Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Blog is on Hiatus

We will be back on July 18th.

Vitamin D, calcium halves melanoma risk: study

Certain women at risk for developing melanoma may cut the likelihood in half by taking vitamin D/calcium supplements. The report was published in the the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Researchers collected data on 36,282 postmenopausal women, 50 to 79 years old, who took part in the Women's Health Initiative study. As part of a test to see if calcium plus vitamin D had any effect on hip fractures or colon cancer, the women were randomly assigned to take supplements or placebo. Over about seven years of follow-up, the women taking the supplements who had had previous non-melanoma skin cancer reduced their risk of developing melanoma by 57 percent, compared with similar women not taking the supplements.

Meditation reduces heart attack risk dramatically

The practice, which involves the continual repeating of a mantra, was found to reduce high blood pressure, cholesterol and thickening of the arteries. It is also protects against diabetes. According to a spokesperson for the National Institute of Mental Health, "the prevention of heart attack and stroke and actual lengthening of lifespan by an alternative treatment method is exceedingly rare, if not unprecedented. If Transcendental Meditation were a drug conferring so many benefits, it would be a billion-dollar blockbuster."

Researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin followed men and women with an average age of 59 who suffered from the narrowing of arteries in their hearts for nine years. Half of the group were taught Transcendental Meditation along with their normal treatment while the others just received advice on how to modify their diets and exercise routines. They found that those who regularly meditated reduced their chances of dying or having a heart attack or stroke by 47 per cent compared with those who received traditional care. In those who were particularly enthusiastic about the meditation or unusually susceptible to stress, the results were even stronger. They showed a two-thirds reduction in chances of dying during the trial.

The study builds on previous research findings showing that the Transcendental Meditation program reduces high blood pressure, high cholesterol, insulin resistance, psychological stress, and atherosclerosis, and takes it to the next step — lower rates of death, heart attack, and stroke. The practice, which is carried out for 20 minutes, twice a day, is said to induce inner peace by allowing thoughts to flow in and out of the mind. The study is due to appear in Archives of Internal Medicine.

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Healthy Dose of Primetime Drama

Many of television's most entertaining shows like 'Parenthood' and 'Glee' also play a pivotal role educating viewers about important health concerns.

A Healthy Dose of Primetime Drama

Cod liver oil, nultivitamin/mineral lower respiratory illness risk

According to a recent study in Journal of the American College of Nutrition, cod liver oil was a traditional source of vitamin D in the United States and was used to prevent and treat rickets up until the 1930s. The researchers used liquid cod liver oil of adequate purity and acceptable taste for infants and young children, as well as a children's multivitamin/mineral supplement with selenium and other trace metals. In a cluster-randomized study of pediatric visits for upper respiratory illness during the winter and early spring, these nutritional supplements decreased mean visits/subject/month by 36%–58%. Cod liver oil is culturally valued and has been used as a folk remedy by many low-income minorities in the United States. Unfortunately, nutritional supplements cannot be purchased with SNAP benefits (formerly called food stamps). Inclusion of cod liver oil in state Medicaid formularies would make it available to low-income children, whose families may not be able to pay for it out-of-pocket.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Medicare patients not taking advantage of nutritonal evaluation

More than five million Medicare recipients have used preventive healthcare services to date in 2011, and U.S. health officials are trying to accelerate that trend to combat crippling healthcare costs. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is launching a campaign to encourage Medicare recipients to take advantage of preventive services, including mammograms and prostate cancer screenings, in the hopes that early diagnosis and treatment will help save significant costs for the system.The Obama administration's healthcare overhaul, passed in early 2010, eliminated out-of-pocket costs for recommended preventive services and annual checkups at the beginning of this year.

The uptake of services has been uneven, with one in six Medicare beneficiaries using at least one free service from January 1 through June 10, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS estimates the U.S. could save two-thirds of the $2 trillion it spends on preventable long-term illness by preventing chronic illnesses in Medicare beneficiaries.

Steve - free services includes one doctor-prescribed visit to a dietitian or nutritionist. Take advantage!

Fenugreek and male libido

According to a new study, the herb fenugreek significantly improved male libido. according to the Australian Centre for Integrative Clinical and Molecular Medicine. The study looked at the effects of a fenugreek-based preparation on the libido of men aged 25 to 52. The men took the extract twice a day for six weeks, while another group had a placebo pill. Within six weeks of starting the trial, men who took the fenugreek had increases in their libido scores of more than 25 percent. The men who took the placebo saw either no increase or a decrease. Researchers are unclear how the herb, which is used in curry and other dishes, works to improve libido. Fenugreek does contain some compounds that may effect hormone levels. The compounds, known as saponins, may be responsible for an increase in the production of sex hormones.

Fenugreek is most commonly used by new mothers to increase the volume of breast milk they produce.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Our Take: food allergies double in children

Courtesy of Reuters

One in 12 kids in the United States may have a food allergy, according to new findings in the June 20th issue of Pediatrics. This is double the current government estimate. Making matters worse was that more than one third of those kids had severe allergies. Allergies are a particularly difficult chronic condition because kids can't escape food in any part of their daily lives, said lead author Dr. Ruchi Gupta, from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. "What I hope this paper will do is open this awareness to how common (food allergy) is and how severe it can be, and develop policies for schools and sporting events and any activities that kids participate in to make it clear that everybody is looking out for these kids," she told Reuters Health.

Gupta and her colleagues focused solely on the rate and severity of food allergies. They surveyed a nationally representative sample of almost 40,000 U.S. adults who lived with a child under 18.

Eight percent of kids had a diagnosed food allergy or convincing symptoms that indicated an allergy - almost 6 million U.S. Kids were most commonly allergic to peanuts, milk, and shellfish. 2 in 5 kids who had allergies had a severe reaction or a life-threatening reaction.

Bonnie - here is the scary thing. If these numbers are increasing exponentially just for food ALLERGY, imagine how many children have food INTOLERANCE, which is way more common. And while the symptoms can be more subtle, food intolerance can be just as devastating because constant exposure leads to chronic conditions. My advice to any person who suspects their child has a food allergy: by all means, rule them out. That is the easy part and any allergist can test for it. The tougher part is to diagnose food intolerance, which requires someone with expertise to diagnose the intolerance(s) and implement the correct therapy. Most allergists do not believe in it or test for it.

Magnesium and muscle tone

Magnesium levels are strongly and independently associated with the anabolic hormones testosterone and Insulin-Like Growth Factor (IGF-1). A study from the June issue of International Journal of Andrology explored the link between magnesium and anabolic hormones in older men.

Optimal nutritional and hormonal statuses are determinants of successful aging. The age associated decline in anabolic hormones such as testosterone and IGF-1 is a strong predictor of metabolic syndrome, diabetes and mortality in older men. Studies have shown that magnesium intake affects the secretion of total IGF-1 and increase testosterone bioactivity. This observation suggests that magnesium can be a modulator of the anabolic/catabolic equilibrium disrupted in the elderly people.

The researchers evaluated 399 65-year-old or older men with complete data on testosterone, total IGF-1, sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHEAS) and serum magnesium levels. After adjusting for age, magnesium was positively associated with total testosterone and with total IGF-1.

For muscle tone, strength, and overall vitality, these researchers recommend that optimal magnesium intake is warranted.

Gluten linked to early menopause, miscarriages

Women with untreated celiac disease may hit menopause earlier, and have a higher risk of some pregnancy complications, than women without the disease. However, if women with celiac disease are diagnosed early, and follow a strict diet as treatment, the findings suggest they won't go through menopause any earlier than disease-free women. "It's very interesting that when this disease is diagnosed early and corrected by (a) gluten-free diet, you find that these people improved significantly and their reproductive function improved significantly," added researchers.

Furthermore, the researchers said that nutrient deficiencies, plus lower levels of some key hormones in women with celiac disease, may be the reason for the earlier menopause they observed. "When people have celiac disease, they have really chronic diarrhea, for example," researchers said. "With this, they lose much of the necessary amino acids, vitamins, (and) minerals, and all these certainly have their importance in the function of the vital endocrine organs. Estrogen levels are generally lower in women with celiac disease. Both reduced body fat and inflammation stemming from the celiac disorder itself can contribute to hormonal disruption.

The journal Menopause study showed women with untreated celiac disease went through menopause between age 47 and 48, on average - making their "fertile life span" shorter than other women's. The combination of miscarriages and premature births was more common in women with untreated celiac disease than in the comparison group, as well as more reported menopause-associated problems, such as hot flashes, irritability, and muscle and joint symptoms than non-celiac women.

Bill allows HSA, FSA to include supplements

A new bill would expand “eligible medical expenses” in the IRS code to include herbs, vitamins, minerals, homeopathic remedies, meal replacement products, and other dietary and nutritional supplements.

S.1098, the Retirement Health Investment Act of 2011. The House version of the bill is HR.2010.

Two health savings programs that help pay for complementary and alternative medical (CAM) treatments not covered by regular insurance: Flexible Spending Arrangements (FSAs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). “Eligible medical expenses” determine what can be covered by both HSAs and FSAs. Under current law the above are not considered “eligible medical expenses” and so HSAs cannot be used to cover them. The bill as it stands is strong, and we support it—though hope to see the language tweaked to address that part of the healthcare reform act that threatens the very existence of HSAs.

HSAs are savings accounts owned by the individual, and the funds contributed to them are not subject to federal income tax at the time of deposit. If the funds are not spent, they roll over and accumulate year to year. The law that created HSAs made eligibility dependent on whether one is covered under a high-deductible insurance plan. But section 1302 (e)2(A) of the healthcare reform act limits high-deductible or catastrophic healthcare insurance plans to persons under the age of 30. This means that beginning in 2014, people over the age of 30 will not be able to purchase an HSA because they will not be eligible for catastrophic plans—making any changes to HSAs irrelevant to them. Catastrophic plans are designed to give protection against emergencies. They have low monthly premiums in exchange for a higher deductible, making routine doctors visits, etc., more expensive. CAM patients use high-deductible plans to cover emergency services, and use HSAs for purchasing treatments not covered by traditional healthcare insurance. Without the preservation of both high-deductible healthcare plans and HSAs, CAM users will be forced to purchase expensive healthcare insurance with coverage they don’t want or use, while still having to spend money on alternative treatments not covered by insurance.

The healthcare reform act needs to be amended to allow for catastrophic plans for people over 30 years of age. Voice your support of S.1098 and HR.2010, and explain that coverage of herbs, vitamins, etc., is essential under HSAs and FSAs. Ask Congress to (a) co-sponsor the bills, and (b) include an amendment to the bills to repeal the portion of the healthcare reform act that limits eligibility for high-deductible and catastrophic insurance plans.

To send your messages to Congress, click this link.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Our Take: WSJ piece on Multivitamins

Steve - Melinda Beck, who writes a column for the Wall Street Journal called "Health Journal," crafted a piece today entitled, "Multivitamins: So Many Types, So Many Labels."

While for most of the piece, Melinda reported on the supplement industry as most of her lemming counterparts do, in a negative fashion, she did provide a comment at the end that is as important a comment that you will ever see in the media with regard to dietary supplements: "Given all the complexities, it pays to discuss individual needs with a doctor, dietitian or other health professional." This is absolutely true if the health professionals has expertise in working with dietary supplements.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Here's one way to solve the "Food Desert" problem

High praise to this group for what they are doing.

Fresh Moves Mobile Grocery Store An Innovative Solution To Food Deserts

High antioxidant intake reduces risk of AMD

High dietary intake of antioxidants is associated with a lower risk for early age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in genetically predisposed individuals, according to the Archives of Ophthalmology.Researchers assessed the intake of antioxidants, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids in daily foods, diagnosed the onset of early AMD during a lengthy follow-up, and investigated the risk-reducing effect of these nutrients in the various genotypes in 2167 individuals 55 years or older.

"High dietary intake of nutrients with antioxidant properties reduces the risk of early AMD in those at high genetic risk," the study authors write. "Therefore, clinicians should provide dietary advice to young susceptible individuals to postpone or prevent the vision-disabling consequences of AMD. Fortified cereals, meats, dairy products, nuts, and seeds are a good source of zinc; dark-green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale and orange vegetables including carrots and pumpkin are rich in β-carotene and lutein/zeaxanthin; and oily fish such as herring, salmon, sardines, trout, and tuna provide EPA/DHA," the study authors conclude.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Does your pet eat healthier than you?

This piece appeared in the New York Times recently.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Lower your stroke risk: olive oil does the trick

Older people who use olive oil in their cooking and on their salads may have a lower risk of suffering a stroke, according to a study in Neurology. Researchers followed older French adults for five years and found that those who regularly used olive oil were 41 percent less likely to have a stroke than those who never used the oil.

High olive oil intake is also linked to a lower risk of heart attack, and a longer lifespan among heart attack survivors. Olive oil is one part of the Mediterranean diet that has been tied to heart benefits.

Our Doc's Weekly eBrief: Barefoot Running

A few years ago my sister, who works at a boutique woman’s exercise shop, told me about the Vibram Five Finger shoe. She has always been very athletic: as a kid playing sports and then as an adult running, swimming, biking and even doing triathlons. She got me a pair of these Vibram shoes for my birthday and I have worn them on occasion. This minimalist shoe is a growing trend and Dr. Morgan’s article has good information.

In the beginning of the article he informs us that the modern running shoe trend began in the 1970’s where there was increased cushion and padding in the shoes with high-tech shock-absorbing material. In the most recent years however, many athletes are of the philosophy that less is better. The less of a shoe one wears, the more the deeper muscles end up performing, creating a different workout. The heavily padded shoes also do create a heavy heel strike and the minimalist shoe changes that pattern.

There still is not enough information scientifically to determine if the barefoot style of running is better and Dr. Morgan states that inappropriate shoes can create bunions, neuromas, plantar fasciitis and stress fractures. He also informs us that barefoot running has its share of injuries such as frostbite, tendonitis, metatarsal stress fractures, lacerations, puncture wounds, abrasions and stone bruising, which is why the minimalist shoe has been created, to help reduce those injuries.

Dr. Morgan recommends that if one were to begin using the Vibram, it is best to take ones time breaking them in. He personally runs a small amount in these shoes and uses the more common ones for his longer runs. My sister told me that from her observation at work, some people who wear these five-finger shoes all day long, tend to sometimes get fallen arches.

What I most enjoyed was how Dr. Morgan ended the article. He has a background in horsemanship and knows what it is like to shod horses. He noticed that each horse has a different way that their feet adapt, especially since wild horses prefer to run on soft loam but with human domestication we put them on rocky terrain and also have forced them to work when they would normally rest. Some horses never needed to be shod regardless of the stresses put on them, while others would pull up lame if they were not shod and then other horses were shod with corrective shoes. This difference is just like human beings so that is why he recommends trying them slowly to see how ones feet react.

Dr. William Morgan's Article on Barefoot Running.

In health and happiness,
Dr. Liselotte Schuster
(847) 509-9067

Sugary beverages dull sweet taste

Drinking two sugary beverages a day for four weeks is enough to dull sensitivity to the sweet taste and lead to a “viscous cycle” of consumption, claims a new study in the journal Appetite. The authors claim that as the sweet ‘treat’ becomes less rewarding, the person tends to look for more sweet food or drink, leading to a circle of consuming sweet food. Overweight individuals are more instinctively attracted to sweet drinks. The scientists said there are no ‘bad guys’ in terms of the most risky beverages, the levels of sugar found in natural fruit juice as well as carbonated drinks are all too high in sugar and too sweet.

The difference between most Registered Dietitians and Bonnie Minsky

Alliance for Natural Health, June 14, 2011

We wish we could say we are surprised. Registered dietitians are now being given formal education by the Coca-Cola Company on how safe its ingredients are. The credentialing arm of the American Dietetic Association, the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), has approved a program created by the The Coca-Cola Company Beverage Institute for Health and Wellness. This covers what it calls “urban myths” about the safety of food ingredients. Participating in this program will earn registered dietitians Continuing Professional Education unit credits.

“Children’s Dietary Recommendations: When Urban Myths, Opinions, Parental Perceptions & Evidence Collide,” tells dietitians that fluoride, sugar, artificial colors and nonnutritive sweeteners have been “carefully examined for their effects on children’s health, growth, and development.” The presenter, Dr. Ronald Kleinman, “explores prevalent misconceptions about these food ingredients” and suggests ways the dietitian can help quell unnecessary “concern among parents about their children’s health.”

At first glance, Dr. Kleinman should know what he is talking about. He is physician-in-chief at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, chief of the Pediatric Gastrointestinal and Nutrition Unit, and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. Couldn’t sound better, could it? But he has also received a great deal of money from industry sources—like artificial infant formula manufacturers Mead Johnson and Nestle Ltd. His study on optimal duration of breastfeeding was funded by Gerber Products. He also served as a paid expert witness for Gerber when they were sued for deceptive advertising. And he contributed to a brochure intended for children entitled “Variety’s Mountain” produced by the Sugar Association. Now he’s being sponsored by the Coca-Cola Company and telling dietitians that the ingredients in Coke which everyone is alarmed about are safe.

The dietitians, in turn, will be telling parents that their fears are unfounded, and Coke can sell more Coke to kids. Program materials include gems like “[a] majority of studies so far have not found a link between sugar and behavior in children generally or children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.” This is certainly news to us, since we have seen many studies that say the opposite. Apparently the dietitians are to teach us that any connection between artificial colors and neurotoxicity, or fears of the dangers of fluoride, are imaginary and come from hysterical (or at least unduly concerned) parents.

As we reported recently, sugar and artificial sweeteners are anything but safe. Fluoride poses a significant risk to the kidneys. And commonly used food dyes pose risks which include hyperactivity in children, cancer (in animal studies), and allergic reactions. Even the Center for Science in the Public Interest, an organization that supports nuking food, agrees with this. And the British government and European Union have taken actions that are virtually ending the use of dyes throughout Europe.

The ADA is sponsored by the soda and junk food industries—which we feel greatly tarnishes the organization’s credibility. And you may recall that the ADA has mounted a state-by-state campaign to make sure that its Commission is the only one which will be accepted as a credentialing body for both registered dietitians and nutritionists. There are, of course, significant philosophical differences between nutritionists and dietitians—they represent two different fields of study and practice. By accepting only a single credentialing agency—one run by the dietitians, not nutritionists—state boards are establishing a “one-size-fits-all” standard which removes all competition, essentially handing the ADA a government mandated monopoly over nutritional therapy.

Bonnie - the aforementioned perfectly exhibits why I never became a member of the American Dietetic Association. Let me be clear on this. The ADA is a membership association and nothing more. The R.D. moniker is not a degree. It simply shows that you are a member of an association.

Not only does the ADA pander to corporate interests, they try to brainwash college nutrition majors into thinking their only recourse is to become registered. Even worse, they have taken the next step by convincing states that being an R.D. is the only way to practice nutrition. Unfortunately, some states have listened
(i.e. Nevada).

In my home state of Illinois, we have had a strong licensing law that allows nutrition professionals (not just RDs) to practice if they meet rigorous education standards, pass a strict exam, and take continuing education.
This was the legislation I co-authored in 1985. While the law is poorly regulated, it should be noted that anyone in the State of Illinois who gives nutritional advice and does not have an LDN next to their name is practicing illegally.

Pesticides in Produce: 2011 List

This list is released every year by the non-profit watchdog, Environmental Working Group

Pesticides in Produce

If you consume predominately organic produce, then the list is not that significant.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

FDA Announces Changes to Better Inform Consumers About Sunscreen

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced today that sunscreen products meeting modern standards for effectiveness may be labeled with new information to help consumers find products that, when used with other sun protection measures, reduce the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging, as well as help prevent sunburn.

The final regulation allows sunscreen products that pass the FDA’s test for protection against both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays to be labeled as “Broad Spectrum.” Both UVB and UVA radiation contribute to sunburn, skin cancer, and premature skin aging. Sunburn is primarily caused by UVB radiation.

Under the new labeling, sunscreens labeled as both Broad Spectrum and SPF 15 (or higher), if used regularly, as directed, and in combination with other sun protection measures will help prevent sunburn, reduce the risk of skin cancer, and reduce the risk of early skin aging.

Products that have SPF values between 2 and 14 may be labeled as Broad Spectrum if they pass the required test, but only products that are labeled both as Broad Spectrum with SPF values of 15 or higher may state that they reduce the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging, when used as directed.

Any product that is not Broad Spectrum, or that is Broad Spectrum but has an SPF between 2 to 14, will be required to have a warning stating that the product has not been shown to help prevent skin cancer or early skin aging.

To ensure that sunscreen products meet modern safety standards, FDA is also currently reexamining the safety information available for active ingredients included in sunscreens marketed today.

The new regulations will become effective for most manufacturers in one year. Manufacturers with annual sales less than $25,000 have two years to comply.

Midyear musings and hot topic issues going forward

  • Aggregate Nutrient Density Index may catch on as a new way to measure and monitor what we’re eating.
  • “Would you like a receipt with that?” will soon be replaced with no receipt unless the customer asks for it.
  • Gluten-free will continue to grow up, but so will alternative grains such as sorghum, as Americans learn there are options beyond wheat, corn, rice and oats.
  • Probiotics continue to grow with consumer awareness and positive research data.
  • Is telomerase really the fountain of youth? More research on the horizon may show this enzyme can reverse certain aging markers in humans as well as mice.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Formaldehyde officially a carcinogen

Courtesy of Reuters

The government on Friday added formaldehyde, a substance found in plastics and other commonly used products, to a list of known carcinogens and warned that the chemical styrene might cause cancer.

In a report prepared for the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), scientists warned that people with higher exposure to formaldehyde were more at risk for nasopharyngeal cancer, myeloid leukemia and other cancers.

"There is now sufficient evidence from studies in humans to show that individuals with higher measures of exposure to formaldehyde are at increased risk for certain types of rare cancers ...," the Report on Carcinogens said.

Formaldehyde is a colorless, flammable, strong-smelling chemical widely used to make resins for household items, such as composite wood products, paper product coatings, plastics, synthetic fibers, and textile finishes.

It is also commonly used as a preservative in medical laboratories, mortuaries, and some consumer products, including hair straightening products.

Bonnie - did you know formaldehyde is found in almost all vaccinations, which of course, are injected into muscle tissue so the immune system can offer no defense. I am curious how the CDC will deal with this issue now that formaldehyde is officially a carcinogen. Experts laud vaccines as the triumph of modern medicine. However, does it seem counterproductive to the campaign when a carcinogenic ingredient is so prevalent? I would like to hear your thoughts on this issue.

The report, produced by the National Toxicology Program (NTP), also added styrene to the list of substances that were reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens.

Styrene is a synthetic chemical used in the manufacture of products such as rubber, plastic, insulation, fiberglass, pipes, automobile parts, food containers, and carpet backing.

The greatest exposure to styrene in the general population is through cigarette smoking, the report said.

The American Chemistry Council (ACC), an industry group, lashed out at the report, saying it was concerned that politics may have hijacked the scientific process.

"Today's report by HHS made unfounded classifications of both formaldehyde and styrene and will unnecessarily alarm consumers," Cal Dooley, president and CEO of the ACC, said in a statement.

Jennifer Sass of the National Resources Defense Council, a U.S. environmental group, praised the government for publishing the report in the face of what she described as pressure by chemical companies to prevent its release.

"The chemical industry fought the truth, the science, and the public -- but, in the end our government experts came through for us, giving the public accurate information about the health risks from chemicals that are commonly found in our homes, schools, and workplaces," Sass wrote in a blog.

The report also listed aristolochic acids, found in some plants, as a known carcinogen and added the fungicide captafol, some inhalable glass wool fibers, cobalt-tungsten carbide, riddelliine and o-Nitrotoluene to the list of substances reasonably anticipated to be carcinogens.

It, however, said listing the substances did not in itself mean they would cause cancer. Amount and duration of exposure, and susceptibility to a substance were among the many factors that affected whether a person developed cancer, it said.

The report is available at ntp.niehs.nih.gov/go/roc12

Friday, June 10, 2011

A most powerful, natural prostate cancer fighter emerging

Sulforaphane, one of the primary phytochemicals in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables that helps them prevent cancer, has been shown for the first time to selectively target and kill cancer cells while leaving normal prostate cells healthy and unaffected. The findings, made by scientists in the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, are another important step forward for the potential use of sulforaphone in cancer prevention and treatment.

It appears that sulforaphane, is an inhibitor of histone deacetylase, or HDAC enzymes. HDAC inhibition is one of the more promising fields of cancer treatment and is being targeted from both a pharmaceutical and dietary approach, scientists say. The findings were published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research. The Linus Pauling Institute has conducted some of the leading studies on sulforaphane's role as an HDAC inhibitor -- one, but not all, of the mechanisms by which it may help prevent cancer. HDACs are a family of enzymes that, among other things, affect access to DNA and play a role in whether certain genes are expressed or not, such as tumor suppressor genes (a term called epigenetics). Some of the mechanisms that help prevent inappropriate cell growth -- the hallmark of cancer -- are circumvented in cancer cells. HDAC inhibitors can help "turn on" these silenced genes and restore normal cellular function.

Steve - consumption of sulforaphane-rich foods are non-toxic, safe, simple and affordable. This study should be the leading headline of the health section of every major media source, right? Yet I came across it in on an obscure website that does not attract many eyeballs. If a drug company created a patentable, synthetic version of sulforaphane that was successful in clinical trials, would it be a stretch to say that it would be plastered all over the news?

Shocking drug bill proposed by the House

A Republican amendment adopted last week by House appropriators could weaken efforts to protect the public from unsafe drugs, tobacco, lead-filled candy and even tainted blood, the Food and Drug Administration said Monday in several documents. The amendment, from Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.), would restrict the kind of information regulators use when making their decisions. The amendment cleared the Appropriations Committee last week. "FDA must sometimes act when there are credible risks, but before the weight of scientific evidence has been established," the FDA said in its analysis of the amendment. "This amendment would require that consumers actually be harmed before FDA can take certain actions to protect the public health."

Steve - just when you think you have heard and seen it all. Now that the FDA has been actually doing their job to some degree over the last few years, this amendment wants to all but abolish any oversight powers they have? If this actually was put into law, it would essentially mean we are all guinea pigs if we take new drugs. History has shown you cannot rely on industry financed research to show drug safety. Who in their right mind would take a new drug if this was the case? Wow. This one is more than just a head-scratcher.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Eating dirt not so far-fetched

Most of us never considered eating the mud pies we made as kids, but for many people all over the world, dining on dirt is nothing out of the ordinary. Now an extensive analysis forthcoming in the June issue of The Quarterly Review of Biology helps explain why. According to the research, the most probable explanation for human geophagy -- the eating of earth -- is that it protects the stomach against toxins, parasites, and pathogens.

The first written account of human geophagy comes from Hippocrates more than 2,000 years ago. Since then, the eating of earth has been reported on every inhabited continent and in almost every country. Despite its ubiquity, scientists up to now have been unable to definitively explain why people crave earth. Several hypotheses had been considered plausible. Some researchers think geophagy is simply a consequence of food shortage. In other words, people eat dirt to ease the pangs of hunger, even though it doesn't provide any nutritional value. Others have suggested that nutrition is exactly why dirt is consumed; perhaps people crave dirt because it provides nutrients they lack, such as iron, zinc, or calcium. Still others posit that earth has a protective effect, working as a shield against ingested parasites, pathogens, and plant toxins.

To sort through the possible explanations, researchers analyzed reports from missionaries, plantation doctors, explorers, and anthropologists to put together a database of more than 480 cultural accounts of geophagy. The database includes as many details as possible about the circumstances under which earth was consumed, and by whom. The researchers could then use patterns in the data to evaluate each potential explanation. They found the hunger hypothesis unlikely. Studies in the database indicate that geophagy is common even when food is plentiful. Moreover, when people eat dirt they tend to eat only small quantities that are unlikely to fill an empty stomach. The nutrition hypothesis was also a poor fit to the data. The database shows that the kind of earth people eat most often is a type of clay that contains low amounts of nutrients like iron, zinc, and calcium. Plus, if calcium deficiency drove people to eat dirt, one would expect them to do it most often at life stages when they need calcium the most -- adolescence or old age. But that isn't the case, according to the database. Reports do indicate that geophagy is often associated with anemia, but several studies have shown that cravings for earth continue even after people are given iron supplements. What's more, some research suggests that clay can bind to nutrients in the stomach, making them hard to digest. If that's true, it's not a lack of nutrients that causes geophagy; rather it could be the other way around.

Overall, the protection hypothesis fits the data best. The database shows that geophagy is documented most commonly in women in the early stages of pregnancy and in pre-adolescent children. Both categories of people are especially sensitive to parasites and pathogens. In addition, geophagy is most common in tropical climates where foodborne microbes are abundant. Finally, the database shows that people often eat earth during episodes of gastrointestinal stress. It's unlikely the intestinal problems are caused by the dirt itself because the type of clay people usually eat comes from deep in the ground, where pathogens and parasites are unlikely to contaminate it. Plus, people usually boil the clay before eating it.

One thing is clear: geophagy is a widespread behavior in humans … that occurs during both vulnerable life stages and when facing ecological conditions that require protection.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

FDA makes two wise decisions in one day

Zocor (Simvastatin)
The highest approved dose of simvastatin -- 80 mg -- should be used only in those patients who have already been taking it for at least 12 months without signs of myopathy, the FDA announced Wednesday. The 80-mg dose should not be used in new patients or those taking lower doses of the drug who need to lower their cholesterol further, the agency said in a safety alert, which outlined label changes and dose limitations for the drug. The FDA first announced that the 80-mg dose of simvastatin was associated with an increased risk of myopathy and rhabdomyolysis in March 2010, but the agency did not make specific recommendations about limiting its use pending a formal safety review.The labels of both generic and branded (Zocor) forms of simvastatin, as well as the label for the simvastatin-ezetimibe combination (Vytorin), have been changed to reflect the new dosing limitations.Three other medications -- gemfibrozil, cyclosporine, and danazol -- were shifted from acceptable use with low-dose simvastatin to the contraindication category. Amiodarone, verapamil, and diltiazem should not be used with more than 10 mg of simvastatin daily, according to the new labels, which is lower than the previously acceptable dose. In addition, patients who are taking amlodipine and ranolazine (Ranexa) should take no more than 20 mg of simvastatin daily.

Poultry Drug Sales Suspended
Pfizer has agreed to suspend U.S. sales of a popular poultry drug after a study found the drug increased levels of a carcinogen in chickens, according to U.S. health officials. A study from the Food and Drug Administration found that chickens treated with Pfizer's 3-Nitro drug had higher levels of inorganic arsenic, a known cancer-causing substance. Arsenic is an odorless and tasteless element that occurs naturally in water, air, soil and food and comes in two types. Organic arsenic, which is present in 3-Nitro, is thought to be harmless. But recent scientific reports have indicated that organic arsenic could transform into inorganic arsenic, a known human carcinogen. Following up on the reports, FDA scientists detected higher levels of inorganic arsenic in the livers of chickens treated with 3-Nitro compared to the livers of chickens not treated with the drug. Recent tests by nonprofit watchdogs have found conventional chickens to be high in arsenic. This drug may be one reason why.

Our Chiro Doc Dishes: Far Infrared Sauna Therapy for Pain

Our office has recommended Far Infrared Sauna Therapy for years to help with heavy metal detoxification. We endorse this therapy due to the infrared spectrum’s ability to penetrate deeply into the body’s tissue for a deeper core sweat.

In this article according to Neurologist Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt, the sweat of people using a conventional sauna was 95%-97% water, while the sweat of those who used an infrared sauna was 80%-85% water, with the non-water portion being cholesterol, fat-soluble toxins, toxic heavy metals, sulfuric acid, sodium, ammonia and uric acid.

As you can see this article confirms using infrared therapy for detoxification. This article also sites studies that show it to be very beneficial for pain relief and for other health concerns. Here are the results of these studies; which I find quite interesting and hope you will too.

In 1992, the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, reported pain reduction and increased ability in elderly patients suffering from degenerative osteoarthritis of the knee who were treated with infrared heat. This double-blind study demonstrated more than 50% pain reduction for the treatment group, with no significant pain reduction in the placebo group.

In 1994, Laser Therapy Journal found that one of the potential mechanisms by which infrared heat reduces pain is by increasing endorphin release and decreasing the stress response.

In 2005, the Journal of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics had two groups in their study. Group A: received cognitive-behavioral therapy and rehabilitative physical therapy. Group B: received the same as A and also included infrared sauna treatments every day for four weeks. Both groups experienced reduced pain and increased mood, but Group B showed a significantly greater reduction in anger than in Group A.

In a 2006 double-blind, placebo-controlled study the Journal of Pain Research and Management found that infrared heat therapy was able to reduce chronic low back pain by 50% over seven weeks, with zero negative side effects.

In a 2008 study in the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology, researchers found that reduction in both pain and stiffness were statistically significant after only four weeks of treatment for both rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.
And recently in 2010, the Canadian Journal of Diabetes, states that infrared saunas are a valid intervention for congestive heart failure, hypertension and obesity. The researchers found that infrared sauna treatment significantly lowered blood pressure and induced weight loss, significantly reducing waist circumference, especially for patients forced to be sedentary due to medical conditions.

I truly found this article exciting and now I know why I feel so great each time I go into the infrared sauna that we have in our office. View this article in full.

To learn more about the Far Infrared Sauna Room at Nutritional Concepts, click here.

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In health and happiness,

Dr. Liselotte Schuster
(847) 509-9067

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Do allergy meds create weight gain?

Steve - numerous times we have cited studies showing that allergy meds can create weight gain. Here is a recent piece on msnbc.com. If allergy meds are unavoidable, take them only during the height of allergy season. During all other times of the year, avoid cross-reactive foods, take sublingual immunotherapy drops, take supplemental allergy remedies, and other non-pharmaceutical therapies that work for your individuals needs.

Bonnie on flax hot flash study

According to a randomized, placebo-controlled study on 188 postmenopausal women conducted by the Mayo Clinic, researchers found no statistically significant difference in mean hot flash scores between women taking flaxseed and those taking a placebo. Half the women had breast cancer and half did not.

Although both groups of women reported declines in the number of hot flashes they were experiencing, that number was about the same in each group, with about a third in each group reporting a 50% reduction in symptoms.

There were also side effects in both groups, namely bloating, diarrhea and nausea, most likely due to the fiber in the placebo and flaxseed.

Bonnie - I never recommend flaxseed for hot flashes. It simply does not work for hot flashes in the patients I have counseled. Flaxseed, if well tolerated, is wonderful substance to add soluble fiber to your diet, as well as for estrogen balance. However, there are many more effective therapies for hot flashes that can be individualized for your needs.

Whole Foods admits it cannot be GMO-free

Genetically modified foods have become so ubiquitous in the US that even the grocery store Whole Foods now admits it cannot keep biotech foods off its shelves. A representative for the corporation acknowledged in May that the realities of the marketplace have forced a shift in the company's previous no-GMO's policy.

Joe Dickson, quality standards coordinator for Whole Foods Markets, notes that GMO's dominate the market, especially for corn, soy and canola crops from which ingredients in most processed foods are derived. "Until there's federal government mandated labeling of GMO ingredients, there's no way to tell if packaged products contain GMO ingredients," Dickson said. "Our approach is to work in the spirit of partnership with our suppliers ... to encourage them to take active steps to avoid GMO ingredients."

Whole Foods' recent admission proves how successful the biotech companies have been in their efforts to replace foods unadulterated by hormones with GMOs. The fact that one of the best-known purveyors of natural foods has decided to throw in the towel rather than holding the line against biotech foods means consumers will have fewer places to go in their quest to buy non-genetically engineered foods.

Steve - if your goal is to stay away from GMOs as much as possible, find local food purveyors who do not use biotech seeds or feed biotech crops to their domesticated animals. Unfortunately, this is not convenient for the majority of us. This issue may also eventually change the definition of "organic." Here are some sobering statistics:

93% of all canola seeds, 86% of all corn and 93% of all soy planted in the USA are genetically modified, and make up over three-quarters of all processed foods in the country. This makes it very hard for stores such as Whole Foods to stock 100% non-GM ingredients.

Organic foods are defined as those that:
  • Do not involve chemical fertilizers
  • Do not involve genetically modified organisms
  • Are not processed using industrial solvents
  • Are not processed using irradiation
  • Do not contain chemical food additives
  • Do not involve pesticides

Supplements beneficial for Preeclampsia

Dietary supplementation during pregnancy with L-arginine and antioxidant vitamins helps prevent preeclampsia in a high-risk population, according to the results of a blinded, randomized controlled trial reported in the British Medical Journal. The goal of the study was to test the hypothesis that a relative deficiency in L-arginine, which is the substrate needed to synthesize the vasodilator nitric oxide, may lead to development of preeclampsia in a high-risk population.

Preeclampsia developed in 30.2% of the placebo group, 22.5% of the vitamin-only group, and 12.7% in the L-arginine plus vitamin group. Compared with women receiving placebo, those receiving L-arginine plus antioxidant vitamins had a lower incidence of preeclampsia.

Bonnie - interesting study. Sufficient supplemental magnesium is also wonderfully beneficial for preeclampsia.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Hialrious MyPlate Parody