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Dr. Gregory Pais, ND
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Home arrow Naturopathic News arrow Issue #59 - August 2007
Issue #59 - August 2007
  1. INTRODUCTION
  2. WEBSITE SERVICES
  3. FOOD LABELS--MSG
  4. FOOD NUTRITION--ZUCCHINI
  5. LEAD FOR LUNCH
  6. FOOD GROUPS AND BONE MINERAL DENSITY
  7. HRT RISK TOO GREAT
  8. ELDERLY AND VITAMIN D
  9. REUSING COOKING OIL INCREASES BLOOD PRESSURE
  10. HUMOR
  11. EMERSON ECOLOGICS

Welcome to this issue of Naturopathic News, issue #59. It's my mission to help you find natural solutions to health problems. This newsletter is one way to do that. The more educated you are about your health options the better able you will be to take control of your health. If you would like to stop receiving my newsletter send me an email and let me know. If you have a friend or family member who you think would appreciate the information provided, send me their email address.


WEBSITE SERVICES
As of Friday October 6, 2006, my website is up and running. Here are some pages that are of particular interest:

Store: There are 177 products from Emerson listed on this page. If yours isn't one of them please let me know and I will add it so you can order online. This is particularly convenient after hours or on the weekend. Of course, you can always order by phone from Emerson at 800-654-4432.

Newsletter: Here you will find all 59 issues of my health newsletter, "Naturopathic News".If you haven't read the article on Dynamic Disease in May's newsletter, I highly encourage you to do so. This article talks about the nature of disease and how it should be treated.

Optimal Health Points: This is my blog that I update a few times per week. Check out "MULTIVITAMINS DURING PREGNANCY PREVENT CHILDHOOD CANCERS" from Aug. 15.

 

FOOD LABELSMSG-Monosodium Glutamate.

Glutamic acid is an amino acid-one of the building blocks of proteins. It occurs naturally in many foods such as tomatoes, milk, and mushrooms. It is also found in the cells of our bodies, including mother's milk, and functions as a neurotransmitter in the brain. This natural glutamate in plants and animals is known as L-glutamic acid.Our digestive process slowly breaks down this natural glutamic acid and it is then delivered to glutamate receptors in our body and brain. Broken down this way, it is harmless. In a factory, however, the bound glutamic acid in certain foods (corn, wheat, molasses) is broken down or made "free" by various processes (autolyzed, hydrolyzed, modified or fermented with strong chemicals, bacteria, or enzymes) and refined to a white crystal that resembles sugar. This substance is known as monosodium glutamate or MSG. It is 78.2% glutamate, 12.2% sodium, and 9.6% water. It is odorless and has no distinct flavor, although some describe a salty/sweet flavor. Its chemical formulation has been modified and it is technically known as D-glutamic acid. It also contains some L-glutamic acid, pyroglutamic acid, and other contaminants. Artificial MSG causes more serious reactions than any other form of glutamic acid. Remember, there is no D-glutamic acid, pyroglutamic acid, or other contaminants found in plants and animals, only L-glutamic acid.

MSG is an excitotoxin, a chemical toxin that becomes involved in brain cell communication. The problem is that excitotoxins can over stimulate your brain cells, causing premature cell death. Aside from harming your brain, MSG has also been linked to eye damage, headaches, fatigue, disorientation and depression.

Children are significantly at risk from MSG. The blood brain barrier, which keeps toxins in the blood from entering the brain, is not fully developed in children. MSG can also penetrate the placental barrier and affect unborn children as well. Nonetheless, most major brands of infant formula contain some processed free glutamic acid (a form of MSG).

It's almost impossible to be sure if MSG (monosodium glutamate) is in your food, because it goes by so many names. Almost every canned, frozen, bagged, or bottled processed food contains this artificial flavor enhancer. You can avoid this toxic additive by choosing fresh, unprocessed foods. If you are familiar with the hidden names of MSG you can determine what foods are safe to eat.

This is a list of common ingredients that contain MSG:
Autolyzed yeast
Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP)
Gelatin
Malted Barley
Yeast Extract
It's not just found in Chinese restaurants but most commercial restaurants. When eating out always be sure to tell your server that you don't want MSG added to your food.


FOOD TIDBITS-Zucchini
Zucchini along with other summer squashes, as well a winter squashes, are native to the Americas and belong to the family of curcurbita. One cup of raw zucchini has about 35 calories. It contains about 340 milligrams of potassium, 530 International Units of beta-carotene and 70 milligrams of phosphorus. This ubiquitous vegetable is easy to grow and produces a bountiful harvest with minimal effort. They're best eaten when shorter than 6 inches long though you can use slightly larger ones in zucchini bread.



LEAD FOR LUNCH
In the Fall of 2005 The Center for Environmental Health (CEH) reported finding lead in children's soft vinyl lunch boxes. CEH, a nonprofit activist group, warned parents and public health agencies that soft vinyl lunch boxes sold by major retailers, such as Toys "R" Us and Walgreens, contained lead, either in the box lining or in the exterior plastic.  Two independent labs tested one vinyl lunch box. The Angela Anaconda made by Targus International in Anaheim, Calif., contained 56,400 parts per million (ppm) of lead, according to the group. This is 90 times the 600-ppm federal limit for children's toys containing lead paint. The paint threshold was used because there is no legal limit for lead in vinyl, according to executive director Michael Green. The Los Angeles Times quoted Michael Wood, a vice president and general counsel for Targus, as saying, "I'm not certain it (the lunch box) does or doesn't contain lead." The Times reported that the company was checking its supplier to see whether lead was used in the lunch boxes.

Although the lead levels seemed high, the environmental group saw no immediate threat. "The level of lead in these lunch boxes is not enough to give a child an acute dose of lead poisoning," Green said in an interview. However, the group has filed lawsuits against the manufacturers and retailers of the lunch boxes, which include Targus, DC Comics, Time Warner, Walgreens, Warner Brothers, and Toys "R" Us, calling on them to eliminate lead from their products.

Tests on other makers' lunch boxes allegedly showed lead levels 2-25x greater than the federal legal limit for paint in children's products. The highest lead levels were found in the lining of the lunch boxes, which can come in direct contact with food. Bruce Lanphear, M.D., a professor of pediatrics at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center said that the lunch of choice could exacerbate the risk from a box, he added. "Anything that's acidic will tend to wear away a finish or leach out more lead than something that is not acidic," Dr. Lanphear said. "Apple juice," for example, "could make that lead more available to a child."
Inorganic lead is not metabolized but is directly absorbed, distributed in the body, and excreted. Children and pregnant women absorb a greater proportion of lead from the gastrointestinal tract than do adults (up to 70% versus 20%). Fasting, iron deficiency, and calcium deficiency also may increase the gastrointestinal absorption of lead. The symptoms of low-level lead poisoning can be subtle, such as behavior problems, and delay in intellectual development, like reading. High levels can cause neurological damage, seizures, hair loss, and anemia. Lead poisoning affects more than 4% of all children in the U.S., according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. The rates are even higher in urban and low-income neighborhoods.

DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: Paper bags for carrying your child's lunch may seem drab in comparison to colorful advertisements for the latest movie but at least they won't make your child sick.

You can test vinyl lunch boxes you already own using a hand-held lead testing kit, often available at hardware stores. Two reliable and easy-to-use brands are PACE's Lead Alert (also available by calling 1-800-884-6073) and LeadCheck. For a visual demonstration of how to use LeadCheck, please visit www.testyourlunchbox.com.

If your child's lunch box tests positive please call CEH at 800-652-0827. They can help you interpret the results and can use your product as evidence in their ongoing work to get the lead out of our children's lunch boxes.


FOOD GROUPS AND BONE MINERAL DENSITY
The evidence for bone health benefits from high intakes of fruit and vegetables has been reported for elderly populations, as well as for teenagers and adolescents. The research group was different here as the Chinese do not eat the same type of high animal food diet that Westerners do.

This study is part of an ongoing community-based osteoporosis study initiated in 2003, among residents of Anhui Province, China. Men and women aged 25-64 years were recruited. Bone mineral density was measured at the total hip and whole body by DEXA in 5848 men and 6207 women. Dietary and supplemental intakes were assessed by questionnaires. Information was also collected on occupation, lifestyle, reproductive history, disease history, consumption of alcohol, cigarette smoking, physical activity and history of fractures.

Higher seafood consumption was significantly associated with greater BMD in women (p < 0.001), especially those consuming more than 250 grams per week of seafood. Higher fruit intake was found to be significantly associated with higher BMD in both men and women (p < 0.05).
Maturitas, 2006 June 26; [Epub ahead of print] 44437 (9/2006)

DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: Other studies have demonstrated a correlation between omega 3 essential fatty acids (found in fish) and a bone protective effect. One mechanism of action may be the anti-inflammatory effect that these fats play through their effect on prostaglandins. Another possible mechanism is the synergistic effect of Vitamin D and these essential fats when present together in sufficient amounts.

At first look, it may seem odd that consuming fruit has a positive effect on bone mineral density. However, fruit are an important source of nutrients needed for bone health like magnesium and potassium. Consuming fresh fruit in general helps to alkalinize the system, reducing bone breakdown. Magnesium's role in calcium metabolism is incredibly important though this osteoporosis connection is seldom mentioned. Potassium also helps to reduce bone loss by lessening the acidity of the body.



HRT RISK TOO GREAT

A key commission has recommended that German doctors drastically reduce the amount of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) that they prescribe to older women. Issuing its first guidelines on HRT to doctors in Germany, the country's Commission on the Safety of Medicines said that new international studies had shown that the risks of HRT clearly outweighed the benefits. It recommended that treatment be as short, and the doses as low, as possible. Several recently published studies have shown that HRT significantly increases the risk of breast cancer. Also, the risk of venous thrombosis, heart attacks, and strokes increases as early as one year after treatment, according to the studies.

In the opinion of the commission, the new studies show that the risks of HRT far outstrip any potential benefits. Professor Bruno M|ller-Oerlinghausen, the head of the commission, called HRT a "national and international tragedy." Comparing it to thalidomide, a drug that caused thousands of babies to be born with birth defects in the 1950s, he said that the "naive and careless use of a medication that is perceived as natural and optimal" had caused many unnecessary deaths among women.

Professor Eberhard Greiser, of the Institute for Prevention Research in Bremen, said in an interview with the state health insurance press service that the use of hormone replacement therapy had resulted in 5000 extra cases of breast cancer in Germany every year and 2000 extra cases of cancer of the uterus.

The commission also launched a fierce attack on the pharmaceutical industry, suggesting that it had turned a "natural phase of life," the menopause, into a hormonal sickness that needed treatment. Forty three per cent of all women aged 50-70 years in Germany take hormone preparations. However, the number of prescriptions that doctors issue for hormone preparations has fallen by 13% in the wake of the recent debate on the risks of the treatment, according to figures from the German state health insurance companies.

The women's health initiative study (JAMA 2003; 289: 3243-53), showed that the long-term use of HRT increased the risk of breast cancer by 26%. BMJ 2003;327:767
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: Enough said. Homeopathy and lifestyle changes effectively address menopausal symptoms. Vitamin D has the potential to reduce the incidence of osteoporosis. Do we really need drugs that cause cancer, heart attacks, and strokes?


ELDERLY AND VITAMIN D
This study found that almost half of elderly women in high-level residential care, though not bedridden, were severely deficient in vitamin D. Being vitamin D deficient puts the elderly at more of a risk to fall and injure themselves, possibly leading to death. Vitamin D is produced in the skin when it is exposed to sunlight. It has also been proven to assist in the function of healthy bones and muscle and brain function. Lacking in either of these could cause an elderly person to fall.
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society December 3, 2003

DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: It seems as if conventional medicine is just now waking up to the idea that vitamin D is deficient in many individuals. Excuses of not enough information, or 'no scientific research' don't cut it. This study is almost 4 years old. Why do most docs ignore vitamin D? One reason may be that deficiency is corrected by lifestyle changes and supplementation. Not drugs or surgery.


REUSING COOKING OIL INCREASES BLOOD PRESSURE
This study suggests that the number of times you reuse cooking oils can affect your health. Spanish researchers found that people whose kitchens contained any type of oil that had been reused many times over were more likely to have high blood pressure than people whose cooking oils were changed more frequently. People who ate foods cooked with sunflower oil also showed a higher risk of high blood pressure, while consuming more olive oil appeared to protect people from high blood pressure.

Based on the findings, study author Dr. Federico Soriguer of the Hospital Civil Plaza in Malaga recommends that people cook with olive oil whenever possible, and discard any oils after using them up to two or three times. Although olive oil is generally considered to be a healthy addition to meals, the findings suggest that repeatedly reusing the oil may invalidate its favorable effects on health, Soriguer told Reuters Health. Many of the study participants consumed the so-called Mediterranean diet, which features liberal use of olive oil and has been linked with numerous health benefits. Soriguer explained that followers of the Mediterranean diet often use an "oil bath," or deep fryer, to fry foods. However, when the same pot of oil is repeatedly reheated, the oils begin to degrade, releasing substances known as polymers and polar compounds that can become absorbed by food.

To measure the effects of repeated use of cooking oils, Soriguer and his team measured levels of polymers and polar compounds from oil samples taken directly from the kitchens of 538 adults. The more polar compounds and polymers present in oil samples taken from a participant's house-a sign the oil had been reused repeatedly-the more likely it was that participant had high blood pressure. However, people whose blood samples contained a relatively high concentration of fats predominantly found in olive oil were less likely than others to have high blood pressure, Soriguer and his team report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Olive oil that had been repeatedly reused tended to show a lower concentration of polymers and polar compounds than other types of oil, suggesting that olive oil degrades more slowly than other types, Soriguer explained. He added that although the Mediterranean diet features heavy use of olive oil, its rising cost is inducing some followers to substitute other types of oil, or to use a mixture.
Hypertension is related to the degradation of dietary frying oils. Am J Clin Nutr 2003 Dec;78(6):1092-1097.

DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: For years I have been telling patients in nutrition consultations that olive oil is one of the two best oils to cook with. I go further in recommending that only 100% extra virgin olive oil be used as this is minimally processed.


HUMOR-A Turn of Phrase
Dijon vu - the same mustard as before.

Practice safe eating -- always use condiments.
 
A hangover is the wrath of grapes.
 
Dancing cheek-to-cheek is really a form of floor play.
 
Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?

When two egotists meet, it's an I for an I.
 
What's the definition of a will? (It's a dead giveaway.)
 
Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
 
In democracy your vote counts. In feudalism your count votes.
 
A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.
 
If you don't pay your exorcist, you get repossessed.
 
When a clock is hungry, it goes back four seconds.
 
The man who fell into an upholstery machine is fully recovered.
 
A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart.
 
A lot of money is tainted.  It taint yours and it taint mine.
 
Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end.

Those who jump off a Paris bridge are in Seine.
 
Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead-to-know basis.



EMERSON ECOLOGICS
I am often asked what supplements I recommend. Many of you have been surprised to discover that I favor food over pills; lifestyle changes over fads. I have been working with nutrition for over 30 years, herbs for over 20 years. Where and when appropriate I recommend them to my patients. I strive to act from knowledge, experience, and research.

Emerson Ecologics (800-654-4432) carries almost all of the nutritional supplements and botanical extracts that I think are useful. Their customer service is excellent and their delivery is reliable (often only 2-3 days to this region). It's a great way to get physician quality products at reasonable prices.

To offset the cost of shipping, reference my name when you establish your account and receive a 10% discount on every order. If you have any questions about these items feel free to email me.

That's it for this issue of Naturopathic News. If you've thought a bit extra or learned something new, then I achieved my goal. As usual, if you have questions or concerns brought up by these subjects, let me know.

Gregory Pais, ND, DHANP