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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Science Lesson That Smells Like Garlic

This isn’t so much a comment about garlic as it is a science lesson.

Recently some of you have asked us to comment on an email about garlic that was sent to several of you. Below is a copy of the email in question:

Please note that there is not a link provided to checkout the source of this email. I found conflicting information about Dr. Beck’s academic credentials and could not verify his authorship of the following article entitled: GARLIC: TOXIC SHOCK.
[I am as surprised and shocked as you will be to hear such a respected scientist as Dr Bob Beck telling us that garlic is highly toxic. - Editor]

The reason garlic is so toxic, the sulphone hydroxyl ion penetrates the blood brain barrier, just like DMSO, and is a specific poison for higher life forms and brain cells.

We discovered this much to our horror, when I was the world's largest manufacturer of ethical EEG biofeedback equipment. We'd have people come back from lunch that looked clinically dead on the encephalograph, which we used to calibrate their progress. "Well, what happened?" " Well, I went to an Italian restaurant and there was some garlic in my salad dressing!".

So we had them sign things that they won't touch garlic before classes or we were wasting their time, and money and my time. I guess those of you who are pilots or have been in flight tests... I was in flight test engineering in Doc Hallan's group in the 1950's.

The flight surgeon would come around every month and remind all of us: "Don't you dare touch any garlic 72 hours before you fly one of our airplanes, because it'll double or triple your reaction time. You're three times slower than you would be if you'd [not] had a few drops of garlic."

Well, we didn't know why for 20 years later, until I owned the Alpha-Metrics Corporation. We were building biofeedback equipment and found out that garlic totally desynchronizes your brain waves.

So I funded a study at Stanford University and, sure enough, they found that it's a poison. You can rub a clove of garlic on your foot - on the sole of your foot - and you can smell it shortly later on your wrists. So it penetrates the body. This is why DMSO smells a lot like garlic: that sulphone hydroxyl ion penetrates all the barriers including the corpus callosum in the brain.

Any of you who are organic gardeners know that if you don't want to use DDT, garlic will kill anything in the way of insects.

Now, most people have heard most of their lives that garlic is good for you, and we put those people in the same class of ignorance as the mothers who at the turn of the century would buy morphine sulphate in the drugstore and give it to their babies to put them to sleep.

If you have any patients who have low-grade headaches or attention deficit [disorder], they can't quite focus on the computer in the afternoon, just do an experiment - you owe it to yourselves. Take those people off garlic and see how much better they get, very,very shortly.

And then let them eat a little garlic after about three weeks. They'll say: "My God, I had no idea that this was the cause of our problems." And this includes the de-skunked garlic's, Kyolic, some of the other products.Very unpopular, but I've got to tell you the truth.

It is interesting that if you consume garlic it affects your reflext times and energy levels. It's also interesting to note that the countries that are renowned for garlic consumption - Greece, Italy, etc - also shut down in the afternoon for siesta!

(Source: From a lecture by Dr Robert [Bob] C. Beck, DSc., given at the Whole Life Expo, Seattle, WA, USA, in March 1996)
Bob Beck also found in his research on human brain function in the 1980's that garlic has a detrimental effect on the brain and researching this further he learned that many yoga groups and philosophical teachings caution against the use of garlic and onions as they are known to interfere with meditation practices. Some aware individuals have actually described themselves as experiencing "brain fog" after having garlic.

1. This post is sometimes cited as “From Nexus Magazine Feb/Mar 2001” on garlic "toxicity" is a popular hoax post which you will find elsewhere on the internet, word-for-word complete with typos, bad grammar and unsophisticated wording. I find it very hard to believe that it appeared in any publication that had an editor and a proof reader.

2. “study at Stanford University” there is no citation for this study and Stanford has no record of such a study in its archives that I could find.

3. “totally desynchronizes your brain waves.” Does anybody know what this means or is it just scare tactic rhetoric?

4. An extensive examination of other research reveals the email shown above is the only source of information that “claims” a scientific basis for the toxicity of Garlic.

5. “shut down in the afternoon for siesta” There is lots of research about the health benefits of napping. I am reminded of the line from one of Rudyard Kipling’s poems; “Only mad dogs and Englishmen come out in the heat of the noonday sun.”

6. "We'd have people come back from lunch that looked clinically dead on an encephalograph, which we used to calibrate their progress.”Well, what happened?" "We'll, I went to an Italian restaurant and their (yes this is just one example of misspelling – also several grammatical errors) was some garlic in my salad dressing!" So we had'em sign things (unsophisticated phrase) that they wouldn't touch garlic before classes or were wasting their time, their money and my time. "
This is an exaggeration, if not deliberately false. This isn’t how scientists talk. If you looked dead on an EEG it would be flat. No activity. They obviously weren't.
Also, if this was true most of the countries bordering the Mediterranean would be dysfunctional and the accident rate of Alitalia (Italian) Airlines would be dramatically skewed, Ferrari would be the world’s worst automobile, and there would be no such thing as famous Italian scientists, artists, or opera singers.
There are several sources that claim garlic is dangerous that have a religious basis for the claim. It has been seen as stimulant or aphrodisiac and arouses “the lower chakras.”

Mostly, this has to do with Ayurvedic diet philosophy and eating foods to consciously balance your body's energy (whatever that means) and to detoxify


Another important scientific principle is that one should never draw a conclusion on the basis of a single study. A “meta-analysis” of the available studies on the subject is necessary to form a valid conclusion.
For instance, here is what the Mayo clinic says in one report:

Garlic (Allium sativum L.)
Natural Standard® Patient Monograph, Copyright © 2009 ( All Rights Reserved. Commercial distribution prohibited. This monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions.

Numerous controlled trials have examined the effects of oral garlic on serum lipids. Long-term effects on lipids or cardiovascular morbidity and mortality remain unknown. Other preparations (such as enteric-coated or raw garlic) have not been well studied.

Small reductions in blood pressure (<10mmHg), inhibition of platelet aggregation, and enhancement of fibrinolytic activity have been reported, and may exert effects on cardiovascular outcomes, although evidence is preliminary in these areas.

Numerous case-control/population-based studies suggest that regular consumption of garlic (particularly unprocessed garlic) may reduce the risk of developing several types of cancer, including gastric and colorectal malignancies. However, prospective controlled trials are lacking.

Use this Google search term for many more: garlic

Several studies from the Mayo Clinic are a good start but it is advisable to have more than one source for your research, so here are some more available studies:
Studies show that garlic promotes cardiovascular health by helping to retain normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels when used as part of a diet low in fat and cholesterol.¹ Allicin, a compound found in garlic, has been shown to be responsible for many beneficial actions, including the support for the maintenance of healthy levels of beneficial microorganisms. ¹ Silagy C, Neil A. Garlic as a lipid lowering agent—a meta-analysis. Journal of the Royal College of Physicians London. 1996; 30:329-334.
By 1996, there were over 1800 scientific studies that reported on the uses of garlic, and the studies continue to be performed.(1) One of the biggest concerns about garlic is whether it is still active by the time it gets to the shelf for purchase. It is important to select a garlic product that guarantees potency. Raw garlic is more potent than cooked garlic, because heat inactivates the enzyme allinase. Allinase gives garlic its odor and stimulates the formation of allicin. There are odorless garlic preparations, which provide alliin, a precursor to allicin. Alliin is converted (to some extent) to allicin in the body and allows for activity without the characteristic scent. Ethnocultural studies have shown that cultures with a high garlic intake have an inverse relationship to their cultures' cancer rates.(2)

Toxicities & Precautions
GeneralNo toxicity is reported in recommended dosages.(3) It is not recommended that large doses of garlic be ingested over a long period of time.(4)

1 Blumenthal M, et al. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Newton, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications; 2000:139-148.2 Dorant E, et al. Garlic and Its Significance for the Prevention of Cancer in Humans: A Critical View. Br J Cancer. 1993;67:424-29. View Abstract
3 Nakagawa S, et al. Acute Toxicity Test of Garlic Extract. J Toxicol Sci. 1984;9:155-69.View Abstract
4 Rakel: Conn's Current Therapy 2001, 53rd ed. W B Saunders Company; 2001:1267. 5 Berthold HK, Sudhop T, von Bergmann K. Effect of garlic oil preparation on serum lipoproteins and cholesterol metabolism: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. Nov1998;279(23):1900-2.View Abstract
7/3/2008A Meta-Analysis on Garlic and Hypertension.Source: BMC Cardiovascular Disorders Date Added:7/3/2008 9:12:00 AMDate to be Archived:7/3/2018
Hypertension is a type of cardiovascular disease characterized by elevation of blood pressure above the level considered normal for people of similar racial and environmental backgrounds. When blood pressure is taken on two or more subsequent days and reads 140/90 or above this is considered to be high blood pressure. Because it affects the entire circulatory system, hypertension can be detrimental to all the major organs, including the heart, brain, and kidneys. It may contribute to death from heart failure, heart attacks, stroke, and even kidney failure. One in five Americans (and one in three adults) has high blood pressure.

From immune enhancement to cancer prevention, garlic may support health in many ways. What many people don’t know, however, is that there is some controversy about the most effective form of garlic people should take. One of the biggest concerns about garlic is whether it is still active by the time it gets to the shelf for purchase. It is important to select a garlic product that guarantees potency. Keep in mind that raw garlic is more potent than cooked garlic, because heat inactivates the enzyme allinase. Allinase gives garlic its odor and stimulates the formation of allicin, which scientists believe may be the key to garlic’s health-enhancing properties. Many studies have suggested that garlic may aid in the prevention of such major cardiovascular conditions as heart disease, atherosclerosis, and stroke. These benefits are probably due to garlic’s ability to lower total cholesterol, LDL, or "bad," cholesterol and triglycerides, and increase HDL cholesterol, the so-called "good" cholesterol.

A systemic review and meta-analysis was performed to determine whether garlic preparations have any effect on blood pressure. Randomized controlled trials from 1955 through October 2007 with true placebo groups, using garlic-only preparations, and reporting mean systolic and/or diastolic blood pressure and standard deviations were included in the meta-analysis. Twenty five studies were reviewed with a total of eleven being suitable for the meta-analysis. The meta-analysis results found an average decrease of 8.4mmHg in systolic blood pressure and a decrease of 7.3mmHg in diastolic blood pressure. It was also determined that garlic has a hypotensive effect on people with normal blood pressure, with a systolic reduction of around 4.6mmHg. These results are comparable to those achieved with commonly prescribed ACE-inhibitors and beta-blockers. The authors concluded that since garlic preparations are more effective than placebo in lowering blood pressure and are highly tolerable that it may provide an acceptable alternative or complementary treatment option for hypertension.1
1 Ried K, Frank OR, Stocks NP, et al. Effect of garlic on blood pressure: A systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Cariovasc Disord. Jun2008;8(1):13.
Search for Articles
1. Garlic Supplementation in the Treatment of Hypertension. (6/3/2008) Date Added: 6/3/2008 9:32:00 AM
2. Herbal treatment in Otitis Media. (5/13/2003) Date Added: 5/13/2003
3. Prostate cancer and allium vegetable intake. (11/12/2002) Date Added: 11/18/2002
4. Alternative medicines used by diabetics. (3/12/2001) Date Added: 11/21/2001
5. Selenium in broccoli has cancer-protective effects. (5/21/2001) Date Added: 11/21/2001
I think you get the general idea. Don’t trust an email without citations. Don’t even trust an email that has citations. Check them out for yourself. Look for peer reviewed studies; those which have passed the scrutiny of independent experts in the field before publication in scientific journals. Find several sources for your research before you draw a conclusion.
Also, don’t turn science into a religion. Science is very fallible.
Most scientific papers are probably wrong news service
Kurt Kleiner
Most published scientific research papers are wrong, according to a new analysis. Assuming that the new paper is itself correct, problems with experimental and statistical methods mean that there is less than a 50% chance that the results of any randomly chosen scientific paper are true.
John Ioannidis, an epidemiologist at the University of Ioannina School of Medicine in Greece, says that small sample sizes, poor study design, researcher bias, and selective reporting and other problems combine to make most research findings false. But even large, well-designed studies are not always right, meaning that scientists and the public have to be wary of reported findings.

"We should accept that most research findings will be refuted. Some will be replicated and validated. The replication process is more important than the first discovery," Ioannidis says.
In the paper, Ioannidis does not show that any particular findings are false. Instead, he shows statistically how the many obstacles to getting research findings right combine to make most published research wrong.

Massaged conclusions
Traditionally a study is said to be "statistically significant" if the odds are only 1 in 20 that the result could be pure chance. But in a complicated field where there are many potential hypotheses to sift through - such as whether a particular gene influences a particular disease - it is easy to reach false conclusions using this standard. If you test 20 false hypotheses, one of them is likely to show up as true, on average.

Odds get even worse for studies that are too small, studies that find small effects (for example, a drug that works for only 10% of patients), or studies where the protocol and endpoints are poorly defined, allowing researchers to massage their conclusions after the fact.

Surprisingly, Ioannidis says another predictor of false findings is if a field is "hot", with many teams feeling pressure to beat the others to statistically significant findings.

But Solomon Snyder, senior editor at the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and a neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins Medical School in Baltimore, US, says most working scientists understand the limitations of published research.

"When I read the literature, I'm not reading it to find proof like a textbook. I'm reading to get ideas. So even if something is wrong with the paper, if they have the kernel of a novel idea, that's something to think about," he says.

Journal reference: Public Library of Science Medicine (DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0020124)
If you liked this science lesson, please express your thanks with gifts of food that has extra garlic. I like onions too.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Give Your Immune System a Natural Super-Boost - Vitamin D, Colds the Flu and You

Would you rather choose the natural solution to Immune Heath, or do you prefer the government flu shot?

Vitamin D, the Flu and You

Research has shown that lack of vitamin D is associated with weaker production of an antimicrobial peptide called hCAP-18, a protein that works with immune-system cells to kill pathogens. Thinking now is that if you're exposed to a virus when you have sufficient vitamin D, those cells will be better equipped to fight off that organism so you will be far less apt to be infected.
According to Dr. Ginde an attending emergency physician at the University of Colorado Hospital and Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine, "in people with vitamin D deficiency, it's possible that those cells don't work as well, so you're more likely to get a cold or flu infection or something, more often and more severe."

Why is the flu and cold season winter time? That is true for both hemispheres. For those in the North December, January, and February is flu and cold season. For those in the South June, July, and August is when people get flu and cold infections. This is because, as sunlight hours lessen during the winter and people become vitamin D deficient, their immunity systems weaken, and they are more susceptible to infections of all kinds.

Vitamin D is an important way to arm the immune system against disorders like the common cold, report investigators from the University of Colorado Denver (UC Denver) School of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Children's Hospital Boston.

In the largest and most nationally representative study of the association between vitamin D and respiratory infections, people with the lowest blood vitamin D levels reported having significantly more recent colds or cases of the flu. The risks were even higher for those with chronic respiratory disorders, such as asthma and emphysema. The report appears in the February 23 Archives of Internal Medicine.

"The findings of our study support an important role for vitamin D in prevention of common respiratory infections, such as colds and the flu," says Adit Ginde, MD, MPH, UC Denver Division of Emergency Medicine and lead author of the study. "Individuals with common lung diseases, such as asthma or emphysema, may be particularly susceptible to respiratory infections from vitamin D deficiency."

While vitamin C has been used for the prevention of colds and other respiratory disorders for decades, little scientific evidence supports its effectiveness. In contrast, in recent years evidence has accumulated that vitamin D – most commonly associated with the development and maintenance of strong bones – plays a key role in the immune system. Evidence has implicated the wintertime deficiency of vitamin D, which the body produces in response to sunlight, in the seasonal increase in colds and flu; and studies have suggested an association between low blood levels of vitamin D and a higher risk of respiratory infections.

The current study analyzed data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics. Participants were interviewed in their homes regarding their health and nutrition, and most participants also received a physical examination that included collection of blood and other samples for laboratory analysis. The research team analyzed blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) – the best measure of vitamin D status – from almost 19,000 adult and adolescent NHANES III participants, selected to be representative of the overall U.S. population.

Study participants with the lowest vitamin D blood levels – less than 10 mg per milliliter of blood – were about 40 percent more likely to report having a recent respiratory infection than were those with vitamin D levels of 30 or higher. The association was present in all seasons and even stronger among participants with a history of asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including emphysema. Asthma patients with the lowest vitamin D levels were five times more likely to have had a recent respiratory infection; while among COPD patients, respiratory infections were twice as common among those with vitamin D deficiency.

"A respiratory infection in someone with otherwise healthy lungs usually causes a few days of relatively mild symptoms," explains Carlos Camargo, MD, DrPH, MGH Department of Emergency Medicine and senior author of the study. "But respiratory infections in individuals with an underlying lung disease can cause serious attacks of asthma or COPD that may require urgent office visits, emergency department visits or hospitalizations. So the impact of preventing infections in these patients could be very large."

"We are planning clinical trials to test the effectiveness of vitamin D to boost immunity and fight respiratory infection, with a focus on individuals with asthma and COPD, as well as children and older adults – groups that are at higher risk for more severe illness," Ginde says. "Many Americans also need more vitamin D for its bone and general health benefits. Clinicians and laypeople should stay tuned as this exciting area of research continues to expand."

Source-Eurekalert - SRM

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Human Clinical Studies

1. Ushiroyama T, Yoshida S, Tadaki K, Ikeda A, Ueki M. Clinical efficacy of EH0202, a Kampo formula, on the health of middle-aged women. Am J Chin Med. 2004; 32(5):755-770.

2. Ushiroyama T, Yoshida S, Tadaki K, Ikeda A, Ueki M. A pilot study of a Kampo formula, EH0202, with intriguing results for menopausal symptoms. J Altern Complement Med. 2004 Apr; 10(2):397-399.
3. Kaji K, Yoshida S, Nagata N, Yamashita T, Mizukoshi E, Honda M, Kojima Y, Kaneko S. An open-label study of administration of EH0202, a health-food additive, to patients with chronic hepatitis C. J Gastroenterol. 2004 Sep; 39 (9):873-878.

4. Kubo M, Hashimoto Y, Yoshida S. The effect of health food containing EH0202 on physical and mental symptoms accompanying menstruation in women with premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Clin Pharm Ther. 2004; 14(2):129-142


Help your body respond to seasonal challenges by giving your immune system what it needs to stay strong. To supercharge the immune system when you feel that first tickle, take six tablets a day for seven days.

And as a bonus health boost, Vitamin “D” is good for many more things than a stronger immune system


Shaklee Corporation Research Suggests an Important Role of Vitamin D for Supporting Cardiovascular Health

Research supported by Shaklee Corporation, the number one natural nutrition company in the U.S., shows that a lower blood vitamin D level is associated with metabolic syndrome and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

The study results were presented at the National Lipid Association Annual Scientific Sessions in Miami, Florida and suggest an important role of vitamin D nutrition for maintaining cardiovascular health.

“I am so proud to be associated with a company whose heritage has always been about improving people’s health and well-being. It’s very exciting that Shaklee has helped to bring this important research to the world, say Independent Shaklee Distributors, Sam and Bunny Sewell “The findings may have significant public health implications related to new understanding about benefits related to vitamin D supplementation,” adds Bunny.

In this study, intake of vitamin D from dietary supplements was strongly linked with vitamin D levels in the blood. The greater the intake of vitamin D from dietary supplements, the higher the amount of vitamin D found in the blood. More importantly, as vitamin D intakes increased, HDL cholesterol (or “good cholesterol”) levels increased as well. Future research is needed to determine if vitamin D from dietary supplements can lower risk levels for metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease.

“Our next study, which is already underway, is intended to confirm causality by showing that vitamin D supplementation improves cardiovascular risk factors,” says Dr. Jamie McManus M.D., Chairman of Medical Affairs, Health Sciences and Education, Shaklee Corporation.

Kevin C. Maki, PhD, the study’s Principal Investigator and the Chief Science Officer of Provident Clinical Research, Glen Ellyn, IL, says, “Results from population studies suggest that a low serum vitamin D concentration is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular mortality, but this is the first study to evaluate the relationship between vitamin D status and cardiovascular risk factors in a group that includes a large number of vitamin D supplement users.” He continues, “Additional research is warranted to assess whether increasing vitamin D intake will improve the metabolic cardiovascular risk factor profile.”

Please contact us for free nutritional counseling or for more information, contact Sam or Bunny at The Natural Advocate
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About Shaklee Corporation

Founded more than 50 years ago, Shaklee has been a leading provider of premium-quality natural nutrition products, personal care products, and environmentally friendly home care products. In 2000, Shaklee became the first company in the world to be Climate Neutral™ certified to totally offset its CO2 emissions, resulting in a net-zero impact on the environment. With a robust product portfolio, including over 50 patents and patents pending worldwide, Shaklee has more than 750,000 Members and Distributors worldwide and operates in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan, and China.

You can visit our Shaklee web site at or contact us at 239/591-4565.

For independent third party immunity research, go to this site:

COLDS & FLU Science Talk November 2009:

Dr Jamie McManus, Chairman of Medical Affairs, Health Sciences & Education, & Les Wong, Vice President, Health Sciences, discuss:

· How are colds & flu transmitted
· The difference between a cold & the flu,
· How to stay healthy and strong all year long.

FLU: Contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses, which can cause mild to severe illness, and can even lead to death. Five to twenty percent in the US will get the flu each year, but it is usually not serious. According to The Centers for Disease Control, 200,000 people a year are hospitalized from Flu complications, and 36,000 people die from Flu related causes. Older people, young children, pregnant women, or people with underlying health conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, or immune deficiency problems can be at serious risk for complications from both seasonal Flu, and the H1N1 virus.

Most common Flu symptoms:
Fever & chills
Extreme fatigue
Dry cough
Sore Throat
Muscles aches

Nausea, vomiting & diarrhea can also occur and are more common in children.

Even the ordinary flu can lead to complications like bacterial pneumonia, bronchitis, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration, worsening of chronic medical conditions such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes.

Flu is thought to spread from person to person on air droplets, from coughing or sneezing, or by touching something with the flu virus on it, then touching your hands to your nose or mouth.

How to know if you are contagious? Most healthy adults can infect others one day before they know they have symptoms, and are infectious up to seven days after becoming sick. Symptoms begin 1-4 days after being exposed to the virus, so you may be able to pass on the virus to others before you even know you are sick. The CDC recommends that, if you have a fever, that you stay home for t least one full day after the fever is gone. Children may pass the virus on for longer than seven days.

COLDS: At least 200 different viruses cause symptoms associated with the common cold. Rino viruses, which cause 30-35% of all common colds. Rino means Nose in Greek. Most active in early fall, spring & summer. Corona viruses also thought to cause a large percentage of adult colds. They bring on colds more in the winter & early spring. People living in the US suffer nearly a billion colds each year. That is a lot of sneezing. So it is not surprising that adults get on the average of 2-4 colds a yr. According to the CDC, children average 6-10 colds per yr. 122 million school days lost annually in the US due to the common cold. Important to keep children healthy, and to strengthen their immune systems all year long!

Why more colds in the winter?
That is true for both hemispheres. For those in the North December, January, and February is flu and cold season. For those in the South June, July, and August is when people get flu and cold infections. This is because, as sunlight hours lessen during the winter and people become vitamin D deficient, their immunity systems weaken, and they are more susceptible to infections of all kinds.

Cold weather prompts people to spend more time shut indoors, increasing the chance that viruses will spread. The most common cold causing viruses survive better when the humidity is low. A humidifier might be a good idea if your house is dry. Cold weather can make the inside lining of your nose dryer, and therefore more vulnerable to viral infection.

Cold symptoms: Inflammation and mucus build up in your nose, congestion or difficulty breathing, swelling of sinus passages, sneezing, sore throat, cough, headache, slight (low grade) fever-under 100*.

Colds spread about the same as flu viruses: by touching phone, stair rails, etc then touching your eyes or nose, or inhaling someone else’s sneeze. Learn to sneeze into your elbow, not your hand to keep germs from spreading.


High Fever Fever rare
Muscle Aches Muscle Ache rare
Chills Chills rare
Extreme fatigue Fatigue mild
Sudden onset 3-6 hrs Symptoms appear gradually
Dry, painful coughing Productive coughing (due to nasal congestion)
Sneezing, stuffiness, & Sneezing, stuffiness, &
sore throat uncommon sore throat common
Chest discomfort or pain (only with bacterial complications)
Headache Headache uncommon

How to avoid getting the flu or a cold: Stay away from people w colds. If you have one, stay home if possible. Remember the CDC recommends you stay home one full day after the fever breaks.

Keep hands away from eyes, nose, mouth. Cover sneeze or cough w elbow, not hands. Wash hands often. Don’t need antibacterial soap-in fact they may contribute to increase in bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. When water is not available, the CDC recommends alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

Rino viruses can survive up to 3 hours on skin as well as on objects such as telephones or stair railings, so, especially during flu season, frequently disinfect commonly used surfaces in home & office.

Those most at risk are pregnant women, those who live with or care for babies under 6 mo, health care & medical service personnel with direct patient contact, children under 4, and those w chronic medical conditions.

Prevention: Build up & support a strong immune system on a daily basis. There are more than just the seasonal issues which challenge our immune systems on a daily basis. The well-recognized progressive decline in immune function associated w age affects T cells (a type of white blood cell or lymphocytes) linked to a higher rate of infectious disease, especially viral infections and including upper respiratory infections.

Chronic, severe, or unrelenting stress may reduce immune function. Under stress the body boosts cortosol to support that fight or flight response. When cortosol remains elevated in the blood stream for long periods of time, it can wear down the immune system.

Lack of sleep is another challenge. Even modest amounts of sleep disturbance or sleep deprivation can produce up to a 30-50% transient decrease in the immune system’s natural killer cell activity, which are activated to kill invading pathogens.

Inflammation: Immune reactions cause inflammation. Chronic inflammation can eventually weaken the immune system.

Nutrition: Things you can do, not only during flu season, but it is essential that your body get all the nutrients it needs every day to bolster its immunity.

Chicken Soup? Lung specialists headed by Stephen Renard at the Nebraska Medical Center found that, in a test tube, chicken soup can actually suppressed inflammation, which can cause many cold symptoms.

Increase intake of oranges & orange juice, because Vitamin C has been shown to decrease the duration of colds. Whole grains in cereals & breads, high in zinc & vitamin E, which help keep your immune system healthy. Yogurt with LIVE cultures can help maintain a healthy immune system.

What we do NOT want in our diets are foods that increase inflammation. Avoid foods are high in sugar, saturated fat, processed foods, fried foods, all junk foods.

DO eat foods with anti inflammatory potential; Omega 3 fatty acids are very powerful anti-inflammatory foods; found in cold water, oily fish, walnuts, flax seed, canola oil, pumpkin seeds. Olive oil can help reduce inflammation, as can good protein sources which contain all the amino acids necessary to maintain a healthy immune system; lean poultry, fish & seafood, legumes, nuts, soy. Remember to include berries, packed with anti-inflammatory phytochemicals & antioxidants. The pigments in brightly colored fruits & vegetables also contain phytochemicals with inflammatory properties. Make the commitment to eat at least 5-9 servings of fresh fruits & vegetables every day, the more color, the better.

Antibiotics for colds or flu; do they work? They do not fight infections caused by viruses, such as colds & flu. (sore throats.) When you get into more serious conditions such as bronchitis, sinusitis, ear infections-especially in children, they can be necessary. For viral infections and clods in general, rest, plenty of fluids, & eating a healthy diet are the best help in fighting off those infections. Taking an antibiotic during a viral infection may contribute to the widespread overuse that is fueling the increase in antibiotic resistant bacteria. (Bad idea!)

Proactive measures to boost immunity so you are less at risk for these various maladies: Supplements, especially if taken year around, can help keep your immune system ready to respond to whatever comes your way. Since few people actually eat those 5-9 servings of fresh fruits & vegetables every day, it is a good idea to add antioxidants: beta carotene, selenium, vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin A. Zinc, a mineral often promoted as a good immune system booster, especially taken as a supplement. It can also be especially helpful in wound healing in the elderly.

Yogurt. Probiotics. A whole host of beneficial microorganisms are at work in a healthy intestinal track, and probiotics can help maintain that balance. Probiotics also interact with the immune cells in the intestinal tract to promote healthy immune function.
Research show that probiotics increase systemic immunity, possibly by boosting the activity of the T cells, we talked about earlier.

Sleep: Very impt. Students need at least NINE hours sleep each night. Parents, set a good example, because you need 7-8 hours each night.

Exercise is critical to immune health.: During exercise there are physiological changes in the immune system as a result of moderate exercise. During exercise the immune cells circulate throughout the body more quickly, so they are better able to kill bacteria & viruses.

Phytonutrients & their effect on immunity: In an important study at Cornell University, researchers looked at the impact of a unique blend of botanical ingredients on the immune response and pathways of inflammation, specifically in relation to respiratory infection. More specifically the researcher analyzed human airway epithelial, or HAE tissue, treated with or without this botanical blend. The study concluded that this blend was safe, and impacted multiple gene and communication pathways that relate to immune function, and possible pathways of inflammation in the HAE tissue model. Gene systems that were consistently altered relate to natural killer cell activation, signaling & proliferation. This is an important study for two reasons. In this study’s results using a tissue culture model researchers found that these botanicals did in fact enhance natural culture activity, which can play a critical role in the immune system response, especially to foreign invaders.

This study helps confirm & validate this tissue culture model, which is a better model for studying influenza viruses. So on two fronts this study really helped to advance a better understand of viral biology as well as the immune system, so we are very excited by these results.

Our thanks to Dr Jamie McManus, Les Wong for helping us realize that there are many things we can do, proactively, to keep our immune systems healthy all year long.
Martin Mittelstaedt
From Saturday's Globe and Mail
Last updated on Monday, Mar. 30, 2009

In the summer of 1974, brothers Frank and Cedric Garland had a heretical brainwave.
The young epidemiologists were watching a presentation on death rates from cancer county by county across the United States. As they sat in a lecture hall at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore looking at the colour-coded cancer maps, they noticed a striking pattern, with the map for colon cancer the most pronounced.
Counties with high death rates were red; those with low rates were blue. Oddly, the nation was almost neatly divided in half, red in the north and blue in the south. Why, they wondered, was the risk of dying from cancer greater in bucolic Maine than in highly polluted Southern California?
The two had arrived at Johns Hopkins a few days earlier, having driven their Mustang from their hometown of San Diego. Frank was about to begin graduate studies and Cedric his first job as a professor. It was July, and the trip through the sunny South gave them an idea as they studied the cancer maps: Exposure to sunshine varies dramatically depending on the latitude. What if that's what was behind the varying cancer rates?
Their hypothesis, painstakingly developed and published six years later in the International Journal of Epidemiology, was that sunlight has a powerful anti-cancer effect through its role in producing vitamin D in bare skin. Those living at northern latitudes, they theorized, receive less sunlight and make less of the vitamin, which in turn increases their risk of dying from cancer.
Today, with vitamin D so much in the news, it's hard to believe that it took decades for the Garlands' hypothesis to gain traction in the mainstream medical community.
But the benefits of vitamin D are no longer restricted to cancer prevention: Studies have linked a shortage of the compound to such serious, chronic ailments as multiple sclerosis, diabetes, heart disease, influenza and schizophrenia.
Cedric Garland, now a professor of preventive medicine at the University of California, San Diego, is so convinced of this broad link that he says, "I think vitamin D is introducing a golden age in medicine."
And he's not alone. So compelling is the latest research that a number of credible medical researchers and public-health advocates, many of them in Canada, have started taking doses far above 200 to 600 international units - the daily intake recommended by Health Canada, depending on age with an upper limit of 2,000 IU.
Canada's leading vitamin D researcher, the University of Toronto's Reinhold Vieth, says he has been knocking back 8,000 units a day - four times the maximum - for years.
Should everyone be doing the same?
Dr. Vieth says he believes that what he's doing is completely safe - after all, his intake is similar to the amount of vitamin D a sunbathing Canadian might make naturally on a summer day.
And Robert Heaney, a medical researcher at Creighton University in Omaha, says his Canadian colleague is hardly alone in his super-sized approach. "All the vitamin D researchers, to a person, I've not found an exception, are convinced enough by the data to walk the walk," says Dr. Heaney, who last year helped to conduct a study, reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, that linked vitamin D supplements to an astonishing 60-per-cent decrease in cancer incidence among middle-aged and older women.
Cedric Garland argues that, rather than pollutants or some other cause, insufficient levels of vitamin D are at the root of the Western world's cancer epidemic. What's more, if more people took supplements, the population of northern regions would be a lot healthier all round.
"We will be preventing an extremely broad range of diseases in a single, inexpensive way with virtually no complications," he explains. "It will affect every branch of medicine and public health favourably."
It seems almost inconceivable that geography could damn someone to a life-threatening illness - that the mere fact of living in a northern country such as Canada could be a health hazard.
The Garland brothers' hypothesis also defies the long-held conventional view that cancer is caused mainly by bad lifestyle habits, bad genes or carcinogens. Indeed, it suggests that some types of cancer could be better described as nutritional-deficiency diseases, much like scurvy or rickets.
Consequently, many experts have been skeptical, aware that much-touted nutrients in the past have often failed to live up to their initial hype.
"The problem with vitamins has been that generally the evidence, for whatever reason, doesn't pan out," cautions Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society.
Dr. Lichtenfeld says medical authorities have been burned so often over supplements that he would like to see a "substantial amount" of additional research before he is convinced that vitamin D is the real thing.
The idea that sunlight has beneficial health effects also flies in the face of advice to avoid sun exposure to reduce the risk of skin cancer.
Nevertheless, the idea that vitamin D insufficiency plays a role in cancer and other chronic adult diseases continues to gain scientific credence as a plausible theory, earned new respect for the long-underappreciated vitamin.
Though it first drew attention in the 1920s as a cure for rickets (bone health, not cancer, is why Health Canada even has a recommended intake), it has largely been treated like Rodney Dangerfield ever since. In our health-conscious age, it has been overshadowed by supplements such as vitamin C and beta carotene.
But since the Garland brothers kicked off interest in vitamin D with their data on colon cancer, other studies have shown that more than a dozen other cancers, including the big killers, breast and prostate, as well as an array of other diseases appear sensitive to insufficiencies of the vitamin.
The idea behind the research is simple: Humans evolved in a sunlight-filled environment near the equator, and still have countless biological processes exquisitely calibrated to the rich vitamin D levels we would have if we were still basking under the hot sun year-round.
But by migrating to higher latitudes, where strong sunlight is not present during the fall and winter, most humans upset their vitamin D metabolism, creating susceptibilities to chronic ailments that research is now linking to insufficiencies.
The question for Canadians is: If we're so short of a crucial vitamin, shouldn't we be compensating? And if we did, would vitamin D be a proverbial magic pill, capable of curing much of what ails us?
Although the guidelines jointly issued by the U.S. and Canadian governments say adults need only 200 to 600 IU of vitamin D daily, depending on age, the women in Dr. Heaney's study took 1,100 IU daily, while he himself takes 1,500 IU daily.
(Although the international units nomenclature makes the numbers seem large, the actual weight represented by a single IU of vitamin D is dust-like, at less than a millionth of a gram. The vitamin, by acting like a hormone in the body's cells, packs a big biological punch in minute amounts.)
Radical conservatives
The Canadian Cancer Society is one of the more conservative health-advocacy agencies, but last year became the first major organization in the world to embrace the idea of large-scale, population-wide vitamin D supplementation to combat cancer. It started recommending that white adults take up to 1,000 IU daily in fall and winter, and non-whites, because of their higher susceptibility to vitamin D insufficiency at northern latitudes, take that amount year-round. (Canada doesn't keep national illness statistics by race, so the degree to which non-whites are being affected by ailments linked to low vitamin D levels isn't known.)
The Canadian Pediatric Society followed suit shortly after, calling for pregnant and breastfeeding women to take 2,000 IU daily, with a goal of preventing childhood diseases.
The Canadian Cancer Society's decision came after years of monitoring the research. Vitamin D "kept coming up. It kept hitting the bar that reaches your attention," says Heather Logan, the society's director of cancer-control policy.
"It wasn't one study and that was the end of the story. There were multiple research studies continued to be published in peer-reviewed journals."
One study, in the journal Circulation, found that those with low vitamin D status had a 62-per-cent increased risk of heart failure. Another, published in Archives of Internal Medicine, found that those who take vitamin D supplements cut mortality risk by 7 per cent. A third report, by scientists at the U.S. National Cancer Institute, found that, while vitamin D didn't affect overall cancer-death risk, those with relatively high levels of it in their blood had a 72-per-cent lower risk of dying from colorectal cancer.
Other studies have found that low blood levels are an excellent predictor of who goes on to develop cancer and heart disease and that people diagnosed with cancer during the vitamin D-rich summer have a better prognosis than those diagnosed during winter.
Not everyone is convinced, however. Critics charge that most of the findings - such as the Garlands' cancer maps - constitute only circumstantial evidence. And when the Canadian Cancer Society asked the American Cancer Society to join them in recommending more vitamin D, it refused.
"I think it's fair to say we had discussions and we agreed to disagree on that. Our position is that we really want what I call solid evidence ... that there in fact is a reduction in cancer mortality without a significant increase in risk with vitamin D supplementation," Dr. Lichtenfeld says. He wants to see drug-style clinical trials to validate the benefits and assess the risks, he says, before telling 330 million Americans to start taking supplements.
Similarly, John McLaughlin, vice-president of preventive oncology for Cancer Care Ontario, says the research on vitamin D is too thin at this point to recommend taking higher doses to prevent cancer. He dismisses Dr. Heaney's study as "largely uninformative" because of its small size (about 450 women) and because the subjects also took calcium supplements, which may have affected the results.
But even though Ms. Logan says the Canadian Cancer Society agrees that all the science on vitamin D may not be in yet, evidence to date strongly suggests that not acting on the implications of the research is risky. Cancers affected include such big killers as breast, prostate and colon, which will claim more than 10,000 Canadians this year.
"You don't need to wait for every scientific question to be answered before you take action," Ms. Logan says. "Where there is evidence of harm, even in the face of scientific uncertainty, you should so something about it."
Martin Mittelstaedt is The Globe and Mail's environment reporter.
Vitamin D is measured by levels in blood. Many Canadians have 40 nanomoles/litre or less, particularly in winter. Many researchers believe levels need to be at least twice that high to reduce chronic disease risk.
Vitamin D is produced when exposed skin has a photochemical reaction to ultraviolet light rays from the sun. Nearly all the vitamin D circulating in our bodies is made this way, with a typical white-skinned person in a bathing suit under a noonday summer sun in Canada producing about 10,000 international units in 15 to 20 minutes. Non-whites need about five times longer to make the same amount, because the melanin in their skin acts as a sunscreen against UVB rays. During the fall and winter, sunlight at Canadian latitudes is too weak to cause any vitamin D production.
Vitamin D synthesis in skin occurs only when the UV index is three or higher, roughly the period around noon from March to October in southern parts of the country. A rule of thumb is that if your shadow is longer than you are, the sunlight is not intense enough.
Some of the very few foods that contain vitamin D are: cod liver oil (1,300 IU per tablespoon); wild salmon (1,000 IU per serving); farmed salmon (250 IU); sardines (600 IU); fortified milk or orange juice (100 IU); egg yolk (25 IU); fresh shiitake mushrooms and some organ meats (traces in both). Most multivitamins contain 400 IU. Over-the-counter pills and drops contain up to 1,000 IU.
Health Canada's daily intake recommendations, based primarily on a 1997 study, are: newborns to 12 months, 400 IU; age 1 to 50, 200 IU; 51 to 70, 400 IU; over 70, 600 IU; with an overall upper limit of 2,000 IU.
Many vitamin D advocates say Health Canada is too conservative. The Canadian Cancer Society, for example, recommends that non-white adults take 1,000 IU daily year-round and whites take that amount in fall and winter. The Canadian Pediatric Society recommends 2,000 IU daily for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Toxicity has occurred after long-term exposure to massive amounts, ranging from 50,000 IU to 150,000 IU daily. Effects such as bone demineralization may occur with chronic daily doses exceeding 10,000 IU. No illnesses have been reported for doses under 3,800 IU daily.
A U.S. study in 2007 found that overall risk of cancer in women was cut by 60 per cent when they were given 1,100 IU of vitamin D per day, plus a calcium supplement.
Another study estimated the dose to cut colon-cancer risk in half: 1,000 IU daily. The amount estimated to cut breast-cancer risk in half: 4,000 IU daily. Researchers say women could stay within Health Canada guidelines and still reach 4,000 IU daily by getting 2,000 IU from diet and supplements and the rest from modest sun exposure.
There is some evidence that girls can cut their future risk of breast cancer by taking high levels of vitamin D during their teens.
U.S. researchers estimate that vitamin D insufficiency causes up to 60,000 premature cancer deaths a year in the country, or nearly 10 per cent of total mortality from the disease. If the same percentage applies to Canada, low vitamin D status leads to about 7,000 premature cancer deaths here annually.
While there is a risk of skin cancer from overexposure to ultraviolet light, researchers say, the benefits of modest sun exposure in preventing serious, hard-to-treat cancers outweighs that risk. Furthermore, they say, skin cancer is relatively easy to treat.
A 2001 Finnish study found that children given 2,000 IU daily cut their risk of getting juvenile diabetes by 80 per cent.
The strong correlation between latitude and the incidence of multiple sclerosis has led researchers to suspect the trend is related to vitamin D status. In the U.S., for example, MS rates are four times higher in northern states, along the Canadian border, than in the southern parts of the country. Similarly, Australian research shows the incidence of MS increases the farther people live from the equator. The highest incidence rates in the world are found in Northern Europe and Canada.
Martin Mittelstaedt
New insights into how the 'magic pill' works
The role of vitamin D in carcinomas could explain one of the biggest mysteries about the cause of cancer: why so many people who develop the disease have no known risk factors, such as a family history of the illness.
The simple answer may be that Vitamin D interacts with an unusually large number of our genes, working like a master switch to turn them on or off. Researchers believe a deficiency of the vitamin leads to a deficiency of the proteins manufactured under the direction of these genes, which then undermines key defences against seemingly unrelated diseases such as cancer, diabetes and multiple sclerosis.
John White, who has been studying the antimicrobial activities of vitamin D at McGill University in Montreal, says that "virtually every cell" in the human body has receptors for vitamin D and that hundreds of different genes may be regulated by it.
Vitamin D's most profound gene-influenced activity appears to be in keeping healthy the broad category of cells known as epithelium, which line the outsides of our organs and the surfaces of the structures in our body.
Even though these lining tissues amount to only about 2 per cent of the weight of our bodies, they are the source of about 85 per cent of cancers, those known as carcinomas.
These include cancer of the colon, prostate, pancreas and uterus, along with the most common type of breast cancer, ductal carcinoma, which develops on milk-duct lining. (The other main type of cancer, sarcomas, appear in muscles and connective tissue, and don't have a strong association with vitamin D insufficiency.)
"Vitamin D is a particularly effective agent in inhibiting abnormal growth or development of malignancies in epithelial tissues," says Cedric Garland, a professor of preventive medicine at the University of California, San Diego.
Although many researchers view cancer as a hopelessly complex disease with different causes for each tumour type, Dr. Garland, who has been studying vitamin D for more than three decades, believes the carcinomas have a common origin in low levels of the vitamin. By his estimate, up to 75 per cent of these cancers could be prevented if vitamin D levels were raised through supplements. "I'm convinced that cancer is largely a vitamin D deficiency disease," he says.
One important function of vitamin D at the gene level that may explain its anti-cancer properties is that it helps to regulate the production of E-Cadherin, a type of biological glue that holds cells together. When this glue is in short supply, it allows epithelial cells to lose adhesion to one another, permitting some to escape from the tissue they are supposed to be embedded in. Unconstrained, these cells start to multiply at a greater rate than they otherwise would and begin forming the lesions that ultimately turn into cancers.
Vitamin D plays a role in telling cells when to die, thus helping to prevent uncontrolled proliferation and curbing the growth of new blood vessels that nourish growing tumours.
It may also play a role in diseases unrelated to cancer. A main biological function of epithelial cells is to be a barrier against viruses and bacteria that cause infections.
Scientists speculate that when low vitamin D status weakens epithelial cells, the barrier function is compromised, exposing tissues to attack from disease-causing agents - in diabetes, for example, by weakening islet cells; in multiple sclerosis, by weakening glial cells in the nervous system; and in tuberculosis, by reducing the ability of the lung lining to repulse bacteria, according to Dr. Garland.
Some medical researchers have even begun to suspect a link between vitamin D insufficiency and schizophrenia, which occurs 10 per cent more often among those born in winter and early spring, when vitamin D from sunshine is less available.
Researchers in Australia are testing this hypothesis by studying the brains of rats born to pregnant mothers deprived of vitamin D - with alarming results. The vitamin-D-deprived rodent brains had more cell proliferation, enlarged ventricles and less of a protein necessary for nerve growth.
"What we see is that when you take [vitamin] D out of the brain in the rodent, you can break their brain basically," says John McGrath, a professor at the Queensland Brain Institute at the University of Queensland in Brisbane. "We can change the way their brain develops."
Dr. McGrath says it is too early to say whether the rodent-brain research applies to humans. But he adds that "even if only a small fraction of [the cases of ] schizophrenia could be averted by optimizing maternal nutrition, that is going to be a really important outcome."
Martin Mittelstaedt

Untested Toxic Chemicals in Your Home? Yes They Are. - Toxic Ignorance is Not Bliss -

Dominique Browning's distinctive takeon all things environmental

Toxic Ignorance is Not Bliss

December 7, 2009

Why I'm Outraged About BPA and Other Chemicals, & What We Can Do

We are exposed to thousands of synthetic chemicals all day long. It would be next to impossible to avoid them; they lace our lives. We sleep on chemical fire retardants in the fabrics covering our mattresses. We wake and wash with chemical soaps, and slather chemical-rich moisturizers on our bodies, shampoos on our heads, cosmetics on our faces. We cuddle our babies in plush armchairs, upholstered in fabric that is treated with stain-resistant coatings. Our toddlers cut their teeth chewing plastic toys that contain chemicals to make them soft.

We live in a society that, if anything, seems too full of rules and regulations. But that means we can trust the products that come to market; they’ve been analyzed and researched and exposed to exhaustive, long-range testing, right?

Wrong. Most of the synthetic chemicals we live with—and some are so pervasive that they are now in the bodies of virtually all Americans—are under-tested and under-regulated. Those bottles, those non-stick pans, shampoos and lotions, those cleaning products—so much of the stuff of everyday life—may, in fact, be harmful to our health. All those times I nestled a warm bottle into my hungry child’s mouth, I may have been exposing him to toxic substances.
"Without agreeing to it...we have become the chemical industry’s guinea pigs."

“Society needs to pay much more attention to this problem,” says Dr. Richard Denison, Senior Scientist at EDF. “We’ve been complacent about it.” Denison maintains an influential blog tracking the debate over chemical safety.

In 1976 Congress passed the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Unfortunately, the 62,000 chemicals on the market at that time were given a free pass: no requirement they be tested or assessed for safety. Although the Environmental Protection Agency has garnered some information about chemicals through voluntary submissions by industry in a program that EDF helped start, limited testing has been required on a mere 200 chemicals over the past three decades. Worse, EPA has managed to restrict only five substances—and even that overstates the agency’s efficacy. The only group of chemicals entirely banned was PCBs, because Congress required it. Even Cal Dooley, the president of the American Chemistry Council, commented on EPA’s incapacity in this matter: “EPA cannot make a determination on whether or not a chemical is safe for its intended use.”

We should be worried about what amounts to a huge, uncontrolled human testing experiment. Without agreeing to it, without understanding it, without even knowing it, we have become the chemical industry’s guinea pigs. “We have a system that puts the burden of proof on the government to show that a chemical is harmful,” says Denison. “We need to flip this. The burden of proof should be on industry, to show that a chemical is safe.”

The chemical most in the headlines these days is bisphenol A (BPA). Among its many applications, BPA has been used in the linings of food cans, and because it makes plastic clear and nearly shatterproof, it has been used in baby bottles. Traces of BPA have been found in the bodies of 92% of Americans.

Bisphenol A has been getting attention as scientists have released reports showing that this compound–first identified as a "synthetic estrogen" in the 1930s–is an endocrine disrupter. It has been connected to increased breast cancer risk, altered brain and breast development, altered thyroid function, recurrent miscarriage and erectile dysfunction. While independent scientists and industry chemists continue to debate acceptable levels of leaching and toxicity, some states, manufacturers and retailers have taken it upon themselves to ban BPA from baby products. Even Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, no longer sells BPA baby products. While this is terrific, the federal government should ban BPA from all products. Babies always ignore labels telling them not to chew on the grown-up’s stuff.
BPA seemed like a good idea at the time. A plastic bottle meant your toddler wouldn’t crash to the floor holding glass in his hands. Lightweight plastic launched two year olds into the take-out habits of our dining culture: Those sweet fruit drinks, steadily leaking through the nipple, led to rampant tooth decay. Dentists began protectively coating children’s teeth with—you guessed it—plastic sealants containing BPA.

BPA is a telling example of the shortcomings of America’s regulatory processes. It was one of the chemicals that sailed past TSCA in 1976, and is now produced in amounts exceeding 6 billion pounds annually, even though its hormone-like properties have been known since at least the 1930s. And BPA is a harbinger of even greater trouble in the industry. Christopher Gavigan, executive director of Healthy Child Healthy World, says there are many other chemicals that raise similar concerns. To name a few: flame retardants (PDBEs), phthalates (used extensively to soften plastics) and organo-tin compounds, which harm aquatic life. Denison underscores the danger: all these synthetics are in widespread use, humans have been significantly exposed to them, and there is growing evidence of their toxicity.

“We have much better science today than we did thirty years ago,” says Denison. “We are gaining an understanding of our biological response to even small doses of chemicals. But we have old regulations—blind to the new science.”

Solutions that Work (See end of article for Shaklee Natural Solutions)

Can Walmart help uncover the chemical ingredients of common household products?
EDF and Walmart announce the creation of GreenWERCS, a unique information gathering tool.
Read more…

As consumers, we find ourselves in a familiar and uncomfortable position: individual efforts to stay safe, versus inadequate information and weak government regulations. Indeed, it often seems that government protects industry better than people. Consumers can try to avoid BPA-laden canned food. We can be vigilant about not using anything that has known carcinogens in it. We can consult websites (like those listed above on the right) to get some of that information. But there are countless undisclosed chemicals in everything we use. We have no clue where the next toxin lurks. The burden of responsibility should not be on the consumers. Manufacturers must be held accountable for the safety of the products they make and sell.

We shouldn’t despair—but only because that won’t do any good. We should be outraged. We should make noise, lots and lots of noise. Demand reform of the laws governing toxic substances. Demand that the EPA have the power to restrict the use of dangerous chemicals. Demand more rigorous testing. Demand transparency: Ingredients that might be harmful to human health should be disclosed. But more to the point, products made with unsafe or untested chemicals should never reach the marketplace. Because that’s how they end up in our bodies, and in the bodies of our babies. When it isn’t clear that even the smallest exposures to certain chemicals are safe, regulators cannot continue with business as usual. You can take action right now—tell Congress to strengthen standards for toxic chemicals.

Our social networks are buoyed by trust. Trust in the companies that make the things we buy. Trust in the stores we buy things from. Trust that our government makes laws to protect us. Trust that most people believe in doing no harm. But trust is earned, not assumed. And it has been broken. It is up to us to demand, more than anything else, the repair of trust between consumers, industry and government. Now more than ever, we need the retailers we have been trusting to take the lead on ensuring that we aren’t being poisoned by the things they are selling. Their combined market leverage will provoke greater cooperation from manufacturers, and pressure government agencies to require transparency and proof of safety.

There shouldn’t be anything to hide, should there? As with any relationship, all we’re looking for is good chemistry.

Environmental Defense Fund1875 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 600Washington, DC 200091-800-684-3322


You're only as healthy as you can be when your home is as healthy as it can be. That's why home should be the safest, cleanest, healthiest place in the whole world.

Get Clean Products: Always Green - Always Works -Always Safe -

Friday, December 4, 2009

"The Natural Advocate" - Longevity - Youth - Resveratrol - Polyphenols - and the Giant Grape

"The Natural Advocate" - Longevity - Youth - Resveratrol - Polyphenols - and the Giant Grape

Friday Dec 4th Program is Archived Here:

This was an interesting and valuable program. The research links are here:

See this slide presentation for more information on VIVIX:

We did a full spectrum review of the science that supports longevity research and the break through Shaklee product; VIVIX!

And here is a picture of the “Giant Grape”:

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Longevity - Youth - Resveratrol - Polyphenols - and the Giant Grape

Sam and Bunny Sewell

Please Share!!

Invite you to listen in, online to:

A call in, Talk Radio program for Sentinel Radio


Dec 4th (8-10 PM ET)

The focus of this week’s program will be:

Longevity - Youth - Resveratrol - Polyphenols - and the Giant Grape

Research for this program:
VIVIX: The science behind this breakthrough product

Natural Molecule Increases Lifespan and "Healthspan"

Naturally Feel Younger and Live Longer - Why We Age! Jamie McManus, MD – And “The Longevity Factor”, How Resveratrol & Red Wine activate genes for a longer and healthier life by Joseph Maroon, M.D. - Video clip of Dr. Maroon

Other extensive wellness research at
“The Natural Advocate”.

To listen to this program online, go to:

To listen by phone or to call in with questions & comments: (646) 727-2652

(We’re always eager for your feedback!)


We hold this truth to be self-evident; our creator has endowed us with a laser straight path of natural thinking, feeling and behaving that has its origins in a sacred absolute reality. If we stray from that path we will experience pain. If we stay on that path we will be happy, healthy, and whole. “The Natural Advocate” will show you the guideposts and help you navigate along the centerline.
Here is the latest research posted on the Natural Advocate blog
Natural Brain Health

Naturally Healthy Infants and Children
· Taking Fitness to Another Level
· Natural Solutions to ADD/ADHD
· · Losing inches and gaining health - naturally
Do you really want that government flu shot?
Natural Solutions to Male Health Risk from Toxins
VIVIX: The science behind this breakthrough produc...
Natural Molecule Increases Lifespan and "Healthspa...
Household Toxins and the Natural Solution
Economist lectures - starting a wellness business
Natural Wisdom - Don’t believe everything you hear...
Preventing and Reversing Disease Naturally
Natural way to look younger and live longer
Doctors Are the Third Leading Cause of Death
Natural Supplements Work - landmark study key find...
A Little Goes a Long Way and Costs Less
Cost Comparison Chart "Green" Cleaners
Cancer rate higher in home than at work
Non-Drug Mood Therapy Techniques Scientifically Va...
Natural Solutions for Mood and Stress Problems
The Natural Advocate!

Support blog for this program is at:


Everyone has heard about resveratrol and what it does, but what is so great about muscadine?Muscadine grapes are the largest grapes in nature, and are native to the southeastern US.Amazing size, isn't it? They can be as big as plums.Something else that is special about muscadine grapes is that they are the only grape in nature with an extra chromosone. They have 20, instead of the average 19. This allows for the creation of special combination phytonutrients that aren't found in other grapes.

Muscadines are naturally high in polyphenols. Polyphenols are a family of substances with wonderful health properties, and resveratrol is just one of them. The skins are seeds are especially rich in these substances... the juice doesn't have nearly as much. And different varieties of muscadine have different levels of polyphenols.

Muscadine is rich in a polyphenol called ellagic acid. It also has derivatives of ellagic acid that were never before identified. Must be that extra chromosome.
Ellagic acid has over 900 studies about it.

Here are some results of some of the more fantabulous studies on ellagic acid:

* Anti-inflammatory, anti-coagulatory, alleviated weight loss, lowered triglycerided, etc.Anti-inflammatory and anti-coagulatory activities ...[Nutr Metab (Lond). 2009] - PubMed Result

* Possible positive effect against breast cancerEffect of ellagic acid on the expression of human ...[Clin Biochem. 2009] - PubMed Result

* (Begins by noting ellagic acid has anti-oxidant, anti-carcinogenic and anti-mutagenic effects.)

You get the point... Let's look at muscadine. It has all the good stuff above and more. It was learned that the purple and bronze varieties had the highest concentrations of polyphenols, and so they are the most desireable to use.

Let's see what kinds of studies are available on muscadine...

* Muscadine has one of the highest antioxidant levels of any fruit.
* Muscadine shows significant anti-inflammatory properties (50% decrease in this study)I can vouch for this. With a back injury this time last year I was doing quite well. Recently I went off of our muscadine product for nearly 2 months and pain began to return. I saw a significant improvement in just days of getting back onto the product. Pain reduction back to virtually pain-free, stiffness greatly reduced.
* Polyphenols from muscadines may have anti-cancer properties.Study of anticancer activities of muscadine grape ...[J Agric Food Chem. 2005] - PubMed Result
* Anticancer properties from ellagic acid rich muscadine extractsInduction of cell death in Caco-2 human colon carc...[J Agric Food Chem. 2006] - PubMed Result
* Muscadine extract and resveratrol inhibit prostate cancer growthInhibition of prostate cancer growth by muscadine ...[Cancer Res. 2007] - PubMed Result
* Muscadine skin/seed extracts exhibit significant topical anti-inflammatory propertiesTopical anti-inflammatory activities of Vitis rotu...[J Med Food. 2007] - PubMed Result
* Muscadine skin/seed extracts inhibit AGE protein formation (glycation)
* Muscadine seed extract exhibits antimicrobial effects on E. coliAntimicrobial effect of water-soluble muscadine se...[J Food Prot. 2008] - PubMed Result
* Muscadine skin extract most antibacterial effect on H. pylori (ulcer bacteria) of all grape skin extracts tested(One lady who used the muscadine extract, had suffered from acid reflux for over 30 years and found she no longer needed medication after less than a week. I wonder if she had this bacteria...)
Antibacterial effects of grape extracts on Helicob...[Appl Environ Microbiol. 2009] - PubMed ResultSo in summary, studies are showing that these ingredients appear to have the following attributes:
* Anti-inflammatory
* Antimicrobial
* Anticancer
* Anti-mutagenicAnd other stuff So don't underestimate the power of a little grape...Well... not so little

Tip of the hat to Susan at:
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Dr Maroon writes this on Vivix:“There is growing evidence that a combination of resveratrol and other potent polyphenols might provide improved health benefits due to the synergistic properties of different polyphenols from different plant sources. Shaklee Corporation, a direct selling nutrition company has recently released a product called Vivix, which is described as a cellular anti-aging tonic. It contains a multi-source polyphenol blend. In conversations with the company, they state that the blend includes 100 mg of 98 percent pure resveratrol from Polygonum cuspidatum long with a proprietary extract derived from the fresh pomace of muscadine grapes (Vitis rotundifolia) The company recommends 5ml per day of Vivix, which they state is equivalent to the amount of resveratrol found in 100 glasses of red pinot noir red wine. The muscadine polyphenols in this blended product along with the added resveratrol, European elderberry extract, and purple carrot extract will increase the total overall polyphenol content of this product. A month's supply will cost a member $85.00. In Shaklee's accompanying literature for Vivix, they state that the Vivix ingredients were shown in a laboratory study to be 10 times more powerful in slowing a key mechanism of aging than resveratrol alone."

Also, on Page 70, the author expands on the value of the muscadine grapes and the advantages over European grapes.

"Muscadine grapes are native to North America, and may be the only fruit that originated in the United States and nowhere else. They grow almost exclusively in the southeastern United Sates. They thrive under adverse conditions, perhaps due to their thicker and tougher skins compared to European grapes....muscadines have an extra chromosome (twenty instead of the nineteen other grapes have). These additional genes allow muscadine grapes to produce a unique phytochemical, ellagic acid. The ellagive acid polyphenol compounds that are in muscadine grapes are virtually absent in other grapes. Ellagic acid is used by the muscadine grape skin to make tannin called ellagotannins, whichis used as an antimicrobial by the plant. Ellagic acid also has powerful antioxidant and anticancer properties....the polyphenols in muscadine grape skins have been shown to have positive effects in heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and other inflammatory conditions. One of the more interesting effects of muscadine products appears to be their inhibition of AGE protein formation."Continuing, the author states:"

Recently, a large nutrition, direct selling company, Shaklee Corporation, working with scientists from the University of Georgia, has created a product containing an extract made from muscadine pomace which is the remaining fruit solids after the water content is extracted. Specifically, they are working with muscadine grape growers in order to secure grapes with large amounts of protective polyphenols including ellagic acid and resveratrol. By selecting muscadine grapes and by using a whole grape extraction process, they have reported that their extract has a significantly higher concentration of healthy polyphenols than found in the skins themselves."

The above are excerpts from the book "The Longevity Factor" The author Joseph Maroon, M.D. FA.C.S. studied medicine at Indiana University, and Oxford University.

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