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Monday, July 28, 2014
Science Update Forum
Is there a correlation between red meat consumption and cardiovascular health?
Red meat often gets a bad reputation, but a growing body of evidence shows that eating lean beef
can reduce risk factors associated with heart disease. Recent research
at Penn State demonstrated that lean beef may play a role in helping to
reduce blood pressure.
"This research adds to the significant evidence, including work
previously done in our lab, that supports lean beef's role in a
heart-healthy diet," said Penny M. Kris-Etherton, Distinguished
Professor of Nutrition, Penn State.
According to the research, which was published in the Journal of Human Hypertension, lean beef
can be part of the predominant protein source in a diet – along with
fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy – to effectively lower blood
pressure in healthy individuals. Researchers tested four diets to
determine the effects on vascular health. The diets included the Healthy
American Diet (the control), the BOLD+ diet, the BOLD diet, and the
The control diet consisted of 0.7 ounces of lean beef per day, while
the DASH diet included 1.0 ounce. The BOLD diet had 4.0 ounces and the
BOLD+ diet included 5.4 ounces of lean beef.
These four diets were tested on 36 participants with ages ranging
from 30 and 65. All participants followed each diet at different times
throughout the study period. Participants were randomly assigned to
follow each of the four diet plans for five weeks each (in a particular
order), with a break of one week in between each new plan. Blood
pressure was taken at the beginning and end of each diet period.
The results showed that the BOLD+ diet was more effective at lowering blood pressure compared to the other diets.
According to the researchers, "This evidence suggests that it is the
total protein intake - not the type of protein - that is instrumental in
reducing blood pressure, as part of a DASH-like dietary pattern."
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Cosmetics-Giant Avon Removing Hormone-Disrupting Triclosan from Ingredients
Cosmetics-giant Avon announced recently they would be removing the chemical triclosan from their products in coming months. The proven hormone-disruptor is commonly found in cosmetics and products labeled as anti-bacterial, but a growing consumer awareness is leading companies to seek alternatives.
“We are not going to use it in new products and the process is underway for identifying alternatives or changing formulations for the small number of existing products that had included triclosan among their ingredients,” said Jennifer Vargas, Avon spokeswoman, to the Guardian.
Avon cites consumer concern for their change of tune. They join other companies like Procter & Gamble, Jonson & Johnson, and Colgate-Palmolive in phasing out the chemical.
Triclosan is a known hormone and thyroid disruptor. But it’s also been linked to increased allergic reactions and compromised immunity – just some of triclosan dangers.
Because studies have found
it to “amplify the effects of sex hormones”, it’s believed the compound could increase your risk of breast and prostate tumors, which is particularly interesting considering Avon’s highly-visible ties to pink-ribbon marketing and vocal breast-cancer awareness campaigning.
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics says that Avon needs to quit playing “catch-up” to other companies in regards to unsafe chemicals in their products.
“The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics congratulates Avon for finally giving triclosan the boot,” said co-founder Janet Nudelman in a statement. “It’s a hormonally active chemical that has no business being in cosmetics and personal care products.”
“But triclosan is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to unsafe chemicals in cosmetics. We want Avon to adopt a comprehensive policy that declares chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects, and other adverse health effects to be off limits in cosmetics and to support stricter regulation of the $71bn cosmetics industry so that everyone is protected.”
Phasing out triclosan is relatively easy, but instead many cosmetic companies are turning to quaternary ammonia compounds
, or quats, which can be listed under a variety of names and have been linked to other adverse health effects. The evidence on the dangers of quats are said to be “even more conclusive than the evidence on triclosan,” having been linked to respiratory distress and irritation.
In other words, what appears to be a step forward could result in a step to the side or even a step backwards, but let’s hope not.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Does Chlorine Affect Your Vision?
You’ve spent the summer swimming and diving in the pool, but did
all that splashing around in chemically treated water harm your eyes?
Optometrist Glenda Secor, chairwoman of the American Optometric Association’s
contact lens and cornea section, takes a closer look.
People have been in contact with chlorinated water for
generations—in fact, the water flowing from the taps in many communities is
chlorinated. Yet there has never been documented evidence that continuous
exposure to the diluted chemical can cause permanent harm to the eyes, says Dr.
“The purpose of pool chlorine is to reduce the bug count to what
you could withstand without much harm,” says the Huntington, Calif.,
optometrist. “But there are so many factors affecting the effectiveness of the
chlorine—how recently it was added to the water; the volume in proportion to
the amount of water; the amount of contaminant in the water; how often the pool
is used; [and] how many people are in it at a time.” So assume there’s a high
bug count anyway, she says.
Exposure to chemically treated water of any kind can temporarily
affect the eyes, says Dr. Secor, because when the cornea is submerged in water,
its protective tear film is washed away. That leaves eyes vulnerable to
bacteria lingering in chlorine-treated water, since some contaminants aren’t
killed by the trace levels of chlorine often used in pools.
The tear film “is our natural-defense mechanism,” she says. “Tear
proteins help reduce infection rates from bugs still floating in the water, and
when that is gone, the cornea is vulnerable to anything.”
She notes swimmers can get eye infections from bacteria in
chlorinated water. Bacterial or viral conjunctivitis, also called pink eye, is
the most common infection that can spread through pools. “Pool chemicals don’t
address everything that lives in the water,” she says.
A typical response to being submerged in chlorinated water is red
eyes and irritation, as well as blurriness, resulting from dehydration of the
cornea, which may temporarily distort vision. These symptoms can go away in a
few minutes, as the tear film returns to normal, Dr. Secor says, though the
process may take a few hours for older people. “Lubricating drops are helpful
to flush away any residual treated water in the eye and will bulk up the tear
film faster,” she says.
Contact-lens wearers face other issues, the least of which is
losing a lens. A serious eye infection called acanthamoebic keratitis, caused
by a certain genus of amoeba, “has been reported with people who swim with
contact lenses, which may absorb water or trap it beneath the lens,” says Dr.
Secor. Acanthamoebic keratitis can lead to ulcers on the cornea or even
blindness. “I always tell my patients to take their contact lenses out and
rinse them, and don’t sleep in them, even if they’re allowed to, if they’ve
been swimming in any body of water.”
A pool’s chlorine level dissipates over time—day 1 is stronger
than day 7—but there is no way to know how strong the chemicals are, shy of
carrying a personal test kit. A tried-and-true preventative measure is to wear
well-fitting goggles. “Swimming with goggles will keep the tear film from
washing away in the first place,” says Dr. Secor, who lives near a beach but
doesn’t swim in the ocean. “But if I did, I’d wear goggles then, too,” she
says. Salt water also is “pretty full of contaminants.”
From Natural health Alliance
Friday, March 22, 2013
Thursday, February 28, 2013
As seen in Whole Health Insider:
Aspirin is one of the most widely used over-the-counter medications, with an estimated 120 billion tablets taken each year.1
Not only can it be an effective remedy for headaches, body aches and
fever, but millions of people at high risk of heart attack due to
atherosclerosis use daily aspirin therapy as a preventative measure,
thanks to aspirin’s anticoagulant properties.
Because it’s so commonly used, many people assume that aspirin is
pretty safe. And they’re right—aspirin does have a relatively good
safety profile, especially when compared to other drugs on the market
that have a myriad of toxic side effects, like statins. But that doesn’t
mean aspirin use is completely free of risk.
The side effects most people associate with regular aspirin use
include gastrointestinal bleeding, tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and
hemorrhagic stroke caused by a burst blood vessel. And now recent
research has uncovered a lesser known, but very eye-opening risk to
long-term aspirin use—macular degeneration.
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In a study published in December 2012, researchers followed nearly
5,000 participants (aged 43 to 86 years) for more than 20 years. These
participants, part of the Beaver Dam Eye Study, received eye
examinations every five years. Results showed 512 cases of early
age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and 117 cases of late AMD over
the course of the study.
Additionally, at each exam, participants were asked if they had
regularly used aspirin at least twice a week for more than three months.
Researchers found that regular aspirin use 10 years prior to eye
examination was associated with late AMD, with estimated incidence of
1.76 percent, compared to 1.03 percent in non-aspirin users. Researchers
concluded that these associations, though small, were statistically
Interestingly, regular aspirin use 10 years prior to eye examination
was significantly associated with the “wet” form of AMD, which accounts
for 10 percent of all AMD cases, but is responsible for the majority of
functional blindness attributed to the disease.
An even more recent study published in January 2013 confirmed this
aspirin/AMD link. In this study, researchers analyzed data from a
15-year Australian population-based cohort.
At the beginning of the study, 2,389 participants completed a
detailed questionnaire that assessed aspirin use, heart disease status
and AMD risk factors. In addition, they received four eye examinations
during the 15-year study period.
After analyzing data, 63 (out of 257) regular aspirin users developed
wet AMD—an astounding 24.5 percent. Even after adjusting for other risk
factors like age, sex, smoking, history of heart disease and body mass
index, regular aspirin users still had a higher risk of developing wet
AMD. Researchers concluded, “Regular aspirin use is associated with
increased risk of incident neovascular [wet] AMD, independent of history
of cardiovascular disease and smoking.”3
Alternatives to Aspirin
If you’re a regular aspirin user, you should get a thorough eye exam
as soon as possible to determine your AMD status. This is extremely
important because AMD often doesn’t show any symptoms until well after
the condition has taken hold.
Even if your exam determines that your eyes are healthy and free of
disease, we recommend discussing the cessation of regular aspirin
therapy with your doctor. Fortunately, there are plenty of natural
pain-relief and blood-thinning nutrients you can take that will not
affect your eyes—or your gastrointestinal tract or ears for that matter.
One effective pain relief solution that you can find in most health
food stores is white willow bark. In fact, aspirin was originally
derived from the bark of this tree.
Its active ingredient, salicin, has been used for centuries to
relieve all sorts of pain, including arthritis and headache pain. In the
late 1800s, scientists developed a synthetic form of salicin called
salicylic acid, and aspirin was born.
Fortunately, white willow bark suppresses pain without the risks
associated with synthetic aspirin. In one study, researchers found that
patients who took either 240 mg or 120 mg of salicin experienced
significant relief from chronic lower back pain, compared to the placebo
If you use aspirin as a blood thinner to prevent heart attack, you
have natural alternatives, as well. Some of those options include
garlic (in either food or supplement form),
ginger (in either food, supplement form or consumed as a tea), fish oil
and vitamin E.6
As always, consult your physician before discontinuing the use of
prescribed medication—even if the prescribed drug is an over-the-counter
one like aspirin. Then express your desire to try a more natural
approach to heart attack prevention or pain relief.
- Warner TD, et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2002 Oct 15;99(21):13371-3.
- Klein BE, et al. JAMA. 2012 Dec 19;308(23):2469-78.
- Liew G, et al. JAMA Intern Med. 2013;1-7.
- Chrubasik S, et al. Am J Med. 2000 Jul;109(1):9-14.
- Sumi H, et al. Acta Haematol. 1990;84(3):139-43.
- Stanger MJ, et al. Nutr Rev. 2012 Feb;70(2):107-17.
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Xenoestrogens: Why children reach puberty much earlier
Recent studies show that both girls and boys are entering puberty much
earlier than before. Boys are reaching puberty up to 2 years early at
age 9 or 10. Girls, on the other hand, are reaching physical maturity
even much faster, up to 6 years earlier, with physical changes often
seen before 8 years old.
This disturbing trend has been linked to exposure to environmental
hormones or xenoestrogens in plastics, clouding agents, phthalates and
cosmetics. Children are so
easily susceptible to exposure because these xenoestrogens are found
everywhere. Clouding agents are used in juices, sports drinks and fruit
jams, among others. Babies are even more susceptible. For example,
babies come in contact with adults wearing cosmetics, which contain lead
and other xenoestrogens. These substances are then transferred to
babies who have more sensitive systems and are therefore more vulnerable
to the effects of xenoestrogens. Not only do these xenoestrogens
promote the production of sex hormones that causes early maturity but
also causes faster bone growth, both of which are irreversible.
Adults are not safe from the harmful effects of xenoestrogens either.
Xenoestrogens also include phytoestrogens and pharmacological estrogens
(e.g., synthetic estrogens found in hormone replacement therapy or birth
control pills). While supplementing with these estrogens is necessary
for those who are deficient, accumulation of excess estrogen is always a
risk. Among women, excess estrogen can lead to ovarian cysts, uterine
fibroids, endometriosis, fibrocystic breasts, etc. Among men,
xenoestrogens can lead to reduced sperm count, feminizing qualities,
increased testicular and prostate cancer risk and more. In both men and
women, xenoestrogens can lead to belly fat, insulin resistance and
Once exposure to xenoestrogens is stoppped, further effects can also be
halted. Steps must also be taken to reduce the effects of xenoestrogens
already in the body.
Myomin: Effective formula for Xenoestrogens and more
Myomin's mechanism against xenoestrogens is two-fold:
competes with xenoestrogens at estrogen receptors and binds with
estrogen receptors to reduce the harmful effects of endocrine
- It helps correct excess estrogen by reducing the expression of the aromatase enzyme.
H. Rodier, MD from Utah, always recommends Myomin to patients who have
been exposed to xenoestrogens. Myomin's effect on estrogen is evident in
the following new case reports:
G. Depke, ND from California, has a 52-year-old male patient taking
Myomin. He initially had high levels of estrone and estradiol, both
potents forms of estrogen. After 4 months on Myomin, both his estrone
and estradiol levels reduced to within normal range.
Dr. Depke has another patient, a 47-year-old female, who was taking
progesterone and DHEA for adrenal fatigue (progesterone and DHEA can
eventually be converted into estrogen). Not surprisingly, her
progesterone to estradiol (Pg/E2) ratio was low at 50.29, indicating
estrogen dominance. After taking Myomin, her estradiol and progesterone
levels reduced. Her Pg/E2 ratio increased to a normal 242.44, signifying
that she is no longer estrogen dominant.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
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