The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it. ... In a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. George Orwell

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Vegan promoter warns vegans against Parkinson's!

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This is 2 years old, I just rediscovered it in my heretical files.  Worth reading.

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From Dr. Fuhrman's latest e-mail [around Apr 02, 2009] :

Leaders of the Vegan Movement Develop Parkinson's: Case Studies

Herbert Shelton (1895 - 1985) a naturopath and chiropractor and the influential founder of the American Natural Hygiene Society and Nature Cure movement in America and prolific health writer advocated a natural food vegetarian diet of mostly raw fruits, vegetables and nuts. I read all of his highly motivating books, newsletters and writings in my teens. He lived in Texas, was physically fit, grew lots of his own food and ate carefully and fasted periodically. Of course he did not get cancer, he did not get heart disease, but he died of Parkinson's disease and was so severely affected by the age of 78 that even walking was difficult. In 1973 when I met him he was already severely hunched over and had a difficult time walking and caring for himself. Though he lived many years with this significant disability, the quality of his later years was extremely poor.

Prominent Vegetarian and Health Advocate - this leader in the natural health movement and a personal friend to me also suffered from and eventually died from a fall related to his Parkinson's disease. During his young adult life he embarked on the path of healthy living and vegetarianism. A follower of Shelton's works, he operated a large health food store, one of the first to sell organic fruits and vegetables in America; he became a leader in the health food industry. Of course he was not at risk of cancer or heart disease with his excellent diet, but he developed Parkinson's which limited the quality of his later years.

When he was developing his Parkinsonian tremors, I ordered blood tests and was shocked to see his blood results showing almost a zero DHA [*] level on his fatty acid test, in spite of adequate ALA consumption from nuts and seeds eaten daily. I had never seen a DHA level that low before. Since that time I have drawn DHA blood levels on other patients with Parkinson's and also found very low DHA levels.
Was it a coincidence, that these leaders in the natural food, vegetarian movement, who ate a very healthy vegan diet and no junk food would both develop Parkinson's? I thought to myself--could it be that deficiencies in DHA predispose one to Parkinson's? Do men have worse ability to convert short chain omega-3 into long chain DHA? Is that why Parkinson's affects more men than women? Is there evidence to suggest that DHA deficiencies lead to later life neurologic problems? Are there primate studies to show DHA deficiencies in monkeys leads to Parkinson's? The answer to all of these questions is a resounding, yes. 

....
 [read further on  http://www.drmcdougall.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=11105 ]

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*) DHA - Docosahexanoic acid, omega-3 type of fat commonly present in animal produce, especially in brain, spinal cord, nerves and egg yolks.  This type of fat is generally not present in plant based products, with very few exceptions (some algae).

In addition, a high carb nutrition would probably offer less natural protection against neuro degenerative diseases because of low level of ketone bodies.  For example non-ketogenic diet would be less protective against stress-induced neural damage, see:  Ketone bodies protect neurons from stress hormone-induced damage
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23 comments :

Drs. Cynthia and David said...

Why on earth does McDougall advocate veganism given what he posts about DHA and B12 etc deficiencies? Makes no sense!

Cynthia

Stan (Heretic) said...

Hi Cynthia and David,

I suspect he went into low fat vegan paradigm long time ago when it were in vauge and 'appeared' rational, and has been unable or probably found it extremely hard to publicly admit being wrong! I found it typical to two peculiar cultures: Americans and Russians!

Dr. McDougall would have lost all his credibility and all his business if he admitted any mistake and he probably has to much at stake (or so he probably believes) to tell the truth. Note that I personally do not believe that he believes in all his theories that he tells his followers - just too may discrepancies and inconsistencies! For example, he ignores vitamin D3 issue in spite of overwhelming wealth of studies and papers. He ignores diabetics whose glucose control worsens on his diet (I have seen it several times and even tried to alert Jeff Novick his staffer and others, until they deleted my messages). He and Jeff also seem to underplay a common (among vegans) thyroid problems. This attitude seems incompatible with everything I believe about medical profession.

Even Dr. Fuhrman who used to be a vocal propagator of low fat veganism just like McD., up until about 10 years ago, and then switched to a medium fat nuts based nutrition, would never admit that he was wrong even though he obviously realized that, and unlike Dr. McD. - turned out capable of correcting his mistakes to some degree.

Best regards,
Stan

Drs. Cynthia and David said...

I imagine you are right. Did you see Oprah sponsored a Go Vegan week for her whole organization? I wanted to punch out her guest Kathy Freston who kept spouting the usual vegan progaganda. Grrr!

Cynthia

Stan (Heretic) said...

People of her (Oprah) generation seems focus not on what is true in reality but rather what is accepted as true by their peers.

Ideas and beliefs such as "Vegetables are healthy", "protecting environment", "save animals" are popular notions while for example: "eat animals and manipulate the environment" are regarded controversial even though they may be a lot more beneficial for everybody if seriously considered.

I think this culture is dominated by people who are absolutely convinced that their beliefs are the reality and don't like anybody questioning this. When last did you come across anybody in a prominent position anywhere in medical or other institutions who admitted being wrong? That's why I think, the United States Baby Boomers' elite pushed virtually all people with critical and rational mindset such as engineers, scientists or anybody with a hard and practical skill, out of any position of power.

This is no longer the country I believed in and admired. Sad.
Sorry for a rant. Best regards,
Stan

Drs. Cynthia and David said...

No apology necessary. I don't think it's just a generational problem though. People like simple answers and don't like confusing complexity, so they seize on simple messages and don't think beyond that, asking if this is true, then ___? For example, on the Oprah episode, they showed a video of a slaughterhouse and made the audience feel bad for the poor animals, but never asked what animals suffer or are destroyed (intentionally or unintentionally) through modern agriculture. All those vegans are killing hordes of animals too, but blind to it. Worse, entire ecosystems are destroyed and land laid waste for its natural animals and plants. The beliefs and the desire to believe one is right put up blinders to critical and rational thought. All you can do is try to educate and keep an open critical mind yourself, right?

Cynthia

Stan (Heretic) said...

Absolutely!

Bill said...

"DHA - Docosahexanoic acid, omega-3 type of fat commonly present in animal produce, especially in brain, spinal cord, nerves and egg yolks."

I've tried to buy lamb's brains here in England, but because of the CJD and Scrapie panic a few years ago, vets will not allow butchers to sell brains.
It's very frustrating that this valuable (but would be cheap like all offal), nutrient-rich part of the animal is off limits.
Is it the same in Canada?

Stan (Heretic) said...

It is the same in Canada but, since we are all born criminals (just kidding, as one US seller told me once on ebay) we find ways around it. We can buy pigs and brains in Chineese supermarkets (BTW sheep brains are very small, like the size of a small apple or big wallnut and thus not worth the trouble!). They work around the administrative rules by removing English labels (in Chinese script only) so you have to recognize what it is. When I bring that to a checkout a cashieer asked me once "do you really want to buy that?" assuming that we Europeans are probably clueless what we do like buying chicken feet or half-hatched duck eggs only to throw it out or up later on. 8-:)

Bill said...

Stan,
I eat lamb's liver about every 5 days. My main source of protein is seafood.
Sardines, mackerel, wild salmon and mussels most days.
I've started eating lamb's hearts once a week. The local supermarket sells them in threes. One for me and the two others make four good meals for my little dog.
The reason I go with lamb is that it's grass fed. (good quality and cheap, mainly New Zealand imported). Most of the pork, beef and poultry is grain fed and produced on an industrial scale. I'm not happy about high omega 6 from alien feed and fast grown meat.
I reckon that 2 lamb's brains would be adequate protein for a meal. I'll take your tip and try some ethnic outlets.

DL said...

WOW! Have any of you done research on a healthy vegan diet??? My mom has parkinsons and I have a background in heath. Being Vegan is the number one way to reverse or prevent heart disease and cancer plus a number of other degenerative diseases. There is compounding evidence on the health benefits of a VEGAN diet (not vegetarian) plus the science to back it up. I am talking about 100% cure rates in science, which you just don't generally see. If you want to blindly follow mainstream government guidance and support big corporations who don't care about the heath of anything but their wallet, by all means eat a conventional American diet. You too will be in the same boat as everyone else and need massive amounts of healthcare. Parkinsons shows up in vegans and non vegans (my mom is NOT a vegan). heart disease, most cancers and degenerative diseases (i.e. diabetes, Alzheimer etc.)very very rarely, if ever, appear in vegans. Plus the environmental harm that is being caused by the over consumption of animals in our country. If you would like to be educated before you comment on something please read "THE CHINA STUDY" and watch "FORKS OVER KNIVES." there is a lot more research on this but these are a great place to start.

Also, DHA originates in cold water oceanic micro algae and becomes increasingly concentrated in organisms as they move up the food chain. DHA that is manufactured using the micro algae is vegan, so you do not have to get it from an animal source. Furthermore, B12 is stored in the liver for a several years. Vegans can get B-vitamins through Cereal, Nutritional Yeast, or a supplement. On a side note for you beer drinkers, drinking alcohol depletes B-vitamins. By brewing beer at home it is unfiltered which leaves the yeast in solution which contains B-vitamins to offset the depletion caused by the alcohol.

Stan (Heretic) said...

Hi DL,

Veganism is unsound because it requires artificial supplementation.

Besides, we would run out of bananas if everyone was vegan...

8-:)

Anonymous said...

"Veganism is unsound because it requires artificial supplementation."

Myth

Liz S said...

I wholeheartedly agree with this: I think this culture is dominated by people who are absolutely convinced that their beliefs are the reality and don't like anybody questioning this.

I'm all for scientifically-proven ideas, but there are no definites, and unfortunately we also have ethics & respect for fellow humans and can't experiment on them all we want to find out what really causes certain diseases (I'm being sarcastic!). I've come to the conclusion that I have to figure it out for myself and scrutinize every piece of info I come across. There is so much commercialism in the dumbed-down messages we get that makes it hard to trust what ppl say(plus our emotions are preyed upon) or find adequate info to make informed decisions.

That being said, you obviously feel passionately about this, but you may be taking this article out of context. I think the purpose of your site is to highlight heretical or misinformed messages; I don’t find it heretical that Dr Fuhrman (and I suppose McD as well) express anecdotal or scientific evidence suggesting humans need DHA & B12. He’s dispelling common misinformation a lot of vegans have been given--they are his intended audience! Especially given the way food generally is produced these days (e.g., vitamin B12 is made by microorganisms in the soil, but most soil these days is completely depleted of B12 via fertilizers, pesticides [which also has a causal link with PD], and herbicides), it is more difficult for some people to get certain nutrients.

I think you’re letting the vegan aspect get in the way of his general message. He goes on to talk about scientific laboratory studies that show a causal link between DHA and PD…those mice and monkeys aren’t vegan haha. Regardless, Herbert Shelton’s case--complete lack of DHA--brings to light in a somewhat dramatic way the human body’s very essential need for DHA; ALA in nuts + seeds is not a sufficient source of essential fatty acids.
The final paragraph about Shelton is: Overall, this research provides evidence that DHA deficiencies can leave us vulnerable to developing diseases like Parkinson's and Alheizmer's. If you are a nutritarian, flexitarain, vegan, or vegetarian and you are not taking DHA or confirming your levels are adequate with blood work you are being negligent, and potentially increasing your risk of such a disease in later life. Eat well no matter what food philosophy or diet you follow!

Some commenters are talking about getting DHA from sheep brains, and you’ve found a workaround of the laws by buying it with packaging only in a foreign language! I have much respect for that, haha, because it reminds me of my searches for hard to find ingredients to use in my vegan diet…ironic, right? ;) You can get DHA from plant-based sources... I bet it's easier than getting it from sheep brains! hehe.

As far as “artificial supplementation” concerns veganism, I would have to disagree with you, Stan; in fact, I’ve found that to be an argument for veganism! Or veganism the way I do it...there are many many ways to eat poorly, haha. The standard western diet (i.e., meat-heavy, plenty of dairy, fast food, etc) contains many minerals and vitamins that are supplemented--before it gets to the consumer. Animals are fed supplemented feed, flour and milk are routinely enriched and fortified. Even table salt (in the US at least) has added iodine, a naturally occurring mineral in the sea; fish, kelp, seaweed & some veggies are a natural source of iodine--yet the main source of dietary iodine in the US is from iodized salt! (see this, iodine sources)

Taking pills versus buying food that has added nutrients is a matter of semantics to me (plus convenience). It’s like saying it’s okay to eat an apple whole, but not if it’s cut up, pureed in applesauce, cooked into apple pie, b/c then it’s unnatural. It’s still apple, just in different form.

Liz S said...

I wholeheartedly agree with this: I think this culture is dominated by people who are absolutely convinced that their beliefs are the reality and don't like anybody questioning this.

I'm all for scientifically-proven ideas, but there are no definites, and unfortunately we also have ethics & respect for fellow humans and can't experiment on them all we want to find out what really causes certain diseases (I'm being sarcastic!). I've come to the conclusion that I have to figure it out for myself and scrutinize every piece of info I come across. There is so much commercialism in the dumbed-down messages we get that makes it hard to trust what ppl say(plus our emotions are preyed upon) or find adequate info to make informed decisions.

That being said, you obviously feel passionately about this, but you may be taking this article out of context. I think the purpose of your site is to highlight heretical or misinformed messages; I don’t find it heretical that Dr Fuhrman (and I suppose McD as well) express anecdotal or scientific evidence suggesting humans need DHA & B12. He’s dispelling common misinformation a lot of vegans have been given--they are his intended audience! Especially given the way food generally is produced these days (e.g., vitamin B12 is made by microorganisms in the soil, but most soil these days is completely depleted of B12 via fertilizers, pesticides [which also has a causal link with PD], and herbicides), it is more difficult for some people to get certain nutrients.

I think you’re letting the vegan aspect get in the way of his general message. He goes on to talk about scientific laboratory studies that show a causal link between DHA and PD…those mice and monkeys aren’t vegan haha. Regardless, Herbert Shelton’s case--complete lack of DHA--brings to light in a somewhat dramatic way the human body’s very essential need for DHA; ALA in nuts + seeds is not a sufficient source of essential fatty acids.
The final paragraph about Shelton is: Overall, this research provides evidence that DHA deficiencies can leave us vulnerable to developing diseases like Parkinson's and Alheizmer's [sic!]. If you are a nutritarian, flexitarain, vegan, or vegetarian and you are not taking DHA or confirming your levels are adequate with blood work you are being negligent, and potentially increasing your risk of such a disease in later life. Eat well no matter what food philosophy or diet you follow!

Some commenters are talking about getting DHA from sheep brains, and you’ve found a workaround of the laws by buying it with packaging only in a foreign language! I have much respect for that, haha, because it reminds me of my searches for hard to find ingredients to use in my vegan diet…ironic, right? ;) You can get DHA from plant-based sources... I bet it's easier than getting it from sheep brains! hehe.

As far as “artificial supplementation” concerns veganism, I would have to disagree with you, Stan; in fact, I’ve found that to be an argument for veganism! Or veganism done correctly...there are many many ways to eat poorly, haha. The standard western diet (i.e., meat-heavy, plenty of dairy, fast food, etc) contains many minerals and vitamins that are supplemented--before it gets to the consumer. Animals are fed supplemented feed, flour and milk are routinely enriched and fortified. Even table salt (in the US at least) has added iodine, a naturally occurring mineral in the sea; fish, kelp, seaweed & some veggies are a natural source of iodine--yet the main source of dietary iodine in the US is from iodized salt! (see this, iodine sources)

Taking pills versus buying food that has added nutrients is a matter of semantics to me (plus convenience). It’s like saying it’s okay to eat an apple whole, but not if it’s cut up, pureed in applesauce, cooked into apple pie, b/c then it’s unnatural. It’s still apple, just in different form.

Liz S said...

Something weird is happening, so trying again...
I agree with this: I think this culture is dominated by people who are absolutely convinced that their beliefs are the reality and don't like anybody questioning this.

I'm all for scientifically "proven" ideas, but unfortunately we also have ethics & respect for fellow humans and can't experiment on them all we want to find out what really causes certain diseases (I'm being sarcastic!). I've come to the conclusion that I have to decide for myself by scrutinizing every piece of info I come across. There is so much commercialism in the dumbed-down messages we get that makes it hard to trust what ppl say(plus our emotions are preyed upon) or find adequate info to make informed decisions.

That being said, you obviously feel passionately about this, but you may be taking this article out of context. Your blog is meant to highlight heretical or misinformed messages; I don’t find it heretical that Dr Fuhrman (and I suppose McD too) express anecdotal or scientific evidence suggesting humans need DHA & B12. He’s dispelling common misinformation a lot of vegans have been given--and they are his intended audience!! Especially given the way food generally is produced these days (e.g., vitamin B12 is made by microorganisms in the soil, but most soil these days is completely depleted of B12 via fertilizers, pesticides [which also has a causal link with PD], and herbicides), it is more difficult for some people to get certain nutrients.

I think you’re letting the vegan aspect get in the way. Fuhrman goes on to talk about scientific laboratory studies that show a causal link between DHA and PD…those mice and monkeys aren’t vegan haha. Regardless, Herbert Shelton’s case--complete lack of DHA--brings to light in a somewhat dramatic way (for ALL of us) the human body’s very essential need for DHA; ALA in nuts + seeds is not a sufficient source of essential fatty acids.
The final paragraph about Shelton is: Overall, this research provides evidence that DHA deficiencies can leave us vulnerable to developing diseases like Parkinson's and Alheizmer's [sic!]. If you are a nutritarian, flexitarain, vegan, or vegetarian and you are not taking DHA or confirming your levels are adequate with blood work you are being negligent, and potentially increasing your risk of such a disease in later life. Eat well no matter what food philosophy or diet you follow!

Some commenters are talking about getting DHA from sheep brains, and you’ve found a workaround of the laws by buying it with packaging only in a foreign language! I have much respect for that, haha, because it reminds me of my searches for hard to find ingredients to use in my vegan diet…ironic, right? ;) You can get DHA from plant-based sources--I bet it's easier than getting it from sheep brains! hehe.

As far as “artificial supplementation” concerns veganism, I would have to disagree with you, Stan; in fact, I’ve found that to be an argument for veganism! Or veganism done the right way...there are many many ways to eat poorly, haha. The standard western diet (i.e., meat-heavy, plenty of dairy, fast food, etc) contains many minerals and vitamins that are supplemented before it gets to the consumer. Animals are fed supplemented feed, flour and milk are routinely enriched and fortified! Even table salt (in the US at least) has added iodine, a naturally occurring mineral in the sea; fish, kelp, seaweed & some veggies are a natural source of iodine--yet the main source of dietary iodine in the US is from iodized salt! (see this, iodine sources)

Taking pills versus buying food that has added nutrients is a matter of semantics to me (plus convenience). It’s like saying it’s okay to eat an apple whole, but not if it’s cut up, pureed in applesauce, cooked into apple pie, b/c then it’s unnatural. It’s still apple, just in different form.

Stan (Heretic) said...

Hi Liz S and welcome to the blog!

You wrote: "Especially given the way food generally is produced these days (e.g., vitamin B12 is made by microorganisms in the soil, but most soil these days is completely depleted of B12 via fertilizers,..."

I am not sure if you can say so, I haven't seen much evidence indicating that there is less B12 in the soil than a couple of hundred years ago or that Indian vegans managed to obtain B12 in the past from plants, but not today.

Could you provide some evidence? Given the speculative nature of the above, I would reply with my own speculations and guesswork on the same subject:

1) There is a similar B12 contents in the soil now and then, but vegans would just die early in the past on B12, DHA, EPA and other serious deficiencies not realizing what has killed them.

2) Eating dirty vegetables would guarantee dying of e-coli, salmonella, dysinteria, parasites or cholera rather than supplying B12.

3) Vegetarians who survived to an old age in the past like G.B.Shaw have done so probably consuming their B12 (and other vital micronutrients) from dairy, butter and cheeses.

Best regards,
H.

Stan (Heretic) said...

Re: DHA from sheep brains,...

It is a challenge, actually sheep brains are very small, not much bigger than cat's. We buy pigs brains or calf brains, not sheep from Toronto's Asian malls, but we do it quite rarely. Since there is a HUGE amount of DHA and EPS in brains'fat, much higher than fish oil, one does not need to eat a lot of it. Those fatty acids are present in most animal fats, especially egg yolks albeit in smaller quantities. I wasn't aware of any widely available plant source of DHA and EPA, are those from algae?

Re: artificial supplementation

That IMHO is always bad news as far as a diet is concerned, because you become dependent on some manufacturer and end up paying for something that you can have free with meat and fat. Plus those foods are much cheaper per calorie than vegetables. BTW I am surprized how can vegans survive at all in the Western economies. I have a fairly good engineering job and I still probably would not be able to aford living off vegetables and fruit here in Canada.

Stan (Heretic) said...

Liz S,

Spam cop ate your messages, sorry about it!

Anonymous said...

First of all - no one on this website has ever read anything by Dr. McDougall, Dr. Dean Ornish, T. colin Campbel, Dr. joel Fuhrmann, Dr. Esselstyn, I could go on. They all support a vegan diet and most are researchers who are well respected in the field of health and nutrition. You're all saying DHA and meaning Omega 3's. If someone doesn't include Omega 3's - like FLAX SEEDs or CHIA SEEDS - they may get a deficiency. this is something people committed to the vegan lifestyle are (mostly) aware of and account for - just like vitamin B12. Vegans probaby were the original Paleo people - since hunting is unreliable - also MOST cultures - except for European/US/Western cultures base their diets on primarily starch based diets and have less Western diseases like heart disease, neurological diseases, etc.

Stan Bleszynski said...

Hi Anonymous. I read their articles and talked to some of them. I am very familiar with their theories and talked some of them and to a great number of their followers. They seem to be respected only within their narrow circle of followers, by no means accepted generally by the mainstream nutritionists or by the public. (Neither are the paleo or low carb promoters universally accepted.)

Not all of those doctors and promoters seem to be equally aware of deficiencies issues, for example McDougall and Novick have been playing down vitamins D3 supplementation. Fuhrman seems to be aware of omega-3 defficiency problem among vegans thus advising omega-3 supplementation, but he also seems to be steering his followers towards increased intake of polyunsaturated oils from nuts and seeds (instead of just adding saturated plant fats and animal fats which are much healthier). That will likely cause more health hazards for his patients down the road (read my post on the subject of polyunsaturated oils here) Ornish did a study many years ago that showed some marginal and ambivalent results, talking about this even to this day as if it constituted an absolute proof of his theory. It is not! None of these diet promoters are willing to accept the fact that there are many people who adopted and thrive on diets that are totally opposite to what they advocated, nor are they prepared to explain that fact. Their attitude in this regard, contradicts the scientific methodology which demands willingnes to falsify own theories and requires accepting a contrary data as proofs that their theory is false. (Read on scientific method here ). Contrary to what you wrote, alpha-linoleic acid from flaxseed does not seem to be safe a replacement for DHA and EPA, because studies seem to indicate that the conversion of ALA to DHA and EPA in humans is unreliable and highly variable between individuals.
Stan (Heretic)

Anonymous said...

Vegans dying early hmmmmm....no. Vegans live longer and their quality of life is better too! But even if it wasn't, many of us would accept the sacrifice if it meant we'd managed to save a few thousand animals from needless suffering. Which is after all the reason most people do it in the first place.

Anonymous said...

And if you're desperately trying to acquire lamb's brains...well you need to have a word with yourself frankly!

Stan Bleszynski said...

Hi Anonymous, welcome to my blog,

I would not recommend "sacrificing" your life (or anyone's life) for any cause, it is a false religion following false prophets.

We don't eat lamb's brains they are too small, instead we buy pork and calf brains whenever we can. They are not easy to find, we get them sometimes from Asian Mall where it can be found labelled as "meat scraps". Brain has the highest contents of DHA (docosahexanoic fatty acid) and EPA, much higher than any other source. Contrary what you probably believe, there is no danger of "Mad Cow Disease" since it has been gone for over a decade now after manganese anti-parasite spray was withdrawn from the market.

Stan (Heretic)