This page will keep you up to date on various strategies on how to live a Low BLOS Life. What is Oxidative Stress? It's an increase in the level of reactive oxygen species (ROS) throughout the body, which is observed in the blood (plasma). The following figure provides a schematic on the possible sources of Oxidative Stress and the sources of Anti-Oxidants that neutralize ROS. Experimental Drugs may also be effective in neutralizing ROS or reducing BLOS.
In order to reduce Oxidative Stress, we need to know What Causes Oxidative Stress. The following figure provides information on the two possible causes of Oxidative Stress. There is the third possibility that both Causes contribute to Oxidative Stress, which will require more tests to learn the truth.
Plasma ROS causes damage by the oxidation of biomolecules, which can be evaluated by blood tests. These biomarker tests are expensive and do not provide information on the cause of Oxidative Stress. The BLOS# test may be a useful blood test to include when evaluating your current Oxidative Stress status.
While identification of the true cause(s) of Oxidative Stress is important, the damage caused by long-term Oxidative Stress has a dollar value. The following figure suggests that about $5,000/year in healthcare costs is attributed to living a life with elevated Oxidative Stress. Reduction of Oxidative Stress can yield substantial cost savings.
With this information, it should be clear that one possible strategy for reducing BLOS would be the reduction of dietary sulfur consumption. Unfortunately, the FDA does not require information on food labels regarding sulfur content. Processed foods contain sulfur based preservatives and sulfur compounds as additives to improve food quality. The consumption of fresh foods may be the best strategy for now. The table below compares the Low BLOS Life Diet to several popular diets. Note that all of the popular diets reduce or eliminate Processed Carbohydrates, while the Low BLOS Life Diet only eliminates Processed Carbohydrates that contain Inorganic Sulfur compounds. All of the popular diets are probably reducing BLOS, since they're reducing the consumption of Inorganic Sulfur. The only way to be sure will be the use of a test like the BLOS#.
A second strategy for reducing BLOS would be the use of an antibiotic that targets the sulfate reducing bacteria (SRB) in the gut. Capsule technology has advanced in recent years with materials capable of releasing contents in the large intestine, where the SRB are located. To my knowledge, a narrow spectrum antibiotic that targets the SRB is not available, but a broad spectrum antibiotic may still be effective.
A third strategy for reducing BLOS would be the use of a probiotic consisting of methanogens that would shift the microbial ecology of the gut and eventually reduce the abundance of the SRB.
A fourth strategy for reducing BLOS would be the use of apheresis to physically remove the ROS+ blood cells from the body. This final strategy may be useful in a Hospital for rapid reduction of BLOS for patients dealing with extremely high blood pressure or other complications. Elevated BLOS may be inhibiting wound repair, so apheresis may be helpful for patients requiring surgery. Recovery in the hospital may be improved by reducing inorganic sulfur consumption.
I've compiled example lists of foods containing various types of Inorganic Sulfur from the USDA Food Composition Database (U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. 2017. USDA Branded Food Products Database. Nutrient Data Laboratory Home Page, http://ndb.nal.usda.gov). Start living the Low BLOS Life right now by finding food products with no added Inorganic Sulfur compounds. The most effective way to reduce Inorganic Sulfur may be avoiding the food products containing Baking Powder, Calcium Sulfate, and Sodium Aluminum Sulfate, which are used as leavening agents and dough conditioners in many bakery products. Sulfites, Metabisulfites, Bisulfites, and Sulfur Dioxide are used as food preservatives.
List of Foods Containing Calcium Sulfate
There are Thousands of Food Products that contain one or more types of Inorganic Sulfur. Use your camera phone and a free barcode scanner to compile a list of your food items and have me evaluate them for BLOS Potential.
Low BLOS Life Diet Tip: Only use BLOS-Safe Baking Powder for all of your baking. There are thousands of recipes for baked goods that use Baking Powder. Why not switch to a BLOS-Safe Baking Powder?
Sulfate is one type of inorganic sulfur used by the sulfate reducing bacteria (SRB) to generate energy for cell growth. This article provides information on the wide-spread use of calcium sulfate in the Western Diet. From the article: "Although it has been used since ancient times, such as in the coagulation of soy milk to make tofu, and to stiffen bread dough and make it less sticky, it was not officially approved for use in the United States as a food additive until 1980. Flour low in calcium is very hard to use for large scale bread baking operations and calcium sulfate is used per regulation as a dough conditioner in parts not higher than 1.3%. It is also used as an anti-caking agent and as a leavening agent, and for this purpose it is found in some baking powders, such as Calumet brand. It has many other uses in foods. Calcium sulfate, besides its use in bread and other baked products, is used in grain and pasta products; some cheeses, including soy cheeses; jams and jellies as a stabilizer and thickener; candies and frostings; processed vegetable products as a firming agent; and other foods."
Low BLOS Life Diet Tip: Check the ingredient list! Bread can be produced without using Calcium Sulfate as a Dough Conditioner. Franz Bakery offers Organic Baked Goods that use Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) as an alternative Dough Conditioner to Calcium Sulfate. All of Dave's Killer Bread products are BLOS Safe.
Can I still eat Meat?
That's a good question. Meat has low levels of organic sulfur in the form of sulfur containing amino acids. Excessive consumption of meats will promote BLOS, but to a much lesser degree compared to inorganic sulfur compounds. Why? Both organic and inorganic sulfur compounds will increase the abundance of the sulfate reducing bacteria (SRB) in the gut. However, organic sulfur breakdown is a much slower process due to the multiple enzymatic steps necessary. So, meat will increase the abundance of SRB in the gut, but it won't promote USF. Personally, I would consider reducing my intake of meat when trying the Low BLOS Life Diet.
It is unclear whether supplements and/or food containing anti-oxidants will be effective at reducing either possible cause of Oxidative Stress. Anti-oxidants may be useful in reducing the level of Oxidative Stress by neutralizing plasma ROS throughout the body. Studies are needed that evaluate both BLOS# and biomarkers used to measure the damage caused by Oxidative Stress. Slow-release anti-oxidant supplements may be the ultimate way to reduce the damage from BLOS or any other cause of Oxidative Stress. For now, eating a diet of foods rich in anti-oxidants may be another good approach for reducing the damage of BLOS.
With this in mind, I'll provide information on popular supplements and food containing anti-oxidants. Turmeric is a very popular spice that may be an effective anti-oxidant.
As of February 28, 2017, there are 357 research articles listed in PubMed using the keyword search of "Turmeric Oxidative Stress" with only 12 reporting Clinical Trial results.
February 17, 2017: Here's a Press Release from the Turmeric Supplement Company, Incredipure, that provides "general information" on the health benefits of Turmeric. From the article: "This powerful phytochemical is also thought to have the ability to create the heme oxygenase pathway, which aids in the production of bilirubin. The brain needs bilirubin to prevent free radical damage. It is important to remember that oxidative stress may cause Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia-related conditions." This is an example of the type of general information that were bombarded with everyday. Research studies are needed to determine whether Turmeric consumption neutralizes Oxidative Stress.
February 14, 2017: Here's a Press Release on a research article that provides "general information" on the health benefits of Turmeric. From the article: "The Inflammopharmacology study was completed with 100 participants, 50 of them in a placebo-controlled group. On a daily basis, the non-placebo group was given a 1,000 mg curcuminoid capsule with 10 mg of piperine added to enhance the bioavailability of the curcuminoids. The C3 Complex Curcuminoid in the study was prepared with the three major curcuminoids: curcumin, demethoxycurcumin, and bisdemethoxycurcumin.
Malondialdehyde (MDA) induces low-density lipoprotein modification and is present in those with T2DM. When low levels of superoxide dismutase (SOD) are present, oxidant levels tend to be higher; the same parallel is present in serum total antioxidant capacity (TAC).
At a rate of 1,000mg/curcuminoid blended with 10mg/piperine daily for 3 months, serum MDA was decreased while SOD and TAC activities were increased in patients with T2DM compared with the placebo-controlled group which had reduced SOD and TAC as well as unaltered MDA levels. BMI levels were also decreased in the curcuminoid group in this study." This looks very promising, but it's unclear on how much a of a reduction in Oxidative Stress was observed (the number is buried in the actual Research Article). Research studies like this are needed to determine whether Turmeric consumption neutralizes Oxidative Stress. A better study would include the use of the BLOS# method to determine whether it plays a role in dosage (i.e., higher BLOS# requires a higher dosage).
As of February 28, 2017, there are 11,515 research articles listed in PubMed using the keyword search of "Diet Oxidative Stress" with 807 reporting Clinical Trial results.
February 9, 2017: Here's a Press Release from the University of Washington that announced the results from a year long study of nearly 500 older, overweight or obese women (post menopausal) that made changes in fat or carbohydrate intake and some included an exercise regimen. From the article: "Compared to the control group, women in the diet and diet and exercise groups had reduced F2-isoprostanes by 23 and 24 percent, respectively. However, F2-isoprostanes were not significantly reduced for women in the exercise group. F2-isoprostanes are a series of compounds produced by the reaction of free radicals with arachidonic acid. They are considered the gold-standard test for measuring oxidative stress in vivo. 'Women on diets also had lowered levels of oxidized low-density lipoprotein and increased levels of fluorescent oxidation products,' McTiernan said. 'Our trials support further pathways through which obesity and sedentary lifestyles could increase risk of several cancers.'" Bear in mind that the researchers did not measure the amount of sulfur in the diet, but processed foods containing carbohydrates will have much higher sulfur levels due to the use of sulfur based food preservatives and additives. This study may be an indication of the possibility of a Low BLOS Life Diet to reduce Blood Oxidative Stress. More studies like this one are needed that include the use of BLOS# test to determine whether the level of BLOS is reduced.
Which Foods Have Anti-Oxidants?
USDA scientists analyzed antioxidant levels in more than 100 different foods, including fruits and vegetables. Each food was measured for antioxidant concentration as well as antioxidant capacity per serving size. Cranberries, blueberries, and blackberries ranked highest among the fruits studied. Beans, artichokes, and Russet potatoes were tops among the vegetables. Pecans, walnuts, and hazelnuts ranked highest in the nut category.
CAUTION: No information was provided on the effect of cooking on the natural Antioxidants, which may be problematic for the beans and potatoes. Dried fruits and nuts often contain high levels of sulfites as a food preservative, which may promote BLOS. In addition, it's unclear whether the antioxidants in food actually get into the blood stream to be effective. I'll post more information on this topic in the future.
Here's another list provided by Reader's Digest that relies on information from a study conducted by researchers from Tufts University.
Fruits: Prunes, Raisins, Blueberries, Blackberries, Strawberries, Raspberries, Plums, Oranges, Red Grapes, and Cherries
Vegetables: Kale, Spinach, Brussels Sprouts, Alfalfa Sprouts, Broccoli Flowers, Beets, Red Bell Peppers, Onions, Corn, and Eggplant
CAUTION: No information was provided on the effect of cooking on the natural Antioxidants. Preserved fruits (dried) often contain sulfites as a preservative, which may promote BLOS.
How about Flaxseed? Here's a link with exhaustive nutritional information on flaxseed. On a personal note, I switched my breakfast routine from a bowl of oatmeal to ground flaxseed (+ peanut butter & cinnamon), which reduced by blood pressure to the normal range for my age. Earlier, I switched my own diet to a low carbohydrate, high fat (LCHF), which helped me lose about 35 pounds. Although I lowered my weight and BMI to the normal range, my blood pressure was slightly elevated at the time despite the inclusion of a hard walk (30-60 minutes) a few times per week. The switch in my breakfast seemed to the trick. Perhaps the breakfast of ground flaxseed is needed to counter low levels of BLOS? LCHF advocates should consider the possibility that the reduction of inorganic sulfur consumption may be the underlying cause of health improvements. We'll need the BLOS# test to answer this question.
How does Cooking impact the Anti-Oxidant content of foods?
How you cook your vegetables is another important consideration when making the change towards a Low BLOS Life. The following link provides good information on the impact of cooking your Anti-Oxidant rich vegetables. From the article: "The six cooking methods were boiling, pressure-cooking, baking, microwaving, griddling and frying. Their findings showed the following:
Griddle- and microwave-cooking helped maintain the highest levels of antioxidants, produced the lowest losses while 'pressure-cooking and boiling [led] to the greatest losses,' says lead researcher A. M. Jiménez-Monreal. 'In short, water is not the cook’s best friend when it comes to preparing vegetables.'”
As of February 28, 2017, there are 81,930 research articles listed in PubMed using the keyword search of "Drug Oxidative Stress" with 2,938 reporting Clinical Trial results.
The most promising drug for the treatment of Oxidative Stress are the sulfide donor drugs, which release low levels of sulfide continuously. Proper dosing will require an accurate measurement of the BLOS#. Other drugs are being tested that target enzymes (or genes) in the ROS generation pathway. In my opinion, these drugs will probably never make it through clinical trials, since the generation of ROS in cells is a primary pathway needed by cells. Another potential drug would be a narrow spectrum antibiotic that targets the SRB in the gut.
Drugs that may reduce Oxidative Stress are years from the marketplace, so the best approach to a Low BLOS Life is to avoid processed carbohydrates that contain inorganic sulfur, reduce meat consumption, eat fresh foods rich in Anti-oxidants, and use supplements containing effective Anti-oxidants. Be careful with your method of cooking your Anti-oxidant rich foods. BLOS may be reduced by avoiding foods containing inorganic sulfur, so read those ingredient labels! Or have me evaluate your list of foods. A new BLOS# test is needed to determine which diets and supplements are effective at reducing BLOS.