Sunday, May 31, 2009

ADHD Statistics

Number of children 3-17 years of age ever diagnosed with ADHD: 4.5 million
Percent of children 3-17 years of age ever diagnosed with ADHD: 7.2%
Percent of boys 3-17 years of age ever diagnosed with ADHD: 10%
Percent of girls 3-17 years of age ever diagnosed with ADHD 4.3%
Source: Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Children: National Health Interview Survey, 2007, Appendix III, Table VI

Saturday, May 30, 2009

How to Reduce Allergy Symptoms Naturally

In the spring, many suffer from seasonal allergies aggravated by the pollen in the air. Building a strong immune system and vital force is the best defense. There are many natural treatments including constitutional homeopathy that can help with that, along with good nutrition and exercise. Inheritance does play a link, as one in three people whose parents experience allergies will have allergies as well.Over the counter antihistamines are prescribed as the usual treatment. These can cause dehydration of the mucus membranes that form the mucus associated with allergies. Antihistamines do decrease the mucus production; however, they can damage the tissues as well.Nasal Irrigation with a neti potSome people have found relief using nasal drainage with salt to restore tone to the nasal passages. A neti pot can be used to inhale salt water to heal inflamed tissues. Using warm water with a small amount of added salt, nasal irrigation cleanses the passageways. Used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years, nasal irrigation can relieve chronic sinus problems as well as acute allergy relief. Oprah Winfrey recently became aware of the benefits and demonstrated a neti pot on her show.Nutritional advice for allergy reliefNutritionally, Pantothenic acid, vitamin B5, is thought to help reduce allergy reactions, along with any other anti-inflammatories, such as quercetin or L-glutamine. Pantothenic acid stimulates production of antibodies. Fruits high in citric acid, like lemons and oranges, can break up mucus. Omega-3 fatty acids also help by reducing inflammation in the body. Vitamin C helps your body to produce adrenal hormones to fight stress and reduce the histamine response that causes allergy flare-ups.Homeopathic Allergy MedicinesMany homeopathic remedies treat acute allergic flare-ups. For lasting relief, constitutional homeopathic care is needed. When all else fails, homeopathy offers acute remedies to treat the symptoms of hay fever and allergies.Lancet (October 18, 1986) published a study by Dr. David Taylor-Reilly, a professor and homeopath at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, in which twelve homeopathic remedies were effective in reducing hay fever symptoms.Some of the common remedies are Allium cepa, Euphrasia, Arsenicum, Pulsatilla, Nux vomica, Sabadilla and Dulcamara. Homeopathic eye drops are also available.It is recommended to avoid contact with known allergens and to bathe before sleep to limit re-exposing yourself all night. The later in the day you begin exposure, the less the symptoms will be; researchers are now discovering. Avoid exposure during allergy season, and work on building a strong immune system and vital force the rest of the year. That way, you can avoid or reduce your allergies the coming season.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Are You What You Eat?

You are what you eat. It is as simple as that, isn't it? The hard part is to follow up on this statement and only put live healthy food in and leave the toxins out. Then our body can regenerate and heal on a higher level.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Swine Flu May Be a Human Error From Vaccine Production

The World Health Organization is investigating a claim by Australian researcher Adrian Gibbs, who says that the swine flu virus circling the globe may have been created as a result of human error.
Gibbs, who collaborated on research that led to the development of Tamiflu, said in an interview that he intends to publish a report suggesting the new strain may have accidentally evolved in eggs scientists use to grow viruses and drugmakers use to make vaccines. Gibbs said he came to his conclusion as part of an effort to trace the virus’s origins by analyzing its genetic blueprint.
“One of the simplest explanations is that it’s a laboratory escape,” Gibbs said in an interview with Bloomberg Television today. “But there are lots of others.”
Gibbs, who has studied germ evolution for four decades, is one of the first scientists to analyze the genetic makeup of the virus.Sources:
Bloomberg May 13, 2009

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

How Bad are Plastic Water Bottles for Your Health, Really?

In 2008, Americans drank nearly 9 billion gallons of bottled water, which is second only to soft drinks as the largest beverage type in the U.S. market, according to the Beverage Marketing Corporation.
In the first study of its kind, researchers determined just how much BPA you absorb when you drink bottled water.
Its popularity has been growing strong since 2000, with significant sales growth noted every year of the decade … that is until now. In 2008, the gallons of bottled water consumption went down by 1 percent, for the first time this decade. And whereas in 2007 Americans drank 29 gallons of bottled water each, in 2008 that went down to 28.5 gallons. It’s a small decrease, but perhaps a sign of larger changes to come.
What are You Really Drinking When You Drink Bottled Water?
Plastic water bottles have come under scrutiny in recent years for both their environmental and health effects, including those surrounding the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA).
That BPA can leach out of plastic during everyday use, causing health problems, is hardly news. It’s now widely known that BPA mimics the female hormone estrogen and may affect fertility and promote cancer. And just last year it came out that BPA may also lead to heart disease, diabetes and liver problems.
Studies have shown that detectable levels of BPA exist in more than 90 percent of the U.S. population, but exposure has been blamed on not only drinking water and food, but also on dental sealants, dermal exposure and inhalation of household dusts.
Which leads one to wonder, just how much BPA are we exposed to when drinking from a plastic bottle? And how great are the health risks, really?
Well, a new study from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) found out.
The researchers recruited Harvard College students for the study in April 2008, and all 77 participants then began a seven-day “washout” during which they drank all cold beverages from stainless steel bottles in order to minimize BPA exposure. For the next week, participants were given two polycarbonate bottles and asked to drink all cold beverages from them.
Urine samples were taken at the end of each week-long period, and the results that came back were shocking: levels of BPA rose 69 percent after just one week of drinking out of plastic bottles.
"We found that drinking cold liquids from polycarbonate bottles for just one week increased urinary BPA levels by more than two-thirds. If you heat those bottles, as is the case with baby bottles, we would expect the levels to be considerably higher. This would be of concern since infants may be particularly susceptible to BPA's endocrine-disrupting potential," said Karin B. Michels, associate professor of epidemiology at HSPH and Harvard Medical School and senior author of the study.
While previous studies have found that BPA could leach from polycarbonate bottles into their contents, this study is the first to show the corresponding increase in BPA levels in humans.
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The bottle is made of LDPE (low density polyethylene) plastic, which is BPA-free.
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The end result is this: if you drink out of plastic water bottles, you can pretty much guarantee that you’re increasing your levels of BPA, which is very risky for your health.
Why You Do NOT Want to Drink Out of BPA-Containing Plastic Bottles
Chronic exposure to very low levels of BPA, such as might occur when drinking bottled water, is potentially very harmful.
"An expert panel of scientists has concluded that exposure to extremely low doses of bisphenol A is strongly linked to diseases such as breast cancer, prostate cancer, and diabetes, and to reproductive and neurological development," the Sierra Club reported.
And single-serve bottles are not the only ones to be concerned about. Consumer Reports found in 2000 that eight of 10 5-gallon water jugs they tested contained residues of BPA.
While the use of BPA in polycarbonate baby bottles was banned in Canada in 2008, and some manufacturers have voluntarily eliminated the chemical from their bottles, this is not yet widespread in the United States.
In fact, BPA is so widely used that it may be nearly impossible to avoid exposure entirely, however you can greatly reduce your exposure by avoiding BPA-containing products as much as possible, including one of the biggest BPA predators: plastic water bottles.
Plastic containing BPA may be called:
Make sure any plastic bottle you give to your baby is BPA-free.
Though it is generally clear, it can be tinted in various colors. Plastic that contains BPA carries the #7 recycling symbol, as well, so never use those bottles.
Are There Any Safe Alternatives?
Drinking plenty of pure water throughout the day is one of the best habits you can get into for your health. This is also what makes bottled water so convenient; simply throw a bottle in your purse, briefcase or gym bag and it’s easy to quench your thirst anytime.
Fortunately, there are options out there that give you the convenience of carrying water with you without risking the serious health effects of BPA.
One such option is to carry a stainless steel water bottle or one made of glass, covered in a protective glove to keep it from breaking. An even better option, which actually purifies your water on the go, is the Wellness H2.0.
The Wellness H2.0 combines the convenience of bottled water without the waste and with superior water quality; it is the next generation of water!
The guiding principle behind the Wellness H2.O is that water should be free ... free from harmful contaminants, free from plastic bottles, and free from the tap.
The Wellness H2.O is a personal, reusable BPA-free water bottle that features a unique filtration system that not only purifies ordinary tap water, but also enhances the water for better absorption and hydration. With this special filtration process you'll have access to high quality water wherever you go.
Over the life of a single Wellness H2.O water bottle you will not only significantly reduce your exposure to BPA compared with drinking from regular plastic bottles, but you will also eliminate the need for over 1,100 plastic bottles and all of the monetary and environmental costs associated with collecting, bottling, warehousing, transporting and retailing of water that is already available from any tap around the globe.
This is the only bottle on the market to produce nourishing, better-than-bottled-quality, "enhanced" water without the cost or waste associated with bottled water -- yet with the convenience of bottled water that so many love. With the Wellness H2.0, you can have superior quality water no matter where you are, just fill up and go!
For even more tips on how to reduce your exposure to BPA, including products to avoid, please read our past article Bisphenol-A: Why Makers of Toys, Medical Equipment & More Don't Want You to Worry About Bisphenol-A -- and Why You Should.
Recommended Reading
Is it Time to Give Up Bottled Water? The Facts, Marketed Illusions, and Health Risks You May Not Know About
Six New Studies Confirm Health Dangers of Plastic
Harvard School of Public Health May 21, 2009
Environmental Health Perspectives May 12, 2009
International Bottled Water Association 2008 Market Report Findings

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Think Twice Before Drinking Soda

Women who drink two or more cans of soda pop a day are nearly twice as likely to show early signs of kidney disease, according to a new study by Loyola University Health System. Researchers did not find an elevated risk for men or for people who drink diet soda, says lead researcher David Shoham. The study examined data from a representative sample of 9,358 U.S. adults in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

Monday, May 25, 2009

It's Not That We Have a Short Time to Live, But That We Waste a Lot of It

“On The Shortness of Life” is one of Lucius Seneca’s most famous letters. It’s valuable to read it whenever you feel the urge to succumb to social pressure and treat time as less valuable than income. Time is non-renewable, and “On The Shortness of Life” helps put this in a practical context, as relevant now as it was nearly 2,000 years ago.Seneca says, “It is not that we have a short space of time, but that we waste much of it. Life is long enough, and it has been given in sufficiently generous measure to allow the accomplishment of the very greatest things if the whole of it is well invested.”The full letter is contained in the link below. For a quick 4-minute overview, you can read the bolded passages. But it’s worthwhile to read the entire piece on a slow evening. Each person identifies with different passages.The letter is posted by Tim Ferriss, author of the bestselling book, The 4-Hour Workweek. If you’re looking for more tips on how to make the most of your life, I highly recommend picking up a copy. This book has had a MAJOR impact on my own life, and I suspect it will have a positive influence on yours as well.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Food Manufacturers Won’t Guarantee Your Foods’ Safety

First it was spinach, then a rash of other tainted food outbreaks: tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, beef, peanut butter, alfalfa sprouts. It seems nearly every day there’s a new warning about potentially contaminated foods; food you depend on to nourish yourself and your family.
Some food manufacturers say food safety is your responsibility -- not theirs.
So it’s no wonder, then, that nearly half (48 percent) of those polled by Consumer Reports National Research Center said their confidence in the safety of the U.S. food supply has decreased. Nor is it surprising that almost all of the respondents (83 percent) reported they were concerned about harmful bacteria or chemicals in food, while 81 percent were concerned with the safety of imported food.
Amidst Americans’ increasing concern, food manufacturers have maintained that they’re acting with your health and safety in mind, doing all they can to keep food safe. Yet, an estimated 76 million cases of food-borne illness happen every year, a majority of which are unreported or never tracked back to the source.
Providing this type of trackable failsafe has been called “not practical,” “not reasonably needed,” and often not “possible” by food industry groups including the Grocery Manufacturers Association. And really, while being able to track foods back to their source certainly sounds like a reasonable expectation, perhaps the real onus should be on keeping food safe in the first place.
Well, it might surprise you to learn that no one is vouching for your food safety, not even the manufacturers themselves. As the New York Times reported:
“In addition to ConAgra, other food giants like NestlĂ© and the Blackstone Group, a New York firm that acquired the Swanson and Hungry-Man brands two years ago, concede that they cannot ensure the safety of items -- from frozen vegetables to pizzas -- and that they are shifting the burden to the consumer.”
Buyer Beware: No One’s Vouching for the Safety of Your Food
In any given processed food, there is a vast mixture of ingredients, from flavorings to flour and fruits and veggies, that could potentially span the globe. But there’s something you should know.
Food companies do not always know who is supplying all of their ingredients, nor whether they have been screened for bacteria and other potentially dangerous microbes. Further, not all of them do thorough testing of their own.
Eat REAL Food: Get Recipes From a Highly Recommended Cookbook, Alive in 5
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Now, tired of having the finger pointed at them when their foods turn up tainted, they are placing the burden on you, especially in the case of frozen foods.
Those recommendations on your frozen pizza or pot pie box on what temperature to cook it to? Not a suggestion. These numbers actually represent the only temperature at which the food, including the veggies, becomes safe to eat.
So if you’re not taking out a food thermometer and literally testing the temperature, you could get sick. Unfortunately, most people do not use a thermometer to check their frozen foods before eating. Many do not even own such a thermometer.
Further, even if you DID check it, tests done by the New York Times found the directions to be confusing and misleading.
“ … Attempts by The New York Times to follow the directions on several brands of frozen meals, including ConAgra’s Banquet pot pies, failed to achieve the required 165-degree temperature. Some spots in the pies heated to only 140 degrees even as parts of the crust were burnt.”
In an effort to ensure that every potential microbe has been killed, some food manufacturers even take a “kill step,” which is essentially heating the food to high temperatures to wipe everything out. Unfortunately, aside from often making the food unpalatable, this step may wipe out valuable and fragile nutrients in foods like fruits and vegetables.
Further adding to food safety concerns, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) only inspects domestic food production facilities once every five to 10 years, while foreign facilities get inspected even less often, according to the Consumers Union.
This is not enough to secure Americans' peace of mind, as two-thirds of those surveyed felt the FDA should inspect domestic and foreign food-processing facilities at least once a month.
Also weighing heavy on some Americans' minds are also concerns of diminishing food quality due to:
Genetic modification
Pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and other additives used in the growing process
Factory farms and other unsanitary and inhumane agricultural practices
Taking Food Safety Into Your Own Hands
The absolute best way to know what's in the food you're eating (and therefore whether or not it's safe) is to get to know the farmer who is growing it. If you have the time and space for a garden, you can grow much of your fresh produce yourself. If not, farmer's markets and food coops are becoming increasingly available across the United States. is an excellent Web site to find farmers' markets, family farms, and other sources of safe and sustainably grown food in your area.
This also means altering your diet to be mainly fresh, whole foods, rather than processed varieties. As you switch over to more fresh foods, we highly recommend you take advantage of the healthy and absolutely delicious recipes in Alive in 5: Raw Gourmet Meals in Five Minutes. When prepared with locally grown ingredients from a source you trust, these are among some of the safest meals you can eat.
Fortunately, when you get your food from a high-quality source, there’s no need to heat it excessively to make sure it’s safe to eat. And if the only way a food is safe to eat is if it’s been through a “kill step,” you may want to reconsider if you really want to eat that food.
If you do eat processed foods, though, the best way to ensure the food you eat is as safe as possible is to educate yourself about potential contaminants -- and avoid those foods. You should also take the package preparation instructions seriously, and follow them well. If you eat a lot of frozen foods, it’s a good idea to invest in a food thermometer and cook foods to the required temperatures. Also, using your conventional oven instead of your microwave may help ensure your food is cooked thoroughly and evenly.
Finally, eating organic produce, meats and other foods will also go a long way toward reducing your exposure to toxins and other contaminants.
Recommended Reading
Are Canned Foods Safe? What are Their Potential Risks and Healthier Options Instead?
Codex: What Exactly is it and How Does it Impact Your Health Freedom?
Sources May 14, 2009

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Should You Detox to Get Rid of Chemicals?

Detoxification is growing increasingly popular. The basic premise is that your body accumulates more toxins in the modern world than its natural detoxification system (your liver, kidneys and lungs) can get rid of. Proponents say that chemicals from pesticides, chlorine, bleach and ammonia, and carbon monoxide build up over time and cause disease.
Dr. Tanya Edwards, director of the Cleveland Clinic's Center for Integrative Medicine, often starts patients out with a change in diet. Because Americans tend to have diets that lead to constipation, a change in diet can accomplish the same thing as many herbal detoxification products that are really just laxatives.
People are ideally supposed to have one or two bowel movements a day, but many people go two or three days between eliminations. The normal pathway for toxins to move out of the body is through the liver, which converts harmful chemicals into water-soluble molecules that can be flushed out in the urine or feces. If there's a delay in elimination, however, those toxins remain in your system longer.
Tamara MacDonald, a naturopathic physician, uses detox techniques because some people aren't able to detoxify chemicals naturally -- their systems aren't working well for one reason or another. But MacDonald is wary of poorly researched techniques like foot baths and colonics, and thinks that people should steer clear of fasting techniques like the "Master Cleanse," a 10-day detox plan that consists of nothing but lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper.
"One of the worst things that you can do for your body in terms of detoxification is doing a fast," she says. "That was the idea about 20 or 30 years ago, but we know now that your body actually needs specific nutrients to be able to perform its job of detoxification."

Friday, May 22, 2009

5 Steps to De-Stress

Simple stress-relieving tips you
can use starting now!
Stress affects our overall wellbeing in
both positive and negatives ways.
Sometimes stress is what energizes us
and stimulates our creative thinking.
Sometimes stress becomes
overwhelming and frustrating, tiring our
minds and bodies and deteriorating our
The reality is that stress levels are
growing higher and study after study
shows that there is a connection
between unmanaged stress and illness
and disease.
It makes good sense take steps to
better manage stress levels. Following
are some preliminary steps you can put
into action today:
Nutrition: Eating a well-balanced diet
and drinking a healthy amount of water
is key to looking and feeling your best.
Low carb, low fat, the information on
what constitutes a proper diet is vast
and conflicting. When it comes to
nutrition one thing is true—variety is
the spice of life. That’s not a green
light to eat whatever you want
whenever you want but merely to eat a
variety of food including whole grains,
fruits, vegetables and low fat protein
while keeping the consumption of
refined sugars and processed foods to
a minimum.
One easy way to instantly improve
your health is to drink more water.
How much water is the right amount?
A good rule of thumb is to take your
weight, in pounds, divided by 2 (i.e.: A
person weighing 150 pounds needs to
drink 75 ounces of water per day.).
High levels of physical activity,
medications and drinks high in caffeine
may increase your need for water even
Sleep: Getting enough rest at night is
essential for your body to recharge and
heal from each day. Every body
requires a different amount of sleep.
On average, the range is between 6-10
hours per night.
Exercise: The body needs a good
amount of cardiovascular exercise each
week to maintain health...but not as
much as most people think. All you
need is 3-4 thirty-minute intervals of
exercise per week to stay healthy.
Also, stretching should be performed
daily to release the tension that builds
up in our muscles.
Breathing: Have you ever paid attention
to your breathing habits? Be sure that
you are taking nice deep breathes while
expanding your chest. Short, rapid,
shallow breathing deprives the body
and brain of important oxygen.
Proper Nervous System Function: The
health of your nervous system is often
overlooked when assessing wellness
levels. When was the last time you
had your nervous system checked?
The nervous system is the most
important system of the body—so
important in fact, that the spinal cord
and brain are the only parts of the body
totally encased in bone for protection.
With the nervous system being so
critical to body function it only stands
to reason that to operate at peak
performance the messages from your
brain must be sent through the nerves
without interference. That is why
doctors of chiropractic check for
vertebral subluxations. Subluxations,
when left uncorrected, will not only
slow and skew communication from
the brain to the body but may lead to
numbing, pain, or illness.
Regular chiropractic care is essential to
ensuring proper nerve system function.
Chiropractic adjustments remove
nervous system interference; this
enables the body to better manage
stress and maintain health.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Clinics and Doctors' Offices Spreading Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (Superbugs)

Think you're only in danger from antibiotic-resistant infections, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Clostridium difficile (C.difficile) and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus if you are in a hospital? Think again.The potential for picking up one of these infections in other seemingly "safe" places is a real threat that deserves at least as much attention as the mainstream media-hyped new swine flu, or H1N1. For example, the BBC just reported a 58 year old man, Raymond Evans, recently came down with an antibiotic-resistant "flesh eating" infection while on a vacation cruise. Despite strong antibiotics, he died within 24 hours of becoming ill. And now a review just published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) says doctors' offices and clinics can be potentially dangerous places contaminated with these sometimes fatal germs."The recent emergence of community-associated MRSA, vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus and C.difficile among patients with no known predisposing factors has increased the potential for offices and clinics to become silent reservoirs of these pathogens," Dr. Anne Matlow and coauthors from the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and the University of Toronto write in the CMAJ article. These infections can take a huge toll on life and limb. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) web site reports that in 2005 (the latest year statistics are available), almost 100,000 people in the U.S. developed a serious, invasive MRSA illness. Close to 20,000 died during a hospital stay related to these infections. According to the CDC, some 85% of all these invasive MRSA infections were associated with healthcare -- and about two-thirds of those occurred from contact with healthcare outside of a hospital. Only 14% of the reported MRSA infections occurred in persons without any obvious exposure to healthcare. Antibiotic-resistant infections that are localized to skin and soft tissue can sometimes, but not always, be treated effectively. However, the CDC notes, some strains have developed super-strength virulence, allowing them to spread more rapidly, defying treatment and causing more severe illness than the type of antibiotic-resistant infections seen in the past. The result can be a shutdown of vital organs, widespread infection (sepsis), toxic shock syndrome and necrotizing ("flesh-eating") pneumonia. So how can clinics and doctors' office minimize transmission of these potentially deadly pathogens? The CMAJ review article outlines infection control strategies for these settings involving commonsense approaches such as simple hygiene, education about spreading germs, and the cleaning of physical environments. The authors also urge doctors to use care in prescribing antibiotics. That's key because it was the widespread and inappropriate prescribing of those drugs for ailments like colds (which are caused by a virus and can't be "cured" by antibiotics) which is believed to have caused bacteria to become antibiotic-resistant in the first place.The CMAJ report says, because healthcare workers are the main mode of transmission, they should be the number one target of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection prevention strategies. Simple but thorough hand washing with alcohol-based hand rubs or soap and water is the most essential part of infection control. The authors of the review also state that precautions, such as wearing gowns and gloves, should always be used by doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers in caring for people with diarrhea, cystic fibrosis or draining wounds. "Since most cases of transmission in ambulatory care are a result of deficient infection-control practices, strict adherence to recommendations is paramount," write the authors.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Is Sitting Bad for Your Health … and Waistline?

Is Sitting Bad for Your Health … and Waistline?What the Surprising Research Revealsby

As you read this, you’re probably sitting -- a motion done by all of us countless times a day. We sit to eat, to work, to relax, to conversate, to socialize … to engage in infinite moments of our lives.
Sitting for too long may contribute to heart disease, diabetes and obesity!
Yet as research would have it, this very simple and often necessary act could be insidiously harming your health in a surprising number of ways.
"Chair time is an insidious hazard because people haven't been told it's a hazard," Marc Hamilton, Ph.D., a professor of biomedical sciences at the University of Missouri in Columbia, told Ivanhoe Broadcast News.
According to Hamilton, numerous studies show rates of heart disease, diabetes and obesity are doubled and even tripled in people who sit a lot. Part of the problem is sitting stops the circulation of lipase, an enzyme that absorbs fats. So instead of being absorbed by your muscles, when you’re sitting fat recirculates in your bloodstream where it may end up stored as body fat, clogging arteries or contributing to disease.
In fact, simply standing up as opposed to sitting engages muscles and helps your body process fat and cholesterol in a positive way, regardless of the amount of exercise you do.
Sitting Less May be Just as Important as Regular Exercise
We all know we’re supposed to get regular exercise to stay healthy. What you may not know is that spending all the time you’re not exercising in a sitting position may totally overwhelm the benefits of exercise.
Get Up From Your Chair and … Stretch!
Stretching is an excellent alternative to sitting, and Stretching Toward a Healthier Life on DVD gets our top recommendation for five key reasons:
It presents 15 stretches that stretch all the key muscles groups throughout your entire body (a benefit you will NOT get by just sitting and watching TV!).
It only takes about 15-20 minutes per day total to do the complete stretching.
Stretching expert and host Jacques Gauthier and his wife Dorothee Lavoie demonstrate each stretch in their entirety, including insights on what NOT to do.
In addition to stretching nearly 100% of the muscles in your body, Gauthier chose 15 stretches that you'll find actually feel good and are easy to do (many stretches in other programs are not).
The production quality of the video and sound is excellent. (Many other DVD productions on stretching are not.)
Find out more about Stretching Toward a Healthier Life with FREE SHIPPING for a Limited Time!
In other words, research by Hamilton and others found sitting not only has a negative effect on fat and cholesterol metabolism, but also stimulates disease-promoting processes. What’s more, exercising, even for an hour a day, does not reverse this effect.
"The enzymes in blood vessels of muscles responsible for 'fat burning' are shut off within hours of not standing," Hamilton said on "Standing and moving lightly will re-engage the enzymes, but since people are awake 16 hours a day, it stands to reason that when people sit much of that time they are losing the opportunity for optimal metabolism throughout the day."
This may be one reason why sitting can cause you to gain weight. A study in the International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders found those who had high daily levels of sitting (7.4 hours or more) were significantly more likely to be overweight or obese than those who reported low daily sitting levels (less than 4.7 hours a day).
A study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine even found that the longer a man sits at a desk at work, the greater his chances are of being overweight. Sitting for long hours also puts you at risk of back pain, particularly if you sit with poor posture, leg cramps, tense muscles and, of course, boredom.
Tips for Sitting Less and Getting Healthy
Standing up requires your muscles to work to support your weight and hold you upright, to the extent that it can double your metabolic rate. In fact, the average person can burn 60 extra calories each hour just by standing instead of sitting. Over the course of a day, this can add up to a lot of beneficial health effects.
The good news is you’ve already accomplished the first step to sitting less, which is realizing that you probably should. Next, take the opportunity to stand rather than sit as often as you can. Stand while watching your kids play at the park, stand while you talk on the phone or watch TV, etc.
If you want to take standing one step further, you can also incorporate some simple yet highly beneficial stretches into your daily routine. In 15-20 minutes you can even complete Jacques Gauthier’s wonderful Stretching Toward a Healthier Life DVD, which helps you to keep your body out of a sedentary position and moving instead.
Your body can only tolerate being in one position for about 20 minutes before it starts to feel uncomfortable, according to the Mayo Clinic. So about every 15 minutes, stand, stretch, walk around or change your position for at least 30 seconds.
The more you do this, the more accustomed to it you’ll become -- and the more you stand instead of sit, the better your health will be.
Recommended Reading
Americans Spend HOW Many Hours a Day Watching ‘Screens’? The Consequences … and Help
How to Sit at a Desk All Day and Still be Healthy
Sources June 1, 2008 November 20, 2007
International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders. 2003 Nov;27(11):1340-6
American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2005 Aug;29(2): 91-97

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Warning: Potentially Life Threatening Vitamin Deficiency Affects 25% of Adults

Vitamin B12 is fittingly known as the energy vitamin, and your body requires it for a number of vital functions. Among them: energy production, blood formation, DNA synthesis, and myelin formation. Myelin is insulation that protects your nerve endings and allows them to communicate with one another.
If you know or suspect you’re vitamin B12 deficient, you’re not alone. Recent studies from the U.S. Framingham trial show one in four adults in the United States are deficient in this vitally important nutrient, and nearly half the population has suboptimal blood levels.
How You Get Vitamin B12 Deficient
Vitamin B12 is present in natural form only in animal sources of food, which is one of the reasons I advise against a strict vegetarian or vegan diet. There are many well-documented cases of blindness and brain abnormalities in strict vegetarians, resulting from vitamin B12 deficiency.
The older you get the more likely you are to have a vitamin B12 deficiency. The two ways you become deficient are through a lack of vitamin B12 in your diet, or through your inability to absorb it from the food you eat.
I recently visited India, which is primarily a vegetarian based culture. Current studies there show about 80 percent of adults are deficient in vitamin B12.
Vegans and Vegetarians
Vitamin B12 deficiency is extremely common in strict vegetarians and vegans. B12 is not readily available in plants, so if you do not eat meat or animal products you are at risk.Vitamin B12 is found almost exclusively in animal tissues, including foods like beef and beef liver, lamb, snapper, venison, salmon, shrimp, scallops, poultry and eggs.
The few plant foods that are sources of B12 are actually B12 analogs. An analog is a substance that blocks the uptake of true B12, so your body’s need for the nutrient actually increases.
If you are not a vegan/vegetarian, and are including food sources of B12 in your diet and are still deficient in the vitamin, it is likely due to one of the reasons I’ll discuss later in this report.
Why Vitamin B12 is So Important for Your Health
Vitamin B12, also known by the scientific name cobalamin, is water-soluble. Unlike other water-soluble vitamins, B12 doesn’t exit your body quickly in urine. It is stored in your liver, kidneys and other body tissues. As a result, a deficiency may not show itself for a number of years, depending on your diet and your body’s ability to efficiently absorb B12.
This time lag is a serious concern, because after about seven years of B12 deficiency, irreversible brain damage can result.
Vitamin B12 is a powerhouse micronutrient for a whole host of reasons. Your body needs B12 for:
proper digestion, food absorption, iron use, carbohydrate and fat metabolism
healthy nervous system function
promotion of normal nerve growth and development
help with regulation of the formation of red blood cells
cell formation and longevity
proper circulation
adrenal hormone production
healthy immune system function
support of female reproductive health and pregnancy
feelings of well-being and mood regulation
mental clarity, concentration, memory function
physical, emotional and mental energy
As you can see from this list, your B12 level impacts a number of very important systems in your body -- everything from your DNA to how happy you feel. If you think you might be deficient in this vitamin, you need to take steps to get your B12 levels into the healthy range.
I’ll discuss the proper test to determine your B12 blood level as well as the latest information on what constitutes a healthy range a little later in this article.
Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
If you don’t have adequate vitamin B12 levels in your bloodstream, you might notice some of the following warning signs:
mental fogginess
problems with your memory
mood swings
lack of motivation
feelings of apathy
fatigue and a lack energy
muscle weakness
tingling in your extremities
One of the most important functions of vitamin B12 is building the myelin which insulates and protects your nerve endings and allows them to communicate with one another.
If you’re B12 deficient and your myelin is depleted, you can experience health problems as widespread as depression, dementia and even symptoms which mimic multiple sclerosis.
Depression is thought to be linked to a shortage of compounds called monoamines, which are manufactured by your central nervous system. Vitamin B12 helps your body make these compounds. There is also evidence high levels of homocysteine associated with B12 deficiency may promote depression.
Dementia and Alzheimer’s
Research also indicates a B12 deficiency may lead to cognitive problems and reversible dementia in the elderly. This type of treatable dementia differs from Alzheimer’s, however, B12 may play a role in this growing epidemic as well.
A study of over 100 senior volunteers showed older individuals with low levels of vitamin B12 are more apt to suffer from brain atrophy or shrinkage. Brain atrophy is a well-established characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease.
A lack of vitamin B12 can result in a condition called pernicious anemia. Pernicious anemia is characterized by a lack of healthy red blood cells, and a larger size of existing cells.
Since vitamin B12 helps in the formation of red blood cells, a chronic lack of adequate B12 will naturally affect your body’s ability to create red blood cells, eventually leading to anemia. “Pernicious” was the adjective applied to the often fatal condition back in the days before it was understood to be caused by a lack of vitamin B12.
Left untreated, pernicious anemia can do permanent, serious damage to your body. It can increase your risk for heart problems and strokes. It can damage your nerve cells and affect everything from your balance to your sense of smell. It can also cause changes to the surface of your digestive tract, increasing your risk of stomach cancer.
Sleep Problems
If you have trouble sleeping, it could be due to a lack of melatonin in your system. If you’re a regular reader of my newsletter you know the importance I place on adequate good quality sleep for optimum health.
Melatonin is known as the “sleep hormone” and as you age, your body becomes less efficient at producing this chemical.
B12 plays a crucial role in melatonin production, which is another reason it is important to make sure you’re receiving an adequate amount of this vitamin into your blood.
Neurological and Neuropsychiatric Conditions
Inadequate vitamin B12 levels have been linked to many neurological conditions in addition to dementia and Alzheimer’s, including spinal cord disease and peripheral neuropathy.
Peripheral neuropathy is a disease or dysfunction of your peripheral nerves, and can include numbness and tremor, as well as opposite sensations like tingling, pain, itching and pins and needles. Your skin can become hypersensitive to the point where you can’t stand to have anything touching certain areas of your body – clothing and bedding actually cause pain. If your muscles are involved they may feel weak, tired or heavy, and you may experience muscle cramps, tremors, and soreness.
A lack of vitamin B12 might also be implicated in migraine headaches and Parkinson’s disease, both of which are neurological conditions.
Vitamin B12 deficiency has also been linked to psychiatric disorders, which are grouped into the following methods of expression:
Mood disturbances ... apathy, depression, eating abnormalities, and behavior disturbances which occur specifically at night
Hyperactivity ... agitation, euphoria, irritability, lack of inhibition, and motor disturbances
Psychosis ... hallucinations and delusions
Optic neuropathy is another outcome of vitamin B12 deficiency. Long-term, chronic B12 deficiency is known to cause deterioration of the optic nerves, resulting in blindness. This is an irreversible condition.
Cardiovascular and Cerebrovascular Diseases
Cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases have a common risk factor – increased homocysteine levels in blood.
Studies show insufficient amounts of folic acid and vitamin B12 can elevate your homocysteine levels, potentially increasing your risk for heart disease and stroke.
We know vitamin B12 plays an important role in DNA synthesis, and its presence in your cells, along with folic acid, helps to alleviate the wear and tear on your genetic material. Damage to DNA is a well-known risk factor for cancer.
Low levels of B12 are specifically linked to increased risk for breast and cervical cancer.
How B12 Deficiency Affects Fertility, Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Elevated homocysteine levels which result from an inadequate intake of B12 are well-known markers for increased risk of heart problems and stroke. Less known is the fact that high levels of homocysteine are also very dangerous during pregnancy and can lead to complications and birth defects.
Pregnant women with B12 deficiency carry an increased risk of having a baby born with neural tube defects, a class of birth defects affecting the infant’s brain and spinal cord. Spina bifida, which can cause paralysis, is a type of neural tube defect, as is anencephaly, which is fatal.
If you’re planning a pregnancy, it’s absolutely critical to attain a healthy level of vitamin B12 in your blood stream before you conceive. Neural tube defects develop within the first four weeks of fetal life, so if you wait until you’re pregnant to check your B12 levels, it could be too late.
If you’ve had trouble conceiving, or lost pregnancies through miscarriage, you should have your vitamin B12 levels checked. A B12 deficiency has been linked to infertility and repeated miscarriages.
If your diet doesn’t include animal products and you’re breastfeeding, your baby could develop brain abnormalities due to a vitamin B12 deficiency.

Other Reasons You Can Become Deficient in Vitamin B12

Age-Related Insufficient Production of Hydrochloric Acid
The older you get the more your digestive system breaks down, especially if you’ve been following the standard American diet. Specifically, the lining of your stomach gradually loses its ability to produce hydrochloric acid which releases vitamin B12 from your food.
If you’re over 50, it’s safe to assume you are not absorbing vitamin B12 at an optimal level.
Use of Antacids and Anti-Ulcer Drugs
The use of antacids or anti ulcer drugs will also lower your stomach acid secretion and decrease your ability to absorb vitamin B12.
Stomach acid (hydrochloric acid) is a crucial ingredient in your body’s ability to absorb B12. If you’re taking a medication specifically designed to reduce the amount of stomach acid you produce, your body’s ability to use vitamin B12 from the food you eat or the supplements you take will be significantly compromised.
Use of the Drug Metformin©
If you take Metformin© (brand names Glucophage, Glucophage XR, Fortamet, Riomet, Glumetza, and others) for diabetes, the drug may reduce your B12 absorption through interference with the metabolism of calcium in your body. Calcium is another necessary component in your body’s ability to absorb B12.
A recent study indicates that the longer a person with Type 2 diabetes takes Metformin© and the higher the dose, the greater the risk for vitamin B12 deficiency.
Use of Other Medications
Many prescription drugs have the potential to diminish the level of B12 in your system, including:
anti-cancer medications
tuberculosis medications
birth control pills
anti-gout medications
cholesterol-lowering drugs
potassium replacements
drugs to treat Parkinson’s disease

Coffee Drinkers
According to recent research, if you drink four or more cups of coffee a day you are likely to experience a 15 percent reduction in B vitamins compared to people who don’t drink coffee.
Bacterial Infection
Infection with Helicobacter pylori, a common contributor to stomach ulcers, can also result in vitamin B12 deficiency.
The H. pylori bacteria damage the cells of the stomach which produce intrinsic factor. Intrinsic factor is a crucial requirement for the absorption of vitamin B12 --I’ll discuss its importance in more detail shortly.
Weight Loss Surgery Patients
If you’ve had gastric bypass surgery, you may be B12 deficient. The surgery often disrupts the mechanisms which aid your body in absorbing vitamin B12 and other vitamins.
Exposure to Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas Anesthesia)There is ample evidence to indicate exposure to nitrous oxide may destroy B12 reserves.
Nitrous oxide is used by dentists for pain management and in operating rooms as a form of anesthesia. Use of the gas can pose a significant risk to those with existing undiagnosed or untreated B12 deficiency.
Health care workers who are routinely exposed to nitrous oxide are also at risk. And of grave concern is the abuse of the gas by medical personnel, teenagers and young adults who use it for its euphoric effects. This practice can result in severe neurological damage.
Food-Cobalamin Malabsorption Syndrome
The main cause of vitamin B12 deficiency is a term researchers call food-cobalamin malabsorption syndrome. (Remember cobalamin is the scientific term for vitamin B12.)
This condition typically results when your stomach lining loses its ability to produce intrinsic factor, which is a protein that binds to vitamin B12 and allows your body to absorb it into your bloodstream at the end of your small intestine.
The Fundamental Role of Intrinsic Factor in Vitamin B12 Absorption
The key point to understand here is that if your body is not making intrinsic factor, you could swallow vitamin B12 till the cows come home and you simply won’t absorb it.
Part of the reason you require a binding protein like intrinsic factor is that vitamin B12 is a very large molecule. It is actually the largest vitamin we know of. In addition, the way it gets absorbed into your body involves a complex series of events.
Intrinsic factor is a molecule protein made by your stomach. It grabs onto the B12 molecule and together they move through your stomach to your small intestine. When they reach the end of your small intestine, the intrinsic factor is absorbed first, pulling the B12 with it into the cells of your large intestine, where they are absorbed for use by the rest of your body.

Cobalamin (cbl) absorption and metabolic pathway.
(A) Structure of cobalamin (vitamin B12) with a corrin ring bound to a central cobalt atom.
(B) The metabolic journey of cbl from nutrient intake to its intestinal absorption. Endocytic receptors and proteins responsible for vitamin B12 intestinal absorption include cubilin (CUBN), amnionless (AMN), receptor-associated protein (RAP) and megalin (LRP-2). The membrane megalin/transcobalamin II (TCII) receptor complex allows the cellular uptake of cbl. Lysosomal-mediated degradation of TCII and subsequent release of free cbl is essential for vitamin B12 metabolic functions. MS: methonine synthase; THF: tetrahydrofolate; MTHFR: methyltetrahydrofolate reductase; MCM: methylmalonyl coA mutase.
(C)Mutations in genes encoding the IF (GIF), CUBN, AMN, TCII or its receptor provoke defects in cbl absorption and/or cellular uptake which translates into functional cbl deficiency and its clinical manifestations.
If your body doesn’t produce enough stomach acid, then you’re not producing enough intrinsic factor either.
Indigestion, heartburn and gastric reflux disease (GERD) are conditions which normally develop later in life. While symptoms feel like your stomach is making too much acid, in the vast majority of cases, the reverse is true – too little stomach acid is being produced.
To make matters worse, the first thing many people do when they get symptoms of indigestion or heartburn is reach for an antacid, further compromising their ability to produce hydrochloric acid.
Lack of free acid in your stomach interferes with digestion and reduces the amount of nutrients you get from the food you eat.
Since a lack of stomach acid means a lack of intrinsic factor, and since the only way vitamin B12 can be absorbed into your system is through bonding with intrinsic factor molecules, it’s easy to understand why so many people are not getting adequate B12 into their bodies.
This is why vitamin B12 shots are so popular. They bypass absorption problems and put the vitamin directly into your bloodstream.
Testing for B12 Deficiency
Blood tests for vitamin B12 deficiency aren’t as clear cut or helpful as they are for other nutritional deficiencies. Standard tests to assess vitamin B12 concentrations are limited because the clinical severity of vitamin B12 deficiency is unrelated to vitamin B12 concentrations.
Researchers have established the following recommendations to screen for vitamin B12 deficiency:
If your vitamin B12 concentration is less than 150 pmol/L, you are considered B12 deficient and you and your health care practitioner should take steps to determine the underlying cause(s) and treatment.
If your B12 concentration is between 150 and 200 pmol/L, your serum MMA (Methylmalonic Acid) level should be determined to identify whether your situation requires more investigation and treatment. Research suggests elevated levels of MMA (a natural compound found in your body) are an indicator for vitamin B12 deficiency.
Getting your B12 and MMA serum levels lab tested is one way to go, especially if you have a compelling reason to have “official” test results.
However, it is probably a more practical approach if you suspect or are concerned you are vitamin B12 deficient, to simply supplement your diet with B12 and see if your symptoms improve.
Vitamin B12 supplementation is completely non-toxic and inexpensive, especially when compared to the cost of laboratory testing. In fact, the first treatment most doctors and other health care experts will suggest upon receiving B12 deficiency lab test results is supplementation with vitamin B12. So again, it is an entirely reasonable approach to try supplementation first to see if your symptoms improve.
Natural Sources of Vitamin B12
One of the best natural sources for vitamin B12 is certain types of seafood. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to buy commercially produced un-contaminated fish, and it is my firm belief the risks associated with mercury laden seafood outweigh its health benefits.
I do not recommend eating most commercially available fish, as it is just too difficult to determine its purity and safety. This is especially true if you’re pregnant or have a growing family, as methyl mercury is highly toxic to the developing brains and nervous systems of infants and children.
Beef and beef liver are also good sources of B12, but keep in mind grass-fed beef is highly preferable to the grain-fed variety.
Chicken is also a natural source of vitamin B12. Organic chicken is the way to go, as conventionally raised chickens may harbor antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.
Pork is another source of vitamin B12. It is not a food I recommend, however. Pigs are scavengers and will eat almost anything, making them susceptible to retroviruses and parasites. These bugs have a high probability of making it into pork food supplies, and no amount of cooking can insure they have been killed.
If you must eat pork, your safest bet is to eat the meat of non farm-raised animals, fed organically. However, you should avoid all processed pork products like bacon and sausage.
Regardless of which meat you prefer, keep in mind -- how it is cooked can also mean the difference between a nutritious meal and an unhealthy one.
Drinking milk is another way to get vitamin B12. However, avoid pasteurized milk even if it’s organic. The only milk I recommend is raw milk. Look for Certified Grade A milk, produced under government supervision and guaranteed absolutely clean.
Eggs are another source of vitamin B12, and there’s a bonus: eggs are one of the healthiest all-around foods in the world.
Ideally you’ll be able to buy your eggs locally from a free-range pasture farm. Second choice would be to buy free-range organic from the grocery store. Don’t go for the omega-3 added eggs – they are actually less healthy for you than regular eggs.
As with all foods, how you prepare your eggs makes a big difference in their nutritional value. I recommend eating eggs raw, however, if you choose to cook them, soft-boiling is your next best option. Scrambling is the least desirable of all cooking methods, especially if you have high cholesterol.
A Word about Vitamin B12 Fortified Breakfast Cereals
In doing your research on food sources of vitamin B12, you’ll likely find vitamin fortified breakfast cereals on most mainstream lists. I completely disagree with this recommendation.
Vitamin fortified or not, cereals are not a healthy food. The highly processed grains in cereals quickly break down to sugar in your system, and stimulate insulin production. Infants and children also do not fare well eating cereal.
Supplementation: Science Develops a Better Way to Replenish Your B12 Stores
Part of the reason vitamin B12 is so difficult to absorb and requires an additional protein is because it is a massively large molecule when compared with the other vitamins. It is far larger than any other vitamin and requires extraordinary measures to actually push this molecule into your blood.
Since the primary challenge your body faces in absorbing vitamin B12 is the large size of the molecule, a B12 delivery system which shrinks the molecules makes perfect sense.
Science has recently developed a technology that can reduce the effective size of the vitamin B12 molecule and help you absorb this molecule into the fine capillaries under your tongue. The delivery system for these microscopic droplets of vitamin B12 is a fine mist you spray into your mouth.
This delivery system bypasses the intrinsic factor problem and is much easier, safer and less painful than a vitamin B12 shot.
Next Steps
Vitamin B12 deficiency is a potentially life-threatening condition. A best case scenario if you’re B12 deficient is you aren’t in optimal good health, which is always the goal.
To review, if you fall into one of the following categories, you should investigate whether you are B12 deficient:
You are a vegan or vegetarian
You are over 50
You take antacids or anti-ulcer medication
You take Metformin© for diabetes
You take other prescription drugs known to deplete your B12 stores (see list above)
You drink four or more cups a coffee a day
You have or had an H. pylori bacterial infection
You’ve had weight loss surgery
You’ve been exposed to nitrous oxide (laughing gas)
You suffer from indigestion, heartburn or GERD
Symptoms or warning signs of a possible B12 deficiency include:
Mental fogginess or problems with your memory
Mood swings, a feeling of apathy or lack of motivation
Fatigue, a lack of energy, muscle weakness, tingling in your arms or legs
If you aren’t getting sufficient B12 in your diet, or you suspect your body isn’t able to efficiently absorb the vitamin, I recommend you begin supplementation immediately with either an under-the-tongue fine mist spray or vitamin B12 injections.
Ensuring your body has adequate B12 can vastly improve the quality of your life today, and prevent debilitating, even life-threatening diseases which result from a deficiency of this all-important nutrient.
The Iowa Source, Vitamin B12 Deficiency, Dr. Nancy Lonsdorf,
Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 89, No. 2, 693S-696S, February 2009, How Common Is Vitamin B-12 Deficiency?, Allen, Lindsay H., American
Canadian Family Physician, Vol. 54, No. 4, April 2008, pp.536 – 541, Vitamin B12 and Health, Ryan-Harshman, Milly, Aldoori, Walid,
Quarterly Journal of Medicine 102(1):17-28; 2009, An Update on Cobalamin Deficiency in Adults, Dali-Youcef, N, Andres, E,, Vitamin B12 for Depression, Alternative Medicine, Folate and Vitamin B12 and Depression, Cathy Wong,
Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology, Vol. 18, No. 1, 33-38 (2005)DOI: 10.1177/0891988704272308, Neuropsychology of Vitamin B12 Deficiency in Elderly Dementia Patients and Control Subjects, Alicia Osimani, MD, et al,
U.S. News & World Report, Vitamin B12 Key to Aging Brain, Amanda Gardner,, Pernicious Anemia,
Wikipedia, Peripheral Neuropathy,, Special Test Needed for B12 Deficiency,
The Journal of Neuropsychiatry, 19:50-56, February 2007, The Influence of Neuropsychological Functioning on Neuropsychiatric Problems in Dementia, Pauline Aalten, Ph.D., et al,, Strict Vegetarians Can Develop Blindness and Brain Damage,
The Weston A. Price Foundation, Vitamin B12: Vital Nutrient for Good Health, Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig, Ph.D.,, Vegetarians/Vegans Have Higher Homocysteine/Lower B12,
EurekaAlert!, Low Levels of Vitamin B12 May Increase Risk for Neural Tube Defects,
Reuters, Vitamin B12 Can Prevent Major Birth Defects, Will Dunham,
Archives of Internal Medicine, Vol. 166 No. 18, October 9, 2006, Risk Factors of Vitamin B12 Deficiency in Patients Receiving Metformin, Rose Zhao-Wei Ting, MBBS, et al,, Vitamin B12 Keeps Your Brain Young,, Screening for Vitamin B12 Deficiency,

Monday, May 18, 2009

How Grapes Protect Your Heart

A diet enriched by grapes may prevent the downhill sequence of heart failure after years of high blood pressure. A study suggests that grapes may prevent heart health risks beyond the simple blood pressure-lowering benefits that come from a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.The heart-healthy benefits of grapes may be the result of the phytochemicals (naturally occurring antioxidants) activating a protective process in the genes that reduces damage to the heart muscle.Researchers studied the effect regular table grapes had when added to the diets of rats. After 18 weeks, the rats that received the grape-enriched diet powder had lower blood pressure, better heart function, and fewer signs of heart muscle damage.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Summer Grilling Could Be Dangerous to Your Health

Meat cooked at high temperatures to the point of burning and charring may increase your risk of pancreatic cancer. The finding appeared to be true for meats cooked by frying, grilling or barbecuing. Cooking in this way can form carcinogens that do not form when meat is baked or stewed.Researchers looked at information from surveys that were a part of the PLCO (Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian) Multi-Center Screening Trial. Participants provided information about their meat intake and preferred cooking methods.Preferences for high temperature cooked meat were generally linked with an increased risk of pancreatic cancer. Subjects who preferred very well done steak were almost 60 percent more likely to get pancreatic cancer compared to those who ate steak less well done or did not eat steak.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Don’t Believe the Hype -- Fructose Truly is Much Worse Than Glucose

New research shows that there are big differences in how the sugars fructose and glucose are metabolized by your body. Overweight study participants showed more evidence of insulin resistance and other risk factors for heart disease and diabetes when 25 percent of their calories came from fructose-sweetened beverages instead of glucose-sweetened beverages.
A study looked at 32 overweight or obese men and women. Over a 10-week period, they drank either glucose or fructose sweetened beverages totaling 25 percent of their daily calorie intake.
Both the groups gained weight during the trial, but imaging studies revealed that the fructose-consuming group gained more of the dangerous belly fat that has been linked to a higher risk for heart attack and stroke. The fructose group also had higher total cholesterol and LDL ("bad") cholesterol, and greater insulin resistance.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Are You Going To Be Healthy In 2010?

About Healthy People 2010
In January 2000, the Department of Health and Human Services launched Healthy People 2010, a comprehensive, nationwide health promotion and disease prevention agenda. Healthy People 2010 contains 467 objectives designed to serve as a framework for improving the health of all people in the United States during the first decade of the 21st century.
Healthy People 2010 builds on similar initiatives pursued over the preceding two decades. Two overarching goals—to increase quality and years of healthy life and to eliminate health disparities—served to guide the development of objectives that would be used to measure progress. Each objective has a target to be achieved by the year 2010. These objectives are organized into 28 focus areas, each representing an important public health area. A selected set of objectives, known as the Leading Health Indicators, was created to help identify sentinel measures of public health, and to encourage wide participation in improving health in the next decade. These indicators were chosen based on their ability to motivate action, the availability of data to measure their progress, and their relevance as broad public health issues.
NCHS is responsible for coordinating the effort to monitor the Nation's progress toward the targets, using data from NCHS data systems as well as many other data sources. National data are gathered from more than 190 different data sources, from more than seven Federal Government Departments (including Health and Human Services, Commerce, Education, Justice, Labor, Transportation, and the Environmental Protection Agency), and from voluntary and private non-governmental organizations. To the extent appropriate, data for the objectives are provided for subgroups defined by relevant dimensions such as sociodemographic subgroups of the population, health status, or geographic classifications.
Data are made available through DATA2010, an interactive database system accessible through the NCHS web site and the CDC WONDER system.
Because these objectives are national, not solely Federal, their achievement is dependent in part on the ability of health agencies at all levels of the government and on non-governmental organizations to assess objective progress. To inform that effort, NCHS maintains an online update of the November 2000 publication, Tracking Healthy People 2010. This report includes technical information on general data issues and major data sources, detailed definitions for each objective, and additional resources.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


The total milligrams of sodium that adults should ingest a day - half of what the average American consumes. Keep your levels in check by thinking twice before adding salt.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Artificial Colors: Is the “Secret Shame” of the Food Industry Harming Your Children?

Artificial Colors: Is the “Secret Shame” of theFood Industry Harming Your Children?by

Artificial colors are among the most questionable food additives there are, yet despite their potential health risks they’re added to countless food products ranging from candy and soda to breakfast cereal and sausage.
Numerous studies have linked artificial food colors with hyperactivity and behavior problems in children.
Decades ago in 1955, it was deemed safe for people to ingest 12 mg food dye per day. By 2007, that amount had reached 59 mg per person, per day, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) -- a level nearly five times greater than initially was approved.
At the heart of the debate is concern that the artificial dyes cause behavior problems and hyperactivity in children, a suspicion that emerged back in 1970. Around that time Dr. Ben Feingold, an allergist in San Francisco, reported that his patients improved when their diets were changed to avoid artificial food coloring.
“Numerous controlled studies conducted over the next three decades in the United States, Europe, and Australia proved that some children’s behavior is worsened by artificial dyes, but the government did nothing to discourage their use and food manufacturers greatly increased their reliance on them,” reports the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).
Recently, a handful of studies have all gathered data showing that artificial dyes negatively impact children’s behavior. One of the most revealing was a British study from the University of Southampton, published in the journal The Lancet. The study examined the effects of mixes of additives on nearly 300 children, and found artificial food colors and additives exacerbate hyperactive behavior in children.
Now, CSPI is urging the FDA to ban eight widely used artificial food dyes linked to hyperactivity and behavior problems in children, including:
Red 40: This is the most widely used food dye, found in soda pop, candy, gelatin desserts, pastries, pet food and sausage. Key tests involving the dye were found to be flawed and inconclusive, according to CSPI, and although an FDA committee acknowledged potential problems, they said the evidence was not “consistent.” It may be linked to hyperactivity disorders and migraines.
Yellow 5: Found in gelatin dessert, candy, pet food and baked goods, this second most widely used coloring causes allergic reactions, primarily in people sensitive to aspirin.
Yellow 6: As the third most often used food coloring, yellow 6 is found in many products, including backed goods, candy, gelatin and sausages. It has been found to cause adrenal gland and kidney tumors, and contains small amounts of many carcinogens.
Blue 1: Blue 1, used to color candy, beverages and baked goods, may cause cancer.
Blue 2: Blue 2, found in pet food, candy and beverages, has caused brain tumors in mice.
Green 3: Used in candy and beverages, this dye has been suspected of causing bladder cancer.
Orange B: Found in hot dog and sausage casings, this dye was found to cause urinary obstructions in rats that can lead to kidney damage.
Red 3: This food coloring is used in cherries (in fruit cocktails), baked goods and candy. It causes thyroid tumors in rats, and may cause them in humans as well.
"The continued use of these unnecessary artificial dyes is the secret shame of the food industry and the regulators who watch over it," said CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson. "The purpose of these chemicals is often to mask the absence of real food, to increase the appeal of a low-nutrition product to children, or both. Who can tell the parents of kids with behavioral problems that this is truly worth the risk?"
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Their Use is Unnecessary
Given that food dyes are used for purely aesthetic purposes, often in products intensively marketed to children, their use is highly questionable. Further, many of the dyes still in use in the United States have been phased out (or are in the process of being phased out) in Europe.
Because regulators and consumers there refuse to tolerate potentially unsafe food additives in their foods, manufacturers have responded by using natural colorings. For instance, according to CSPI:
Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain bars are made with natural colorings in Britain, but in the U.S. contain Red 40, Yellow 6 and Blue 1.
More than a dozen varieties of Kraft’s Oscar Meyer Lunchables contain artificial dyes, while British versions contain none.
Starburst Chews, Skittles, and M&M candies made by Mars are loaded with artificial dyes in the U.S., but in the U.K. natural colorings are used.
In Britain, McDonald’s strawberry sauce for sundaes comes from strawberries. In the U.S. it comes from Red 40.
Isn’t it time people and children in the United States started demanding the same level of food safety that is already a given in other countries?
How to Minimize Artificial Dyes in Your Diet
With any processed food you run the risk of coming across additives and dyes, and reading through ingredient labels can be like trying to decode a puzzle.
Centering your diet on fresh, whole foods is the best way to stay away from unsavory additives and dyes, but assuming you do include some processed foods in your diet you’ll need to become an avid label reader. Diligently avoid those that contain the dyes listed above, and preferably look for those that contain only natural coloring.
One of our all-time favorite beverage brands, Ajmera, carries just such products. Ajmera's Orang-O Energy , Coco Energy and Mang-O Energy are 100% natural with NO caffeine, no preservatives, no synthetic food colors and no artificial flavors. All three of Ajmera's beverages will keep you tastefully hydrated without having to worry about potentially dangerous dyes!
Further, according to CSPI, everything with a Trader Joe's label sold at the supermarket and all products at Whole Foods are free of the controversial chemicals. At other health food stores, farmer’s markets and food coops, you’ll also likely be able to find foods free of artificial dyes.
Recommended Reading
12 Dangerous Food Additives: The Dirty Dozen Food Additives You Really Need to be Aware Of
Are Metals in Food Harming Your Child’s Behavior?
Center for Science in the Public Interest June 2, 2008 June 4, 2008
The Lancet Volume 370, Issue 9598, November 2007, Pages 1560-1567
Center for Science in the Public Interest: Food Additives

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

80 Percent of Americans Have No Idea Which Foods Contain Trans Fats

While most people in the United States now know that they should avoid trans fats, only 20 percent actually know which foods are likely to contain the dangerous ingredients, according to a survey conducted by researchers from the University of Colorado-Denver and published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.Trans fats, also known as hydrogenated oils, are artificially produced in the laboratory by adding extra hydrogen atoms to unsaturated vegetable oils. They have long been a favorite of the food industry for their increased shelf life over conventional oils. Unlike natural fats, however, trans fats have no nutritional value and drastically increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and death. Like saturated fats, they increase the body's levels of LDL ("bad") cholesterol, but unlike those fats they also lower its levels of HDL ("good") cholesterol.Researchers surveyed 1,000 adult residents of the United States in 2007 about their knowledge of trans fats, and found that a full 92 percent had heard of the fats, compared with only 84 percent who had heard of them in 2006. Almost 75 percent of those who had heard of trans fats were aware that consumption of the fats raises the risk of heart disease.The researchers next asked people to list three foods that contain trans fats, but only 21 percent were able to do so -- nevertheless an improvement over 17 percent in 2006.While food companies are required to list trans fats on nutritional labels, a product can be listed as trans fat free if it contains less than five grams of the fats per serving. Any product containing "hydrogenated" or "partially hydrogenated" oils, however, contains trans fats. They are commonly used in baked and fried foods, although some manufacturers have started phasing out their use.Laws banning the use of trans fats in restaurants have been passed in a number of cities, including New York, as well as by the state of California.Sources for this story include: