Monday, January 30, 2012

We are acid reflux trailblazers

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is on the rise worldwide. "The overall prevalence is increasing over the past decades," says the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. The increase has occurred not only in the United States, but in Asian countries, where GERD was unheard of. We are leading literally the world into GERD by sharing our dietary habits.

If left untreated, GERD can lead to bleeding or ulcers in the esophagus, a buildup of scar tissue that makes swallowing difficult and, in extreme cases, esophageal cancer, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Scientists believe up to 20 percent of the population experiences symptoms once a week, and 7 percent have daily symptoms. Doctors consider people to be suffering from GERD if they experience persistent reflux, meaning at least twice a week.

Most of the time, GERD stems from one of two causes -- what you eat and how much you weigh -- but excessive weight is the most prominent, according to the American College of Gastroenterology's guidelines for treating GERD. A small amount of weight gain (5 or 10 pounds) produces an increase in reflux symptoms. Excess weight can press on the stomach, forcing acid past the valve into the esophagus. The problem isn't just the belly flab evident on people who are obese or overweight. Rather, the accumulation of fat around the organs inside the body contributes to the increasing pressure on the stomach,

Most experts agree that lifestyle changes can usually reduce the possibility of reflux.
If you need assistance with Reflux, try our self-help Reverse Reflux Action Plan or make an appointment with Bonnie Minsky.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The most invasive uninvasive test ever created?

Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) have successfully tested a controllable endoscopic capsule, inspired by science fiction, that has the ability to "swim" through the body and could provide clinicians with unprecedented control when photographing the inside of the human body. The capsule is designed to be swallowed like a pill and can be equipped with a camera. Once inside the patient's digestive track, a doctor can "steer" the capsule through the body using an MRI machine, photograph specific areas of interest, and view those pictures wirelessly.

The ability to steer a capsule, aim a camera, and take pictures of specific areas of concern is a major leap forward with the potential for broad medical implications. The next step in their research is to successfully test the capsule inside a human body. There is no reason to believe the capsule would move differently in a human than it does in a tank of water.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Vitamin D deficiency may cause depression in children

Children with higher levels of the vitamin have a 10 percent lower risk of developing the mental health problem. Research from the Children of the 90s project at the University of Bristol, England shows that the link between low levels of vitamin D and depression is established during childhood. Ensuring children have a good intake of vitamin D could help reduce depression in adolescence and adulthood. The study investigated levels of two forms of vitamin D - D2 and D3 - and found the strongest anti-depression link with D3.

Mineral found in most multi fights deadly toxin

A deadly toxin produced by certain kinds of E. coli, including those that caused an outbreak in Europe last year, can be combated using the element manganese, found in most multivitamins. Manganese protected cells against as much as 4,000 times the amount of that toxin required to cause death in the lab, according to the journal Science.

The toxin, called Shiga, caused the severe diarrhea and kidney damage seen in the European outbreak. Antibiotics aren’t effective and may make the poison worse by causing the bacteria to burst open, releasing more Shiga and making patients sicker. There is no treatment for the infections. Manganese protects cells by blocking the path the Shiga toxin takes to shut down the cell.

Steve - seems so simple right? Highly doubtful this will ever get traction because there is little money to be made, except for those countries where maganese exists.

Fluoride may be contributing to artery calcification

Fluoride may likely be contributing to the epidemic of cardiovascular disease by stimulating calcification of the vascular system, including the coronary arteries. In a study published in the journal Nuclear Medicine Communications, researchers assessed fluoride uptake and calcification in the major arteries of patients who were administered sodium fluoride, the active ingredient in most fluoridated toothpastes. The study revealed that the coronary fluoride uptake value in patients with cardiovascular events was significantly higher than in patients without cardiovascular events. They also found that there was a signification correlation between fluoride uptake and calcification observed in most of the arterial walls, indicating that the fluoride itself likely stimulates the precipitation of calcium within the arteries.

Fluoride may be an essential factor in mediating calcium's contribution to enhanced cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Fluoride exposure is now ubiquitous, thanks to the fluoridation of public drinking water, medications like Prozac (fluoxetine), non-stick cookware, and toothpaste. Fluoride-induced calcification is not a new finding.

Honeybee death clue found

Guess who is partially to blame?

Honeybee populations have been in serious decline for years, and Purdue University scientists may have identified one of the factors that cause bee deaths around agricultural fields. Analyses of bees found dead in and around hives from several apiaries over two years in Indiana showed the presence of neonicotinoid insecticides, which are commonly used to coat corn and soybean seeds before planting. The research showed that those insecticides were present at high concentrations in waste talc that is exhausted from farm machinery during planting.

The insecticides clothianidin and thiamethoxam were also consistently found at low levels in soil -- up to two years after treated seed was planted -- on nearby dandelion flowers and in corn pollen gathered by the bees, according to the findings released in the journal PLoS One.

Researchers found the toxins in each sample of dead and dying bees. The United States is losing about one-third of its honeybee hives each year. While no one factor is to blame, scientists believe that others such as mites and insecticides are all working against the bees, which are the lifeblood for pollinating food our crops and wild plants.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Can EPA and DHA regenerate nerves?

Research from Queen Mary, University of London suggests that omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish oil, have the potential to protect nerves from injury and help them to regenerate. The new study, from the Journal of Neuroscience, suggests that omega-3 fatty acids could play a significant role in speeding recovery from nerve injury.

They simulated the type of damage caused by accident or injury, by either stretching the cells or starving them of oxygen. Both types of damage killed a significant number of nerve cells but enrichment with omega-3 fatty acids in cells gave them significant protection and decreased cell death. Researchers also found that a high level of omega-3 fatty acids helped mice to recover from sciatic nerve injury more quickly and more fully, and that their muscles were less likely to waste following nerve damage.

WSJ gets in on the act with citicholine

We reported on the potential benefits of citicholine for memory loss months ago. It certainly is better from a safety perspective than what is out there now. However, we only recommend it in pure supplement form and not as part of an energy drink or functional food. You should only work with a licensed health professional when taking it as well.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203806504577178970931093522.html?grcc=88888Z0&mod=WSJ_hpp_sections_health

Pretreatment danger found with CT scans

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/23/iodide-heart-scans-linked-to-thyroid-disease/?ref=health

Thursday, January 19, 2012

WellConnectTV Featuring Editor Steve Minsky

WellConnectTV Featuring Editor Steve Minsky

Bone Density Scans: hate to say we told you so

Bonnie: Once, there was trans fat. Then there was hormone replacement therapy. Recently, it was PSA screening. This is just a smattering of the titanic reversals of fortune for once public health darlings. Now, we have the latest public health reversal: Bone Density Scans.

New research could mean millions of older women can skip frequent screening tests for osteoporosis: If an initial bone scan shows no big problems, many can safely wait 15 years to have another one, says a new study from New England Journal of Medicine. Government advisers and leading doctor groups urge osteoporosis screening, but no one has known how often that should happen. The findings offer the best information to date on that question, experts said. "This is landmark, in the sense that it could allow us to move on to more precise guidelines," said Dr.Heidi Nelson, a researcher at the Oregon Health & Science University who is an expert on the topic. At issues are bone mineral density tests, which usually are done through X-rays and cost around $250. Medicare pays for testing every two years. The new study feeds concerns that the tests are done too often, at least for some women. "It's an expenditure of time, it's exposure to radiation, and it's cost. And there's no reason to expose yourself to any risks if there's going to be no benefit," explained Dr. Virginia Moyer, who heads the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a government panel that issues testing guidelines.

Most importantly, it is believed that such frequent scans have led to gross over-treatment with osteoporosis medication.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Media latches onto gut/brain connection

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204468004577164732944974356.html

Less IBD in southern latitudes. Why?

Women living in the southern latitudes of the United States have significantly lower rates of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) than those living in the country's northern regions, according to a study in Gut. Similar trends have been reported in Europe in the past;

The authors hypothesize that the main explanation for the reductions in southern latitudes is related to greater levels of sun exposure and to the higher levels of plasma vitamin D that are associated with ultraviolet (UV) radiation. The role of vitamin D in the pathogenesis of IBD is further supported by the observation that animal models of colitis have more severe inflammation in vitamin D receptor knock out animals or animals deficient in 1,25(OH)2 vitamin D. In addition, UV radiation is associated with regulation of T cells, as well as the production of interleukin (IL) 4 and IL-10, and the inhibition of IL-12, which suppresses the inflammatory response, the researchers noted.

Chicago Cub understands food intolerance

Byrd’s food fight

Outfielder Marlon Byrd is some 25 pounds lighter because he learned he suffered from food allergies.‘‘I went to a doctor in New York and found out I was intolerant to wheat and dairy,’’ he said. ‘‘I was this close to celiac disease [an intolerance to gluten].’’ He has had to eliminate all wheat, dairy and gluten from his diet. ‘‘I can eat meat, vegetables, sweet potatoes and white potatoes. No rice,’’ he said. ‘‘No soy. But coconut [milk]. But I feel great.’’

Contributing: Gordon Wittenmyer Chicago Tribune

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Why is Whole Foods promoting the Master Cleanse?

http://newhope360.com/blog/why-whole-foods-promoting-master-cleanse

Aspirin is not for everyone

Finally - we are not the only ones saying it!

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/16/daily-aspirin-is-not-for-everyone-study-suggests/?ref=health

Bathroom scales do not tell the whole story

According to a study from the Journal of the American Medical Association, you may gain less weight by overeating on a low-protein diet than on a normal-protein or high-protein diet. Huh?

The reason is you lose lean body mass (muscle and organ tissue) on a low-protein diet and you gain lean body mass on a normal or high-protein diet. The less protein you eat, the more fat you will store. Fat is lighter than muscle.

In the study, the amount of carbohydrates stayed the same with the low, normal, and high protein groups. Those on the low-protein diet gained about 7 pounds compared with 13 pounds for those on a normal-protein diet and 14 pounds for those on a high-protein diet. The reason: lean body mass decreased by 1½ pounds in the low-protein diet group, compared with a gain of about 6 pounds of lean body mass in the normal-protein diet group and 7 pounds in the high-protein diet group. Protein contributed to the changes in lean body mass.

Bonnie - a "holy grail" comment of sorts came straight from the lead researcher of this study: "The bathroom scale doesn't tell you what the composition of your body is." How many years have I said that of the multifaceted contributions of protein, one of the most important is that it maintains and builds muscle mass while replacing body fat. This is why some of my clients, after several weeks on their food plans, do not see measurable differences on the scale. The difference is hidden: they are replacing body fat with lean muscle mass. This is beneficial for all age groups, but especially so for the elderly.

Who makes your supplements?

Bonnie - One of our primary tenets has always been to choose dietary supplement manufacturers who are in control of their products from the raw material stage to the finished product. As you will learn below, this is the exception, not the rule when it comes to most dietary supplements. In some cases, there are formulas that we have used used for decades that are not manufactured in-house. In these instances, we track and investigate each party involved in process of making the formula so we can make sure it meets our standards of quality.

While we all have our favorite brands of dietary supplements, the brands may not be as distinct as we think from a manufacturing perspective. One of the most common manufacturing methods is for a finished product company to contract the manufacturing to another entity. This practice is referred to as contract manufacturing or outsourced manufacturing. Contract manufacturers have been part of the dietary supplement industry from its inception, when most finished product companies were retailers and not manufacturers.

While there are certainly excellent examples of vertically integrated companies that manufacture their own consistently high-quality, unique, and reliable products, it is rare to find a finished product company with a sizable breadth of products that manufactures all its own products. Most companies outsource the manufacturing of some of their products, and some companies outsource all their products.

Why do companies outsource manufacturing?
Manufacturing dietary supplements has become increasingly complex with the requirements of the dietary supplement current good manufacturing processes (cGMPs). However, the main reason is the cost of manufacturing is prohibitive. Manufacturing requires significant investments into infrastructure, quality and regulatory compliance, and technology. For smaller companies, these capital and operating costs may far outweigh the benefits derived from any savings brought by bringing manufacturing in-house.

Challenges of Outsourcing
The use of contract manufacturers presents some challenges. The finished product company bears ultimate responsibility for the quality of the products that bear their label. This means that the finished product company must trust their contract manufacturers. With the globalization of the ingredient supply, outsourcing even by contract manufacturers, and the variability in cGMP compliance by contract manufacturers, can be challenging to assess.

Conclusion
The bottom line is that patients have to trust that their practitioners are performing their due diligence. The longer a product has been offered by a practitioner, the longer the track record. There is a good reason why at our office, we introduce very few new products. And if we do, they have been vetted them for months, if not years, for efficacy and quality. Of course, you can always do a little homework yourself, which we always encourage.

Asthma, allergy and respiratory infections: the vitamin D "hypothesis"

According to commentary in the January issue European Journal of Clinical Allergy and Immunology, the recent discovery that every tissue in the human body has vitamin D receptors and that vitamin D has multiple genetic effects has prompted an increased interest in this hormone. Vitamin D deficiency is widespread and on the increase. There is no consensus on the serum vitamin D levels to consider appropriate for global health, the cutoffs for its deficiency, or the doses to use for its supplementation.

Vitamin D seems to correlate closely with host reactions against various respiratory infections. Epidemiological studies have shown that low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels are associated with a higher risk of upper and lower respiratory infections in children and a shortage of vitamin D may contribute to asthmatic patients’ symptoms and morbidity rates. There are studies highlighting associations between childhood asthma, fetal lung and/or immune development, and maternal vitamin D intake. An insufficiency of this vitamin also seems to be implicated in the onset of childhood atopy and food allergies.

The hypothesis is that vitamin D could have a central role in these pathological situations and that it may represent a novel preventive and/or therapeutic strategy. This review emphasizes the need for controlled, prospective studies on vitamin D supplementation to clarify what role in the prevention of and treatment for asthma and allergic conditions.

Steve - while it is always nice to see these kinds of comments in prestigious medical journals, as usual, this journal is five years too late in discovering the benefits of this "novel" therapy.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

US Medical Schools that teach complementary therapies

http://www.imconsortium.org/members/home.html

Building healthy adults starts in childhood

Extensive evidence indicates that early childhood adversity and “toxic stress” have harmful effects on mental and physical health that can last a lifetime, warns a new report from the December 26th issue of Pediatrics. In an accompanying policy statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics advocates incorporating the growing scientific knowledge base that links childhood adversity to lifelong harm into the training of all current and future physicians.

The authors summarize what they call “extensive evidence” linking early adversity to later impairments in learning, behavior, and physical and mental well-being. They suggest that many adult diseases should be viewed as developmental disorders that begin early in life and that persistent health disparities associated with poverty, discrimination, or maltreatment could be reduced by the alleviation of toxic stress in childhood. The AAP says, “All health care professionals should adopt the proposed EBD framework as a means of understanding the social, behavioral, and economic determinants of lifelong disparities in physical and mental health.”

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Colorectal cancer family history? Limit the booze.

According to a study to be published in the February issue of American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, individuals with a family history of colorectal cancer may be more susceptible to adverse effects of alcohol consumption.

In the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, alcohol consumption was first assessed in 1980 in women and in 1986 in men. During a follow-up of 26 y among 87,861 women and 20 y among 47,290 men, the researchers documented 1801 cases of colon cancer (1094 women and 707 men). Higher alcohol consumption was associated with an elevated risk of colon cancer, although the association was significant only for the highest intake category of more than one ounce per day. The association between alcohol consumption and colon cancer risk was higher in those with a family history of colorectal cancer.

Reducing alcohol consumption may decrease the incidence of colon cancer, especially among those with a family history of colorectal cancer.

Junk Food Crying Uncle? Hostess files for bankruptcy.

http://money.cnn.com/2012/01/11/news/companies/hostess_bankruptcy/

Waxing poetic on vitamin D

Steve - One of our favorite local media contributors, Dr. Patrick Massey, wrote a very precise piece on the importance of vitamin D.

http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20120108/entlife/701089916/

In addition to Dr. Massey's piece, a new study from Mayo Clinic Proceedings reported that low levels of vitamin D have been linked to depression. It is believed to be the largest such investigation ever undertaken. The findings suggest that screening for vitamin D levels in depressed patients -- and perhaps screening for depression in people with low vitamin D levels is useful. Researchers found that higher vitamin D levels were associated with a significantly decreased risk of current depression, particularly among people with a prior history of depression. Low vitamin D levels were associated with depressive symptoms, particularly those with a history of depression, so primary care patients with a history of depression may be an important target for assessing vitamin D levels.

Another new study in this month's issue of journal Diabetes
showed a trend toward a higher risk of type 1 diabetes with lower levels of vitamin D during pregnancy . The odds of type 1 diabetes was more than twofold higher for the offspring of women with the lowest levels of 25-OH D compared with the offspring of those with levels above the upper quartile.

Finally, three compelling new studies were published in Europe:

In journal Maturitas claims that 70% of Europeans are vitamin D deficient, creating osteoporosis, the loss of motor coordination, and bone fractures. If it is 70% in Europe, it probably even higher in the US.

A new study from NutriciĆ³n Hospitalaria finds that women are not getting adequate levels of vitamin D from their diets before, during, and after menopause, which puts them at greater risk of the common health conditions that may accompany this life stage, including diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease and breast cancer.

International experts are calling for food in Scotland to be fortified with vitamin D, in an attempt to cut the large numbers of people who develop multiple sclerosis at sunshine-deprived northern latitudes. MS levels in Scotland are some of the highest in the world, and many believe vitamin D deficiency, caused by lack of sunlight and poor weather which keeps people indoors, is partly to blame. For half the year, nobody living in Scotland gets enough UVB rays from the sun on their skin to make adequate amounts of vitamin D and many do not eat enough of the foods, such as oily fish, that contain it. Professor George Ebers of the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences at Oxford University believes the evidence is now good enough to justify dosing the entire population with vitamin D. His team published evidence of a genetic link between a rare inability of the body to make vitamin D and MS.

Are you worried about taking too much vitamin D? Maybe you shouldn't be. From 1955 until 1990, all East German babies received 600,000 IU of vitamin D every three months from birth until age 18 months of age. That is not a misprint...3,600,000 IU total! No vitamin D toxicity was reported. East German children were surprisingly healthy despite substandard living conditions during communist rule.

4 simple, unusual detox tips

http://www.foodmatters.tv/_webapp_513323/4_Simple_Detox_Tips_For_The_New_Year

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Detox: what the medical establishment does not understand

http://www.anh-europe.org/news/detox-what-the-medical-establishment-appear-not-to-understand?utm_source=The+Alliance+for+Natural+Health&utm_campaign=0ecee1f4dd-120106_ANH_Intl_e_Alert_No_771_6_2012&utm_medium=email

Can a foodie and mr. bland be happy?

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204124204577150611736387598.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_editorsPicks_3

NBA star embraces healthier diet

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/basketball/nba/heat/story/2012-01-02/Dwyane-Wade-embraces-healthier-diet-as-he-approaches-30/52331826/1

Magnesium reduces stroke risk in women: study

Researchers in the December 28th issue of American Journal of Clinical Nutrition conducted a dose-response analysis to summarize the evidence regarding the association between magnesium intake and stroke risk. Studies were identified by searching PubMed and EMBASE from January 1966 through September 2011 and reviewing reference lists of retrieved articles. Seven prospective studies, with 6477 cases of stroke and 241,378 participants were eligible for inclusion. A statistically significant inverse association between magnesium intake and risk of stroke was observed. An intake increment of 100 mg magnesium per day was associated with an 8% reduction in risk of total stroke.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Aspirin harmful in women

In what will be a stunning study for allopathic medicine (but not to us), a December 28th European Heart Journal study wanted to identify women who benefit from aspirin 100 mg on alternate days for primary prevention of vascular events by using treatment effect prediction based on individual patient characteristics.

Data from the Women's Health Study were used to predict treatment effects for 27,939 women in terms of absolute risk reduction for major cardiovascular events (i.e. myocardial infarction, stroke, or cardiovascular death) over a ten year period.

Aspirin was ineffective or even harmful in the majority of patients. Age was positively related to treatment effect, whereas current smoking and baseline risk for cardiovascular events were not. The aspirin treatment strategy that is associated with optimal net benefit in primary prevention of vascular events in women is to treat none.

AMD an Issue With Aspirin As Well
In a second study,
the risks for early age-related macular degeneration (AMD) are associated with frequent aspirin use, and the risk increases with greater aspirin consumption, European researchers reported in an article published in the January 2012 issue of Ophthalmology.

CoQ10 support for Parkinson's Disease

Mitochondrial dysfunction has been well established to occur in Parkinson's disease and appears to play a role in the pathogenesis of the disorder. A deficit in brain coenzyme Q10 status may be involved in the pathophysiology of Parkinson's disease. Mitochondria play a central role in apoptotic cell death through a number of mechanisms. Coenzyme Q10 as an antioxidant, can affect certain of these processes. Theoretically, coenzyme Q10 can interfere with Parkinson's disease progression. There are four randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials that tested coenzyme Q10 for Parkinson's disease. The results show coenzyme Q10 at dose of 1200mg/d for 16 months is well-tolerated and might disability as measured improve Parkinson's outcomes. The Cochrane Collaboration 12/7/2011

JACI admits climate change exacerbates allergy

"Accumulation of anthropogenic gases, particularly CO2, is likely to have 2 fundamental effects on plant biology. The first is an indirect effect through Earth’s increasing average surface temperatures, with subsequent effects on other aspects of climate, such as rainfall and extreme weather events. The second is a direct effect caused by CO2-induced stimulation of photosynthesis and plant growth. Both effects are likely to alter a number of fundamental aspects of plant biology and human health, including aerobiology and allergic diseases, respectively. This review highlights the current and projected effect of increasing CO2 and climate change in the context of plants and allergen exposure, emphasizing direct effects on plant physiologic parameters (eg, pollen production) and indirect effects (eg, fungal sporulation) related to diverse biotic and abiotic interactions. Overall, the review assumes that future global mitigation efforts will be limited and suggests a number of key research areas that will assist in adapting to the ongoing challenges to public health associated with increased allergen exposure.

Ambient air pollution, including particulate matter (PM) and gaseous pollutants, represents important environmental exposures that adversely affect human health. Because of their heritable and reversible nature, epigenetic modifications provide a plausible link between the environment and alterations in gene expression that might lead to disease. Epidemiologic evidence supports that environmental exposures in childhood affect susceptibility to disease later in life, supporting the belief that epigenetic changes can affect ongoing development and promote disease long after the environmental exposure has ceased. Indeed, allergic disorders often have their roots in early childhood, and early exposure to PM has been strongly associated with the subsequent development of asthma. The purpose of this review is to summarize recent findings on the genetic and epigenetic regulation of responses to ambient air pollutants, specifically respirable PM, and their association with the development of allergic disorders. Understanding these epigenetic biomarkers and how they integrate with genetic influences to translate the biologic effect of particulate exposure is critical to developing novel preventative and therapeutic strategies for allergic disorders."


The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 1/2012

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Higher vitamin D = higher cancer survival

Researchers in a Cancer Causes and Control study investigated the association between serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OHD) and risk of death in breast, colon, lymphoma, and lung cancer patients during 1984–2004 and followed for death throughout 2008. Patients with 25-OHD levels below 46 nmol/L at diagnosis experienced shorter survival. Compared to patients in the lowest quartile of serum 25-OHD, the risk of cancer death among patients in the highest quartile was significantly reduced. The estimated change in risk of cancer death was most pronounced between the first and the second quartile. The associations between 25-OHD levels and survival were observed for all four cancers. In conclusion, higher circulating serum levels of 25-OHD were positively associated with the survival for cancers of the breast, colon, lung, and lymphoma.

Making sense of titles for nutritionists

Bonnie - there are very important statements in this piece, especially that Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) professionals usually have the highest amount of nutrition education. If you were wondering, I am a CNS and not an RD (by choice), as well as licensed.

by Julie Deardorff
Chicago Tribune

Certified nutrition specialist versus registered dietitian

The problem: In some states, virtually anyone can declare themselves a nutritionist regardless of education or training. The terms nutritionist and registered dietitian are often incorrectly used interchangeably.

A certified nutrition specialist (CNS) is … a nutrition practitioner or a person who uses nutrition therapy to address health needs, according to clinical nutritionist and CNS Corinne Bush. CNSs have an advanced degree (master's level or above) in nutrition or a related field from an accredited university. CNSs must pass the Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists (CBNS) examination on science-based nutrition therapy.

A registered dietitian (RD) is … a nutritionist who has been credentialed by the Commission on Dietetic Registration of the American Dietetic Association (ADA). RDs must have at least an undergraduate degree — usually in nutrition — and often work in community education or food service management settings, including nursing homes or hospitals. Most RDs go on to get advanced degrees, and some work in private practice, according to the ADA. They must also complete continuing education requirements to maintain registration.

Insurance: Reimbursement varies widely depending on state regulations and specific plan restrictions for both CNSs and RDs. Medicare covers some services. Costs can vary widely for both, Bush said.

Be careful: Only CNSs and RDs are named in licensing laws. The ADA has long pushed for nutrition licensure laws in all 50 states. The CBNS opposes this push, as it would effectively "outlaw many extremely well-qualified nutrition professionals, just when the public needs them most," said Bush, CBNS' legislative chairwoman. The ADA says licensure laws are not intended to limit practice to a particular profession or provider; instead they "ensure that consumers can rely upon the competency of licensed practitioners."

Always look at credentials and remember that a CNS usually, but not always, has the most advanced science-based training.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Antibiotics for Animals: FDA gives in to Big Food

Environmental and consumer groups have condemned the US Food and Drug Administration's move to renege on its long-held policy to regulate the use of human antibiotics in animal feed. Last week, the agency quietly announced it was withdrawing its plan to limit the use of antibiotics fed to healthy livestock intended for human consumption. Critics say the U-turn, which comes amid the FDA's own stated concerns over food safety, is at odds with its obligations to protect the public. The groups also criticised the timing of the announcement, which was made during the holiday season and disclosed only in the federal register.

The use of low doses of antibiotics in agricultural animal feed contributes to drug-resistant superbugs, according to food and health experts. The EU has already banned them. The FDA first acknowledged in 1977 that the overuse of antibiotics in healthy livestock for growth promotion and disease prevention was unsafe and could promote antibiotic resistant bacteria that could infect people. An advisory committee at the time recommended that the FDA immediately withdraw approval for two drugs, penicillin and tetracycline, for subtherapeutic uses of the drugs in livestock.

Last week, in a statement in the Federal Register, the FDA says it plans instead to allow the industry to self-regulate and "focus its efforts for now on the potential for voluntary reform and the promotion of the judicious use of antimicrobials in the interest of public health".

Livestock consume about 80% of the antibiotics sold in the US. Obviously, Big Pharma stood to lose a lot of money, which in our opinion, probably sealed the fate of reform.