|Issue #88 - January 2010|
Welcome to this issue of Naturopathic News, issue #88. It's my mission to help you find optimal 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 please 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.
Thanks to the reader who suggested that I change the order of what you read to make it easier to get to the new material. You’ll find the sections on Website Services, Vit. D test, Williamsport Farmer’s market, and Ithaca Optimal Health, at the end of the newsletter.
If you have any suggestions about how to better bring you the health information you want, let me know.
HEALTH EFFECTS GMO CORN
This is probably the most comprehensive study to date that examines the effects of genetically modified foods on mammalian health. These researchers have linked organ damage with consumption of Monsanto's GM maize.
All three varieties of GM corn - Mon 810, Mon 863 and NK 603 - were approved for consumption by US, European and several other national food safety authorities. Looking at what was originally Monsanto's confidential raw data of its 2002 feeding trials on rats these researchers came to quite different conclusions.
The Committee of Research and Information on Genetic Engineering (CRIIGEN) and Universities of Caen and Rouen studied Monsanto's 90-day feeding trials data of insecticide-producing Mon 810, Mon 863 and Roundup herbicide absorbing NK 603 varieties of GM maize.
The data "clearly underlines adverse impacts on kidneys and liver, the dietary detoxifying organs, as well as different levels of damages to heart, adrenal glands, spleen and haematopoietic system," reported Gilles-Eric Seralini, a molecular biologist at the University of Caen.
Int J Biol Sci 2009; 5:706-726
DR. PAIS’S COMMENTS: Germany has banned the cultivation of GM corn, arguing that the corn breed MON 810 is dangerous for the environment. Under the new regulations, the cultivation of MON 810, a GM corn produced by Monsanto, will be prohibited in Germany. A clause in EU law allows individual countries to impose such bans. Environmental groups welcomed the ban, pointing out that numerous scientific studies demonstrated GM corn was a danger to the environment. MON 810 is already banned in five other EU member states: Austria, Hungary, Greece, France and Luxembourg.
Here are some of the health problems connected to GM foods:
Several US farmers reported sterility or fertility problems among pigs and cows fed GM corn varieties.
Investigators in India have documented fertility problems, abortions, premature births, and other serious health issues, including deaths, among buffaloes fed GM cottonseed products.
Offspring of rats fed GM soy showed a five-fold increase in mortality, lower birth weights, and the inability to reproduce.
Male mice fed GM soy had damaged young sperm cells.
The embryo offspring of GM soy-fed mice had altered DNA functioning.
CANNED SOUPS NOT SO GOOD
Back in December Consumer Reports released the results of a series of tests that showed many commercial brands of canned foods contain BPA. BPA is used in the lining of cans and the toxin leaches from the lining into the food. According to Consumer Reports just a couple of servings of canned food can exceed scientific limits on daily exposure for children. The current US federal guidelines put the daily upper limit of safe exposure at 50 micrograms of BPA per kilogram of body weight. However, this limit is based on studies from the 1980s, and does not take into account the findings of more recent animal and laboratory studies, which have found that far lower doses of BPA may still pose serious health risks.
The federal government is currently studying the dangers of BPA and advocates are calling on the FDA to ban the use of BPA in food and beverage packaging as soon as possible. Companies in other industries, including Wal-Mart, Target, Nalgene, and Babies R Us have already made commitments to stop using BPA.
According to Consumer Reports’ testing, the levels of BPA can vary greatly from one can to another. This depends on such factors as heat and acidity which can increase the amount of BPA that leaches from the can lining. In general, canned green beans and canned soups had some of the highest BPA levels of the foods tested. The worst offenders during their tests included:
Del Monte Fresh Cut Green Beans had BPA levels ranging from 35.9 ppb to as much as 191 ppb.
Progresso Vegetable Soup had BPA levels ranging from 67 to 134 ppb.
Campbell’s Condensed Chicken Noodle Soup had BPA levels ranging from 54.5 to 102 ppb.
DR. PAIS’S COMMENTS: It’s been known for years that low-level exposure to BPA can be hazardous to your health. According to Washington State University reproductive scientist Patricia Hunt, “Exposure to low levels of BPA -- levels that we think are in the realm of current human exposure -- can profoundly affect both developing eggs and sperm.” There are more than 100 independent studies linking the chemical to serious disorders in humans, including:
A study published in the Environmental Health Perspectives last year, found that BPA promotes the development of Th2 cells in adulthood, and both Th1 and Th2 cells in prenatal stages, by reducing the number of regulatory T cells.
Based on the type of invader, your immune system activates either Th1 or Th2 cells to get rid of the pathogen. Th1 (T Helper 1) attacks organisms that get inside your cells, whereas Th2 (T Helper 2) goes after extracellular pathogens; organisms that are found outside the cells in your blood and other body fluids.
When your Th2 are over-activated, your immune system will over-respond to toxins, allergens, normal bacteria and parasites, and under-respond to viruses, yeast, cancer, and intracellular bacteria, because as one system activates, the other is blocked.
DANGEROUS CHEMICALS IN OUR BODIES
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released its latest assessment of the chemicals people are carrying around in their bodies. The study measured 212 chemicals in the urine and blood of 8,000 Americans. The CDC highlighted a few chemicals because they are both widespread -- found in all or most people tested -- and potentially harmful.
Here's a look at what they are and how you can try to avoid them:
Bisphenol A, BPA, which is found in many plastics (#7), in the lining of cans, and even coating many sales receipts, was found in more than 90% of Americans tested. The health concerns about BPA are many and growing.
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers
Better known as "flame retardants", PBDEs are used widely in all sorts of goods to reduce fire risk. They also accumulate in human fat, and some studies suggest they may harm your liver and kidneys as well as your neurological system. It’s difficult avoiding them because the chemicals are part of so many products-even though some states have tried to ban them.
BPA, which is found in many plastics, in the lining of cans, and even coating many sales receipts, was found in more than 90 percent of Americans tested. BPA has been linked to health risks including reproductive abnormalities, neurological effects, heightened risk of breast and prostate cancers, diabetes, heart disease and other serious health problems. Look for BPA-free products if you must use plastic. I recommend skipping them all together.
PFOA and other perfluorinated chemicals are used to create heat-resistant and non-stick coatings on cookware, as well as grease-resistant food packaging and stain-resistant clothing. Studies have linked these chemicals to a range of health problems, including infertility in women, and to developmental and reproductive problems in lab animals.
Formed when carbohydrates are cooked at high temperatures, acrylamide and its metabolites are extremely common in Americans. High-level exposure has caused cancer and neurological problems in lab animals and workers, respectively. Avoiding it in food comes down to food choice (potato chips are a common source), storage and preparation.
The main source of mercury -- a potent neurotoxin that can lead to permanent brain damage if young children or fetuses are exposed -- continues to be contaminated fish. I do not recommend eating most fish for this reason.
This gasoline additive has been phased out of use in the U.S. in favor of ethanol, but it still can be detected widely in American's bodies; it has contaminated many drinking water supplies. Studies have linked it to a variety of potential problems, including neurological and reproductive damage.
This past week I joined Facebook. I’m looking forward to exploring this community with you. If you are part of the Facebook community send me a ‘friend’ request and I’ll respond.
I still don’t have any current flu cases to report on. There are a couple of folks who are dealing with a residual cough. Sometimes a change in the chronic homeopathic remedy makes the difference for them. Sometimes a Chinese herb formula is effective.
Why not treat with an acute homeopathic remedy? In my experience, if an acute cough is successfully treated, the chronic case can be disrupted. For example, someone’s depression returns when the cough is eradicated. That’s why I recommend working with Vitamin C or Chinese herbs most of the time.
Here are some pages that are of particular interest:
Store: There are 243 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 85 issues of my health newsletter, "Naturopathic News”.
Optimal Health Points: This is my blog that I update periodically. Check out “Dementia Linked to Vitamin D Deficiency”.
LET ME HELP YOU MAKE WISE SUPPLEMENT CHOICES
As is often the case, a recent new patient asked if I would review their choice and use of supplements and herbs. Why does this happen so often? For many, taking a vitamin or herb is their introduction to natural medicine. Their desire to be healthier drives them to take supplements and herbs. The death, pain, discomfort, and side effects experienced with over the counter and prescription drugs compels people to look elsewhere. It’s very different with supplements and herbs which, when used correctly, have an incredibly low risk of harm.
Some people take this to an extreme and take every supplement or herb that someone tells them is ‘good for them’. It might be a clerk, an internet ‘expert’ source, or a friend who is marketing the latest or greatest fad. Most of these individuals or companies have no professional training or experience in the medical use of the supplements or herbs that they’re selling. The people they’re selling to come into my office with 5,10,15, or more supplements that they’re taking. Sometimes it’s been so long since they started taking them that they don’t remember why they’re doing it. When I ask, they can’t tell me what, if anything, a particular product is doing for them. Yet, they can be quite fearful of stopping any of these items, as if their health would careen off a precipice without them.
Why do I think my approach is any different? Partly, it’s because of my background. I’ve literally been working with nutritional supplements since 1974. That’s 35 years assessing the quality and effectiveness of supplements. Starting in 1980 I started working with Western and Chinese herbs. The quality of herbs used and how they’re combined together has the greatest effect on the efficacy of the final product. Because I’ve grown, identified, harvested, and produced medicinal herbal products I recognize a good formula when I see one.
Licensed naturopaths like myself receive the most extensive academic and clinical training in the use of nutritional supplements and herbal medicines of any professional in the United States. Nothing can substitute for such hands on experience, especially when you see, and are responsible for, the results of your treatments. Very different from the clerk in the store, or coworker who’s part of a MLM scheme.
What I’m offering to kick off the New Year 2010 is access to this experience and training. For you and your family. If you have questions about the supplements or herbs you are taking, or are thinking about taking, now is the time to ask. Send me an email with the brand and name of the product you’re taking. Let me know that you want to bring the bottles in at your next visit, so I can see what you’re taking. Either way I’ll give you honest feedback about what I think is good, and what isn’t. We’ll fine tune what you’re taking to maximize effect and eliminate waste.
Let me hear from you and we’ll get started. This is one New Year’s resolution that we can achieve.
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 a long time I looked 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.
ITHACA OPTIMAL HEALTH
I’m excited to announce that I have opened a new office in Ithaca, New York. Why Ithaca? We feel very drawn to the area—socially, culturally, and politically. Now with the help of some friends we’re practicing there. Joy Weber, a massage therapist, has graciously opened her massage space to me, every 2nd Saturday of the month. I’ll be seeing patients there starting August 8. If you have any friends or family in the area let them know.
My Ithaca office address is 329 South Geneva St., Ithaca NY 14850.
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