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Past News Items - March 2021

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In the News

March 24-27 Hope, Resilience and Healing in the Covid-19 Era

Heart Disease is in the Eye of the Beholder

Compounds from apples may boost brain function


Cell Science Systems Reports Weight Loss Study Findings

Released: March 2021

March 24-27 Hope, Resilience and Healing in the Covid-19 Era

Some of the world's foremost integrative health practitioners and medical authorities including Deepak Chopra, MD; Mimi Guarneri, MD, FACC, ABOIM; and many others will gather from March 24 - 27 for a virtual conference called "Hope, Resilience and Healing in the COVID-19 Era." This first of its kind event is hosted by the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine (, a global interprofessional integrative health association working to transform healthcare.

Focused on a balanced integrative health approach, the conference spans a wide range of topics and best practices in addressing the physical, mental and emotional aspects of COVID-19.

"The AIHM conference is taking a collaborative, holistic approach to complex COVID health challenges so we can work together, find better balance and heal the world," said Deepak Chopra, founder of The Chopra Foundation and Chopra Global, a modern-day health company at the intersection of science and spirituality.

"AIHM is bringing healing professionals from all backgrounds together to share information and get further educated on COVID-19. We must all focus our energies on creating health, preventing illness and promoting wellness for the long term," said Tabatha Parker, ND, Executive Director of AIHM.

A broad range of integrative health and medical professionals are represented among attendees and speakers, including medical doctors, nurses, chiropractors, acupuncturists, naturopathic doctors, osteopaths, midwives, among others. In addition to Deepak Chopra and Mimi Guarneri, a few of the other keynotes and speakers include Shamini Jain, Adam Blanning, Patrick Hanaway, Brad Jacobs, Wayne Jonas, Joseph Pizzorno, Beverly Rubik, Lise Van Susteren and Cassie Vieten. The full list of speakers can be found here with topics including:

  • Finding balance in a time of COVID-19 (led by Deepak Chopra, MD and Mimi Guarneri, MD, FACC, ABOIM)
  • Long-hauler syndrome and healing in a post-COVID world
  • Balancing integrative and allopathic approaches for patients with COVID-19
  • Voices of resilience and healing in indigenous communities during the pandemic
  • How does the isolation of a pandemic impact patient outcomes?
  • How do integrative health practitioners, who have always considered social, mental and emotional aspects of health, continue providing a holistic approach to care in the midst of a pandemic?
  • The contributions of anthroposophic medicine to the integrative treatment of COVID-19 patients
  • Well-being, immunity and resilience: tips for thriving in the new normal
  • Nutritional interventions for immune health
  • The psychological toll of pandemic stress

This conference is a contribution by the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine to nurturing an ongoing robust and representative conversation with the healing professions in order to more fully address our common challenges and opportunities. The Academy invites a spirit of collaboration and common purpose as health professionals from diverse backgrounds share their wisdom at this crucial time.

"We knew we had to do something bringing the breadth of voices together around this topic that is of singular importance to our planet as a whole," said AIHM board member Scarlet Soriano, MD, ABIHM.

The Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine (AIHM) is a global interprofessional integrative health association working to transform health care - body, mind, spirit, community, and planet. AIHM has been the leading professional organization for the holistic and integrative community since its formation in 1978. With the recent merger with the Academic Collaborative of Integrative Health, the organization has combined forces with the most important pioneers of the integrative health movement for maximum impact. Together, they are creating health and wellness on a global scale through education, collaboration, and building a global movement.

SOURCE The Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine (AIHM)

Released: March 2021

Heart Disease is in the Eye of the Beholder

In a new study from Shiley Eye Institute at UC San Diego Health, researchers have identified a potential new marker that shows cardiovascular disease may be present in a patient using an optical coherence tomography (OCT) scan — a non-invasive diagnostic tool commonly used in ophthalmology and optometry clinics to create images of the retina. The finding suggests it may be possible to detect heart disease during an eye examination.

In the paper published March 2, 2021 in EClinical Medicine by The Lancet, the research team examined lesions of the retina, the inner-most, light-sensitive layer of the eye, to determine if a cardiovascular disorder may be present.

“The eyes are a window into our health, and many diseases can manifest in the eye; cardiovascular disease is no exception,” said lead author Mathieu Bakhoum, MD, PhD, a physician-scientist and retina surgeon at UC San Diego Health. “Ischemia, which is decreased blood flow caused by heart disease, can lead to inadequate blood flow to the eye and may cause cells in the retina to die, leaving behind a permanent mark. We termed this mark ‘retinal ischemic perivascular lesions,’ or RIPLs, and sought to determine if this finding could serve as a biomarker for cardiovascular disease.”

As part of the study, the team reviewed the records of individuals who received a retinal OCT scan at UC San Diego Health from July 2014 to July 2019. From that cohort, two groups were identified after medical chart review: one consisted of 84 individuals with heart disease and the other included 76 healthy individuals as the study’s control group. An increased number of RIPLs was observed in the eyes of individuals with heart disease.

According to the researchers, the higher number of RIPLs in the eye, the higher the risk for cardiovascular disease.

“The only way we can visualize the smallest blood vessels in the body is in the eye. The retina in particular provides important evidence of the adverse effects of cardiovascular issues, such as high blood pressure,” said Anthony DeMaria, MD, Judith and Jack White Chair in Cardiology and cardiologist at UC San Diego Health. “It’s my hope that the presence of RIPLs in the eye will serve as a marker for cardiovascular disease when patients are undergoing assessment of risk factors for heart disease, or when patients are undergoing evaluation for the suspected presence of heart disease.”

DeMaria said detection of RIPLs could result in identification of cardiovascular disease that would enable early therapy and preventative measures, and potentially reduce numbers of heart attacks or strokes.

A person’s risk for cardiovascular disease is determined by the atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk score calculator, the national guideline developed by the American College of Cardiology. The guideline is considered the gold standard for assessing a patient’s 10-year risk of experiencing a cardiovascular event, such as heart attack or stroke. In the study, researchers found a correlation between the number of RIPLs in a patient’s eye and their ASCVD risk score.

“Individuals with low and borderline ASCVD scores had a low number of RIPLs in their eyes, but as the ASCVD risk increased, so did the number of RIPLs,” said Bakhoum.

Ophthalmologists at UC San Diego Health now consider referring patients to a cardiologist if RIPLs are identified during an OCT scan. The research teams hopes this paper and future studies will result in RIPLs becoming a common ophthalmological marker for identifying potential cardiovascular disease, and incorporated into the overall ASCVD risk score.

“Globally, cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death and unfortunately many people are unaware they may have heart issues,” said Bakhoum. “The key in preventing this is early detection and treatment. It’s our hope that by identifying RIPLs as a marker for cardiovascular disease providers will be able to identify heart issues before a catastrophic event, such as a heart attack or a stroke, occurs.”

Additional co-authors of the study include: Christopher P. Long, Alison X. Chan, Christine Y. Bakhoum, Samantha Madala, Anupam K. Garg, William R Freeman, Michael H. Goldbaum, all at UC San Diego; and Christopher B. Toomey, Wilmer Eye Institute.

No funding was reported for this research.

Source: University of California - San Diego

Released: March 2021

Compounds from apples may boost brain function

Natural compounds found in apples and other fruits may help stimulate the production of new brain cells, which may have implications for learning and memory, according to a new study in mice published in Stem Cell Reports.

Chemical substances found in plants, so-called phytonutrients, such as resveratrol in red grapes or epigallo-catechin-3-gallate (EGCG) in green tea, can have positive effects on different parts of the body including the brain. Researchers Tara Louise Walker, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia and Gerd Kempermann, German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Dresden, Germany, and colleagues found that high concentrations of phytonutrients from apples stimulate the generation of new neurons, a process called neurogenesis.

The study showed that laboratory-grown stem cells from adult mouse brains generated more neurons and were protected from cell death when quercetin or dihydroxybezoic acid (DHBA), phytonutrients commonly found in apples, were added to the cultures. Subsequent tests in mice showed that in distinct structures of the adult brain associated with learning and memory, stem cells multiplied and generated more neurons when the mice were given high doses of quercetin or DHBA. The effects on neurogenesis were comparable to effects seen after physical exercise, a known stimulus for neurogenesis.

This study suggests that natural compounds in fruits, such as quercetin, DHBA and potentially others, may act in synergy to promote neurogenesis and brain function when given in high concentrations.

Future studies will be required to determine if these and other phytonutrients can enhance learning and cognitive function in animal models and in humans.


Source: International Society for Stem Cell Research

Released: March 2021


A new cross-sectional clinical study published in Kaohsiung Journal of Medical Sciences1 adds to the evidence that statins, a heavily prescribed cholesterol medication, may enhance calcium accumulation in the arterial wall by inhibiting vitamin K-dependent proteins involved in vascular protection.


Statins are first?line drugs in the prevention and treatment of established atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Paradoxically, intensive statin therapy has been shown to increase vascular calcification and accelerate its progression. The aim of the recently published study, “Statins, vascular calcification, and vitamin K-dependent proteins: Is there a relation?”, was to find a putative relation between statin use, coronary calcification, and the vitamin K-dependent proteins as a possible mechanism mediating statins’ pro-calcification.

“According to the study, statins negatively influence vitamin K status. To that end, supplementation with Vitamin K2, which has been shown to effectively improve vitamin K status and activate extrahepatic K-dependent proteins, might prove beneficial for statin users,” says Dr. Hogne Vik, chief medical officer with NattoPharma, world leaders in Vitamin K2 research and development.


The study enrolled 98 patients – patients with established cardiovascular disease (CVD) and a control group of healthy patients at moderate risk for CVD – and split the groups into statin users and non?users. The results revealed that both CVD and statin use are independently and significantly associated with vascular calcification. Among all the study participants, coronary artery calcification score (CACS) was more pronounced in statin users than non?users; researchers found the same among the CVD patients and the controls. Moreover, the researchers found that statins influenced vitamin K status represented by the activation of osteocalcin (OC), a vitamin K-dependent protein. Inactive OC and the ratio of inactive and active form of OC (UCR) were significantly elevated in statin users, indicating vitamin K deficiency. According to researchers, statins also impacted the international normalized ratio and interacted with vitamin K antagonists.

These results are in agreement with the existing evidence about the positive association between statins and vascular calcification. A 2015 paper published in Expert Review Clinical Pharmacology2 stated that statins may act as “mitochondrial toxins” with adverse effects on the heart and blood vessels not only via the depletion of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), but also by inhibiting “the synthesis of vitamin K2, the cofactor for matrix Gla-protein activation, which in turn protects arteries from calcification.”


“NattoPharma has driven research confirming that Vitamin K2 as MK-7 (as MenaQ7) is the only known inhibitor of vascular calcification through the activation of matrix gla protein (MGP).3,4 Yet this new study provides further evidence that statins interrupt the mechanism of action by which vitamin K2 is a cardio-protective nutrient,” Dr. Vik adds. “And while CoQ10 and vitamin K2 are both affected by statins, no recommendation exists for prescribing supplemental vitamin K2 to statin patients.


“NattoPharma continues to work with the medical community on trials exploring Vitamin K2 as a potential therapy for patients that express heavy calcification,” Dr. Vik concludes. “We hope to encourage K2 supplementation as a recommendation in the future for statin users; especially considering this new evidence.”



1 Zhelyazkova-Savova MD, Yotov YT, Nikolova MN, Nazifova-Tasinova NF, Vankova DG, Atanasov AA, Galunska BT. “Statins, vascular calcification, and vitamin K-dependent proteins: Is there a relation?” Kaohsiung J Med Sci. 2021 Feb 26. Online ahead of print.

2 Okuyama H, Langsjoen PH, Hamazaki T, Ogushi Y, Hama R, Kobayashi T, Uchino H. “Statins stimulate atherosclerosis and heart failure: pharmacological mechanisms.” Expert Rev Clin Pharmacol. 2015 Mar;8(2):189-99.

3 Knapen MHJ, Braam LAJLM, Drummen NE, Bekers O, Hoeks APG, Vermeer C. “Menaquinone-7 supplementation improves arterial stiffness in healthy postmenopausal women. A double-blind randomized clinical trial.” Thromb Haemost. 2015 May; 113(5):1135-44.

4 Vermeer C and Vik H. Effect of Menaquinone-7 (vitamin K2) on vascular elasticity in healthy subjects: results from a one-year study. 2020 Vascul Dis Ther, 5.


About NattoPharma and MenaQ7®


NattoPharma ASA, based in Norway, is the supplement industry world leader in vitamin K2 research and development. For more information, visit or

Released: March 2021

Cell Science Systems Reports Weight Loss Study Findings

Researchers at University of Texas, Galveston, in collaboration with Cell Science Systems, Corp., recently reported in the British Journal of Gastroenterology, results of a one-year weight loss study.

The study, entitled, Food Allergen Elimination for Obesity Reduction; a Longitudinal, Case-Control Trial, was designed to examine the weight loss and body composition effects of following a food sensitivity avoidance diet either alone or in conjunction with exercise. Study participants had to have a minimum BMI (body mass index) of 30 to participate in the study. For reference, a BMI of 30 in a 5’ 3” female would be 170 lbs.

Food sensitivities were determined using the ALCAT Test, performed at Cell Science Systems’ laboratory in Deerfield Beach, FL. The ALCAT Test had previously demonstrated benefit in achieving short term improvement in scale weight and/or body composition in 98% of subjects in a 100-person controlled trial carried out at Baylor Medical College.

The UT researchers wanted to see if the benefits of food elimination determined by the ALCAT Test were durable, and reduced waist size, which is a major indicator of risk for diabetes, heart disease and immune dysregulation associated with COVID-19. The study did show significant long-term benefits in weight loss and decrease in waist size as well as BMI.

Study subjects were divided into four groups: Group 1, the ALCAT Test alone (23 subjects). Group 2, the ALCAT Test together with aerobic surge exercise (also 23 subjects) or, Group 3, exercise only (18 subjects) and a 4th group, that did neither exercise nor food elimination, served as controls.

Those following both the ALCAT Test food recommendations together with the exercise regimen shed, on average, 32.2 lbs., 4.3 inches in waist size, and had a 4.6 score reduction in BMI. Those following the ALCAT Test alone experienced nearly the same benefit; also losing pounds, waist dimension and reduction BMI. All groups fared significantly better than the control group that implemented neither modality. Study link:

This further confirms what several other studies have reported: consumption of foods that elicit an immune response, according to the ALCAT Test, interferes with the ability to lose weight; more importantly, to lose fat, even when exercising. If this seems illogical considering the maxim: calories in vs. calories out, determines weight it’s because inflammation inhibits proper metabolism. Too much body inflammation can mean calories are stored as fat instead of being burnt for energy.

The ALCAT Test determines how the relevant immune cells respond to foods and other substances. It is more effective in reducing the body burden of inflammation than other approaches using antibody tests or DNA analysis. Antibody tests show an exposure, not an actual sensitivity. Therefore, labs use the very same type of testing to determine if a person has been exposed to COVID-19 even if they are not currently infected. Hence, IgG and IgA antibody tests tell if a person has been exposed to the food in question but not if there is an actual sensitivity.

DNA analysis suggests possibilities - not actualities. This is because there are many genes involved in immune and metabolic responses; and any given gene may or may not even be expressed. Thus, even identical twins can react to the same food in vastly different ways.

As a major driver of diabetes, heart disease, some cancers, and now COVID-19 outcomes, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is more important than ever. Americans spend over $70 billion annually on diets and other weight loss products and services. The indirect costs of obesity to the healthcare system also number in the hundreds of billions. The ALCAT Test can substantially reduce this burden and may now become the new gold standard for guiding personalization of therapeutic dieting aimed at achieving healthy weight for those who want to invest in their most valuable asset- their health.

About Cell Science Systems, Corp. (CSS)


Cell Science Systems, a CLIA licensed lab and FDA registered medical device manufacturer, is the developer and sole provider of the ALCAT Test®. CSS also provides several tests aimed at nutritional assessment, gut health, metabolic function and prevention. Through its wholly owned subsidiary in Potsdam, Germany, CSS services Europe and Middle East. In partnership with PreviMedica Group, LLC, CSS also provides customized health programs to organizations.

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