Update from Patrick Holford on Free Test and Preventing Age-Related Memory Loss

May 23, 2011 by  
Filed under Health, Healthy Ageing

You may have seen the item in the newspapers talking about important research that has been completed at Oxford University that shows that you can prevent both the age-related memory loss and brain shrinkage associated with Alzheimer’s disease – and a 15 minute free on-line test.

In case you didn’t, I wanted to pass on this information that came to me from nutritionist Patrick Holford and that he has asked to be passed on to as many people as possible. It is important because what you do next can make all the difference to what happens to your mind later in life.

In essence, what has been discovered is that a toxic amino acid called homocysteine both predicts risk, and causes the brain damage that is the hallmark of Alzheimer’s – and, most importantly, you can lower your homocysteine level (if you need to) with a simple B vitamin supplement. It is especially important to know your homocysteine level if you do have any signs of memory decline. A not-for-profit educational charity, www.foodforthebrain.org has created the first free, on-line Cognitive Function Test, validated for anyone over 50. It takes 15 minutes to complete.

If your score is slightly below par it becomes doubly important to know your homocysteine level. A level above 9.5 micromol/l (the average for people over 50 is 11micromol/l) is associated with accelerated brain shrinkage and memory loss. Your doctor can test your homocysteine level (or you can do it yourself with a home test kit from YorkTest Laboratories). If your Cognitive Function Test is below par it both gives you clear instructions on how to protect your memory and concentration, and generates an optional letter for your GP suggesting homocysteine testing.

If your homocysteine level is above 9.5 this important research has proven that supplementing high doses of vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid stop accelerated brain shrinkage and memory decline. The Cognitive Function Test explains exactly how much you need and how best to get them.

The first step is to take the free Cognitive Function Test. Chris is a case in point. At age 59 his memory was rapidly going downhill – he kept losing his car in multi-storey car parks. His homocysteine was 119, way above 9.5. Now, 12 months later, his homocysteine is below this cut-off point and, His memory and concentration is completely restored, his energy is so good he now exercises for an hour every day and his sex drive has returned. “You have saved my life, or, at least made it worth living again.” says Chris.

If you want to know the full story of this really important breakthrough then visit the Food for the Brain website. If you want to read more about what you can do to help yourself then read Patrick Holford’s book about everything that works in The Alzheimers Prevention Plan.

And, in case you have alrady forgotten it, the free, on-line Cognitive Function Test is at www.foodforthebrain.org

The Feel Good Factor to Boost Your Mood and Motivate Yourself

January 19, 2011 by  
Filed under featured, Health

If you are looking for a new approach to health and nutrition, then Patrick Holford is one of the first people to consider. His new book ‘The Feel Good Factor’ is very well timed as January is indeed when many people are flagging under the weight of the post festive season and those grey January skies. He offers you ten proven ways to get yourself into the best of moods without resorting to a doctor’s prescription.

This is a very practical book that offers commonsense advice and some highly effective methods of changing your physical and emotional health. If you want to regain your enthusiasm for life, or find out exactly what is holding you back, then this book will guide you through a series of questions and provide you with the information you need. Whether your diet needs some help, or you aren’t sure what supplements you need, he will guide you through the maze of low moods, depression and apathy. There are a number of simple questionnaires in the book that can help uncover any biochemical imbalances you may have, but be unaware of.

Simple things to do today to make your tomorrow a more welcoming and positive one are what he specializes in and you could make a start now by going online for a comprehensive free health check at www.patrickholford.com/feelgoodcheck
to find out where you rate out of a 100% score. Make sure you click on the free report button at the end, unless you want to pay for a full report. If that inspires you to make some changes you can buy the book on the site itself or from bookshops or Amazon.

Say No to Cancer

September 27, 2010 by  
Filed under Health

Experts are now predicting that our Lifetime cancer risk is going to be 1 in 2 by 2020 – a mere 10 years away. In fact, it is one in three already and top nutritionist and author Patrick Holford believes that most of this risk is completely avoidable by simple changes to both diet and lifestyle factors which expose us to a plethora of carcinogens, which promote cancer cells and also suppress the immune system.

It may be comforting to believe that great strides are being made in cancer treatment, but Holford believes that nothing substantial has changed. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, there has been less than a 1% decrease in the rate of new cancer diagnosis and neither the death rate nor the incidence of new cases has changed.

Treatment is one thing but for prevention – both before and after diagnosis – to be effective, it has to respect the fact that the cancer process is multifactorial. It depends on:

a) Reducing exposure to carcinogens, of which there are thousands in our modern environment and diet;
b) Improving one’s ability to repair damaged DNA;
c) Controlling factors that stimulate cell growth, which include common ‘insulin resistance’ and drinking milk; and
d) Diet and lifestyle habits that strengthen immunity – from vitamin D and sunlight exposure to eating berries and upping antioxidants.

If a person has cancer, or early-stage cancer risk, these prevention factors have to be applied aggressively, not just as advice to ‘eat a well balanced diet’. There have been in reality no substantial change in cancer treatment and although surgical procedures have slightly improved they don’t actually address the underlying cause.

In his new book ‘Say No to Cancer’ Holford outlines the real strides that have been made in nutrition-based anti-cancer strategies that both kill cancer cells and boost immunity, rather than weaken it, as does chemotherapy and radiation. He discusses two of the most promising treatments which are intravenous and/or megadose vitamin C and salvestrols, both of which show promise.
Everyone knows that eating fruits and vegetables is good for your health. Conventional medical advice is to eat at least five portions a day and evidence shows that a diet rich in plant-based foods helps to combat many diseases, especially cancer. What is now becoming clear is that there is more than one single mechanism whereby plants are able to help prevent and reverse the cancer process.

A dedicated team of research scientists in Leicester believe that a key component, and a mechanism, in plants could be a major breakthrough in both cancer prevention and treatment. They believe that salvestrols, naturally occurring compounds in certain plants, can help to explain how plants offer a treatment for cancer with fewer side effects than conventional treatments.

Salvestrols are a group of naturally-occurring plant compounds present in certain fruits and vegetables, they contain substances which can be changed by an enzyme, present in both pre-cancerous and cancerous cells, to produce a toxic chemical which brings about ‘cell death’ (apoptosis) and therefore destroys the cancer cells.

He had written a previous version of this book, but Patrick Holford found that in the last decade there has been so much positive research showing how to make yourself cancer-proof that he has completely rewritten Say No to Cancer, to more than double the size, and is doing a nationwide tour, both in the UK and Ireland, to help you learn the simple tricks to boosting your body’s own defences against cancer, and also infections, and how to stack all the odds in your favour to never get cancer.

For information on Patrick’s forthcoming seminars, and to buy the book please visit his website at www.patrickholford.com

Natural help for pain

October 13, 2009 by  
Filed under Natural Medicine


I have known Patrick Holford for many years, and his nutritional advice is always sound and on target. I thought you would be interested in his thoughts on treating pain naturally, particularly the importance of healing the gut, easily damaged by painkillers, with a combination of digestive enzymes, probiotics and glutamine, and identifying and eliminating food allergies.

His top six natural pain killers are these:

1. Turmeric

Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, works as well as anti-inflammatory drugs, but without the side effects. Like NSAIDs, it blocks the formation of the pro-inflammatory prostaglandins (PGE2), as well as leukotrienes. It has been used for its medicinal properties in Ayurveda for hundreds of years and there is no evidence of any downsides, even in high doses of 8g a day.

2. Olives

Olive extract decreases levels of pro-inflammatory substances and reduces levels of two inflammatory messengers called TNF-alpha and interleukin-8. In one study with mice, the extract reduced TNF-alpha levels by 95% and some of the newest pain-killing drugs work by reducing TNF-alpha.

3. Extract of hops

An extract from hops, called isooxygene, is anti-inflammatory and one of the most effective natural painkillers of all. Not only is it almost as effective as ibuprofen, but it also doesn’t have the gut-related side effects of anti-inflammatory drugs. This is because ibuprofen also inhibits COX-1 (the so called ‘good’ COX, because it produces prostacyclin, which protects the gut lining), whereas the hop extract does not.

4. Quercitin

Many plant foods contain flavonoid compounds, which are known to inhibit inflammation. One of the most potent is quercitin and just one red onion, or a cup of berries, or three servings of greens provides about 10mg of quercitin. Other good sources include red wine, tea, grapefruit, broccoli, squash, red grapes, cranberries and citrus fruits. This is one reason why vegetarian diets have proven highly effective in reducing pain and inflammation. However, taking fifty times this amount, 500mg a day, quercitin becomes a potent anti-inflammatory inhibiting the production of the pro-inflammatory prostaglandins (type 2) and also inhibiting the release of histamine, which is involved in inflammatory reactions.

5. Glucosamine

Glucosamine is proven to slow progression of osteoarthritis of the knee and good quality evidence shows it works as well as ibuprofen but with less side-effects. Although there is evidence that chondroitin works, the research does not show that it works better than glucosamine. Most of the research has been done using glucosamine sulphate, but the most absorbable form is glucosamine hydrochloride. Promising results are reported for pain relief and relief from arthritis in people taking daily supplements supplying 1 to 3g of one of the most effective sources of sulphur, methylsulfonylmethane (MSM). A combination of both glucosamine and MSM is particularly effective.

6. Omega 3

There’s no question about the benefits of upping your intake of omega 3s. A meta-analysis of 17 randomized, controlled trials assessing the pain relieving effects of omega-3 PUFAs in patients with rheumatoid arthritis or joint pain found that supplementation with EPA rich Omega 3 fats for 3-4 months reduces patient reported joint pain intensity, minutes of morning stiffness, number of painful and/or tender joints and NSAID consumption.

Putting it all together

The real magic comes when you take all these together. In practical terms this means both eating more of all these foods on a daily basis and supplementing 2 EPA rich omega 3 fish oil capsules, aiming for 1,000mg of EPA a day and combination supplements of these other natural remedies.

You need at least 1 gram of glucosamine to make a difference and almost as much MSM. With the right combination formula containing most of the above you’ll probably need 2 a day to maintain freedom from pain, 4 a day if you are in pain and 6 a day for acute pain.

If you’d like to know more details about the exact doses, and the research, read the new edition of Patrick Holford’s book, Say No to Arthritis, which I have personally recommended to many sufferers for its effectiveness. For news of his talks, workshops and other books visit his website at www.patrickholford.com

Breast cancer treatment optimism

December 26, 2008 by  
Filed under Natural Medicine, Womens Health

News from Greece has confirmed that the new chemotherapy agents are cutting advanced breast cancer mortality in half. This reassuring news comes from a review of published studies, by John P. A. Ioannidis, M.D., of the University of Ioannina, and reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. They looked at 122 clinical trials involving 26,031 patients and 22 different types of therapy.

Their conclusion was that the advent of the new anthracycline drugs led to a 22% reduction in mortality risk compared with older nonanthracycline drugs, and that the introduction of taxanes resulted in a 33% risk reduction compared with older single-agent therapy. Taken together this means that the newer taxane-based combination treatments such as those involving capecitabine (Xeloda), or gemcitabine (Gemzar), have reduced mortality by 51% compared to the single-agent treatment in use 35 years ago.

Now I know chemotherapy is not the favoured option for many people and they choose to go on any of the alternative routes from Chinese Medicine to Spiritual healing, however, if you are undergoing chemotherapy there is an excellent homoeopathic remedy that can help alleviate some of the side effects. Many homoeopathic chemists have their own variation so ask locally or I can recommend an excellent chemist in Dorset who make their own tablets and are happy to speak with you on the phone about your requirements. They are the Galen pharmacy and their telephone number is 01305 263996 or if you would like to read more about natural treatments for cancer a book I recommend is Say No to Cancer by Patrick Holford and an interesting website to check out is www.cancertruth.net which is American but will give you some food for thought.

PS – if you or someone you know has been affected by cancer, then here’s a chance to walk, jog, run and have fun at 5k events across the UK, to help raise as much money as possible to beat cancer. Women only can run, but men are very welcome as supporters, coaches and fundraisers at Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life events taking place in 2009. If you are interested, they are open for entries on 19 January and for more information visit www.raceforlife.org or call 0871 641 2282

Statins – Saint or sinner?

July 2, 2008 by  
Filed under Food & Nutrition, Health, Natural Medicine

Many of you will have heard of Patrick Holford, the UK’s leading nutrition expert, and I have known him for many years. Indeed I edited his Optimum Nutrition magazine for a while and always find what he has to say of interest.

The topic of statins has come up a lot recently, particularly when I have been giving talks on natural health, and there seems to be a lot of confusion. This is not surprising because every year there is always a ‘new’ wonder thing that will help us stay health without much willpower on our part, but will bring fairly large profits to the people manufacturing it.

Cynical? Maybe, but when you have written about health for as long as I have you see the cycle of celebration, doubt, debunking and then quietly disappearing for many so called ‘miracle’ cures.

New health guidelines issued recently say all adults aged 40 to 75 should be assessed for risks, including smoking, weight and blood pressure and those with at least a 20 per cent increased chance of a heart attack over the next 10 years should be offered treatment, usually statins. Patrick Holford takes a different view and completely disagrees with the routine prescribing of these drugs. I think what he has to say is important so I am quoting him directly here, and leaving you to make up your own mind.

“Statins work by blocking the production of cholesterol, which is a perfectly normal substance, and in the process, stops the body producing Co-Q10, a vital heart nutrient, causing harmful side effects. This was confirmed in research published last month in the journal Nature. As a consequence, statins are far from harmless.

The notion that cholesterol is linked with heart disease goes back over fifty years, along with the idea of bringing cholesterol levels down with a low fat diet to protect the heart. But both of these ideas have been strongly challenged. For example, plenty of studies show that only 50% of people who develop heart problems have high cholesterol, while a study in the BMJ in 2001 found no link between changing fat in the diet and heart disease.

The best known side-effect of statins involves muscles problems. The probable reason for this is that they stop the production of Co-Q10 which is found in all cells (especially those of the heart muscle) and is vital to energy production. In one study of 14 healthy people, 10 developed heart rhythm abnormalities when given statins. This, say some researchers, could explain the muscle weakness and also the memory loss some people experience.

Some practitioners recommend that anyone taking statins should also supplement with Co-Q10 and a warning on statin packets is now mandatory in Canada, saying that CoQ10 reduction ‘could lead to impaired cardiac function’.

In fact the closer you look, the more questionable the benefits become. You might assume that taking prophylactic statins would mean that you would live longer overall. But that isn’t what the studies show. The total number of heart attacks drops slightly but then the risk of dying from other things goes up slightly, so overall life expectancy stays the same.

How can you avoid statins? By doing everything you can to keep your heart healthy. You do that by the well- known – but little enough practiced – regime of eating well with plenty of fruit, vegetables and wholegrains in your everyday diet. Make sure you also include foods that are high in heart-protective Vitamin E, such as beans, olive oil and eggs and reduce the amount of sugary foods, refined carbohydrates and keep your stress levels as low as you can.

Instead of an expensive drug, try lowering your cholesterol levels and heart disease risk by raising your ‘good’ HDL cholesterol and lowering ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol. A simple, inexpensive way to do that is take a supplement of niacin (vitamin B3), and to further help prevent cardiovascular disease it is suggested that you include a CoQ10 supplement of around 90mg a day. The COQ10 will also help those who are already on statin drugs and wish to stay on them.

If you would like to know more about Patrick Holford’s work, his new book ‘Food is Better Medicine Than Drugs’ would be a good place to start. You can read about it here: Food Is Better Medicine Than Drugs: Your Prescription for Drug-free Health