Nutrient collaboration may help …

Diminish Metabolic Syndrome Risks
… with a combination of Vitamin D and Mastic

By Will Block

The power of the sun and a
mastic tear, a byproduct
G

iven that metabolic syndrome (MetSyn) is a major problem throughout the world, leading to heart disease and other health threats, such as diabetes and stroke, it is wise to pay ardent attention to reports of any new causal relationships. Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States and throughout the world. Diabetes and stroke are not far behind.

A recent scientific article in the journal Medicine (Baltimore) finds vitamin D deficient subjects who also tested positive for the ulcer-causing bacterium Helicobacter pylori have twice the risk of MetSyn … compared to those with neither condition.1 If something can be done about both the vitamin deficiency and the bacteria, the risks of MetSyn can be significantly lowered.

A Cluster of Conditions

The study included 792 men and 1,321 women over the age of 30 who resided in northeastern Taiwan, the Republic of China. The mean age was 56.4 ± 13.0 years. Participants were considered to have MetSyn if they exhibited three or more of five traits:

• Increased waist circumference

• High blood pressure

• High triglycerides

• High glucose

• Low serum high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels

While having any one of these doesn’t mean you have MetSyn, any of these conditions may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, stroke, and cardiovascular disease—separately and especially together.

In the Baltimore study, the subjects had urea breath tests administered to detect H. pylori infection. Blood samples collected upon enrollment were analyzed for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (a measure of vitamin D status), inflammatory cytokines, adipokines, and other factors.

Obesity as Prerequisite for MetSyn

One sure way to come down with MetSyn is through obesity, a condition that is reaching epidemic proportions, with worldwide figures estimated at 1.4 billion and rising every year.2 Obesity (defined as a body mass index of 30.0 – 39.9)* affects all socioeconomic backgrounds and ethnicities, and is an almost certain pre-requisite for MetSyn.


* Body mass index (BMI) = weight in pounds/(height in inches) x 703.


Aside from the standards used by the Baltimore study, MetSyn is driven by other risk factors, such as central obesity, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia and hypertension that together may culminate in increased risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. As these conditions are among the leading causes of deaths worldwide, and MetSyn also increases the risk of type 2 diabetes fivefold and cardiovascular disease threefold, it is of critical importance that measures be taken.

Also of particular interest is the relationship between metabolic syndrome and cancer. MetSyn has been associated with a plethora of cancers including breast, pancreatic, colon and liver cancer, according to a recent review.2

In fact, each individual risk factor for metabolic syndrome also has an association with cancer. The review collated internationally generated information on metabolic syndrome, its many definitions and its associations with life-threatening conditions including type 2 diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

What to do for Vitamin D Deficiency and H. Pylori Infections?

Returning to the Medicine (Baltimore) paper, vitamin D deficiency is readily solved with daily ingestion of 5,000 to 10,000 IU/day (see “Vitamin D Lowers the Risk of Dying” in the January 2015 issue of Life Enhancement and the sidebar “Vitamin D3 Can Reduce All-Cause Human Mortality”). It’s safe, easy, and cheap. Also, H. pylori may be eradicated through the use of 1 g of mastic gum/day (see “Mastic: Curtains for Ulcer-Causing Bacteria” in the January 2015 issue) for about one month. Also see the sidebar, “Mastic Extinguishes Ulcer- and GI Cancer-Bug.”

For an interesting mechanism of how vitamin D may incapacitate H. pylori, see the sidebar “Vitamin D Exerts Antibacterial Action Against H. pylori.

And if you can keep the bad traits (the forerunners of MetSyn) down … so much the better for your health.

References

  1. Chen LW, Chien CY, Hsieh CW, Chang LC, Huang MH, Huang WY, Kuo SF, Chien CH, Lin CL, Chien RN. The Associations Between Helicobacter pylori Infection, Serum Vitamin D, and Metabolic Syndrome: A Community-Based Study. Medicine (Baltimore). 2016 May;95(18):e3616. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000003616.
  2. O’Neill S, O’Driscoll L. Metabolic syndrome: a closer look at the growing epidemic and its associated pathologies. Obes Rev. 2015 Jan;16(1):1-12.

Vitamin D3 Can Reduce All-Cause Human Mortality

From Durk & Sandy (see Volume 15 No. 1 • January-February 2012 of Life Extension News in the April 2012 issue of Life Enhancement):

A new review paper1 reports that cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) reduces mortality in adults more than placebo or no treatment but that other forms of vitamin D do not. The other forms that didn’t reduce all-cause mortality included vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol, alfacalcidol, or calcitriol). The meta-analysis reports that vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) reduced all-cause mortality by 6% (a very impressive reduction!), but not cardiovascular or cancer mortality. (The reason for the finding of reduction in all-cause mortality, but not in cardiovascular (CV) or cancer mortality, which might seem surprising, is that the total number of individuals in the analysis for all-cause mortality were much higher than those for the analysis of CV or cancer; hence, the statistical analysis didn’t have the power to detect a possible effect on the CV or cancer components of the total all-cause mortality.)

The meta-analysis was assembled from reviews of randomized controlled trials where human subjects were taking supplemental vitamin D or no intervention in adults = 18 years of age who were healthy or had stable disease (not including secondary-induced osteoporosis or cancer or women who were pregnant or lactating) or vitamin D deficiency. That included 50 trials of 94,148 subjects with mean age 74 years, of which 79% were women.

The commentary2 on the review concluded that “... the results of the meta-analysis by Bjelakovic and colleagues should encourage providers to consider cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) as their preferred choice for vitamin D supplementation.”

References

1. Bjelakovic et al. Vitamin D supplementation for prevention of mortality in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011;(7):CD007470.

2. Murff HJ. ACP Journal Club. Review: cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) reduces mortality in adults; other forms of vitamin D do not. Ann Intern Med. 2011 Nov 15;155(10):JC5-04.

At last, mastic gum’s warhead has been identified …
Mastic Extinguishes Ulcer- And GI Cancer-Bug
Even drug-resistant H. pylori are annihilated

The tree named Pistacia lentiscus is grown mainly on the Greek Archipelago island of Chios—alleged to be the birthplace of Homer.

P. lentiscus exudes a traditional biomedicine, a resin (or gum) called mastic. Despite its long history of medicinal use, dating back some 3,000 years, it wasn’t until 1998 that mastic was first reported to kill Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). This stomach bacterium was found to be the cause of peptic ulcers—for which a Nobel Prize was awarded in 2005.

Which Constituents Enable Mastic to Kill H. pylori?

It is incredible that no study since then has accurately clarified which specific components of mastic show antimicrobial activity against H. pylori. But at last, Japanese researchers have determined which constituents are responsible for mastic gum’s profound anti-H. pylori activity.1 Gastrointestinal problems are common in Japan. Thus, it makes sense that the Japanese are very interested in improved gastrointestinal health. In Japan, the incidence of gastric cancer is almost 10-fold higher than rates observed in the United States.

Using a mass spectrometer, 20 components were identified. Of these, 10 standard components were assayed for anti-H. pylori activity. Out of these, α-terpineol and (E)-methyl isoeugenol showed significant anti-H. pylori activity against four different H. pylori strains that were isolated from patients with gastritis, gastric ulcer, and gastric cancer. The researchers concluded that these components could overcome drug-resistant H. pylori in the gastrointestinal tract. Moreover, as other studies have shown, the benefits of mastic go far beyond its antibacterial effects. It also possesses anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and possibly antidiabetic effects.2


This stomach bacterium
was found to be the cause of peptic
ulcers—for which a Nobel Prize
was awarded in 2005.


The Need for Mastic

Rising antibiotic resistance has increased the need for new therapeutic strategies, thus highlighting the health-improving importance of mastic.The antibiotic, anti-acid, and proton pump inhibitor regimen (the so-called triple therapy) that is the foundation of conventional treatment for H. pylori is effective in less than 85% of the cases. Not only do H. pylori become resistant to the antibiotics in triple therapy, the functioning of the entire GI tract is impaired—especially when antibiotics destroy the healthy balance of normal colonic bacteria.

Why it’s Important to Identify Mastic’s Mechanisms

The constituent identification is important for several reasons: 1) H. pylori induces chronic gastric infection in more than 50% of the world’s population; 2) After many years, the infectant provokes and progresses ultimately to cancer; 3) Infection with H. pylori is frequently associated with a viable proportion of duodenal ulcer, gastric ulcer, gastric carcinoma, and MALT lymphoma.

Gastric oncologists know that intestinal-type gastric cancer progresses in a multi-step manner to a carcinogenic conclusion—from chronic gastritis to atrophic gastritis to intestinal metaplasia to dysplasia to cancer. Other Japanese researchers have reported that gastric cancer was inhibited after H. pylori was eradicated in patients who had undergone endoscopic gastric mucosal resection of their cancer.3


The researchers concluded that
these components could overcome
drug-resistant H. pylori in the
gastrointestinal tract.


Mastic May Also Protect Against Other Cancers

It is interesting to note that in vitro studies prove that mastic inhibits proliferation of cancer cells derived from several types of human neoplasia, including prostate, colon, lung and pancreatic carcinoma.4

A New Approach to Prevent Gastric Cancer

Gastric cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths worldwide. H. pylori plays a causal role in the majority of gastric tumors.5 Once H. pylori colonize the gastric environment, if not treated effectively, they persist for the lifetime of the host, suggesting that the host immune response is ineffective in clearing this bacterium. This means that H. pylori must be fought again and again, and that antibiotics are not the long-term answer.

Mastic’s Antidiabetic Effect

There is also groundbreaking evidence that mastic may help protect against diabetes.6 This is rather complicated. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) are a group of nuclear receptor proteins that function as transcription factors regulating the expression of genes. PPAR agonists help to improve blood glucose levels and levels of blood lipids (fats and cholesterol) and may also reduce risks of atherosclerosis, by regulating the expression of genes that affect blood lipid metabolism, the generation of adipocytes (fat cells), and blood glucose control. Thus, they present a key target for pharmacological interventions (see “The Antidiabetes Trigger,” in the March 2009 issue). Recently, mastic has been found to act as a natural PPAR modulator. Researchers thus believe that this may be one of the ways mastic asserts its diverse effects.7 Furthermore, the use of mastic avoids the side effects of PPAR agonist drugs.


Because H. pylori lives in both
the oral cavity and the GI tract,
mastic must be used therapeutically
in two different ways: for damage
and for maintenance.


Maintenance Treatment with Mastic

As noted above, H. pylori lives in both the oral cavity and the GI tract. Therefore, mastic should be used therapeutically at two levels: 1) To prevent damage that results in ulcers and cancers; and 2) To prevent reinfection with H. pylori, and the resultant increased inflammation and tissue damage.

Ultimately, reducing the discomfort, inflammation and GI damage is mastic’s most immediate and noticed benefit. Many who use mastic report a level of GI health unlike any they have known—in some instances, throughout their entire lives. Dr. Dean reports that many of his patients describe their use of Mastic as a “life-changing event” in terms of the profound relief they obtain, after years of ineffective “triple therapy.” Further, he states that maintenance therapy is not usually necessary. A ten-day course of one gram per day is often enough to eradicate H. pylori, eliminate symptoms, and heal gastric and duodenal ulcers. Those with Barrett’s esophagitis gain significant relief, but may require a longer course of therapy. For those with gastric or esophageal cancers, Dr. Dean recommends a more aggressive treatment regimen, using a higher dose, and a prolonged course of therapy, in conjunction with other adjunctive natural therapies. Try it and notice the difference!

References

1. Miyamoto T, Okimoto T, Kuwano M. Chemical composition of the essential oil of mastic gum and their antibacterial activity against drug-resistant Helicobacter pylori. Nat Prod Bioprospect. 2014;4:227–31.

L2. oizou S, Paraschos S, Mitakou S, et al. Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2009 May;234(5):553–61.

3. Fukase K, Kato M, Kikuchi S, et al; Japan Gast Study Group. Effect of eradication of Helicobacter pylori on incidence of metachronous gastric carcinoma after endoscopic resection of early gastric cancer: an open-label, randomised controlled trial. Lancet. 2008 Aug 2;372(9636):392–7.

4. Katsanou ES, Kyriakopoulou K, Emmanouil C, et al. Modulation of CYP1A1 and CYP1A2 hepatic enzymes after oral administration of Chios mastic gum to male Wistar rats. PLoS One. 2014 Jun 20;9(6):e100190. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0100190. eCollection 2014.

5. Herrera V, Parsonnet J. Helicobacter pylori and gastric adenocarcinoma. Clin Microbiol Infect. 2009 Nov;15(11):971–6.

6. Georgiadis I, Karatzas T, Korou LM, et al. Evaluation of Chios mastic gum on lipid and glucose metabolism in diabetic mice. J Med Food. 2014 Mar;17(3):393–9.

7. Georgiadis I, Karatzas T, Korou LM, et al. Beneficial Health Effects of Chios Gum Mastic and Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptors: Indications of Common Mechanisms. J Med Food. 2014 Aug 18. [Epub ahead of print]

Vitamin D Exerts Antibacterial Action Against H. pylori

Another new study1 demonstrated that as vitamin D3 decomposes, a product called VDP1 exerts an antibacterial action against Helicobacter pylori in vivo. This study demonstrated that the vitamin D3 breakdown product VDP1 (also known as Grundmann’s ketone-type indene compound) exerts an antibacterial action against Helicobacter pylori, in vivo. This could aid in the ability of mastic gum to eradicate H. pylori.

Treatment with VDP1 induced a collapse of cell membrane structures of H. pylori and ultimately killed the bacterial cells. A unique dimyristoyl phosphatidylethanolamine in the membrane lipid compositions contributed to the interaction of VDP1 with H. pylori cells. These results suggest that VDP1 (or Grundmann’s ketone-type indene compound) may become a fundamental structure for the development of new antibacterial substances with selective bactericidal action against H. pylori.

References

1. Hosoda K, Shimomura H, Wanibuchi K, Masui H, Amgalanbaatar A, Hayashi S, Takahashi T, Hirai Y. Identification and characterization of a vitamin D3 decomposition product bactericidal against Helicobacter pylori. Sci Rep. 2015 Mar 9;5:8860. doi: 10.1038/srep08860.


Will Block is the publisher and editorial director of Life Enhancement magazine.

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