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Dr. Gregory Pais, ND
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Tuesday, 19 January 2010
January 19, 2010 Orthomolecular Medicine News Service
OMNS archive link
There was not even one death caused by a dietary supplement in 2008, according to the most recent information collected by the U.S. National Poison Data System. The new 174-page annual report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers, published in the journal Clinical Toxicology, shows zero deaths from multiple vitamins; zero deaths from any of the B vitamins; zero deaths from vitamins A, C, D, or E; and zero deaths from any other vitamin.

Additionally, there were no deaths whatsoever from any amino acid or herbal product. This means no deaths at all from blue cohosh, echinacea, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, kava kava, St. John's wort, valerian, yohimbe, Asian medicines, ayurvedic medicines, or any other botanical. There were zero deaths from creatine, blue-green algae, glucosamine, chondroitin, melatonin, or any homeopathic remedies.

Furthermore, there were zero deaths in 2008 from any dietary mineral supplement. This means there were no fatalities from calcium, magnesium, chromium, zinc, selenium, iron, or multimineral supplements. Two children died as a result of medical use of the antacid sodium bicarbonate. The other "Electrolyte and Mineral" category death was due to a man accidentally drinking sodium hydroxide, a highly toxic degreaser and drain-opener.
No man, woman or child died from nutritional supplements. Period.

61 poison centers provide coast-to-coast data for the U.S. National Poison Data System, which is then reviewed by 29 medical and clinical toxicologists. NPDS, the authors write, is "one of the few real-time national surveillance systems in existence, providing a model public health surveillance system for all types of exposures, public health event identification, resilience response and situational awareness tracking."

Over half of the U.S. population takes daily nutritional supplements. Even if each of those people took only one single tablet daily, that makes 154,000,000 individual doses per day, for a total of over 56 billion doses annually. Since many persons take more than just one vitamin or mineral tablet, actual consumption is considerably higher, and the safety of nutritional supplements is all the more remarkable.

If nutritional supplements are allegedly so "dangerous," as the FDA and news media so often claim, then where are the bodies?

Those who wonder if the media are biased against vitamins may consider this: how many television stations, newspapers, magazines, and medical journals have reported that no one dies from nutritional supplements?
Bronstein AC, Spyker DA, Cantilena LR Jr, Green JL, Rumack BH, Giffin SL. 2008 Annual Report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers' National Poison Data System (NPDS): 26th Annual Report. Clinical Toxicology (2009). 47, 911-1084. The full text article is available for free download at . Vitamins statistics are found in Table 22B, journal pages 1052-3. Minerals, herbs, amino acids and other supplements are in the same table, pages 1047-8.
Wednesday, 06 January 2010
Neurology, January 5 2010
According to this new study high levels of vitamin D in the blood may help elderly people ward off dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and stroke. The study found elderly people with vitamin D insufficiency were twice as likely to have dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and stroke as those who weren’t deficient.

For the study, Buell J.S. and colleagues from Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University examined the association between vitamin D status, dementia, and cerebrovascular disease among 231 women and 109 men aged 65 to 99 who participated in the study from 2003 to 2007. Of the participants, 23.9 % had dementia like Alzheimer's, 14.5 percent had Vitamin D deficiency, and 44.3 percent had vitamin D insufficiency.

Vitamin D deficiency was defined as having less than 10 ng/mL of 25-hydroxyvitamin D and vitamin D insufficiency was defined as having lower than 10 to 20 ng/mL of vitamin D in the blood.

After adjustment for age, race, sex, body mass index, and education, vitamin D insufficiency was linked to 130% increased risk of all cause dementia, 15% increased risk of Alzheimer's, and 100% increased risk of stroke.

As striking as these numbers are, and they are dramatic—130% greater risk of dementia, 100% greater risk of stroke—why isn’t there more knowledge and action amongst the conventional medical community? Having populations screened for Vitamin D status is a public health measure I could get behind. Though I would like to see the optimum range be the goal—50-70 ng/mL.
Monday, 04 January 2010
Aug 2009 issue of Applied Nursing Research 
This small trial found that taking vitamin D supplements may help prevent depression. C. D. Shipowick  of Washington State University in Richland, Washington and colleagues reported that women who took vitamin D supplements experienced a decline in depression scores on standardized testing. Other studies have already shown that vitamin D supplementation may decrease depression symptoms during the winter months.

In this trial, the researchers gave nine women whose serum vitamin D was below 40 ng/mL vitamin D3 supplements.  Six women completed the trial and had their serum vitamin D levels tested again after the study. Vitamin D supplementation not only raised the serum levels vitamin D in the study subjects by an average of 27 ng/mL, but also reduced the depression scores by an average of 10 points.

The researchers wrote “this study suggests that supplemental vitamin D3 reduces depression symptoms.”

Many people talk about feeling more depressed in the winter, especially in areas of less sunshine like north central PA. When there’s less sunshine there’s less opportunity for your body to make Vitamin D, leading to deficiency. So it’s reasonable to look at the connection between Vitamin D levels and depression.

Dr. John Cannell, director of the Vitamin D Council, says "If you suffer from depression, get your 25(OH)D level checked and, if it is lower than 35 ng/mL (87 nM/L), you are vitamin D deficient and should begin treatment."
Saturday, 02 January 2010
Harvard University has come out with a new analysis assessing the severity of H1N1 in the United States. Using H1N1 deaths in the U.S. in the Spring of 2009 and projecting them through the Fall, it looks like the H1N1 scare was more hype than reality. The Harvard paper suggests swine flu was unlikely to create a severe epidemic. So the call for mass vaccinations and the contracts for hundreds of millions of doses of vaccines were misguided to say the least. 

This is not the first report to suggest such a thing. Ontario health officials think that the huge government investment was not called for. There have been reports in the French and the British press that the H1N1 ‘pandemic’ was more hype than substance.

All along, the fact that this strain of the flu virus was no more virulent than seasonal flu was never widely made public. It certainly was not the equal of the 1918 H1N1 virus that killed millions worldwide. 

So why is the vaccine still being pushed? What else are they going to do with millions of doses? If they told people that H1N1 was not as bad as they thought it would be there’d be even less demand for the vaccine. As it is it appears as if flu activity is already declining. We don’t know what will happen in the rest of the flu season but if it continues as it has so far it will be a relatively mild one.

Tuesday, 03 November 2009

New York Times October 11, 2009
Michael Pollan posted a request for reader’s rules about eating. Within days, he had received more than 2,500 responses.

Here are some of Pollan’s 20 favorites:
1. Don’t eat egg salad from a vending machine.

2. Don’t eat anything that took more energy to ship than to grow.

3. If you are not hungry enough to eat an apple, then you’re not hungry.

4. Eat foods in inverse proportion to how much its lobby spends to push it.

5. Avoid snack foods with the “oh” sound in their names: Doritos, Cheetos, Tostitos, Ho Ho's, etc.

6. No second helpings, no matter how scrumptious.

7. It’s better to pay the grocer than the doctor.

8. You may not leave the table until you finish your fruit.

9. You don’t get fat on food you pray over. (Meals prepared at home, served at the table and given thanks for are more appreciated and more healthful than food eaten on the run.)

10. Breakfast you should eat alone. Lunch you should share with a friend. Dinner, give to your enemy.

11. Never eat something that is pretending to be something else (artificial sweeteners, margarine, etc.)

12. Don’t yuck someone’s yum. There is someone out there who likes deep-fried sheep eyeballs and, well, more power to them.

13. Make and take your own lunch to work.

14. Eat until you are seven-tenths full and save the other three-tenths for hunger.

15. I am living in Japan and following these simple rules in preparing each meal: GO HO – incorporate five different cooking methods, GO SHIKI – incorporate five colors, GO MI – incorporate five flavors.

16. One of my top rules for eating comes from economics. The law of diminishing marginal utility reminds me that each additional bite is generally less satisfying than the previous bite. This helps me slow down, savor the first bites, stop eating sooner.

17. Don’t eat anything you aren’t willing to kill yourself.

18. When drinking tea, just drink tea. I find this Zen teaching useful, given my inclination toward information absorption in the morning, when I’m also trying to eat breakfast, get the dog out, start the fire and organize my day.

19. When you’re eating, don’t talk about other past meals, whether better or worse. Focus on what’s in front of you.

20. After spending some time working with people with eating disorders, I came up with this rule: Don’t create arbitrary rules for eating if their only purpose is to help you feel in control.

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