Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Military Exchange stores again pull fitness supplements

This article came out on 27 October 2014 from Stars and Stripes News. Exchange stores at military bases around the world again pulled fitness supplements from shelves earlier this month after concerns they contained a potentially dangerous and untested stimulant.

The recalls might be triggering déjà vu among troops. Nearly three years ago, the same stores removed a variety of other supplements containing the previously obscure stimulant DMAA after reports of soldier deaths. The families of two soldiers who died after taking the products in 2011 have sued and those cases are heading toward trial.

Now, a study published Oct. 8 found the substance causing the latest military recalls, DMBA, closely mirrors the effects of DMAA as well as its name. The familiar spate of new product recalls and published research shows the military’s struggles with potentially dangerous fitness supplements may be far from over.

“We are seeing the same style [as with DMAA] … multiple companies are introducing these brand new stimulants that have never been tested,” said Pieter Cohen, a doctor and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard University who has studied the stimulants extensively.

At least a dozen supplement products were found to contain the new synthetic stimulant, which has unknown effects and could pose significant health risks, according to a study co-authored by Cohen and published in the Journal of Drug Testing and Analysis.

The Army and Air Force Exchange Service said it pulled the weight-loss supplement MD2 Meltdown on Oct. 14 and Marine Corps exchanges reported removing it a day later due to concerns over DMBA.

Supplement giant GNC, which operates outlets on many military bases, removed that product and two others called Redline White Heat and OxyTHERM Pro this month, the exchange services said.

The Navy Exchange said it does not sell any of the products that tested positive for DMBA.

Companies have sought out new stimulants after the Food and Drug Administration pressed for the DMAA products to be eliminated following a rash of health problems beginning with the soldier deaths in 2011, Cohen said.

The military services and their exchange stores have struggled in the past to keep up with the variety of potentially dangerous substances that have hit the market in recent years. Supplements are largely unregulated by the FDA and ingredients are self-reported. Recalls typically occur only after reports of health problems from the public.

Bodybuilding and weight-loss supplements are highly popular among troops who are often under intense pressure to stay fit — on-post retail sales ring in at about $190 million per year and about 250,000 servicemembers use products considered to be high risk for side effects.

Last year, a supplement containing a designer drug similar to methamphetamine was not recalled from military shelves until months after initial reports of the dangers.

In the case of DMBA, it appears the services moved more quickly.

The stakes can be high and fallout from potentially dangerous supplements can stretch out for years.

Retailer GNC and a maker of DMAA products, USPlabs, recently settled a class-action lawsuit in Florida, reportedly paying out $2 million to consumers.

But the families of Pvt. Michael Sparling and Sgt. Demekia Cola, who both died at Fort Bliss, Texas, after taking the supplements in 2011, are still waiting for their day in court.

“We’re just really racing toward trial. The Sparlings are really looking forward to telling their story in court,” said Anne Andrews, a California attorney who also represents Cola’s family. “They want the world to know a young soldier died because of a dangerous product sold at GNC.”

Sparling, 22, took the bodybuilding and weight-loss supplement Jack3d just before a 3½-mile run with his new unit in summer 2011. He collapsed, lost consciousness and began foaming at the mouth.

He was pronounced dead several hours later at a nearby hospital.

His parents believe DMAA directly contributed to their son’s death and that it could kill or seriously injure some users even at recommended doses. They sued GNC and USPlabs and created a foundation in their son’s name to educate the public on the dangers of supplements.

Their case is set to be heard in a Texas court in June.

A lawsuit against the companies was also filed by Cola’s mother. The sergeant experienced muscle breakdown and heatstroke in late 2011 after taking a DMAA product. She suffered with complications for more than a month and died while waiting for a liver transplant, according to the court filing.

Both GNC and USPlabs declined to comment on the lawsuits.

They have repeatedly denied DMAA products pose a health risk.

A spokesman for USPlabs referred Stars and Stripes to a Department of Defense safety review two years ago that could not determine DMAA caused four reported soldier deaths but did find the substance might have endangered thousands of troops.

A GNC spokesman issued a statement saying, “GNC fully complies with all federal, state, and local laws and regulations with respect to the sale of dietary supplements, including those governing ingredients.”

MyAchingKnees Comment: Well, there you go. How many articles have to be published about the dangers of toxins or just poor manufacturing control of food grade supplements? With GNC stating that they comply with all law and regulations concerning supplements and ingredients, the logical question is "what laws and regulations might those be?" I am not trying to make light over this latest fiasco concerning off the shelf supplements, as I too was in the Army and the pressure to be as fit and physical as you could be prompted almost everyone I knew to take supplements. I was a GNC customer for years. Until 9 1/2 years ago, when I began to get educated. Not just in the need for supplementation, but the choices one has with quality or choosing the monetary savings you get with non-quality products.

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Monday, October 20, 2014

The Top 10 Things You can Do to Live to 100 Years Old...

These aren't my top 10 things to do to make it too 100, but I wouldn't have even thought about it until I read this article from EatLocalGrown. What are your top 10 longevity tips?

Here are some of the longevity-inducing factors researchers ferreted out from studying this population of centenarians:

1. Sleep in and take naps.

A 2008 study conducted by the University of Athens Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health studied more than 23,000 Greeks and found that occasional napping was associated with a 12% reduction in the risk of coronary heart disease. But regular napping — at least three days weekly — was associated with a 37% reduction. Zzzz’s, anyone?

2. Stop worrying about being late.

Arrive whenever you get there – and let others do the same. Worrying about when you arrive triggers “fight or flight” stress responses that can reduce your life expectancy.

3. Grow a garden, nurture it, and eat from it.

Eat plants, avoid animal products, consume lots of olive oil, avoid processed foods, and drink wine in the company of good friends. Need inspiration and recipes? Read Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Kitchen.

4. Never give up your sense of purpose.

Finding and fulfilling your calling throughout your lifetime can extend your life. In fact, studies have linked early retirement to reduced life expectancy. In Okinawa, another community where many people live to be older than 100, people embrace the notion of ikigai — “the reason for which you wake up in the morning.”

It gets centenarians out of bed and off the sofa so they can make a difference in the community. The Nicoyans in Costa Rica use the term plan de vida to describe a lifelong sense of purpose. Dr. Robert Butler, the first director of the National Institute on Aging, says that being able to define your life meaning adds to your life expectancy.

5. Get it on.

A study of Ikarian men between 65 and 100 found that 80% of them claimed to have sex regularly, and a quarter of that self-reported group said they were doing so with “good duration” and “achievement.” Go dudes! For more proof that sex isn’t just fun, it’s good for your health, read this.

6. Take a placebo at least once per day.

Ikarians take a spoonful of honey every morning. They believe it is their “medicine” and use it for both prevention and treatment of illness and injury. They also regularly consume a homemade tea made of a special blend of herbs they believe extends their lives.

While there may be some health benefit the Ikarians enjoy from the honey and herbs themselves, chances are good that the stress-relieving, relaxation-inducing effects of the positive belief they associate with the honey and tea are more potent medicine than the honey and tea themselves. For more proof that placebos really can heal your body, read this.

7. Walk up 20 hills a day.

To get around the island, Ikarians walk. And it’s hilly where they live. Exercise isn’t something they do at the gym. It’s an enjoyable, built in part of their lifestyle.

8. Cultivate a sense of belonging.

As I wrote in this blog post, finding your tribe, alleviating loneliness, and feeling like part of a community can cut your risk of heart disease in half and extend your life up to 10 years. Be part of a community where you fit in. Ikarians live in multigenerational homes and avoid spending too much time alone. And researchers have proven that being part of a nurturing community is more important to good health than quitting smoking or starting to exercise.

9. Go to the church, temple, or mosque.

Studies show that gathering as part of a spiritual community can extend your life up to 14 years.

10. Surround yourself with people who follow steps 1-9.

The more you surround yourself with people engaged in whole health-inducing behaviors, the more it becomes part of your culture. If, however, you surround yourself with beer-guzzling, obese couch potato loners, it’s easier to become one yourself. When you surround yourself with healthy, inspiring people, you’re way more likely to live to be 100.



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Monday, October 13, 2014

Vitamin B12 for Energy?

George wrote to ask "...my energy levels have been down so after much researching on the internet I saw dozens of articles about how Vitamin B12 helps restore energy levels. Do you think this is true? Would Vitamin B12 help with my knee pain? How much Vitamin B12 should I take a day?"

Good question George.  I have also read many articles on B12 from the internet, ranging from implied claims that B12 helps regain memory loss; helps energy levels especially in older people; enhances immune systems; and even helping with mood swings. Of course claims that supplements help or fix diseases are verboten by the FDA.   

Many sources to include the American Journal for Clinical Nutrition believe that many Americans, possibly over half, are chronically deficient in Vitamin B12. It is my belief that most Americans are deficient in most, it not all, nutrients as the quality of the food supply is much less than it has been and we Americans are eating much more processed foods.

It is also my belief that no single Vitamin is the miracle nutrient. I have warned people for years not to read and believe stories that this Vitamin or that Vitamin treats a certain condition then rush off to buy a bottle of that miracle Vitamin at the local drug store. There are two things wrong with this: 1 - A person needs to receive all nutrients so they can work together synergistically for optimal health, in doses that will do them good, and 2 - Most sources of supplements are from food grade manufacture so the consumer never knows what they are actually getting and if they are also consuming toxins with those supplements.

So to answer your question George: Vitamin B12 is an important nutrient as are all the Vitamins and Minerals; Vitamin B12 in and of itself does not restore memory loss, etc., but works with other Vitamins and Minerals to provide the required nutrients so the body's immune system can function as optimally as it can.

I do not take Vitamin B12 by itself. It is part of the daily supplements I consume. I am getting 200 micro`grams of Vitamin B12 each day which is 3,340% of the FDA's Required Daily Allowance (RDA). These days, only cavemen believe that the RDA is sufficient for optimum health. I believe, as do thousands of people much smarter than me, including biologistsa, scientists, physicians, etc that for optimal health a person must consume much higher doses the Vitamins and Minerals.

As far as Vitamin B12 helping with knee pain,......vitamin B12 is one of many nutrients you must have for the body's immune system to work as efficient as it can and if working properly can minimze oxidative stress and free radical damage which may contribute to joint pain.



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Monday, September 29, 2014

More Vitamin D Information

Andy, who takes daily nutritional supplements, wrote to ask about if his general fatigue could be related to an excessive amount of Vitamin D. He said he takes 800 IU a day. He was worried about a toxic dose. I wrote Andy back and said it is very un-likely that an excess of Vitamin D is causing his fatigue or lack or energy. Much more likely that he is taking considerably less Vitamin D than he needs or that he is consuming low quality, food grade supplements and therefore cannot determine what amount he is really taking. Andy also asked about the benefits of Vitamin D as he had forgotten why he added them to his daily nutritionals.

First of all, the FDA's current recommendation of 600 IU a day of Vitamin D is thought to be too low. Many researchers are now suggesting that 2,000 IU a day may be the minimum amount. I currently take 5,200 IU of Vitamin D each day. Vitamin D is necessary for normal bone mineralization and growth including teeth. Vitamin D assists in the absorption and utilization in the body of phosphorus and calcium. Vitamin K is also important too for bones as Vitamin K helps direct calcium to the bones and not the in soft tissues such as organs or muscles.

I don't know if anyone has figured out what the minimum level for a toxic dose of Vitamin D is, although the Mayo Clinic has published an article stating "taking 50,000 international units (IU) a day of vitamin D for several months has been shown to cause toxicity. The main consequence of vitamin D toxicity is a buildup of calcium in your blood (hypercalcemia), which can cause symptoms such as poor appetite, nausea and vomiting. Weakness, frequent urination and kidney problems also may occur."



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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Children's Supplement's May Contain Bad Stuff

This article came out of the Earth We Are One website with the title ' "Top Pharma-Brand Of Children’s Vitamins Contains Aspartame, GMOs, and Other Hazardous Chemicals."

The #1 Children’s Vitamin Brand in the US contains ingredients that most parents would never intentionally expose their children to, so why aren’t more opting for healthier alternatives?

MyAchingKnees Comment: I have talked to many parents about putting their children on a quality daily nutritional supplement. It is incredulous that parents, after knowing the difference between food grade supplements like "Flintstones", and pharamceutical grade suplements, will still opt to put the lower cost supplement into their kids even when the difference may be $10 a month!  Why would a parent want to give their children anything other than the safest product?

Kids vitamins are supposed to be healthy, right? Well then, what’s going on with Flintstones Vitamins, which proudly claims to be “Pediatricians’ #1 Choice”?

MyAchingKnees Comment: Pediatrician's #1 choice?  Probably, but certainly not the highest rated product according to the Comparative Guide to Children's Nutritionals.    

 Produced by the global pharmaceutical corporation Bayer, this wildly successful brand features a shocking list of unhealthy ingredients, including:

Aspartame
Cupric Oxide
Coal tar artificial coloring agents (FD&C Blue #2, Red #40, Yellow #6)
Zinc Oxide
Sorbitol
Ferrous Fumarate
Hydrogenated Oil (Soybean)
GMO Corn starch


On Bayer Health Science’s Flintstones product page designed for healthcare professionals they lead into the product description with the following tidbit of information:

82% of kids aren’t eating all of their veggies1. Without enough vegetables, kids may not be getting all of the nutrients they need.

References: 1. Lorson BA, Melgar-Quinonez HR, Taylor CA. Correlates of fruit and vegetable intakes in US children. J Am Diet Assoc. 2009;109(3):474-478.

The implication? That Flintstones vitamins somehow fill this nutritional void. But let’s look a little closer at some of these presumably healthy ingredients….

ASPARTAME

Aspartame is a synthetic combination of the amino acids aspartic acid and l-phenylalanine, and is known to convert into highly toxic methanol and formaldehyde in the body. Aspartame has been linked to over 40 adverse health effects in the biomedical literature, and has been shown to exhibit both neurotoxicity and carcinogenicity [1] What business does a chemical like this have doing in a children’s vitamin, especially when non-toxic, non-synthetic non-nutritive sweeteners like stevia already exist?

CUPRIC OXIDE

Next, let’s look closer at Cupric Oxide, 2mg of which is included in each serving of Flinstone’s Complete chewable vitamins as a presumably ‘nutritional’ source of ‘copper,’ supplying “100% of the Daily Value (Ages 4+), according to Flintstones Vitamins Web site’s Nutritional Info.[2]

But what is Cupric Oxide? A nutrient or a chemical?

According to the European Union’s Dangerous Substance Directive, one of the main EU laws concerning chemical safety, Cupric Oxide is listed as a Hazardous substance, classified as both “Harmful (XN)” and “Dangerous for the environment” (N). Consider that it has industrial applications as a pigment in ceramics, and as a chemical in the production of rayon fabric and dry cell batteries. In may be technically correct to call it a mineral, but should it be listed as a nutrient in a children’s vitamin? We think not.

COAL TAR ARTIFICIAL COLORING AGENTS

A well-known side effect of using synthetic dyes is attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. For direct access to study abstracts on this topic view our Food Coloring research page. There is also indication that the neurotoxicity of artificial food coloring agents increase when combined with aspartame,[3] making the combination of ingredients in Flintstones even more concerning.

ZINC OXIDE

Each serving of Flinstones Complete Chewable vitamins contain 12 mg of zinc oxide, which the manufacturer claims delivers 75% of the Daily Value to children 2 & 3 years of age. Widely used as a sun protection factor (SPF) in sunscreens, The EU’s Dangerous Substance Directive classifies it as an environmental Hazard, “Dangerous for the environment (N).” How it can be dangerous to the environment, but not for humans ingesting it, escapes me. One thing is for sure, if one is to ingest supplemental zinc, or market it for use by children, it makes much more sense using a form that is organically bound (i.e. ‘chelated’) to an amino acid like glycine, as it will be more bioavailable and less toxic.

SORBITOL

Sorbitol is a synthetic sugar substitute which is classified as a sugar alcohol. It can be argued that it has no place in the human diet, much less in a child’s. The ingestion of higher amounts have been linked to gastrointestinal disturbances from abdominal pain to more serious conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome.[4]



FERROUS FUMARATE

The one clear warning on the Flinstone’s Web site concerns this chemical. While it is impossible to die from consuming iron from food, e.g. spinach, ferrous fumarate is an industrial mineral and not found in nature as food. In fact, ferrous fumarate is so toxic that accidental overdose of products containing this form is “a leading cause of fatal poisoning in children under 6.” The manufacturer further warns:

Keep this product out of reach of children. In case of accidental overdose, call a doctor or poison control center immediately.

HYDROGENATED SOYBEAN OIL

Finding hydrogenated oil in anything marketed to children is absolutely unacceptable. These semi-synthetic fatty acids incorporate into our tissues and have been linked to over a dozen adverse health effects, from coronary artery disease to cancer, violent behavior to fatty liver disease.[5]

GMO CORN STARCH

While it can be argued that the amount of GMO corn starch in this product is negligible, even irrelevant, we disagree. It is important to hold accountable brands that refuse to label their products honestly, especially when they contain ingredients that have been produced through genetic modification. The ‘vitamin C’ listed as ascorbic acid in Flintstones is likely also produced from GMO corn. Let’s remember that Bayer’s Ag-biotech division, Bayer CropScience, poured $381,600 of cash into defeating the proposition 37 GMO labeling bill in California. Parents have a right to protect their children against the well-known dangers of genetically modified foods and the agrichemicals that contaminate them, don’t they? GMO corn starch is GMO, plain and simple. We’d appreciate it if Bayer would label their “vitamins” accordingly.

In summary, Bayer’s Flintstone’s vitamin brand is far from a natural product, and the consumer should be aware of the unintended, adverse health effects that may occur as a result of using it.

1] GreenMedInfo.com, Adverse Health Effects of Aspartame

[2] FlinstonesVitamins.com, FLINSTONES Complete Chewable, Nutritional Info Overview

[3] Karen Lau, W Graham McLean, Dominic P Williams, C Vyvyan Howard. Synergistic interactions between commonly used food additives in a developmental neurotoxicity test. Toxicol Sci. 2006 Mar;90(1):178-87. Epub 2005 Dec 13. PMID: 16352620

[4] GreenMedInfo.com, Sorbitol’s Adverse Health Effects

[5] GreenMedInfo.com, Health Effects of Hydrogenated Oil



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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Protect Your Kidneys

This article was published with the title, "10 Deadly Habits That Seriously Damage Your Kidneys" on Real Farmacy and caught my eye as I know several people who developed kidney cancer in the last several years and one person, a young lady, who had a kidney removed and is on dialysis. In each of the kidney cancer friends of mine, the cancer was not detected until the mass or tumor was too big to miss, like the size of a softball. I don't think these people were delinquent in protecting their kidneys - how do you know if you are growing cancer in an organ? - I think toxins, accumulated over a long time were likely responsible. Still, one must do what they can,...take what steps they are comfortable with, in ensuring the best health possible. So, I like these articles which are common sense and offer easy steps to have a healthy lifestyle.

Our kidneys are super important for our health. They filter our blood, produce hormones, absorb minerals, produce urine, eliminate toxins, and neutralize acids. So as one of the most important organs in your body, your kidneys deserve some love. Damage or steady decline of your kidneys can often go unnoticed for years as your kidneys can still do their job with as little as 20% of their capacity.

Therefore kidney diseases are often referred to as “The Silent Diseases”. That’s why it is so important to take care of them before it is too late. Here’s a list of 10 common habits that put a lot of pressure on your kidneys and can cause serious damage over time.

1. Not Drinking Enough Water

Your kidney’s most important function is to filter blood and eliminate toxins and waste materials. When you don’t drink enough plain water during the day toxins and waste material start to accumulate and can cause severe damage to your body.

MyAchingKnees Comment:  The average person needs about one ounce of water for every 2 pounds of body weight each day. If you are more active, you'll need more water.  Here's an idea - replace those soda's with water.  Try this for two weeks and see how you feel. 

2. Too Much Salt In Your Diet

Your body needs sodium or salt to work properly. Most people however consume too much salt which may raise blood pressure and put a lot of stress on the kidneys. As a good rule of thumb, no more than 5 grams of salt should be eaten on a daily basis.

3. Frequently Delaying The Call Of Nature

Many of us ignore the urge to go because they are too busy or want to avoid public bathrooms. Retaining urine on a regular basis increases urine pressure and can lead to kidney failure, kidney stones, and incontinence. So listen to your body when nature calls.

4. Kick The Sugar Habit

Scientific studies show that people who consume 2 or more sugary drinks a day are more likely to have protein in their urine. Having protein in your urine is an early sign your kidneys are not doing their job as they should.

MyAchingKnees Comment:  High Glycemic diets are killing us. I know most people won't or can't replace high glycemic foods with low glycemic foods in total; however any person would be a fool not to reduce some consumption of high glycemic and substitute with low glycemic foods.  

5. Vitamin And Mineral Deficiencies

Eating a clean, whole food diet full of fresh vegetables and fruits is important for your overall health and a good kidney function. Many deficiencies can increase the risk of kidney stones or kidney failure. Vitamin B6 and magnesium, for instance, are super important to reduce the risk of kidney stones.

An estimated 70 to 80 percent of Americans isn’t getting enough magnesium, so there may be a good chance that you are one of them.

MyAchingKnees Comment:  It is likely the majority of Americans aren't getting much of the required nutrients.  Find the best nutritional supplements you can and take them to ensure you are giving your body the nutrients it needs to have a healthy immune system.

6. Too Much Animal Protein

Over consumption of protein, especially red meat, increases the metabolic load on your kidneys. So more protein in your diet means your kidneys have to work harder and this can lead to kidney damage or dysfunction over time.

7. Sleep Deprivation

We have all heard how important it is to get a good night’s rest. Chronic sleep deprivation is linked to many diseases and kidney diseases are also on the list. During the night your body repairs damaged kidney tissue, so give your body the time to heal and repair itself.

8. Coffee Habit

Just as salt, caffeine can raise blood pressure and put extra stress on your kidneys. Over time excessive consumption of coffee can cause damage to your kidneys.

9. Painkiller Abuse

Way too many people take painkillers for their small aches and pains, while there are many all-natural, safe remedies available. Excessive use or painkiller abuse can lead to severe damage of liver and kidneys.

MyAchingKnees Comment:  Even of the shelf Motrin can be bad for you if you use it all the time and in bigger doses. I abused Motrin for over 20 years, and have only taken about 400 mg of it in the last 9 years.  I'll use low doses of Aspirin now, but that's about it.  It you have pain, try and fix it, just don't throw drugs at the symptoms.  

10. Alcohol Consumption

Although there is nothing wrong with enjoying a glass of wine or having a beer once in a while, most of us don’t stop after just one drink. Alcohol is actually a legal toxin that puts a lot of stress on our kidneys and liver.

To stay healthy and avoid kidney issues it is important to eat lots of fresh, whole foods and if you keep the above information in mind and avoid these common habits as much as possible, your kidneys will not be under constant stress and your body will thank you for that.

MyAchingKnees Comment:  Alcohol is a toxin.  Reduce or eliminate your consumption of it.  If you drink hard liquor or beer, maybe you can try replacing it with a quality red wine.  My challenge to you is to try tis for two weeks and see how you feel.  


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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Toxic Toothpaste? Hidden dangers in your dental care products

MyAchingKnees comment: In keeping with my health lifestyle focus on maximizing low glycemic foods, minimizing my intake of high glycemic foods, taking quality nutritional supplements, living a physical life and minimizing toxics, I have quit using conventional toothpastes about 8 years ago. If you read the labels on the ingredients and the poison control warnings and you'll understand why. I have not had any cavities since; my dentist tells me that my gums are very healthy looking; and I don't wake up with bad breath.

On the whitening side, I suggest you use a toothpaste that does not use chemical bleaching or whitening, but rather a toothpaste with silica to gently "scrub" the tooth surface to remove surface stains. How much abrasiveness a toothpaste has is measured by the RDA (relative dentin abrasivity). The FDA recommends a toothpaste under 200 RDA and the American Dental Association puts that limit at 250. I use a fluoride free, natural toothpaste with an RDA under 80. 

So do you own research - nothing will convince you of the what you need to do more so than determining that information firsthand.

This is from a Fox News article posted earlier in the month.

There are many options we have in taking care and beautifying our smile these days. The claims can be enticing— promises of whitening, tartar control, cavity control, germ killing, and more. Did you know some of the ingredients in your toothpastes, mouthwash and teeth whiteners can actually be more harmful than beneficial?

There are some controversial ingredients lurking in our oral care products that we should use with caution. The floor of the mouth— the area below the tongue— is very vascular and can act as a quick route of absorption to our bloodstream.

Triclosan is an ingredient in a popular toothpaste that claims to work up to 12 hours to prevent bacterial plaque formation. This ingredient has raised concern because studies have shown it can be an "endocrine disruptor," which can lead to hormonal imbalances such as fertility problems and thyroid problems; it is also linked to antibiotic resistance. Even the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has expressed concern with this ingredient and Johnson & Johnson is removing it from its soap by 2015.

One ingredient in mouthwash that is more harmful than beneficial is alcohol. One popular brand has a 20 percent concentration of alcohol in its formulation. Alcohol dries out the mouth, making breath worse. Plus, it makes you more prone to cavities since the natural protection of saliva is reduced. There have also been some links between alcohol and cancer of the mouth.

There are plenty of good mouth rinses on the market that are alcohol free. Choose one with zinc that will fight bad breath at the source.

Carbamide peroxide is found in whitening pastes, gels and rinses. The byproduct of carbamide peroxide is urea, which turns into ammonia. This is not to be confused with hydrogen peroxide, which is safe to use in moderation. Hydrogen peroxide breaks down into oxygen and water and is a better choice since it also works faster.

Whitening toothpaste can be a confusing product. When one hears "whitening" they think of "bleaching" the teeth and having deep stains inside the tooth being removed to reveal a whiter smile. If you look at the back of a "whitening " paste it will say "removes surface stains.” That means it’s only removing the top layer of stain on the outer enamel and not effectively whitening the inside of the tooth. This is accomplished by using heavy abrasives to scratch away the stains on the enamel surface, which can wear away your tooth surface and cause sensitivity. Enamel does not grow back. If you want a real whitening toothpaste you need a professional strength hydrogen peroxide gel in a separate tube which you add to your regular paste each time you brush. This will effectively whitening your teeth— from the inside out.

Please make sure you brush twice a day, rinse and floss. Visiting your dentist twice a year is also recommended to keep your mouth healthy.



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