Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Bad Food Supply

Most of us are aware of the diminishing nutrient value of today's food supply. I read somewhere that it takes 8 Florida oranges to provide the same nutritional value that one Florida orange did 20 years ago. This is a result of several things: 1 - high demand for food making production and not quality a focus; 2 - over use and diminishing quality of the soil to grow foods; 3 - hybrid crops designed to resist diseases and drought, in many cases, bring lower nutritional value. Now we are learning through reports that diseases and toxins are much more prevalent in food production. This story from The Daily Ticker by Nicole Goodkind

106 Years After ‘The Jungle’, Squalid Factories and Foodborne Diseases Are Rising Again

Foodborne illnesses kill 3,000 Americans each year. Nearly 130,000 more are hospitalized. The aggregate cost of foodborne illnesses to the U.S. economy in 2011 was $77.7 billion. These are staggering numbers, and they're on the rise. The FDA had 37 recalls of fruits and vegetables in 2011, up from just two in 2005. Between 2006 and 2010 the rate of foodborne salmonella rose 10%.

Why is food in the United States so riddled with disease that it's killing citizens? Stephanie Armour, Food Safety and Public Health Reporter at Bloomberg, investigated this question for a special report in this month's issue of Bloomberg Markets. What she found was deeply disturbing.

The Food and Drug Administration has an annual budget of $1 billion to fulfill its duties. Annual food sales in the United States equal $1.2 trillion. Because of these budget constraints, the FDA is able to inspect ust 6% of domestic food producers and 0.4% of importers. "The FDA doesn't really have the funding to do the inspections," says Armour in an interview with The Daily Ticker. "I mean it's a negligible amount that they're actually able to get to and look at visually. Instead a lot of private companies have used these third-party auditors. They're basically private inspection firms that go in, do the inspection, make sure the food handling is safe and let the companies know and give them a grade."

Unfortunately, these third-party auditors are far from ideal inspectors. They are not required to follow any federal standards and do not have to make their reports public. Some are financially linked to the companies they are inspecting. "In some cases you have companies that are on the board of the inspecting companies that are writing the rules for food safety," explains Armour.

Third-party auditors only inspect areas that companies ask them to look at. Sometimes they do not see a factory before giving it a passing grade. Food that is imported into the U.S. often goes uninspected altogether.These improper inspections kill people, says Armour. "People have died after these food safety inspection firms have gone in and said 'everything's great.'

They've given them superior scores and weeks later or even at the same time people have started getting sick and dying." What is found to be acceptable by these inspectors is appalling. Plants that receive superior scores are often later found by the FDA to be packed with mold, cockroaches, rats and pigeons.

Abroad, it is not an uncommon practice for workers to defecate in fields where fruit grows. In Vietnam fish are packed in contaminated tap water for their trip to the U.S. Fish in China are fed a diet of pig and goose feces before they are sent for American consumption.

So what can we do to protect ourselves?

On a personal level, meat should always be cooked properly and fruits and vegetables should always be washed thoroughly, Armour says. On a federal level, the FDA is hoping to receive more funding through the recently passed Food Modernization Act. Many food experts say these regulations are long overdue. Armour, however, remains confident that the FDA can boost inspections. "There have been some members of Congress who are trying to put some pressure on, to try to get there regulations out so that changes can start to be made," she says.

The article ends with this question: "What do you make of food regulation in the U.S.? Have you changed the way you eat?"

Food is a hit and miss. How many times do we get "e-coli" warning from manufacturers? As far as supplements, I ensure I only consume pharmaceutical grade nutritional supplements to mitigate the chance of toxins or poor qulktiy from food grade products.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Energy Drinks,....BAD!! for you

Although this report is from Fox News, we have been writing posts on the bad idea to consume Energy Drinks for the past couple years. "FDA says 5 deaths, heart attack reportedly linked to Monster Energy Drink"

The highly caffeinated Monster Energy Drink has been cited in five deaths and one non-fatal heart attack, according to reports that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is investigating.

The reports claim that people had adverse reactions after they consumed Monster Energy Drink, which comes in 24-ounce cans and contains 240 milligrams of caffeine, or seven times the amount of the caffeine in a 12-ounce cola.

Although the FDA is investigating the allegations, which date back to 2004, the agency said the reports don't necessarily prove that the drinks caused the deaths or injuries.

"As with any reports of a death or injury the agency receives, we take them very seriously and investigate diligently," Shelly Burgess said in a statement.

News of the FDA's investigation follows a filing last week of a wrongful death suit in Riverside, Calif., by the parents of a 14-year-old Hagerstown girl who died after drinking two, 24-ounce Monster Energy Drinks in 24 hours.

An autopsy found that Anais Fournier died of cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity that impeded her heart's ability to pump blood. She suffered from an inherited disorder that can weaken blood vessels. But the child's parents claim Monster failed to warn about the risks of drinking its products.

Monster Beverage Corp., which touts on its web site that the Monster Energy Drink is a "killer energy brew" and "the meanest energy supplement on the planet," puts labels on cans that state that the drinks are not recommended for children and people who are sensitive to caffeine. The company, based in Corona, Calif., did not immediately respond to calls seeking comment on Monday, but said last week that it is "unaware of any fatality anywhere that has been caused by its drinks."

Monster is among a growing group of energy drinks on the market. Energy drinks are a tiny part of the carbonated soft drink market, representing about 3 percent of sales volume, according to a recent report by industry tracker Beverage Digest. But at a time when soda consumption is declining, energy drinks are becoming more popular: Last year, sales volume for energy drinks rose by nearly 17 percent.

The dangers of energy drinks

Monster has benefited the most from the rise in popularity. Last year, Monster had a 35 percent share of the energy-drink market based on volume, while Red Bull had 30 percent and Rockstar had 19 percent, according to Beverage Digest. Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are far smaller players in the arena, with about 5 percent each.

Investors have warmed up to the drinks as well. In the past two years, Monster's shares have more than tripled, from about $22 and hit a high of about $79 in June. But on news of the FDA investigation, Monster's shares plunged $7.59, or 14.2 percent, to close at $45.73 in trading on Monday.

The increase in popularity has brought heightened scrutiny. The levels of caffeine in the drinks have raised worries: Although the FDA caps the amount of caffeine in soda to 0.02 percent, there is no such limit for energy drinks.

In August, New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman issued subpoenas to energy drink makers, including Monster, as part of the state's investigation of the industry. And in September, Senators Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., asked the FDA to take another look at the effect that caffeine and other ingredients in energy drinks have on children and adolescents.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

5 Steps to Joint Pain Relief

The following is from a Real Age article on Joint Pain Management. Chronic pain comes in a variety of forms. Joint pain is a common one. If you suffer from stiff, achy joints, you're not alone. Twenty-seven million Americans have osteoarthritis -- leader of the pack when it comes to joint-pain culprits. You can thank other causes, as well, including ligament and tendon damage, muscle tears, excess body weight, age, bad posture, and poor biomechanics. Whatever the reason, there are special steps that can help ease painful hip, shoulder, spine and knee pain. Here are 5 of them:

1. Eat to relieve joint pain. Food can't prevent or cure joint pain, but certain nutrients not only enhance muscle and bone strength, they also take a bite out of joint pain. Fill your plate with foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, pain-fighting polyphenols, and vitamins C, K, and D. Stock your fridge with these 8 foods for pain.

MyAchingKnees comment: While Omega 3 Fatty Acids and Vitamin C are great nutrients for joint and connective tissue health, it is super hard for most people to obtain the quantity and quality of nutrients in today's nutrient depleted food supply. Hence the need to supplement with high quality nutritional supplements. And while you are at it - add Glucosamine.  

2. Move to improve joint pain. Resist the urge to hit the couch when your joints hurt. Move through the pain instead. Why? Exercise triggers the production of lubricating synovial fluid and feel-good brain chemicals, and improves joint pain, function, and range of motion. It may even boost cartilage growth in the knees. Ask your doctor about exercises that help rather than hurt your joints.

3. Watch your weight. If you're overweight, ask your doctor for a safe weight-loss plan. Every excess pound you shed takes 4 pounds of pressure off your knees, and can reduce hip and back pain, too.

4. Work with your doctor. Ask your primary care physician if a specialist can help you with your joint pain. An orthopedic specialist and/or physical therapist may be better equipped to tailor an effective pain-treatment plan. Use these tips to get better pain relief from your doctor's visits.

MyAchingKnees comment: Just be careful and use your own common sense as physicians sometimes are quick to go to pain medications treating the symptoms as opposed to the cause.   

5. Don't ignore joint pain. Pace yourself and avoid activities that aggravate your joint pain, such as running long distances, lifting heavy objects, or kneeling for hours pulling weeds. Use a daily pain diary to note the activities that worsen or improve your joint symptoms.

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Derick's Question on PSA Levels

I received this from Derick:  "Dear MyAchingKnees, thanks for all the information on joints and supplements. I think I found you searching for 'degenerative diseases'. I may have used PSA since I was looking for articles on high PSA level and what people have been eating or taking for this. Derick".

Derrick, this what one of the on-line medical journals say about Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA).  PSA  is present in small quantities in the serum of men with healthy prostates, but is often elevated in the presence of prostate cancer or other prostate disorders.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the PSA test for annual screening of prostate cancer in men of age 50 and older. PSA levels between 4 and 10 ng/mL (nanograms per milliliter) are a warning sign and further testing is advised .

In 1983 I was involved in a car crash resulting in, among other things, a back injury. Since that day I had urinary tract symptoms replicating a much older man with prostate issues....frequent urge to urinate, getting up in the middle of the night to urinate, and a weak stream of urine, etc.

In 2002 I took a medical exam for an insurance policy. Blood work showed that my PSA level was 3.5 In the next couple years I again had blood work done and on subsequent lab reports my PSA levels were 3.8 and 3.9 respectively.

In 2005 I started taking a pharmaceutical grade multi-mineral and anti-oxidant supplements. In 2006 and 2010 my blood work showed my PSA level at 0.7 and 0.6 respectively. What I believe made the difference in the lowering of my PSA, is that the optimum level of quality nutrients I was providing my body. I took no other supplement but a high quality Glucosamine and a Omega 3 Fatty Acid supplement as well mainly for my knee pain.

It was not until just two years ago that I also started taking a prosate specific product. This product contains ingredients that most prostate supplements have,.... Saw Palmetto Extract - 320 mg; Lycopene - 5 mg: Soy Isolflavones - 25 mg, but is produced in a FDA certified lab with USP specifications for potency, uniformity, and disintegration. Since I started taking this prostate product my symptoms, maily having to get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, have gone away. I have no choice to believe it was this product that helped that however the blood work with the reduced PSA levels was accomplished without the prostate supplement.

Derick,..don't know what info you are looking for, but surely if you have a high PSA level, please go back to the doctor and get a more fuller exam.

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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Does DMSO Help Combat Joint Pain?

Carl W. sent us an e-mail asking if DMSO was worthwhile to use for joint pain. "Have you used or do you have an opinion on using DMSO directly on the joints? I have knee pain on the sides of my knee and sometimes they just ache. I am somewhat leary of using DMSO because my wife says it is bad. If I decide to use it, where would be the best place to buy DMSO?"

Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) is basically an industrial solvent with the property of penetrating skin and membranes. While DMSO has it's own anti-inflammatory properties it is also sometimes used as a transport mechanism to bring anti- inflammatories into the joint or muscle.

It is very common for Veterinarians and horse owners to mix DMSO with corto-steriods and gel type anti-inflammatories to treat tendon and liagment injuries, as well as provide relief from stiff or injured joints.

I have used DMSO, by itself without another agent, for my elbows when I had pain in the tendon endings in both elbows.  DMSO seemed to take away some of the pain, but rest was the key to resolving the issue.

DMSO works pretty good but the disadvantages include an immediate garlic type taste in your mouth and you may put off friends or your family with the garlic smell.

I have read someplace that DMSO is also toxic to the liver especially when routinely used. Be careful. If you use DMSO routinely then periodic liver function tests would be a good idea.

DMSO can usually be obtained at pet feed stores, especially ones that cater to horses. That is where I bought DMSO in a roll on type applicator. I would advise using rubber gloves if you handle DMSO. If you decide to use it, make sure the application site is clean and free of soap residue as the DMSO will take anything on the surface straight into the tissues.

Remember that using anti-inflammatories, DMSO or anything else, still is only treating the symptoms.

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