Friday, December 30, 2011

Use Neti pot intelligently

While many of us use Neti pots safely to clear congestion from our sinuses, several fatal infections from a water-borne pathogen contracted by neti pot use should act as a good reminder of how to safely use them. In short, try not to use tap water in the Neti pot. If you do use tap water, boil it first. Tap water contains pathogens that, while cannot survive our digestive tract, can be extremely harmful if they enter our nasal passages unimpeded.

If you can you distilled water, that would be ideal.

Are colonics safe?

If you ask the allopathic medical community, the answer would be no. Our opinion has always been somewhere in between. Like everything else, it depends upon the individual.

Colonics, also known by various names such as colonic irrigation, high colonics, colonic hydrotherapy, and colon lavage, is the process of delivering water and sometimes other ingredients (eg, herbs, coffee, probiotics, enzymes, or sodium phosphate) into and out of the rectum for "cleansing of the large intestine (colon) and sigmoid (lower bowel) of metabolic waste..."

Colonics can be performed by colon therapists, also known as colonic hygienists, or can be self-administered. Water is pumped into the rectum through a rectal tube and removed through another tube. Amounts ranging from one-half to 25 gallons are described on various Websites. This process may be repeated multiple times.

The benefits and risks of any medical intervention must be considered. A systematic review of the mainstream and complementary and alternative literature on the benefits of colon cleansing found no methodologically rigorous trials to substantiate claims. In addition, there is no specific licensing body to regulate colon therapists. Ask your doctor or licensed health professional for a name they trust.

Generally, for those who prefer colonics for detoxification purposes, we suggest getting them no more than once or twice per year. However, people with a history of gastrointestinal disease, such as diverticulitits, Crohn disease, or ulcerative colitis, are at higher risk for adverse effects of colonics. Other conditions such as severe hemorrhoids, a history of colon surgery, heart disease, or renal impairment also increase adverse risk.

Pizza wins in the battle for school lunches

http://www.anh-usa.org/crony-capitalists-in-the-school-lunch-program/

Folic acid and B-12 improve cognitive function

The objective of a study in the January issue of American Journal of Clinical Nutrition was to determine whether oral folic acid + vitamin B-12 supplementation prevented cognitive decline in 900 community-dwelling older adults aged 60-74 years with elevated psychological distress. The researchers found that the combination promoted improvement in cognitive functioning after 24 months, particularly in immediate and delayed memory performance.

Vitamin D Deficiency, Supplementation and Relation to CVD, Mortality

According to the January 2012 issue of American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, low vitamin D status may increase mortality risk. Researchers used the highest compared with the lowest categories of 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] serum concentrations and mortality in 59,231 individuals. The results found that there was a decrease in mortality risk as circulating 25(OH)D increases, with optimal concentrations between 75–87.5 nmol/L.

In another study from the November issue of American Journal of Cardiology, evidence supports an association between vitamin D deficiency and hypertension, peripheral vascular disease, diabetes mellitus, metabolic syndrome, coronary artery disease, and heart failure. The researchers examined the associations between vitamin D deficiency, vitamin D supplementation, and patient outcomes in 10,899 patients by looking at serum vitamin D measurements for 5 years and 8 months. 3,294 (29.7%) were in the normal vitamin D range and 7,665 (70.3%) were deficient. Vitamin D deficiency was associated with several cardiovascular-related diseases, including hypertension, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy, and diabetes. Vitamin D deficiency was a strong independent predictor of all-cause death. Moreover, vitamin D supplementation conferred substantial survival benefit. In conclusion, vitamin D deficiency was associated with a significant risk of cardiovascular disease and reduced survival. Vitamin D supplementation was significantly associated with better survival, specifically in patients with documented deficiency.

Bonnie - make sure to have your vitamin D level checked at your next physical.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Bonnie, Steve's Blog on Hiatus until 1/2/12

Wishing you a happy, healthy holiday and New Year to you and yours.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Walnuts good for the brain

http://www.naturalhealthresearch.org/nhri/?p=9165#more-9165

MyPlate different than most American's plates

The nutritionally balanced quadrants of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) MyPlate --- the new federal dietary guidelines that depict a healthful daily diet -- look quite different from what’s actually on the plates of most Americans, according to new research from The NPD Group. Using its National Eating Trends (NET) research, NPD has continually tracked the eating and drinking habits of U.S. consumers for more than 30 years. NPD calculated MyPlate days based on consumers who, on the same day, achieved at least 70 percent of the daily recommended intake for dairy, fruit, grains, proteins and vegetables.

For the average consumer, only 2 percent of their days (about seven days a year) come close to resembling the USDA’s MyPlate dietary guidelines, the research showed. When a MyPlate day is achieved, consumers are highly likely to consume more than three meals a day.

Two bills proposed to restrict GMO use

http://www.anh-usa.org/finally%E2%80%94congress-begins-to-wake-up-about-genetically-engineered-food/

Helping Those in Need

If you or someone you know does something to help those in need, we would like to know about it. This way, we can get the word out about all the wonderful things people are doing for others.

You can add to this list by posting in the comments box below. Or, just email us at nutrocon@yahoo.com. Write c/o Helping Those in Need. Please leave your name and email address, person(s) or organization you would like to mention, what and how they help those in need, and contact info for them.

  • Local Food Pantries Benefit From Leftover Crops
  • Battered and Abused Women and Children and Erie House, Chicago Toy Drive
  • Donations to Safe Place Shelter for Domestic Abuse, Lake County IL
  • Feed My Starving Children -
    There was a mobile packing event at Lake County Fairgrounds this past weekend. The goal was to pack 800,000 meals. A meal for 6 is assembled in a plastic bag and contains a flavoring/nutrition powder, dehydrated vegetables, soy protein, and rice. This has been developed as a food that a malnourished body can handle and thrive on. Also, rice is a universal food that is recognized by all and cooking is not a mystery.

    When we finished our 1 1/2 hour shift, they shared pictures of an eight year old boy that arrived at one of their feeding centers weighing 18 pounds! After 17 days, he had a smile. After 6 months, he weighed 73 pounds. A life was saved! Just from our shift, they said 231 children could receive a meal a day for a year. This food goes around the world to places with famine or disasters, where adequate food is not available.

    The organization has a permanent packing facility in Naperville and another on the South Side. So it is possible to get involved with this effort throughout the year.

Surprise, surprise: cancer screening overdone in elderly

More than half of surveyed seniors reported that their physicians continue to recommend cancer screening, despite ambiguity about its value for men and women over age 75, according to data analysis of a nationwide sample.

Among adults between the ages of 75 and 79, 57% were screened for colorectal cancer, 62% for breast, 53% for cervical, and 56% for prostate cancers. In the group that was 80 years or older, rates varied from a low of 38% for cervical cancer screening to a high of 50% for breast cancers, as reported in Archives of Internal Medicine.

Researchers analyzed data from the U.S. National Health Interview Survey, an annual in-person survey of 49,575 adults,

At age extremes, the likelihood of a person living long enough benefit from cancer prevention and detection becomes quite small, while likelihood of harm becomes larger. The data raises the issue of whether quality measures should address the overuse of cancer screening. Currently quality measures in cancer screening focus on increasing screening in persons younger than 75 years, but what about the problems of overscreening?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Gutless Grains

This interview with renowned Paleolithic researcher Loren Cordain, PhD was posted on a blog called Me and My Diabetes.

Q: Why do grains irritate the human gut?

LOREN CORDAIN
Grains are the seeds of a plant. They’re its reproductive material, and plants don’t make their reproductive material to give away for free to other animals. If they did they’d become extinct, and so the evolutionary strategy that many plants, particularly cereal grains have taken to prevent predation is to evolve toxic compounds so that the predator of the seeds can’t eat them, so that they can put their seeds in the soil where they’re meant to be to grow a new plant and not in the gut of an animal to feed it. We hear that whole grains are especially valuable because of their many vitamins and special nutrients.

Q: Why don’t you like the parts of the grain that make it a “whole grain?”

LOREN CORDAIN
If we look at the outside part of the seed, that’s the part that comes in contact with the environment and that’s the one that has the concentrated sources of anti-nutrients, so all these nasty things that we’re finding in grains that cause problems are concentrated in the outside portion of it. So that’s where the fiber is, is in the bran portion, and that’s where many of the anti-nutrients are. I had a friend whose knees ached when she ate whole grains, but they felt fine when she ate white French bread.

Q: Now, I’m not advocating white bread as a health treat, but why might it cause less problem for her achey knees than a whole grain bread?

LOREN CORDAIN
Whole grains are concentrated sources of anti-nutrients, more so than white bread. White bread certainly isn’t good because of high glycemic load. It also contains gliadin which is one of the elements that open up the gut, but lectins do too, and lectins are more concentrated in the outside layer of wheat berries. People think grains are a good source of fiber and actually they’re not. Fruits and vegetables contain orders of magnitude, at least vegetables do, contain an order of magnitude greater amount of fiber per calorie than grains. There’s no human requirement for grains. That’s the problem with the USDA recommendations. They think we’re hardwired as a species to eat grains. You can get by just fine and meet every single nutrient requirement that humans have without eating grains. And grains are absolutely poor sources of vitamins and minerals compared to fruits and vegetables and meat and fish.

Q: When you state the obvious, anyone can do that. Get a computerized dietary analysis program and put in the eight whole grains and then put in the 20 most commonly consumed fruits and the 20 most commonly consumed vegetables and look at the nutrient density. The nutrient density is much greater in fruits and vegetables than it is in grains. So why are we putting grains at the base of our food pyramid and telling people that they have to eat them? There’s absolutely no nutrient in grains that we can’t get elsewhere. Many nutritionists argue that we need to eat grains for the fiber, in order to avoid constipation. Do you agree?

LOREN CORDAIN
You do need bulk and what we call prebiotics, which is fiber, but there are basically 2 types of fiber, soluble and non-soluble. And grains, except for oats, contain mainly non-soluble fiber. Fruits and vegetables contain soluble fiber which tends to be therapeutic because it slightly lowers cholesterol and benefits some other blood parameters. But even more, it provides soluble fiber which is an environment for healthy bacteria to live in our gut, and so what we’re finding now is that probiotics along with prebiotics, help us to have a healthy flora of bacteria in our gut, and when we have a healthy flora of bacteria in our gut, it tends to prevent leaky gut, and it tends to prevent chronic low level inflammation that occurs when our gut is colonized with gram negative bacteria more than gram positive bacteria. In contrast, if you eat an average low reside western diet, high glycemic load diet, it tends to promote flora that is not therapeutic.

Q: Once somebody has full fledged diabetes or they’re on the way to that, while they could have eaten a paleolithic diet before that might have helped prevent their diabetes, they may not be able to have as many carbohydrates as a paleo-diet tends to have. Are you comfortable when people tend to modify a paleo diet so they eat more fats and they eat fewer fruits and starchy vegetables?

LOREN CORDAIN
There are two types of diabetes. The most common type in the US is Type 2 diabetes, and that’s the type that is essentially a lifestyle issue. People with obesity, people that are insulin resistant, develop Type 2 diabetes, and that can be cured. It’s not an incurable disease, and so by losing weight and changing diet and reducing carbohydrate in their diet, these people can end up becoming non diabetic, and coming into complete remission with their disease. The other type of diabetes is Type 1 diabetes which is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the beta cells that produce insulin in the pancreas and destroys those beta cells. The thinking has always been there’s no such thing as remission from Type 1 diabetes because once the Beta Cells in the pancreas are destroyed, then you have to inject insulin for the rest of your life. What we have found now, surprisingly in the last three or four years, we have had two or three anecdotal cases of people with physician diagnosed Type 1 diabetes, who were insulin brittle, so they were injecting themselves with insulin, we have at least three cases that I’m aware of where they have actually come into complete remission, and myself, I was the biggest skeptic of all. I said you can’t come out of the disease, but we heard these people did, and so they stopped injecting insulin, and there are certain blood parameters you can measure to determine whether or not someone still has the disease, and so I’m working on this with a colleague here in our department, and another immunologist outside the U-S, and we think what’s going on is that the immune system all but destroys most of the beta cells in the pancreas, but there are what are called stem cells, and a few stem cells are left that can become beta cells, and if you can stop the immune assault on the beta cells, on the body’s own tissues, if you can completely stop it, then those stem cells might be able to regenerate beta cells, sufficiently to restore pancreatic function.

Q: There is a woman who is advertising on the web right now about her twin boys, who she put on a what I believe she describes as a plant-based diet, where they were both diagnosed as Type 1 diabetics, and now they don’t take any medications.

LOREN CORDAIN
That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me because the only way you can eat a plant-based diet is by eating grains and legumes, and those are two factors that can irritate the gut. Hundreds of scientific papers show that legumes and grains increase intestinal permeability, and they do it through the mechanisms we talked about earlier, through lectins and saponins, and what are called thaumatin-like proteins, so I would say that vegetarian or vegan diets would be one of the worst ways a person with autoimmune disease could go. I recommend not doing that.

Q: You have mentioned several blood-carried protein markers that indicate when someone is not digesting foods completely, making the proteins in those foods “leak” into the bloodstream, where they can trigger inflammation. Those could be a powerful way to figure out whether someone is eating foods that lead their own gut to be leaky. That could be helpful for people with arthritis, MS, autism . . . a huge list of ailments. It would be fun, wouldn’t it, to get all these markers together and have experts look at them and comment on the same thing.

LOREN CORDAIN
There’s a biological template that allows scientists to look into the future, and it’s called the evolutionary template, and if you don’t use it, it’s like playing soccer, running uphill on a soccer field, against a team that’s running downhill. And any nutritionist or biologist or physician that doesn’t use the evolutionary template to help guide them to the correct decision is inevitably going to to end up with the wrong answer. And that’s part of the problem with the governmental recommendations right now by the USDA is that we’re not putting the evolutionary template over the problem of diet and health.I’m kind of in an odd role here in what I do research wise. I’ve pushed pieces around on a chess board. We’re kind of a think tank here and me and my graduate students I work with around the world, we’re not bench scientists per se. We don’t do the cooking, we invent the recipes. Or rather, we suggest the recipes, and some scientists are interested in our ideas and testing them, but many scientists many bench scientists are very close to a very narrow idea and that’s what they pursue. They don’t look at the big picture, and I have the luxury of looking at the big picture.

Fever helps immune cells

Scientists have found more evidence that elevated body temperature helps certain types of immune cells to work better, according to the Journal of Leukocyte Biology."An increase in body temperature has been known since ancient times to be associated with infection and inflammation," said the researcher. "Since a febrile response is highly conserved in nature (even so-called cold blooded animals move to warmer places when they become ill) it would seem important that we immunologists devote more attention to this interesting response."

Scientists found that the generation and differentiation of a particular kind of lymphocyte, known as a "CD8+ cytotoxic T-cell" (capable of destroying virus-infected cells and tumor cells) is enhanced by mild fever-range hyperthermia. Specifically, their research suggests that elevated body temperature changes the T-cells' membranes which may help mediate the effects of micro-environmental temperature on cell function.

"Having a fever might be uncomfortable," said researchers, "but this research report and several others are showing that having a fever is part of an effective immune response. We had previously thought that the microbes that infect us simply can't replicate as well when we have fevers, but this new work also suggests that the immune system might be temporarily enhanced functionally when our temperatures rise with fever. Although very high body temperatures are dangerous and should be controlled, this study shows that we may need to reconsider how and when we treat most mild fevers."

"Got Milk" campaign's new face

The International Dairy Foods Association has reported that while U.S. milk production reached a record 192.8 billion pounds in 2010, the long-term trend of declining sales of packaged fluid milk products continued. Another revelation is that many Americans stop drinking milk in their teenage years. How does the IDFA plan to bring them into the fold? To market chocolate milk as the next sports drink, of course. Meet the new face of the "Got Milk" campaign.

Feel free to leave a comment below.

Friday, December 09, 2011

BPA in soup the last straw for the FDA

I guess the recent media exposure of BPA in canned soups and drinks was the straw that broke the camel's back for the FDA. They have vacillated for several years over what to do about BPA. They have now given themselves a May 31, 2012 deadline to decide if it should be removed.

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/22/bpa-lurks-in-canned-soups-and-drinks/?ref=health

Arsenic in our food. Cause for alarm?

Two recent media stories exposed potentially high levels of arsenic in two major American foodstuffs: rice and apple juice. Should their be cause for concern?

Rice
There is virtually no data or oversight on naturally-occurring arsenic, or any heavy metal in rice for that matter. We applaud scientists for wanting to exploring the issue. It is a complex one that depends on many factors before a consensus can be drawn. For instance, the location of the rice field has a lot to do with the amount of heavy metals in the soil. Are the fields sprayed with pesticides or near farms that do? Do the farmers use well water, usually higher in arsenic, or receive runoff from rivers or tributaries high in heavy metals? Additionally, soil in different areas of the world have varying amounts of arsenic. For instance, California soil has less arsenic in its soil than Texas.

In our opinion, there is no cause for alarm at the moment. The new study scientists' cite to is small and has many confounding variables. If you are worried, purchase organic rice. This way, you can check off pesticides as one less potential contributor to high heavy metals. If you are gluten intolerant or celiac and consume copious amounts of rice, do not deviate for what works. If you are worried, you can always do a hair analysis or serum blood test to rule out high arsenic or other heavy metals.

http://yourlife.usatoday.com/fitness-food/safety/story/2011-12-05/Researchers-call-for-monitoring-of-arsenic-levels-in-rice/51657062/1

Apple Juice
In the case of apple juice, there is more data to draw from and depending on the brand of apple juice, there may be cause for concern. Additionally, because apple juice is a processed food, it is much easier to perform arsenic testing before releasing the product to the public. The fact that the FDA is considering more oversight means that it is an issue. We would also suggest going organic in this case if you drink apple juice. However, we are not big advocates of juice in any form because of its high glycemic index and load. We always prefer consuming the real thing!

http://www.usatoday.com/USCP/PNI/NEWS/2011-12-02-PNI1202wir-Apple-Juice_ST_U.htm

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Acai weight loss scam gets the boot

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it had filed a court order together with the State of Connecticut to halt an Internet operation that runs bogus news sites featuring fake stories about açaí weight loss pills. The fake news sites are promoted on banner ads and web page links by affiliate marketers and eventually link to supposedly free trials for açaí supplements—though many consumers complained of unwittingly paying $79.99 for monthly shipments. FTC asserts that the scam’s perpetrators have defrauded customers of over $25 million. The court order placed an injunction on LeanSpa LLC, NutraSlim LLC and NutraSlim U.K. Ltd., the companies responsible for the scam. The companies operate with various websites—such as TryLeanSpa.com, TryNutraSlim.com and TryQuickDetox.com—which are linked to various fake news websites—including channel8health.com, dailyhealth6.com and online6health.com—run by affiliate marketers. The news websites feature fake investigative reports with titles like "Açaí Berry Diet Exposed: Miracle Diet or Scam?" and employ logos from credible news sources such as CNN and MSNBC.

FTC had announced its intent to crack down on these açaí weight-loss supplement sellers last spring, filing 10 different complaints against the affiliate marketers themselves. At the time, an FTC attorney asserted that “tens of billions” of these false advertisements were present across the internet.

Best and worse kids cereals

http://breakingnews.ewg.org/report/sugar_in_childrens_cereals/best_and_worst_cereals/?inlist=Y&utm_source=2011cerealyeand&utm_medium=email&utm_content=second-link&utm_campaign=food

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Dark or Light Roast?

Dark Roasted Coffee Improves Human Antioxidant Status
Recent results from prospective cohort studies have shown that moderate coffee consumption is associated with a reduced risk for diabetes mellitus type II or Alzheimer's disease. Since reactive oxygen species (ROS) are believed to be involved in the pathogenesis of these diseases, antioxidants in coffee might contribute to this risk reduction. We aimed at elucidating whether a dark roast coffee beverage has stronger antioxidant effects on human erythrocytes than a light roast. Intake of the dark roast most effectively improved the antioxidant status of erythrocytes: superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase activity decreased by 5.8 and 15%, respectively, whereas tocopherol and total glutathione concentrations increased by 41 and 14%, respectively. Furthermore, administration of the dark roast led to a significant body weight reduction in pre-obese subjects, whereas the light roast did not.
Molecular Nutrition & Food Research

Major news publication fair to supplements for depression

http://www.latimes.com/health/la-he-mental-health-supplements-20111205,0,6917033.story

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Crackdown on HCG Weight-Loss Product

Bonnie and Steve - as you know, we do not always agree with the FDA and their decisions. However, in this case, we wholeheartedly agree.

Courtesy of USA Today

The government is cracking down on companies that sell popular over-the-counter weight-loss products containing the hormone HCG.The Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission announced today that they have sent seven warning letters to companies that make the products, notifying them that they are violating federal law by selling drugs that have not been approved and by making unsupported claims for the substances. There are no FDA-approved HCG products for weight loss, says Elizabeth Miller, the FDA's acting director of the division of non-prescription products and health fraud.

HCG weight-loss products, which promise dramatic results and claim to be homeopathic, are sold as drops, pellets and sprays in retail stores and on the Web, including GNC. The homeopathic HCG products contain HCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin, which is a hormone made by the placenta during pregnancy. The hormone itself is approved as a prescription treatment for infertility and other conditions, the FDA says.

Many of these products claim to "reset your metabolism," change "abnormal eating patterns" and shave 20 to 30 pounds in 30 to 40 days, the FDA says. "These products are marketed with incredible claims, and people think that if they're losing weight, HCG must be working," Miller says. "But the data simply does not support this — any loss is from severe calorie restriction, not from the HCG. "The products are supposed to be used in combination with a very low-calorie diet of 500 calories a day so they are potentially dangerous and could lead to gallstone formation, electrolyte imbalance and heart arrhythmia, she says. Miller says the FDA doesn't know how many consumers are using the products, "but we understand they are very popular." The products are mostly sold on the Internet, so it's difficult to track sales.

HCG began being used for weight loss in the 1950s when a British physician had a theory that it could help people on a near-starvation diet not feel hungry. Since then, there have been a number of clinical trials debunking that theory. Duffy MacKay, vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs for the Council for Responsible Nutrition, an industry group, says the HCG weight-loss products "are totally illegal," because they don't meet the criteria for either a dietary supplement ingredient or a homeopathic product. "I am not aware of any scientific evidence that supports its use when taken orally for weight loss," he says.

Homeopathy is an alternative medicine practice of using very small or diluted preparations of medicines or remedies to treat a condition. Donna Ryan, an obesity researcher with the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, says she is "delighted" by the government's actions."There is not a shred of evidence that HCG has any more than a placebo effect in promoting weight loss. It's yet one more unproven treatment for obesity that is unscrupulously marketed to patients," she says. The companies have 15 days to notify the FDA of the steps they have taken to correct the violations cited. Failure to do so may result in legal action, including seizure and injunction, or criminal prosecution.

Below is a list of the companies that received the warning letters as well as the products they sell:

Manufacturer/Distributor Name

Product Name

1. HCG Diet Direct LLC

HCG Diet Homeopathic Drops

2. The hCG Drops LLC

Homeopathic HCG

3. HCG Platinum LLC; RightWay Nutrition

HCG Platinum

HCG Platinum X-30

HCG Platinum X-14

4. Nutri Fusion Systems LLC

HCG Fusion 30

HCG Fusion 43

5. www.resetthebody.com; www.theoriginalhcgdrops.com

Homeopathic Original HCG

Homeopathic HCG

6. Hcg-miracleweightloss.com

HCG Extra Weight Loss Homeopathic Drops

7. Natural Medical Supply

Alcohol Free hCG Weight Loss Formula


Home birth and the perils of free formula

The low incidence of adverse events suggests that women with low-risk pregnancies should be provided a choice of birth setting, according to the findings of a British Medical Journal study. Among the 64,538 women included in the study, the investigators found no significant differences in the odds of morbidity for births planned in any nonobstetric unit setting compared with those planned in obstetric units.

New mothers who are not offered free infant formula samples by hospitals after giving birth tend to breastfeed longer. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that hospitals refrain from the common practice of providing the sample formula packets to new mothers, largely because it has the potential to undermine breastfeeding efforts. A 2009 report from the Institute of Medicine on conflict-of-interest issues involved in the dissemination of industry-sponsored formula placed added pressure on hospitals to end the practice. Despite the recommendation, however, the majority of hospitals in the United States (91%) continue to distribute the formula sample packets, according to the authors of a study presented at the American Public health Association annual meeting. The researchers prospectively enrolled 527 breastfeeding women at Cooper Hospital in Camden, New Jersey — 284 before the policy to discontinue this practice was implemented (control group) and 243 after the policy was implemented (intervention group). Researchers called subjects weekly for 10 weeks after discharge to check on infant status and infant feeding practices. Those in the intervention group had significantly lower rates of stopping breastfeeding than those in the formula group).

Protein does not accelerate bone loss

According to a new study in European Journal Clinical Nutrition, high-protein (HP) diets exert a hypercalciuric effect at constant levels of calcium intake, even though the effect may depend on the nature of the dietary protein. Lower urinary pH is also consistently observed for subjects consuming HP diets. The combination of these two effects was suspected to be associated with a dietary environment favorable for demineralization of the skeleton. However, increased calcium excretion due to HP diet does not seem to be linked to impaired calcium balance. In contrast, some data indicate that HP intakes induce an increase of intestinal calcium absorption. Moreover, no clinical data support the hypothesis of a detrimental effect of HP diet on bone health. In addition, HP intake promotes bone growth and retards bone loss and low-protein diet is associated with higher risk of hip fractures. The increase of acid and calcium excretion due to HP diet is also accused of constituting a favorable environment for kidney stones and renal diseases. However, in healthy subjects, no damaging effect of HP diets on kidney has been found in either observational or interventional studies and it seems that HP diets might be deleterious only in patients with preexisting metabolic renal dysfunction. Thus, HP diet does not seem to lead to calcium bone loss, and the role of protein seems to be complex and probably dependent on other dietary factors and the presence of other nutrients in the diet.

Bonnie - this is the most succinct of the numerous studies over the last few years dispelling the myth of protein increasing bone loss.

Studies show fish to be cardio, neuroprotective

People who eat baked or broiled fish on a weekly basis may be improving their brain health and reducing their risk of developing mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer's disease, according to a study at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). People who consumed baked or broiled fish at least one time per week had better preservation of gray matter volume on MRI in brain areas at risk for Alzheimer's disease. The results also demonstrated increased levels of cognition in people who ate baked or broiled fish.

Young women may reduce their risk of developing cardiovascular disease simply by eating more fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, researchers reported in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association. In the population-based study of 49,000 women, 15-49 years old, median age of just under 30 years in early pregnancy, who rarely or never ate fish had 50 percent more cardiovascular problems over eight years than those who ate fish regularly. Compared to women who ate fish high in omega-3 weekly, the risk was 90 percent higher for those who rarely or never ate fish.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Krill Versus Fish Oil: Our Take

We have received numerous inquiries recently regarding our feelings about krill oil.

Dr. Mehmet Oz recently said on his show that krill oil may be even better than fish oil for fighting diseases. During the segment, he said krill may be a "faster and stronger" omega-3 source than fish oil. Dr. Oz used an infographic to show krill oil has been shown to be more bioavailable than fish oil. He referenced a study that showed krill oil has more omega-3s than a similar dose of fish oil. He also noted that krill oil contains astaxanthin, which he said helps krill oil from becoming oxidized.

The problem with the Dr. Oz effect is that he has purported as many failures as successes (i.e. acai, hoodia, among others). This is not to say that krill oil is all hype. It is not. However, we would not put away your fish oil any time soon.

Allergy
Krill are little shrimp, so are not recommended for those with a shellfish allergy.

Price
Krill is much more expensive than fish oil.

Provides Much Less EPA/DHA
Krill oil does not provide more EPA DHA than fish oil. For example, a popular krill product claims 2 capsules provides 90 mg EPA and 50 mg DHA. 2 softgels of your average fish oil provides 600 mg EPA and 400 mg, which is a suggested daily maintenance dose.

Contains Omega-6
Krill naturally contains omega 6 fatty acids (20 mg in product we researched). These are considered inflammatory fatty acids that compete with omega 3's.

High Phospholipids Not for Everyone
Krill contains a lot of phospholipids (mostly phosphatidylcholine, which can be beneficial if you need it, but not everyone does).

Sustainability
There are huge questions about krill's sustainability if it becomes more popular. Krill provides food to many large mammals (including whales) and is not easily replaced.
Calamari oil is much more sustainable and provides about the same amount of EPA/DHA.

Astaxanthin
The most beneficial aspect of krill oil is astaxanthin, which is an antioxidant that has gotten much attention recently (from none other than Dr. Oz).

In conclusion, we are not dissuading you from taking krill oil. However, for the aforementioned reasons, we still support supplementing with high quality fish oil.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Quorn finally on its way out?

Courtesy of Wall Street Journal

In November, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration, asking that the agency remove Quorn from store shelves, saying it carries a risk of severe allergic reaction. Its action takes place after it says it received more U.S. consumer complaints about the fungus-derived food—65 so far this year out of 140 world-wide—than it has received in any previous year. Over the past decade, CSPI says it has received 500 U.S. complaints and 1,200 more from Europe and Australia.

"Any novel food ingredient that causes hives, anaphylactic reactions, or vomiting so violent that blood vessels burst cannot, indeed must not, be considered by the FDA to be 'generally recognized as safe,' "

The product, sold at grocery chains including Whole Foods and Kroger, has plenty of fans. Mary Melvin of Greenwich, Conn., says she served Quorn to her 13-year-old son one day for lunch and, to her surprise, "He loved it. Usually he doesn't like anything not made by me." She says her children continue to eat it regularly. Then there are those who will never eat it again. For Thanksgiving last year, Ginny Linehan dined on Quorn "Turk'y Style Roast." Within three hours, the 56-year-old Minnesotan broke out in a cold sweat, vomited and passed out in the bathroom, hitting her head. Matt Ernst, 48, a software salesman in Florida, says he ate Quorn "chicken cutlets" at his girlfriend's house in June, then went for a run home. A mile from his house, his throat and skin got itchy. He says he started having trouble breathing and his faced swelled up. "I thought about calling 911," he says. Benadryl lessened the symptoms over a few hours. Both Ms. Linehan and Mr. Ernst filed complaints with the CSPI. Mr. Ernst, who has allergies to pollen and pets, says "The packaging did not say, 'This is a vat-grown fungus that could cause severe allergic reactions,'" The label says, "This product contains egg and wheat ingredients and is made in a facility that also processes milk. Mycoprotein is high in protein and fiber. This may cause intolerance in some people."

Critics of the labeling point out that few people know what mycoprotein is. (It is protein derived from fungus.) The Quorn formula is based on a fungus found originally in a field in West London. It's stringy, grows underground and looks a lot "like the roots of a strawberry plant," Mr. Wilson says. To that, the company adds wheat protein, starch, egg whites and other ingredients. "Obviously, the current label isn't adequate because it doesn't mention mold or fungus" allergies.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

High Schoolers' paltry fruit, veggie consumption

A diet high in fruits and vegetables is associated with a decreased risk for many chronic diseases and some cancers, and can aid in weight management. Current daily fruit and vegetable recommendations for adolescents who participate in 30 minutes of physical activity daily are 1.5 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of vegetables for females and 2 cups of fruit and 3 cups of vegetables for males (1 cup is approximately equal to one medium apple, eight strawberries, 12 baby carrots, or one large tomato).

However, recently published data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003--2004 revealed that consumption was considerably below these levels. To assess fruit and vegetable consumption among high school students, CDC analyzed data from the 2010 National Youth Physical Activity and Nutrition Study (NYPANS). This report describes the results of that analysis, which indicated that, in 2010, the median number of times per day that high school students consumed fruits and vegetables was 1.2 for both. For vegetables, the median number of times per day was lower for non-Hispanic black students and Hispanic students than non-Hispanic white students.

Overall, 28.5% of high school students consumed fruit 1 time daily, and 33.2% of high school students consumed vegetables 1 time daily. The infrequent fruit and vegetable consumption by high school students highlights the need for effective strategies to increase consumption. Policy and environmental approaches to provide greater access to and availability of fruits and vegetables are among the strategies that schools and communities might choose to achieve this goal.

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 11/25

Catching seasonal flu reduces future severity

Courtesy of Reuters Health

Immunity from previous cases of seasonal flu helped temper the severity of the pandemic flu that spread around the globe in 2009. Texas researchers monitored hundreds of adults through the 2009-2010 flu season and found that those who had seasonal flu in the past were less vulnerable to the pandemic H1N1 strain.

Researchers tracked 513 adults. Overall, 116 subjects were infected with H1N1 as determined by antibodies in their blood. Thirty-three percent of those who had no evidence of antibodies to the previous season's flu at baseline became infected with H1N1 - compared to 18% of those with antibodies to seasonal flu, according to the report in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Low vitamin D linked to heart disease

Courtesy of Reuters Health

In people with low blood levels of vitamin D, boosting them with supplements more than halved a person's risk of dying from any cause compared to someone who remained deficient, in a large new study from American College of Cardiology.

Analyzing data on more than 10,000 patients, University of Kansas researchers found that 70 percent were deficient in vitamin D and they were at significantly higher risk for a variety of heart diseases.

D-deficiency also nearly doubled a person's likelihood of dying, whereas correcting the deficiency with supplements lowered their risk of death by 60 percent.

"We expected to see that there was a relationship between heart disease and vitamin D deficiency; we were surprised at how strong it was," Dr. James L. Vacek, a professor of cardiology at the University of Kansas Hospital and Medical Center, told Reuters Health.

"It was so much more profound than we expected."

Magnesium helps overcome fear and anxiety

Emotional, painful experiences contribute to future behavior that can be unduly influenced by fear or anxiety. Full-blown post traumatic stress disorder may develop, which is related to an overheated brain stem and limbic system. A new study in Journal of Neuroscience shows that elevating brain levels of magnesium can help undo the bad programming and help create new brain response patterns not influenced by fear or anxiety. The researchers found that elevated brain magnesium was able to induce the production of BDNF, your brains rejuvenation compound. This led to an increase in synaptic plasticity, enabling the learned fear response to actually change. Magnesium is a potent anti-inflammatory mineral which also helps make brain energy. The fact that it is able to assist in the rewiring of past memories is good news for any person with anxiety.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Please help petition the FDA

Easy way to petition the FDA's NDI Draft Guidance that may affect your access to dietary supplements

http://www.citizens.org/?p=2804

State of the Nutritionist 2011

2011 in Review.

Topics That Dominated the Wellness Landscape.
  • Medication Kills, Maims, and for the Most Part, Flies Under the Radar
    The Food & Drug Administration Adverse Event Reporting (AER) system ensures that dietary supplement and prescription drug manufacturers report significant adverse events related to their products. The figures from 2008 were recently published in October.
    • 1,080 from supplements (over half the US population take supplements)
    • 26,517 from vaccines
    • 526,527 from prescription drugs
    In short, for every adverse event from supplements, there are 488 adverse events from prescription drugs. This year alone, reflux meds, antibiotics, osteoporosis drugs, painkillers, statins, and some vaccines have come under scrutiny for their detrimental effects on the US population. Yet, public health alerts from government agencies, the medical community, and the pharmaceutical industry are woefully insufficient. This issue of drug injuries and deaths would be considered a threat to national security if the pharmaceutical industry did not wield so much power. A local doctor, Patrick Massey, MD, put it simply in this piece we posted in early 2011.
  • Big Pharma and the Mainstream Media Attack Dietary Supplements.
    Let me explain it to you in plain and simple terms: in the very near future, your right to take dietary supplements, in the fashion in which you are used to, may be revoked. This has already happened in Europe, and, your US congressmen are looking to follow suit. While numerous pieces of legislation are either being forced down our throats or secretly hidden in other bills, Big Pharma and the media are doing their part to scare the public with the hope that support for dietary supplements wanes.

    Recent studies panning dietary supplements have dominated mainstream media. The headlines and articles are so eerily similar countrywide that it seems like someone is sending out a form letter for all to copy.
    Don't take our word for it. British Medical Journal published a study last month confirming what we have suspected for years: the cozy relationship between Big Pharma and the media exists. We're not just talking about the advertising lifeline that Big Pharma provides for the media, but perks similar to what Big Pharma has in the past and still provides for doctors.

    The most tragic result of this war on supplements is that the public, as usual, will suffer every negative consequence. Despite what the pundits may tell you, most Americans do not even come close to getting the amount of vitamins and minerals necessary to achieve or maintain optimal health from diet alone.


  • Americans Flocking to Alternative Therapies.
    We understand why Big Pharma and the medical community are fighting so hard against supplements and alternative practitioners like naturopaths. Recent statistics prove that the public wants more access to complementary therapies, especially ones that are covered by insurance. Journal headlines such as "Complementary Medicine on the Rise," and "Americans Flocking to Alternative Therapies" are the polar opposites of what the "status quo" wants.

    The ace in the hole for integrative medicine may be the insurance companies. They are in the business of making money, and since they have already witnessed major cost savings by encouraging wellness and complementary therapies to their members, reimbursement equal to conventional therapies is trending upwards. For example, in 2011, the majority of clients who submitted insurance claims accompanied by an Rx with diagnoses from their physicians, received at least partial, if not full, reimbursement for our services.

Wellness Victories.
It always makes us proud to see wellness principles that we have touted forever become mainstream.

  • Gastrointestinal experts, and allergists to a lesser degree, are beginning to recognize food intolerance, whether gluten or myriad other foods, as a clear and present danger to those who suffer from them.

  • Without saying it, the authors of a recent study in Rheumatology hinted that osteoporosis was the perfect example of how drug companies concoct a disease in order to open up a new market for themselves. In brilliantly discussing the etiology of osteoporosis and its "pharmaceutcalization," they did fail to mention a cheap, safe, and very successful pharmaceutical: salmon calcitonin. Calcitonin works on specifically on bone resorption, not bone formation, which bisphosphonates perform in irregular, brittle fashion. Usually administered by nasal spray, exciting data was just published on an effective new calcitonin oral delivery system.

  • These dietary supplements frequently appeared in prestigious research journals touting benefits:

    • Alpha Lipoic Acid
    • B-Vitamins
    • Vitamin C
    • Co-Enzyme Q10
    • Vitamin D
    • Vitamin E
    • Fish Oil
    • Magnesium
    • Phytosterols
    • Probiotics
    • Quercetin
    • Zinc
  • Ding, dong the food pyramid is dead! Its replacement, MyPlate, is a flawed, albeit dramatic improvement. The one little thing the USDA forgot on MyPlate: healthy fat. That said, things are definitely on the up and up. Until they fix the fat issue, our Circle of Health or Harvard's Healthy Plate are better options.

  • More families are choosing organic and locally grown foods.
  • Overwhelmingly positive data is forcing allergists to take notice of sublingual immunotherapy as a cheap, time-friendly option for reducing environmental-derived allergic reactions and symptoms.

  • The public seems understands that taking too much, taking alone, and/or taking poor sources of calcium can do more harm than good.
  • Xylitol was touted in several studies for its beneficial effects on dental caries as well as fighting ear infections.

  • Two tennis stars, Venus Willams, and Novak Djokovic, brought attention to two very important issues this year: Sjogren's Disease and the Gluten-Free Diet.
The Battles Still Rage On.
  • We will vigorously fight to make sure that the American Dietetic Association cannot ban nutritionists through legislation from practicing if they are not "registered." Like the American Medical Association, the ADA is an member organization, not a licensing body, so they have no right demand that all nutritionists be registered. The ADA is under a lot of heat for its ties to Big Food. so they are changing their name in 2012 to Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Don't be fooled.

  • The School Lunch Program is now considered a threat to national security because its unhealthy nature affects the capability of youths to defend our nation. Yet, some lawmakers want to make components of pizza, such as tomato paste, a vegetable.

  • The star is beginning to fade on veganism. As more people come forward discussing how horrible they felt while following it, it will go back to the place where it belongs, a niche diet for a finite group.

  • While the popularity of slimming supplements begins to wane, many are still dangerous and ineffective. With recent data showing no benefits from hoodia, we hope the public will accelerate their focus elsewhere: to diet, exercise, and safe nutrients.

  • There are many more "real food" options than there were 5 years ago. But as Whole Foods even admits, there is still a lot of processed junk still out there, much of it in their stores.

  • Big disease nonprofits are still too much about money and drugs, and not enough about prevention and education.
What's in Store for the Next Decade?
  • Consumers will take even more ownership of their health, make conscious connections between diet and disease, and thus make healthier choices that lead to prevention.

  • The term “unregulated industry” will no longer be front of mind for consumers, doctors, regulators and the media. Perception will improve so that dietary supplements are viewed as safe, effective and contributory to the health of the population.

  • The medical establishment will continue to move towards an integrative approach. Doctors will accept key nutraceutical products as alternatives to drugs, or in concert with drugs, to prevent disease and reduce healthcare costs. For example, doctors will prescribe products like probiotics after courses of antibiotics, red yeast rice and diet changes in lieu of statin drugs, and fish oil for heart health and arthritis.

  • Healthcare reform will move from access to prevention, and more government resources will be applied to nutrient and dietary research so that Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, heart disease, and a wide host of conditions can be postponed or even prevented outright.

  • Schools will no longer sell sugary sodas, milks or juices, but will offer healthy, nutritious food choices that significantly decrease childhood obesity.
Have a Happy, Healthy Holiday & New Year,

Bonnie, Steve, Carolyn, Sharron, and Lilo

Canada recommends fewer mammograms

Canadian women will wait 3 years between breast-screening mammograms, according to a new set of breast cancer guidelines released by the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care (CTFOPHC). They have also been told not to do breast self-exams, and their doctors have been told not to perform breast examinations in the office. The CTFOPHC reasons that regular screening for breast cancer with mammography, breast self-exam, and clinical examinations — all practices that have been widely recommended to reduce breast cancer mortality — causes women too much anxiety, results in too many false positives, and is too costly. The new recommendations were published in the November 22 issue of CMAJ.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Our Doc's Musings: Giving Thanks

In honor of Thanksgiving and giving thanks here is a list of but a few of the many, many actions and reactions that occur in our incredible body. May we all be thankful for this amazing gift that we each have been given.

There are 30 - 40 billion white blood cells circulating inside of; which are replaced every few days.

One drop of blood contains 5 million red blood cells, 7 thousand white blood cells and thousands of platelets.

3 million red blood cells are made per minute.

The heart weighs less than one pound yet beats around 40 million times per year.

The heart pumps 2.5 gallons per minute and 1,314,000 gallons per year.

The energy output of the heartbeat in a 24-hour period is enough to raise three fully loaded Greyhound buses off the ground.

The lungs use about 90 gallons of pure oxygen per day.

We take around 9 million breaths per year.

Our lungs pump about 2 gallons of air per minute while at rest and about 26
gallons of air per minute while exercising.

There are more than 600 muscles in your body. To press a barbell over your head takes 200 of them and 31 of them are in your face.

Nerves transmit their signals at 300 mph.

Stomach acid is so strong, that one drop of it on the skin will leave a painful blister, but the stomach is left unharmed.

The stomach produces 2.5 quarts of acid per day and over the course of 70
years will produce 60,000 quarts to help digest 40 tons of food.

Have a wonderful, healthy and well digested Thanksgiving!

Dr. Liselotte Schuster
847-509-9067

Normal weight persons eat more meals

Normal weight adults, including those who had lost a lot of weight and kept it off, ate more often than overweight people in a new study looking at factors that may help in preventing weight gain. Researchers following about 250 people for a year found that overweight individuals ate fewer snacks in addition to meals than people in the normal body weight range, but the overweight still took in more calories and they were less active over the course of the day.

"Weight loss maintainers" consumed the fewest calories, at about 1,800 a day, compared with the normal weight and overweight subjects, who took in 1,900 and more than 2,000 calories a day, respectively. Weight loss maintainers also were the most physically active of the three groups. The results, published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, suggest that weight loss maintainers intentionally do more to keep from regaining extra pounds.

Researchers speculate that snacking might help prevent weight gain by staving off intense hunger. For example, if you wait 10 hours after you've last eaten, you end up eating a lot more food. If you sit down and you're really hungry, you also tend to eat more calories.

Recurrent wheeze in children

Key findings of the December issue of Acta Paediatrica study found that more than half of 4,171 children with recurrent wheeze had episodic viral wheeze (57%) and 43% had multiple-trigger wheeze.

Fish consumption before nine months of age
Eating fish before the age of nine months almost halved the likelihood of suffering recurrent wheeze at 4.5 years. The authors have previously reported that fish is beneficial in both eczema in infancy and allergic rhinitis at pre-school age. Other research has suggested a protective effect on the development of asthma.

Antibiotic treatment in the first week of life
Being treated with broad-spectrum antibiotics in the first week was associated with double the risk of recurrent wheeze at 4.5 years. Just 3.6% of the children in the no wheeze group had received antibiotics, compared with 10.7% of those who had experienced three or more episodes.

Use of paracetamol (acetaminophen) during pregnancy
The prevalence of prenatal paracetamol exposure in the wheeze group using asthma medication was 12.4% and taking paracetamol during pregnancy increased the risk by 60%. The effect was particularly noticeable in the multiple-trigger wheeze group, where it more than doubled the risk.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Top 10 most dangerous toys

http://toysafety.org/worstToyList_index.shtml

Antibiotics for acne come with side effects

According to a study published yesterday in Archives of Dermatology, students receiving oral antibiotics for acne reported a three-fold increase in episodes of pharyngitis (chronic sore throat) compared to students not receiving oral antibiotics, but who had acne. Less than 1% of the total subjects tested for group A streptococcus, so any connection to strep A as the cause of pharyngitis has been ruled out.

Bonnie - while this is certainly a new side effect discovery, it is by all means not the only one. It is no secret any longer how devastating antibiotic use can be. It can permanently alter the gastrointestinal microbiota, set oneself up for serious damage in the future, not to mention the common GI complaints that accompany antibiotic use. What's worse is that little is known about the severity of long-term use in patients such as those with acne.

Delayed cord blood clamping for three minutes minimum

Waiting for at least three minutes before clamping the umbilical cord in healthy newborns improves their iron levels at four months, according to British Medical Journal. Delaying cord clamping is not linked to neonatal jaundice or other adverse health effects and should be standard care after uncomplicated pregnancies, adds the study.

Iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia are major public health problems in young children around the world and are associated with poor neurodevelopment. Young children are at particular risk due to their high iron requirements during rapid growth.

Bonnie - many home birthing centers have promoted this for decades.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Whether phone or in person, obesity counseling effective

Weight-loss programs offering support via telephone and the Web work about as well as in-person counseling to help obese people lose weight, a study has found.

Two intervention programs were compared with a control group in the two-year study released today in the New England Journal of Medicine, in which 415 obese men and women participated. They were randomly placed in a weight-loss program that offered support remotely, via the Web, telephone and email; in a two-year program that included in-person support in addition to the remote support; or in a control group that encouraged independent weight loss.

After two years, the control had lost an average of about 1.8 pounds, but the remote group and the in-person group had similar average weight losses: 10.1 pounds and 11.2 pounds, respectively. At the two-year mark 18.8% of people in the control group had lost 5% of their starting body weight, compared with 38.2% of those in the remote group and 41.4% of those in the in-person group. Achieving and maintaining a 5% drop in body weight is considered an achievement among many health professionals, because it can lower the risk of some weight-related illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes.

Bonnie - I have done phone consults for years, and more recently, video consults. For those of you who live a distance away, don't feel that the only way to meet with me is to come in person.

Water's Dirty Little Secret

University of Illinois scientists report the first identification of a cellular mechanism linked to the toxicity of a major class of drinking water disinfection byproducts. This study, published in Environmental Science & Technology, suggests a possible connection to adverse health effects, including neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's.

"I'm not implying that drinking disinfected water will give you Alzheimer's," said Michael Plewa, lead scientist and professor of genetics in the U of I Department of Crop Sciences. "Certainly, the disinfection of drinking water was one of the most significant public health achievements of the 20th century. But the adverse effects of disinfection byproducts (DBPs) that are unintentionally formed during this process are causing concerns as researchers unveil their toxicity."

More than 600 DBPs have been discovered. Although researchers know some DBPs are toxic, little biological information is available on the majority of these water contaminants. The Environmental Protection Agency regulates only 11 of these DBPs, he said.

Plewa's laboratory investigated the biological mechanism, or the cellular target that leads to toxicity, in the second-most prevalent DBP class generated in disinfected water -- haloacetic acids (HAAs).

"The EPA has regulated HAAs for nearly 15 years. However, we did not know how they caused toxicity before this study," he said. "Now that we've uncovered the mechanism for HAAs, we can make sense of past data that can lead to new studies relating to adverse pregnancy outcomes, different types of cancer, and neurological dysfunction."

Plewa believes this will assist the EPA in establishing regulations based on science. Their research will also help the water treatment community develop new methods to prevent the generation of the most toxic DBPs.

"It's fairly simple," Plewa said. "To increase the health benefits of disinfected water, we must reduce the most toxic DBPs. If we understand their biological mechanisms, we can come up with more rational ways to disinfect drinking water without generating toxic DBPs."

In this study, researchers focused on three HAAs -- iodoacetic acid, bromoacetic acid and chloroacetic acid. After they rejected their first hypothesis that the HAAs directly damaged DNA, they looked at research in a different area -- neuroscience. Plewa's graduate student, Justin Pals, discovered an amazing connection, Plewa said.

In neurotoxicology, iodoacetic acid reduces the availability of nutrients or oxygen in neurons by inhibiting glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH).

"Researchers are interested in understanding how to prevent damage after a stroke or other neurological damage," Plewa said. "Iodoacetic acid kills these cells. One of the targets they found was that iodoacetic acid inhibited GAPDH."

Plewa's lab conducted quantitative GAPDH enzyme kinetics and discovered that the data were highly correlated with a diversity of adverse health markers.

"All the pieces of the puzzle fell into place in an instant," Plewa said. "We had discovered our cellular target -- GAPDH. Never before had this type of research been done with this level of precision and associated with a large body of adverse biological impacts."

They discovered that the HAA disinfection byproducts were toxic because the cells cannot make ATP, and this causes oxidative stress.

"Cells treated with HAAs experience DNA damage," Plewa said. "So they start expressing DNA repair systems. HAAs are not directly damaging DNA, rather they are inhibiting GAPDH, which is involved in increasing the oxidative stress that we are observing."

A growing body of information has shown that GAPDH is associated with the onset of neurological diseases.

"If you carry a natural mutation for GAPDH and are exposed to high levels of these disinfection byproducts, you could be more susceptible to adverse health effects such as Alzheimer's," he said.

More research is needed to study iodinated disinfection byproducts because they are the most reactive in inhibiting GAPDH function and are currently not regulated by the EPA, Plewa said.

"We replaced the standard working model of direct DNA damage with a new working model based on a cellular target molecule," he said. "This discovery is a fundamental contribution to the field of drinking water science."

Bonnie - while I do not have hard data to back this up, I suppose that using reverse osmosis filtration would be the most logical option to removing as many toxic agents as possible.