Health for a Lifetime

Adventist Health Study 2

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Don Mckintosh (Host), Fraser Gary


Series Code: HFAL

Program Code: HFAL000189

00:01 The following program presents principles
00:03 designed to promote good health and is not
00:05 intended to take the place of personalized
00:07 professional care. The opinions and ideas
00:10 expressed are those of the speaker. Viewers
00:13 are encouraged to draw their own conclusions
00:15 about the information presented.
00:47 Hello and welcome to Health For A Lifetime.
00:51 I'm your host Don Mackintosh and we are
00:53 glad that you joined us today for this important
00:55 program. Joining us today is Dr. Gary
00:58 Fraser, he is a researcher and practicing
01:01 cardiologist also boarded in internal
01:04 medicine. Dr. Fraser, we are glad that you are
01:07 with us today. Please be here.
01:08 And you have been, you know, involved in both
01:09 the clinical arena and also research, that's unusual.
01:12 Yes, I enjoyed both very much.
01:15 And so you, you know, this gives you the
01:18 context I mean you have got stories to go
01:20 along with what you see in terms of your
01:22 research sometimes. Yes, I guess what
01:24 happened was that I very quickly got the
01:26 idea in my first two years of clinical
01:28 practice that many times we were shutting
01:31 the door after the horse has bolted, so to speak
01:34 and it was much better to be on the preventive
01:36 end of things that one possibly could.
01:38 And so you did I think MPH and epidemiology,
01:41 and preventive, wrote a test book I think for
01:44 preventive cardiology. Yes, an MPH and then
01:48 a PHD and yes I have a text book that was used
01:51 many of the medical schools around the
01:53 United States actually. So, you know you were
01:56 involved in the Adventist Health Study and
01:59 I want to just mention that at the beginning
02:00 you know there was, there was one that was done back
02:04 what year was the first one done?
02:05 It's actually been two previous studies, the
02:08 very first one we called the motility study,
02:10 which was way back in 1960 through it about
02:13 1965 then AHS 1, Adventist Health Study
02:16 1 started in 1974 went through about 1988.
02:20 Now we are starting Adventist Health Study
02:23 2, which began about 2001 and still ongoing.
02:25 Okay, so you know anybody who has
02:29 interest in being involved and you know
02:31 right now you are in the stages of really
02:33 recruiting people I don't know what the stage
02:35 will be when this program is aired, but
02:37 there is always something ongoing in
02:40 research and many times the best way is to,
02:42 is to check you know at
02:47 to spell right out,
02:49 or you can contact your local conference. I
02:53 know that they are pretty in touch and
02:55 through the channels and this is vital research
02:59 because being the information that comes
03:03 out today about Adventist is really
03:05 based on yesterday's research right?
03:07 Oh! Absolutely and we really need your help. If
03:11 you are an Adventist over the age of 30 years
03:13 and live in the United States or Canada, we
03:16 need another 20 thousand to sign up for
03:18 our study. We already got 86,000, which is a
03:20 big deal and we are so pleased for that. We
03:22 wanna hit that 100 thousand mark and little more.
03:24 Right and you don't mind if more people
03:26 call in their lives that would be a great
03:29 blessing. So what is the relationship between
03:33 diet and other health factors and you know
03:36 longevity or health. What did we find out in
03:39 this early Adventist studies.
03:42 Well of course there is no magic bullet and I
03:46 think it might be the first thing that I would
03:48 like to point out is that, it's what we call very
03:53 multifactorial. There is the whole way that you
03:56 live your life that seems to be important for
03:58 health, is not gonna be one factor would be
04:00 very nice and so simple if we could say there
04:03 was. If you did this you are healthy and if you
04:05 didn't you are not unfortunately life is
04:07 much more complicated in that, but basically we
04:10 found that aside from smoking and physical
04:13 activity the diet also had a great deal to do
04:17 with your risk of heart disease and cancer
04:20 indeed how long you lived.
04:21 So, multifactorial though you can just
04:24 sprinkle some oat bran on the top of life and
04:27 salt, but all the whole Adventist lifestyle
04:31 package seems to be what's beneficial to people.
04:35 Absolutely in fact even we talk about
04:38 psychosocial factors, social support even
04:43 religiosity itself. The way that we review life
04:46 and perhaps even have concepts of religion and
04:50 how we practice it seems to be important
04:51 as well, which is something which I
04:54 guess people until about 10 years ago really
04:56 didn't take much notice of.
04:57 And I wanna talk about that little bit more, we
05:00 will comeback to that, but let's go through
05:01 some of the what would you consider the major
05:04 killers in, you know, western countries. I
05:07 mean America is one, this of course viewed
05:10 around the world, but we seem to export all
05:12 our problems everywhere else effectively
05:14 through whatever marketing strategy, but what are
05:17 the top killers and then talk about those and
05:21 then what are we finding with Adventist
05:24 and I think there is different groups I mean
05:25 one thing I was looking at in your book, in your
05:30 book is you know the vegetarian versus lacto,
05:32 over vegetarians versus the others. So, let's just
05:35 go through some of these diseases and then
05:38 you know see what you have been finding, I
05:41 guess number one would be heart disease.
05:43 Yes that's the big killer of course and what we
05:49 found their was quite interesting that the
05:51 Adventist had only about over half the risk
05:54 of heart attack as the non-Adventist
05:57 neighbors this was in California actually,
05:59 where Adventist Health Study 1 was conducted
06:02 and more over it seemed to depend little
06:06 bit on the age. For younger people and by
06:09 that I mean in their 40s and 50s, I'm little older
06:13 than that now. The risk is actually about one-
06:16 third in the Adventists. As you go into 70, 80,
06:20 85 within the Adventist advantage seem to be
06:23 somewhat decrease, but so it was a big deal. In
06:27 another words, premature motility from
06:29 heart disease was much, much less
06:31 amongst the Adventist.
06:32 And you just documented that, but
06:34 any reasons as to why? Well, we explore little
06:39 bit further and we past Adventists into those
06:43 that were vegetarians and those that were not,
06:45 we separated them into different groups then
06:48 we looked at all kinds of other dietary habits
06:51 and one of the great advantages of the
06:52 Adventist population for research like this
06:54 interestingly is that I have a very wide variety
06:58 of dietary habits. If everybody ate in same way, we
07:02 couldn't do this for search because it's a
07:03 study of comparisons and the reason that we
07:07 keep getting funded by the federal government
07:08 to do it is that it was got a population that's
07:10 unique because of the wide variety
07:12 of habits. So we have the
07:14 vegetarians and non- vegetarians. We found
07:15 that the vegetarians had only about two-thirds
07:21 the risk of heart attack as compared to the non-
07:26 vegetarians, so there is a big advantage there.
07:28 Then we look at other dietary items and we
07:31 discovered the not consumption was a very
07:35 important per take the fact of the heart attack,
07:37 which was a great surprise initially because
07:38 many people thought that nuts being
07:40 a fatty food were actually risky and
07:43 dietitians for years had advised the heart
07:45 patients not to go very cautiously with nuts,
07:48 but in fact the fats on the nuts which
07:52 monounsaturated largely with one that is
07:54 polyunsaturated are protective fats and we
07:57 found that the Adventists, who ate
07:59 nuts at least five times a week as compared to those
08:02 Adventists, who ate nuts less than once a week,
08:04 the first group had only half the risk of heart
08:07 attacks. This was very unlikely to be due to chance.
08:09 We split the population in different ways,
08:12 old people, young people, woman, man,
08:13 vegetarians, non- vegetarians and looked
08:16 at nut consumption into those groups and that
08:18 was a very, very consistent finding and since
08:21 being duplicated by number of other groups
08:23 actually non- Adventist groups.
08:25 So, when you do this kind of researching you
08:27 discover something like this that flies in the face
08:30 of what everybody has been teaching or what
08:32 some people teaching is it hard for them to change?
08:35 It takes about 10 years for a new idea. I had a
08:42 wonderful book, I've studied got it actually
08:44 called the diffusion of innovations and that
08:47 really looked at this and it takes indeed about 10
08:50 years to change the minds of the profession
08:53 and then threw to the public and that's about
08:56 what it took for the nuts. The nut industry
08:58 of course got very excited early on and we
09:01 had some good times with them. But, when I
09:05 first publish this stator back in 1992 there was
09:08 an editorial that went along with it that was
09:11 hardly skeptical, but since then big study
09:14 groups from Hawaii, the nurses health study,
09:16 and number of other groups have come out
09:17 with the same findings and so that's the way
09:19 the science works. It's interesting, so you
09:23 know it's sometimes to be cutting edges to take
09:25 a few cuts on the way, but you keep, you keep
09:27 going on now, you know, looking at heart
09:30 disease you talked about the vegetarian
09:33 versus the non- vegetarian, but did they
09:34 split that vegetarian group into lacto over
09:36 versus vegan or anything like that and
09:38 did they have any findings there. We did
09:41 do a little bit of that the problem we have
09:44 amongst the Adventist is that to answer their
09:48 particular question is that only about 3
09:50 percent of that old study group vegan or vegan
09:53 we mean people that have no animal
09:56 products at all, no dairy, no eggs for instance,
09:59 umm! umm! And so we had rather small number
10:02 to address the question to the extent that we
10:05 could address it, it appear that the vegans
10:08 did not or maybe had a very slight advantage
10:11 for heart disease, although it could have
10:12 been due to chance the numbers were small. It
10:15 appeared they had no advantage for cancer for
10:18 instance, but again the numbers were small.
10:20 They might even had a slight disadvantage
10:22 there, so we are waiting actually with great
10:25 interest for a new study, where we hope to have
10:27 a 100 thousand people in total and perhaps
10:29 about 5000 vegans that we should ought to be
10:32 address the question, so much better.
10:33 Let's move on anything else about
10:35 heart disease we need to hear.
10:36 One of the factor that again is being well
10:40 established in other studies now is that
10:42 whole grains seem to be protective, whole grain
10:45 bread or whole grain cereals in general as
10:48 compared to processed refined grind products.
10:52 The something about the whole grains, we
10:55 have perhaps similar ideas what that might
10:57 be that seems to be protective against heart attack.
11:00 Well let's move to now what's the number one
11:02 killer for people above 85 I understand and
11:05 that's cancer. Yes, that's correct of
11:09 course cancer is very, very prominent amongst young
11:12 people too depending on what kind of cancer it might
11:16 be that's the first point to make. The cancer is
11:18 not one disease in fact that's a multitude of
11:22 diseases. A cancer of the breast as compared
11:25 to cancer of the ovaries as compared to cancer
11:30 of the large bowel for instance the colon, they
11:31 are all different disorders. They have some
11:32 commonalty, but one of the challenges that we
11:34 face as researchers is that they all have slightly
11:37 different causal factors and so we have to study
11:39 it more separately, umm! umm! So again we
11:44 found that of course smoking is bad for
11:46 many cancers. Alcohol is bad for some cancers.
11:49 Physical activity it appears is protective
11:53 against cancer of the breast and maybe
11:55 cancer of the colon as well. But, aside from
11:57 that there are number of different dietary factors
12:00 and here where the cutting edge of research
12:03 actually. There is not always total agreement
12:06 between the different study groups and so one
12:09 needs to I think take this information and say
12:13 this is probably true but, so much of it is in fact
12:18 still waiting confirmation. So, there
12:22 are lot of foods that I can talk about that
12:25 appeared to be protective for different cancers,
12:28 but take the information in that vain.
12:32 Well let's, what appears to be protective then
12:35 just kind a edge or bachelor.
12:36 Right, one of the most striking effects I think
12:42 is the effect of meat consumption on risk of
12:44 colon cancer. If you look at the non-
12:48 vegetarian Adventists compare to the vegetarian
12:50 Adventists. The non- vegetarians have
12:52 about an 80% increase risk of colon cancer.
12:56 Now the non-vegetarians also had an increase
13:01 risk of bladder cancer and possibly prostate
13:05 cancer and also ovarian cancer. So, the
13:09 non-vegetarians didn't do as well for.
13:11 What about breast cancer? Interestingly breast
13:14 cancer somewhat distressingly for us
13:16 because it's such a common cancer in such
13:19 a nasty cancer many ways, we found very,
13:24 very few dietary relationships with breast
13:26 cancer. However, there is one factor also that
13:32 does relate to diet that are probably should mention
13:34 at this point because lot of people don't
13:36 know about it. Okay. People, who are
13:38 overweight not only have a high risk of heart
13:41 attack and blood pressure and so forth,
13:43 they have a high risk of many, many common
13:45 cancers. And we understand some of the
13:49 reasons for that, but we can talk about if you
13:51 wish, which are, people who are overweight tend
13:54 to have high levels of blood insulin and the
13:57 PSA of insulin stimulates the growth of cells
14:00 and helps promote cancer cells grow quicker.
14:03 For some of the cancers also they are estrogen
14:07 dependent, I see, like breast cancer and may
14:11 be some other cancers as well and after menopause
14:14 it's s actually the subcutaneous fat in
14:16 woman the fat under the skin seeing the women's
14:18 ovaries no longer producing much estrogen,
14:20 the subcutaneous fat has the chemistries
14:23 to produce estrogen. So, if you got lot of
14:24 subcutaneous fat or overweight, you are
14:27 producing lot of estrogen and that seems to be
14:28 a bad factor in terms of increasing the risk
14:31 of breast cancer particularly.
14:33 We are talking with Dr. Gary Fraser he is the
14:36 principal lead researcher for the
14:38 Adventist Health Study. We need more people
14:40 to be involved in the Adventist Health Study
14:42 and there is always research going on, if
14:45 you would like to see how you can be involve
14:46 right now. If you go on the internet at
14:49 adventisthealthstudy. org. That's
14:53 and you can learn how
14:56 you could be involved. Join us when we
14:57 comeback and continue this interesting discussion.
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15:55 you, it's absolutely free of charge,
15:57 so call or write today. Welcome back, we are
16:03 talking with Dr. Gary Fraser. We are talking
16:05 about the Adventist Health Study and if you
16:07 would like more information about that
16:09 study or how you can be involved, which
16:11 were always looking for people to be involved go to
16:13 and doctor we want as
16:18 many people involved as possible is gonna be
16:21 more helpful to those that are looking at
16:24 Adventists for whatever edge they might have
16:26 and more helpful to the church itself I mean in
16:29 knowing how to you know progress. So, we
16:33 were talking in the fist half here about some of
16:37 the benefits that can come from having a
16:40 vegetarian lifestyle. We looked at heart disease,
16:42 we looked a little bit of cancer and we look at
16:44 the relationship between cancer and meat
16:46 consumption, the vegetarian versus a non-vegetarian,
16:49 but there is other dietary factors that you were
16:51 starting to elude to. Yes fruits in the diet
16:56 seems to be protective against number of
16:58 cancers and this is not on the outwork, it's the
17:01 work of many people around the world. For
17:04 instance, people who eat more fruit perhaps
17:07 two to three times a day seem to have a lesser
17:10 risk of lung cancer. And that's even aside
17:13 factoring out the very powerful factor of
17:17 cigarette smoking of course, but over and
17:19 above that fruit consumption seems to be
17:21 important. People who eat more fruit have
17:23 a low risk of ovary cancer, they also have
17:26 apparently a low risk and outdated at least of
17:29 pancreatic cancer and probably prostate cancer.
17:32 So, fruit seems to be one factor that's
17:35 important for reducing the risk of cancer. For
17:39 colon cancer, we also found that eating beans,
17:42 beans reduce the risk of cancer.
17:45 Any kind of beans? We didn't distinguish, it
17:48 may be the some are more important then the
17:49 other we couldn't, we couldn't tell right now
17:51 research thus far. And interestingly it was
17:56 particularly amongst the meat eaters that beans
17:59 seem to give some important protection.
18:02 Another bean that of course is very topical
18:05 these days is soybeans, the soy products and we
18:10 perhaps should discuss that in more detail, but
18:12 there is a lot of advice out there for Americans
18:16 to eat more soy products. And yet interestingly
18:18 the evidence to support that is still somewhat in
18:22 secure. We did find that the Adventist, who
18:26 drank soy milk, okay, once or twice a day had
18:29 lower risk of prostate cancer. So, that's one of
18:33 the factor that we need to and again the some
18:36 evidence that soy may reduce the risk of breast
18:39 cancer. Another food that seemed to be protective
18:43 against number of cancers was tomatoes.
18:45 Tomatoes. Interestingly, yes and we
18:47 found that the Adventists who ate more
18:50 tomatoes had lower risk of prostate cancer
18:54 and other studies have also found something
18:57 similar. And we also found that they had only
19:01 about one-third the risk of developing
19:03 ovary cancer if they ate tomatoes regularly as
19:07 compared to those who didn't eat tomatoes,
19:09 which is interesting. So, I have some soy
19:12 milk right here at the break we can have
19:14 some and I don't have any tomatoes, but those
19:17 are very protective and again you know you are
19:19 saying one-half, one- third, so they are you
19:22 know that other half and that other two-
19:24 thirds they ultimately do get these diseases
19:28 even the Adventist population sometimes if they
19:31 are even doing everything right?
19:32 Yes, now of course we have been talking about
19:35 one factor at the time, but if you put together
19:38 two or three these things that they seems
19:41 to be kind of multiplicative in other
19:43 words of one factor reduces it risk by half,
19:46 another factor reduces risk by half, if you do
19:49 both of these things you reduce the risk by three
19:52 quarter, so you wanna got one
19:53 got one quarter of the risk that remains.
19:55 So, if you get a person that's doing all of these
19:58 things together pretty rare people actually even
20:00 amongst Adventists then the risk really becomes
20:03 quite small. Perhaps about one-tenth also
20:06 nevertheless the point you make is quite right.
20:09 We will have to die of something none of us live
20:11 forever and what happens is that the Adventist die
20:16 pretty much all of the same kinds of things is a
20:19 non-Adventist neighbors do but it's
20:22 differed by 6 to 12 years. So, that's the life
20:26 expectancy difference is 6 to 12 years depending on
20:29 how many that have with you put into practice.
20:32 That's correct. And is it related to the
20:34 number of habits you put in practice?
20:36 Yes it is and we explore that and it seems like
20:40 what we looked at five, four, five different habits
20:44 some of which are other ones I have mentioned
20:46 already and each of them seem to give two to three
20:49 years, so you are at the more output who come to
20:52 about 10 years. Is that right, now you
20:56 know you are a Seventh-Day Adventist Christian as
20:58 well as a researcher and you know some people
21:00 look at health things that Seventh-Day Adventist
21:03 the advantage quote and quote that they have and
21:05 they say well you might be cooking the books and
21:07 so that makes your job as a researcher very
21:09 important so you can just dot all the teas and you
21:13 know dot the teas, cross the teas and dot the eyes
21:18 and you really have to do very careful research
21:20 because of the naysayers and thank you by the way
21:24 for doing that. We are already thankful for the
21:27 research that you are doing in the Adventist
21:29 Health Study. But, I wanna look at that
21:32 relationship you know I'm a, I'm a pastor, I'm also a
21:36 fourth generation Adventist, I had one
21:37 group of my family that decided that well you
21:41 know Ellen White and the health message was
21:43 something they didn't want, but they wanted the
21:45 Sabbath they and they held onto that and then
21:49 I had another group that actually adopted those
21:52 health things many of these health things on the
21:53 basis of things that Ellen White had written or
21:56 principals and I can see the difference, I mean the
21:59 things you are talking about in my family then
22:02 I have to have a study, but I many of them died of
22:04 colon cancer that one on the one side versus the
22:07 other and it's just like kind of a little case is that
22:09 what are you saying, but I wanna talk to you about
22:12 about the religiosity or religion and its
22:16 relationship to health, what did you find in the
22:18 first Adventist health study, what are your
22:21 thoughts on that, and what might be something
22:24 coming up on the second study.
22:26 Well going, just stepping back for a moment to the
22:29 Christian of whether a diet is reliable.
22:33 We have always had a group of advices of the
22:37 best scientists in the country they come and
22:40 meet us every year. People from Hawaii,
22:43 University of Hawaii and Stanford and so forth
22:45 that's being in place for about 20 years.
22:48 So, we have some oversight, which is good thing.
22:51 Secondly when you publish materials in the
22:54 medical literature these days, it goes for a very
22:58 careful period of your scrutiny, so there is a lot
23:01 of shakes and unbalances in the system.
23:03 As far as religiosity in health, we in the first
23:08 study which is the only one we have analyzed yet
23:12 in the Adventist health study 1.
23:14 We only had a question about how often that did
23:17 you attend church, will you attend the prayer
23:21 meetings, whether you took church off, so some
23:23 very simple kind of ideas like this.
23:27 Were people that attend prayer meeting healthier
23:29 then those who just attended church.
23:32 Interestingly not and there is a question of the
23:34 chicken and egg to it. Why were people
23:36 attending prayer meeting, okay, perhaps they were
23:39 not in very good shape to start with so was a kind of
23:42 difficult question to ask. Right, okay.
23:44 But, just looking at church attendance per se, we
23:48 found along with results of many other religious
23:51 communities in fact. There is quite literature
23:53 out there that the people who attend church
23:56 regularly whatever they faith tend to have about
24:00 again that magic one-third figure reduction in
24:03 mortality and that's men, that's women and across
24:07 the different, number of different age groups and
24:11 so the Christian is what's going on here.
24:14 Now you know in the Adventist church, I think
24:16 probably the doctrine is most related to health
24:19 would be the sanctuary doctor and the bodies of
24:21 temple and what not. What have you
24:25 discovered or what are you attempting to
24:27 discover with the new studies that look at
24:30 religiosity and health. We've, we've got a great
24:34 opportunity we just received federal funding
24:37 to look at those very questions that you
24:38 mention and to look at in a way that we call
24:41 prospectively, which very few other studies have done.
24:45 In other words, we ask a lot of questions
24:48 about why people practice their religion and
24:51 also their attitudes towards their religion and
24:54 then follow them up for a number of years and then
24:58 find who develops heart disease, who does not,
25:01 who dies from whatever cause, who does not and
25:05 see if we can relate that to the attitudes and their
25:08 practice of religion at the beginning of the study
25:11 was a very powerful way actually to
25:13 look at the question. So, we will be finding
25:16 some very unique dieter in this new study that we
25:19 have just got funded. Yeah, you told me that
25:21 you even gonna look at particular beliefs they
25:23 might have in other words how they responded to
25:25 certain doctrines of the church, which one they
25:27 say yeah I believe that or which one I say I don't
25:30 believe that, that would be a fascinating
25:32 thing to look at. Yes, although we don't
25:35 want to make this a really Seventh-Day Adventist
25:39 range of study. Will they will be studying
25:40 Adventists, but it turns out that you know the
25:43 Adventists are really not so different from many
25:46 other protestant groups and we can look at some
25:49 fairly general concepts. I mean how could religion
25:54 of fate or health it's probably just not sitting
25:57 in the prayer, you know, sometimes the heart of
25:59 the pure the greater the benefit. But, it's probably
26:01 not that, it's could be due to the fact that amongst
26:05 Adventists particularly those who attend
26:08 regularly are more likely to live their lives more
26:11 healthfully. But it's probably more than that
26:13 because we are already been able to factor that
26:15 out and that seems like there is something over
26:17 and above that. It could be social support that they
26:21 get, being part of a close net religious group you
26:24 get lot of support and everybody knows there is
26:26 lot of research it shows, that's important
26:27 for total mortality. Could be something to do
26:31 with prayer and the comfort that you get from
26:33 that and the assurance that you get from that.
26:37 On the other hand, there are some people who
26:40 practice their religion with the feeling by have
26:43 to do it and if they don't do it, they are gonna be
26:46 loss, and so they can be Christians
26:48 of guilt that they come up and so not everything
26:50 about religion may necessarily be positive.
26:53 It's probably like everything else complex,
26:55 but we really want to dig into all of these things.
26:58 So, you know you talk with me little bit you and
27:01 I that being a part of the Seventh-Day Adventist
27:04 subculture has a relationship with perhaps
27:08 falling back into bad habits.
27:11 Yes, I think there is a real genius of tying the idea of
27:15 health and health practices to a religion
27:17 because that becomes then part of the real
27:21 inherent values in your life. It's very clear that the
27:26 Adventist faith helps people in the practice by
27:32 cultural things that are transmitted down through
27:34 the generations and also an expectation that people
27:36 will live in this way, so overall it has been a very
27:39 positive influence and as a Adventist we were able
27:42 to be counterculture almost successfully and
27:45 beneficially for more than 150 years.
27:49 Well thank you so much for joining
27:51 us today Dr. Fraser. My pleasure.
27:54 And thank you for joining
27:55 us on Health For A Lifetime.


Revised 2014-12-17