Saturday, December 06, 2008

Yet another reason to avoid fructose

Have you seen the Corn Refiners Association commercial campaigns to educate the American public on the safety of fructose? If you haven't, you can view these interesting specimens on You Tube:

"Get the facts--You're in for a sweet surprise: Fructose is safe in moderation!"

Two Moms

Two lovers


Beyond the fact that fructose stimulates liver production of glycerol, which thereby increases liver VLDL production and raises blood levels of triglycerides; likely stimulates appetite; increases cholesterol levels; fructose has also been clearly implicated in increasing blood levels of uric acid.

Uric acid is the substance that, in some people, precipitates in joints and causes gout, the painful inflammatory arthritis that has been increasing in prevalence over the last four decades since the introduction of fructose in 1967. While blood levels of uric acid in the early part of the 20th century averaged 3.5 mg/dl, more recent population assessments have averaged 6.0 mg/dl or higher. (Non-human mammals who don't eat processed foods, drink fruit drinks or beer, and don't eat candy have uric acid levels of <2.0 mg/dl.)

Uric acid is looking like it may prove to be an important risk factor for coronary disease and atherosclerotic plaque. It is no news that people with higher blood levels of uric acid are more likely to experience adverse cardiovascular events like heart attack. People with features of the metabolic syndrome also have higher uric acid blood levels; the more characteristics they have, the higher the uric acid level. However, the prevailing view has been that uric acid is simply an accompaniment of these processes, but not causal.

However, more recent observations suggest that increased levels of uric acid may instead be a cause of metabolic syndrome and high blood pressure.

Increased blood levels of uric acid have been shown to:

--Increase blood pressure
--Induce kidney damage (even in the absence of uric acid kidney stones)
--Antagonize insulin responses

A diagnosis of gout is not required to experience all of the adverse phenomena associated with uric acid. (For not entirely clear reasons, some people, perhaps based on pH or other factors, are more prone to trigger crystallization of uric acid in joints, similar to the phenomena of sugar crystallization when making rock candy.)

Which brings us back to fructose, a sweetener that clearly substantially increases uric acid levels. I suppose that the mothers and lovers in the Corn Refiners' commercials are right to a degree: Our kids will survive, as will you and I, despite increases in triglycerides, enhanced diabetic tendencies, amplified appetites, and increased uric acid due to fructose in our diet. We will also likely survive despite being 100 lbs overweight, partly due to the effects of fructose.

But if long-term health is your desire for you and your family, fructose has no role whatsoever to play.

Interestingly, the obviously expensive and slick ad campaigns from the Corn Refiners' videos have triggered some helpful video counterarguments:

High-fructose corn syrup
Conspiracy for Fat America
High-fructose corn syrup truth


A full discussion of uric acid, the scientific data behind uric acid as a coronary risk factor, and the nutritional means to reduce uric acid will be the topic of a thorough discussion in an upcoming Special Report on the Track Your Plaque website.

4 comments:

Kevin said...

There was an article this week in USA Today about new research pertaining to high fructose corn syrup (independent of your uric acid argument). Check it out here: http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2008-12-08-fructose-corn-syrup_N.htm

-Kevin on behalf of the Corn Refiners Association

BenignaMarko said...

This all sounds doable. It does seem that fructose is causing such health problems that the FDA should make sure it is removed from products. We all know that we consume too much everything, so, can't they make the stuff without the fructose? There is so much to worry about in recent years, we might as well not eat.
Benigna Marko

Anonymous said...

I don't deny the research posted in this post. However, things are not as simple as they seem.

I have done quite a lot of research on Multiple Sclerosis, and high levels of uric acid are actually implicated in LOWER levels of MS. Uric acid actually can work as an antioxidant in the body; gout and MS are almost mutually exclusive. You will almost never see someone who has gout having MS, and vice versa.

In fact, increasing uric acid in MS patients has been shown to DECREASE RELAPSE RATES (see abstract below.)

So, things are not as simple as they appear.

Just thought I'd post this information.

-gb

FROM MEDLINE


5: Vojnosanit Pregl. 2006 Oct;63(10):879-82.Links
Therapeutic value of serum uric acid levels increasing in the treatment of multiple sclerosis.
Toncev G.

Clinical Center Kragujevac, Center of Neurology, Kragujevac, Srbija.

BACKGROUND/AIM: Uric acid was successfully used in both, prevention and treatment of the animal model of multiple sclerosis (MS). Recently it has been shown that inosine, a ribosylated precursor of uric acid, might be used to elevate serum uric acid levels in MS patients. The aim of this study was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of oral inosine as a single drug treatment in patients with MS. METHOD: We administered inosine orally to 32 MS patients from 2001-2004 year at doses from 1-2 g daily (given twice) depending on the pretreatment serum uric acid levels. The mean follow-up interval was 37.69+/-6.55 months. The other 32 MS patients, without any treatment except for a relapse period (matched by age, sex, duration of disease and functional disability), were used as controls. The follow-up interval of these patients was 36.39 +/- 2.68 months. The neurological disability was evaluated by the Expanded Disability Status Scale score (EDSS). RESULTS: During the observed period the treated MS patients were found to have the lower relapses rate than the non-treated MS patients (Chi-square test, p = 0.001). None of the patients have showed any adverse effect of inosine treatment. The non-treated MS patients were found to have a higher increasing in the mean EDSS score than the treated ones (two-way ANOVA-repeated measures/factor times, p = 0.025). CONCLUSION: Our results suggested that the treatment approaches based on the elevation of serum uric acid levels might prove beneficial for some MS patients


1: Eur J Neurol. 2008 Apr;15(4):394-7. Epub 2008 Feb 26.Click here to read Links
Variation of serum uric acid levels in multiple sclerosis during relapses and immunomodulatory treatment.
Guerrero AL, Martín-Polo J, Laherrán E, Gutiérrez F, Iglesias F, Tejero MA, Rodríguez-Gallego M, Alcázar C.

Neurology Unit, Hospital Río Carrión, Palencia, Spain. aguerrero@hcuv.sacyl.es

Uric acid (UA), a product of purine metabolism, may be an antioxidant, perhaps acting as a scavenger of peroxynitrite. Patients with gout have a reduced incidence of multiple sclerosis (MS). A number of studies found that patients with MS have low serum levels of UA, although it has not been established whether this represents a primary deficit or a secondary effect. UA has also been proposed as a marker of disease activity and response to immunosuppressive or immunomodulatory treatment. We retrospectively reviewed 83 relapsing-remitting or secondary progressive MS patients (64 females and 19 males) followed in our Neurology Unit. We collected data concerning demographic variables as age and sex, and clinical variables as age of onset, clinical type, disease duration, EDSS score and total number of relapses. We considered UA levels in three different situations: during a relapse, during remission period and during remission period under immunomodulatory treatment [Interferon Beta 1a i.m. (Avonex; Biogen Idec Inc., Cambridge, MA, USA), Interferon Beta 1a s.c. (Rebif; Serono Europe Limited, London, UK), Interferon Beta 1b (Betaferon; Bayer Schering Pharma AG, Berlin, Germany) or Glatiramer Acetate (Copaxone; TEVA Neuroscience LLC, Kansas City, MO, USA)]. A Wilcoxon matched pairs test was carried out to determine differences between groups. A P-value less than 0.05 was considered statistically significant. In 33 patients, we were able to compare at least one UA value obtained during a relapse with at least one when remission without treatment. Mean serum UA levels were significantly lower when measured during a relapse (r: 0.39, P: 0.024). In 27 cases, we compared at least one remission value without treatment with at least one obtained during remission and immunomodulatory treatment. Mean serum UA levels significantly increased when determined during Interferon Beta or Glatiramer Acetate therapy (r: 0.84, P < 0.001). Although we do not know exactly whether and how UA is involved in MS pathogenesis, our data suggest that UA might reflect disease activity or treatment response in MS.

karl said...

I read that Fructose is 10 times more reactive than glucose in forming AGE - Advanced Glycogen End-products - the process thought to start CAD.

I avoid all sugar - but wonder if the extra 5-10% might make a difference.