SMOKINCHOICES (and other musings)

February 25, 2009

Protecting our Health Freedoms

It is not always easy to stay informed, sometimes one just has to go with the gut as there seem to be so many “interests” out there – all angling to get our attention.  We don’t want to be “sold” something, what we want is to protect our freedoms and the right to choose that which so individually and personally affects us with special interest on “Choice,”  “Food,”  Vitamins and Minerals,  FDA,  Government regulations and laws.    I have been railing for years over the gradual creeping of the laws to limit our choices – all in the name of what is good for us.  I prefer to always make those decisions myself – not big brother or anybody else.   ANH, cited below is one such source you may want to look into as a source of current, important issues and info.  People like this are what keep the world turning on its axis.

* * * *

Alliance for Natural Health Call to ArmsThe Alliance for Natural Health has published two important articles that everyone should read and share. One is about the Codex threat, Codex being the commission on international food “standardization”, which could impose “upper safe limits” on vitamins and minerals, and restrict some substances altogether, similar to the European regulation that is already in place.

The second is about a recent misinformation campaign about nutrients that claims that vitamins and minerals are not helpful.

Find the details here: http://www.anhcampaign.org/node/2613.


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Mission Statement

The Alliance for Natural Health is working to help promote natural and sustainable healthcare through the use of ‘good science and good law’.


“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has”.
—Margaret Mead (1901-1978), social anthropologist

Human health is suffering worldwide. The primary cause? Disconnection from nature and all things natural. The ANH is working to re-connect us. Play your part in the international campaign to regain and maintain our health naturally.

To download a one page briefing document about the Alliance for Natural Health (last updated June 2008), click here.

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I Worry about Sally Field

Sally Field is a special lady, wonderful actress and a favorite of mine and probably, many others as well.  No doubt, Big Pharma is counting on our affection for her; a family woman with the smiling face and a hit TV show (Brothers and Sisters).  So when she talks about wanting to protect her body by taking “Boniva” because her doctor told her it would  help to strengthen her bones even tho she has already experienced bone loss in spite of all the calcium she has been taking.  She is sincere in wanting to take care of her body, who wouldn’t?  But it literally breaks my heart – not only for her, but all those others who see this “ad” on TV and believe it.

The might and power of Big Pharma is beyond belief.  These companies come up with new products;  push their approval through the FDA with or without the proper testing, inconclusive  results – no problem, there are always doctors around who will gladly “endorse” and provide suitable necessary words to get the job done.  When it turns out that the new meds don’t really do much of a positive nature, cost a lot of money, have disturbing side effects and so on,  the meds are already “in” the system, espoused by your doctor and mine and everybody else’s.  It is sometimes years before we find out that the new med is in fact causing more damage to our bodies – sometimes irreversible,  than the good it was purported to promise in the first place.  This is a never-ending story.  We all read about such things, year in and year out. We shake our heads and wonder “Who the hell is supposed to be minding the store?”  Will things ever change in Washington? I can tell you – it NEVER WILL unless we as caring, informed citizenry make our voices heard – collectively.    We have a right to that.  We should not have to sue the government to get legitimate, fair and equitable protection in our rules and regulations.  Especially when it comes to our food and the medical establishments and Medicines.  We should not be having our choices in supplements and over-the-counter products slip thru the cracks beyond our ability to get what we need and are accustomed to buying freely and easily.    (psst, Jan – you’re on the soap box again!  Get back to the point you were trying to make.)   Damn!  . . okay.

I think I’ve got a few years on Sally Fields.  While I may not look as fine as she does, I bet my bones are in  better shape.  Do you know what I take for my bones?   Nothing special.  Not too much in the way of vitamins, just a multi with the basic stuff and trace minerals.  No calcium supplements.  No DAIRY.  Over  the years I have subscribed to a rather sophisticated and even ‘elite’ regimen of supplementation.  One CAN spend a fortune on such things.  Since getting involved with Dr. Mc Dougall and his vegetarian teachings (books, tapes, newsletters) I have followed his lead that supplementation is truly not necessary if one just gives the body what it needs to begin with  – - natural, whole foods.  So that is what I do.  A few years ago my doctor had me tested  to determine whether or not I’ve  experienced bone loss. Apparently I was fine and needed no calcium. Even so, he has recently suggested that I take Fosamax now as a precaution.  I don’t think so – thanks, but no thanks!  Regard the many large mammals, like cows, elephants, rhinos;   none of them require calcium supplementation.  Nature endowed them to develop and maintain those massive frames ingesting plant foods.  Nature did the same for us.  We thrive beautifully on a starch based diet.

For simplification, our food  falls  into 3 classifications: proteins,  fats and carbohydrates.  That’s it.  Our body can handle any or all of the above as it is adaptable and will make do with what we can provide.  Nice, huh?  There are so many other things which enter into what makes a human organism function optimally, but for my purpose, I want to address only these three classes of food, proteins, fats and carbs.

The carb field is wide and varied with spectacular assortment.  We primarily need some kind of complex carb (potatoes, rice, beans, legumes and grains (including corn), to satisfy hunger and stick to our ribs and give us energy.  Our life-style and energy needs dictate choices as well as our ethnic ambient and locational existence.   By and large, Asians prefer rices, Latin countries are heavily into grains and beans and many European nations have a penchant for potatoes of all kinds.  We seem to be most fond of potatoes and  grains here with a large hankering for noodles and pasta.  The great wars have given us proof that we can exist safely and well, exclusively on potatoes.  But in fact, we have a limitless array of vegetables and fruits to add variety and flavor accented with countless herbs and spices; it can get pretty exciting.  Kiwi, mango, pineapple, guava, melons and berries – all fit for the Gods.   The carb family is suitable to promote radiant health,  robust energy, a balanced and well-functioning organism free of diseases.  No cancer, diabetes,  cardio-vascular problems,  arthritis, foggy brain, MS,  obesity and so on.  Just great energy, flexibility and feeling good.

No, you say – we NEED protein!  Well, there is protein in every cell of every structure – it is the basic building block, and it is just the right kind and the right amount we need to function well.  Much of what we have been raised to believe is not factually correct.  There are no cases of anyone dying from a lack of protein.  On the other hand, because we have been sold this absurd distortion, Americans in particular are protein junkies – can’t get enough.   Our statistics on our levels of health reflecting the condition of our bodies is all we need to prove the point.  So many experts (one on every corner) are in unified agreement that we NEED protein – animal protein.  And yet, there is no agreement as to how much or why.  Many brilliant scientists tell us our ancestors were carnivores, while others advise that they were not – that grains have been found in the teeth of ancient human species to prove their point.  All very interesting; makes for good discussion – but is it important?  Can’t we just observe what seems to be working and accept that?  Can’t we forget about Big Pharma, big brother, Madison Avenue, the Dairy industry,  Agribusiness and the Livestock yards and Wall Street?  We have as much right to be healthy and to make the decisions we choose for ourselves per our priorities as anyone else who is after making a profit..

There is no question that we can ingest and handle animal protein and the associated fat as well.  We are adaptable as stated. Americans fall easily into over-proteinization due to our insatiable appetites.  We feast like royalty every day of the week in America.  This is to our detriment as it becomes an overload for our kidneys and liver whose job it is to filter out toxins and overloads and keep things running smoothly. Ingesting too much animal protein burdens these organs which in effort to filter and excrete excess material, requires extra calcium for the processing.  When the supply is not enough, calcium is taken from the bones. This process puts our organs into distress and shortens the life span of them.   What clues might we have that we are ingesting too much animal protein?   We get fat, loose energy,  our arteries become clogged – with that the cardio vascular system is impaired, oxygen is not carried to the cells as it should.   For a pretty good picture of all this, why not check out the post I did 7-01-08 of Dr Mc Dougall being interviewed by Tim Russert (posthumously). Protein, fats, diet and so on are all being discussed beautifully and poignantly.   Following all this, the body begins breaking down with all sorts of diseases.  Why?  As explained, this is a protein overload, more than our bodies can fully absorb and utilize.  It does the best it can for as long as it can before everything starts falling apart – the acid/alkaline balance goes out of control as it becomes too acid producing the condition which is known to be the perfect soil for germinating and allowing the fullness of all sorts of disease. Acid is the soil for a litany of diseases to thrive.   Quite a contrast to those dwelling on a starch-based diet,  right?  High protein equates to high fat for the diet for they seem inseparable. To this point, protein discussed that which is found in meat, fish or fowl.    How about  dairy?  The dairy dilemma is the big one (for me).

Most of us would rather do anything rather than give up the “dairy;”  the milk, cream, cream cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream, ICE CREAM,  the butter, eggs, yogurt – - oh my God, there is nothing left to eat!

When one really looks at this industry and what we have actually received from it in it’s entirety (not just the taste-bud satisfaction), it becomes a story with a different message.  Africans and Asians know the message well as they have an innate resistance due to the inability to tolerate lactose. . . .consequently, they live and thrive without dairy in their lives.  The reality is however, humans in general do not do well  ingesting dairy – it was never meant to be.  But it came to be anyway, creative individuals that we are, we found ways to do it.  This is not to say that we did not pay a great price for this indiscretion.  There is hormonal interference for both sexes, but to be sure, the females of our species have paid more dearly.  Our children enter puberty earlier and earlier.  (all the internal and external markers)  Menses is more problematic with hormonal/emotional fluctuations radically ranging all over the place;  discomfort from dreaded monthly pain to radical  incapacitation and seclusion;  with irregularity in the monthly pattern being a further stressor and perhaps more importantly, dairy consumption causes the lining of the uterus to become thickened, which leads to heavier menstrual flow to the point of hemmorraging, increased pain and discomfort.  Infertility problems increase preventing or delaying conception.  In addition, milk consumption in children can lead to anemia.   A strong but strange footnote to this is that the strongest bones in the world have been found in Asian and African population – - those who cannot consume milk/dairy and are primarily consuming a plant-based diet.  Seventy year old people have bones as strong as twenty years olds.  In our country we consume  lots of calcium supplements,  joyfully indulge all dairy products and still its not enough, we are given prescription bisphosphonates and with it all, our bone problems seem to grow worse.   Houston, we have a problem.

I would ask seekers of fully-in-depth-information backed by references and facts to research in Dr. McDougall’s archives which are well documented, intelligently delineated and rewarding in the richness of detail and connections.   Here, in this post I have attempted  to touch on remembered truths and sometimes not connected too well.  I have endeavored to cover those areas which are most relevant to me.  Some of the facts as they became apparent were not acceptable and it is the way of “mind” to justify and to make any conclusions desired seem right.  So in fact it took me longer  to come around than most of Dr McDougall’s aspirants who once shown the path to wholeness and health were quicker to grasp, accept and act on what they found.  Like many others, my life-long use of and fondness of ‘dairy’ found endless ways to justify continued use.  Clues were everywhere but my family and physicians did not know.   I had childhood anemia;  adolescent acne (way into my 40′s);  infertility problems with no apparent cause discernable;  difficult menses with irregularity, pain and hemmorraging.  It was finally the search for answers about why humans must endure the pain, deformity and incapacitation of arthritis, ending up invalidized and either in massive pain or drugged out of our skulls.  This wasn’t right and seemed contrary to our overall design.  Since I would not accept the drugs, my search forced me to deal honestly with the truth when I found it.  Giving up animal protein stopped the pain ( literally overnight).  The dairy was the last to go.  (but still slips in once in a while).

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(I retrieved this from McDougall archives because it is relevant to what is discussed here.  Please have a look.)

April 2008

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Vol. 7, No. 04

John McDougall, MD

Patients Commonly Receive Misinformation on Osteoporosis Treatments

The ‘By the Way Doctor’ column in the February 2008 Harvard Health Letter ran questions from readers regarding the safety of the osteoporosis bisphosphonate drugs, such as Fosamax, Actonel, and Boniva. Dr. Anthony Komaroff M.D., Editor in Chief, responded to patient concerns about long term use and the risk of the side-effect of bone necrosis or bone death – particularly in the jaw. One of the correspondents had been taking Fosamax for 11 years. Bisphosphonates are now the first choice for treating and preventing osteoporosis and are widely prescribed worldwide to women and men who have low bone density and fear fragility fracture later in life.

Concerned by inaccuracies in the column, Gillian Sanson, author of ‘The Myth of Osteoporosis’ wrote the following to Dr Komaroff:

Gillian Sanson is a woman’s health educator and researcher in Auckland, New Zealand. She is the author of Mid-Life Energy and Happiness (Penguin Books NZ 1999) The Osteoporosis ‘Epidemic’: Well Women and the Marketing of Fear (Penguin Books NZ 2001) and The Myth of Osteoporosis (MCD Century Publications, MI 2003.  Her web site is www.gilliansanson.com.

Gillian is currently making a documentary on bisphosphonate drugs that considers how they have seamlessly replaced HRT as the universal osteoporosis prevention strategy despite questionable effectiveness, lack of long term safety data and known serious risks and side-effects. The film includes interviews with osteoporosis authorities, representatives of the FDA, the NIH and the WHO, researchers, women’s health advocates, and consumers.

January 31, 2008

Dear Dr. Komaroff,

Although no doubt intended to be helpful, your advice in response to recent questions in the Harvard Health Letter regarding the use of bisphosphonates could be misleading for readers as it appears to overstate the benefits and underplay the risks.

Whether bisphosphonates make bones stronger, as you advise, is questionable. They do not re-build bone, and although remineralisation and bone density increase occurs, the evidence for anti-fracture benefit from the drugs is minimal. Fosamax for example, is claimed to reduce hip fractures by 50 percent in high risk women with low bone density and previous vertebral fracture, but the actual or absolute reduction is one percent. In real terms, 90 such women would need to be treated for three years to prevent one hip fracture in one of them.1 It is estimated that hundreds of women aged 50 years with low bone density alone would need to be treated for more than 3 years to prevent one hip fracture in one of them. 2

Studies have found vertebral fracture benefit with Fosmax, Actonel and Boniva in high risk individuals where bone density is very low and there has been a previous vertebral fracture. But even then the drug will not benefit the majority who take it. For example, some 22 older women in this category would need to take Fosamax for three years to prevent one vertebral fracture discernible by X-ray in one of them. 3

Although bisphosphonates may favorably influence bone density loss, there are concerns that because their mechanism of action suppresses the bone remodeling process, long term use may result in brittle bones that are prone to fracture. 4 Increased bone mineralization has been shown to increase micro-fracturing in animal studies. 5 Of note, a Connecticut woman has this week sued Merck & Co., claiming that Fosamax caused multiple stress fractures and suppressed bone regeneration in her legs. 6 She took the drug from 1996-2006.
Bisphosphonates have an indefinite half-life of at least 10 years duration so the effect of the drug continues for better or worse once stopped. The amount of drug within the bone will accumulate with use thus continuing its effect for better or worse. There is no known method of removing the medication from the bones. The reader who questioned you had already been taking the drug for eleven years. Surely it would be prudent for her to discontinue at this point?
You maintain that “many well designed studies involving thousands of women have found that – at least for 10 years- the effect of bisphosphonates like ibandronate is to strengthen bone and prevent fractures”. There has only been one trial of any bisphosphonate that has continued for more than 5 years – the Fracture Intervention Trial extension. 7 This extension to the original trial is considered by many to be of little clinical value as it was small and poorly designed – and particularly flawed as the ‘placebo’ group had previously taken Fosamax for three or more years. Although the study showed that bone mineral density continued to increase with up to 10 years of Fosamax use, it is not at all clear that this meant a reduction in fracture. The research that answers this question has yet to be done. The small numbers precluded any definitive evidence regarding long term safety.
The gastro-intestinal side-effects of bisphosphonates have been well documented, and you will be aware that the FDA has this month issued an alert about the previously lesser known side-effect afflicting many users of chronic, often severe, joint and bone pain, swelling of ankles and feet, muscles cramping and stiffness, and difficulty walking. There is also evidence from a paper in the
January 15, 2008 Journal of Rheumatology that oral bisphosphonate drugs nearly triple the risk of developing bone necrosis. 8 They have also been found to double the risk of atrial fibrilliation. 9 The Systematic Review: Comparative Effectiveness of Treatments to Prevent Fractures in Men and Women with Low Bone Density or Osteoporosis in the February 8 2008 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine concluded that “data are insufficient to determine the relative efficacy or safety” of all the studied drugs. 10
A BMJ article this month (Jan 2008) warns that a series of recent scientific publications have exaggerated the benefits and underplayed the harms of drugs to treat pre-osteoporosis or “osteopenia”, potentially encouraging treatment in millions of low risk women. 11
In the absence of clear evidence for long term safety, and for benefits that outweigh the risks, the current practice of widely prescribing potent bisphosphonates needs to be reviewed. I am greatly concerned that the rush to provide costly and risky medical solutions for low bone density in healthy postmenopausal women is drawing attention away from the very important issues of preventing falls in the elderly, diagnosing genuine sufferers, and encouraging regular exercise and appropriate diet to maintain bone health.

Yours sincerely,
Gillian Sanson

www.gilliansanson.com


1. Black DM. Randomised trial of effect of alendronate on risk of fracture in women with existing vertebral fractures. Fracture Intervention Trial Research Group. Lancet 1996;348(9041):1535-41.

2. Cummings SR. Effect of alendronate on risk of fracture in women with low bone density but without vertebral fractures: results from the Fracture Intervention Trial. JAMA1998;280(24):2077-82.

3. Black DM. ibid

4. Ott, S.M. Long-Term Safety of Bisphosphonates J Clin Endocrinol Metab.2005; 90: 1897-1899.

5. Mashiba T, et al. 2001 Effects of suppressed bone turnover by bisphosphonates on microdamage accumulation and biomechanical properties in clinically relevant skeletal sites in beagles. Bone 28:524–531

6. Won Tesoriero, Heather. Suit Alleges More Health Problems From Merck’s Fosamax Drug heather.tesoriero@wsj.com

7. Ensrud KE, et al 2004 Randomized trial of effect of alendronate continuation versus discontinuation in women with low BMD: results from the Fracture Intervention Trial long-term extension. J Bone Miner Res 19:1259–1269

8. Etiminan M, et al. Use of Oral Bisphosphonates and the Risk of Aseptic Osteonecrosis: A Nested Case-Control Study. 2008. January 15 on-line Journal of Rheumatology http://www.jrheum.com/abstracts/abstracts08/13/0120.html

9. Black DM et al. Cummings SR et al. N Engl J Med 2007; 356:1809-1822,1895-1896

10. Maclean, C et al. Systematic Review: Comparative Effectiveness of Treatments to Prevent Fractures in Men and Women with Low Bone Density or Osteoporosis Annals of Internal Medicine 2008;148

11. Alonso-Coello, P at al. Drugs for pre-osteoporosis: prevention or disease-mongering? BMJ 2008; 336: 126- 129

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February 17, 2009

HFCS, loaded with Mercury

Most Common Source of Calories in U.S. is

LOADED With Mercury!

high-fructose corn syrup, HFCS, sodaAlmost half of tested samples of commercial high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) contained mercury, according to a new study. Mercury was also found in nearly a third of 55 popular brand-name food and beverage products where HFCS is the first- or second-highest labeled ingredient.

HFCS has replaced sugar as the sweetener in many beverages and foods. A high consumer can take in about 20 teaspoons of HFCS per day. The chemical was found most commonly in HFCS-containing dairy products, dressings and condiments.

The use of mercury-contaminated caustic soda in the production of HFCS is common.


Dr. Mercola''s Comments Dr. Mercola’s Comments:


In case you weren’t aware, the number one source of calories in the United States is high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). The average American consumes about 12 teaspoons of it every day, though as the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) pointed out, teens and other “high consumers” may consume 80 percent more than that.

Now it turns out that this widespread sweetener is contaminated with the toxic heavy metal mercury!

The samples were found to contain levels of mercury ranging from below a detection limit of 0.005 to 0.570 micrograms mercury per gram of HFCS. And this was from samples of popular name-brand foods and beverages, including

some made by Quaker, Hershey’s, Kraft and Smucker’s.

How Does Mercury Get Into Corn Syrup?

Although the makers of HFCS like to claim that it’s natural, it’s actually a highly refined product that would never exist in nature. Its manufacture involves an extensive process, one step of which is to separate corn starch from the corn kernel.

Caustic soda is used, among other things, to do this, and for decades mercury-grade caustic soda produced in industrial chlorine (chlor-alkali) plants has been used for this purpose.

Because mercury cells are used to produce some caustic soda, the caustic soda may become contaminated, and ultimately transfer that mercury contamination to the HFCS in your soda, salad dressing, soup, cereal, and so on.

Said IATP’s David Wallinga, M.D., a co-author of both studies:

“Mercury is toxic in all its forms. Given how much high fructose corn syrup is consumed by children, it could be a significant additional source of mercury never before considered. We are calling for immediate changes by industry and the FDA to help stop this avoidable mercury contamination of the food supply.”

Isn’t it ironic that the Corn Refiners Association just recently spent around $30 million on an ad campaign designed to rehabilitate HFCS’s reputation as an unhealthy sweetener?

It’s going to take a lot more than a few TV commercials to explain away this latest revelation.

Why Consuming Mercury is a Bad Idea

Mercury acts as a poison to your brain and nervous system. This is especially dangerous for pregnant women and small children, whose brains are still developing. If infants or fetuses are exposed to mercury, it can cause:

• Mental retardation
• Cerebral palsy
• Deafness
• Blindness

Even in low doses mercury can interfere with a child’s development, leading to shortened attention span and learning disabilities.

In adults, mercury poisoning can be a serious risk as well, and has been linked to fertility problems, memory and vision loss, and trouble with blood pressure regulation. It can also cause extreme fatigue and neuro-muscular dysfunction, as experienced recently by Chicago actor Jeremy Piven.

Further, studies show that mercury in your central nervous system (CNS) causes psychological, neurological, and immunological problems including:

• Arrhythmias and cardiomyopathies
• Tremors
• Insomnia
• Personality changes and irritability
• Headaches

• Weakness
• Blurred vision
• Slowed mental response
• Unsteady gait

To make matters worse, mercury bonds very firmly to structures in your CNS. Unless actively removed, it has an extremely long half-life of somewhere between 15 and 30 years in the CNS! What this means is that consuming mercury-contaminated HFCS is probably cumulative, with the damage adding up over time.

Mercury is Not the Only Reason to Avoid HFCS

The fact that HFCS-sweetened food and drinks may contain mercury is enough to make me avoid them like the plague. But then again, I avoided them entirely even BEFORE this news came out and I strongly encourage you to take a similar stance.

Part of what makes HFCS such an unhealthy product is that it is metabolized to fat in your body far more rapidly than any other sugar, and, because most fructose is consumed in liquid form (soda), its negative metabolic effects are significantly magnified.

Among them are:

Diabetes
Obesity
Metabolic Syndrome
• An increase in triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels
Liver disease

Fructose also contains no enzymes, vitamins or minerals, and it leeches micronutrients from your body. Unbound fructose, which is found in large quantities in HFCS, can interfere with your heart’s use of minerals such as magnesium, copper and chromium.

Last but not least, HFCS is almost always made from genetically modified corn, which is fraught with its own well documented side effects and health concerns, such as increasing your risk of developing a food allergy to corn.

Want to Ditch HFCS?

If you’re healthy, occasional use of small amounts of corn syrup isn’t going to cause any health catastrophes. However, most people are not eating corn syrup in moderation. In 2007, Americans consumed an average of 56 pounds of HFCS each!

A large part of this was undoubtedly from soda, which, again, is the number one source of calories in the United States. So if you’re looking to cut back on HFCS, right off the bat one of the best things to do is to limit or eliminate soda and sugary drinks from your diet, and my turbo tapping technique can help you to do that.

This dangerous sweetener is also in many processed foods and fruit juices, so to avoid it completely you need to focus your diet on whole foods. If you do purchase any processed foods, make sure you read the label … and put it back on the shelf if it lists high-fructose corn syrup as an ingredient — especially if it’s the first- or second-highest labeled ingredient.

February 14, 2009

Possible Diabetes Cure Ignored by “Big Pharma”

stem cells, adult stem cells, diabetes, type 1 diabetes, juvenile diabetes

Twelve years ago, Professor Irving Weissman discovered a treatment that could have saved the lives of thousand of women with advanced breast cancer. Pharmaceutical companies weren’t interested in developing the therapy at the time.

Though interest in his methods are finally being ignited, Weissman regrets the wasted time. In a set of lectures, Weissman repeatedly expressed frustration that while many of his discoveries in the field of stem cell research seemed to hold remarkable potential for life-saving treatments, commercial or regulatory hurdles have prevented his scientific findings from benefiting patients.

One example is Weissman’s research on type I diabetes, in which he demonstrated the ability to fully cure type I diabetes in mice using stem cells. But even though his experiments avoided political controversy by using adult stem cells, which do not come from embryos, Weissman ran into a road block when pharmaceutical companies refused to sponsor clinical trials.

Weissman believes that the pharmaceutical companies put profit over principle, preferring to keep diabetes sufferers dependent on costly insulin than to cure them once and for all.


Dr. Mercola''s Comments Dr. Mercola’s Comments:


Type 1 diabetes, or insulin dependent diabetes, is a really sad chronic condition. This is in stark contrast to

type 2, which is caused by insulin resistance and faulty leptin signaling, due to inappropriate diet and lack of exercise – an entirely preventable, and nearly 100 percent reversible condition through lifestyle modifications.

Type 1 diabetics, however, do not produce insulin and must therefore inject insulin several times a day. The disease tends to progress rather quickly and therefore needs to be diagnosed early, as it can result in serious long-term complications including blindness, kidney failure, heart disease and stroke.

Tragically those with type 1 diabetes can have the healthiest lifestyle possible yet still suffer many diseases, as current technology is a poor substitute for a fully functioning pancreas. The sad thing about type 1 diabetes is that it now appears nearly completely preventable.  New research suggests if a pregnant woman has optimal vitamin D levels during her pregnancy and then maintains them in her baby once delivered, this should radically reduce if not virtually eliminate type 1 diabetes.

Obviously finding out this information after a person has had their pancreatic islet cells destroyed and is insulin dependent doesn’t help much, but the good news is that within your lifetime we will have developed the ability to safely replace these cells, most likely with similar approaches to the one described in the article above.

If this sounds farfetched, you should know that Dr. Weissman is not the only scientist to lay claim to the power of stem cells to cure type 1 diabetes.

In 2007 the British Times Online reported on the first clinical evidence for the efficacy of Hematopoietic stem cells (stem cells derived from bone marrow) in type 1 diabetes.

The Brazilian study, published in Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), found that treatment-related toxicity was low, with zero mortality. All but two of the volunteers (93 percent) in the trial did not require daily insulin injections for up to three years after the end of their treatment, as the therapy allowed their bodies to start producing the hormone naturally again.

The main drawback with the particular therapy used in that study, from my standpoint, is that drugs were used to first suppress the patients’ immune system before receiving transfusions of stem cells drawn from their own blood. Suppression of your immune system could lead to all types of health problems – after all, your immune system is your primary line of defense – however, the theory of using stem cells to reactivate natural insulin production is an intriguing and hopeful one.

Does Big Pharma Want to Find a Cure for Diabetes?

It certainly would not make financial sense, and I think it’s fairly safe to say that pharmaceutical companies are in business these days to make money – not to actually cure disease. So, when Dr. Weissman implies that he was unable to entice pharmaceutical sponsors because they prefer to keep diabetes sufferers dependent on costly insulin, he’s probably not far off.

There are numerous examples of well-educated, innovative doctors and scientists who have created alternative medical treatments that far supersede conventional drug treatments, and yet they are more frequently than not shunned, persecuted, or even prosecuted for their efforts.

At least Dr. Weissman did not suffer a fate similar to any of these doctors:

  • Gaston Naessens – Dr. Naessens cancer treatment is based on the theory that cancer is caused by a friendly microorganism called somatids (“little bodies”) — which are present in all cells — that becomes unfriendly. His formula, 714X, provides nitrogen to the cancer cells, thus causing this microorganism to cease excreting their toxic compounds, and mobilize your immune system to kill the cancer cells. He was subsequently put on trial for his cancer discoveries.
  • Stanislaw Burzynski — Dr. Burzynski, founder of the Houston-based Burzynski Institute, treats cancer patients with substances called antineoplastons. He was indicted by a grand jury in 1995 for his use of antineoplastons– his second trial that year. He was acquitted.
  • Ryke Geerd Hamer – Dr. Hamer’s “German New Medicine” (GNM), operates under the premise that every disease originates from an unexpected shock experience, and that all disease can be cured by resolving these underlying emotional traumas. Despite a 95 percent success rate, Dr. Hamer has spent time in prison for refusing to disavow his medical findings and stop treating his patients with his unorthodox techniques, and is currently living in exile, seeking asylum from persecution.

Adult Stem Cell Treatments are the Wave of the Future

I believe therapies using adult stem cells – as opposed to embryonic stem cells which are at the heart of the stem cell controversy – is and will continue to be a major, exciting part of the future of medicine.

There’s little risk of rejection when using your own adult stem cells, so you’re less likely to need dangerous immunosuppressive drugs. And besides certain ethical issues and regulatory barriers to embryonic stem cell therapy, adult stem cells may hold several technical advantages. For one, they may be more viable.

It’s a little known fact that only about 30 percent of conceptions advance to term. In other words, about 70 percent of embryos may be so defective that they naturally abort.

In addition to eventually helping restore internal organs, immune systems and more, adult stem cell therapies also hold the promise of restoring old skin and bald scalps. I am personally beta testing a new product for regrowing hair that has adult stem cell factors (primarily peptides, no DNA)  and have been favorably impressed with the results to date.

One major player in the field is The Maximum Life Foundation. They have discovered an emerging technology that could fine tune stem cell treatments and make every adult stem cell therapy in the world much more safe and effective.

As you age, your stem cells diminish in quality and quantity, so just when you require strong stem cells the most, you’re becoming deficient. Hence your organs and tissues eventually wear out and need to be restored or replaced.

Cells become randomly damaged or mutated over time, but a small percentage may incur relatively little damage—or may escape damage altogether. So some of your stem cells may be as pristine as those that you enjoyed as a teenager, or even as an infant.

The technology discovered by The Maximum Life Foundation identifies, isolates, and amplifies those “pristine” stem cells from your own population for therapies. This selection process could supercharge stem cell treatments by using these “best of breed” cells instead of old cells.

Stem Cell Treatments Have Been Proven to Work

As a bridge to human therapies, a San Diego company has already given us a peek into the future with their horse and dog treatments. Vet-Stem provides a quick-turnaround laboratory service that lets veterinarians to use regenerative cells in animals.

The veterinarian simply collects a small fat sample from the patient and ships it overnight to the Vet-Stem laboratory. Then, Vet-Stem processes the sample, concentrates the cells which are shipped in ready-to-inject syringes. Finally, the veterinarian injects the cells directly into the injured site.

With more than 3,000 horses treated and multiple studies demonstrating the success and safety of their regenerative medicine, Vet-Stem currently helps horses and dogs with fractures, joint disease, or tendon or ligament injuries return to their full level of ability.

Just imagine what the prospects for aged humans might be if similar treatments used pristine human stem cells. Type 1 diabetes wouldn’t be the only chronic disease that could be effectively wiped out.

However, despite Dr. Weissman’s negative experiences in trying to bring his findings to the fore, it’s not completely out of the question yet. In an accompanying editorial in JAMA titled “Cellular therapy for type 1 diabetes: has the time come?” Dr Jay Skyler of the Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami, wrote:

“Research in this field is likely to explode in the next few years and should include randomized controlled trials, as well as mechanistic

February 13, 2009

Hate Mercury in Vaccines, how about Aluminum?

Courtesy of Dr. Mercola

Mercury In Vaccines Was Replaced With Something

Even MORE Toxic

vaccines, aluminumThe short, eye-opening eBook linked below is titled Aluminum in Vaccines — a Neurological Gamble, by Neil Miller, director of the Thinktwice Global Vaccine Institute. It documents the hazards associated with aluminum-laden vaccines. Children are receiving high concentrations of aluminum in their shots. This well-documented neurotoxin may be more dangerous than mercury.

Vaccines containing high concentrations of neurotoxic aluminum were added to the child immunization schedule when several vaccines containing mercury were removed. Two-month old babies now receive 1,225 mcg of aluminum from their vaccines — 50 times higher than safety levels! Although the FDA, CDC and World Health Organization are aware of the dangers, they expect parents to play Russian roulette with their children.


Dr. Mercola''s Comments Dr. Mercola’s Comments:


When mercury was removed from many vaccines (except the flu vaccine) years ago, it was under the false guise that finally vaccines were now safe. What health agencies did not want you to know is that there are many other toxic additives still in vaccines, and one of them is aluminum.

Aluminum has not received the widespread media attention that mercury has, therefore many people don’t realize it’s a health risk.

Notice he said that aluminum is “not perceived” by the public as a dangerous metal … he couldn’t say simply that aluminum is safe, because this would be a lie.

Why is Aluminum Added to Vaccines?

Every vaccine has two components, the agent that you’re seeking to elicit an immune response to, such as a measles virus, and an immune adjuvant, which enhances the immune response and is typically made from a variety of highly toxic compounds including aluminum compounds, MSG, and mercury. The purpose of immune adjuvants is to boost your immune system, or to make it react as intensely as possible for as long as possible.

Unlike a natural immune boost that would come from, say, eating healthy and exercising, artificial immune adjuvants can be dangerous in and of themselves. Says Dr. Russell Blaylock, M.D., a board-certified neurosurgeon and author:

How Aluminum Can Harm Your Brain

When you or your child is injected with a vaccine, the aluminum compounds it contains accumulate not only at the site of injection but

travel to your brain and accumulate there. In your brain, aluminum enters neurons and glial cells (astrocytes and microglia).

Studies have shown that aluminum can activate microglia and do so for long periods, which means that the aluminum in your vaccination is priming your microglia to overreact.

The next vaccine acts to trigger the enhanced inflammatory reaction and release of the excitotoxins, glutamate and quinolinic acid, Dr. Blaylock points out.

Meanwhile, if you come down with an infection, are exposed to more toxins, or have a stroke or head injury of any kind, this will magnify the inflammatory reaction occurring in your brain due to the vaccines. Research has shown that the more your immune system remains activated, the more likely it is you’ll suffer from a neurodegenerative disease.

The aluminum hydroxide used in many vaccines, including hepatitis A and B, and the Pentacel cocktail for diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, and meningitis, has been clearly linked to symptoms associated with Parkinson’s, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), and Alzheimer’s.

Scientists discovered the link after injecting mice with an anthrax vaccine developed for the first Gulf War. After 20 weeks, a fifth of the mice developed a skin allergy, and memory problems increased by 41 times compared to a placebo group. Also, inside the brains of mice, 35 percent of the cells that control movement were destroyed.

There is overwhelming evidence that chronic immune activation in your brain, as discussed by Dr. Blaylock above, is a major cause of damage in numerous degenerative brain disorders, from multiple sclerosis Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s and ALS, which may explain the link between aluminum-containing vaccines and these diseases.

Late last year a team of scientists also found that vaccination involving aluminum-containing adjuvants could trigger the cascade of immunological events that are associated with autoimmune conditions, including chronic fatigue syndrome and macrophagic myofasciitis, a condition that causes profound weakness and multiple neurological syndromes, one of which closely resembles multiple sclerosis.

Even a study in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, admitted that:

“Aluminum is now being implicated as interfering with a variety of cellular and metabolic processes in the nervous system and in other tissues.”

This has led some experts to suggest that aluminum in vaccines may be linked to autism.

Just How Much Aluminum Could Your Child be Exposed To?

If you are a parent of a young child I highly recommend you read the entire eBook linked above, as it spells out very clearly just how much aluminum will be injected into your child if you follow the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) vaccine schedule.

In short, babies who follow the recommended vaccination schedule are injected with nearly 5,000 mcg (5 mg) of aluminum by the time they are just 1.5 years old.

The FDA considers levels of aluminum up to 0.85mg to be “safe,” so you do the math on the risk involved here.

For parents, the issue of what to do about these risks can be very confusing. So please do take your time to thoroughly research the risks of vaccinations before making up your mind. Dr. Blaylock’s article, The Danger of Excessive Vaccination During Brain Development: The Case for a Link to Autism Spectrum Disorders, is an excellent starting point that I highly recommend.

If you’re looking for a more sensible, “user-friendly” vaccination schedule that may present fewer risks than the CDC’s “one-size-fits-all” schedule, Dr. Donald Miller advises the following:

1. No vaccinations until your child is 2 years old.
2. No vaccines that contain thimerosal (mercury).
3. No live virus vaccines.
4. The following vaccines should be given one at a time (not as a combination vaccine), every six months, beginning at age 2:

a.  Pertussis (acellular, not whole cell)
b. Diphtheria
c. Tetanus
d. Polio (the Salk vaccine, cultured in human cells)

And that would be pretty much it as far as vaccinations. Your pediatrician will not like this schedule, but if you have reviewed the evidence and still feel your child should be inoculated to a certain degree, this is a far safer alternative to the standard vaccination schedule. If your pediatrician doesn’t agree, or isn’t open to discussing this issue with you, it’s high time to find a new one who will understand your concerns.

Related Links:

February 12, 2009

CANADA? Who Knew?

Filed under: Canada,Canadian thriving economy — Jan Turner @ 8:48 am
Tags:

U.S. should look north for a fiscal model

Fareed Zakaria writes for Newsweek and the Washington Post Writers Group.
comments@fareedzakaria.com

The legendary editor of the New Republic, Michael Kinsley, once held a boring-headline contest and decided that the winner was “Worthwhile Canadian initiative.” Twenty-two years later, the magazine was rescued from its economic troubles by a Canadian media company. Now there is even more striking evidence of Canada’s virtues. Guess which country, alone in the industrialized world, has not faced a single bank failure, calls for bailouts or government intervention in the financial or mortgage sectors. Yup, it’s Canada. In 2008, the World Economic Forum ranked Canada’s banking system the healthiest in the world. America’s ranked 40th, Britain’s 44th.
Canada has done more than survive this financial crisis. The country is positively thriving in it. Canadian banks are well capitalized and poised to take advantage of opportunities that American and European banks cannot seize. The Toronto-Dominion Bank, for example, was the 15th-largest bank in North America one year ago. Now it is the fifth-largest. It hasn’t grown in size; the others have all shrunk.
So what accounts for the genius of the Canadians? Common sense. Over the past 15 years, as the U.S. and Europe loosened regulations on financial industries, the Canadians refused to follow suit, seeing the old rules as useful shock absorbers. Canadian banks are typically leveraged at 18 to 1, compared with U.S. banks at 26 to 1 and European banks at a frightening 61 to 1.
This reflects Canada’s more risk-averse business culture, but it is also a product of old-fashioned rules on banking.
Canada also has been shielded from the worst aspects of this crisis because its housing prices have not fluctuated as wildly as those in the U.S. Home prices are down 25 percent in the United States, but only half as much in Canada. Why? Well, the Canadian tax code does not provide the massive incentive for overconsumption that the U.S. code does: Interest on your mortgage isn’t deductible up north. In addition, home loans in the United States are “nonrecourse,” which basically means that if you go belly-up on a bad mortgage, it’s mostly the bank’s problem. In Canada, it’s yours. Ah, but you’ve heard American politicians wax eloquent on the need for these expensive programs — interest deductibility alone costs the federal government $100 billion a year — because they allow the average Joe to fulfill the American Dream of owning a home.
Sixty-eight percent of Americans own their own homes. And the rate of Canadian homeownership? It’s 68.4 percent.
Canada has been remarkably responsible over the past decade or so. It has had 12 years of budget surpluses and can now spend money to fuel a recovery from a strong position. The government has restructured the national pension system, placing it on a firm fiscal footing, unlike our own insolvent Social Security. Its health-care system is cheaper than America’s by far (accounting for 9.7 percent of gross domestic product, versus 15.2 percent here), and yet does better on all major indexes. Life expectancy in Canada is 81 years, vs. 78 in the United States; “healthy life expectancy” is 72 years, versus 69. American car companies have moved so many jobs to Canada to take advantage of lower health-care costs that since 2004, Ontario and not Michigan has been North America’s largest car-producing region.
I could go on. The U.S. has a braindead immigration system. We issue a small number of work visas and green cards, turning away thousands of talented students who want to stay and
work here. Canada, by contrast, has no limit on the number of skilled migrants who can move to the country. They can apply on their own for a Canadian Skilled Worker Visa, which allows them to become perfectly legal “permanent residents” in Canada — no need for a sponsoring employer, or even a job. Visas are awarded based on education level, work experience, age and language abilities. If a prospective immigrant earns 67 points out of 100 total (holding a Ph.D. is worth 25 points, for instance), he or she can become a full-time, legal resident of Canada.
So the brightest Chinese and Indian software engineers are attracted to the United States, trained by American universities, then thrown out of the country and picked up by Canada, where most of them will work, innovate and pay taxes for the rest of their lives.
If President Barack Obama is looking for smart government, there is much he, and all of us, could learn from our quiet neighbor to the north. Meanwhile, in the councils of the financial world, Canada is pushing for new rules for financial institutions that would reflect its approach. This strikes me as, well, a worthwhile Canadian initiative.

FAREED ZAKARIA

February 10, 2009

Soda Pop – all it’s gifts!



10 Diseases Linked To Soda

soda, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, HFCSStatistics shows that Americans drink more soda than ever before. They account for more than 25 percent of all drinks consumed in the United States. More than 15 billion gallons were sold in 2000 — about one 12-ounce can per day for every man, woman and child.

But here’s some information that may keep you away from opening the can:

1. Extra pounds

Soda is a significant contributor to obesity. Drinking a single can a day of sugary drinks translates to more than a pound of weight gain every month. And diet soda is just as likely to cause weight gain as regular, or even more — it may sound counterintuitive, but people who drink diet soft drinks actually don’t lose weight. Artificial sweeteners induce a whole set of physiologic and hormonal responses that actually make you gain weight.

2. Liver damage

Soda damages your liver. Consumption of too many soft drinks puts you under increased risk for liver cirrhosis similar to the increased risk faced by chronic alcoholics.
3. Tooth decay

Soda dissolves tooth enamel. Soft drinks are responsible for doubling or tripling the incidence of tooth decay. Soda’s acidity is even worse for teeth than the solid sugar found in candy.

4. Kidney stones and chronic kidney disease

Colas of all kinds are well known for their high phosphoric acid content, a substance that changes the urine in a way that promotes kidney stone formation. Drinking one quart (less than three 12-ounce cans) of soda per week may increase your risk of developing kidney stones by 15 percent.

5. Diabetes

Anything that promotes weight gain increases the risk of diabetes. Drinking soda also stresses your body’s ability to process sugar. Some scientists now suspect that this may explain why the number of Americans with type 2 diabetes has tripled from 6.6 million in 1980 to 20.8 million today.

6. Heartburn & acid reflux

Heavy consumption of soda is a strong predictor of heartburn. Many carbonated beverages are very acidic. They also deliver a lot of air in the form of carbon dioxide, which can cause distension of your stomach. And that distension appears to be associated with more reflux.
7. Soft drinks = Soft Bones = Osteoporosis

Soft drinks containing phosphoric acid are definitely linked to osteoporosis (a weakening of your skeletal structure) because they lead to lower calcium levels and higher phosphate levels in your blood. When phosphate levels are high and calcium levels are low, calcium is pulled out of your bones.

8. Hypertension (high blood pressure)

Experts have reasons to believe that overconsumption of soda leads to an increase in blood pressure. It doesn’t matter if the soda is regular or diet.

9. Heart disease

Heavy soda drinkers are more likely to develop risk factors for heart disease. Research shows that drinking more than one soft drink a day is associated with an increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome — a group of symptoms such as central obesity, elevated blood pressure, elevated fasting blood sugar, elevated fasting triglycerides, and low levels of HDL or “good” cholesterol. Having three or more of the symptoms increases your risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
10. Impaired digestion (gastrointestinal distress)

Gastrointestinal distress includes increased stomach acid levels requiring acid inhibitors, and moderate to severe gastric inflammation with possible stomach lining erosion. Drinking sodas, especially on an empty stomach, can upset the fragile acid-alkaline balance of your stomach and other gastric lining, creating a continuous acid environment. This prolonged acid environment can lead to inflammation of your stomach and duodenal lining.


Dr. Mercola''s Comments Dr. Mercola’s Comments:


I’ve been warning my readers of the

dangers of soda since I started this site, and this is a good list of reasons why you’ll want to avoid this beverage like the plague.

Soda is on my list of the five absolute worst foods and drinks you can consume.  Because even though fat has 250 percent more calories than sugar, the food that people get MOST of their calories from is sugar from corn, or high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

According to USDA estimates, the per capita consumption of HFCS was about 40 pounds per year as of 2007, primarily in the form of soft drinks.  Tragically, high fructose corn syrup in the form of soda, is now the number one source of calories in the United States.

Food and beverage manufacturers began switching their sweeteners from sucrose (table sugar) to corn syrup in the 1970s when they discovered that HFCS was not only cheaper to make, it was also much sweeter (processed fructose is nearly 20 times sweeter than table sugar), a switch that has drastically altered the American diet.

The good news about all these shocking health facts is that stopping the pernicious habit of drinking soda is one of the easiest things you can do. As you can clearly see from all the examples above, you can radically improve your health simply by cutting soda out of your diet.

In fact, I am confident that your health improvement would be even more profound than if you quit smoking – a statement that has raised quite a few eyebrows through the years.

Why do I believe this?

Because soda clearly elevates insulin levels, and elevated insulin levels are the foundation of nearly every chronic disease, including:

  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Premature aging
  • Arthritis
  • Osteoporosis

In addition to the ten health problems above, most of which I have reported on through the years already, there is one more that is not discussed as often: drinking soda also increases your cancer risk.

Soda Drinkers Have a Higher Risk of Several Types of Cancer

Numerous studies have pointed out the link between sugar and increased rates of cancer, suggesting that regulating sugar intake is key to slowing tumor growth.

In one human study, 10 healthy people were assessed for fasting blood-glucose levels and the phagocytic index of neutrophils, which measures immune-cell ability to envelop and destroy invaders such as cancer.

Eating 100 grams of carbohydrates from glucose, sucrose, honey and orange juice all significantly decreased the capacity of neutrophils to engulf bacteria.

Another four-year study at the National Institute of Public Health and Environmental Protection in the Netherlands compared 111 biliary tract cancer patients with 480 controls. In this study the cancer risk associated with the intake of sugars more than doubled for the cancer patients.

Many studies have linked sugar intake with different types of cancer, such as:

Breast cancer — An epidemiological study in 21 modern countries that keep track of morbidity and mortality (Europe, North America, Japan and others) revealed that sugar intake is a strong risk factor that contributes to higher breast cancer rates, particularly in older women.

Throat cancer – Throat cancer is a particularly hard cancer to beat–more than 90 percent of patients with invasive esophageal cancer die within five years of diagnosis.

Research has revealed that those who drink soda might have a higher risk of developing esophageal cancer. They found a strong link between the accelerated rate of people drinking carbonated soft drinks and the growing number of cases of esophageal cancer over the course of two decades.

Colon cancer — According to another study, women who consume a high dietary glycemic load may increase their risk of colorectal (colon) cancer. Glycemic load is a measure of how quickly a food’s carbohydrates are turned into sugars by your body (glycemic index) in relation to the amount of carbohydrates per serving of that food.

The study consisted of more than 38,450 women who were followed for almost eight years. The participants filled out questionnaires about their eating habits, so researchers could examine the associations of dietary glycemic load, overall dietary glycemic index, carbohydrate, fiber, non-fiber carbohydrate, sucrose, and fructose with the subsequent development of colon cancer.

They found that women who ate the most high-glycemic-load foods were nearly three times more likely to develop colon cancer.

Do You Want to Radically Improve Your Health?

Then replace soda and other sugary drinks with clean, pure water.

Normalizing your insulin levels is one of the most powerful physical actions you can take to improve your health and lower your risk of cancer along with all the other diseases and long-term chronic health conditions mentioned above.

Fortunately, it is also the variable most easily influenced by healthy eating and exercise

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