Posts Tagged 'allergies'

Food is not Medicine

Or is it?  The article does not address the benefits of whole foods.  However, it is good to see this subject matter becoming more mainstream.

Don’t be misled by these food label tricks.

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C’mon, fill your lungs with free radicals.

We have all been bombarded with advertisements and media reports about antioxidants in various forms being heralded as everything from the fountain of youth to protection from our own bad habits.  Along with the news on antioxidants comes the message that free radicals (what antioxidants neutralize) are evil and we should do everything we can to stop their production.  Stopping the production of free radicals in your body is easy.  So easy in fact, that all you have to do is stop breathing forever… it’s that easy.  Obviously we are not supposed to completely stop the production of free radicals, so this must be one of those situations where a delicate balance must be achieved.

So why all the hype?  First, free radicals are substances that have an unpaired leectron which enables them to be highly reactive and in some biological situations, highly damaging.  Antioxidants are substances that have reduction capability and thus end the free radical chain reactions and in effect neutralize the radical intermediates of oxidative reactions…blah blah blah.  All that big chemistry talk means is that if free radicals are a fire spreading out of control, then antioxidants are the water used to control and eventually put the fire out.  Free radicals happen every day during normal chemical reactions in our bodies; their production is accelerated during times of stress, illness, exercise or toxic exposure.  A healthy, varied diet of whole, raw, live foods, espeically with a rainbow of colors, should be all that is needed to provide an ample dose of antioxidants to combat a normal production of free radicals.  Few of us however, live a life devoid of stress, illness, and exercise or toxic exposures.  These necessitate a supplemental increase in our antioxidant intake.  Most of us also do not consume a rich and varied diet of brightly colored raw foods on a regular basis.  The market is saturated with the next big miracle antioxidant.  What we have to realize is that certain antioxidants work in certain circumstances and under certain conditions to neutralize certain free radicals.  We need a variety of antioxidant nutrients from a variety of sources to combat all the free radical variables (i.e., ones we ingest, breath, absorb, etc).  It’s not enough to take a big load of Resvertatrol and think that it is taking care of all your antioxidant needs.  As the saying goes “variety is the spice of life.”  An antioxidant supplement that is whole food based and provides many different types of antioxidants is the best bet to combat the free radical onslaught of daily life.

Squalene in the Vaccine for you and your children.

So a vaccine is being developed for the swine fly (H1N1).  Many people are convinced that the H1N1 virus is a pandemic virus that is more aggressive than flu virus’ in the past.  It is true that it seems that a high percentage of folks that come in contact with the virus develop symptoms.  However, one major fact so often overlooked is that the cases still can be considered mild with percentages of far fewer serious complications from this flu than typical winter influenza.  This, my friend, is a mild flu virus that the vast majority of people will recover from completely and rapidly with absolutely no medical intervention.

Why then is there still panic?  There are 190 million government ordered doses of a vaccine to combat this viral “bacon.” So the modus operandi is the same.  A virus hits the population and a vaccine is ordered to take care of it.  What do we know about this vaccine?  We know that it is being developed very rapidly leaving very little chance to effectively test for safety or really even efficacy.  Although it may appear to be beneficial to push this vaccine through quickly in order to save people the discomfort of an essentially non deadly flu, but what about the long term consequences of an untested vaccine? The limited time for development also means that the actual virus for the vaccine may not be produced in adequate quantities.  This can lead the manufacturers to add something to the mix that guarantees that you will have a heightened immune response even if the level of virus injected is very small.  In other words they are stretching the short supply. This is what is happening with the H1N1 vaccine.

Again this seems ok as you would most likely want the heightened immune response effect if you are going to receive the vaccine.  Let’s consider what this immune response boosting “stuff” is.  In the, past things like mercury and aluminum have been commonly used, but those toxins are yesterday’s news.  For the “pig virus” we need something new; a hip adjuvant if you will.  That new adjuvant is squalene, an oil that is synthetically produced. As a matter of fact the WHO is now recommending this adjuvant as stated on a July 13 briefing on the swine flu pandemic:  “In view of the anticipated limited vaccine availability at global level and the potential need to protect against “drifted” strains of virus, SAGE recommended that promoting production and use of vaccines such as those that are formulated with oil-in-water adjuvants and live attenuated influenza vaccines was important.”

Why the big deal?  It is good to note there are no approved vaccines in the US that contain the additive squalene.  Squalene itself is fine.  In fact it is found in many places throughout the body, especially the nervous system. It is not however, found freely floating in your blood.  Why?  Because when squalene is injected directly into the bloodstream (i.e., vaccine) the body sees it as a toxin and attacks it.  This can be a problem for you and a bonus for vaccine makers, as your immune system builds antibodies to this foreign substance in the blood. Good for vaccine companies as your immune system is stimulated; bad for you because now those antibodies turn and attack squalene wherever they are found naturally occurring in your nervous system.  This information was obtained after the discovery of squalene in the experimental anthrax vaccine used in Gulf War Veterans.  Although the DOD first would not admit that squalene was a component of the vaccine there were to facts to show otherwise.  First the FDA found squalene in some tested samples of the vaccine and second an anti-squalene antibody test was developed for patients suffering Gulf War Syndrome (GWS) and a clear link was made between those with GWS and antisqualene antibodies.  A study from Tulane university in 2000 that was published in the journal of Experimental Molecular Pathology made it very clear: “ … the substantial majority (95%) of overtly ill deployed GWS patients had antibodies to squalene. All (100%) GWS patients immunized for service in Desert Shield/Desert Storm who did not deploy, but had the same signs and symptoms as those who did deploy, had antibodies to squalene. In contrast, none (0%) of the deployed Persian Gulf veterans not showing signs and symptoms of GWS have antibodies to squalene. Neither patients with idiopathic autoimmune disease nor healthy controls had detectable serum antibodies to squalene. The majority of symptomatic GWS patients had serum antibodies to squalene.”

This would be the first approved in the US vaccine to contain squalene which failed.  It is unfortunate that it was used on soldiers.  The question now becomes why are we doing this and what long term effects will we see from people having toxins like squalene injected.  These questions will bear answers later and with 190 million doses already ordered in the US alone those answers will be repeated over and over and over again.

The Fuel in Meat and Potatoes

This is a very interesting article that can be found in the very informative Mother Nature Network blog. http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/health/blogs/the-fuel-in-meat-and-potatoes

Diabetes… what the?

Managing and living with diabetes is not easy.  One must monitor their dietary intake much closer than the average person.  Adjusting to a “diabetic safe” diet is quite a shock to most people, but the real shocking thing is that a diabetic safe diet is really a rather simple and healthy diet that is not far off a recommended eating plan.

Diabetes is not a genetic disease or something that just happens.  It is a disease caused by poor nutrition.  There is no magic pill or potion, although some substances have been known to support the body in healing itself.  The answer lies in nutrition both in treatment and prevention.

High sugar and processed fats predominate in the SAD (Standard American Diet).   This diet has a devastating effect on our insulin and leptin sensitivity, our hormone balance, and our physiologic stress (and thus inflammation) levels.  Diabetes seems to be a disease of miscommunication between brain and liver and fat cells.  The communicatory substances in play are insulin and leptin. We know that insulins’ role is to reduce blood sugar by shuttling sugar to the liver, and if you lose the ability to handle the glucose you intake, insulin resistance followes. Leptin is relatively unknown to most people but it has far ranging communication between the brain and the liver and individual fat cells. Leptin is responsible for telling your brain when you’re full and how much stored “fat energy” you have available.  Errors in leptin signaling would therefore lead to calorie over consumption, dangerous spikes in insulin, excessive fat storage, and lots of global inflammation.  The answer to this specific issue of diabetes seems to stem from how we effectively keep up communication in our bodies and stay properly sensitized to leptin and thus insulin.  This proper signaling is protected by dietary intake of good healthy fats, whole raw vegetables and an absence of simple processed foods.

Preventing, managing, and treating diabetes is as easy as making healthy choices in our diets, removing processed foods and consuming more whole, raw, live foods.  Lean animal proteins and fats help to balance our macronutrient intake in a hormonally functional way.  Generally, eating this way tends to eliminate much of the food choices that have led to the epidemics of obesity and diabetes.  Eating whole, fresh and live with lean animal proteins means that there is automatically an absence of processed foods (fast foods, microwave dinners, sandwich meats, etc), excessive sugars (soda, sweets, high fructose corn syrup) and allergenic grains (wheat, barley, oats, etc).  Consuming many simple sugars from processed products means eating unnatural quantities of rapidly absorbing sugars which puts a strain on our hormonal balance affecting insulin sensitivity, fat storage, stress hormone production, brain chemistry, and our digestive capacity.

Preventing diabetes is really not the issue we have to focus on, rather it is returning to a healthy lifestyle consisting of raw whole foods, good choices in lean animal protein, exercise, sunlight and good mental hygiene.  These steps not only lead to a road of diabetes prevention, but also many diseases plaguing us today.

Bug Off

It is summer time and that means most of us will venture outside more often. We play more sports, we garden and we simply enjoy outside cooking and eating during this time of the year. That puts us in contact with pests and in particular the dreaded mosquito. I know the first thing to pop in your head is West Nile Virus.  Many people like to use a pesticide or bug spray to ward of the bugs, the vast majority of these contain a chemical called DEET, and that is bad news. Our own EPA advises that it should not be applied to children under 6 and for adults it should only be applied to clothing not to skin, and then to wash the skin immediately upon returning inside.  This sure doesn’t sound like a healthy idea.  Deet has been linked to neurological symptoms, headache, nausea, dizziness, tremors, muscle and joint pain, memory loss, fatigue, shortness of breath, and in rats has been shown to cause diffuse brain cell death.  It is unlikely that something so potent against other living organisms can really be safe for you to spray on your skin. Botanical products have been shown to be effective but much less so than chemicals like DEET.  This simply means that they need to be applied more often and we have to understand that we may get a bug bite or two during a long evening outdoors.  Options include Neem oil, Cinnamon oil, Cintronella, Vanoline, Lemongrass and Peppermint.

Now about that West Nile virus thing.  Our municipalities are spraying dangerous chemicals into our air rather than directly onto any actual bugs with no regard for possible repercussions. Those repercussions include

  • resistance of the mosquitoes to the pesticides
  • inhalation of pesticides by people and animals
  • maybe most importantly the collateral damage to predator species and birds susceptible to the poison

All of this for a virus that has never been properly identified, isolated or really even proven to exist by the same methods that other heath threats are subjected to. Nobody likes to get mosquito bites but are the preventative measures worse than the irritation of the bite?

Fructose and Semantics – Natural (processed) Born (man-made) Killer (killer)

A current media blitz would have you believe that fructose, specifically high fructose corn syrup (HFCS for short) is not only “healthy in moderation” just like any caloric sweetener but is also chemically the same as table sugar to your body.  Both statements are flat out wrong and misleading.  Sort of like a publicists spin story on a compromising photo of a celebrity that has been splashed across the internet.

First lets get the chemistry out of the way. Your body runs on glucose, a simple sugar.  Fructose is another simple sugar, but here is the shocker, as you can see from the spelling GLUcose and FRUCTose, these two similar simple sugars are not in fact the same thing. Scientists like to name things and whenever new and different things are discovered they get a new name.  So, in fact researchers long ago confirmed that there is a difference between these two molecules and they were given different names. We know when we put glucose into the body certain things happen, a few highlights would be that insulin is released and another hormone called leptin is secreted.  The sugar is then taken into the cells by the insulin and metabolized for energy. Insulin and leptin both signal our brain to stop eating as we have sugar in the blood and therefore any more is excess and thus we are satiated. Many millions of other things happen as well but these two points will help show the case against fructose. When fructose is put into our bodies it is absorbed primarily in the jejunem and processed by the liver never triggering a proportionate insulin release and is readily converted into triglycerides and spurs an increase in LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol).  No leptin is released in response to fructose so with little insulin and no leptin your brain does not know you are full and more calories are consumed than needed. Fructose also raises our bodies levels of uric acid, and lactic acid neither is a good thing to have more of in you blood, this has damaging effects on the heart and kidneys and liver.

One very important fact about fructose in relation to insulin is that it has an effect on the target cells insulin receptors.  It causes a down regulation so when we do consume glucose we have to pump out more insulin.  This is called “insulin resistance” and this directly leads to diabetes syndrome X and other health problems. As to the idea that HFCS is natural and just like table sugar, both are a mix of fructose and glucose, however HFCS is a mix of the two simple sugars, table sugar is sucrose a disaccharide made of 1 glucose bound to 1 fructose. This bonding makes them behave very differently in our body as we have seen. This is not to say sugar is a good thing to consume in any quantity just that sugar would be preferred over HFCS due to the reasons above. If you are consuming predominatly whole, raw, live, fresh foods then you will not have to worry about this as HFCS does not exist in nature, though it is considered and labeled “natural.” It is natural in the sense that it does at some point come from corn but it is heavily processed and modified from the corn starch from which it started. Mind you, it is not a simple extraction process to make HFCS.  The heavy processing and stripping of other nutrients both micro and macro have much to do with making this sweetner such a harmful product.

We are now seeing another fructose sweetener in processed foods and drinks called “crystalline fructose”.  This is really just like HFCS only with the dial turned up to ten.  It can be much worse for you and can even be found with traces of heavy metals and other poisons in it like arsenic and lead. We should also mention that almost all the HFCS in our food supply is made from genetically modified corn. GM corn is a big problem as the Bt toxin (pesticide) in the plant promotes an allergenic response and many more people are presenting with corn allergies these days. The big issue is that once someone develops an allergy to GM corn then they are also allergic to natural organic corn, and since some form of corn is in almost every meal Americans eat, this becomes a big problem (hence so many different reactions to foods). A little bit of anything can generally be accepted by the body and handled while maintaining health but USDA stats show that HFCS consumption has skyrocketed.  Between the years 1970 and 2005 the average American increased their HFCS intake by 10,673%, that is not moderation. Many correlations have been made between this rise and the rise in modern diseases of degeneration like heart disease, cancer and of course diabetes.  Many factors coexist to nutritionally harm us and lead us down the path of disease but nobody can argue that the huge amount of sugar and in particular HFCS has had nothing to do with our nations health issues.  Not even a great publicist.