We hear a lot today about pH balance and about balancing one’s pH. What exactly is pH? The term pH stands for “Potential” of “Hydrogen.” Thus, pH refers to the amount of hydrogen ions in a particular substance. The more hydrogen ions, the more acidic. Fewer hydrogen ions, the more alkaline.
pH is measured on a scale of 0 to 14 with 7 being neutral. As we drop down below 7 the substance is more acidic. Above 7 the substance becomes more alkaline. In other words, the lower the pH number the more acidic it is and the higher the number the more alkaline. For example, a pH of 3 is more acidic than a pH of 5 and a pH of 9 is more alkaline than a pH of 6.
In its natural state, the human body is slightly alkaline. The alkaline body reflects normal, optimal pH levels. In fact, the body must maintain this slightly alkaline state for its survival. This state is called pH balance.
The most critical pH is in the blood. All other organs and fluids will fluctuate in their range in order to keep the blood at a strict pH between 7.35 and 7.45 (slightly alkaline). Although the blood needs to be slightly alkaline, the stomach digests best when it is acidic, between 1 and 2 pH.
The body is continually striving to maintain a proper balance between the two. This process is called homeostasis. The body makes constant adjustments in tissue and fluid pH to maintain this very narrow pH balance range in the blood. It even goes so far as to dissolve bones in order to maintain necessary pH of blood.
Balance your pH
What can we do to insure a proper pH balance in the body? Diet is probably the single most important factor in maintaining a proper pH balance. To assure a proper pH balance, avoid consuming excessive amounts of meat, alcohol, soft drinks, caffeine, coffee, most nuts, eggs, vinegar, sauerkraut, ascorbic acid, cheese, white sugar and medical drugs. Instead, eat more ripe fruits, vegetables, bean sprouts, water, milk, onions, figs, carrots, beets, and miso.
ALKALINE ASH FOODS
ACID ASH FOODS
Lemons Produce Alkaline Ash
There is much confusion over the alkalinity and acidity of foods. For example, eggs and honey result in a more acidic body, whereas lemons result in a more alkaline body. While lemons are acidic, they promote a more alkaline body. The true test of alkalinity and acidity is to determine what pH results in the body after foods are eaten and metabolized. Once digested, foods form mineral byproducts that are alkaline, acid or neutral. To simulate this in a laboratory setting, food is burned, leaving an ash residue that is then measured for its mineral content.
Alkaline-ash foods are foods that leave high concentrations of calcium, magnesium, potassium and/or sodium in their ash. These minerals, in turn, are used to form alkaline compounds (called bases) in the body. Vegetables and most (but not all) fruits are alkaline-forming.
Acid-ash foods are those that contain chloride, iron, phosphorus or sulfur, minerals that form acid compounds. These include phosphorus-rich foods such as meat, fish, poultry, legumes and grains, as well as mustard and eggs, which contain sulfur.
To sum up, the pre-metabolized acid content of a food is not an indicator of the acid/alkaline balance in the blood. The acid ash, however, is.
pH of Stomach vs Blood
Extended acid imbalances can overwhelm the body, resulting in low energy levels, fatigue, excess weight, headaches, occasional constipation and frequent colds. An alkaline stomach on the other hand can cause indigestion. Microorganisms in food that would perish in an acid stomach are likely to survive in an alkaline stomach, causing all kinds of health problems. Food can start to putrefy and cause heartburn.
You don’t need to worry about the HCL making you blood permanently acidic because the little amount (500 to 1000 mg) you take gets used up in the digestive process. Compare that to eating a ¼ pound (113,400 mg) of meat which will surely create a more acidic body.
Supplements such as calcium and magnesium are best taken between mealtimes so they don’t reduce acidity of the stomach. Ultimately it’s best to take them in the evening as they tend to relax your muscles and make you sleepy.
Testing your pH Level
Testing saliva is the most effective way to gauge the body’s pH. You can use a simple pH test, consisting of test strips and a color chart.
You can test both saliva and urine. An optimal reading of saliva is 7.5. This indicates a slightly alkaline body.
A neutral result is 7.0. A reading of 6.5 is slightly acidic. A reading below 6.5 is very acidic.
Proper pH Balance for Optimum Health
Researchers Acknowledged Limitations of their Study when Applied to Most Healthy People
Although the researchers themselves acknowledged the limitations of their study when applied to most healthy people, they have nevertheless called for a reduction in U.S. dietary guidelines for vitamin E, which currently recommend an upper limit of 1,500 IU.
The research, which analyzed clinical trial data from 19 studies, focused on nine that involved dosages of vitamin E over 400 IU. Most of the patients in the studies were over 60-years of age and had chronic health conditions, such as heart disease and Alzheimer's. The reported increased risk of deaths associated with higher doses of vitamin E was only slightly higher than the risk among those not taking the supplement. The studies reviewed, some of which were more than 10 years old, were of varying quality and contained a wide range of dosages.
“This is arm chair science at its worst,” said David Seckman, NNFA's executive director and CEO. “Researchers are well aware that casting doubt on any product that has had overwhelmingly positive findings is a formula for getting noticed. Unfortunately, many in the press are all too willing to lend credence to research that is not conclusive.”
For more information on vitamin E, including its health benefits, clinical applications and other science-based findings, go to: http://www.supplementinfo.org/.
Vitamin E Trials 'Fatally Flawed'
In a new study and commentary in Free Radical Biology and Medicine, researchers concluded that the levels of vitamin E necessary to reduce oxidative stress -- as measured by accepted biomarkers of lipid peroxidation -- are about 1,600 to 3,200 I.U. daily, or four to eight times higher than those used in almost all past clinical trials.
This could help explain the inconsistent results of many vitamin E trials for its value in preventing or treating cardiovascular disease, said Balz Frei, professor and director of the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, and co-author of the new commentary along with Jeffrey Blumberg, at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University.
"The methodology used in almost all past clinical trials of vitamin E has been fatally flawed," said Frei, one of the world's leading experts on antioxidants and disease. "These trials supposedly addressed the hypothesis that reducing oxidative stress could reduce cardiovascular disease. But oxidative stress was never measured in these trials, and therefore we don't know whether it was actually reduced or not. The hypothesis was never really tested."
The level of vitamin E that clearly can be shown to reduce oxidative stress, new research is showing, is far higher than the level that could be obtained in any diet, and is also above the "tolerable upper intake level" outlined by the Institute of Medicine, which is 1,000 I.U. a day. OSU researchers are not yet recommending that people should routinely take such high levels, but they do say that controlled clinical trials studying this issue should be aware of the latest findings and seriously consider using much higher vitamin E supplement levels in their studies.
In lab, animal or human studies, there's evidence that vitamin E can reduce oxidative stress, inhibit formation of atherosclerotic lesions, slow aortic thickening, lower inflammation, and reduce platelet adhesion. Some human studies using lower levels of vitamin E supplements, such as 100 to 400 I.U. a day, have shown benefits in reducing cardiovascular disease risk, and others have not. An underlying assumption was that these levels were more than adequate to reduce oxidative stress, since they far exceeded the "recommended dietary allowance" or RDA for the vitamin, a level adequate to prevent deficiency disease.
"What's now clear is that the amount of vitamin E than can conclusively be shown to reduce oxidative stress is higher than we realized," Frei said. "And almost none of the studies done with vitamin E actually measured the beginning level or reduction of oxidative stress."
Proper studies of vitamin E, researchers say, must be done carefully and take into account the newest findings about this micronutrient. It's now known that natural forms of the vitamin are far more readily absorbed than synthetic types. It's also been discovered that supplements taken without a fat-containing meal are largely useless, because in the absence of dietary fat vitamin E is not absorbed.
Some clinical trials may wish to study the long term effect of vitamins on healthy individuals. But if a clinical trial seeks to learn the value of reducing oxidative stress, they should select patients in advance for those who have high, measurable oxidative stress -- often people who are older or have a range of heart disease risk factors, such as obesity, poor diet, hypertension or other problems. Cognizance should also be taken of people with health issues that may further increase their vitamin needs, such as smokers.
"A pill count simply isn't enough to determine the value of vitamin E," Frei said. "We need to select people for trials properly, make sure they are taking the right form of the vitamin, at the right levels and at the right time, and then verify the metabolic results with laboratory testing."
"Only when we do these studies right will we answer questions about the value of vitamin E in addressing cardiovascular disease," he said. "So far we've been flying blind."
A parallel, Frei said, would be presuming to test the value of a statin drug, which lowers cholesterol, without ever measuring cholesterol levels in the test subjects, neither at the beginning nor at the end of the study. Such trials would be ridiculed in the science community.
So far, that's the way vitamin E has been studied.
New JAMA Study on Ginkgo Biloba and Alzheimer's 'Misses the Boat Entirely'
The study’s conclusions are also in direct contrast to other peer-reviewed studies that show benefits, and will almost certainly be questioned, the association said. The study was released November 18, 2008, in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association.
“This study is not irrelevant, but it can not be used to make broad conclusions about Ginkgo biloba and the general population. In fact, it misses the boat entirely in two critical areas. One, it looks exclusively at people almost 80 years old who are far more likely to have Alzheimer’s, while ignoring those in middle ages, where the risk for developing the disease rises quickly and prevention could best be analyzed. Two, it excludes completely any consideration of the strong and established role that family history plays with Alzheimer’s. You can’t do a study on the weather without looking at wind and rain,” said Daniel Fabricant, Ph.D., vice president for scientific and regulatory affairs at the Natural Products Association.
“This study is also in direct contrast to other research. Unfortunately, there is still no proven treatment to prevent Alzheimer’s, but reputable research has shown that Ginkgo biloba can play a constructive role in improving the symptoms related to this debilitating disease and possibly delaying its onset,” said Fabricant.
BACKGROUND: According to the National Institute on Aging, age is the most important known risk factor for AD. The risk of developing the disease doubles every 5 years over age 65. Several studies estimate that up to half the people older than 85 have AD. These facts are significant because of the growing number of people 65 and older. More than 34 million Americans are now 65 or older. Even more significant, the group with the highest risk of AD—those older than 85—is the fastest growing population group in the country.
A 1997 study in the U.S. suggested that a Ginkgo extract may be of some help in treating the symptoms of AD and multi-infarct dementia, but no evidence exists that Ginkgo biloba will prevent AD.
Research shows that risk for the disease becomes significant in middle age for most of the population, yet this study ignores that completely.
Stevia Hits the Big Time
The news is heating up the financial markets: will the natural low-cal sweetener sweeten profits as well? But what interests us is the safety of the new ingredient. The FDA is expected to give stevia-derived sweeteners the status of generally recognized as safe (known as GRAS in the industry), but is GRAS the same as SAFE?
Is Generally Recognized as Safe the Same as Safe?
GRAS has another benefit too: advocates of stevia-based sweeteners feared that sweetener manufacturer Cargill would get an approval exclusive to their highly purified version of stevia sweetener, called Truvia. But GRAS status should allow competitors to enter the market. Some stevia based sweeteners and even softdrinks are available on the market now, being marketed under the "dietary supplement" loophole, which allows sale of products with less safety testing.
But if stevia is banned in Europe and not approved for use as a food additive in the US, where is FDA getting information as a basis to decide that stevia is safe? The stevia plant has been used by inhabitants of its native growth zones for centuries. Of course, it has been used as a sweetener, but some tribes using stevia believe chewing the leaf is an effective birth control method. Which leads to obvious questions: if the plant can reduce fertility, it is certainly having health effects.
The Good News and the Bad News
More recent human experience suggesting stevia based sweeteners are safe comes out of Japan, where the natural low calorie stevia sweeteners have been preferred over artificial sweeteners for the past four decades. Food standards agencies in Australia and New Zealand have also published stevia safe intake levels that equate to drinking two cans of diet softdrink per day (see the link for the basis for this calculation).
As is the case with trans-fats and high fructose corn syrup, scientists are about to get a lot more data for continuing studies on the safety of this sweetener. The best advice is moderation in all things, and remember that there are risks with artificial sweeteners as well. Stevia sweeteners offer an "all natural" option for people when the health risks from obesity outweigh other concerns.
B12 Might Help Retain the Brain
Could your Spice rack Battle Foodborne Pathogens?
Oils or compounds extracted from the oils of herbs and spices like oregano, thyme, cinnamon and clove are reported to pack enough of an antimicrobial punch that they could stop such food borne pathogens as E. coli, Salmonella enterica, Campylobacter jejuni, or Listeria monocytogens. Scientists studied the potential of these oils several years ago, and are currently taking a second look at the research on the hope of developing tools to make foods safer. For example, scientists with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service are evaluation the highest-ranking botanical bactericides as potential ingredients in what are known as “edible films.” A thin, pliable, edible film for the future might be made of pureed spinach containing carvacrol, a compound from oregano oil, which was found to be a top fighter of E. coli. The scientists want to find out whether adding small squares of carvacrol enhanced spinach puree film to bags of chilled ready-to-eat spinach leaves would help protect this salad green against E. coli. (www.ars.USDA.gov)
Although she once had dreams of earning an athletic scholarship, she now struggles to hobble around each day with the aid of braces and a walker, First Coast News reports. According to the article, she has been diagnosed with Acute Demyelinating Encephalomyelitis (ADEM), a condition characterized by inflammation of the brain and associated with the vaccination.
Adding insult to injury, people who are injured by the vaccine cannot even sue Merck, the maker of the Gardasil vaccine, because it is part of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Fund.
Dr. Clark has warned about the “preservatives” found in vaccines. HPV vaccines are not different, in addition to four types of HPV proteins, girls and women who receive this vaccine should know what else is in the shot.
Dr. Mercola has uncovered the following as ingredients:
1. Aluminum adjuvants, which have been linked to neurological damage including multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease.
(NaturalNews) While the FDA claims adverse reactions to Gardasil are rare, a review of the U.S. Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) data shows that several thousands of adverse reactions have been reported in the United States alone. And hundreds of Australian girls have experienced side effects like paralysis, dizzy spells and seizures, but Australia‘s Department of Health and Ageing refuses to release any details.
The Financial Times also reported that there have been 11 deaths and a wide array of other adverse reactions, including:
Are Vaccinations Causing Early Alzheimer’s Disease?
Clearly, there are many inflammatory factors in a person's life and gene-related weaknesses are involved. However, theoretical data on the inflammatory nature of vaccines, especially in the large numbers given to children at an early age while their nerves are developing response patterns for future life, means that they cannot be ruled out as one main factor that primes the Alzheimer's pump.
Here's another example of healing foods and spices. This study is about the ability of turmeric (curcumin is the active ingredient) to prevent and treat Alzheimer's disease.
In discussion with Dr. Clark about the Bee Problem she surprised me by telling me that she was once a beekeeper and that she knew exactly why the bees were dying off in record numbers. In her opinion the bees are dying off because farmers are pressing the bees to become larger and thereby more productive. The bees are crossbred to jumbo size. Then they are supplied with ready-made plastic honeycombs covered with wax that most likely contains various chemicals. The cells in the honeycombs are much larger than the bee would make themselves.
Due to the fact that the cells in the honeycombs are both deeper and have a larger diameter the bees have to work extra hard to fill it with honey – exhausting them.
Unfortunately all kinds of pollutants such as fungus have an easier time to settle into those king-size cells.
As far as we can gather, most commercial beekeepers treat the bees with an onslaught of chemicals:
The chemicals reduce the immunity of the over worked and over-sized bees even further, Dr. Clark mentioned to me.
A few months passed. When I looked into this problem again I found this headline online:
Surprise! Organic Beekeepers Reporting Zero Losses
Apparently thousands of organic beekeepers, including commercial beekeepers have healthy bees and experience no colony collapses.
Why didn't I hear about this from the mainstream media? Like with alternative medicine the mainstream media does not report but one side of the problem. Big media usually take the side of big industry that pay the advertising bills.
Should they dig deeper they would come up with headlines that read something like this:
Chemicals Used By Beekeepers Responsible for Colony Collapse Worldwide.
Here is the quote from the obscure article that I found online:
"I'm on an organic beekeeping list of about 1,000 people, mostly Americans, and no one in the organic beekeeping world, including commercial beekeepers, is reporting colony collapse on this list." said Sharon Labchuck.
Attached to the article is a discussion board of organic beekeepers. Click Here to see the Article
Thank you organic beekeepers… for saving the world! I sure will only buy organic honey from now on! But wait there is more we can all do! Please contact your local editor of a newspaper and put them on the right track on reporting on this important problem.
Finally you can help the bees (and everyone) by reducing pollution.
Drive less, bicycle and walk more = less air pollution
Why is it so easy to get sick in winter? Why does this happen and how can we help our body's immune system do its job properly?
Winter months bring much dryer air, which dries out our skin and mucus membranes. You many not realize this but the mucus membranes need moisture in order to trap bugs that float in the air. Bugs have a much easier time floating in the air when the air is dry. When the air is moist the many micro droplets floating in the air gather together, form a larger drop, and fall to the ground, taking the bugs with them. So that is why you don't breath as many bugs when the air is moist. Generally winter-time brings dry air while summer brings moisture in the air. This is one of the reasons you may already be using humidifiers.
Besides frequent hand washing, using and carrying with you sanitation spray, and covering your mouth when you sneeze its important to keep your mucus membranes moist. A trick I learned from my Health Professional is to put a little bit of oil (coconut, olive) inside your nostrils when dry. We offer several supplements that support your immune system at this time of year. The first we recommend is our exclusive Dr. Clark Airways Respiratory Defense. This is a highly effective blend formulated by Dr. Clark which includes Boneset, Epazote, Elecampane, Cleavers Herb. Other supplements that we carry that are known immune boosters are:
In Case Of a Concussion
A blow to the head. Painful, yes. But it could be worse than that. A danger exists in the form of intracranial bleeding (IB), which may have been caused by the impact. Fortunately, research conducted at Tufts University in Boston indicates that less than 10% of head injury patients have IB and, of these, fewer than 2% require neurosurgery. The problem is that even when a patient’s post-accident neurological testing comes up normal, doctors still cannot completely rule out lB.
Testing is important
What to look for
Better safe than sorry
Who is at risk
Four Important Minutes: CPR
When a person collapses and has no pulse, there is a four-minute window of opportunity for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to get the heart beating again and save the person's life. The sooner you start CPR, the more likely you are to succeed in restarting the heart. Moreover, the chances of preserving normal brain function will be greatly improved if the circulation to the brain is be restored without delay.
A better way
Car Seat Safety
Center CRS is best
Dr. Clark's favorite plastic containers are made out of HDPE (high density polyethylene). Her second favorite is LDPE (low density polyethylene). She does not recommend colored plastics, only "natural" color, such as the clear plastic used for gallon milk bottles. Bags made out of polypropylene, such as Ziploc bags, are also non-polluting and very handy. These bags can safely be used as liners for liquid content stored in containers.
Plastic is ubiquitous in our lives. It’s everywhere. In fact, there is now six times more plastic than plankton floating around in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
Plastic is used in contact with nearly all packaged foods. Most cardboard milk containers are now coated with plastic rather than wax. Plastic is sprayed on both commercial and organic produce to preserve its freshness. Plastic is even used to irrigate, mulch, wrap, and transport organic food. Organic bananas now come from wholesalers with a sticky plastic wrapping the cut stem to protect the bananas from a black mold. Dentists coat children’s teeth with plastic sealants that harden (polymerize) within the mouth. Food and beverages cans are coated with a BPA-containing plastic.
While it’s impossible to avoid all plastics, we must rid our diets and lives of this toxic material as much as possible.
Dr. Clark has always been ahead of the curve, while she is no longer alone in warning people about plastics, she now points out that some plastic and glassware contains potentially toxic metals. This, she points out, you can test by using a conductivity meter. Pour some distilled water into the container and measure it with the conductivity meter. If you get conductivity, it means that tiny metal ions have leached into the water.
There is plenty of information available about this subject both in books and online. Since it’s impossible to avoid the presence of plastic in our lives, it’s essential to understand the different varieties. Please check out the quick reference guide below.
HDPE (high density polyethylene)
LDPE (low density polyethylene)
V (Vinyl) or PVC
PVC contains chlorine, so its manufacture can release highly dangerous dioxins. If you must cook with PVC, don't let the plastic touch food. Never burn PVC, because it releases toxins.
Polypropylene has a high melting point, and so is often chosen for containers that must accept hot liquid. It is gradually becoming more accepted by recyclers.
Polystyrene can be made into rigid or foam products. In the latter case it is popularly known as the trademark Styrofoam. Evidence suggests polystyrene can leach potential toxins into foods. The material was long on environmentalists' hit lists for dispersing widely across the landscape, and for being notoriously difficult to recycle.
The pomegranate is a red fruit with a tough outer layer. It looks pretty ordinary, right? But cut it open and—such jewelry! A cluster of rubies, deep crimson juice-filled gems. With most fruits, you spit the seeds out. With pomegranates, the seeds are what you eat. The mysterious, tangy flavor of the juicy pulp that surrounds each crunchy seed is unlike any other fruit. In your mouth, these ruby pearls burst with pure sweet juice.
Pomegranates are loaded with flavonoids and antioxidants. A glass of pomegranate juice provides more antioxidants than red wine, green tea, blueberries or cranberries. For these reasons and many more, the pomegranate is one fruit that you can't afford to exclude from your diet.
Pomegranates appear in grocery stores and farmers markets from October to December. Don’t miss out. When choosing, pick large, red fruit that feels heavy for its size. Avoid fruit with cracks in the skin, which indicates overripeness.
Pomegranates are fun to eat but they can be mighty messy. That crimson juice can stain hands and clothes. So is there any way to prepare a pomegranate and still keep your kitchen from looking like a crime scene? Fortunately, the answer is yes. Here’s how:
A simple way to use the fruit is to sprinkle those precious little rubies over salads, omelettes and breakfast cereals. Use pomegranate juice in marinades, lemonade, or in homemade grenadine syrup.
Pepitas aren’t just for roasting anymore.
You can sprout them. How? It’s easy. All you need is an empty jar, a piece of plastic screening and a rubber band. Put your pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds) in the jar, add water, and fasten the screen over the top with the rubber band. Soak for one hour. Drain. That’s it!
Why sprout? The answer: sprouted pumpkin seeds are delicious. They have a nutty, buttery taste. You won’t be able to eat just one. But that’s only the beginning. Seeds undergo an amazing transformation when they begin to germinate. They’re bursting with energy, on their way to becoming a full fledged plant. Your plain old pepitas, in just one hour, have become nutritional dynamos!
Sprouts are live food. According to the naturopath and herbalist Isabell Shipard: “Sprouts are a tremendous source of digestive enzymes. Estimates suggest there can be up to 100 times more enzymes in sprouts than in fruit and vegetables.”
Raw food advocates promote sprouting as an effective way to increase the nutrient value and digestibility of beans, seeds and nuts. Sprouts are in fact the most nutrient dense food on earth, rich in digestible energy, bioavailable vitamins, minerals, amino acids, proteins and beneficial enzymes. The vitamin content of some seeds can increase by up to 20 times their original value within several days of sprouting.
Most sprouts, such as mung bean and lentil, are soaked overnight and allowed to grow for three days or so. Not pepitas. Pepitas are a quick crop. One hour soaking time and they’re crunchy, delicious and super nutritious.
Note: pumpkin seeds do not store well, so sprout only as many as you’re going to consume right away. You can store them in the fridge for a maximum of 1-2 days—if you can keep from eating them.
Washing your hands is one of the best ways to fight germs. But do you really need an antibacterial soap to do the job? Some researchers say no, and they caution that antibacterial products may do more harm than good.
Only the strong survive
Recent research indicates that antibacterial agents contained in soaps may kill off ordinary bacteria, creating an environment for resistant, mutated bacteria that are impervious to antibacterials, including antibiotics.
"These mutated bacteria get wise to antibacterial agents," says Eli Perencevich, M.D., a research fellow in infectious diseases at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. By using antibacterial soaps over and over, more bacteria will become resistant to the products, Perencevich says. In that respect, antibacterial agents behave like antibiotics which, when overused, promote the spread of antibiotic resistance.
Read the label
Consumers should pay close attention to labeling when buying soap, Perencevich says, because an increasing number of products contain antibacterials. "With so many of these products on the market, consumers may not even realize they are purchasing soaps that contain antibacterials," he warns.
More than 75 percent of all liquid hand soaps and nearly 30 percent of bar soaps for sale nationally contain antibacterial agents. In a survey of national chain stores, regional stores and e-commerce sites, researchers found nearly half of all commercial soaps contain the antibacterial agent triclosan.
Triclosan has been used as an antibacterial for many years. However, it only recently raised a red flag as researchers have learned how it acts on bacteria.
Triclosan does not actually cause a genetic mutation in the bacteria, but by killing the normal bacteria, it creates an environment where mutated bacteria that are resistant to triclosan are more likely to survive and reproduce. Antibiotic resistance has become an increasingly serious problem worldwide, and overuse of triclosan may exacerbate this problem. The concern is that bacteria will become resistant to antibacterial products like triclosan, rendering those antimicrobial products useless to those who truly need them, such as people with compromised immune systems.
The use of triclosan is alarmingly widespread. It is found most commonly in hand soaps, cleaning supplies and dish detergents, but it also shows up in products that don't claim to be antibacterial. Some toothpastes, kitchen utensils, garbage bags, toys and bedding contain triclosan.
Plain old soap and water
Despite Americans' concern with germ control, at least a third have forgotten the basics. A recent survey conducted for the American Society of Microbiology found that while 95 percent of men and women surveyed say they wash their hands after using a public restroom, only 67 percent actually do wash before leaving the restroom.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says antibacterial soaps are not necessary. Hand-washing with regular soap and warm water is the simplest, most effective thing people can do to reduce the spread of infectious diseases," says CDC director Julie Gerberding, M.D. In fact, the agency deems hand-washing so important in preventing the spread of infections that it offers guidelines for how and when the hands should be washed:
· Always use warm, running water and a mild, preferably liquid, soap. Antibacterial soaps may be used but are not required.
There are thousands of species of molds. Most of them are “bad,” but some are “good.” Alexander Fleming’s famous discovery of the antibiotic penicillin, for example, involved the mold Penicillium chrysogenum. And friendly molds are used to make certain kinds of cheeses. Roquefort, blue, Gorgonzola and Stilton cheeses have blue veins of mold throughout the cheese. Brie and Camembert have white surface molds. Other cheeses have both an internal and a surface mold. The koji molds, a group of the Aspergillus species, have been cultured in eastern Asia for many centuries. They are used to ferment the soybean and wheat mixture from which soy sauce and miso are derived.
Molds reproduce through tiny spores. Some spores can remain airborne indefinitely, and many are able to survive extremes of temperature and pressure.
Common molds include Rhizopus stolonifer (black bread mold), Stachybotrys (appears on water-damaged building materials) and Botrytis cinerea or gray mold rot (strawberries, raspberries and other fruits). Leave a slice of bread out on the counter for a few days and Rhizopus stolonifer, black bread mold, will soon set up housekeeping. The stubborn mildew that appears so persistently on your shower walls is probably Stachybotrys. And that nice juicy peach you forgot about in the fruit basket is now playing host to a thriving colony of Botrytis cinerea.
Soft-ripened cheeses start out firm and rather chalky in texture. They are aged from the exterior inwards by exposing them to mold. The mold may be a velvety bloom of Penicillium candida or P. camemberti that forms a flexible white crust and contributes to the gooey texture and intense flavor. Brie and Camembert, the most famous of soft-ripened cheeses, are made by allowing white mold to grow on the outside of a soft cheese for a few days or weeks.
Washed-rind cheeses are soft in character and ripen inwards like those with white molds. However, they are treated differently. Washed rind cheeses are periodically cured in a solution of saltwater brine and other mold-bearing agents, making their surfaces amenable to the reddish-orange Brevibacterium linens. The result is a pungent odor and a distinctive flavor. Washed-rind cheeses can be soft (Limburger), semi-hard (Munster), or hard (Appenzeller).
Blue cheese is created by inoculating a cheese with Penicillium roqueforti or Penicillium glaucum. The mold grows within the cheese as it ages. These cheeses have distinct blue veins and assertive flavors. Their texture can be soft or firm. Some of the most renowned cheeses are of this type, each with its own distinctive color, flavor, texture and smell. They include Roquefort, Gorgonzola and Stilton.
The not-so-nice guys
Molds are ubiquitous in nature, and mold spores are a common component of household and workplace dust. However, when mold spores are present in large quantities, they may constitute a health hazard to humans, causing allergic reactions and respiratory problems. Because of this, mold allergy has become a serious problem for many people.
Some molds generate toxic liquid or gaseous compounds, called mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are harmful or lethal to humans and animals when exposure is high enough. Serious neurological problems can result from prolonged exposure to mycotoxins. One example of toxic mold is Stachybotrys chartarum, which has been associated with sick building syndrome. Farm animals frequently suffer from mycotoxin poisoning and may die as a result. Mycotoxins resist decomposition from cooking, and remain in the food chain.
Dermatophytes are parasitic fungi that cause skin infections such as Athlete's foot and Jock Itch. Most dermataphyte fungi take the form of a mold, as opposed to that of a yeast.
Your kitchen game plan
For hard cheeses in which mold is not part of the processing, it’s safe to remove the mold and eat the cheese. USDA recommends cutting off at least one inch around and below the mold spot. Be sure to keep the knife out of the mold itself so it will not cross-contaminate other parts of the cheese. After trimming off the mold, re-cover the cheese in fresh wrap. Mold generally cannot penetrate deep into the product.
Small mold spots can be cut off fruits and vegetables with low moisture content such as cabbage, bell peppers and carrots. Cut off at least one inch around and below the mold spot. Keep the knife out of the mold itself so it will not cross-contaminate other parts of the produce. Discard fruits and vegetables with high moisture content that can be contaminated below the surface.
Although most molds prefer higher temperatures, they can grow in your refrigerator. Check for mold in refrigerated jam and jelly and on cured, salty meats such as ham, bacon, salami and bologna. Discard jams and jellies infested with mold. The mold could be producing a mycotoxin. Hard salami and dry-cured country hams normally have surface mold. Some salamis have a characteristic thin, white mold coating that is safe to consume, but they shouldn’t show any other mold. Dry-cured country hams normally have surface mold that must be scrubbed off before cooking.
Clean the inside of your refrigerator every few months with one tablespoon of baking soda dissolved in a quart of water. Keep your dishcloths, towels, sponges and mops clean and fresh. A musty smell means they’re spreading mold around.
When you handle mold-infested foods, do not to sniff the moldy item. This can cause respiratory problems.
Bottom line: in some cases you can cut away the moldy part and use the food item—provided you know what you’re doing. But generally speaking, if food is covered with mold, discard it. If in doubt, throw it out.
When the soybean was originally introduced into the United States around 1900, it was used in the manufacture of industrial products such as oil, plastic, and ink, but it was not considered it to eat. Today, soy-based food products like hotdogs, sausage, bacon, cheese and frozen desserts abound in mainstream supermarkets and even in natural food stores. This soy invasion has been accompanied by a tremendous amount of soy-industry carnival ballyhoo regarding soy’s alleged health beneits.
The demonizing of traditional whole foods
The soy industry’s agenda:
Specious health claims As we noted, an extraordinary amount of hype and hoopla has accompanied the meteoric rise of soy as a desirable food. A popular booklet sold in many health food stores, for example, describes soy foods as “uniformly high in protein, but low in calories, carbohydrates and fats, entirely devoid of cholesterol, high in vitamins, easy to digest, tasty and wonderfully versatile in the kitchen.” Does this sound too good to be true? Yes? Well, that’s because it is.
Soy must be fermented
Tofu is not for you
What’s cooking in the gene kitchen
The politics of soy
More than 70 million people today suffer from digestive upsets at least once a week. Indigestion, bloating and heartburn are common complaints. Almost all digestive upsets have a common cause: inability to properly digest food. The solution? Digestive enzymes.
What digestive enzymes do
The heat is on
Gas and bloating
Fatigue after meals
Heartburn and Indigestion
Digestive enzymes: a magic bullet
Once, not so long ago, our ancestors got their drinking water directly from streams, rivers and lakes. This water was pure, uncontaminated and rich in mineral content.
Magnesium’s Crucial Role
Too Little Too Late
What Your Doctor Won't Tell You
What You Can Do
Another way to optimize your magnesium intake is to choose water that is rich in magnesium. Unfortunately in the US this is easier said than done. The FDA regulates bottled water and mandates that the only additives permitted are fluoride and antimicrobials to deter bacterial growth. With the exception of Florida's Original Fountain of Youth Mineral Water, drinking an entire liter of many so-called mineral waters provides only a minimal amount of magnesium. Of course dietary supplements are not intended to treat or cure any disease. However, by adding a magnesium supplement to your diet, you can easily meet your RDA without drinking gallons of expensive mineral water.
What You Need To Know About Magnesium
The taste that kills
Death-dealing diet drinks
The NSDA also said (Docket No. 82F-0305) “Aspartame is inherently, markedly and uniquely unstable in aqueous media. In a liquid, such as a soft drink APM will degrade as a function of temperature and pH. Higher temperatures and more acidic liquids increase the rate of degradation. Higher temperatures may also affect the degradation products which are formed.” (6)
Coke and Pepsi knew all this and yet sent diet pop to the Persian Gulf. American soldiers were, in effect, drinking formaldehyde cocktails.
It’s about the money
Through the ages, turmeric has been sought as a medicinal herb. In Sanskrit Turmeric is called “Kanchani, the “Golden Goddess.” This amazing herb has long been revered by ayurvedic healers for its diverse and powerful healing properties. Herbalists familiar with turmeric’s stimulant and tonic effects have prescribed the juice extracted from the root of the plant as an internal antiseptic and an antidote to blood poisoning. In traditional folk medicine, the dried root is ground and rubbed on the skin to maintain a healthy skin. Mixed with coconut oil, it speeds the healing of wounds and minimizes scarring.
Turmeric is what makes mustard yellow. It is also the principal ingredient in curry powder. It is turmeric, in fact, that gives curry powder its characteristic deep yellow color. Turmeric is also used to add color to foods such as butter, margarine, and cheese, to tint cotton, silk, paper, wood and cosmetics, as a food preservative, and to make pickles.
Therapeutic use of turmeric was described in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine as early as the 7th century AD. Asian folk medicine used turmeric to treat diarrhea, fever, bronchitis, colds, parasitic worms and leprosy, as well as bladder and kidney inflammations.
According to a 2005 article in the Wall Street Journal titled, “Common Indian Spice Stirs Hope,” research activity into curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is exploding. Two hundred and fifty-six curcumin papers were published in the past year, according to a search of the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Supplement sales are on the increase, and the U.S. National Institutes of Health has four clinical trials underway to study curcumin treatment for pancreatic cancer, multiple myeloma, Alzheimer’s and colorectal cancer. (1)
Turmeric—the Golden Goddess—is clearly coming into its own.References
Did you know that much of mass-marketed soap available in stores today is not really soap at all, but detergent? Detergents are a petroleum-based product, like gasoline and kerosene. Some ingredients in mass-marketed corporate soap have been proven harmful to human health and can cause severe skin irritations and worse. We are talking about additives such as DEA, Isopropyl Alcohol, BHT and Triclosan (a common component of anti-bacterial soap).
Triclosan, Sodium Cocoyl Bethionate, Stearic Acid, Sodium Tallowate, Water, Sodium Dodecylbenzene Sulfonate, Sodium Cocoate, PEG-20, Sodium Chloride, Masking Fragrance, Sodium Isethionate, Petrolatum, Sodium Isosteroyl Lactylate, Sucrose Laurate, Titanium Dioxide, Pentasodium Pentatate, Tetrasodium Etidronate.
Therapeutic use of turmeric was described in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine as early as the 7th century AD. Asian folk medicine used turmeric to treat diarrhea, fever, bronchitis, colds, parasitic worms and leprosy, as well as bladder and kidney inflammations.
Color me toxic
More than skin deep
Getting under your skin
Pure, natural moisturizing glycerin
Bread-heavy diet linked to kidney cancer
Further study indicated
Pass the vegetables
A toxic world
In 1990, manufacturers were supposed to get the benzene out of their soft drinks. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which discovered the prob- lem, never made it public because the US soft drinks association promised to “get the word out” and fix the benzene problem themselves. 1
The “word” to “get out” is sodium benzoate, a common preservative. In the presence of an acid it breaks down into several things, including benzene, a carcinogenic, highly regulated chemical. Unfortu- nately, many soft drinks are naturally acidic, espe- cially fruit based ones that contain vitamin C (ascor- bic acid). The remedy is simple if you know it: don’t use sodium benzoate to preserve acidic drinks. But in Europe, Latin America and North America over 1,500 soft drink products containing sodium benzoate and either citric acid or ascorbic acid have been intro- duced since January 2002. In formulations like that the FDA has confirmed that benzene does form at parts per billion (ppb) levels.
Are parts per billion levels dangerous? Yes, ac- cording to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 2 . The safe level is zero ppb because anything above that is hazardous, although the maximum al- lowable level in drinking water is 5 ppb only because at the present time we can’t reliably remove benzene any better than that. Some soft drinks tested by an independent lab show benzene levels at 10 ppb! How dangerous? Short-term effects include tem- porary nervous system disorders, immune system depression, anemia, and long-term effects are chro- mosome aberrations and cancer. That’s what you are risking when you consume a soft drink from an American or foreign source that didn’t “get the word”.
Minutes from a meeting between FDA and the National Soft Drinks Association in 1990-1 show FDA officials chose to protect soft drink manufactur- ers from “adverse publicity associated with this prob- lem”. Instead of litigation, or legislation, they near- sightedly chose to trust the industry to “get the word out”. Legislation prohibiting sodium benzoate in acidic beverages would have served the public better, because although FDA tests in 1993 indicated the problem was gone, obviously the verbal solution did not last.
The FDA should not have covered up the benzene problem because their first duty is to citizens. These days, if a water district found benzene above 5 ppb the FDA would require them to “notify the public via newspapers, radio, TV and other means. Additional actions, such as providing alternative drinking water supplies, may be required to prevent serious risks to public health.” I suppose we should be thankful that, at least to- day, we are getting an investigation rather than a private deal with vested interests.
Good old milk often unfairly accused
benzene 2 http://www.epa.gov/safewater/contaminants/dw_contamfs/benzene.html
Science has not had time to rigorously test every botanical for every traditional use, and I used to think that was bad. Now I think “Hey, science, take your time. I’m willing to accept some uncertainty.” Why did I change my mind? Why do I now embrace traditional uses, which may or may not be accurate?
For instance traditional uses for butterbur (Petasites vul- garis) include a heart stimulant, diuretic, fever remedy, ulcer remedy, poison antidote, and love divination. Love divination? Apparently if a young, unmarried woman sows butterbur seeds half an hour before sunrise on a Friday morning, in a lonesome place and sings “I sow, I sow! / Then, my own dear, / Come here, come here, / And mow and mow!”, she will see her future husband mowing a short distance away. 1 Of all these traditional uses, which ones have been scientifically proven? None that I know of, but other surprising uses have. Several scientific studies find butterbur (Petasites hybridus root) to be effective at preventing migraine headaches in adults, adoles- cents, and children. In adults, for example, 150 mg of a stan- dardized extract per day reduced the number of migraines per month for most participants by half or more. This is signifi- cantly better than the placebo used, and comparable to ob- served benefits from prescription medications. It should be noted that although the frequency lessened, the duration and intensity of the migraine appeared unchanged. 2 In another clinical trial a carbon dioxide extract of butterbur was found to be as effective as fexofenadine (Allegra ?) for allergic rhinitis (hay fever). 3
It looks like science has given migraine and hay fever suf- ferers a safer, cheaper remedy that’s just as effective as con- ventional drugs. If butterbur becomes popular, you can bet there will be many more studies.
Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) is one of the top three dietary supplements sold (the other two are garlic and glucosamine) so ginkgo is one of the most studied botanicals with an estimated 140+ published clinical trials involving both healthy adults and adults suffering from dementia and other cognitive impair- ment. What do they tell us?
According to a review of scientific literature through Sep- tember 2004, 11 out of 16 studies involving healthy, cogni- tively intact adults found significant positive results including enhanced performances involving memory, attention, and speed of processing abilities. 4 But ginkgo did not benefit from the weight of all these positive studies because recently the media focused on one of the clinical trials 5 that did not find significant positive results and generally reported that ginkgo did not work! Thanks, science.
What if a dietary supplement had a great and important benefit which was scientifically proven with little dispute, and the media had nothing bad to say about it. Would that get everyone excited?
Red yeast rice is rice that has been fermented by red yeast (Monascus purpureus). Chinese peoples have been eating it for over one thousand years without reports of toxic- ity. One traditional use was for improving blood circulation. Science had little difficulty validating that claim because the red yeast makes monacolin K, also known as lovastatin, marketed as Mevacor, a studied and approved drug that lowers cholesterol. 6 With science on its side, Pharmanex, Inc. fermented selected strains of red yeast that would produce a concentration of lovastatin and marketed it as the dietary supplement Cholestin, claiming, correctly, that it will help reduce cholesterol. After much litigation the FDA successfully got Cholestin reclassified as a drug, which destroyed its biggest assets: cheap, safe availability.
Science starts off helping the dietary supplement industry by validating uses for botanicals, then kills it because negative studies get media attention and positive studies get FDA attention (to be fair, neither of these is the fault of science). Is the answer to shun studies and go back to traditional uses before science robs us of them? When my daughter grows up and is ready to settle down should I give her some butterbur seeds to sow?
The answer is “yes” to everything. Yes, science, keep
studying. Yes, health-conscience consumer, subscribe to
HerbalGram, the peer-reviewed Journal of the American
Botanical Council to find out the latest scientifically accurate
information. 7 Yes, pass on the information to your family and
friends as humans have traditionally done (don’t tell the
popular media). And yes, rely on unstudied traditional uses,
too. For example, I’m 100% convinced butterbur seeds can get
my daughter a date. After all, if you put a young, unmarried,
lonely woman singing all alone in a field at harvest time just
before the weekend, she won’t fail to attract muscular, em-
Lets just consider one fact in order to get a perspective on what is going on in healthcare research. The same corporations that make and CONTROL the creation of dangerous chemicals, like pesticides, that are proven to cause cancers also make it their business to produce and CONTROL the sale of “drugs that cure” cancers.
In addition they also restrict and CONTROL the research funding to beneit more drug production and draw attention away from environmental factors that are a contributing factor in cancers and AIDS as well as most other diseases. The whole drug system is self-enriching at the cost of humanity.
Usually corporate magazines such as Fortune, only publish the pro corporate views, since the survival of all ad-supported media is entirely CONTROLLED by the maia-like run ad agencies, that can pull the plug on ALL the major advertisers and seriously jeopardize, even large and established magazines, like Fortune. This is why I am really pleased that Fortune and Seattle Times actually did publish articles that expose the systematic corporate CONTROL in research and handling of toxic wastes.
Why We’re Losing The War On Cancer (and how to win it)
"Fear in the Fields: How hazardous wastes become fertilizer"
Like you know legislative CONTROL is the way to corporate riches and that is why they now want CODEX to become the law in USA. Tim Bolen, a Consumer Advocate states that “We’re in trouble in the US over the “Co- dex” problem. Why? Because there is too much conlict among the people who should be working together to solve the problem”.
This is consistent with my experience, after sending out the November 2005 email newsletter explaining the strategies explaining how www.healthfreedomusa.org wants to stop CODEX, I was contacted by John Ham- mel from International Advocates of Health Freedom (www.iahf.com). He adamantly does not agree with the view that we can change CODEX and claims the only solution is to kill CAFTA/ FTAA. You can see the letter at http://www.drclarkstore.com/inadofhefr.html. March 2006
What action can we take?
The agave (ah-gah-vay) plant is both beautiful and useful. The leshy leaves of the agave plant cover the pineapple shaped heart, which contains a sweet, sticky juice called aguamiel. Traditionally, the agave plant is allowed to reach a certain age, then farmers dig the trunk out of the ground, split it open, and after removing the core, extract the precious sap, or aguamiel.
The Aztecs held the agave to be sacred, and agave juice played a prominent part in their religious ceremonies. Agave juice was also a favorite food of the Aztecs. Today the agave is considered by natives to be the Mexican Tree of Life and Abundance because of the aguamiel, honey-water, that lows from the leaves and roots when cut. The fermented juice from the agave plant forms the basis of the popular Mexican drink known as tequila.
Agave syrup—or nectar—is about 90 percent fructose. Yet only recently has it been adapted as a sweetener and a safe and delicious sugar substitute. Agave syrup has a low glycemic level, and unlike the crystalline form of fructose, which is reined mainly from corn (corn syrup), agave syrup is already fructose in its natural form. Therefore it does not need to be reined, and consequently it contains no processing chemicals. Moreover, because agave syrup is 25 percent sweeter than sugar, less of it is needed in your recipes or on your cereal, and one-third fewer calories are consumed. This can be a boon to people who are diabetic, have insulin resistance (Syndrome X), or are simply watching their carbohydrates.
Fructose, as we said, has a low glycemic value. But, according to recent research, if fructose is consumed with high glycemic foods, it loses its low glycemic value. In fact, it will take on the value of the higher glycemic food. Therefore, use fructose products such as agave syrup sparingly. It’s a good policy to eat fructose-based desserts on an empty stomach, in between meals or in combination with other low-glycemic foods.
Our Naturel Agave Syrup is a Certiied Organic, high fructose, low-glycemic sweetener naturally extracted from the trunk of the wild agave plant. Use it with conidence on your cereal, for baking, and whenever a recipe calls for sugar.
For baking, replace 1 cup of sugar with ¾ cup of Naturel. To replace liquids, reduce by 1/3 cup. Reduce cooking temperature by 25 percent.
• Serving size: 1 tsp
Body products are my concern right now, but it’s evident in general, too. Automobiles have more features than they did 50 years ago, and those features didn’t all appear last year, they appeared gradu- ally. We have more kinds of kitchen appli- ances, office machines, fabrics, television programs, shoes, sports and ethnic restau- rants than ever before. In general more variety is good, and interesting, so we may not think about the downside of “new” and “improved” products. But for body care products, we should.
Everything you put on your skin will potentially be absorbed; therefore every product should be scrutinized for safety. Which ingredients are beneficial for you? Which benefit the manufacturer at your expense? Which ingredients have a history of safety? Which ones are newly approved? Which ones aren’t listed on the label?
Take soap, for in- stance. The basic recipe is lye, water, and lard (or oil). But you can’t buy plain soap off the shelf anymore. It all has additives like fragrance, deodorant, color, bactericide, or exfoli- ant. A good consumer should not assume that just because it was simple to buy soap in the past it is still that way. Each ingredient should be scrutinized before you can feel confident about using it on your skin. At best, each ingredient should be something you recognize as edible, because some is going in your body. We feel good about every ingredient in our Pearl products. We would not hesitate to eat most of them! (I dare you to try that with your deodorant!) But it’s not easy coming up with products that work using only food ingredients. How do you keep them from going bad? How do you compete with chemicals honed to perfec- tion in extensive laboratories and testing facilities? To be honest, we can’t. But we come close. For instance our hairspray uses a little gelatin for stickiness. It won’t hold as well as a concocted can of chemicals, but it’s pretty good, and yes, you can eat it.
We don’t use much fra- grance, but when we do be assured it didn’t come from a laboratory. For instance our lavender scent is the oil that comes from real, crushed lavender flowers. It costs $1.30 per table- spoon, but at least it’s safe to eat. Lavender is classi- fied as safe for human consumption by the F.D.A. 1 Same with sage.
So you can purchase Pearl body care products with great confidence. Every ingredient is on the label. Check the ingredients for yourself. And taste!
Do You Need More?
If you were the CEO of a large food conglomer- ate, and if you wanted to design and manufacture the ideal breath freshener, what would you choose? For a zesty flavor, a blend of natural and artifi- cial ones will make a nice balance of taste and economy. For a gooey center you use vegetable oil. To keep it from sticking to your filling machines, you use a little FDA-approved mineral oil. Sweet things have the most appeal to humans, but sugar is avoided by health-conscious consumers, so use sucralose and neotame (8,000 times sweeter than sugar). Finally, a soft gelatin capsule with a smooth coat of carnauba wax, colored with an eye-catching mix of blue #1 and red #40, and you have a sure winner in the marketplace. The flashy package is probably the most expensive ingredient, but at $1.99 (retail) you will easily hit your profit target. 1
Proudly you go home with the first package off the assembly line and tell your family, “Look what’s going to make us some money.” Your family is impressed and proud of you. Your five-year-old daughter says, “Can I try one, please?” “Oh, no,” you tell her, “too many possibly dan- gerous chemicals for you!” “You aren’t going to sell them to chil- dren?” she asks. “Yes, they’re for everyone,” you tell her. “Except me?” she asks. “Why?”
You explain that just because certain chemicals are legal, it doesn’t make them good, and it doesn’t make them healthful, and it doesn’t guarantee further studies won’t find them unsafe. “Then why did you use them to make these great looking pills?” your daughter wonders.
You explain about the competitive marketplace and the gross margin and how it’s quite possible that all the chemicals used will continue to be found safe in the long run. “Or at least until the CEO who succeeds me signs off on my retirement package,” you mutter softly.
Now again pretend you are that CEO wishing to design and market the ideal breath freshener, only this time your primary concern is to come up with a formula that you wouldn’t mind if your five-year- old daughter ate a whole container of.
It suddenly occurred to me that some of the bo- tanicals we sell would be perfect. Like cinnamon. One pinch and your mouth wakes up like your daughter on Christmas morning. Plus there’s no doubt cinnamon is safe because humans have been using cinnamon in their food, with no adverse af- fects, for centuries. And it may even be good for you! Studies have shown cinnamon appears to push down both triglycerides and cholesterol, and also boosts insulin’s effect so diabetics need less. 2
So we put pure cinnamon, no sugar, no coloring, in small gelatin capsules for quick mouth freshen- ing. Usually you try to swallow capsules and avoid bad-tasting contents, but in this case, you crunch up the capsule and pow! It hits you like opening your daughter’s first straight-A report card!
I think cinnamon tastes the best, but a close sec- ond is spearmint. Others include peppermint, fennel, cardamom, cloves, coriander and anise. They cost $1.95 each. I hope you find a Breath Bite you like. My daughter is not five, she’s ten, but I’m glad I don’t have to worry about how many Breath Bites she eats. After all, she’s my retirement package.
More Good Stuff
In the supply catalog, vitamin A has a poison warning label on it. When it arrives we have to handle it very carefully. However once we mix it with filler, like cornstarch, so it is not overpower- ing, it becomes an essential nutrient. Too much causes liver abnormalities and birth defects, not enough causes night blindness, reproduction prob- lems, immune system dysfunction, and other prob- lems. How do you know what is the “right” amount for you? Today, the US government’s Reference Daily Intake (RDI) is 5000 IU, 1
but is this the right amount for you? To get RDI’s, the government relies on a consensus of scientific opinion to gauge the quantities necessary to assure the performance of recognized and essential physiological functions, but one problem with this approach is: we don’t know everything about the human body. Scientific consensus is capricious; it changes as we learn more. For instance the 1968 RDA for vitamin C was 60 mg. In 1974 that changed to 45 mg., but in 1980 it went back to 60 mg. 2
What if tomorrow scientists find out that lots more would have been better? In fact there are well-documented benefits of nutrient quantities above the RDI for folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, selenium and chromium, according to Vitamin and Mineral Safety, 2nd Ed. (VM Safety3 ).
We should ask ourselves: Is there a better yardstick to measure our optimal intake, than RDI’s? Scientists may argue incessantly over “optimal”, but there is much more agreement about “too much”. Many studies vary the dosages of nutrients, and often note when adverse effects appear. The safe upper limit is therefore somewhat apparent, and government agencies are very interested in that in order to protect consumers. For instance the US Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) sets their upper limit of safety for vitamin A at 10,000 IU. The European Commission Scientific Committee on Food upper limit is also 10,000 IU. The United Kingdom Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals Guidance Level is 5,000 IU. It should be noted that these are safe daily limits. Children in some parts of the world are given a 50,000 to 200,000 IU dose of vitamin A once every 3 to 12 months to treat and prevent deficiencies (VM Safety).
Looking at the available research as reviewed in VM Safety, the Council of Responsible Nutrition (CRN, www.crnusa.org) has come up with its own Upper Level of Supplementation (ULS), and based on upper safety levels minus the amounts you al- ready get in foods. For instance, the CRN ULS for vitamin C is 2000 mg, much more than the 60 mg RDI, because vitamin C has such a well-studied safety record.
It is the CRN ULS that makes more sense for an optimal intake level than the RDI. We should strive for maximum amounts of vitamins and minerals, while still knowing such levels have been shown to be safe.
Everyone should read VM Safety, because it is so informative and because a few items depend on individual circumstances. For instance high con- sumers of fortified foods and liver have a lower CRN ULS for vitamin A, and they recommend smokers not supplement with beta-carotene at all. But we were so impressed with the report we will be attempting to make a supplement that suits most adults and supplies most of the CRN ULS nutrients. Check with us next time you order!
Product labels on website
Mel Gibson starred in a 1997 movie entitled "Conspiracy Theory". What was funny about the movie is that he had many far-fetched conspiracy theories like the new $100 bills had tracking devices in them, or NASA had a satellite that could cause earthquakes. I always thought dietary supplement conspiracy theories stretched the imagination until I read the headline "Vitamins 'may raise death risk from cancer'". Vitamins? Bad for you?
We all know there are physicians who advise patients not to take vitamins, minerals and other dietary supplements because they feel (a) you get enough in the food you eat, or (b) they don't do any significant good. I'd like to think these physicians are not part of a conspiracy and just honestly have their head in the sand.
We all know there are publications biased against dietary supplements. Consumer Reports ran an article in the May 2004 issue sharply criticizing the Dietary Supplement industry. Entitled "Danger- ous Supplements: Still at Large", it cast an inaccu- rate picture of dietary supplements in general ac- cording to the Council for Responsible Nutrition. 1
The American Botanical Council spends a lot of time fighting false and misleading information, too (see their website www.herbalgram.org). When I read articles in the mainstream press that attempt to scare me away from dietary supplements, like the recent ephedra reporting, I try to forgive editors because they are just trying to sell periodicals by sensationalizing issues, and I don't think they are part of a conspiracy.
We all know the federal Food and Drug Ad- ministration (FDA) is biased against dietary sup- plements because it sees them as a threat to pharma- ceuticals. As recently as the Spring of 2003 the FDA proposed a redefinition of disease that would classify any deviation from a state of "normal" as a disease, even if that deviation is universal or a normal part of aging, such as onset of menses or menopause. Under the proposed new definition of disease, any dietary supplement with virtually any effect on the body could be reclassified as a drug. 2
Special interests influencing government isn't new, and doesn't prove there is a conspiracy. But "Vitamins 'may raise death risk from can- cer'" goes too far! No responsible editor in the mainstream press would publish such drivel unless pressured to do so, in my opinion. Read it for your- self and judge if the headline is merited. 3
So who is behind this conspiracy? Who wants to mislead our health choices? I'm going to call up Mel Gibson and see if he wants to investigate with me....
Connecticut school goes candy cold-turkey
Where is my order?
The Self Health Signal is an email newsletter with short summaries of health-related news. I try to select topics that show new approaches to existing conditions. However, it is not intended to be medi- cal advice.
To sign up for The Self Health Signal simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You do not have to write any Message. You don't even have to write a Subject. Whichever email address you use to send the signal-on message will begin receiving The Self Health Signal. A new one is emailed every two to four weeks, although it may be longer or shorter because there is no fixed schedule. Instruc- tions for discontinuing the newsletter are included at the bottom of each issue (it's as simple as sending a "email@example.com" email).
Following are some of the articles that have already been covered:
Vitamins ward off Alzheimer's
Clove extract neutralizes asbestos fibers Asbestos is dangerous and difficult to handle. But Italian chemists at the University of Turin found that eugenol and hydrogen peroxide instantly hardens asbestos into a polymer. Eugenol is a chemical found in cloves. The team of scientists hopes to develop a commercial spray that can be used on buildings to provide a safer and cheaper way of neutralizing the threat of exposure from asbestos previously used in building materials. 2
Is the spread of corn syrup causing the
spread of your tummy?
Consumers look to vitamins to boost eye
Where is my order?
I read an article by a prominent doctor in which he expressed his view that humans eating a normal diet don’t need dietary supplements. This angered me because it lulls ordinary folks into thinking they don’t need vitamins. After all, who among us think they eat an abnormal diet?
In reality, the entire civilized world eats an ab- normal diet. We have been humans for 2 million years, but most of the basic cultivated, processed, preserved food we eat has only been around for several thousand years, and junk food has only gotten plentiful in the last few decades. A normal diet would be nothing but wild, raw vegetables, meats and berries. And yes, if you only ate that you certainly wouldn’t need any extra vitamins! What do modern people think a normal diet is? I’ve seen adults just eat a doughnut and coffee for “breakfast.” You can probably name lots more examples. But what I worry most about is what our children think. The food industry uses celebrities and popular cartoon characters to tout junk food and fast food. Our schools sell soft drinks, junk food and fast food to our children. To make matters worse, portion size is out of control. 1
According to Dr. Michael Holick, a Boston University vitamin D specialist, there is actually an epidemic of vitamin D deficiency in teens. 2
This is due to their typical habits of little outdoor exercise (preferring movies and video games) and little milk (preferring soft drinks). Dr. Catherine Gordon, a Boston pediatric endocrinologist, says her research suggests as many as 20 percent of healthy children in Boston may be vitamin D deficient. That’s going to haunt them all their life. German researchers say there are “clear indications” that heart disease may be caused by vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D blood levels were up to 50 percent lower in patients with chronic heart failure than in a control group. 3
Let’s face it: our diet is not “normal,” and we would benefit from supplements. Fortunately, not all doctors have their heads in the sand. A review of scientific articles on the sub- ject came to this conclusion: “Most people do not consume an optimal amount of all vitamins by diet alone. Pending strong evidence of effectiveness from randomized trials, it appears prudent for all adults to take vitamin supplements.” 4
The study recommends “Physicians should make specific efforts to learn about their patients' use of vitamins to ensure that they are taking vitamins they should, such as folate supplementation for women in the childbearing years, and avoiding dangerous prac- tices such as high doses of vitamin A during preg- nancy or massive doses of fat-soluble vitamins at any age.” When was the last time your doctor initi- ated such a discussion with you? Fortunately, I think our schools are improving. California would be the first state in the nation to ban school soda sales to elementary school students if Gov. Gray Davis signs a new bill passed by the state Senate in August. There is a ban scheduled to take effect January 1, but only if schools get addi- tional funding for nutrition programs (not likely). This new bill doesn’t depend on schools getting additional money and would take effect next July 1. 5
Our schools are cleaning up their act. And you should also tell your kids that cartoon characters love junk food only because they don’t eat it! Out of 13,000 men and women aged 35 to 60 cancer was the major cause of death in a recent French study. But a vitamin cocktail reduced the risk of cancer in men by 31%. Women did not benefit, possibly because their diet was better than the men’s to begin with. 6
Let that inspire us to eat healthy and take our vi-
Brakes on the Scale, Nanci Hellmich, USA Today, 8/03.
Doctors: Teens’ vitamin D deficiency an epidemic, CNN.com, 9/1/03
Fletcher, R., Fairfield, K., JAMA, 2002;287:3127-3129.
State Senate approves ban…, San Diego Union Tribune, 8/29/03.
“Our kids seem to really like the fruit and vege- table snacks,” said Muscatine High School principal Dennis Heiman. Can this be true? Can teenagers like normal, healthy food such as carrots, star fruit, broccoli, plums, cauliflower for snacks instead of junk food? A $6 million program is going to find out. 1
Since fruit and vegetable snacks were intro- duced at this Iowa high school, sales of candy and soda have dropped 25%. Heiman said “I see a world of difference.”
Why all the big funding? This answer is it is all part of the fight against the obesity epidemic. Teens in the last 10 years increased from 11% obese to 15% obese. Smaller children and adults have be- come more overweight, too.
Health officials recommend five servings a day of fruit and vegetables (seven to nine for adults). A 1996 National Cancer Institute study found that French fries made up nearly a quarter of all vegeta- bles consumed by children and adolescents aged 2 to 18. French fries shouldn’t count. Kids need their eyes opened. “Some kids have never had a tanger- ine before,” said Heiman.
I think these healthful snacks are fantastic, of course. Now lets get the rest of the junk food out of our schools. When you offer a child a fresh straw- berry, you shouldn’t have to apologize that it doesn’t taste like a candy bar.
Be Thin To Win I don’t mean an unhealthy thinness that comes from deprivation or starvation, I mean being lean. I mean eating the right amount of healthy food to keep you slim. What you win is longevity. Mice or monkeys given 50% less food lived 50% longer! Obviously these animals, when al- lowed to eat instinctively, are eating more than what is advisable for a longer life. Are humans doing the same?
An NIA study of 700 healthy men over 25 years who ate as they wished found those who were slim lived longer than those who were overweight. For some genetically lucky people slimness runs in the family; for the rest of us permanent restriction of food intake, and lots of exercise, is required. 2,3
Anti-antibiotic I admit I’m prejudiced against antibiotics. I think too many people use them as a first line of defense instead of a last line. In April 2002 a woman with painfully infected foot sores finally had to have doctors amputate one of her toes. Doctors then discovered why she had not responded to the numerous antibiotics they had given her. The bacterium, staphylococcus aureus, was a strain that was totally resistant to our most powerful antibiotics. (Fortunately three drugs were found that were effective, and the woman got well.) To combat resistance, health officials want peo- ple to do without antibiotics when infections are not life-threatening. 4
This means stop using that fancy anti-bacterial soap! We sell homemade plain soap, so I may be biased, but in my defense, a one-year study shows plain soap just as effective as antimicrobial or anti- bacterial soaps. 5
Plain & Pure Products Ever since we encapsulated our first product we have specialized in Plain & Pure Products. The bottles and labels are plain, and less expensive. The contents are plain—typically a single ingredient— and thus as pure as we can make them. We offer some products in bulk, so you don’t even eat the capsule. I had one highly allergic customer tell me our vitamins were the only ones she could tolerate. We listen to you. Call us with suggestions. Thanks.
JAMA 288:1342, 2002
Science 297:811, 2002
At a meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, investigators from Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital reported results of their ex- periments with human immune protein (HIP) and curcumin. HIP is found in high concentrations in our blood unless we have cancer. Curcumin is the compound that gives turmeric it’s characteristic color and flavor. The researchers found HIP slows the growth of human prostate cancer cells in the laboratory; curcumin quickly kills a lot of those cells; but both together are even more effective than each alone! 1
Here’s the hope: that we enjoy curry dishes, the curry powder contains turmeric, the turmeric con- tains curcumin, the curcumin assists our own HIP to keep us cancer-free! Because curry has been eaten for centuries without adverse effects there is no reason not to indulge ourselves. Or is there? In Britain curry dishes have exploded in popu- larity, and some scientists report evidence of a physical addiction as a possible explanation. Blood pressure rose 4.9% in subjects presented with tikka masala, versus just 1.8% for traditional food. Curry anticipation caused a larger increase in heart rate also. But other scientists attribute these phenomena to the simple fact that British food is boring. They say Brits crave curries, but it doesn’t rise to the level of addiction. 2
Mainlining Fast Food Fast food is very popular in the United States. Is that because it’s addictive, or just a craving? Re- searches say as you put on weight, you become more resistant to the hormone leptin, and this in turn causes the brain to lose its ability to respond to other eating-related hormones. So maybe getting fatter isn’t just lack of self-control. Maybe an addic- tive change is taking place.
Many fast food “meals” let you consume all the calorie and fat content a person needs for a day in just a few minutes. One scientist speculated such an overdose might be capable of activating the dopa- mine system like addictive drugs do. 3 Inconclusive, but interesting.
Hooking Our Kids Whether it’s a craving or an addiction, we par- ents should strive to keep fast food and junk food away from our children.
I wish we were more like Belmont Middle School in North Carolina. Susan Chase, the princi- pal, removed all soda and snack vending machines except for two that dispense water. She said “I can make that money in other ways. We don’t need to exploit the children by selling them drinks.” Bravo! Their school superintendent Mike Ward sent infor- mation to schools that said “Fund education so that schools do not compromise the health of children and youth by raising funds through the sale of foods and beverages low in nutrients and high in calo- ries.” 4
Bravo again! It takes strength not to support a worthy group’s on-campus fund-raising candy sale, but now you know you have to raise your voice like Ms Chase and Mr. Ward did!
New Products We now carry anise seed, coriander, alfalfa, birch bark, rose hips, flax seed oil, and a few other new products, but the most exciting new product is Super A! We had been having trouble for over a year getting liquid vitamin A for our drops. So we chose a dry form and added anti-oxidants zinc, vitamin E, selenium, and beta-carotine. This is a powerful combination in a tiny, easy-to-swallow capsule.
Science News, 161:317, 2002.
Ethically-Challenged Coca-Cola Makes Effort
But Coca-Cola has a solution! Let no one think they don’t care about all those kids they make obese and diabetic with their liquid candy concoctions. Their new campaign is called “Step With It,” and it encourages kids to take a minimum of 10,000 steps a day for good health. The program will challenge about 50,000 middle-schoolers in nine cities. 1
Don’t misunderstand me; I would like Step With It to succeed. What I hope is clear is that doing one thing right doesn’t make any of a thou- sand wrongs any better.
Coca-Cola needs to correct their corporate fo- cus. Schools are starting to wake up to their ethical responsibilities and ban soft drink sales even if it costs them $14,000 in annual revenue (average per Los Angeles middle school 2 ).
And don’t think the students will die of thirst. LA is not planning on banning water, milk, bever- ages that are at least 50% fruit juice, or sports drinks with less than 42 grams of sugar per 20- ounce serving. Ironically, some of these may be Coca-Cola products. According to their website “…we offer nearly 300 brands across almost 200 countries. Many of these brands, including soft drinks, fruit juices, bottled waters and sports drinks, are only available in specific regions of the world, sometimes in just a single country. The reason for this is simple: different people like different bever- ages at different times, for different reasons.” 3
So come on, Coke. You have more healthful products. Promote them here in the United States. Promote them to children. Do the right thing. Diet Drinks? Forget It! Maybe sugarless soft drinks are okay, because they arguably don’t make you fat or diabetic. Unlikely. Last September a study at Texas Christian University found that even moderate amounts of aspartame (artificial sweetener used in most diet drinks), consumed regularly, interfere with long- term memory (but not short-term memory). This research needs to be confirmed, but wouldn’t it be tragic if the diet sodas students drink while studying prevent them from reaping the benefits of their education? 4
Vegetables Need Airtime, Too
The public obviously needs to be educated. Kids need to be shown (on TV, so they believe it!) how essential fruits and vegetables are.
Reuters, Coca-Cola Starts Youth Physical Fitness Program, 7/16/02.
Erica Werner (AP), L.A. School District Set to Extend Ban on Soft
Drink Sales, San Diego Union Tribune, 8/26/02.
FDA Consumer, 36#3:2, 2002.
Produce Consumption Not Up Much Despite Health Push, Seattle
UK Parents Saving Kids From Themselves Judging from BBC News, parents in the United Kingdom are much more aware of their children’s deteriorating food choices than we are. Here are some headlines:
Children ‘eating themselves ill’, June 1, 2000. Five-year-old girls ‘weight conscious’, Sep 7, 2000. Childhood obesity soars in UK, Jan 5, 2001. TV ‘encourages poor eating habits’, Jan 7, 2001. Chil- dren ‘breakfast on junk food’, May 21, 2001. Junk food ads ‘targeted at children’, July 9, 2001. Jury to vote on children’s foods, April 23, 2002. The last one caught my eye. This “jury” will be composed of parents of kids aged between two and 16. They will examine products and selling tactics used by food manufacturers, vote, and pass on their comments to an independent watchdog agency. Some awards being considered are the “Additive Nightmare”, for the product that most relies on artificial sweeteners, colors and flavorings for its appeal. Another award is “Pester Power” for the marketing technique that most encourages children to nag their parents for junk food. There are positive awards, too, like “High Five” for the best promo- tion of fruit and vegetables to children. 1
The idea that companies target children with ads promoting unhealthy food didn’t bother me much because I thought kids can only eat what their par- ents shop for, so it doesn’t matter what they see on television. The article on junk food ads made me change my mind. After monitoring commercial television programs for 40 hours, a report found nearly half of all the food advertised during chil- dren’s television hours were for cakes and confec- tionery. There were no ads for fruits and vegeta- bles. 2
The problem is this disparity causes children to think of unhealthy food as desirable and healthy food as unimportant, and that in turn will do them a disservice both during childhood and as adults. Perhaps the marketing damage is already appar- ent because the Children ‘eating themselves ill’ article states 80% of [British] children aged four to 18 regularly eat snack foods such as chips, biscuits [cookies] and chocolate. In addition, 20% ate no fruit at all during the one-week survey. 3
Are fruits too unglamorous? Dry Days at Middle School Parents and students are sharply divided at Coronado Middle School, and the heart of the dis- pute is soda. The school board enacted a two-day- per-week soda sale ban at the school, and kids are griping. One student philosophized “What’s the point of your youth if you can’t enjoy it?” 4
Another stated soda is needed to “keep us awake during class.” Nancy McRae, a parent leader, is unsympa- thetic. “I believe it is unethical for the school dis- trict to generate revenues by selling products that are unhealthy for children.”
As previously reported, California recently passed a state law banning soda sales at middle schools starting in 2004. We were unhappy that high schools weren’t included, but this is a good start. I suggest students ignore marketing that pro- jects the message that soda is an essential part of an “enjoyable” youth, and kids should be told that there are other tricks to use for staying awake, like getting enough sleep!
School no-soda days no hit, San Diego Union Tribune, Feb 16, 2002.
Evil Plot to Capture World Exposed
And the mastermind is proud of it!
Note that their goal is not to improve the health of humankind, because that would be impossible due to the lack of nutrition in their soft drink products. In fact their goal of increasing sales can be restated as “to decrease the quality of life for ourselves and our children by promoting junk foods over healthy foods.”
The United States currently spends about $14 billion for the treatment of osteoporosis, and that’s just one of the illnesses linked to a poor diet and nutrition. In previous issues of Self Health News, I have discussed studies that focus on others, like type 2 diabetes in children. 2
So maybe another Coca-Cola goal could be “to burden all citizens with higher health care costs and destroy their home lives by ruining their children’s health.” They have already achieved that goal, but I doubt they will tout it in their Shareholder’s Report.
A generation ago teenagers drank twice as much milk as soda. Today it is the opposite. Why is Coca- Cola winning the war to drain our wallets and health? Perhaps it’s tactics like spending $150 million to exclusively sponsor the movie “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” According to www.saveharry.com, J. K. Rowling is getting $15 million of that. Expect Harry Potter and Coca-Cola to be linked in a variety of promotions. Visit the website and urge Ms Rowling to rethink her deci- ion. Otherwise, what’s next? Harry smoking Cam- els when he turns 21?
The Line to Take Over the World Lengthens
In addition to the many things we already know that are wrong with margarine, a new Australian study suggests toddlers who consume large amounts of margarine and foods fried in vegetable oil are twice as likely to develop asthma. 3
The report cautions that it is “too soon to make any dietary recommendations to children.” I disagree. Take the tub of margarine away from your toddler, now! If the study is validated you will be glad you did.
Lieberman, T., Got Soda? Why Kids Drink Less Milk, Los Angeles
Times, October 15, 2001.
Schools Side With Junk-Food Vendors …is the headline of an article in the August 23, 2001 San Jose Mercury News 1 . Sen. Martha Escutia (D-Norwalk) authored legislation that would have banned the sale of soda and high-fat or sugary snack foods in California schools. But the bill was op- posed by about two dozen school districts. The result was that the bill was heavily amended to apply mainly to elementary schools.
Sen. Escutia is quoted as saying, “…they have put profit at the expense of the health of our kids, and I don’t think that is right.” Brett McFadden, legislative advocate for the Association of Califor- nia School Board Administrators, is quoted as saying “That argument is a load of crap. This bill was not attached with the appropriate funding. To live with the mandates of the program, we would have to take dollars out of the classroom. The fact that they can’t get funding, and still stick us with the bill so they can have a political and legislative victory, is morally wrong.”
What’s wrong with this picture? For one thing, Sen. Escutia’s argument is not a load of crap, it is exactly correct: McFadden admits the reason Cali- fornia School Board Administrators oppose the bill is they want the money junk food sales bring in. And morals? How moral is it to say lets get more money for the school by ruining our students’ health? No, Mr. McFadden, and any other school principle that thinks the way you do, remove junk foods now, place our children’s health first, and worry about closing the funding gap second! Did it ever occur to you when you allowed vending ma- chines in the cafeteria that maybe they would com- pete with the healthy school lunch program? Duh! As an example, food-service officials in the Fol- som/Cordova Unified School District said they went from an operating deficit to a $226,000 sur- plus after banning junk food in high schools! But even if a school district wasn’t quite as successful, they should never stoop to selling junk food to close a budget gap. It’s bad for kids.
In previous issues of Self Health News, I have discussed studies that show how devastating junk food malnutrition is, but let me add experts are now telling us school junk foods are contributing to “an epidemic explosion of children with type 2 diabetes.”
Parents should work on stopping this now.
Why You Must Get The Lead Out Metal is so prevalent in our society we tend to forget how unnatural it is in its pure form. Take pure lead. It has wonderful properties: easy to form, easy to melt, doesn’t corrode easily. Ancient Ro- mans used lead to make water pipes 1 and water tanks. 2
Lead carbonate, (PbCO3)2·Pb(OH)2, called white lead, has been used for over 2000 years as a white pigment. 3
More recently, lead tetraethyl (Pb(C2H 5)4) was the chief constituent of the anti- knock compound added to gasoline to prevent premature detonation in internal-combustion en- gines. 4
Today, all of these uses and more are illegal in the United States because of the dangers of lead poisoning. Lead taken internally in any of its forms is highly toxic; the effects are usually felt after it has accumulated in the body over a period of time. The symptoms of lead poisoning are anemia, weak- ness, constipation, colic, palsy, and often a paralysis of the wrists and ankles. Flaking lead-based paints and toys made from lead compounds are considered serious hazards for children. Children are especially at hazard from lead, even at levels once thought safe. Lead can reduce intelligence, delay motor development, impair memory, and cause hearing problems and troubles in balance. In adults, one lead hazard at levels once thought safe is that of increased blood pressure. 5
Was lead a factor in the decline of the Roman Empire? Unfortunately, there may be a secret source of lead poisoning still in your home! Lead is used as a wick stiffener in some candles. As they burn, the lead goes into the air your breathe, and not insig- nificantly. The Public Citizen’s Health Research Group (HRG) found the level in indoor air suffi- cient to raise blood levels of lead above the thresh- old level for brain damage.
In 1974 the candle-making industry promised to stop using lead for stiffening wicks, but HRG found about 10% of candlewicks still contain lead. HRG also found that people who frequently burn candles have higher than normal blood levels of lead. 6
If you burn candles regularly, have everyone in your family get a blood test to see if you need treat- ment for elevated lead levels. Best would be to postpone burning candles until we have protective legislation in this area. Given how much we have learned about how dangerous this common metal is, I think it should be a crime to knowingly use lead in anything that humans (or animals!) come in contact with.
Chocolate Is Looking Better As previously reported, chocolate may have health benefits, and that is spurring interest in more studies. A recent study showed a “chocolate- flavored, low-fiber breakfast cereal” might have cholesterol lowering and blood pressure lowering properties. 7
1 "Lead," Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2000
http://encarta.msn.com © 1997-2000 Microsoft Corporation. All
In the Woody Allen movie Sleeper, one of the funniest jokes was how people in the future ate. They ate lots of junk food because after hundreds of years of research “junk” food turned out to be the healthiest! I think what makes this irony so hilari- ous is that we have all had the experience of seeing Great New Things crumble under scrutiny. If you liked Sleeper, there is a report in Science News (157:188, 2000) that should make you smile.
Lots of people love chocolate, and we all “know” that it’s bad for you. However several recent studies have revealed that chocolate is high in flavonoid antioxidants! These flavonoids help prevent atherosclerosis (the narrowing of arteries by deposits of cholesterol), stabilize blood platelets, and they are especially good at raising your level of HDL (“good” cholesterol). So chocolate turns out to be good for your heart!
Now before you go out and hit the candy aisle, remember a few things. First, a “chocolate” bar is not usually pure chocolate. It has sugar added, and often fats or fatty things like nuts and caramel. Unfortunately no research we know of indicates sugar will double your IQ, and no studies have shown fat consumption gives you big muscles. Those two are still on the “bad” list. Secondly, until more is known, only about two ounces of chocolate per day is recommended. So if you eat the whole box of chocolates, you are still going to have to feel guilty about most of it. Finally, almost all of these reports have come from research funded at least in part by the chocolate industry. Let’s remain a little skeptical until some independent confirmation comes in!
Good Is Bad
Fortunately, these bacteria are not contagious like tuberculosis. They way they get into your body is by air. The hot tub jets “aerosolize” the bacteria; so can your showerhead. If you are healthy, that steamy shower poses little threat, but if you already have a lung disease you have a greater chance of becoming infected. Symptoms include fever, fa- tigue, night sweats, coughing, and weight loss. For mild cases the best thing to do is remove the hot tub from the home. For severe cases antibiotics are prescribed.
Now if only life were a Woody Allen movie so all our harmful bacteria turn out to be beneficial! Another Revealing Study
Do balding men get more heart attacks? Or less?
A recent article in prominent health supplement magazine started like this: “Widely used, dependable and safe, excipi- ents will never be the subject of a New York Times exposé. But tablets and capsules couldn’t exist without them.” 1
Both sentences are false! But I can see how a pro-manufacturing publication would have that viewpoint. Got a problem making your product? Just throw in an additive! If it’s too dull, add dye. Too thin, add a thickener. Spoils easily, add pre- servative. Separates, add emulsifiers. Sticks to the container, add a release agent. There are excipients that help stick together, help dissolve, help lubri- cate, help harden, help soften, and so forth. No argument, excipients are useful. But are they safe and necessary as the article claims?
Here at Self Health Resource Center we are do- ing more manufacturing for one primary reason: control over what goes into each product. We don’t want additives. But as a result of trying to live without them, I’ve become much more sympathetic to manufacturers who use them. We tried putting digestive enzymes in one of our encapsulating machines and after five minutes or so, the machine ground to a halt. It turned out that as the machine compressed the powdered enzymes prior to stuffing the capsule the enzymes became gluey. What to do? If you believe that excipients are safe, you just add a little lubricant, like magnesium stearate. Now your capsules fill marvelously! And the best part is: small amounts like the quarter of one percent you added don’t have to be declared on the label! So the manufacturer is happy and the consumer is happy (but doesn’t know the truth).
If you believe that excipients may not be safe, you have a tougher problem to solve. You can’t use the machine, and doing one capsule at a time, by hand, is not an option either. We ended up looking for other types of encapsulating machines, and found one that used an auger to fill, rather than pins that packed the powder. The digestive enzymes run fine, now, but most manufactures would rather spend a dollar’s worth of magnesium stearate than $50,000 to $100,000 on an encapsulating machine.
Why do we do it? Pollution. When you manu- facture a product it’s very easy for impurities to be introduced. Two metal parts that are not perfectly aligned will rub together, causing minute amounts of metal to shed. The chemicals used to sterilize the machine may not be rinsed off completely. An aluminum scoop is left in the powder overnight and a minor chemical reaction introduces traces of aluminum. The “food-grade” oil that lubricates rotating parts oozes out. I hate to sound so negative, but there are lots of ways for products to pick up pollutants. By minimizing our ingredients, we minimize possible impurities.
We strive to produce vitamins and minerals that have only two ingredients: the vitamin itself, and the gelatin capsule. And it’s also why we don’t make tablets: they require compression agents, disintegration agents, release agents, and often more (check the label on any tabletted product).
There are, however, some situations that require us to add another ingredient. Take folic acid, for instance. One milligram is the dose, but even our smallest capsule holds one hundred twenty milli- grams! So we add filler, which allows the capsules to be loaded. Oat bran is our preferred filler. Oat products typically don’t cause allergic reactions, minimal processing is done to it (minimizing possi- ble pollution), it runs nicely through our encapsula- tor, and it’s a real food that is good for you! But it is chunky, and not well suited for our smaller cap- sules. So we also use cornstarch when needed. That’s why I disagree with the excipient article. It is possible to live without them. Plus I bet if we wait a while the New York Times will discover a problem with some, too!
Wagner, J., editor, Nutritional Outlook, Oct 1999, p67.
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