Can you cure cancer by holding your breath?

No! Well, not as far as I  know.

So what is all this with breathing and cancer and other lifestyle diseases?

It is about reverting to the way humans in the past used to breathe. How is that different from the way we breathe today? Many of us breathe using the top of our lungs only, we have our mouths open, we hyperventilate and we have a notion that taking in lots of air in a deep breath is good for us.

What is the connection? In a nutshell, we do not get enough oxygen into our cells, which leaves them vulnerable to common lifestyle diseases.

I will attempt to explain simply: Our cells need oxygen to function. Oxygen is carried in the bloodstream, and the catalyst that allows it to be taken up by cells is carbon dioxide. That’s right – CO2, the same stuff that is giving us global warming concerns. Only  in the atmosphere, the concentration is 0.04%, up from 0.o3% this last century. In the bloodstream, it should be 6.1%. You heard right. 6.1%. Even higher in the brain (7%) If you have less than 3% you are dead! Probably due to bad breathing, stress, bad diet and lack of exercise, many people are down closer to that level than the ideal.

Have a look at this diagram showing the effects of hypocapnia. This is where hyperventilation leads to a shortage of carbon dioxide in the body and results in hypoxia, which is a condition that sick people suffer. You can see this in the way sick people breathe – very mechanically – in,out,in,out – many times a minute.

Simple man’s conclusion? sick people breathe badly? Bad breathers are sick? Yeah, something like that.

The point is that their seems to be a correlation (to me) between cancer,diabetes, cardiovascular disease and breathing and the consequence of this: namely lack of oxygen to the cells.  There are many references to research that bear this out, but here are some interesting facts:

  1. People who are sick take more breaths per minute than healthy people. (between 18 and 30 breaths as opposed to 6-12 for healthy people.
  2. Even this healthy level is not ideal
  3. People had far better breathing performance 100 years ago.

The way to test for this is the CP (control pause). Breathe out and see how it takes before you need to take  a breath. If you are somewhere between 15 and 30 seconds, you are “normal”. However, “normal” was over 40 seconds 100 years ago. Under 10 seconds and you have very likely got a problem.

That is interesting: Why has the CP fallen over 100 years? I put forward these reasons:

  • Sugar. We consume a lot more sugar than 100 years ago. Also as corn syrup.
  • Wheat products. We eat a lot more of these. Bread, pasta, etc.
  • Crap fats. We don’t have the right types in the right balance.
  • Stress. Our wonderful modern lifestyle means we are pressed and it affects our breathing.
  • Lack of exercise.  Our forefathers (and mothers!) generally did a lot more manual work and walked a lot.
  • Obesity. The result of the above.

I am not going to document the above here, but in a later post, I will attempt to take each one and point to the research.

So, what else does good breathing do? It causes the blood vessels to dilate, thus allowing more blood flow. In my own case, my resting pulse rate is between 43 and 50 beats per minute and my blood pressure is 120/70. (I am male, aged 61). It also adjusts how alkaline your blood is (slightly) but more importantly, reduces the acidity of cells.

The link between cancer and breathing.

I have seen Micha Sakharoff’s data, and he thinks that cancer cannot exist in cells where there is a good supply of oxygen. This equates to a CP of 40 seconds. And no, there has not been any clinical research on this (to the best of my knowledge)*.  Along with the no-carb ketogenic diet, the acidity of the tissues is reduced, Again, cancer will not thrive in an alkaline environment.

Bring on Buteyko Breathing

What is it? It is a series of breathing exercises, originally designed by a Russian, Konstantin Buteyko, to help asthma patients. If you have asthma and you do the Buteyko training, you will most likely stop suffering asthma attacks. What are we training? We are reprogramming the brain (the medula oblongata, to be precise), to accept more carbon dioxide in the body (as bicarbonate and carbon dioxide gas). I have been doing this for 3 months now. I have improved from 17 seconds to an average of 35 seconds. Sometimes, in the evenings, especially after yoga, I can get to 60 seconds. Do I do this because I have cancer? I trust not – but I believe that prevention is better that cure. Given the latest research in the UK (“One in two people born after 1960 in the UK will be diagnosed with some form of cancer during their lifetime“), I owe it to myself  to do something to protect myself.

Apparently, there are some great benefits to be had if you get to a CP of 90 seconds.

Unfortunately, Buteyko is a business franchise, so I cannot explain more. However, there are some excellent videos by an Irishman, Patrick McKeown  on Youtube and there is a lot more information by Artour Rakhimov on normalbreathing.com. Having said that, I really believe that Misha Sakharoff’s holistic approach is well worth giving attention to.

*Of course there are no clinical trials. There is no serious money for drug companies in teaching people to breathe!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Put statin your pipe and smoke it!

I want to tell you a story.

I went to a chemists some 2 years ago and on the way out, I was asked by a lady if I wanted a cholesterol blood test. I had no idea why I agreed to one, but I did. “Oh dear”, she said “Your cholesterol is awfully high – 7.5!”. I immediately felt concerned. Why should I have high cholesterol? I was a bit chunky (86 kg – 5´11″) but took regular exercise (dog walks, cycling and lots of swimming), but why was it “high” . What did it mean?

“You had better go and see your doctor!”

Off I went to the dooctor. Blood pressure – normal and “You are not diabetic!” , as if that was a big surprise (I was 59 at the time). I should have a proper blood test.

On returning to the doctor, she told me that, yes, my cholesterol numbers were high -6.5, but, hey, 50% of Danish adults were at this level anyway. (That should have given me a clue). My LDL was high and my HDL was low and my Triglycerides were- well- a concern. So was I about to have a heart attack?

What could be done? “I could give you statins”

“No thanks”, I said. “Well, at you age, you have a 20:1 chance of having a heart attack in the next 10 years”, the dosctor said, referring to a card calculator. Not a big betting man, but 20:1 are long odds, so I asked what else I could do

“Lay off of fats – especially saturated fats like eggs, butter, etc ”

So I left the surgery, feeling a bit sorry for myself. Hell, man, I was fit for my age – not overweight, and for a long time had avoided fats, because I was told that fats were the cause of my indegestion and reflux that I have had all my adult life.

In the next months, I took up baking bread and tried to avoid any more fats. I started eating skyr, a type of Icelandic yoghurt with very low fat. I started to put on weight……

Fast forward to the Raimundas story: I was fascinated as to how he had cured himself, so I asked. One of the disciplines was a ketogenic diet, which avoids carbohydrates. I pointed out that I had been diagnosed with high cholesterol, This was met by a lot of material with the simple message; There is no such thing as high cholesterol for the vast majority of people. There is no such thing as good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. The whole myth is based on forced feeding rabbits (herbavores) on animal fat in a test. Guess what? They died. Research results? Cholesterol is bad! When statins were invented, the drug company that invented them realised that the market was too small – only 5 million potential customers in the US, so they lobbied to have the “dangerous” limit reduced – succeeded – and got 35 million customers. Smart marketing!

This is still going on today. New recommendations make 56 million Americans eligible for statin treatment, up from the current 43 million!

This is the important part here: I stopped eating white bread, potatoes, rice and pasta. I started eating all manner of meat and dairy products. I stopped eating “free sugar”. I cut down dramatically on any form of processed food (ketchup, etc). I made all the food I eat from the basic raw organic materials. I started eating salds drenched with olive and flax oil.

The result? I weighed 87.8 kilos as of mid-June. It is now the end of August and I weigh 80.5 kilos.

I have not taken one single tablet (pantaloc) or gaviscon against heartburn or reflux. My athlete’s foot fungus, which has plagued me for years disappeared.

I have more energy: I used to have to take a 2 hour nap after swimming 2.5 km. Now I do not.

I have not had a new measurement for cholesterol, but according to this web site, I should have lower triglycerides (the nasty stuff).  Their check list says:

  • Lose weight – done that!
  • Cut the sugar – done that!
  • Stock up on fibre – yep, always done that
  • Limit fructose – okay, I still eat fruit, but I avoid the dreaded corn syrup in most processed foods
  • Eat moderately low fat diets. – No . I do not agree with this!
  • Watch what type of fats you eat – well, this is complex, which I will explain at some stage, but I will not EVER eat trans fats  or hydrogentaed fats – so no margarine, biscuits, industrially-baked cakes.
  • Add omega 3 acids – Do this and you will have your LDL and HDL out of balance. (I will explain later)
  • Exercise – do that!
  • Cut down on alcohol . done that
  • Take triglycerides lowering drugs – NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

Has my doctor failed me? Should I trust the health system in future? Is it morally right that drug companies should market their products by appearing to help people by giving free tests in chemists/drug store/apoteks? Should we all take responsibility for our health in our own hands? If you are on statins, tell me why?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Commendable Research – but why look at curing the effect, not the cause?

Have you seen this news? “Scientists believe they may have found a way to turn cancerous cells back into healthy tissue.”

Fantastic news, which will lead to new treatments, new drugs and lots of revenue.

To me, this is like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. Why are they not willing to investigate the triggers and the initial sources of cancers? The cynical answer is that there is no money in it, for researchers and drug companies alike.

In the meantime, people get fatter, more unhealthy, the health systems are sagging under the weight of expense for drugs and expensive treatments.

A report shows that every $1 spent on smoking prevention prevents $5 in hospitalisation costs. That sounds like a pretty good rate of return. Considering that in the US alone, smoking costs $170 billion a year in medical costs and  obesity costs at least $147 billion a year. The story is same the world over: In Denmark, the estimated costs of treating the consequence of diabetes is some $500 million per annum, not bad for a population of 5 milllion.

In the UK, 6 million people (out of a population of some 60 million), are on statins, a cholesterol-reducing drug.  According to the Daily Express newspaper “The study also revealed that intensive doses of widely-prescribed statins increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes by 12 per cent. But this was balanced by the high-dose patients also seeing a 16 per cent reduced risk of cardiovascular events.”

This is great news for drug companies, who can sell medications to counter the side-effects of other meds they sell! What genius marketing!

What is my point? If some money was spent by governments on life-style disease prevention, then the amount of money spent on “life-prolonging” treatments would fall – because that is all these medications do. They don’t CURE you! My goodness, where would the money be in that!

There is a case of a man in Denmark who is on medicine that costs $38,000 a year for prostate cancer: This will keep the cancer down, but will not cure it. Therefore it can extend his life x number of years, and yes, he is fully entitled to that. But the economics do not add up! A normal Danish man starts working at around 22, after costing the state for education – say $15,000 a year for 22 years. Then, he works from 22 until 67, paying (at todays prices some   $950,000 in tax (high tax in Denmark, but free medical treatment). So far in life, he has been a good business for Denmark – +$620,000. But he also has a pension and this is some $12,000 per annum for an average of 10 years or so. so we are at $500,000. However, if he gets to 57, as the man in the example, and then is forced to retire, the medication alone would eat drastically into the $500,000, plus all the other costs and the lack of tax he would otherwise pay.  In fact, it would cause a loss.

With so many people getting diabetes, blood pressure problems, cancer, etc, at increasingly younger ages, the health system’s financing becomes untenable!

So it is vital that these diseases are prevented.

Easier said than done! There are so many financial interests: Agriculture, food and beverage industries,medical industry.

And yet, in my opinion, the answer in many cases is one of taking individual responsibility, and learning how to prevent obesity and the follow up diseases.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Best Donation I could ever make – ignored!

I was called recently on the phone by Kræftens Bekæmpelse ,  the Danish Cancer Society. Was I aware that 48 men are diagnosed with cancer in Denmark every day? What did the want me to do? Pledge money!

I asked if the caller was an outsourced fundraiser or worked for KB. She did work there, so I told her that the best donation I could make was to put them in touch with Misha Sakharoff, whom I know as the “Spontaneous Remission Consultant”. I said that this had the potential to save lives and money. She agreed and said that BK acknowledged that life-style was a probable cause of cancer.

I wrote to Micha to check if anyone from Kræftens Bekæmpelse had called; No, was the answer. They had probably thought I was a nutter. On the other hand, it would put a nasty spoke in their business model. And I am sure they have a business model, despite all the good they do.

In 2011, 48% of the income went on research, 26% on supporting patients, 19% on information and 7% on administration, the last translating to 36.44 million Danish Kroner. (About £3.5 m or €5 m). Incidentally, I called KB to find out what proportion of research went to prevention. They didn’t respond.

I asked someone in the health industry why it would not be of interest for KB to make enquiries. The answer was that there would be no way of proving Micha’s methods (except, of course, cancer patients survive!). So this is the way the health industry works: No proof, no adoption of treatment.

I wonder if they are all atheists? Because they happily go to their respective churches without any proof of anything behind the religion they follow.

“There are none so blind that will not see”

 

 

 

 

The Road to a Low-Carb Diet

I digress. I have said that the breathing was key, but in learning of the Ketogenic diet I expressed a concern that I had “high” cholesterol. Lots of material came my way and the message very clear that there is no such thing as “high” cholesterol. So I could go on a Ketogenic diet if I desired. Why would I want to do that? It’s complicated – but if you want a medical paper as a refernce as to why it is beneficial and how it contradicts previous thinking, see “Metabolic Effects of the Very-Low-Carbohydrate Diets: Misunderstood “Villains” of Human Metabolism“. This type of paper becomes a recurring theme, and opened my eyes to the fact that the medical profession may be parrotting what they learnt years ago instead of looking at new research OR the evidence is detrimental to the drug producers’ sales figures. Probably a combination of the two.

I will get back to the Ketogenic diet thing later.

Anyway,  after reading The Physicians Guide to the Cholesterol Myth (link to the PDF download) , I started to get upset, because it contradicted something I had been told by doctors. I realised that I had possibly been taken in by the medical industry.

Have you ever been tested for cholesterol in a chemist’s? A couple of years ago, I was buying something in the chemist’s, when I was asked if I wanted a free cholesterol test. “OK”, I said. A prick on the thumb and then: “Oh!, your cholesterol is terribly high – I advise that you go to see your GP”. It was 7.1. I duly went along to the doctor’s after having a full blood test at a lab.

It was 6.2, but apparently I had too much LDL and too little HDL, plus my Triglycerides were high. I was offered statins, a treatment that reduces cholesterol. Luckily, I had heard about this drug and its side effects. Such as lowering testosterone. You don’t really need that at 60! Well, my odds were 20:1 of having a heart attack in the next 20 years. I am not a big betting man, but I thought those odds were acceptable. If I had a horse come in at  20:1 I would be a very happy and lucky man.

I was advised not to eat fats, especially eggs, butter and other dairy products.

If you take the time to read the report and follow the references to medical research, you would learn that this advice is crap! Now, I had been advised since the age of thirty or so that I would get gall stones unless I cut down on eating fats and also, eating fats was a factor in getting reflux and an acid stomach. Therefore, I have always cut the fat off the steak, had no butter on bread and eaten no eggs.

But now I was going to change that. In mid June 2015, I started eating fats, mainly by putting olive and flax oil on salads, fish, meat and eggs. However, I stopped eating bread, potatoes, pasta and rice. That is, all starchy or grain-based carbohydrates. I still ate porridge oats for breakfast but in smaller amounts. I also vowed to avoid “free” sugar if at all possible. Up until the end of July 2015 (about 6 weeks) , this is what has transpired:

  • I have lost 6 kilos (about a stone) (87.8 kg. down to 81.8 kg.)
  • I have not had to have one single Pantoprazole or other indigestion tablet, because I have not had indigestion! (for the first time as an adult)
  • I have slept better (probably because of improved breathing)
  • I no longer suffer from athlete’s foot
  • I am never hungry – I do not feel the need to eat between meals

So what is going on? Is it just me or is this the same for everybody?

I might add that my Body Mass Index (BMI) was 27.4, which put me in the “overweight” class. It is now 25.5, which is slightly overweight. My Body Fat Index (BFI) has fallen correspondingly, to about 21. This is still over what is recommened (20), so I have 2 kilos to go.

This experience has caused me to put a question mark against the medical profession’s wisdom and the medical/drug/food industry’s motives. If eating a fatty diet has no connection with high cholesterol and avoiding carbs leads to weight loss, then why do we get medicated with statins and insulin to deal with heart problems and diabetes type 2?

We will go deeper into this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What did Raimundas’s recovery mean to me?

I described the sequence of events that led to Raimundas’s “spontaneous remission” on the first page. 

As with anyone, I was very happy to hear this and then sceptical. How could he be cured when the best and most expensive treatment the Danish health system could throw at it fail? How was it done? What was I missing?

Vanessa asked me to do a simple test: She wanted to test my “CP”. I had to breathe in, breathe out, then see how long it took before I was forced to take another inhalation; 17 seconds. “Not bad”, she said ,”a cancer patient can do about 5 seconds” I was relieved – I must be OK, right? Like most people I know, I have a lurking fear of the Big C.  I know so many people who have been cut short in their prime because of it. And to cap that, a recent BBC article said that it is expected that half the UK population will get cancer. Hey, I am a Brit, so it is statistically even money!

Vanessa said that this CP is the test for how much carbon dioxide is in your bloodstream. Carbon Dioxide in my bloodstream? Surely, I don’t want that? I want oxygen – not carbon dioxide! (or so I thought). Well, yes, I do want oxygen, but what I didn’t know that I need carbon dioxide to be able to release the oxygen from the oxygen-rich blood into my cells. Why? Because essentially, cancer cannot survive in an oxygenated cell. I will explain that later.

So what had Raimundas done? He had, through careful monitoring of a training course, increased his CP (short for “control pause”) from the cancer-sufferer’s 5 seconds to 60 seconds. And according to Micha, cancer is unlikely to survive in someone with a CP of over 40 seconds.

And what does the training do? It is designed to reprogramme your medula oblangata (the control centre for the body’s automatic functions) to accept more carbon dioxide in your body. Up to 7% actually. Pretty fantastic considering the atmospheric concentration is  0.4%.

I have to say at this point that Raimundas also did other things, such as centering, calorific restriction and ketogenic diet. All this is explained on Micha’s web site.

Anyway, I wanted to find out more. Reading some of the theory behind this led me to adopt some of the practices, although not all. I figured that I was in pretty good shape, but I knew there was room for improvement.