Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Common plastics packaging chemical linked to cancer

Another reason to avoid plastic packaging for foods, the study shows BPA a chemical widely used in plastics is linked to breast cancer. It is also used in the linings of cans, and canned vegetables show the highest levels. So eat your vegetables fresh and raw. Also plastic beverage bottles leach more of the chemical as they age.

Common plastics packaging chemical linked to cancer

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Cancer rate is expected to surge

By Donna Wright
Source: Contra Costa Times

Cancer and aging experts warn that the aging of the baby boom population will create a cancer epidemic. For evidence they point to the numbers.

Half of all cancers now occur in people age 65 and older.

The first wave of boomers -- those born between 1946 and 1964 -- will be retiring within the coming decade.

The convergence of those two trends 20 years from now will result in 70 percent of all cancers occurring in the 65-and-older population, said Dr. Lodovico Balducci, program leader of the Senior Adult Oncology Program at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer and Research Center in Tampa, Fla.

Balducci warns that the coming epidemic will tax current medical resources to deal with the increase in cancer cases.

The treatment of cancer, Balducci said, is more complex for the elderly because of the aging process and the fact that most seniors have other complex medical problems that must be factored into their care.

Too few doctors are ready or able to provide that expertise, Balducci said.

Moreover, most clinical trials for new cancer treatments and drugs cut off at age 60.

Very little of what is learned in those trials, Balducci said, can be applied to the challenges of treating older cancer patients -- who most typically have a cluster of chronic conditions.

Balducci sees boomers themselves as the agents of change that will force the medical community to expand treatment of cancer in the elderly.

Dr. William E. Haley, professor and director of University of South Florida's School of Aging Studies, agrees. The coming cancer epidemic will have a profound effect on every level of society, he said.

Yet boomers are prepared to be their own advocates, according to Haley.

Aging boomers won't fit the mold of their retired elders, the USF experts said. Highly educated, boomers are known for their assertiveness and their demands, backed by their sheer numbers in making society change to fit their expectations.

They are used to being in control, says Dr. Bruce Robinson, chief of geriatrics for Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

At 53, Robinson is a boomer himself, so he knows what he is talking about.

He also knows that some of his colleagues in the doctor's lounge look to a future caseload of aging boomers with trepidation, even frustration.

"Boy, I hate baby boomers," one doctor told Robinson. "They want information. They want to be involved. They want answers."

Robinson's sees boomers' demands for involvement in their care as an important advantage.

"It's a win/win opportunity," said Robinson, a nationally known geriatrician (a specialist in the care of the elderly).

Patients need to become more effective in handling their own health problems, he said.

"Most medical problems plaguing the elderly are chronic diseases that require long periods of involvement," Robinson said. "The issue is how do you best manage your life, how do you participate in best preserving your health when presented with one of these problems?"

As more is learned about how malignancies develop and more effective treatments come on line, cancer is fast becoming a managed chronic disease rather than a death sentence, Balducci said.

Most people older than 65 already have to handle two or more chronic conditions, Balducci said. Diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and respiratory conditions top the list.

Moreover, as we age our body's metabolism slows down. The physical changes of aging add challenges to prescribing effective cancer treatment for the elderly, Balducci said.

Dr. Nagi Kumar, director of Moffitt's Department of Nutrition, estimates that 60 percent of people older than 65 suffer from malnutrition. The causes, Kumar said, are numerous: the body's slowing metabolism, loss of taste sensation that begins at age 60, decreased thirst, malabsorption of nutrients in food consumed and tooth problems, including poor-fitting dentures that can make eating difficult or painful.

Moreover, most primary care physicians have neither the time during a typical office visit nor the skill to assess the complex medical challenges facing the elderly cancer patient, Robinson said.

Too often, the aging cancer patient is written off because too few health care providers understand the unique needs of the elderly or how to manage several chronic conditions at once, said Balducci.

Yet, new treatments and promising discoveries on how to control cancer by modifying genetic triggers that regulate cancer growth offer more tolerable and more effective treatments for the elderly.

"Treatment can be as effective in the elderly patient as in a younger patient," Balducci said.

But often those treatments are not offered to seniors, because socially accepted myths about aging are rampant in the medical profession, he added.

Balducci finds it frustrating that our youth-centered culture fails to understand that treatment can be as effective in an elderly patient as a younger person, if approached from the right perspective.

That perspective flows from a realization, he said, that life can be pleasurable for people in their 70s, 80s and 90s, even for those who have two or more chronic diseases.

Balducci warned that the coming cancer epidemic in the elderly will force the medical profession to change.

That change, he added, will not come from within the profession but from without -- namely the pressure baby boomers exert on the health care system to pay attention to aging issues.

The bottom line: Balducci warns that neither the medical community nor society in general can afford to ignore the coming cancer epidemic in the elderly.

"If we are to control cancer, we must control cancer in the elderly population," Balducci said.

Boomers themselves must become advocates for better care of the elderly.

Doctors, Robinson believes, must become better educators, guiding patients to accurate sources of information that will help them understand the medical conditions they must manage.

He sees the day when doctors will play the role of a medical reference librarian, with a range of sources at their fingertips to guide patients.

Copyright ©2004 Contra Costa Times. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Anti-Depressants Painkillers May Cause Internal Bleeding.

This was written by Jenny Thompson of the Health Sciences Institute.

Can you guess how many people die each year due to gastrointestinal bleeding associated with the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)?

Keep in mind, NSAIDs are mostly non-prescription pain killers that include aspirin and ibuprofen. According to Reuters news service, about 16,000 deaths are attributed to GI bleeding linked with NSAID use yearly.

This is a familiar refrain, but I have to repeat it: If a dietary supplement were to cause more than 300 deaths every WEEK, it would be outlawed in a heartbeat. It would vanish. But aspirin? Ibuprofen? No problem. They're produced by giant drug companies. A few deaths? Well shucks, you have to break a few eggs to make omelets, right?

I came across this NSAID statistic in a Reuters article with a surprising headline: "Anti-Depressants May Cause Internal Bleeding." Researchers at Northwestern University Medical School reviewed medical records for nearly 550 patients with gastrointestinal bleeding. They found that ongoing use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) posed approximately the same risk for GI bleeding as NSAID use.

But guess what? This isn't news. Not to an Eli Lilly spokesperson who told Reuters that GI bleeding is already noted in packaging for Prozac (the popular SSRI made by Lilly). And while that may be true, I believe that this is the first indication that SSRIs may create a bleeding risk similar to NSAID use. (No specific SSRI brands were singled out by the Northwestern report.)

In yesterday's e-Alert ("Red Threads" 5/23/05) we saw how saffron may be as effective as Prozac in treating mild to moderate depression. Just one little difference: SSRIs may cause GI bleeding, while saffron has been used for centuries to TREAT digestive problems and inflammation.

SSRIs also don't give Spanish paella a savory, exotic flavor.

To Your Good Health,

Jenny Thompson
Health Sciences Institute
"Anti-Depressants May Cause Internal Bleeding" Reuters, 5/16/05, reuters.com

Hope for your health

FDA Probes Reports of Blindness With Impotence Drugs

Another class of drugs is on the hot seat.

"The FDA has 42 reports of the blindness, 38 among users of Viagra and four among users of Cialis. There were no cases reported among users of Levitra, the third impotence drug."

A representative from the drug manufacturers has said that "there is no proof that Viagra caused the blindness. He said that men who take Viagra often have high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which are also associated with the conditions that can cause blindness."

Could it be though, that since diabetes and high blood pressure are issues with circulation, and viagra is about redirecting blood flow, that viagra and its counterparts, aggravates the issues that diabetics and people with high blood pressure already have? That makes sense to me.

Like your mother always said "if you don't stop it, you could go blind."

Here is the full story:
FDA Probes Reports of Blindness With Impotence Drugs

But there is good news for your health. You are where you are because of your lifetime of food and lifestyle choices, and the toxic environment and food sources being depleted of its nutrients. But your body is an amazing machine. If you can give it what it is missing and what it needs more of, it has the miraculous ability to fix itself from the inside out from a multitude of ills.

To learn more about micornutrients that your body is missing go here.

Chemicals may damage male babies

Professor Sharpe said the chemicals appeared to suppress production of the male sex hormone testosterone.

"Testosterone is absolutely critical to development - most of the things that make males different to females are down to pre-natal exposure to the hormone.

"It is not just the effect on genital development, but also on tissues throughout the body, including the brain."

Chemicals may damage male babies

Could this explain the feminization of the male species? Exposure to these chemicals when males are in the womb could change they way their brains develop. I have heard that microwaving things in plastic, or cling wrap releases even more of these hormone affecting chemicals.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Hot Growth Companies: Mannatech Profile

Business Week picks Mannatech as it's number 6 Hot Growth company. "What exactly is glyconutrient technology? According to nutritional supplement provider Mannatech, it's the use of plant extracts to enhance cell-to-cell communication and overall physical health. It's a revolution akin to the invention of the personal computer or the digital video disc, the company claims."

Hot Growth Companies: Mannatech Profile

We are proud to be two of the 400,000 associates who promote the revolutionary products of this company of purpose.

Getting a bite on good health

How many health helping foods do you have in your grocery cart?

Getting a bite on good health

Want to know if your medicine has any reported side effects, access Health Canada's CADRIS (Canadian Adverse Drug Reaction Information System ) online.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

UGA Research Magazine :: Spring 2004

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" but "That's funny…" Albert Einstein


That quote is relevant to the discovery of glyconutrients (in the area of glycobiology, or what MIT calls 'glycomics'.

Some researchers got laughed out of town by their peers when they that cells need to communicate, and others when they suggested that the communication system for cells are the carbohydrate molecules and not amino acids. They hypothesized that the complexity needed for communication inside of our bodies, cannot be accomplished solely by the amino acids.

Below is an article from the University of Georgia Research Magazine - about the studies involving glyconutrients and their implications for health and healing. These glyconutrients are available already from natural sources.

UGA Research Magazine :: Spring 2004 "Sweet Dreams"

Glycoscience: Biology’s Newest Uncharted Frontier
by Kathleen Cason
Like wallflowers at the homecoming dance, complex carbohydrates used to attract few suitors. In the world of giant biological molecules, their sexier cousins — DNA and proteins — commanded the most attention.

But over the past decade, the wallflowers have bloomed and scientists are hastening to uncover their secrets. And researchers at UGA’s Complex Carbohydrate Research Center are helping lead the way.

Complex carbohydrates are the next frontier in understanding the secret molecular messages that rule the life of our cells. These strings and branching “trees” of sugars have eluded study and their roles have long been neglected. But during the past two decades evidence has been mounting that these macromolecules deserve attention: Carbohydrates determine blood type, regulate plant growth, and even have roles in cancer, diabetes and human development.

For all cells — plant, microbe and animal — a sugar coating is at the cell’s outer perimeter. It’s what an invader first encounters; it’s what other cells touch. In it resides information that identifies the cell — this one’s a liver cell, that one a skin cell. It may glue similar cells together or unglue cancer cells, allowing them to break loose and travel throughout the body. When invader molecules from a virus, bacterium or fungus touch the outer perimeter, they may trigger self-defense mechanisms in plants or provoke immune responses in animals.

For several decades, CCRC researchers have been on the forefront of glycoscience (“glyco” means sugar). They not only study normal growth and development in plants and animals but also investigate disease processes. When tools did not exist to answer their research questions, CCRC scientists developed new ones. The methods they’ve developed are fueling plant and medical carbohydrate research, not just at the CCRC but worldwide.

“The biology is hard, the chemistry is hard, everything is hard,” said Gerald Hart, a CCRC adviser from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “In glycobiology, in terms of understanding and technology, we’re back where DNA and proteins were in the 1960s. There’s been a lot of progress in the past 10 years but we have a long way to go.”

The following is a snapshot of current research areas and the faculty pioneering glycoscience at the University of Georgia.

Plant cell walls and regulatory carbohydrates

a.. Research in this area focuses on the primary cell walls in plants: uncovering the composition of the walls, the structure of the polymers and how they assemble to form cell walls, and the biochemical pathways involved.
b.. Complex carbohydrates that regulate plant growth, development and responses either to the physical environment or to other organisms are studied by several research groups at the center.
New cancer diagnostics, vaccines and therapies

a.. Several studies focus on tumor-associated antigens that can be used to develop vaccines or diagnostic tests.
b.. Carbohydrate markers in the blood have been identified and used in a diagnostic test for choriocarcinoma — a rare cancer where embryos turn into deadly tumors.
c.. New research is under way to find carbohydrate markers to detect breast, prostate and ovarian cancers.
d.. Other studies seek to block the cell surface carbohydrates that allow cancer cells to spread.
e.. Pectin — a complex carbohydrate from plants — may have a role in prostate cancer prevention. CCRC scientists are examining pectin’s anti-cancer properties in a collaborative project with Medical College of Georgia researchers.
Vaccines and new carbohydrate-based drugs

a.. Studies of the polysaccharide coatings of various microbes may lead to new vaccines for bacterial meningitis, strep B infection and pathogenic yeast infection caused by Cryptococcus neoformans, which is a major cause of death in immuno-compromised patients.
b.. Other studies may lead to new diagnostic tests or medicines particularly for gonorrhea and the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which infects people with cystic fibrosis or who are immuno-compromised, such as cancer and burn patients.
c.. New adjuvants — substances added to vaccines to stimulate the immune system — are being tested in collaborative studies with UGA vet school scientists.
d.. Research on the identities and structures of polysaccharides from potential bioterrorism agents such as anthrax will help scientists develop better vaccines and treatments.
Other health-related topics
Other CCRC research focuses on:

a.. septic shock;
b.. immune responses;
c.. the mechanism of protein folding;
d.. type II diabetes;
e.. nervous system development;
f.. rheumatoid arthritis; and
g.. heparin synthesis.
Tools to study biologically important carbohydrates

a.. New methods using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) are being developed and will help advance understanding of how cell surface carbohydrates interact with proteins.
b.. Computer simulations help uncover what happens when two molecules come in contact and may guide design of vaccines and drugs.
c.. New methods in mass spectrometry are speeding up progress in studying diseases such as ovarian cancer.
d.. New methods are being developed to synthesize biologically important oligosaccharides (molecules made of a dozen or so sugar units).
Robert Woods, a computational carbohydrate chemist, uses computers to study the role of carbohydrates in immune reactions and in diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. His lab developed computer software — called GLYCAM — that enables them to simulate molecular structures, explore how molecules interact and make discoveries about those interactions that are otherwise impossible with currently available experimental technology.

Russell Carlson, a microbial biochemist, studies how bacteria interact with animal and plant cells. For example, his group studies the polysaccharide coat of the microbe that causes bacterial meningitis, with the idea of developing vaccines. Other studies may lead to new diagnostic tests or medicines particularly for bacteria that cause anthrax, gonorrhea and Pseudomonas aeruginosa ?? a bacterium that infects people with cystic fibrosis or who are immuno-compromised, such as cancer and burn patients.

Geert-Jan Boons, a synthetic carbohydrate chemist, develops methods to make the difficult task of synthesizing carbohydrates a bit easier. His lab uses these methods to synthesize biologically important carbohydrates or glycoconjugates (carbohydrates that attach to specific proteins), such as compounds related to cancer, inflammation and septic shock. Boons’ research may lead to development of novel carbohydrate-based drugs and vaccines. He received the 2003 Carbohydrate Research Award for Creativity in Carbohydrate Chemistry from the European Carbohydrate Association.

Debra Mohnen, a plant biochemist, devotes most of her research effort to understanding the enzymes and biosynthetic pathways involved in making pectin, a plant cell wall polysaccharide that is a natural gelling agent and has positive effects on human health. Her research not only increases current understanding of pectin’s function, synthesis and role in plant development but also may lead to ways to alter pectin’s gelling properties for use in the food industry. Her lab also investigates pectin’s surprising anticancer effects, especially as related to prostate cancer.

Ron Orlando, an analytical chemist, specializes in the mass spectrometer — an instrument that lets scientists detect small changes in a molecule undergoing a biological process. New methods developed in his lab help Orlando and his collaborators hunt for molecular markers to detect ovarian cancer and Chagas disease.

William York, a plant biochemist, studies the molecular structures of polymers that make up the walls surrounding growing plant cells. He has compiled his research results in databases that are accessible online, allowing other scientists to rapidly and accurately determine the structural features of these polymers. York’s databases provide fundamental information required to understand the molecular basis for plant growth and development.

Lance Wells, a protein biochemist and Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Cancer Scientist, is interested in understanding how the body senses nutrients. He studies a simple sugar — known by the abbreviation O-GlcNAc — that changes protein function when added to or removed from the protein. Excess O-GlcNAc on certain proteins may lead to type II diabetes and may be linked to cancer. Wells’ research may help identify new strategies for developing therapeutic agents for type II diabetes and cancer.

Michael Tiemeyer, a developmental glycobiologist, investigates cell surface carbohydrates related to nervous system development and is trying to uncover how cells know which carbohydrates to put on their surfaces. Prior to arriving at UGA, Tiemeyer discovered a protein called Tollo, which instructs nerve cells to present specific carbohydrates. His research findings may lead to ways to regenerate nerves, increase understanding of innate immunity and uncover ways to prevent tumor cells from spreading.

Michael Pierce, a cancer glycobiologist, investigates how cells recognize each other and what makes them adhere to one another. Specific sequences of sugars (called oligosaccharides) attached to cell membrane proteins determine whether cells stick together or slip apart. Pierce’s group looks for differences in oligosaccharides that distinguish cancer cells from healthy cells. Changes in oligosaccharides cause cancer cells to lose stickiness, slip loose, and become invasive (malignant) and metastatic cancers. His findings are being used to develop new serum-based cancer diagnostics and may lead to more targeted delivery of chemotherapeutic agents. (See Research Reporter Summer 1999)

Kelley Moremen, a molecular glycobiologist, focuses on understanding how certain proteins are modified from the time they are first made until they are released from cells. Proteins that undergo this modification process move through a series of cell compartments where carbohydrates are attached, trimmed and extended. The addition of sugars to proteins assists in protein folding (a necessary step for proper protein function), targeting defective proteins for disposal, as well as controlling protein stability, cell-cell communication and receptor binding. Moreman’s research has broad application to cancer and several human genetic diseases.

Michael Hahn, a plant biochemist, studies how plants perceive signals from the physical environment or from other organisms, and the cascade of specific events that leads to a response to those signals. Specifically, he looks at carbohydrate signals released from cell walls that “tell” plants to defend against attack or change metabolism to adapt to the cold. He also looks at how plant cell walls change as plants grow and develop or respond to their environment.

Peter Albersheim, CCRC co-director and plant biochemist, studies small carbohydrate molecules called oligosaccharins that act as signal molecules in plants. Once his research team determines the structures and functions of specific oligosaccharins, the scientists then try to uncover the mechanism by which these molecules function. Albersheim’s lab has discovered that these signal molecules trigger plant defenses as well as regulate plant growth and development. His lab also continues long-term research on the structures of the six polysaccharides found in plant cell walls.

James Prestegard, the Varian/GRA Eminent Scholar of NMR Spectroscopy, develops methods using nuclear magnetic resonance to study how cell surface carbohydrates interact with proteins that are involved in quite a variety of biological processes. His team’s new methods are used to study molecules involved in spread of cancer cells, inflammatory responses and neurological development, to name a few.

Alan Darvill, CCRC co-director and plant biochemist, studies the structure and function of complex carbohydrates in plant cell walls. His lab has studied five major types of complex carbohydrates apart from cellulose that comprise primary walls of plants. Researchers in his lab have undertaken the difficult task of unraveling the structure and functions of these polysaccharides. Darvill was named Regents Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2003.

Maor Bar-Peled, a biochemist and cell biologist, investigates the carbohydrate polymers that make up plant cell walls. He is interested in how and where they are made, the enzymes that make the molecules and the biological function of these polymers in plants. Bar-Peled’s group also studies the genes involved in nucleotide-sugar biosynthetic pathways. The nucleotide-sugars are important precursors for production of the thick polysaccharide capsule in the pathogenic yeast, Cryptococcus neoformans — a major cause of death in AIDS and immuno-compromised patients.

For more information, check out the CCRC Web site at www.ccrc.uga.edu or contact Alan Darvill at adarvill@ccrc.uga.edu and Peter Albersheim at palbersh@ccrc.uga.edu.

Kathleen Cason is associate director of Research Communications at the University of Georgia.

Red Delicious most nutritious

All apples aren't created equally, as far as antioxidant value. Ontario study shows the skin of red delicious apples contain the most antioxidants.

The Globe and Mail: Red Delicious most nutritious

Monday, May 23, 2005

Researchers Pinpoint Brain's Sarcasm Sensor

Inability to understand sarcasm, could be caused by brain damage.
Researchers Pinpoint Brain's Sarcasm Sensor

Saturday, May 21, 2005

CTV.ca | Scientists create 'personalized' stem cells

"Researchers in South Korea report that they have created personalized stem cell lines for 11 patients by taking their own DNA and putting them into donated, unfertilized human eggs."

CTV.ca | Scientists create 'personalized' stem cells

Friday, May 20, 2005

Stem Cell Debate Splits House Republicans

Embryotic stem cell research has already been approved in Canada. And it will be soon in the US. This is hugely controversial because of the ethics of using a human life to save another human life. In some facets of the debate, opinions are based on which side of the "when does a fetus become a human life" issue.

But another part of the controversy not very well publicized are the disasterous effects of the attempts and the long term effects of stem cell transplants.

There are 400,000 frozen embryos in North America - waiting for bills to pass (of course, US pharmaceutical companies can now do their research in their branches in Canada).

AOL News - Stem Cell Debate Splits House Republicans

Here is an interesting aspect of the issue, given proper nutrition, your body produces its OWN stem cells - in your eyes, in your bone marrow... It just doesn't always know what do with them - again, without proper nutrition. Your cells' communication system needs to be in place to send the stem cells where they need to go. With this proper cell communication system, stem cells can even cross over the blood brain barrier in order to replenish, replace dead brain cells.

Read more about how supplementation can help stem cell production in your body here:
Stem cells

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Dermatologists Use Immunotherapy to Treat Warts

A proper functioning immune system gets rid of warts.

Dermatologists Use Immunotherapy to Treat Warts

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Kudzu Helps Curb Binge Drinking, Study Says

A plant hleps to curb drinking - lowers the amount of alcohol people drink at a session. Anecdotal evidence from China that a plant called Kudzu will help to reduce drinking, but this was the first clinical evidence. Here's a couple of quotes from the article:

The researcheres are not certain why this happens "but speculated that kudzu increases blood alcohol levels and speeds up its effects. More simply put, the subjects needed fewer beers to feel drunk."

"Findings show that subjects who took kudzu drank an average of 1.8 beers per session, compared with the 3.5 beers consumed by those who took a placebo."

"Though kudzu won't turn drinkers into teetotalers, Lukas said, he hopes it can help heavy drinkers to cut back."

Kudzu Helps Curb Binge Drinking, Study Says

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Drug Makers Reap Benefits of Tax Break - New York Times

And yet another one:

Someday we'll have a little good news come out of the big corp - - -

Drug Makers Reap Benefits of Tax Break - New York Times

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Short film on Film on pharma rep manipulating a doctor

This film is competing in the Short Film Competition by Amazon Theatre Tribeca Film Festival.

I'm putting it here because it is along the same lines as some of the other information on this blog. Does this stuff really happen? I have no idea. We do know that gifts are given to doctors by pharmaceutical companies as per previous news posts here.

The Company He Keeps

Synopsis (provided by the filmmaker):
A doctor, who has allowed himself to be manipulated by a pharmaceutical representative, gets further tangled in her web when she involves him in a plan to commit murder.

Short Film: The Company He Keeps

Health & Fitness: Heart risk factors should be world concern

"Not all vitamins give you what you need"
By Abagail Leichman
Source: The Record, Bergen County, NJ

If you try to eat a balanced diet - and certainly if you don't - it's likely that you could use some extra vitamins. How much? And which ones?

Good questions.

'Even professionals can't keep up with that on a daily basis,' said Dr. John Hathcock of the Council for Responsible Nutrition in Washington, D.C.

Vitamins and minerals are natural compounds needed by the body to grow and function properly. The federal government's recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) show the minimum amounts the body needs daily in order to stave off disease.

But experts say we need more for optimum health, and recent studies indicate many adults aren't getting even the minimum amounts. While it's preferable and possible to get adequate nutrients from what you eat, many factors can reduce the vitamin potency in food as well as the amount the body absorbs.

'Nobody takes the trouble, including nutritionists, to weigh their broccoli and brussels sprouts and fish and add up the nutrient contents,' said Hathcock. 'So the rational thing to do is to round out your diet by taking a multivitamin/multimineral and add others depending on your risk factors.'

Think of a multivitamin as insurance, said Mary Sullivan, a nurse and co-founder of Olympian Labs, a supplement maker. 'Its extra nutrients can optimize the things you're already eating.''

Yet it can be overwhelming to shop for a multi. Any supermarket, pharmacy or health-food store has rows and rows on display.

"All multivitamins are not created equal," said Brad Frank, a physician and co-author of "Who Moved My Birthday? The Baby Boomer's Essential Guide to Anti-aging."

Because nutritional supplements are not subject to testing by the Food and Drug Administration, some brands may deliver less of a vitamin or mineral than promised, Frank said. Others may deliver them in dangerously high doses. [Bloggers commentary: vitamins from food sources won't be dangerous; inorganic sources can. Beware of the label "natural" as the rubber on your car's tires are natural too.]

"Consumers are left to make a tough decision on their own," acknowledges Carol Haggans, scientific and health communications consultant for the National Institutes of Health's Office of Dietary Supplements.

Haggans suggests asking your health-care provider to recommend a brand, or look for a seal of approval from an independent testing organization like USP (U.S. Pharmacopeia Standards) or CL (ConsumerLab).[Bloggers note: no offence intended to anyone, but if your health care provider is an expert in nutrition, then this is good - medical doctors have had very little if any nutritional training].

Sullivan, whose company recently launched the site WhatVitaminsAre RightForYou.com, recommends buying multivitamins at a pharmacy or health-food store, where pharmacists and clerks will be better able to answer specific questions. [Blogger's note: hogwash!]

Frank recommends reading independent analyses, such as one of these:

* "Comparative Guide to Nutritional Supplements," available at bookstores or macwilliam.net, ranks 500 brands against a "blended standard" profile of 39 vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. The top five: USANA Health Sciences' Essentials; Douglas Laboratories' Ultra Preventive; Vitamin Research Products' Extend Plus; and Source Naturals' Life Force Multiple and Elan Vital. You can view the top 25 at comparing-vita min-supplements.com/vitamin-brand- ratings.html.

* ConsumerLab's chemical analysis of 47 brands to see if the product matched what the label promised. Only 36 of the 47 contained at least 100 percent but not more than 150 percent of the amount of each vitamin or mineral listed on the bottle. Centrum, Nutrilite, Pharmanex LifePride, Puritan's Pride, Vitamin World, Nature Made and Rainbow Light products were among those that passed. A summary is available free at consumerlab.com.

* The Center for Science in the Public Interest report, available at cspinet.org/nah/4_00/multivsmul ti.html. The report singles out Centrum, Dr. Art Ulene, Eckerd, OneSource, RiteAid, Shaklee, Spring Valley, Summit, Twinlab, Walgreen's and YourLife as "Best Bites" and adds that it's safe to assume store brands like Wal-Mart or Kmart deliver top-quality multivitamins.

* *

Recommended dietary allowances are also being called dietary reference intakes. Here are the latest figures for many vitamins and minerals available from the Institute of Medicine's Food and Nutrition Board:

1 gram = 1/4 teaspoon

1 milligram (mg) = 1 thousandth of a gram

1 microgram (mcg) = 1 millionth of a gram

For women 19-50

(not pregnant)

Vitamin A: 700 mcg

Vitamin C: 75 mg

Vitamin D: 5 mcg

Vitamin E: 15 mg

Vitamin K: 90 mcg

Niacin: 14 mg

Folate: 400 mcg

Calcium: 1 gram

Copper: 900 mcg

Iron: 18 mg

Magnesium: 310 mg

Phosphorus: 700 mg

Potassium: 4.7 grams

Selenium: 55 mcg

Zinc: 8 mg

For men 19-50

Vitamin A: 900 mcg

Vitamin C: 90 mg

Vitamin D: 5 mcg

Vitamin E: 15 mg

Vitamin K: 120 mcg

Niacin: 16 mg

Folate: 400 mcg

Calcium: 1 gram

Copper: 900 mcg

Iron: 8 mg

Magnesium: 400 mg

Phosphorus: 700 mg

Potassium: 4.7 grams

Selenium: 55 mcg

Zinc: 11 mg

Tolerable upper limits

for men and women

Vitamin A: 3 mg

Vitamin C: 2 grams

Vitamin D: 50 mcg

Vitamin E: 1 gram

Niacin: 35 mg

Riboflavin: 1.3 mg

Folate: 1 mg

Calcium: 2.5 grams

Copper: 10 mg

Iron: 45 mg

Selenium: 400 mcg

Zinc: 40 mg

* *

(C) 2005 The Record, Bergen County, NJ. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved

Monday, May 09, 2005

news @ nature.com - Angry heart flutters prove most dangerous - Heightened emotion linked to premature cardiac contractions.

Emotions and our health - more evidence that our negative emotions are unhealthy.

Anger is even dangerous. Stop it!

Here are a couple of quotes:

"We know that the emotional distress brought on by earthquakes, missile attacks and even the loss of key football matches can trigger heart attacks,"

"this study tells us that strong emotions such as anger can also disrupt the electrical rhythms of the heart."

news @ nature.com - Angry heart flutters prove most dangerous - Heightened emotion linked to premature cardiac contractions.

Parkinson's drug made me gamble, lawsuit claims

Side effects of drugs that effect the brain can be bizarre.

CBC Toronto - Parkinson's drug made me gamble, lawsuit claims
"The claim says Mirapex 'has long been associated with compulsive/obsessive behaviour, including compulsive/obsessive gambling, and has been identified as a cause for these behaviours in users.'"

Breast Feeding Benefits 'ignored'

British study found that 9 out of 10 women didn't know the health benefits of breast feeding.

Breastfeeding benefits `ignored`

I'm not sure how this relates to North America, but read this article and see.

Fish oil nutrient boosts ailing hearts

More evidence that fish oils are good for your health.

Fish oil nutrient boosts ailing hearts

Remember that use a good brand of fish oil that has been micro distilled to remove toxins and heavy metals. Costs more but you don't need more toxins and heavy metals just more omega 3's.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Guide to Less Toxic Products

A great web-site on using less toxic products in your home for your cleaning products (and other products)

There is a great deal of information here.

Guide to Less Toxic Products

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

My personal beliefs say there is always hope.

Firefighter Emerges From a Lost Decade - Yahoo! News

After 9 1/2 years a brain damaged fire fighter who had been mute the entire time, asked "How long have I been away?" I believe that the human body is a miracle and can heal itself.

See my article on Glyconutrients Stem Cells and Coma

Monday, May 02, 2005

Why Butter Is Better
by Stephen Byrnes, ND, RNCP

[e bread interjection - I knew this :-) My mom taught me!]

And you thought butter was bad for you? Silly people!

One of the most healthy whole foods you can include in your diet is butter. "What?!" I can hear many of you saying, "Isn't butter bad for you? I thought margarine and spreads were better because they're low in saturated fat and cholesterol?" Be not deceived folks! Butter is truly better than margarine or other vegetable spreads. Despite unjustified warnings about saturated fat from well-meaning, but misinformed, nutritionists, the list of butter's benefits is impressive indeed:

Butter is a rich source of easily absorbed vitamin A, needed for a wide range of functions in the body, from maintaining good vision, to keeping the endocrine system in top shape. Butter also contains all the other fat-soluble vitamins (E, K, and D).

Butter is rich in trace minerals, especially selenium, a powerful antioxidant. Ounce for ounce, butter has more selenium per gram than either whole wheat or garlic. Butter also supplies iodine, needed by the thyroid gland (as well as vitamin A, also needed by the thyroid gland).

Fatty Acids
Butter has appreciable amounts of butyric acid, used by the colon as an energy source. This fatty acid is also a known anti-carcinogen. Lauric acid, a medium chain fatty acid, is a potent antimicrobial and antifungal substance. Butter also contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which gives excellent protection against cancer. Range-fed cows produce especially high levels of CLA as opposed to "stall fed" cattle. It pays, then, to get your butter from a cow that has been fed properly. Butter also has small, but equal, amounts of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, the so-called essential fatty acids.

These are a special category of fatty acids that protect against gastrointestinal infections, especially in the very young and the elderly. Children, therefore, should not drink skim or low fat milk. Those that do have higher rates of diarrhea than those that drink whole milk.

Despite all of the misinformation you may have heard, cholesterol is needed to maintain intestinal health, but is also needed for brain and nervous system development in the young. Again, this emphasizes the need for cholesterol-rich foods for children. Human breast milk is extremely high in saturated fat and cholesterol.

Standing in direct opposition to all of these healthful qualities stands margarine and assorted "vegetable oil spreads." While these may be cheaper, you'd never eat them again if you knew how they were made. All margarines are made from assorted vegetable oils that have been heated to extremely high temperatures. This insures that the oils will become rancid. After that, a nickel catalyst is added, along with hydrogen atoms, to solidify it. Nickel is a toxic heavy metal and amounts always remain in the finished product. Finally, deodorants and colorings are added to remove margarine's horrible smell (from the rancid oils) and unappetizing grey color.

And if that is not enough, in the solidification process, harmful trans-fatty acids are created which are carcinogenic and mutagenic. What would you rather have: a real food with an abundance of healthful qualities or a stick of carcinogenic, bleached, and deodorized slop? Some of you might be watching your weight and be rather hesitant to add butter into your diet. Have no fear. About 15% of the fatty acids in butter are of the short and medium chain variety which are NOT stored as fat in the body, but are used by the vital organs for energy. (Fats you should watch, though, are all vegetable oils and olive oil.)

When looking for good quality butter, raw and cultured is best. This might be hard to find, however. Organic butter is your next best thing, with store-bought butter being at the bottom. Remember what we've said about commercially-raised cows; its worth a few extra cents to get high quality butter for you and your family. A brand of butter available in many markets is Anchor, imported from New Zealand. In this country, all cattle are grass-fed, thus insuring a high nutrient content of their milk, butter, and meat.

For more information on how to obtain quality dairy products, including Anchor Butter, check out the following web pages: http://www.realmilk.com and http://www.westonaprice.org.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

SPECT - scanning - A look inside the brain - real test subject images

Here's one chapter on how various drugs and alcohol affect the brain.

Select from the other chapters to view how dementia, trauma, depression, and even violence affect the brain. Bipolar, anxiety, depression - etc.

The brain is an organ like any other. Think of that in terms of having a kidney infection, an inflamed liver, or an upset stomach. Much more complex, in that everything you focus on creates peptides and endorphines, and hormones, that course throughout the body affecting the function of all of the other organs (including the brain).

So your health and nutrition affect your brain and subsequently - behaviour, and the choices you make to focus on different things, affect your brain's health and your body's health in general.

Also, when you choose to injest different chemical substances (whether recreationally or pharmaceutically) affect that delicate balance as well. Previously this was all open to very strong debate, but now there is photo evidence.

Can your brain be healed? I believe it can. Proper nutrition, the essential nutrients are key. It is not enough to eat healthy and stop injesting the toxic substances. Our environment is toxic. We must be proactive, and realize that we are in a battle with the environment and the industry produced toxins, and shockingly reduced nutrients in our food.

Some toxins are in EACH and EVERY person on the planet, in every river and stream and every animal and plant. There is hope. There are answers. But you must be proactive.