|Issue #93 - June 2010|
PRODUCE AND PESTICIDES: THE DIRTY DOZEN
If you're eating non-organic celery, you may be consuming 67 pesticides with it, according to a new report from the Environmental Working Group (EWG). EWG, a nonprofit focused on public health, reviewed almost 100,000 produce pesticide reports from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to determine what fruits and vegetables we eat have the highest, and lowest, amounts of chemical residue.
The most dangerous are the fruits and vegetables dubbed the "Dirty Dozen," which contain 47 to 67 pesticides per serving. These foods are believed to be most susceptible because they have soft skin that tends to absorb more pesticides. "It's critical people know what they are consuming," the Environmental Working Group's Amy Rosenthal said. "The list is based on pesticide tests conducted after the produce was washed with USDA high-power pressure water system. The numbers reflect the closest thing to what consumers are buying at the store."
EWG’s special report is called Toxic America. In it they suggest limiting consumption of pesticides by purchasing organic for the 12 worst fruits and vegetables. "You can reduce your exposure to pesticides by up to 80% by buying the organic version of the Dirty Dozen," Rosenthal said.
The Dirty Dozen
Sweet bell peppers
Spinach, kale and collard greens
The group found a number of non-organic fruits and vegetables dubbed them the "Clean 15" that contain little to no pesticides.
The Clean 15
The President's Cancer Panel recently recommended that consumers eat produce without pesticides to reduce their risk of getting cancer and other diseases. Some studies show an association between pesticides and health problems such as cancer, ADHD and nervous system disorders and say exposure could weaken immune systems.
The Environmental Working Group warns consumers of the potential dangers. "Pesticides are designed to kill things. Why wait for 20 years to discover they are bad for us?" Rosenthal said. Some doctors warn that children's growing brains are the most vulnerable to pesticides in food. "A kid's brain goes through extraordinary development, and if pesticides get into the brain, it can cause damage," said Dr. Philip Landrigan, chairman of the department of preventive medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.
Pesticides cannot be washed away. The pesticide tests mentioned above were conducted after the food had been power-washed by the USDA. Also, although some pesticides are found on the surface of foods, other pesticides may be taken up through the roots and into the plant and cannot be removed. "We've found that washing doesn't do much," Rosenthal said. "Peeling can help, although you have to take into account that the pesticides are in the water, so they can be inside the fruit because of the soil."
"To the extent you can afford to do so, [parents] should simply buy organic, because there have been some very good studies that shows people who eat mostly organic food reduce 95 percent of pesticides [in their body] in two weeks," Landrigan said.
DR. PAIS’S COMMENTS: So much for all the money you might have wasted on those special washes for produce pesticides. They really are a waste of money. Best to just buy organic in the first place.
As children are the most susceptible I recommend buying all your produce organic, especially the fruits and vegetables your kids eat the most. If you can’t do that than following the lists above is a good alternative. But remember some of the foods on the “Clean 15” list, like sweet corn, are most likely genetically engineered. You don’t want to feed those to your family either.
The Environmental Working Group is one of my favorite health advocacy groups. They produce many helpful reports on pesticides, cosmetics, sunscreens, etc. Please consider supporting their work.
It’s that time of year again. We’re outside more and the mosquitoes are looking for their free lunch. And we’re trying to stop them. The attractant level of individuals is based on a complex interaction of many chemical and visual signals. Because something works for one person or against one type of mosquito, doesn't necessarily mean it will for others. A repellent's efficacy depends on which mosquito species is biting and the age, sex, level of activity, humidity levels, and animal magnetism of the human user.
According to preliminary studies, 85% of a person's susceptibility to mosquito bites is genetic. Body chemistry plays a role. Female mosquitoes (the bloodsuckers) target those who produce excess amounts of certain acids, such as uric acid, and people with high concentrations of steroids or cholesterol on their skin (unrelated to cholesterol levels but maybe related to use of these drugs). They're lured by a combination of scent, water vapor, and the warm carbon dioxide expelled during breathing and emitted from skin. When a person pants from exertion, the CO2 and lactic acid pouring from sweat glands is irresistible to a mosquito, which needs blood to develop fertile eggs. Resist going on a swatting rampage when insects hover. Such movements can double the number of mosquitoes you attract. Also, mosquitoes seem drawn to dark rather than light-colored clothing.
The most widely used insect repellents are those containing DEET. A 1999 EPA publication acknowledges potential serious side effects from the use of DEET, including rare toxic reactions following intensely treated skin application in some children causing behavioral disorder, ataxia, rapid loss of consciousness, hypotension, seizures, and paralysis. According to physician, Dr. Marion Moses, "DEET is very toxic to the brain and nervous system, (can cause) slurred speech, tremor, convulsions, coma," and "death in children from absorption through skin when...applied repeatedly, or in high concentrations." "Headaches, restlessness, irritability, crying spells in children and other changes in behavior may result from mild poisoning.”
DEET can dissolve nylon and plastic, is highly flammable, has caused rashes, eye and sinus irritation, headaches, insomnia, and confusion in sensitive people, and is dangerous if absorbed into the bloodstream (through open wounds). Studies on rats have shown DEET may cause brain cell death or damage.
If you’re looking for some natural repellents here are a few to try.
One of the best ways to decrease the amount of mosquito bites you get is to break up any standing water. This means bird baths, rain gutters, fountains, ponds, flowerpot trays, and anywhere water may gather. Besides it being the early sound of Spring, I love the peepers at our pond because I know the mature frogs will eat a lot of mosquitoes.
Planting marigolds around your yard works great as a bug repellent because the flowers give off a fragrance bugs do not like. This is a great way to ward off mosquitoes without using chemical insecticides.
Lemon grass, a staple of Thai cooking, can be bought at Asian groceries, easily rooted and grown as a tropical plant, for wintering indoors. Rubbing a cut stalk vigorously, releasing its wonderfully perfumed oil, repels well for four to five hours. Other plant extracts mosquitoes avoid are fennel, shrub verbena, lavender, witch hazel, tansy, peppermint, basil, lemon balm, lemon oregano, lemon geranium, rosemary, sassafras and eucalyptus.
I’ve recommended eating more brewer’s yeast and garlic to repel mosquitoes. This seems to work really well for some people and it’s been shown that higher amounts of Vitamin B12 in your body act as a repellent.
Many commercial insect repellents are made from essential oils distilled from plants that use them to fend off insect feeding. In high concentrations -- more than 5 to 10 percent -- they can be toxic and irritating, causing skin reactions or worse, particularly for children.
Lemon eucalyptus oil has been shown to be nearly as effective and long-lasting as DEET. You can find it n many sprays and lotions. It can cause skin reactions and may not be safe for children under 3 years of age. Citronella is an essential oil found I many natural repellents. Mosquitoes don’t like its smell and are repelled by the smoke.
When you’ve been bitten and are scratching away find some plantain leaves. Chew them up and place over the mosquito bite. This can be very effective to stop the itching.
Before applying leaves, sprays, or lotions to skin, "patch test" yourself for allergic reactions by applying some repeatedly on your inner forearm for a day or so; if there's no irritating skin reaction, such as redness, itching or swelling, or other adverse response, it should be safe to use.
PROZAC AND FLUORIDE
If you or someone you know is taking the drug Prozac (fluoxetine HCL) you should know that you are also consuming extra fluoride. Each molecule of Prozac contains 3 fluorine atoms. Based on the molecular weight of Prozac, and the molecular weight of the fluorine atom, about 16.5% of the entire weight of Prozac is fluoride. If your daily dose of Prozac is 20 milligrams (mg), you’re getting 3.3 mg of fluoride (16.5% of 20=3.3). If you’re taking 40 mg of Prozac per day you’re getting 6.6 mg of fluoride. The maximum level allowed in drinking water is 1 mg/Liter.
The most common side effect of too much fluoride is ‘dental fluorosis’, which is an abnormal condition caused by excessive intake of fluorides, characterized in children by discoloration and pitting of the teeth and in adults by pathological bone changes. With excessive consumption over time, arteriosclerosis, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer's disease are also concerns.
Here are some pages that are of particular interest:
Store: There are 277 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 92 issues of my health newsletter, "Naturopathic News”.
Optimal Health Points: This is my blog that I update periodically. Check out my latest post, “No Deaths From Vitamins, Minerals, Amino Acids Or Herbs”.
One of my patients had the great idea to connect with others who work with me so that they can share experiences and knowledge concerning homeopathy, healthy eating, etc. If any of you are interested in doing this send me an email and I’ll help you connect.
Come join my fan page at www.facebook.com/NaturalDoc
Help me bring information, news, and stories about natural medicine to the Facebook community.
For those of you who don’t know, Facebook is a social networking website. Users can add friends and send them messages, and update their personal profiles to notify friends about themselves. Additionally, users can join networks organized by city, workplace, and school or college.
Facebook pages help you discover new artists, businesses, and communities as well as those you already love. On my fan page www.facebook.com/NaturalDoc I post discussions that you can join in with and relay breaking health news related to disease prevention, clinical nutrition, and ways to make you healthier.
I’m looking forward to exploring this community with you. See you there!
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 compel 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 me 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 is easy access to this experience and training. Both 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. Start a discussion on my Facebook fan page. Either way I’ll give you honest feedback about what I think is good, or 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.
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