Author: Robert Stephens

Do blood-thinning drugs cause heart disease?

Do blood-thinning drugs cause heart disease?

Summary: If you are taking coumadin, you may be at risk of heart disease because of vitamin K deficiency. This risk can be reduced by supplementing with certain forms of vitamin K, without adversely affecting your clotting risk. Only change your medication dose under the 

The American Heart Association vs. Coconut Oil

The American Heart Association vs. Coconut Oil

The American Heart Association (AHA) recently issued a “Presidential Advisory” which linked saturated fat with heart disease, and encouraged the increased use of vegetable seed oils. The lead author said, “…coconut oil is a fad right now — but it is actually a saturated fat, 

Coconut Oil Is Healthy…. Now It’s Not?

Coconut Oil Is Healthy…. Now It’s Not?

Coconut oil is healthy, … Coconut oil is bad for you. Saturated fat causes heart disease… now it doesn’t? Sigh. It seems like every few days a report comes out that “proves” that saturated fat causes all kinds of diseases. What do studies really prove?


Mouse Studies

One way of studying the health impacts of a dietary system is to feed it to rodents in a laboratory environment, and follow the unsuspecting animal over time.


Many thousands of animal studies have been done using mice or rats as models of obesity. Laboratory supply companies have rodent chow that is specifically designed to make them fat. This mouse chow is called DIO (Diet Induced Obesity). This obesity-inducing diet is sometimes referred to as a “High Fat Diet”. These DIO diets also cause the mice (or rats) to have diabetes, heart disease, and metabolic problems. Often, scientific papers are published linking high fat diets to an unfortunate list of health problems. Other papers identify saturated fat as the evil villain that’s making the poor animals sick.


Most laboratory supply companies use lard as their source of saturated fat. Research Diets Inc, a laboratory supplier, explains how their DIO rodent chow induces metabolic diseases in mice, saying, “Many high-fat diets used in laboratory animal research typically contain high saturated fat sources such as lard …. and these diets are quite capable of inducing obesity and metabolic diseases….” So scientists doing research are told up front that their furry subjects are being giving saturated fat to give them a deranged metabolism.


Already we know that:

  • Lard fattens mice.
  • Fat mice get heart disease, diabetes, and other diseases of inflammation.
  • Lard contains saturated fat.


So, saturated fat causes health problems. Right?


The connection between saturated fat and inflammation isn’t that simple. For example, lard also contains other potentially damaging compounds that could confound the studies. Here are some examples…


A study in the 2010 Journal of NeuroImmunology is entitled Cognitive impairment following high fat diet consumption is associated with brain inflammation. This study used a DIO diet (from Research Diets Inc) based on lard to cause brain inflammation.  (ScienceDirect, 2017)


Research Diets Inc. is not the only one using lard to fatten mice. Bio-Serv is another supplier of laboratory rodent food, and they also use lard in their high fat product. (Bio-Serv, 2017) An article in the Journal of Lipid Research was Titled Influence of dietary saturated fat content on adiposity, macrophage behavior, inflammation, and metabolism: composition matters (Enos, 2012). A study found that the 12% saturated fat diet (12%-SF) caused the greatest amount of insulin resistance. Their conclusion is that inflammation is heavily influenced by saturated fat content. Here’s a clipping of the actual source of fat:

The columns on the right are the high saturated fat diets, the left are the control diets. All of the diets have 40% of calories coming from fat. The saturated fat is increased by adding lard and coconut oil. But, corn oil is known to be high in compounds that can cause inflammation! So why is saturated fat blamed on for insulin resistance? Why not blame rancid corn oil? Both lard and corn oil are also dangerously high in polyunsaturated (which I’ll call PUFA). So if rodents get fat and sick on an amalgamation of saturated fat and PUFA, why are we so quick to blame saturated fat?


Another Example

A mouse study from 2012 compared mice eating a 10% fat diet to mice eating 60% fat. The study was entitled “Increased Gut Permeability and Microbiota Change Associate with Mesenteric Fat Inflammation and Metabolic Dysfunction in Diet-Induced Obese Mice”. Their conclusion was that “High saturated fat diet induced weight gain, systemic insulin resistance and inflammation”. However, they don’t disclose the supplier of the mouse chow, and there’s no mention of the type of fat in the chow.


The “high fat” diet was 38% saturated. If the researchers had used simple algebra, they would have seen that proportions of non-saturated fats must be a lot higher than the control diet also. Aside from that, 38% is similar to the USDA’s reported saturated content of lard. Assuming lard was used in this study, the actual amount of fats in lard can differ greatly from the USDA’s estimates. Pigs that are fed grains will have a high amount of PUFA in their fat. Again, why do we assume that saturated fat is responsible for all the metabolic effects?

Problems With Lard

In almost all of these studies, lard (and other fats) are used to fatten mice and cause inflammation and obesity. They then conclude that saturated fat is bad. Why don’t we conclude that lard is not healthy? If lard is bad for us, can we blame the saturated fat? We could just as easily point to the PUFA, or any other component in lard as the culprit. Vegetable seed oils contain high levels of PUFAs, and should receive at least some of the blame here.

What The Research Really Proves

Studies clearly show that

  • A severe excess of calories results in weight gain, and leads to metabolic dysfunction.
  • Carbs + Fat causes mice to get fat, and insulin resistant.
  • Lard is particularly detrimental to the metabolism.
  • Any single nutrient, consumed in excess, can cause harm.

Perhaps lard and seed oils could be part of the problem? Let’s continue…

Toxins in Lard

Lard is a type of animal fat, and animals can store toxins in fats. Pesticide residues end up in the fat of animals. Animals higher on the food chain have more dissolved toxins. In the United States, most pigs are fed diets that are high in corn and soy. Some states allow food waste to be fed to pigs. Studies have found animal fat to be high in dioxin, DDT, veterinary residues, and chlorinated pesticides. Lard, which comes from pigs, can accumulate these toxins (Muntean, 2003) (Kovacs, 2009). So if a scientific study finds higher rates of inflammatory diseases in rodents that eat lard, can we blame the fat content, or could accumulated toxins be to blame? This variable is usually not controlled, nor is it accounted for in any of these studies, but could influence the outcomes.


Lard is high in Saturated Fat, or Unsaturated Fat!?!?

If lard causes heart disease, it reinforces the idea that saturated fat is the culprit. What if we consider the null hypothesis that polyunsaturated fat causes heart disease? It turns out that this this might also be a logical conclusion. The fatty acid profile of pig fat depends strongly on what the pigs are being fed. Modern pigs are eating grains, and food scraps. Grain-fed pigs have a lot more polyunsaturated fat (PUFA) in their own fat. In other words, the actual fatty acid profile used in scientific studies might be much higher in PUFA’s than is accounted for.

Why Not Coconut Oil?

If lard-fed mice are getting sick, why not use coconut oil instead? It has the advantages of being

  • Lower in polyunsaturated fats, which are known to cause inflammation
  • Less likely to have toxic residues from environmental pollutants

Very little research has been done comparing the health benefits of coconut oil to lard, or other popular cooking oils. Coconut oil, being high in saturated fat, is assumed guilty by association.

Coconut Oil Observational Studies

Coconut Oil Observational Studies

Very few scientific studies have been done comparing coconut oil to other types of fats. A few studies found fats from coconut oil to be helpful in reducing LDL oxidation and lipoprotein (a) (Nevin, Rajamohan, 2004). This suggests that coconut oil might actually protect against 

The Lowdown on Coconut Oil

The Lowdown on Coconut Oil

By Terry Stephens Perhaps you have read the recent headlines: “Coconut oil isn’t healthy. It’s never been healthy” – USA Today. “Nutrition experts warn coconut oil is on par with beef fat, butter” – Chicago Tribune “This popular health food is worse for you than 

Is PCOS an Autoimmune Disease?

Is PCOS an Autoimmune Disease?

PCOS is the most common cause of infertility in women. Poly-cystic Ovary Syndrome is associated with cysts on the ovaries, but isn’t always the case. Women with PCOS often have irregular periods, or no periods at all, and often do not ovulate. High insulin, or insulin resistance is usually present.

PCOS is not an autoimmune disease, but is rather a sign of imbalanced metabolism. PCOS usually (but not always) comes from a combination of factors that lead to a lack of ovulation. These factors include

  • Insulin resistance, which leads to increased production of testosterone, and other androgens
  • Sluggish metabolism
  • Slow liver detox pathways. The liver must clear out discarded hormones, as well as environmental toxins. If liver detox pathways are not working well, hormones will not be cleared well.
  • High blood sugar and/or insulin.

Ovulation is a miraculous process that requires a very delicate symphony of hormones, working in careful balance. An imbalance of one of these hormones can derail this process. If ovulation does not occur, the egg will not be released, and the corpus luteum will not be formed. The corpus luteum is supposed to make progesterone, to balance the production of estrogen and testosterone (and to prepare the uterus for possible pregnancy).

The most common offender is insulin. If insulin is too high, it will cause increased luteinizing hormone (LH), stimulating excess hormones production, including testosterone and DHEA, and cause the ovaries to be excessively stimulated, resulting in abnormal follicle growth.

What if you eat healthy? You have normal blood sugar? You’re not overweight? Being a normal weight doesn’t mean your metabolism is healthy. If you feel healthy but were diagnosed with PCOS, you should seek help from a qualified practitioner. Other factors should be considered, including genetics, toxic exposures, sleep, and stress management.

Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (non-classic) is sometimes misdiagnosed as PCOS, and is treatable. So ask your doctor to check for this. This condition can be easily ruled out with a genetic test.

Frequently, women are prescribed hormonal birth control to manage the symptoms of this condition. This is symptom management, and can exacerbate nutrient deficiencies.

In a future blog post I will discuss natural treatments options.

Is Fibromyalgia an Autoimmune Disease?

Is Fibromyalgia an Autoimmune Disease?

If you were diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, you’re probably aware of the unrelenting pain, soreness, and fatigue that this disease causes. Pain and fatigue are the most significant symptoms of fibromyalgia. People with fibromyalgia often have difficulty sleeping, and might have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) Medications 

Why You Shouldn’t Use a Burn Barrel

Why You Shouldn’t Use a Burn Barrel

Burn barrels are frequently used in rural areas. It is a convenient way of getting rid of a mess, but can result in smelly and dangerous air pollution. A lot of plastics end up in the trash. Many plastics contain chlorine-containing compounds, such as PVC (polyvinyl 

Are There Natural Treatments for Familial Adenomatous Polyposis?

Are There Natural Treatments for Familial Adenomatous Polyposis?

If you’ve gotten a diagnosis of Familial Adenomatous Polyposis, or FAP, you’ve probably been told that surgery is your only option. Without treatment, FAP results in a 100% chance of developing into colon cancer. That’s scary! Is there anything you can do?

First of all, if you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, then GET MEDICAL TREATMENT! Necessary treatment should not be delayed.

FAP is an inherited condition that causes the cells of your colon to grow abnormally and develop into growths, called polyps. These polyps can grow to become cancerous. After a diagnosis of FAP, you must have more frequent colon cancer screenings.

Are there natural protocols for FAP? Yes! But don’t use natural products in place of necessary medical treatment. Recently, a study was done on rats with certain inherited diseases, showing that giving high doses of certain nutrients can, to some extent correct mis-behaving DNA and allow the rats to grow normally.¹ There’s no guarantee that cancer can be prevented, but by giving your cells what they needs to be healthy, you might be able to reduce your chances, or delay the onset.²

Here are the five supplements that may be helpful in managing FAP:

    1. Vitamins to support cell division: Certain vitamins are needed to tell genes to turn on and off correctly. Vitamin A is critical in this process, and many of us don’t get enough in our diets. There is evidence that vitamin A is helpful in making cell division occur normally. With FAP, make sure you’re using an active form of vitamin A, or consume foods high in vitamin A, such as beef liver or egg yolks. Also supplement with vitamin B12, folate, and choline bitartrate.
    2. Probiotic: A probiotic is a supplement that contains certain beneficial bacteria that are natural inhabitants of the digestive system. Certain bacterial strains produce vitamins and fats that nourish the cells lining the intestines. To get the best results, look for a high-potency product, such as Vital 10 by Klaire Labs.
    3. Hormones: Find a doctor or naturopath who can make sure your hormones are well balanced. Your thyroid hormones should be within optimal ranges. Progesterone is a sex hormone that is helpful in promoting the health of your organs and tissues, allowing newly formed cells to have good oxygen levels, possibly reducing the chance that a cell in your digestive tract will develop into cancer.
    4. Vitamins D and K2 help the immune system to work properly and eradicate cancer cells. I recommend a product that has all of these vitamins, such as Vitamin D3 Complete, by Allergy Research Group.
    5. Eat a healthy diet! The best thing for your digestive health is to eat a healthy diet. Vegetables are rich sources of fiber, and other cancer-fighting compounds. Regardless of what type of eating plan you choose, make sure it includes plenty of vegetables, fruits, and spices.

Above all, keep a positive attitude, and work with your healthcare provider to find the solution that works best for you.


  1. Maternal epigenetics and methyl supplements affect agouti gene expression in Avy/a mice. //
  2. Familial Adenomatous Polyposis //