Navigating the toxic triangle in Bayview Hunters Point – 2023!

Lebron-James, <strong>Navigating the toxic triangle in Bayview Hunters Point – 2023!</strong>, Local News & Views News & Views
LeBron James averages 12 hours of sleep and takes a nap before every game. He is joined by Serena Williams, Usain Bolt and a lineup of GOATs – Greatest of All Time athletes – who sleep over 10 hours a night.

by Ahimsa Porter Sumchai MD

HP Biomonitoring presents a new paradigm designed to optimize resistance, tolerance and “immune weaponry” in a vulnerable community exposed to the triangulated impacts of environmental toxic exposures, nutritional deficiencies and high endemic COVID-19 case rates.

Monitoring elite athletes offers racially cleansed models of success and beacons of inspiration to residents in high risk communities. This model examines the role of optimum diet, lifestyle and physical preparedness for sport, work and life along with methods to achieve peak performance and physical conditioning.

The new paradigm draws from the wealth of human biomonitoring (HBM) conducted on elite high performing athletes toward a futuristic but achievable goal of reducing injury, illness and damaging stress to build the capacity for endurance and to extend human lifespan.

Navigating the Toxic Triangle in Bayview Hunters Point in 2020 introduced the transformational role of HBM in detecting exposures to dangerous chemicals and deficiencies in key nutrients needed for immune health, tissue repair and neuromuscular function in a community nested within the one-mile perimeter of a federal Superfund system in San Francisco, California.

Located in heavily industrialized southeast San Francisco, Bayview Hunters Point (BVHP) has undergone significant demographic change as a result of redevelopment and gentrification. The Hunters View hilltop is home to a youth population as high as 39% and a median income as low as $23,000 a year.

Income-and-population-demographics-in-Bayview-Hunters-Point-by-MTA, <strong>Navigating the toxic triangle in Bayview Hunters Point – 2023!</strong>, Local News & Views News & Views
Income and population demographics in Bayview Hunters Point vary widely as documented by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Residents of the Hunters Point hilltop public housing have the lowest median incomes and face the highest risk of toxic exposure from development of the Federal Superfund system at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard. – Photo: MTA

Additionally, Bayview Hunters Point is the neighborhood with the highest COVID -19 case rates for the period Oct. 18, 2022, to Dec. 17, 2022. 

We are all endurance athletes in the human race and must all respect our health as they do. Injury and illness are the top causes for elite athletes to seek medical attention during training and competition. A three-year surveillance of 322 Olympic athletes found probiotics, Vitamin C and Vitamin D enhance tolerance and reduce the burden of infectious diseases. Research on athletes shows heavy exercise and intense training decrease immune response and increase injury and infection risk. Psychological stress, anxiety and depression have been proven to compromise immunity and increase risk of infection in elite athletes – and in the general population!

Using a urinary screening method capable of detecting toxic chemicals and deficiencies in key nutrients, HP Biomonitoring identified a “Toxic Triangle” of deficiencies in nutrients essential for a healthy immune, infection and injury response. They are zinc, selenium and copper. Deficiencies in nutrients essential for physical strength and neuromuscular function are commonly detected, including iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium and sulfur.

Urinary-screening-on-Bayview-senior-by-Ahimsa-in-2022, <strong>Navigating the toxic triangle in Bayview Hunters Point – 2023!</strong>, Local News & Views News & Views
Urinary screening conducted in 2022 on a south-central Bayview HP senior and former youth athlete detects the toxic elements arsenic and gadolinium in elevated concentrations along with deficiencies in iron, selenium, strontium, calcium, magnesium and sulfur. – Photo: Dr. Ahimsa Sumchai

Navigating the Toxic Triangle in BVHP in 2023 proposes a new paradigm and welcome departure from negative bias documented in health records of low income people of color, seniors, single women and the obese. Terms like “difficult,” “resistant,” “non-compliant and “aggressive” can be code words for Black men. Hostile terms are ingrained in Emergency Room (ER) culture like “sickler,” “frequent flyer” and “GOMER” – Get Outta My Emergency Room.

The new paradigm offers a racially cleansed model grounded in sports science and human performance. Residents and workers in polluted, high stress, pandemic zones and isolated food deserts are cared for in the same way we care for overtrained, over stressed, sleep deprived, injured, nutrient and energy deprived elite athletes. The American Society of Nutrition finds “there is increased experimentation with the use of food as medicine to prevent, manage and treat illness.”

This paradigm was successfully implemented in Italy, where sports medicine doctors offer primary care services to the public. Italy was the first country to introduce sports medicine as an academic specialty in 1958. Thirty-two sports centers in Italy cultivate research on human biomechanics, physical fitness and sports performance. 

The FIFA Medical Centre of Excellence in Bologna, Italy, treats private medical patients and professional athletes. Sport & Exercise Medicine Physicians work with physiotherapists, chiropractors, nutritionists and psychologists. Italy is home to a “Blue Zone” – the world’s highest concentrations of people who live to be over 100 years old.

A new paradigm is needed to counter structural racism in environmental health, medical institutions and government agencies in America. The SF Bay View article on “bad genes” in BVHP spotlights a 2022 incident in which a Navy contractor – with ties to the nuclear industry – attributed radiation induced cancer clusters, radioactive biomarkers and Proposition 65 cancer causing chemicals detected in urinary biomonitoring screenings conducted on residents living adjacent to a radiation contaminated landfill to “bad genes!”

A new paradigm is needed to counter structural racism in environmental health, medical institutions and government agencies in America.

NIH-funded research in 2012 analyzed census data from Louisiana’s Cancer Alley to arrive at irrefutable statistical evidence of environmental racism. See “Uneven Magnitude of Disparities in Cancer Risks from Air Toxics.” Its findings were corroborated by the 2019 EPA report “Waiting to Die.”

Research using artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze negative patient descriptors linked to race or ethnicity in electronic health records was released in 2021. In over 40,000 records entered from January 2019 to October 2020, Black patients faced 2.54 times the odds of having one or more negative descriptors in their medical record. Patients of Hispanic heritage faced 1.5 times the odds. These findings validate concerns that stigmatizing language “inflames” and perpetuates racial and ethnic health disparities. AI detected the highest frequency of negative descriptors in health records of single adults, seniors, females and patients on Medicaid. In over 1,500 negative patient descriptors, 79.7% were detected in Blacks and 81.5% in patients who were not married.

“There is a flawed assumption that race and ethnicity can be used interchangeably in genetic and medical studies and are both markers of complex disease risk. The reality is that both race and ethnicity are sociopolitical terms … neither term describes fixed biological or genetic characteristics of a population,” write Jessica P. Cerdena, PhD, Vanessa Grubbs, MD, Amy L. Non, PhD.

In the December 2022 issue of The Lancet, researchers from Yale, UC San Diego and the Alameda Health System in Oakland collaborate to challenge what they call “assumptions, realities and recommendations in racialising genetic risk.” The authors analyzed race-based practices in medical care that exacerbate health inequities and found “biologization of race” occurred universally in over 200 research articles that included out of context discussions about physiological differences between racial groups and epidemiological disparities.

The racial cleansing of athlete monitoring

Navigating the Toxic Triangle in BVHP 2023 proposes a model for residents and workers burdened by excessive “training loads” of chronic stress and social hardship, exposure to toxins and infectious agents in an isolated geographic region deficient in nutrients. The new paradigm applies research derived from elite high performing athletes to mitigate these impacts. Athlete monitoring offers data that does not identify the racial identity of the athlete … because it is superfluous!

The new paradigm translates the positive societal expectation that athletes harbor superhuman potential to our most vulnerable communities. That human potential can be amplified through proper training, mentorship, injury prevention, sleep, lifestyle and nutritional optimization. That research on human performance can be “cleansed” of race and ethnicity as variables.

“I’m going to use all my tools, my God-given ability, and make the best life I can with it.” – LeBron James

LeBron Raymore James, age 37, is arguably the greatest athlete on earth! He is certainly the most durable, well researched and scientifically monitored professional athlete. His biometric, lifestyle and performance data date back to high school, where he ranked No. 1 among the Top 100 Seniors. King James, L-Train, Little Emperor and the Akron Hammer – James has been described as “an anomaly” and “freak of nature” who follows a strict diet and spends an estimated $1.5 million a year on trainers, cooks and nutritionists. He uses a cryo chamber ice bath, receives massage three times a week and wears therapy boots to increase circulation in his legs. Evidence he undergoes biomonitoring of his saliva can be found on line.

Athlete monitoring offers data that does not identify the racial identity of the athlete … because it is superfluous!

“In a career filled with remarkable achievements, perhaps the most remarkable is that James has never been seriously hurt. It’s incredible … there are players who are injury-prone. He is one of those players who is not. He just has that body and that will” is the assessment of Stephen Silas, assistant coach and son of Cavaliers’ Head Coach Paul Silas.

At 6 feet 6 inches, James reached a maximum weight of 278 pounds in 2015 and required anti-inflammatory injections for disc herniations in his low back. During the 2017 NBA season, James never missed a game. During the last four seasons, however, he missed 71 games due to injury. In November 2022 James exited a game due to a groin injury. He returned to play following a five game absence on Nov. 25 and dropped 21 points toward a 105–94 win.

James ranks second on Forbes 2022 Top 10 highest paid athletes list at $121 million – behind Lionel Messi of Argentina who raked in $130 million. Of note, $80 million of LeBron James annual income was generated off-field.

LeBron James is a major investor in Tonal – a home gym company and startup for virtual reality training products. He made the MAP list – Most Attractive Male Players – in 2022. The NBA superstar and humanitarian community servant made headlines in June after announcing the Grand Opening of a multimillion-dollar medical facility in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. The I Promise HealthQuarters is dedicated to providing services to students of the I Promise School.

Watch “LeBron James visits his I Promise School and the Student Reactions are Priceless – NBA Today.” 


Sleep, the single most important training habit

“If sleep doesn’t serve some vital function, it is the biggest mistake evolution ever made!” – Allen Rechtschaffen, Gatorade Sports Science Institute

According to doctors working with Olympians and the National Collegiate Athletic Association, sleep is the single most important training habit to maximize mental and physical performance. Athletes who sleep less than eight hours a night face nearly twice the risk of injury. LeBron James averages 12 hours of sleep and takes a nap before every game. Indeed, in a study of professional athlete sleep patterns, James is joined by Serena Williams, Usain Bolt and a lineup of GOATs – Greatest of All Time athletes – who sleep over 10 hours a night.

Sleep-strategies-for-better-athlete-health-and-performance-YouTube-grab-by-Ahimsa, <strong>Navigating the toxic triangle in Bayview Hunters Point – 2023!</strong>, Local News & Views News & Views
Sleep strategies for better athlete health and performance – at least eight hours of sleep a night keeps us safe and healthy.

Indeed, the only pro athlete who reported getting less than five hours of sleep was Tiger Woods, offering proof that lack of sleep is a risk factor for severe injury. Genomic research conducted on medical interns who slept less than five hours a night detected a 25% increase in DNA damage – after one night! Sleep is essential for health, and the body of research on sleep deprivation documents a decline in all areas of human performance. “Vitamin Z” is believed to be the single most potent performance enhancer and the most natural healing method.

Important processes take place during sleep including tissue repair, rebuilding muscle, immune system bolstering, DNA repair and embedding new memories. Sleep disturbances in athletes due to morning trainings and evening games, travel across time zones, alcohol, nicotine, caffeine and late night studies impair mood, lead to injury and exhaustion, poor nutrition and irregular meals.

A wealth of human biomonitoring is being conducted on professional athletes and collegiate players incentivized by financial awards reaped by teams with high performers. Athlete monitoring offers racially cleansed data focused on athlete readiness and preparedness to reduce risk of injury and maximize sports performance. The use of wearable biometric devices to enhance athletic performance is an exploding market that raises ethics and privacy concerns.

In the 2023 New Year, I hope to offer groundbreaking evidence from sports science and HBM conducted on high performing athletes to protect vulnerable residents of toxic communities.

“A wealth of information has been stockpiled in the sports performance arena documenting the role of human biomonitoring and biometric tracking systems to promote an integrated and enhanced energy, nutrient, hormonal, physiological, biomechanical and immune response in elite, high performing athletes. In my opinion, the best approach to optimizing natural resilience and immunity during the neverending endemic pandemic is to TRAIN LIKE AN ATHLETE!” – Dr. Ahimsa Porter Sumchai in “The Neverending Endemic Pandemic: Human Biomonitoring for Enhanced Immunity,” published by The Westside Observer.

In the 2022 article “The Neverending Endemic Pandemic: Human Biomonitoring for Enhanced Immunity,” I urge you to “train like an athlete” to enhance immunity through human biomonitoring (HBM). HBM has evolved from a research tool to detect toxic exposures in occupational and environmental exposures to include financially lucrative applications designed to augment sports performance to superhuman capacity.

Like a fine tuned automobile, “Top Tier” fuel powers “Top Tier” performance for the human biomechanical machine. ATHLETE is a project of the European Human Exposome Network – the world’s largest research collaborations studying the impacts of environmental exposures on human health.

In the most common applications of biomonitoring, elite athletes evaluate nutritional and energy status and lactic acid buildup that limits muscular performance. Screening saliva for the stress hormone cortisol is coupled with relaxation methods. Immune cells have Vitamin D receptors, and deficiencies in protein and zinc are proven to impair the human immune response.

In the 2023 New Year, I hope to offer groundbreaking evidence from sports science and HBM conducted on high performing athletes to protect vulnerable residents of toxic communities. The bulk of this research centers on optimizing human nutrition and energy for resilience and endurance and to offset illness and injury risk.

Professor Charlie Pedlar, et. al., offer robust research on the use of HBM for high performance physiology and biomechanics. Serial biomonitoring of athletes identifies iron, vitamin, hormone and energy deficiencies, inflammation and oxidative stress as easily correctable ways to optimize nutritional and immune status and red blood cell function and maximize the capacity to tolerate a high training load.

Vitamins and nutrients linked to optimum sports performance include iron, probiotics, Vitamin D, creatine and essential minerals. Research shows antioxidants like Vitamin C fight the COVID-19 virus. Dr. Linus Pauling stimulated public debate in 1970 when he advocated for the use of high dose Vitamin C to prevent and ease the common cold. Over 40 years of research support Pauling’s contention that Vitamin C supplements shorten the duration of the common cold. Vitamin C is accepted as a COVID -19 secondary treatment to reduce mortality.

COVID-19-map-in-Bayview-Hunters-Point-by-City-and-County-of-San-Francisco-101822-121722, <strong>Navigating the toxic triangle in Bayview Hunters Point – 2023!</strong>, Local News & Views News & Views
Bayview COVID data collected by the City of San Francisco for October-December.

Sulfur is one of the most overlooked essential micronutrients. It is a common deficiency in biomonitoring screenings conducted by the Hunters Point Community Biomonitoring Program. Biomonitoring of elite athletes supports the essential role of sulfur in growth, cartilage and collagen synthesis, defense and detoxification. Sulfur deficiency is linked to fatigue, muscular injury and loss of lung elasticity. Sulfur can be deliciously incorporated into the diet by increasing whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes. Ethnic foods high in sulfur include chickpeas, couscous, lentils, oats, walnuts, eggs, fish and leafy green vegetables.

A subset of human biomonitoring research has been conducted on athletes exposed to toxic air contaminants and heavy metals. This body of research shows increased clearance of toxins in exercising tissues and can be directly applied to vulnerable exposed communities in Bayview Hunters Point.

SF Bay View Health and Environmental Science Editor Ahimsa Porter Sumchai, MD, PD, founder and principal investigator for the Hunters Point Community Biomonitoring Program, founding chair of the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard Restoration Advisory Board’s Radiological Subcommittee and contributor to the 2005 Draft Historical Radiological Assessment, can be reached at Dr. Sumchai is medical director of Golden State MD Health & Wellness, a UCSF and Stanford trained author and researcher, and a member of the UCSF Medical Alumni Association Board of Directors.


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