|Issue #80 - May 2009|
Here are some pages that are of particular interest:
Store : There are 246 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 79 issues of my health newsletter, "Naturopathic News”.
Optimal Health Pointst: This is my blog that I update every week. Check out the entry for May 9 concerning Vitamin D and Breast Cancer.
GET YOUR HEALTH QUESTIONS ANSWERED
Are you confused by the health claims you read on the internet or hear in the store? Do you think that you’re taking too many supplements but not the ‘right’ supplement for you? Do you never have the time to ask the important questions regarding yours or your family’s health?
Then the 2009 OPTIMAL HEALTH LECTURE SERIES is for you!
I am presenting an ongoing series of free health lectures at my Williamsport office on 3rd St., as well as other locations. The topic of these lectures is determined by the interests of you, my community of patients, families, and interested individuals. Each lecture will focus on a health issue that is important to you.
Below is a list of topics that you can pick from. If there is another subject that you’d like to have me speak on, let me know. I’ll announce the schedule each month in this newsletter and in the calendar on my website. Just send me an email and let me know the health questions you want answered.
PROSPECTIVE LECTURE TOPICS
How Does Homeopathy Work?
How To Stay Healthy With The Season
Healing Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Keep Your Heart Healthy
Preventing Breast Cancer
If you’d like to organize a lecture for your work, your place of worship, or have an interested group of 5 or more, I’ll come to you. All you have to do is choose a health topic that is most important to your group and we’ll make it happen.
If you can’t make it to a scheduled lecture each will be recorded and available for later purchase.
I’m looking forward to seeing you in 2009!
RSVP for the “Natural Flu Prevention” lecture at my Williamsport office, 7:30pm Tuesday, May 26, 2009.
HEALTH CARE REFORM
One area that I am involving myself in as we go into the new year is health care reform.
You’ve probably heard a variety of ideas mentioned regarding the reform of the US Health Care system—universal coverage, single payer, etc. Most of you pay out of pocket to utilize health care you need and value. This is the time to make your voice heard. I highly encourage you to contact your congressional representative, make an appointment to speak to him or her, and express your concerns regarding health care and coverage of traditional medicine (what is euphemistically called alternative medicine). Here is one resource to find your representative’s contact information:
If you do not want to voice your opinion directly, let me know what you think. And I will tell my representative. If we all act together we can create a health care system that meets our needs and expands our vision of what’s possible.
GET YOUR VITAMIN D TEST WITH ZRT LABORATORY
It just happened again the other day. A patient sent me a copy of the Vitamin D test she just had done. With frustrating results. The wrong test was done. After all these years, and all the information available, MDs and laboratories still order the wrong test. What a waste of money and time.
For the last 6 months I’ve been looking for a home Vitamin D test. One that would be simple, easy, and accurate to do on your own. I finally found one. ZRT Laboratory in Beaverton OR. ZRT emphasizes research and technological innovation.
Until now, venipuncture blood serum has been the standard medium for testing Vitamin D. ZRT has developed and refined Vitamin D testing in blood spots. A few drops of blood from a quick and nearly painless nick of the finger, placed on a filter paper to dry are all that is needed. The total 25 (OH) Vitamin D is then determined by liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). This method has been shown to be as accurate as the assay standard.
Ordering A Vitamin D Test
ZRT allows anyone to order a Vitamin D test kit for $95 plus shipping and have it sent to their home. ZRT will let me prepay for kits and send them to my office for $55 each. I am charging $65 per kit for patients to cover my overhead and analysis of results.
If you are interested in getting a Vitamin D test done through my office please prepay so I can order you a kit. Then you can either pick it up at my office or have it shipped to your home. Once you’ve taken the sample and sent it back to ZRT it’s only a matter of time before your results are sent back to me. I can even look at them online before the mail arrives.
If your doctor has refused to order a Vitamin D test or worse, ordered the wrong one, this is the fastest, least expensive, most accurate way to do it ourselves. Once we know what your Vitamin D levels are, the next step is making sure that you achieve optimum levels for prevention of disease and maintenance of health.
BPA FROM PLASTIC BOTTLES
In a recent study, 77 Harvard student volunteers experienced a nearly 70% increase in urinary levels of bisphenol A (BPA), a plastics component and synthetic estrogen linked to cancer, reproductive system damage and other health problems, after drinking cold beverages from BPA-laden polycarbonate bottles for just one week, according to researchers from Harvard University and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
This study, led by Karin B. Michels, a Harvard professor of epidemiology, poses serious implications for the impact of BPA exposure on infants fed with polycarbonate bottles.
“Babies are being exposed to BPA, and at levels that could likely have an impact on their development,” said Renee Sharp, Director of Environmental Working Group ’s (EWG) California office.
The Harvard/CDC study further confirms a March 2007 study by EWG that documented that BPA-based epoxy can linings had contaminated more than half the canned foods, beverages and canned liquid infant formula randomly purchased at supermarkets around the country. Since many of the foods tested, such as liquid infant formula, canned soup and SpagettiOs, are marketed for babies and toddlers, babies drinking from BPA-plastic bottles and sippy cups and eating canned food could receive significant doses of the chemical, shown in laboratory studies to cause serious damage to brain and reproductive systems of test animals. As well, the chemical has been associated with cardiovascular damage, diabetes, obesity and other chronic conditions.
The Harvard/CDC study comes on the heels of Minnesota’s statewide prohibition of BPA in baby bottles, sippy cups and other food containers for children 3 and under. Suffolk County, New York, has also banned BPA in such items, lawmakers in California and Connecticut are considering similar proposals, and on May 13 the City Council in Chicago voted to ban the sale of any baby bottle or sippy cup containing the chemical.
At the federal level, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep.
Edward Markey (D-MA) have introduced legislation that would restrict the use of BPA in food and beverage containers.
In March, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal announced that 6 major companies -- Avent, Disney First Years, Gerber, Dr. Brown, Playtex and Evenflow -- had volunteered to stop using BPA-based plastic in baby bottles made for the U.S. market.
The water bottle manufacturer Nalgene and several of the nation’s largest baby bottle makers are phasing BPA out of their products. The petrochemical giant Sunoco has promised that it would no longer allow any of the BPA it makes to be used in items designed for children 3 and under.
May 12, 2009 Environmental Health Perspectives
DR. PAIS’S COMMENTS: Though I acknowledge these company’s stated promises I want to see the policies enacted. It’s easy to say you’re going to change when the public demands it, but since it will cost them money we have to be vigilant in holding them to their commitment. Ultimately these are wasted efforts to find a different plastic. Any other plastic will be just as harmful to us, and the environment.
The rate of mercury contamination in tuna and other Pacific fish has increased 30% since 1990. It’s thought that the increase is a direct result of China's rapid industrialization, and the mercury content is expected to increase another 50% by 2050 if China continues to build more coal-fired power plants.
About 40% of all U.S. exposure to mercury comes from eating contaminated tuna from the Pacific. Roughly 75% of all human exposure to mercury in general comes from eating fish. Mercury poisoning early in life, even in very small amounts, can lead to permanent developmental effects.
Mercury becomes toxic when it is converted by bacteria into a form called methylmercury. Scientists have long known how this conversion takes place in freshwater lakes, reservoirs and rivers, but this study is the first to document how that conversion takes place in the ocean. It shows that methylmercury is produced in mid-depth ocean waters by bacteria decomposing settling algae.
U.S. Geologic Survey
DR. PAIS’S COMMENTS: No matter what brand of tuna you prefer it’s liable to be irrevocably contaminated by Mercury. Rather than play the guessing game of how much you can eat before you’re poisoned, I recommend not eating any tuna at all.
This new report from the Cornucopia Institute brings to light the truth behind the ‘organic soy” label. Tremendous growth in the organic soy foods industry has occurred over the last 20 years as people have sought out alternative healthy sources of protein. Many companies touting their "natural" or "organic" soy brands have become prominent in the supermarket. This report exposes widespread importation of soybeans from China and the use of toxic chemicals to process soy foods labeled as "natural."
The report, “Beyond the Bean: The Heroes and Charlatans of the Natural and Organic Soy Foods Industry”, and an accompanying ratings scorecard of organic brands, separates the truly healthy soy brands from the impostors.
One of the reasons people choose organic food is that organic is a more environmentally sound form of agriculture and one that financially rewards family farmers through their patronage. "Importing Chinese soybeans or contributing to the loss of rain forests by shipping in commodities from Brazil just flat-out contradicts the working definition of organic agriculture," said Mark Kastel, Senior Farm Policy Analyst at The Cornucopia Institute.
Through a nationwide survey of the industry, onsite farm, and processor visits, plus reviews of import data, Cornucopia assembled a rating system aimed at empowering consumers and wholesale buyers with the knowledge necessary to support brands that respect the fundamental tenets of organics.
"The good news in this report is that consumers can easily find, normally without paying any premium, organic soy foods that truly meet their expectations," said Charlotte Vallaeys, a researcher at Cornucopia and the primary author of the report.
One company that had an excellent opportunity to meet consumer expectations by supporting the growth of organic acreage in North America was Dean Foods, makers of the industry's leading soymilk, Silk. Instead, after buying the Silk brand, Dean Foods quit purchasing most of their soybeans from American family farmers and switched their primary sourcing to China. This cost-cutting move helped them build their commanding soy milk market share using soybeans of questionable organic certification from China.
"White Wave (the operating division of Dean Foods that markets Silk and Horizon organic milk) had the opportunity to push organic and sustainable agriculture to incredible heights of production by working with North American farmers and traders to get more land in organic production, but what they did was pit cheap foreign soybeans against the U.S. organic farmer, taking away any attraction for conventional farmers to make the move into sustainable agriculture," said Merle Kramer, a marketer for the Midwestern Organic Farmers Cooperative.
And now Dean, the $11 billion agribusiness behemoth and the nation's largest dairy concern, has quietly abandoned organic soybeans in most of the Silk product line, switching to even cheaper conventional soybeans without changing UPC codes for retailers or lowering pricing to consumers.
After reports from cooperative and independent natural foods retailers around the country Cornucopia visited a Whole Foods store in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin and found only one of 25 Silk soymilk products was organic. "This is a radical departure by a brand that was widely viewed as an organic market pioneer," lamented Kastel.
Cornucopia's Vallaeys warned: "Health conscious shoppers should no longer associate Silk with organic, and should seek the green USDA Certified Organic seal when purchasing soy products."
Meanwhile, highly committed companies like Eden Foods, one of the country's largest organic soy foods producers, Small Planet Tofu, and Vermont Soy work directly with North American organic farmers. "Small Planet Tofu has bought organic soybeans from me and other farmers I work with for the past 17 years," said Phil Lewis, an organic farmer in Kansas. "This relationship is priceless, because I know that I can count on them even if I have a bad year with droughts or floods," Lewis added.
"The top-rated companies that nurture relationships with American organic farmers should be rewarded in the marketplace. We hope that organic consumers will use Cornucopia's soy scorecard when deciding which organic soy foods to buy," said Kastel.
Some soy food makers that did not participate in the scorecard study may have been hesitant to share their sourcing information because they also buy organic soybeans from China. "Their reluctance to disclose their sourcing information makes sense, given the USDA's weak oversight of certifying agents working in China," noted Kastel.
The USDA waited five years before sending auditors to China to examine the practices of that country's certifying agents. And even when in China, the USDA's auditors visited only two farms in the entire country. On these two farms, they found multiple noncompliances with U.S. organic standards. USDA auditors also discovered that Chinese-based organic certifying agents did not always provide a translated copy of the U.S. standards to clients who apply for organic certification.
The Chinese findings support concerns that American farmers have raised for years, which is that organic imports from China may not always be held to the same strict standards as American crops. They also raise serious questions about whether Chinese farmers are adequately informed about the USDA organic standards and requirements.
"If the reputation of organic food is impugned through illegal and fraudulent activities in China, and an incompetent level of oversight by the USDA, it will be the domestic farmers and entrepreneurs that built this industry who will be harmed," added Kastel.
Hexane: The Dirty Little Secret of the Natural Soy Foods Industry
Behind the Bean also exposes the natural soy industry's "dirty little secret": its widespread use of the chemical solvent hexane. Hexane is used to process nearly all conventional soy protein ingredients and edible oils and is prohibited when processing organic foods.
Soybeans are bathed in hexane by food processors seeking to separate soy oil from the protein and fiber of the beans. It is a cost-effective and highly efficient method for concentrating high-protein isolates. But hexane is also a neurotoxic chemical that poses serious occupational hazards to workers, is an environmental air pollutant, and can contaminate food.
Residue tests reveal that small amounts of hexane can and do appear in ingredients processed with the toxic chemical. The government does not require that companies test for hexane residues before selling foods to consumers, including soy-based infant formula.
The full Cornucopia Institute report, or an executive summary, including the scorecard of organic soy brands, can be found at www.cornucopia.org
May 18, 2009
DR. PAIS’S COMMENTS: For years I have been recommending to my patients that they buy only certified organic soy products (food or supplements). I’ve never been a promoted of Silk products, even when they became big in the marketplace. Turns out these concerns were justified. If you eat soy foods, please go to the Cornucopia website and use the scorecard to shop for organic soy foods. Your health will be better for it.
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
580 E. 3rd. St.
Williamsport PA 17701