabetes.

That's not the buzz that's going around now. Diosmin appears to repair the glycocalyx. The glycocalyx looks like sea-grass and is a negatively charged surface coating of blood vessels. It facilitates the conversion of mechanical actions in the blood vessel into chemical actions. The term, "endothelial dysfunction" is widely regarded as the first step in artery disease, whether it be in the heart, the aorta, or the legs. Oxidized, small dense LDLs can penetrate the membrane of the lining of arteries when there is damage to the glycocalyx. The endothelial cells, using up their internal plasmalogens battling the oxidative stress assaulting the blood vessels, pull their membranes in, making gaps in the wall of the endothelium. It's those gaps that attract the oxidized LDLs. The battle is all in that process: damaging the glycocalyx and depleting plasmalogens (which are designed to be the antioxidant of first resort in cells).

Here is where two other 30,000-foot metabolic processes insect. In Scientific American, Robinson published a consideration of the heart as facilitating a swirling movement down the arteries and capillaries. In that context, the heart functions as much as a suction pump as a pushing pump. There is no possible explanation for how our blood pressure can push fluid through our capillaries without needing very high pressures that we don't have. In fact, examination of the heart by physicists shows that the real work of the heart is not to pump, but to swirl, making natural vortices. That combined with the 4th nature of water that induces capillaries to flow naturally suggests that our capillaries are the real pump because of the 4th state of water in which water naturally flows up a tiny capillary.

The next trick is the negative charge of the glycocalyx. Red cells are actually larger than the diameter of capillaries. How can they slither through with virtually no friction? Ah, it's the mutual negative charge on the surface of the red cell and the negative charge on the glycocalyx that makes electrical repulsion and virtually makes for frictionless movement. Add that to the 4th state of water and capillaries are the real pump in your body. Did you get that? Capillaries are the real pump. Your heart is just a vortex-making machine to generate blood pressure to feed the larger organs. For them to work effectively, they need a healthy glycocalyx.

Has this got you all confused? Let it go. Just reorder your consideration of your blood vessels to tiny capillaries that naturally suck up water and propel it forward. Your heart is a ram-jet forcing the flow into a swirly to effectively send it back to the capillaries. All of that is contingent on the negative charge on the surface of arteries, made by the glycocalyx. The glycocalyx is damaged by oxidative stress.

Oxidative stress damages the glycocalyx. What is oxidative stress? It's the generation of reactive oxygen species from damaged mitochondria. What is the source of damage to mitochondria? Ultra-processed foods, trans fats, sugar, smoking, and pollution are just a few of the egregious causes of oxidative stress. It's ultra-processed foods that are just too purified, too easily digested, too filled with easily metabolized sugars and fats that flood into our mitochondria too quickly, overwhelming them with too many calories. Much like trying to fill a small juice glass with the gasoline pump at the gas station, it overflows too easily because the gas comes out too fast. It leaves a huge mess on the floor. In your body, that huge mess is reactive oxygen species that damage the glycocalyx and consume all your plasmalogens. Bummer.

And that's where diosmin comes to the rescue. Stay tuned. It's a hot topic of research.

www.What will Work for me. I'm convinced and heaven knows I have enough supplements. I'm certainly taking plasmalogens and Nitric Oxide for my arteries. But I've added Diosmin. Curcifereious vegetables give me abundant sources of sulfur and sulfur makes negative charges in the glycocalyx. Next time you see articles about seagrass being so important for ocean ecosystems think of the seagrass in your arteries that are swirling in frictionless movement.

References: FASEB, Nutrients, Science Direct, PLOS1, Square Space, UCI Samueli, Fourth Phase of Water by Pollack,

Pop Quiz

1. Your arteries are lined with a fine layer of hair that looks like sea grass called what?                    Answer: Your glycocalyx

2. What role does the glycocalyx play?                        Answer: Probably central to the ability of the capillary to propel your blood forward with the 4th state of water. 

3. What happens when the glycocalyx gets damaged?                           Answer: with denuded glycocalyx, we get damage to the lining cells that retract and make room for small, dense, oxidized LDLs to sneak in. That comes later.

4. What is diosmin?                           Answer: A neutraceutical found in citrus peel.

5. What is diosmin used for?                           Answer: In Europe, it is approved for the treatment of artery disease and diabetes. Repair of the glycocalyx is a recent discovery.