Thursday, May 19, 2016

Ten Common Items in Your Pantry That Are Toxic

This article is from Country Living and supplements my healthy living concept of eliminating high glycemic and bad foods - maximizing low glycemic foods; living a physically active life; taking quality nutritional supplements; and, avoiding toxins. Riding your pantry of these bad foods is a simple process. Just a little bit of care, here and there, can help make a difference. Stop giving your hard earned cash to companies who make foods that are not only NOT good for us, they are BAD for us.


Organic rice baby cereal, other rice-based breakfast cereals, brown rice, and white rice have all been found to contain arsenic, a "potent human carcinogen [that] also can set up children for other health problems in later life, " says Consumer Reports. The problem occurs because rice is grown in flooded paddies and takes up the arsenic that occurs naturally in water and soil. Repeated flushing with fresh hot water can reduce some of the arsenic.

Food Coloring and Dyes

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) calls them a "Rainbow of Risks." A CSPI report finds that many of the food dyes approved for use raise serious health concerns. For example, Red Dye #3 was recognized in 1990 by the FDA as a thyroid carcinogen in animals and is banned in cosmetics and externally applied drugs. Red 40 (also seen on labels as Red Dye #40), the most-widely used dye, may accelerate the appearance of immune-system tumors in mice. The dye causes hypersensitivity in a small number of consumers and might trigger hyperactivity in children, says CSPI. Yellow 5 may also cause hyperactivity and other behavioral effects in children. The European Union requires a warning notice on most dye-containing foods, but here in the U.S., manufacturers need only say that the dye is in the product.

Grain and Corn Products That Contain GMOs

Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, have been incorporated into the seed used to grow a variety of grains. The original idea was to produce crops that would be more resistant to diseases and pests. But ironically, GMOs seem to have spawned an increase in pesticide use, while some animal studies show a link to potentially pre-cancerous cells, smaller brains, livers, and testicles, false pregnancies, and higher death rates. Products that contain grains or corn products are those most likely to contain GMOs, which means cereal, flour, pancake mix, cake mixes, corn meal, anything sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, and even beer. Though many European countries have banned GMO food products, that's not the case in the U. S., though some states have started to require companies to label GMO-tainted food ingredients.

Canned Tuna

Canned tuna is the most common source of mercury in our diet, with white albacore tuna usually containing far more mercury than light tuna, reports Consumer Reports. Mercury is a problem because exposure in pregnant women and young children can impair hearing, hand-eye coordination and learning ability. Evidence suggests that frequent consumption of high-mercury fish might also affect adults' neurologic, cardiovascular, and immune systems.

Canned Foods

Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a chemical compound that mimics the reproductive hormone estrogen. It is associated with a wide variety of health problems, including cancer, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and ADHD. The chemical is often infused into the internal lining of cans, where it may leach into the food inside. In fact, a study by a coalition of health advocacy and environmental groups found that 100% of bean and tomato food cans tested at "dollar" discount stores contained the chemical.

Noodle Cups and Instant Soups

If your pantry houses food in foam-like containers, beware. The containers may be made from a compound called polystyrene, a petroleum-based compound that contains the toxic substances styrene and benzene, suspected carcinogens and neurotoxins that are hazardous to human health. Styrene leaches into food when it comes into contact with heat or acid, so adding boiling water to cook ramen or instant soup should be avoided, as should making or serving hot coffee, tea, or chocolate in a styrene cup.

Plastic Food Packaging

Plastic food packaging (as well as shower curtains) may be made from vinyl chloride, one of the first chemicals designated a known human carcinogen by the National Toxicology Program and the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Vinyl chloride may also contain phthalates, BPA, and chlorine, which makes it particularly dangerous to manufacture.

Microwave Popcorn

PFOA is the slippery stuff that makes Teflon-type pans non-stick. It's also what lines bags of microwave popcorn so that the kernels can pop without sticking to the bag and burning. At high heat, like what is found in a microwave, PFOAs can spread onto the popcorn. You might also end up inhaling them when you open the bag of popped corn and the steam escapes. PFOA has been linked to cancer, liver disease, developmental problems, and thyroid disease, reports Duke University.

Pesticide Residue on Foods

Fruits and vegetables that are grown the "old fashioned" way–by being treated with pesticides and herbicides to control bugs and weeds—generally retain some toxic residue. Environmental Working Group ranked 48 different fruits and vegetables them according to how much reside could be detected on each one. Apples, peaches, nectarines strawberries and grapes contained the most residue; pineapples, sweet corn and avocados the least. Though EWG's study considered fresh produce, it's likely dried produce is also contaminated. For example, the USDA Pesticide Data Program found 26 different pesticide residues on raisins.

Brominated Vegetable Oil, or BVO

BVO is a synthetic chemical that helps ingredients like orange juice mix better in soft drinks. The compound also makes the natural colors in food brighter. You might find it in soda pop, sports drinks, and citrus-flavored waters. The chemical could increase cholesterol; it may also damage the liver, testicles, thryroid, heart and kidneys. WebMD reports that "in very high amounts, drunk over a long period of time, BVO can build up in the body and cause toxic effects."

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Thursday, May 5, 2016

More Prescription Drug Risks: Common Meds Linked to Dementia

This article came out on WebMD, written by Peter Russell and reviewed by Hansa D. Bhargava, MD, and underscores yet another side effect or risk with prescription drugs. Some prescription drugs are unavoidable, but the user needs to understand the risks and to take steps to mitigate these risks, the primary step being to maintain as healthy immune system as possible. I also take supplements thought to help maintain a healthy liver and your liver is affected by many of the common prescription drugs being used heavily today.

Older people who take certain medicines to treat conditions like urinary incontinence, depression, asthma, allergies, and sleeping problems should be warned that their use may bring a higher risk of dementia, scientists say.

A small Indiana University study found that people using "anticholinergic medications" did worse on thinking-related tests and had smaller brain sizes than those who didn't take them.

The researchers say that although a link has been found before, this might be the first time that their effect at blocking a brain chemical called acetylcholine has been implicated.

But the study showed an association, and it can't prove these drugs cause dementia.

Go here to see a list of drugs (Generic Name, Brand Name and the assigned Anticholinergic Cognitive Brain Score) associated with each prescription drug that the researchers studied.

Thinking Impairment

"These findings provide us with a much better understanding of how this class of drugs may act upon the brain in ways that might raise the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia," says Shannon Risacher, PhD, assistant professor of radiology and imaging sciences, in a statement.

The latest research project, published in JAMA Neurology, involved 451 people with an average age of 73.3 years, 60 of who were taking at least one medication from this class of drugs.

Tests on their brain function revealed that those taking the anticholinergic medications did worse than those not taking the drugs. These included results on short-term memory, verbal reasoning, planning, and problem solving.

The researchers also found that anticholinergic medications led to users' brains processing blood sugar (glucose) -- a sign of brain activity -- differently in both the overall brain and in the hippocampus, a region that's tied to memory and which shows early effects of Alzheimer's disease.

Smaller Brain Volume

Another discovery was that volunteers using anticholinergic drugs had less brain volume and larger ventricles, the cavities inside the brain.

"Given all the research evidence, physicians might want to consider alternatives to anticholinergic medications if available when working with their older patients," Risacher says.

Commenting on the study in an emailed statement, Dr. Rosa Sancho, head of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, says: "This small study adds to evidence for an association between anticholinergic medicines, memory difficulties, and changes in brain biology, but from this research we can’t conclude that this particular type of drug causes dementia.

"There are many different lifestyle factors that could explain the apparent link between this particular class of medicine and the changes seen in this study, and larger and longer studies are necessary to understand the true long-term impact of these drugs on the brain.

"Anticholinergics can have many beneficial effects, and these need to be balanced against potential side effects, but anybody concerned about their current medication should speak to a doctor before stopping a course of treatment."

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Sunday, April 24, 2016

OTC Daily Supplements: Centrum

This article was written by Josh Gitalis, clinical nutritionist and Functional Medicine Specialist, and posted on Meghan Telpner's blog under the title "The Truth Behind Centrum: Supplement Or Chemical Cocktail?" After 20+ years of taking OTC nutritional supplements, from Centrum to GNC and all other in-between, still getting sick and seeing no benefit, I believe people are wasting money on drug store, grocery store or most any OTC supplement. I am aware that many people take these sub-standard daily supplements without any thought, without any analysis on how or if they are improving their life. Unfortunately many will find the cheapest supplements,...and that's the results you get!

"The Truth Behind Centrum: Supplement Or Chemical Cocktail?"

One of the most popular supplements on the market is the multi-vitamin Centrum. What many people don’t realize is that this multi-vitamin is probably doing more harm than good. Is Centrum a vitamin supplement of synthetic chemical cocktail?

A Few Centrum Facts:

• Centrum is a product produced by the company Pfizer, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world.
• The dosages of most of the nutrients in Centrum are negligible and not even close to therapeutic levels.
• The forms that the nutrients are provided in are the cheapest and the least absorbable forms.
• Supplements that come in tablet form are often hard to digest and contain binders and fillers (more on this below).
• Water-soluble nutrients (vitamin C and the B-vitamins) are either used or excreted within about 4 hours. Thus, a one-a-day multi is completely useless and a sure sign that it is of poor quality.

The Ingredients In Centrum:

• Calcium Carbonate This is the least absorbable forms of calcium on the market. A very small percentage is actually absorbed.
• Ferrous Fumarate This form of iron is incredibly constipating.
• Pregelatinized Corn Starch This is used as a binder to hold all of the ingredients together. It most likely a genetically modified corn which presents a number of problems for sensitive people.
• DL-Alpha Tocopherol This is vitamin E and they are using two forms. The “D” form which is natural and the “L” Form which is synthetic. The “L” form is used to “water-down” the more expensive more bioactive “D” form.
• BHT Butylated hydroxyanisole has been shown to be toxic to the liver, thyroid, kidney, lungs, and affecting blood coagulation. BHT can act as a tumour promoter.
• FD&C Yellow No. 6 Aluminum Lake Why is there food colouring in a health supplement?
• Gelatin Vegetarians watch out!
• Hydrogenated Palm Oil Hydrogenating any oil turns the oil rancid and makes it into a strong free radical. Free radicals promote cancer and heart disease.
• Nickelous Sulfate and Tin I have never come across any nutrition book discussing a nickel or tin deficiency. Have you? We most likely don’t need to supplement it.
• Sodium Benzoate A preservative that may cause organ toxicity.
• Talc Has been shown to cause cancer.
• Sodium Aluminosilicate Used as a food additive for its anti caking effect.
One of my rules when shopping for nutritional supplements is to never buy supplements in a drug store. Centrum is only available in drug stores and is advertised as the “#1-recommended doctor multivitamin” (doctors receive no more than 40 hours of nutrition training). When it comes to a multi-vitamin I recommend going to a health food store and talking to to a trained health practitioner in the supplements department about a good-quality multi-vitamin.

Tips For Choosing A Multi-Vitamin:

• Looks for a multi where the dosage is at least 2-3 capsules per day.
• You pay for what you get. The more expensive the multi is, the better the product.
• Don’t buy it if it says “doctor-recomended” on the label or if a pharmaceutical company distributes it.
• Consult with a certified nutritionist to determine the right multi-vitamin for you.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Kidney Detoxification: 7 Ways to Detox the Kidneys Naturally

Knowing how to detox the kidneys naturally should be common knowledge. Our bodies are constantly exposed to toxins. And while our kidneys are well equipped to handle the removal of harmful impurities, these two bean-shaped organs can be overloaded. When that happens, they cease function properly, putting us at risk for tumors, kidney stones, and a variety of other problems. In severe cases, they may even shut down. This is why kidney detoxification is necessary.

1. Drink More Water One of the best ways to detox kidneys naturally. According to experts, most of us don’t consume nearly enough H20, and water obtained through the foods that we eat is not enough to maintain proper kidney function. How much water is enough? There are different opinions, but health authorities generally recommend eight 8-ounce glasses daily, which is the equivalent of about half a gallon.

2. Add Barley to Your Diet If you’ve been thinking about how to detox your kidneys naturally, consider incorporating barley into your daily diet. This cleansing whole grain is known for preventing urinary tract issues. It’s also been shown to regulate insulin levels in diabetics. Replacing refined flours with barley flour is one way to work in barley. Alternatively, you can try barley cereals or prepare barley waters or teas.

3. Cut Out Junk Food and Stimulants Eliminating unhealthy foods and drinks from your diet is another way detox the kidneys naturally. Foods to steer clear of include those that are processed, fried, and/or high in sodium and sugar (careful, sugar is hidden in lots of foods you wouldn’t expect), while it is best to avoid beverages such as sodas and alcohol. Actually, all of these should be avoided even when you aren’t detoxing.

4. Limit Foods High in Protein Limit the amount of protein you consume when you decide on a natural detox for kidneys. Actually, the body needs protein (between 56 and 75 grams daily), but diets high in foods like red meat and full-fat dairy have been shown to negatively affect kidney function. This is because digesting and metabolizing these foods produces high amounts of wastes like creatinine, which the body struggles to filter.

5. Eat Potassium-Rich Fruit Want to know how to detox the kidneys naturally? Eat fruits high in potassium – bananas, cantaloupes, grapes, oranges, apricots, and kiwis. Prunes and sweet limes are also good options. These fruits help to maintain electrolyte levels in the blood, keeping the kidneys functioning optimally. Note, however, that having too much potassium can be dangerous. To be safe, aim for 4.7 grams daily.

6. Snack on Berries Berries are an excellent choice when you want a natural kidney detox, especially cranberries. Why? Because cranberries are loaded with fiber and quininic acid (quinine), which converts to hippuric acid in the liver. Hippuric acid facilitates the removal of impurities like uric acid and urea in the kidneys. Want to keep your kidneys functioning as they should? Have a cup of cranberries each day.

7. Explore Alternative Medicine You have several options when opting to detox your kidneys naturally using alternative medicines. Dandelion, for example, is a potassium-rich herb that works well as a kidney cleansing agent. Uva ursi and gokshura are other good detoxers to explore. These may not be suitable for everybody, though, particularly people who are on antipsychotic medications. Be sure to check with your doctor first.

Article from Reinventing

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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Nutritional Deficit Disorder

This is an excellent article from the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute, titled "Nutritional Deficit Disorder: A Holistic Approach in Nutrition" and addresses what I have written about several times and that is too many children are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and prescribed drugs, as opposed to at least attempting to treat ADD as a nutritional problem first. I have suggested to several parents, asking me about nutritional requirements and supplements for their ADD children, that trying to minimize high glycemic foods and providing their children with a quality daily nutritional supplements, including an Omega 3 supplement, is much less dangerous than the side effects from conventional prescription medications used to treat ADD, and ADHD for that matter. That's would I would do as a parent anyway.

Nutritional Deficit Disorder

An increasing number of kids are diagnosed with learning and behavior disorders. But rather than labeling these kids with ADHD, or the list of other “D” disorders, I focus on the impacts of nutrition and lifestyle choices, referring instead to it as a nutritional deficit disorder (NDD). Each year, the FDA is approving a record number of new drugs, many of which are for cancer treatment, rare diseases and hematology. Prescription drugs, however, are not limited to those medical uses. Children are increasingly being prescribed antipsychotic and antidepressants as young as 2 years old!

In 2014, 20,000 antipsychotic prescriptions were written for children 2 and younger, which is a 50% increase from 2013, and there were 83,000 prescriptions written for the antidepressant Prozac. Additionally, at least 10,000 children in that same age group were diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Wouldn’t it be better to focus on the how we feed our kids, rather than focusing on what pills we can give our kids? Since nutritional deficit disorder has the same behavior and learning implications of ADHD, I work with parents on understanding how they can naturally help their children before resorting to prescription pills.

The Pills and Skills Model of Health

My treatment for nutritional deficit disorder does not focus on what “magic pill” I can prescribe to help with the increasing number of learning, behavior and health issues that are ailing our kids (and adults alike). Instead I focus on what I call the pills and skills model to health – it’s not about what someone can take, rather what someone can do. Lifestyle and nutrition choices have a major impact on brain development and a child’s ability to perform in school.

The Hole

Pills can cause a problem that I dub “the hole.” Here’s how kids get into the hole. A child is prescribed a perk- up pill, such as an antidepressant. “I think he’s better,” parents report. So the doctor leaves the child on the pill. After a few months on the pill, the brain habituates to, or gets used to, the pill, and the effect wears off. Or the brain gets used to the pill producing an antidepressant effect, so the brain decreases its own production of happy hormones, a drug effect called down regulation. The wise doctor tries to take the patient off the pill. The child gets worse. Here’s the hole. Does the child get worse off the pill because he needs the pill, or is the getting worse really a withdrawal effect from the pill? There is often no way to tell.

The doctor is in the hole, and so are the parents and the child. So the child goes back on the pill – and stays on it for years – or the dose is increased, or more pills are added to counteract the unpleasant side effects of the first pill. The only way for everyone to get out of the hole is to do what is called a washout, which means taking the child off all pills for at least six weeks to see which symptoms are caused by the problem and which are caused by the pills. During a washout, the child may experience unpleasant withdrawal effects, such as anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, and mood swings. It hurts to get out of the hole, but a washout is often the only way to tell whether or not a child still needs the medicines. It’s best not to get into the hole in the first place!

Does your child have nutritional deficit disorder (NDD)?

The term nutritional deficit disorder (NDD) is something I use in my practice when parents express behavioral and learning issues with their children. Here are the main signs I look for when diagnosing a child with NDD:

•frequent mood swings
•unrelenting temper tantrums
•restless sleep
•poor attention span
•impulsive outbursts
•labeled with a “D”: ADD, ADHD, BPD, OCD, etc.
•behavior problems at school, home, and day care
•learning difficulties
•frequent infections
•dry, flaky, bumpy skin
•intestinal problems: refulx, abdominal discomforts, constipation, diarrhea
•vision problems
•frequent allergies
•dry, brittle hair
•brittle, thin nails
•very pale skin, especially on the earlobes

The First Step: Understanding

In understanding NDD, it’s important to analyze lifestyle and nutrition choices first. I noticed early in my practice working with families that kids who were raised with real food rather than junk food suffered less from the “D’s.” While there are many studies that support the axiom “you are what you eat,” those are found in journals like the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which don’t get read and appreciated by parents (or even by many doctors!).

Optimal growth and development occur when a growing body is in biochemical balance. In fact, a good definition of health itself could be “the state in which biochemical balance exists in the body,” a concept that has been appreciated in Eastern medicine for centuries. One reason we have so many “D’s” in our schools is that we have so many little bodies that are out of biochemical balance. This is not a result of the lack of care from parents, rather it’s that many parents just don’t know the facts. They are not convinced that fake food harms and real food helps growing brains and bodies.

Once you nourish your body with whole, fresh, natural, real foods and you start implementing this pure way of eating with your family, you’ll notice many positive side effects. For your kids, you can expect that their learning and behavior will change for the better. Why not try that before turning to prescription drugs?

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Sunday, March 20, 2016

Common Health Hazards at Home - These are 7 of them

This article came out of Freedom Health News. There is much we take for granted when going about our daily lives, trusting manufacturers to make products that are safe for us. I believe that many manufacturers put product effectiveness for the intended use and manufacturing costs ahead of product safety research. But common sense has to prevail - let the consumer beware.  For instance, if you think that using cleaning products, breathing in the fumes and getting them on your skin, day after day, year after year is safe and will has no effects on your health, then so be it. I choose to believe that avoiding toxins, as much as we can, or mitigating our exposure to them is a key component in protecting our health. Read on, please:

As Americans become increasingly health conscious, it is time to examine the place we spend most of our time. Health experts say our homes are filled with health hazards we probably don’t even notice. Here are some of them:

1. Artificial Sweeteners

With all the news about the devastating effects of sugar, many people have switched to artificial sweeteners. However, sweeteners like sucralose (the ingredient in Splenda) and aspartame can cause their own problems, including insulin sensitivity, glucose intolerance, disruption of gut flora, and promotion of obesity, heart disease, strokes and Alzheimer’s disease. Instead of artificial chemicals, try the natural sweeteners stevia and zylitol.

2. Plastic Food Containers and Bottles

Plastic containers are convenient, but they contain bisphenol-A, bisphenol-S, and phthalates, which can leach out when the containers are heated or the surface scratched, causing disruption to the human endocrine system. This can cause reproductive health problems, hypertension, hyperactivity and learning disabilities, and cancer of the breast, prostate and thyroid. To avoid these, switch to glass.

3. Non-Stick Cookware

Non-stick cookware contains perfluorooctanic acid (PFOA), a chemical that has been labeled as a “likely” carcinogen, as well as fluoride. When the cookware is heated, fluoride is released into the air, causing potential harm to people who inhale it. Ceramic cookware has a naturally non-stick surface, and emits no toxic chemicals.

4. Air Fresheners

Deodorizers and air fresheners generally contain the chemicals 2, 5-dichlorophenol (2, 5-DCP) and 1, 4-dichlorobenzone (1, 4-DCB), which are implicated in precocious puberty as well as lung damage. Endocrine-disrupting phthalates are often present as well. Consider using essential oils, which offer other health benefits as well. And don’t forget to open your windows and let the fresh air inside.

5. Antibacterial Soaps and Detergents

Many of the antibacterial soaps and detergents we use actually promote the growth of drug-resistant bacteria. One ingredient commonly used in these products is triclosan, which is responsible for allergies, thyroid and endocrine disruption, weight gain, inflammation, and tumors of the liver and kidneys. Simply washing hands with soap and water is the best approach to germ control.

6. Commercial Cleaning Products

Many brands of cleaning products contain glycol ethers, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and formaldehyde, among others. Try making your own cleaning solutions using baking soda, white vinegar, lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide, and liquid castile soap. There are also completely natural products now available in grocery stores.

7. Personal Care Products

Many personal care products and cosmetics are full of toxic heavy metals and dangerous chemicals, such as lead, beryllium, thallium, cadmium, and arsenic. The Environmental Working Group maintains a database with a list of safe personal care products.

Turning your attention to health hazards at home requires some thought, but the payoff in your health may be significant.

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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Multivitamins in the prevention of Cancer in Men

This is an article from the Journal of the American Medical Association from a Physicians Health Study and Randomized Controlled Trial to determine whether long term multivitamin supplementation decreases the risk of total and site specific cancer events among men.

This study apparently began in 1997 and ended in 2011 including 14,641 men and 1,321 of those had a history of cancer. They selected a commonly used multivitamin formulation, Centrum Silver, at the time they study (PHS II) was initiated in 1997 to increase the potential generalizability (?? their term  not mine) of their findings.

The study stated that men taking a daily multivitamin had a statistically significant reduction in the incidence of total cancer. There was no significant difference between men with a history of cancer and those without a history.

MyAchingKnees comment: You may as well take nothing if you taking any Centrum product. We call it the original bedpan pill. It is listed close to the bottom in the Comparative Guide to Nutritional Supplements. The Linxian Chinese Cancer Prevention Trial 35 targeting 29,584 adults with low baseline nutrient status, tested a combination of beta carotene, vitamin E, and selenium for 6 years and found significant reductions of 9% in total mortality, 13% reduction in cancer mortality, and 21% reduction in gastric cancer mortality. After 10 years of post trial follow-up, the beneficial effects on total and cancer mortality remained with the subjects taking those aforementioned nutrients.  Imagine what you may be able to do with your health taking all the necessary nutrients in robust doses? 

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